USS Tortuga (LSD 46) history
The Tortuga (LSD 46) is the 6th Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship and the second U.S. Navy ship to be named for the Dry Tortugas, a group of desert coral islets 60 miles west of Key West, Florida. The keel was laid down by the Avondale Industries in New Orleans, La., on March 23, 1987. She was launched on September 15, 1988, and christened on November 17, 1988. Mrs. Rosemary Parker Shoultz, the wife of retired Vice Adm. Robert F. Schoultz, served as sponsor of the ship. Cmdr. Allan D. Wall is the prospective commanding officer.
November 17, 1990 USS Tortuga was commissioned during a ceremony in New Orleans, La.
July 24, 1992 Cmdr. Stephen D. Gilmore relieved Cmdr. Allan D. Wall as CO of the Tortuga.
May 6, 1994 Cmdr. William D. Daniels relieved Cmdr. Stephen D. Gilmore as CO of the USS Tortuga.
March 14, 1996 Cmdr. Thomas L. McKeon relieved Cmdr. William D. Daniels as the 4th commanding officer of LSD 46.
July 18, 1997 Cmdr. Kenneth M. Rome relieved Cmdr. Thomas L. McKeon as CO of the Tortuga. In October 1998, the dock landing ship participated in NATO amphibious assault exercise Dynamic Mix. It also took part in Sardinia ’98, a combined amphibious operation exercise, off the coast of Sardinia, involving Italian naval and ground forces, which was designed to familiarize the two militaries with each others capabilities in amphibious warfare. This was the fifth and final exercise during its Mediterranean deployment.
February 11, 1999 Cmdr. John M. Burden relieved Cmdr. Kenneth M. Rome as CO of LSD 46.
September 1, 2000 Cmdr. James P. Driscoll relieved Cmdr. John M. Burden as commanding officer of the Tortuga.
May 31, 2002 Cmdr. Brian J. Shanahan relieved Cmdr. James P. Driscoll as CO of the Tortuga.
June 6, USS Tortuga ran aground approximately 1,000 yards off the North Carolina coast, near Morehead City, late at night, while underway for routine training as part of the USS Nassau (LHA 4) Amphibious Ready Group. No one was injured, and there did not appear to be any significant damage.
June 19, Rear Adm. J. Kevin Moran, Commander, Amphibious Group (COMPHIBGRU) 2, relieved of command Cmdr. Brian J. Shanahan due to a “loss of confidence in his ability to command.” The XO Lt. Cmdr. Byron D. Tracy is also fired. Cmdr. Thomas J. Chassee assumed temporary command of the LSD 46.
August 26, USS Tortuga departed Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek for a scheduled deployment, with the USS Nassau (LHA 4) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
September 19, Cmdr. Paul L. McElroy, III relieved Cmdr. Thomas J. Chassee as the 10th CO of USS Tortuga. After the ships embarked the Marines of 24th MEU at Camp Lejeune, N.C., they joined 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean, where the Marines participated in operations in Kosovo. During that time the Tortuga made port visits to Koper, Slovenia, and Valletta, Malta. After the Marines returned, Nassau ARG transferred to the 5th Fleet, where the Marines again deployed for exercises in Djibouti and the United Arab Emirates. After the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom on March 20, ARG again received word that the ships would remain in the Arabian Gulf longer than scheduled, and that the Marines of 24th MEU were needed ashore to join coalition forces fighting in Iraq.
May 29, 2003 USS Tortuga returned to homeport after a nine-month deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
June 7, 2004 The Tortuga departed Norfolk in support of the multinational naval exercise UNITAS to the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility.
July 8, Cmdr. Mark H. Scoville relieved Cmdr. Paul L. McElroy, III as CO of the Tortuga. May 20, 2005 The dock landing ship departed NAB Little Creek in support of the 33rd annual maritime exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2005. This year s international exercise, co-hosted by Latvia and the United States, includes 11 participating nations in the spirit of “Partnership for Peace.”
May 31, The Tortuga pulled into Kiel, Germany, for a scheduled port visit. August 31, USS Tortuga departed homeport to head for the Gulf of Mexico to support relief operations along the U.S. Gulf Coast following widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. The Navy’s involvement in the humanitarian assistance operations is an effort by the Department of Defense in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
September 4, LSD 46 pulled into New Orleans, Mississippi, to provide assistance in the relief efforts to the victims of the Hurricane Katrina. The ship moored at Naval Support Activity (NSA) New Orleans, where operations are being coordinated with the U.S. Coast Guard to aid, evacuate and relocate disaster victims. Using joint Department of Defense and local law enforcement assets, the Tortuga is serving as the lead Navy ship in the city of New Orleans.
March 31, 2006 USS Tortuga arrived in its new homeport of Fleet Activities Sasebo in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan, after completing an 11,000-mile voyage across two oceans and transiting the Panama Canal. The Tortuga joined Commander, Task Force (CTF) 76, and will serve as an integral part of the Navy s Forward Deployed Expeditionary Strike Group (FD-ESG) and Forward Deployed Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).
April 12, Cmdr. Michael T. Talaga assumed command of the USS Tortuga during an exchange of command and crew (“hull swap”) ceremony with the USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) at Tortuga’s flight deck in Sasebo, Japan. May 12, LSD 46 departed Fleet Activities Sasebo fora Friends and Family Day Cruise in Sagami Wan.
May 16, USS Tortuga departed Sasebo, Japan, for Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism (SEACAT) exercises. SAECAT is a scenario-based exercise where the Navies of various Southeast Asian Nations operate with the U.S. Navy in tracking and boarding simulated rogue merchant ships. June 14, The dock landing ship departed Changi Naval Base, Singapore, after completing the first phase of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training.
June 27, LSD 46 departed Sattahip, Thailand, concluding the second phase of bilateral exercise. July 18, The third phase of CARAT exercise concluded with the closing ceremony in Surabaya, Indonesia. The four Indonesian ships involved during the at-sea phase included the corvettes KRI Fatahillah (FTH-361) and KRI Nala (NAL-363), the frigate KRI Karel Satsuitbun (KST-356), and the patrol craft KRI Pandrong (PDG-801). August 3, USS Tortuga departed Kuantan, Malaysia, ending the fourth phase of CARAT exercise.
August 6, The dock landing ship arrived in Maura, Brunei Darussalam, for the fifth phase of CARAT exercise begining here Aug. 8 at the Royal Brunei Navy’s (RBN) headquarters. The RBN task group is comprised of the Waspada-class fast attack craft KDB Pejuang (P03) and KDB Seteria (P04), and the Perwira-class coastal patrol craft KDB Perwira (P14) and KDB Pemburu (P15). August 15, The Philippines phase of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercise began in Subic Bay, Philippines, with an opening ceremony at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. Philippine Navy CARAT task group ships include BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS 36), BRP Heracleo Alano (PG 376), BRP Teotimo Figuracion (PG 389) and BRP Bacolod City (LC 550).
September 1, USS Tortuga returned to its forward-deployed homeport after a three-and-a-half month underway period. October 23, LSD 46 is currently undergoing its Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) period in Sasebo, Japan.
December 12, Todd A. Lewis relieved Cmdr. Michael T. Talaga as the 13th CO of Tortuga.
February 3, 2007 USS Tortuga, as part of the Essex Amphibious Rady Group (ARG), is currently off the coast of Okinawa conducting a two week Blue-Green workups in preparation for their spring patrol. March 5, LSD 46 arrived in the Republic of Korea to conduct Reception Staging Onward-Movement and Integration and Foal Eagle 2007 (RSOI/FE 07), an exercise which will run through the end of March. April 4, The dock landing ship pulled into Chinhae naval base, ROK, for a scheduled port visit following the conclusion of Foal Eagle 2007.
April 16, USS Tortuga returned to Sasebo after a successful Spring Patrol 2007.
June 6, The Tortuga arrived in Brisbane, Australia, for a four-day port visit in preparation for the upcoming bilateral exercise Talisman Saber. July 5, LSD 46 arrived in Sydney, Australia, for a scheduled port visit after completing exercise TS07.
July 24, USS Tortuga returned to Sasebo, Japan, after a two-month underway period. August 25, The dock landing ship is currently conducting deck landing qualifications in preparation for the ship s fall patrol.
August 29, The Tortuga arrived in Tokyo in preparation for an upcoming Tokyo Metropolitan Government Disaster Relief Drill.
October 8, LSD 46 departed homeport for a fall patrol throughout the South Pacific region. Talon Vision and PHIBLEX are training exercises and will run concurrently Oct. 15-31, and will partner 2,700 U.S. and 1,300 Philippine military personnel for two weeks of training emphasizing the importance of U.S. military forces from Japan in supporting the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region. October 16, USS Tortuga recently arrived in Subic Bay, Philippines, for a scheduled port call. November 15, The dock landing ship is currently participating in a joint training exercise with the Republic of Korea forces off the coast of Pohang.
March 19, 2008 USS Tortuga returned to Sasebo after a two-week underway period that took the ship and crew to Iwo Jima to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the fierce battle.
April 29, Cmdr. John J. Zuhowski relieved Cmdr. Todd A. Lewis as CO of the LSD 46. May 25, USS Tortuga recently arrived in Puerto Princesa, Republic of the Philippines, for an opening ceremony of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2008 exercise. June 8, USS Tortuga, USS Ford (FFG 54), USS Jarrett (FFG 33) and U.S. Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau (WHEC 722) arrived in Sattahip, Thailand, for the second phase of bilateral CARAT exercise.
July 7, The CARAT ships arrived in Kuantan, Malaysia, for the fourth phase of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercise. July 29, An annual naval engagement activity (NEA) between the United States and Indonesia concluded with a ceremony on the flight deck of USS Tortuga on July 26.
January 8, 2009 Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, fired CO Cmdr. John J. Zuhowski because of a “loss of confidence in his ability to command.” The executive officer Lt. Cmdr. Dennis Burke was also fired. Capt. Mark E. Weber, the deputy Commodore of Amphibious Squadron 11 assumed temporary command of the Tortuga. January 27, LSD 46 pulled to White Beach Naval Facility at Okinawa, Japan, to onload Marines and equipment in preparation for the ship’s Spring Patrol.
March 6, USS Tortuga returned to homeport after completing the first half of deployment. The ship completed participation in exercise Cobra Gold, an annual Thailand and U.S. co-sponsored joint coalition multinational military exercise designed to train a Thai, U.S. and Singaporean Coalition Task Force. April 14, The Tortuga is currently off the coast of Philippines, for participation in exercise Balikatan 2009. June 16, The dock landing ship departed Okinawa for a summer underway period and to participate in Talisman Sabre ’09 exercise.
June 28, USS Tortuga pulled into Cairns, Australia, for a week-long port call.
September 10, Cmdr. James P. Lowell relieved Capt. Mark E. Weber as CO of the Tortuga during a change-of-command ceremony aboard the ship in Sasebo, Japan. September 24, LSD 46 departed home for a Fall Patrol as part of the Denver (LPD 9) Amphibious Task Group, which will participate in exercises with three different allied nations. October 3, USS Tortuga and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) arrived off the coast of Manila Oct. 2 to provide humanitarian assistance after Typhoon Ketsana killed hundreds and damaged the homes of more than three million people in the Philippines Sept. 26. At one point, 80 percent of the Manila was under water after experiencing the heaviest rainfall in 40 years. Also the Typhoon Parma was due to strike the Philippines northeastern tip on Saturday night.
October 27, The dock landing ship departed Subic Bay, Philippines, after a routine port call. November 10, The Tortuga moored at White Beach, Okinawa, for offload before participating in Annual Exercise (ANNUALEX) 21G, as part of the USS Essex ARG, with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). February 22, 2010 The Tortuga departed Yokosuka for a three-week underway period. She will represent the Navy at the 65th anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima and will support the commemoration ceremony, embarking about 250 Marines and providing logistical support.
May 3, USS Tortuga, along with USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) and USCGC Mellon (WHEC 717), arrived in Muara, Brunei, for an opening ceremony of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2010 exercise. May 13, LSD 46 pulled into Sattahip, Thailand, for the second phase of CARAT. May 26, The CARAT ships arrived in Surabaya, Indonesia, for the 16th annual Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) exercise.
June 7, USS Tortuga arrived in Sihanoukville to participate in CARAT Cambodia 2010, which is running simultaneously with CARAT Malaysia. From October 15-22, the Tortuga was underway for sea trials after a three-month Selected Restricted Availability (SRA). November 15, USS Tortuga departed Fleet Activities Sasebo for routine training. Brief stop at Yokosuka on Nov. 15; Brief stop at Okinawa on Nov. 23.
December 5, The dock landing ship departed Okinawa after a two-day port call to participate in a joint-bilateral exercise Keen Sword 2011, in the South China Sea, as part of the Essex ARG. Returned home on Dec. 13. January 20, 2011 The Tortuga departed Sasebo to conduct transportation exercises with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Inport Saeki, Japan, from Jan. 24-25. January 26, USS Tortuga arrived in Sukumo City, Japan, for a brief port call. Returned home on Jan. 28; Underway for local operations from Jan. 29- Feb. 1.
February 12, Cmdr. Adrian D. Ragland relieved Cmdr. James P. Lowell as CO of the LSD 46 during a change-of-command ceremony at Fleet Activities Sasebo.
March 11, USS Tortuga departed Sasebo Friday evening to embark two MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasure Squadron (HM) 14, off the coast of Pohang, ROK, in preparation to provide humanitarian assistance in support of earthquake and tsunami relief operations in Japan. March 14, The Tortuga arrived in Otaru, Hokkaido, to onload 700 Japan Ground Self-Defense Force personnel that will be transported to Akita, Honshu. March 16, LSD 46 had to suspend onload operations overnight at Tomakomai-ko, Hokkaido, due to visibility concerns but was able to resume around this morning. Throughout the day personnel loaded 93 vehicles and 273 JGSDF troops and equipment for delivery in Ominato, Honshu, tomorrow.
March 18, USS Tortuga arrived off the coast of Hachinohe to serve as an afloat forward service base for helicopter operations. March 28, USS Tortuga, along with USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50), moved to the port of Miyako in preparation for port clearance operations. April 4, The two ships, along with embarked Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5 and Underwater Construction Team 2, arrived at Oshima to assist Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) with clearing the debris within the waters of the harbors.
April 8, LSD 46 concluded its participation in Operation Tomodachi and is the last U.S. Navy ship that leaved the coast of disaster area. April 11, The Tortuga recently pulled into Fleet Activities Yokosuka for a brief port call to offload personnel and do some quick maintenance; Returned to Sasebo on April 14.
April 28, USS Tortuga departed Fleet Activities Sasebo in support of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2011 exercise. May 2, The dock landing ship recently arrived in White Beach, Okinawa, for onload.
May 11, USS Tortuga pulled into Sattahip, Thailand, for the first phase of CARAT; Departed Chuk Samet Port on May 20. May 25, USS Tortuga, along with USS Reuben James (FFG 57) and USS Howard (DDG 83), arrived at port of Tanjung Priok in Jakarta to participate in the 17th CARAT Indonesia. June 7, The CARAT ships, including USS Ford (FFG 54) and USS La Jolla (SSN 701), recently arrived in Kuantan, Malaysia, for the third phase of annual exercise.
June 16, USS Tortuga arrived in Changi Naval Base to participate in Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) Singapore 2011. Inport Sasebo from July 5-6; Returned home on July 8. July 15, The dock landing ship recently entered the dry-dock at SSK Shipyard in Sasebo for a Selective Restricted Availability (SRA) period. Inport Yokosuka from Oct. 5-11; Returned home on Oct. 14.
October 27, USS Tortuga departed Fleet Activities Sasebo for a routine Spring Patrol. October 30, LSD 46 departed White Beach Naval Facility after a two-day port call to participate in the at-sea phase of bilateral Annual Exercise (ANNUALEX 23G), between the U.S. and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), from Oct. 27- Nov. 4; Upkeep in Sasebo from Nov. 7-14.
November 19, The Tortuga departed Okinawa, Japan, after embarking components of Combat Logistics Regiment (CLR) 3 in preparation to offer recovery assistance in distressed areas of the Kingdom of Thailand. LSD 46 embarked two CH-46E Sea Knight assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 262, that will remain on board for the remainder of the mission. December 3, USS Tortuga departed Laem Chabang, Thailand, after a 10-day port call. Returned home on Dec. 11.
January 23, 2012 USS Tortuga departed homeport for a routine Spring Patrol. Inport Okinawa, Japan, for onload from Jan. 25-27. February 8, The dock landing ship recently arrived off the coast of Thailand to participate in the multi-lateral training exercise Cobra Gold 2012, from Feb. 7-17.
February 21, USS Tortuga pulled into Laem Chabang, Thailand, for a scheduled port visit to Pattaya. Inport White Beach, Okinawa, from March 2-5. April 4, The Tortuga moored at White Beach Naval Facility after recently participating in a joint exercise Foal Eagle 2012, as part of USS Essex ARG. April 10, LSD 46 pulled into Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, to participate in exercise Balikatan 2012, from April 16-26.
May 2, USS Tortuga returned to Fleet Activities Sasebo after more than a three-month underway period.
July 12, Cmdr. John J. Barnett relieved Cmdr. Adrian D. Ragland as CO of the Tortuga during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship.
August 13, USS Tortuga departed Naval Base Sasebo for a Fall Patrol as part of the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) ARG.
August 20, The Tortuga recently moored at White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan, to onload Marines and equipment from the 31st MEU. Brief stop at White Beach on Sept. 11. October 5, The dock landing ship pulled into Subic Bay, Philippines, for a three-day port call before participating in at-sea phase of exercise PHIBLEX 2013. Inport Subic Bay again from Oct. 17-20. October 22, LSD 46 moored pierside at Sepanggar Naval Base for a four-day port visit to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
October 30, USS Tortuga anchored in Victoria Harbour for a three-day port visit to Hong Kong. November 4, The dock landing ship recently pulled into White Beach for a two-day port call to offload Marines and equipment before participating in Annual Exercise (ANNUALEX) 24G. November 9, The Tortuga moored at Mizuho Wharf in Port of Yokohama, Japan, for a brief stop. Brief stop at Okinawa on Nov. 18.
November 21, USS Tortuga returned to homeport after a 100-day underway period.
January 14, 2013 USS Tortuga departed Sasebo, Japan, for an annual Spring Patrol.
January 18, The dock landing ship pulled into White Beach Naval Facility for a four-day onload before conducting Amphibious Integration Training (AIT) and Certification Exercise (CERTEX). February 8, The Tortuga anchored off the coast of Royal Thai Navy installation in Sattahip for offload in preparation for the multinational training exercise Cobra Gold 2013, from Feb. 11-21. March 5, USS Tortuga returned to Fleet Activities Sasebo for a week-long upkeep. Underway for the second part of patrol on March 12; Inport White Beach Naval Facility from March 21-29.
April 2, LSD 46 arrived in Manila, Republic of the Philippines, for a four-day port visit before participating in annual military training exercise Balikatan. Inport Subic Bay from April 18-20; Offload in White Beach, Okinawa, from April 23-25.
April 27, USS Tortuga returned to Sasebo after completing its Spring Patrol. May 9, The Tortuga departed homeport in support of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2013 exercise. Inport White Beach Naval Facility from May 11-13. May 21, USS Tortuga pulled into port of Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, Indonesia, for a three-day visit. Underway for at-sea phase of CARAT from May 24-26; Inport Tanjung Priok again from May 26-29.
June 3, The dock landing ship moored at Chuk Samet Port in Sattahip to participate in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Thailand. USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) and USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11) are also participating; Underway for at-sea phase from June 8-11; Inport Sattahip again from June 11-13. June 15, LSD 46 arrived in Kuantan, Malaysia, for the third phase of CARAT 2013 exercise; Underway for at-sea phase on June 18; Anchored off Tanjung Gelang Naval Base at Kuantan for backload on June 21. June 27, USS Tortuga anchored in Subic Bay, Philippines, to offload Marines for the fourth phase of CARAT exercise. Offload at White Beach from June 30- July 2.
July 3, USS Tortuga returned to Fleet Activities Sasebo after a two-month underway period.
August 23, Cmdr. Brett C. Hershman took command of the Tortuga during an exchange of command and crew (“hull swap”) ceremony with the USS Ashland (LSD 48) at Naval Base Sasebo.
From September 5-6, the Tortuga was underway for local operations. Departed Sasebo for a homeport change on Sept. 9; Inport Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, from Sept. 20-24. October 8, The dock landing ship departed Naval Base San Diego, Calif., after a week-long port call. Transited Panama Canal on Oct. 16.
October 22, USS Tortuga arrived in its new homeport of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story after a six-week transit from Sasebo, Japan. The ship returned to Little Creek, Va., after being forward-deployed to Japan for more than seven years.
August 15, 2014 Cmdr. Thomas R. Goudreau relieved Cmdr. Brett C. Hershman as the 20th CO of Tortuga during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship.
October 6, The Tortuga ran into a navigational buoy, about 7:30 a.m., in the Thimble Shoal Channel near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, sending the buoy adrift and causing more than $2.5 million in damage to the warship. December 11, LSD 46 completed emergent repairs to its starboard hub and propeller blades at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in Norfolk, Va.
December 16, Capt. James P. Cody, Commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4 relieved of duty Cmdr. Thomas Goudreau and XO Cmdr. John K. Fleming due to a “loss of confidence in their ability to safely operate and navigate the ship and their credibility to lead the crew.” Capt. Augustus P. Bennett, deputy commander of PHIBRON-4, assumed temporary command of the USS Tortuga.
January 2?, 2015 Cmdr. Jeffrey D. Baker relieved Capt. Augustus P. Bennett as commanding officer of USS Tortuga.
March 19, The Tortuga recently departed Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story for sea trials off the coast of Virginia, the first underway in more than five months. May 21, USS Tortuga returned to homeport after a 40-day underway for flight deck and well deck certifications; Underway en route to Maine on July 27. July 31, USS Tortuga anchored off the coast of Rockland, Maine, for a four-day port visit to participate in annual Lobster Festival.
August 12, LSD 46 moored at Naval Station Norfolk after a 16-day underway.
November 16, The Tortuga is currently moored at Berth 6, Pier 2 on Naval Station Norfolk.