The United States Navy USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41) dock landing ship departed Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek Feb. 3, 2020 to complete type commander (TYCOM) sea trials and execute Mariner Skills Week. After completing a maintenance availability which began in August 2017, the crew took the ship out to sea in December for contractor sea trials and now heads out to demonstrate and train on a multitude of at sea events which allows the ship to progress in the training cycle. These ships transport and launch amphibious craft and vehicles with their crews and embarked personnel in amphibious assault operations. Upon completion of sea trials, Whidbey Island will continue its training cycle preparing the ship and crew for future maritime operations.
USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41) is a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship of the United States Navy. She was named for Whidbey Island, in Puget Sound, Washington, the location of NAS Whidbey Island. Introduced to fleet service in 1985, this class of ship features a large well deck for the transport of United States Marine Corps (USMC) vehicles and a large flight deck for the landing of helicopters or V-22 Ospreys. The well deck was designed to hold four LCAC hovercraft, five if the vehicle ramp is raised, for landing Marines. Recent deployments have instead filled the well deck with a combination of LCU(s), AAVs, Tanks, LARCs and other USMC vehicles and gear. The Whidbey Island class of ship also uniquely benefits from multiple cranes and a shallow draft that further make it ideal for participating in amphibious operations.
As of 2009, all ships of the class are scheduled to undergo a midlife upgrade over the next five years to ensure that they remain in service through to 2038. The ships will be upgraded each year through 2013, and the last ship will be modernized in 2014. Ships homeported on the East Coast will undergo upgrades at Metro Machine Corp., while those on the West Coast will receive upgrades at General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego. Major elements of the upgrade package include diesel engine improvements, fuel and maintenance savings systems, engineering control systems, increased air conditioning and chill water capacity, and replacement of air compressors. The ships also replaced steam systems with all-electric functionality that will decrease maintenance effort and expense.