The amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) detached from Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11 and departed U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo Sept. 15, after a decade of being forward-deployed to Japan. Forward-deployed for more than a decade, Germantown sailed from San Diego on Jan. 5, 2011, replacing USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49). USS Rushmore (LSD 47) will replace Germantown later this year. Commissioned in 1986, Germantown celebrated its 35th commissioning anniversary after more than a year and two successful operational periods during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Germantown and the Sailors who have sailed with her have made an incredible impact across the entire 7th Fleet theater,” said Rear Adm. Chris Engdahl, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7. “Whether strengthening alliances and partnerships during a myriad of amphibious operations, or conducting humanitarian assistance when people of the Indo-Pacific region needed it most, Germantown has always set the standard in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. A great ship and crew comes to replace them, but they will be missed.”
Since 2011, Germantown has participated in numerous operations and exercises across the Indo-Pacific including Cobra Gold, Valiant Shield, Kamandag, Sama Sama, and Tiger Triumph 2019, the first U.S.-India bilateral exercise to feature all three joint services – Army, Navy, and Air Force. Most recently, Germantown participated in Talisman Sabre 21, the third time the ship has taken part in the U.S.-Australia bilateral exercise. During an innovative achievement in June, Germantown resurrected a World War II-era waterborne ambulance concept during an exercise. Installing a medical shock trauma section on Germantown’s landing craft, utility (LCU) added another link in the “heal chain” to get wounded Marines from the battlefield to critical care.
Rushmore, another Whidbey Island-class ship, was commissioned on June 1, 1991. Rushmore’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Emily Royse, served aboard USS Mahan (DDG 72), USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), USS San Antonio (LPD 17), and forward-deployed as the commanding officer of USS Patriot (MCM 7) and the PHIBRON 11 operations officer. Most recently, she was Rushmore’s executive officer. Together, the forward-deployed ships of PHIBRON 11 and elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit are operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to enhance interoperability with allies and partners, and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.