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LPD 7 Cleveland

CLEVELAND (LPD-7) was commissioned April 21, 1967 at Norfolk, Virginia. CLEVELAND is the third ship to be named after the city of Cleveland, Ohio. The first was the Protected Cruiser (C-19) from 1903-1929 and the second a light Cruiser (CL-55) from 1942-1947.

After commissioning, CLEVELAND changed homeport to San Diego, California to become a member of the Pacific Fleet Amphibious Forces. CLEVELAND has divided her time between operations in the Eastern Pacific and extended deployments to the Western Pacific. CLEVELAND is normally assigned as part of an Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) and, with her embarked Marines and other forces, has performed a wide variety of missions.

CLEVELAND first saw action during the Tet Offensive in 1967. After the Vietnam cease-fire in January 1973, CLEVELAND joined Task Force 78 in the mine-clearing effort of Haiphong Harbor and Operation End Sweep. CLEVELAND then began a series of seven Western Pacific deployments between 1974 and 1985.

Assigned duties as THIRD FLEET flagship from January through November 1988, CLEVELAND once again demonstrated the flexibility and professionalism that have become her hallmark. CLEVELAND then briefly shifted focus to environmental protection when she deployed to Prince William Sound, Alaska, in support of oil spill cleanup efforts associated with the Exxon Valdez disaster.

The ship's next two deployments, in 1990 and 1991, were in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. In October 1992 and in March of 1993, CLEVELAND deployed on short notice to Central America in support of Law Enforcement Operations, where she was the first LPD to embark an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter. During the March 1993 deployment CLEVELAND played a key role in what was the largest maritime cocaine seizure to date involving the motor vessel "Sea Chariot." These two deployments included four transits of the Panama Canal and steaming over 20,000 miles.

While deployed to the Western Pacific in 1994, CLEVELAND participated in United Nations relief efforts in Rwanda and the relocation of the United States Liaison office from Mogadishu, Somalia to Nairobi, Kenya. Following the relocation efforts, CLEVELAND was ordered to steam into the North Arabian Gulf to assist in deterring Iraq's massing of troops on the Kuwaiti border as part of Operation VIGILANT WARRIOR.

Her next inter-deployment cycle was highlighted by Exercise RIMPAC '96 off the coast of Hawaii, which included the first ever multilateral exercise involving US and Russian forces in US waters. The trip to Hawaii for the exercise culminated in a parade of ships for the 50th anniversary celebration to commemorate the end of the war in the Pacific. CLEVELAND returned to the North Arabian Gulf during her deployment in 1996-7, participating in coalition and bilateral exercises and achieving yet another milestone as the first Amphibious Warship to actively participate in Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq.

In the summer of 1998, CLEVELAND once again participated in the bi-annual RIMPAC exercise. CLEVELAND then began her sixteenth major deployment in December 1998, embarking elements of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operation capable), Navy SEALS, and a detachment of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). During this deployment CLEVELAND stood off the Horn of Africa, inserting a military liaison team into Eritrea and remaining ready to conduct a non-combatant evacuation operation. CLEVELAND then returned to the Arabian Gulf to conduct MIO where she served as flagship for the commander of all MIO forces in the Gulf. During this period, an embarked UAV discovered an Iraqi surface-to-surface missile site that was threatening coalition forces. Aircraft from the USS ENTERPRISE subsequently destroyed this missile while the UAV transmitted live imagery back to the CLEVELAND.

CLEVELAND was once again called upon to perform outside her normal realm of operations while participating in recovery and salvage efforts of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 in February of 2000, receiving the Coast Guard Commendation Ribbon with Operational Distinguishing Device. Following a Fleet Week visit to San Francisco, CLEVELAND completed her training cycle and deployed for the seventeenth time in March 2001.

In her 35 years of service, CLEVELAND has received the following unit awards: Combat Action Ribbon (2), Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation (3), Navy Excellence Ribbon (8), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (3), Vietnam Service Medal (23), Southwest Asia Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation- Gallantry (3), and Coast Guard Unit Commendation Ribbon with Operational Distinguishing Device.

PG 33 / CL 21

USS Cleveland, a 3200-ton Denver class protected cruiser, was built at Bath, Maine. Commissioned in November 1903 as the first of her class to be completed, she operated with the European Squadron and in U.S. and Caribbean waters during the next three and a half years. In mid-1907, Cleveland steamed to the Far East, by way of the Mediterranean Sea and Suez Canal, to join the Asiatic Fleet. At the end of this deployment, she crossed the Pacific to California and was laid up at the Mare Island Navy Yard between mid-1910 and mid-1912. The cruiser then began five years of service off Mexico and Central America.

With relations with Germany approaching a breakdown, Cleveland was transferred to the East Coast in March 1917 and soon began shipping protection patrols and convoy escort missions between the U.S. and the mid-Atlantic. Following the November 1918 Armistice that ended the First World War fighting, she returned to Central and South American waters, initially in the Caribbean area, and after February 1920 in the Pacific. Reclassified as a gunboat (PG-33) in July 1920 and as a light cruiser (CL-21) in August 1921, Cleveland remained active off Latin America until she was decommissioned at the beginning of November 1929. She was sold for scrapping in March 1930.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:57:53 ZULU