Saipan Expeditionary Strike Group
Saipan Amphibious Ready Group
Omnius Fasimus: "We Do It All"
USS Saipan (LHA 2) was decommissioned April 20, 2007, in a ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk after 29 years of service during which it received numerous awards, including six Battle "E" awards, three Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals and the Humanitarian Service Medal
USS Saipan's (LHA 2) mission is to embark a Marine Landing Force to conduct opposed assault or non-combatant operations. Elements of the landing force may include AV-8B Harrier attack jets, helicopters, conventional landing craft, air cushion or tracked amphibious vehicles, or a combination of these elements. As a General Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship, or LHA, Saipan can operate independently or in a large landing force to contribute air and surface forces. The ship can carry a full Marine Battalion Landing Team with all its required supplies and equipment. Saipan's fully computerized Advanced Combat Direction System and suite of air search radar systems permit the exercise of command and control over large ocean areas. Two Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Launchers, two Close-in-Weapons Systems (CIWS) and extensive electronic intercept/decoy equipment are designed to defend the ship from hostile forces. A "capital ship" in every sense of the word, Saipan's extensive satellite communications facilities permit instantaneous worldwide communications which can support an embarked Joint Task Force.
A secondary mission of USS Saipan is to provide for evacuation and disaster relief. Hundreds of tons of medical supplies and food can be transported by Saipan for delivery to disaster victims anywhere in the world. In addition, fresh water and electricity can be provided by Saipan's engineering plant until domestic services are restored. The ship's Medical and Dental departments can accommodate nearly 400 patients, providing daily outpatient treatment for hundreds of additional sick or injured.
At sea, during amphibious operations, USS Saipan is a floating city with a population of nearly 3,000 Sailors and Marines, fully capable of conducting independent operations anywhere in the world. Her multi-mission capabilities make USS Saipan a unique and powerful instrument of U.S. seapower. Whether at peace or war, USS Saipan is the ship that "Does It All."
The design of the ship's crest reflects the unity of the Navy/Marine Corps team. This is shown by the outer circle superimposed on a rifle and anchor. The cardinal points of the compass represent the freedom of movement enjoyed by amphibious units in responding to all situations. The iron gauntlet holding the mace depicts the striking power of the embarked Marines. Omnia Facimus translates to "we do it all." More than a boast, it was soon to become a statement of fact for Saipan and her crew.
The second ship by that name, the keel of the Saipan was laid on July 21, 1972 and the ship was launched in July 1974. The Saipan was commissioned on October 15, 1977.
Saipan's first Commanding Officer was Captain F. W. Johnston. Saipan's operational career began in July of 1979 when the ship was diverted from Fleet Refresher Training to "Special Contingency Operations" for possible non-combatant evacuation of American personnel from Nicaragua during that country's civil war. In May of 1980, Saipan was underway augmenting US Coast Guard efforts to assist Cuban refugees crossing the Straits of Florida to the United States. On August 25, 1980, Saipan departed Norfolk for the first Mediterranean deployment by a LHA, and then on September 3, 1981, Saipan deployed for its second tour in the Med. During that deployment, Saipan visited or operated in seven different countries on three continents, transited the Suez Canal, and participated in Exercises Ocean Venture, Display Determination, Bright Star and National Week.
In September of 1983, Saipan was diverted to participate in Operation Urgent Fury off Grenada. Saipan then set sail for its third Mediterranean deployment on January 22, 1985. During this deployment, it steamed more than 32,000 miles, logged over 6,700 safe aircraft landings, and visited ports in three countries. Amphibious Refresher Training was held in May of 1986 off the Coast of North Carolina with Saipan achieving a 99.97 overall grade, the highest score ever achieved by any amphibious ship.
On August 17, 1986, Saipan departed on its fourth Mediterranean deployment. Extended briefly in the Eastern Mediterranean for contingency operations, Saipan returned to Norfolk on February 24, 1987. Then from March 17, 1990 through September 17, 1990, Saipan was deployed to the Mediterranean and conducted the evacuation of approximately 1,600 civilians from war-torn Liberia in support of Operation Sharp Edge. From September 17, 1991 to March 17, 1992, Saipan deployed to the Persian Gulf as a unit of ARG 3-91 in support of Operation Desert Storm.
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