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USS Dubuque Makes Historic Indian Port Visit

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070402-07
Release Date: 4/2/2007 12:19:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Gross and Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class S.H. Vanderwerff, USS Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group Public Affairs

VISAKHAPATNAM, India (NNS) -- USS Dubuque (LPD 8) visited Visakhapatnam, India, on March 30 to conduct training and familiarize Indian sailors with an amphibious transport dock ship, in anticipation of the arrival of their recently purchased USS Trenton.

The USS Trenton (LPD 14), was decommissioned Jan. 17 in a ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk. Immediately following the decommissioning, Trenton was recommissioned and transferred to the Indian Navy, bearing the name INS Jalashwa.

More than a 100 Indian sailors came aboard Dubuque to watch, learn and take notes during several man overboard drills, general quarters and landing craft utility (LCU) launches and recoveries. They also attended a briefing about the “do’s and don’ts” of loading and off-loading the ship.

“The port visit was made to conduct training for the Indian sailors to receive a familiarization of the ship and its systems so they know what to look for when their new ship arrives,” said Dubuque Commanding Officer Capt. William C. Hamilton.

“Specifically, to make sure their depot and shipyard infrastructure in Visakhapatnam is ready to accept the ship,” he added.

This is the first time that India bought a warship from the United States Navy and is the first amphibious warship to join their fleet.

Before pulling into port, Dubuque conducted exercises with the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean, which comes on the heels of exercise Malabar ‘06 late last year. Malabar, an annual exercise between the U.S. and Indian navies, was led by a U.S. expeditionary strike group.

“I thought it went really well,” said Dubuque’s combat cargo officer, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Sean Melanphy. “We gave them the building blocks on how to start with basic embarkation 101 -- from the planning phases to the actual loading phase.”

The INS Jalashwa is currently in Norfolk being readied to travel to its new home in India.

The hospitality shown to the crew is indicative of the relationship that exists between the United States and India.

“I think our crew did a great job forging new relationships and making new friends in the Indian Navy,” said Hamilton. “I was very proud of the crew. We’re showing somebody that didn’t know who we were, who we are.”

Dubuque is part of Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group, operating out of San Diego and is currently reporting operationally to the commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7/Task Force 76, the Navy’s only forward–deployed amphibious task force.

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