Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
USS La Salle (AGF-3)
|Awarded:||8 August 1960|
|Laid Down:||2 April 1962|
|Launched:||3 August 1963|
|Commissioned:||22 February 1964|
|Displacement:||9559 tons light, 13634 tons full, 4075 tons dead|
|Length:||522 ft (159 m) overall, 500 ft (152 m) waterline|
|Beam:||107 ft (33 m) extreme, 84 ft (26 m) waterline|
|Draft:||22 ft (6.7 m) maximum, 23 ft (7.0 m) limit|
|Speed:||23 knots (43 km/h)|
|Complement:||72 officers, 593 men|
|Armament:||8 x 3 inch (76 mm) 50 caliber guns|
USS La Salle (LPD-3/AGF-3), built as a Raleigh-class amphibious transport dock , was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the town and county in Illinois that was in turn named after Rene Robert Chevalier de La Salle, one of the most celebrated explorers and builders of New France in the 17th century.
Her keel was laid down by New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, New York, on 2 April 1962. She was launched on 3 August 1963 sponsored by Mrs. Victor M. Longstreet , and commissioned on 22 February 1964 with Captain Edward H. Winslow in command.
After shakedown and training in the Caribbean Sea and off Norfolk, Virginia, the amphibious transport dock departed Norfolk 9 October to participate in Operation Steel Pike I , a complex training exercise involving over 80 ships and United States and Spanish troops. She closed the coast of Spain off Huelva on 26 October, and embarked Under-Secretary of the Navy Paul B. Faye , Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Horacio Rivero, Commandant of the Marine Corps General Wallace N. Greene , and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Congressman Mendel Rivers to watch the landing operations.
With Vice Admiral J. S. McCain, Jr., Commander Amphibious Forces, Atlantic Fleet embarked, La Salle sailed 1 May for exercises in the Caribbean, returning to Norfolk 1 June. Three weeks later she joined the Caribbean Amphibious Ready Squadron, returning to home port 21 September to begin training operations along the east coast and in the Caribbean.
Through the first half of 1966, La Salle continued operating off the east coast. July and September were spent in Norfolk for upkeep and modifications, with further exercises following. On 3 November, she recovered a Gemini 2-MOL test space capsule near Ascension Island. This was the Gemini 2 space capsules second flight. This was returned to Cape Kennedy, Florida, and the rest of the year spent on local operations in the Atlantic. La Salle entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 9 January 1967 for repairs and remained there until 20 March. The remainder of 1967 and the first three quarters of 1968 were spent conducting various exercises and port visits which ranged along the entire Atlantic and Gulf coasts and into the Caribbean as well. On 2 November she put into Norfolk to prepare for an extended deployment with the Sixth Fleet. Departing 13 November, she steamed first to Morehead City, North Carolina, and then began her voyage to the Mediterranean Sea.
- Need information from 1969 to present.
La Salle was converted to a "miscellaneous command ship" and given the hull classification symbol AGF-3.
The ship was dubbed "The Great White Ghost of the Arabian Coast" after being painted white for a Middle East deployment in 1972.
In November 1994, she became the command ship of the US Sixth Fleet
On 25 February 2005, she was relieved by Mount Whitney as the Sixth Fleet command ship. She is scheduled to be decommissioned in Norfolk.
See USS La Salle for other Navy ships of the same name.
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