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LPD 6 Duluth

The Austin-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Duluth (LPD 6) was decommissioned at Naval Station San Diego 28 September 2005 after serving the Navy and the nation for 39 years. Duluth’s primary missions involved transporting ground forces with their equipment and vehicles to enemy shores.

USS DULUTH was an amphibious transport dock (LPD), which is one of the most versatile classes of ships in the Navy. The LPD combines the functions of three different classes of ships; the landing ship (LSD), the tank landing ship (LST), and the attack cargo ship (LKA).

During its 39 years of service, USS Duluth sailed to Danang, Republic of Vietnam, in May 1965 to operate with Amphibious Ready Group, U.S. 7th Fleet in the Vietnam War. It also supported Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Duluth also won many awards, including the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Award for supporting Navy SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) operations securing oil platforms during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The amphibious transport dock ship's last deployment ended in July 2005 after a six-month cruise to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During this deployment, Duluth also supported Operation Unified Assistance and delivered 210 tons of supplies to Sumatra and Sri Lanka in response to the tsunami that struck the area in December 2004.

DULUTH is unique in having a helicopter platform built over a well deck in the rear of the vessel. This provides the tactical advantage of being able to lift troops, their combat equipment and supplies onto the same ship. Therefore, the ship contributes to all phases of the amphibious assault. The well deck are upper and lower vehicle storage areas, which hold most of the embarked troops' heavy combat equipment, such as tanks, tracked amphibious landing vehicles (AAV), jeeps and trucks. To facilitate the docking and loading of various sized landing craft, the ship can ballast down in the water, thereby flooding the well deck with enough water to enable the landing craft to enter the well deck through the stern gate door. Once docked inside the well deck, troops, supplies and combat equipment can be loaded into or off of the amphibious boats and vehicles while simultaneously transporting troops and equipment via helicopter from the flight deck.

The DULUTH is named after the city of Duluth, Minnesota, which in turn is named after the French explorer Daniel Greysolon Sieur du Lhut. Du Lhut lived from 1636-1710, and gained fame when he set out on an expedition to Lake Superior to pacify the Indians in the Ojibwa-Sioux War. Duluth, was second ship in the Navy to be named after the Minnesota city. DULUTH was constructed at the New York Naval Shipyard, and her keel was laid on December 18, 1963. She was commissioned there on December 18, 1965, and is the last fighting ship to be commissioned at the shipyard. She is 569 feet long, with a beam of 100 feet. Her displacement is approximately 16,710 tons, and she has a sustained speed capability of twenty knots. Due to her design, DULUTH maneuvers as easily as a destroyer.

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