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LSD-28 Thomaston

The United States Navy Landing Ship Dock (LSD) class of ships support amphibious operations to transport and launch of amphibious craft and vehicles such as the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), conventional landing craft and helicopters along with their crews and embarked personnel which include United States Marine Corps personnel. The Landing Ship Dock also provide docking and repair services for LCACs and for conventional landing craft.

This specially designed amphibious ship grew rapidly in popularity by experience in Korean employment. Carrying loaded LSU, LVT or LCM, this ship has distinct advantages for assault work due to its rapid discharge of pre-loaded smaller craft. Experienced LSD commanding officers are of the opinion that the full capabilities of these ships have not been exploited and that they have potential, undiscovered value in amphibious work. During the peacetime years, LSD were little used for the purpose for which designed. During fleet exercises the LSD was generally used only as a rough weather haven for LVT and boats, and were taken on exercise operations almost solely for this purpose. Additional uses for LSD include use as a boat repair base for which it is well equipped and was so used in World War II operations. It can provide transportation of essential warping tugs, salvage craft and other small vessels needed at the objective, too small for independent movement to distant shores."

In amphibious warfare the Korean experience had consequences for new construction. Since problems of design placed unavoidable limits on beaching ability, further progress tended toward the elaboration of the dock landing ship, also of great use in Korea. Eight new LSDs of the Thomaston class were undertaken and these, like all new construction, were larger (11,270 tons full load as against 8,700 tons) and faster (24 knots as compared to 15) than their World War II predecessors. The direction this development was taking became apparent a few years later with the completion of plans for the LPD, a transport designed on the Thomaston hull, in which the increased troop and cargo space gained by the use of a smaller well gave a capacity approximating the AKA or APA.

The Navy thought so much of the capabilities of the LSD that in the early 1950s it was decided to build a new class of eight ships.The lead ship of the class, the USS Thomaston (LSD-28), was laid down on 3 March 1953 at Pascagoula, Miss., by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., launched on 9 February 1954, The seven additional ships included Plymouth Rock (LSD-29) Fort Snelling (LSD-30), picking up the name from the WWII LSD-23 which had been canceled, Point Defiance (LSD-31), also picking up the name of the canceled LSD-24, Spielgel Grove (LSD-32), Alamo (LSD-33), Hermitage (LSD-34) and Montecello (LSD-35).

These ships sported redesigned superstructures as well as sleeker and more eye pleasing hull lines. This class could be identified from the earlier ships in that its ship had their main lifting cranes and smoke stacks offset from one side to the other.

By the late 1980s most of the Thomaston class had been decommissioned and placed in inactive reserve status. USS Spiegel Grove (LSD 32), USS Alamo (LSD 33) and USS Hermitage (LSD 34) decommissioned in fiscal year 1990. The LSD-41 class was intended to replace the older LSD-28 Thomaston class.



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