LHA-1 Tarawa class Personnel
The TARAWA class LHAs are operated by crews of approximately 800 officers and enlisted men (in addition to the approximately 2,000 troops embarked).
The commanding officer of each LHA is be a senior captain. His principal assistants in directing the operations of the ship are the executive officer and the ship's department heads. The executive officer is the principal assistant to the commanding officer and second in command. He personally supervises the Executive Department of about 35 men who handle administrative matters for the ship. The principal enlisted men in the Executive Department, which includes several Marines, are yeomen, postal clerks, personnelmen, lithographers, and illustrator draftsmen.
The navigation officer heads a ten-man Navigation Department which is responsible for plotting the ship's position, recommending courses, and providing men to stand watch on the bridge. The enlisted men in this department are designated as quartermasters.
The air officer is in charge of the Air Department of approximately 140 men, the largest department aboard the LHA. These men are responsible for directing, maintaining, fueling, and handling helicopters operating from the ship. The Air Department's enlisted personnel are aviation specialists in a number of technical areas.
The 100-man Operations Department, directed by the operations officer, operates most of the command and control facilities in the LHA, including the combat information center and the Integrated Tactical Amphibious Warfare Data System. These men are radarmen, air controlmen, aerographer's mates, photographer's mates, electronics technicians, data systems technicians, and data processers. The communications officer and his approximately 45 men are responsible for all electronic and visual communications aboard the LHA. The enlisted men in this Communications Department are radiomen and signalmen.
The Deck Department, under the ship's first lieutenant, is responsible for the general condition of the ship, cargo stowage and movement within the ship, handling the innumerable lines involved in handling small craft and mooring the ship, and for the ship's weapons, both guns and missiles. There are some 100 enlisted boatswain's mates, gunner's mates, and fire control technicians in this department. The ship's propulsion and auxiliary machinery are operated and maintained by the Engineering Department. The engineering officer directs this department with about 125 officers and enlisted men. The key enlisted ratings in this department are machinist's mates, machinery repairmen, enginemen, hull technicians, electrician's mates, interior communications electricians, and boilermen.
The ship's supply officer is responsible for the logistic support of the entire ship and embarked troops. In addition to providing an almost endless list of supplies that are required by 2,800 men in a floating city, the department is responsible for food (its preparation and serving), operation of the ship's stores, and pay for the Navymen. The Supply Department is one of the ship's largest with about 135 men, mostly storekeepers, commissarymen, stewards, disbursing clerks, and aviation storekeepers.
The Medical and Dental Departments have a combined total of about 20 personnel under a physician and dental officer, respectively. Their enlisted ratings are hospital corpsmen and dental technicians. During combat the Medical Department is augmented by a complete hospital staff.
When Marine units are embarked in the LHA they assign men to several of the departments to supplement the Navy and Marine personnel of the ship's complement. Similarly, a Navy surgical team normally is assigned to the battalion landing team and, during the initial phases of the assault, will work with the ship's Medical Department.
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