LSD 50 Carter Hall
CARTER HALL is an amphibious Landing Ship Dock. The mission of the Landing Ship Dock is to transport personnel, vehicles, and cargo to any littoral environment worldwide and then launch the equipment ashore in support of military or humanitarian assistance operations. CARTER HALL is homeported at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB), Little Creek in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
This proud ship is the second amphibious ship to bear the name USS CARTER HALL. The first, LSD 3, earned six battle stars for heroics in World War II and five battle stars for her service in Vietnam.
CARTER HALL (LSD 50) was constructed by Avondale Industries, Inc., in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was launched October 2, 1993, and commissioned September 30, 1995. CARTER HALL and her plankowner crew departed on their first six-month Mediterranean deployment on April 29, 1997. Her crew completed its UNITAS/WATC deployment in November.
The mission of the Landing Ship Dock (LSD) is to transport and launch loaded amphibious craft and vehicles and crews and embarked personnel in an Amphibious Assault. LSDs also render limited docking and repair service to small ships and craft and act as the Primary Control Ship (PCS) during Amphibious Assaults.
CARTER HALL is a Cargo Variant (CV) of the WHIDBEY ISLAND (LSD 41) class. A significant difference between the two ships is that CARTER HALL's well deck has been shortened from 440 feet to 180 feet. This provides embarked Marines with added vehicle and cargo storage areas. The well deck can hold two Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCAC) and a variety of landing craft and tracked amphibious assault vehicles. CARTER HALL's two-spot flight deck can land and service any helicopter in the Navy and Marine Corps inventory.
LSDs are extremely versatile and have a number of secondary missions. The capability of Naval forces to quickly and effectively extract beleaguered civilians from inhospitable areas has made the Navy and Marine Corps team the force of choice to conduct non-combatant/evacuation operations. CARTER HALL can carry and deliver hundreds of tons of relief materials to victims within hours of arrival on the scene. This capability enables CARTER HALL to serve not only as a ship of war, but as a ship of peace.
Shield: The colors of the field -- red, white, and blue -- stand for the United States. The saltire recalls the heritage of the South and the history of Carter Hall, Virginia. The anchor represents the Navy. The tines are in the form of pheons, symbolizing the mission to support assault operations. The loose rope intertwined with the anchor signifies freedom; the border rope denotes unity. Dark blue and gold are the colors traditionally associated with the Navy; red is for courage and white is for integrity.
Crest: The griffin denotes courage and vigilance. The crown refers to the heritage of the Carter Hall estate, recalling the great-grandfather of its builder. The battle stars of the first CARTER HALL (LSD 3) are commemorated by the arc of stars over the griffin. The six blue stars are for CARTER HALL's battle stars earned during World War II. The five gold stars commemorate her service in Vietnam. The motto is underscored by the olive branch for peace and oak for war. Gold is for excellence; red is for courage.
Carter Hall EstateThe Landing Ship Dock CARTER HALL (LSD 50) honors the name of a Virginian estate steeped in American history. Colonial Nathan Burwell built his country mansion on 8,000 acres in the lower Shenandoah Valley. The estate is located near the present town of Winchester in Northern Virginia.
The house took two years to build, 1790-1792. and Burwell named it after his great-grandfather, Robert "King" Carter. He chose a commanding site in a grove near a good spring. The clearing for the buildings left a fine body of oak and timber surrounding the estate, which still remains today. The panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River stills thrills visitors.
The mansion was used alternately as headquarters for the Union and Confederate troops during the Civil War. The family silver and other valuables were hidden in a secret place between the roof and ceiling to escape theft.
Burwell donated two acres of his land for a chapel where several notables are buried. Among those laid to rest there are Edmond Randolph, the first Attorney General of the United States and previously a governor of Virginia; novelist John Esten Cook and poet Phillip Pendleton Cooke.
In 1929, Gerald Lambert bought the mansion and grounds from J. Townsend Burwell and completely modernized Carter Hall. The People-to-People Foundation, Inc., parent organization for Project Hope, acqured the property in 1977. Carter Hall is now headquarters of Project Hope's worldwide health sciences education and training program.
Winchester is about 50 miles south of Martinsburg, West Virginia, and 170 miles west of Washington, D.C. Although it is an educational facility, tours of the grounds are periodically offered.
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