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Wasp Expeditionary Strike Group
Wasp Amphibious Ready Group
LHD-1 Wasp
"Honor, Tradition, Excellence"

Wasp (LHD-1) was laid down 30 May 1985 by Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula MS; launched 4 Aug 1987; and commissioned 29 July 1989.

From June to December 1991 she was on deployment to the Meditteranean. From Feb to Aug 1993 she took part in Operation Restore/Continue Hope off Somalia. On 20 April 1993, while operating off Somalia she scraped her keel and propeller on a charted reef about three and a half miles offshore but was able to continue her assigned mission. Following this incident her commanding officer and navigator were relieved.

From May to Aug 1993 she conducted counter drug operations in the Caribbean. The following May she took part in Operation Support Democracy until July 1994 when that operation became "Uphold Democracy". She took part in the NATO exercise "Strong Resolve" from February to April 1995. On 29 March 1995, she collided with the fast combat support ship Seattle (AOE-3) while returning from the exercise - damage was minor.

USS Wasp (LHD 1) returned to its homeport of Naval Station Norfolk 21 October 2011 after spending three weeks at sea hosting the initial sea trials of the F-35B Lightning II, Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The first F-35B landed on Wasp's flight deck Oct. 3, beginning an 18-day test period for the aircraft. During the testing, two F-35B Marine Corps test jets (BF-2 and BF-4) accomplished vertical landings and short take-offs under various conditions.

Also being tested was a newer non-skid deck surface, Thermion, which is supported by a mechanical bond of ceramic and aluminum that makes the surface more resistant to extreme heat and better endures the wear and tear of flight operations. The Thermion covers landing spot nine on the flight deck, a small area used for vertical landings. The Thermion shows no signs of heat stress, which is good for the F-35, and eventually good for all surface ships.

Wasp completed a six-month deployment in late 2016, during which the crew completed a certification validation, ensuring the ship's readiness to join 7th Fleet. The ship represents the naval centerpiece of the Up-Gunned Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) concept, which increases the capability of the traditional three-ship amphibious ready group to defend itself and project power. The up-gunned expeditionary strike group (ESG) will combine a traditional three-ship amphibious ready group (ARG) with a three ship guided-missile destroyer surface action group (SAG).

The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for a final port call en route to her new homeport of Sasebo, Japan, 28 Dec. 2017. Following return from the Wasp's first deployment in more than a decade, the ship entered a six-month maintenance availability, and proceeded to a compressed work-up schedule in preparation for the upcoming transit to Japan.

The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) entered U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations 06 January 2018 after completing nearly two months of disaster relief efforts to aid hurricane-affected islands in the Caribbean. Wasp departed Norfolk Aug. 30 to replace USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) in Sasebo, Japan as the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship in region. While still in the initial phase of its transit, the ship diverted to the Caribbean Sept. 4 to assist the U.S. Virgin Islands and Dominica in the wake of Hurricane Irma and then provided assistance to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm regarded as the worst natural disaster in the history of the island American commonwealth.

The homeport shift to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility will afford Wasp the opportunity to demonstrate her newest capability - showcasing the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter as it operates for the first time in an operational environment overseas.

Crest & Shield

The Wasp, with its well-developed wings and ability to administer painful stings, epitomizes quick striking power. The stars recall two of the previous USS WASP's CV-7 and CV18, aircraft carriers that earned two and eight battle stars respectively for World War II service. The red disc or sun refers to World War II Japan and the Pacific Theater where these aircraft carriers saw heavy combat action. The tridents are symbolic of sea power and weaponry.

The Dark blue and gold of the shield are the traditional colors. Blue alludes to the sea, the theater of Naval operations. Gold is for excellence. The chevron, a traditional symbol for support, represents the amphibious assault mission of the ship. It resembles a wave move to shore and refers to the deployment of men, women and cargo. The wings highlight USS WASP's aviation heritage and capabilities. The modern ship with crossed officer sword and enlisted cutlass adapted from the surface warfare emblems represents leadership, teamwork and the ship's mission in surface operations. The pile of a sharp pointed "V" shape is expressive of assault, combat readiness and victory.

The counter-change of colors emphasizes the ship's capability to integrate sea, air and land combat missions to make an amphibious assault. The shield is divided into nine sections honoring the nine previous ships named "WASP."

The First Wasp

Scorpion, a merchant schooner built at Baltimore was purchased by the Continental Navy late in 1776, renamed Wasp outfitted at Baltimore during the winter of 1775 and 1776, and commissioned in December 1776 or January 1776, Capt. William Hallock in command.

Wasp set sail from Baltimore on 14 January 1776 in company with Hornet and a convoy of ships bound for the Delaware capes. By virtue of their voyage to meet Commodore Esek Hopkins' squadron at the Delaware capes, Wasp and Hornet appear to be the first ships of the Continental Navy to get to sea. They joined Hopkins' squadron on 13 February; and, four days later, the first American squadron to put to sea began its maiden voyage. Interpreting his orders rather liberally by ignoring those portions which related to operations in the Chesapeake Bay and along the southern coast of the colonies, Hopkins led his fleet directly to the Bahamas. The ships, minus Hornet and Fly arrived at Abaco in the Bahamas on 1 March, and Hopkins began laying plans for the raid on New Providence. The fleet ran in to attempt a landing at the port of Nassau but failed to achieve surprise. The landing, therefore, went forward several miles to the east of the town. Wasp and Providence covered the marines as they went ashore, but their guns never fired because the landing was not opposed. That afternoon the landing force took Fort Montague and the following day captured the town of Nassau and Fort Nassau. They took a large quantity of cannon, close to 90 pieces and 15 brass mortars, but the governor had managed to foil the mission in its primary objective by spiriting away the bulk of the gunpowder which had been stored there. Hopkins had to settle for 24 casks of powder out of the 174 originally stored there. The cannon and other military stores captured, however, more than justified the enterprise.

The fleet remained at Nassau for about two weeks loading the booty of war. So large was the take that several local ships had to be pressed into service to carry the materiel back to North America. Hopkins' squadron finally hoisted sail on 17 March and set course for New England. Wasp, however, parted with the main fleet and made her way independently back to the Delaware capes and thence into port at Philadelphia, where she arrived on 4 April.

After repairs at Philadelphia, Wasp returned to duty in the Delaware River and Bay. On 5 May, two British men-of-war, the 44-gun Roebuck and the 28-gun Liverpool, entered the bay with several prizes. In the face of these two formidable enemies, Wasp retreated into Christiana Creek but came out again on the 8th to join a force of galleys in attacking Roebuck after she had run aground. During the ensuing engagement, the Continental schooner captured the British brig Betsey and took her into Philadelphia where the British officers were placed in jail. The schooner continued to operate on the Delaware River and Bay and along the nearby Atlantic coast for the remainder of her career. Near the end of the year, she took three more prizes-Leghorn Galley late in October, Two Brothers in December, and an unnamed sloop that same month. She also recaptured Success, an American ship previously taken by HMS Roebuck.

Into the fall of 1777, Wasp continued her operations in the vicinity of the Delaware capes until November when she and four other ships unsuccessfully engaged the British force under Admiral Sir Richard ("Black Dick") Howe. Philadelphia had already fallen to Admiral Howe's brother, General Sir William Howe, late in September, but American forces retained control of the river below the city until losing that engagement. Following the clash, Wasp was run aground, set afire, and destroyed when her gunpowder exploded.

The Second Wasp

The second WASP was a sloop constructed in 1806 and commissioned some time in 1807. WASP operated along the coast of the U.S. during the war of 1812. WASP's single action of war was in October 1812 when she engaged HMS FROLIC in battle, firing from a distance of 50-60 yards. Both ships sustained heavy damage, but WASP prevailed. Later that same day WASP, heavily damaged and unable to fight or run, surrendered to HMS POICTIERS. WASP served briefly in the Royal Navy as HMS PEACOCK and was lost off the Virginia Capes in 1813.

The Third Wasp

The third WASP was a schooner built in 1810. Put into action in July 1812 for a privateering foray, WASP took two British merchant ships as prizes. She was returned to her owners in November, 1812. Rearmed and refitted she was chartered to the U.S. Navy during the summer of 1813. The last reference to WASP's career was an advertisement for her owners to settle accounts on August 4, 1814. Presumably, Wasp was sold.

The Fourth Wasp

The fourth WASP was a sloop chartered on Lake Champlain in the late summer 1813. Of small size and poor sail, WASP saw no combat. WASP was returned to her owners in early 1814 and the Lake Champlain battery transferred to the schooner USS TICONDEROGA.

The Fifth Wasp

The fifth WASP was a ship-rigged sloop-of-war constructed in 1813 and commissioned in early 1814, WASP was put to sea on May1, 1814 for a war cruise to the western approach of the English Channel. WASP V, the most successful WASP to date, destroyed HMS AVON and captured 15 British ships including HMS REINDEER. WASP was last seen in late November 1814 by a Swedish merchantman and was apparently lost in a storm at sea.

The Sixth Wasp

The sixth WASP, originally the captured confederate iron-hulled sidewheel steamer CSS EMMA HENRY, was renamed WASP while under going repairs in June 1865. Her primary duties were protection of American interests in South America and the eastern coast of Africa. WASP continued those duties until early in 1876 when she was surveyed, found unfit for further service and sold.

The Seventh Wasp

The seventh WASP, a steam yacht commissioned at New York on April 11, 1898, spent its first year of operation between Florida, Cuba and Puerto Rico in support of the blockade on Cuba. From the end of 1898 until being formally decommissioned in 1919, WASP was used as a training ship and recruiting tool. WASP was sold on December 1, 1919.


USS Wasp, a 14,700 ton aircraft carrier, was built at Quincy, Massachusetts. She was commissioned in April 1940 and spent the next two years in the Atlantic area, taking part in exercises, Neutrality enforcement, "short of war" operations and early World War II tasks. In April and May 1942, Wasp assisted the British Home Fleet in the North Atlantic and twice entered the Mediterranean Sea to deliver Royal Air Force aircraft to Malta.

Wasp was dispatched to the Pacific in June 1942 to reinforce U.S. Naval forces there in the wake of the carrier battles of Coral Sea and Midway and in preparation for offensive operations in the Southern Pacific. In early August, she participated in the invasion of Guadalcanal. The remainder of her service life was devoted to the effort to hold that vital island in the face of Japanese attempts to recapture it. On 15 September 1942, while steaming well to the southward of Guadalcanal, USS Wasp was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-19. Uncontrollable gasoline fires forced her abandonment, and she was sunk by torpedoes from an escorting destroyer.


USS Wasp, a 27,100-ton Essex class aircraft carrier built at Quincy, Massachusetts, was commissioned on 24 November 1943. She arrived in the Pacific in March 1944 and conducted her first combat operations in May. During June-August, Wasp participated in the Marianas Campaign, including the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and in strikes elsewhere in the central Pacific. These were followed by support for the September assault on the Palaus, and, in October, by attacks on Okinawa, Formosa and the Philippines, and in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

For the rest of 1944 and into January 1945, Wasp sent her planes against the Japanese in the Philippines, the South China Sea area and as far north as the Ryukyus. In February and March, she supported the Iwo Jima invasion and took part in raids on the Japanese Home Islands. While off Japan on 19 March 1945, Wasp received a bomb hit that caused heavy casualties among her crew, though she remained in action for several more days before steaming to the U.S. for repairs.

Wasp arrived back in the western Pacific in July 1945, in time to participate in the War's final air attacks on Japan. After the enemy capitulated in mid-August, she supported occupation efforts, despite suffering serious typhoon damage to her forward flight deck on 25 August. The carrier returned to the U.S. in October, then transported service personnel home before decommissioning in February 1947.

In mid-1948, Wasp began modernization to permit safer operation of heavier modern aircraft. After recommissioning in September 1951, she joined the Atlantic Fleet. On 26 April 1952, while en route to Gibraltar, Wasp collided with and sank the destroyer minesweeper Hobson, necessitating a return to the U.S. for repairs to her mangled bow. In mid-year, she deployed to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. The ship was redesignated CVA-18 in October. Transferred to the Pacific in September 1953, Wasp deployed twice to Asian waters in 1953-55, received an angled flight deck and "hurricane" bow modernization, then made another western Pacific cruise in 1956.

In November 1956, Wasp became an anti-submarine warfare support aircraft carrier, with hull number CVS-18, and moved back to the Atlantic in early 1957. For more than a decade and a half, she kept busy on ASW, training and other operations in the Caribbean and Atlantic, visiting Northern Europe and the Mediterranean frequently. During 1965-66, Wasp also served as recovery ship for five manned space flights. The veteran carrier participated in her final exercises in the fall of 1971, then began preparations for inactivation. USS Wasp decommissioned in July 1972 and was sold for scrapping the following May.

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Page last modified: 03-04-2019 16:37:55 ZULU