USS Trenton (LPD-14)

USS Trenton (LPD-14)

USS "Trenton" (LPD-14), an "Austin"-class amphibious transport dock, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for the capital of New Jersey.

History as the "Trenton"

Building process

Her keel was laid down at Seattle, Washington, on 8 August 1966 by the Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company. She was launched on 3 August 1968 sponsored by Mrs. Richard J. Hughes, and commissioned on 6 March 1971 with Captain Karl R. Thiele in command.

Initial operations

"Trenton" got under way on 9 April for the East Coast and reached her home port, Norfolk, Virginia, on 12 May. The amphibious transport dock remained in port until 1 June when she departed Hampton Roads for shakedown training out of Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. However, on 28 June, her shakedown cruise was interrupted when a steam valve in her number two engine room ruptured, killing four sailors instantly and severely injuring six others. The injured men were evacuated first to Guantánamo Bay and thence to the burn ward of the Army Hospital at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. There, two of the six subsequently died as a result of their injuries.

"Trenton" returned to Guantánamo Bay for interim repairs and then made her way back to Norfolk on one engine, arriving on 6 July. After repairs at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, she completed shakedown training off the Virginia Capes and in the Guantánamo Bay operating area. On 9 November, the ship returned to Norfolk and remained there through the end of 1971.

1972-1973

On 17 January 1972, "Trenton" rounded Cape Charles and headed north to participate in Exercise "Snowy Beach." She arrived off Reid State Park, Maine, three days later and participated in the cold weather amphibious exercise until 23 January when she headed home. On 4 February, she stood out of Hampton Roads bound for the Gulf of Mexico in company with "Ponce" (LPD-15). The two ships reached New Orleans, Louisiana, on 9 February and, for the next six days, served as "hotel" ships for ROTC and military participants in Mardi Gras.

"Trenton" returned to Norfolk on 20 February and resumed her East Coast-West Indies routine. Following amphibious training at Onslow Beach, North Carolina, and sea trials near Norfolk, she visited the Caribbean Sea in April with other units of Amphibious Squadron (PhibRon) 4. She then devoted the rest of the early summer to exercises and training at Onslow Beach and at Norfolk before preparing for her first Mediterranean deployment.

The ship departed Norfolk on 28 July, embarked Marines at Morehead City, North Carolina, on 29 July, and headed across the Atlantic on 30 July. She reached Rota, Spain, on 10 August and, with the other units of PhibRon 4, was incorporated into the Sixth Fleet as Task Force (TF) 61. She spent the remainder of the year and most of the first month of 1973 in the Mediterranean Sea. During that six-month period, "Trenton" participated in six amphibious landing exercises (Phiblexes), most of which were conducted in cooperation with the military services of foreign nations. In September, she conducted a landing exercise at Timbakion, Crete, with units of the Italian Navy. Greek and Italian ships joined her later that month for Phiblex 3-73 conducted at Alexandroupolis, Greece. In mid-October, troops of the French Foreign Legion provided the opposition for a landing exercise at Corsica. "Trenton" visited Izmir, Turkey, in mid-September and, in mid-December, concluded her exercise schedule at Porto Scuda, Sardinia, with Phiblex 6-73. On 16 January 1973, she headed home; and, ten days later, she entered the Naval Amphibious Base at Little Creek, Virginia.

On 1 March, "Trenton" shifted to the administrative command of PhibRon 10. On the 27th, she embarked Marines at Morehead City and headed for Onslow Beach, where she participated in Exercise "Exotic Dancer VI." On 7 April, the warship headed south to Vieques Island, near Puerto Rico. From 10 April to 14 April, "Trenton" joined other Navy ships in Exercise "Escort Tiger XIV," which consisted of training for disaster assistance to the island countries of the Caribbean. During this Caribbean cruise, she visited Maracaibo, Venezuela, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands before embarking the Marines at Vieques on 3 May. After a port visit at Ponce, Puerto Rico, "Trenton" carried her Marines to Guantánamo Bay for a four-day exercise. On 14 May, she departed the Caribbean and, after disembarking the Marines on 17 May, reached Norfolk on 18 May.

On 11 June, "Trenton" steamed out of Hampton Roads for northern Europe. She reached Kiel, Germany, on 22 June, and, for the next week, participated in the annual "Kiel Week" naval celebration. Early in July, she visited Portsmouth, England, and, at mid-month, put into Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The amphibious transport dock bade farewell to Europe at Rotterdam on 21 July and headed back to the United States.

"Trenton" spent the remainder of the summer conducting drills in the Virginia Capes Operating Area and in preparation for her second Caribbean deployment of the year. On 1 October, she shifted from PhibRon 10 to PhibRon 8. On the last day of that month, she embarked Marines at Morehead City and headed south. For the remainder of the year, she cruised the Caribbean, visiting ports in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and in the Netherlands Antilles as well as conducting amphibious exercises at Vieques Island. The amphibious transport dock returned to Norfolk on 14 December.

1974-1975

During the first four months of 1974, "Trenton" conducted operations out of Little Creek and Norfolk and prepared for duty in the Mediterranean. On 10 May, she embarked Marines at Morehead City and put to sea. Ten days later, she reached Rota, Spain, and joined the Sixth Fleet. For the next six months' she cruised the Mediterranean, visiting ports and conducting exercises. In July, "Trenton" participated in the evacuation of 286 refugees from strife-torn Cyprus to Beirut, Lebanon. While with the Sixth Fleet, she participated in four amphibious exercises. One Operation -- "Good Friendship/Double Effect" -- included ships of the Turkish Navy. On 20 October, she steamed out of Rota to return to the United States. She arrived in Norfolk on 31 October and operated in the western Atlantic through the end of 1974.

On 7 March 1975, she embarked Marines at Morehead City and headed south. After an amphibious assault exercise at Onslow Beach from 8 March to 10 March, she continued south to the Caribbean. During the two-month cruise, Trenton participated in four exercises, two of which -- "LantReadEx 2-76" and "Rum Punch" -- were held in cooperation with units of the Royal Navy and the Dutch Navy. She returned to Norfolk on 28 April. In May, she hosted a class from the Naval War College, conducted a midshipman training cruise for the United States Naval Academy, and returned to Onslow Beach for joint service Exercise "Solid Shield." During the early summer, "Trenton" prepared for overhaul. On 14 August, she headed north to New York, moored at the Coastal Drydock and Repair Company on the following day, and commenced a nine-month overhaul.

1976-1980

On 12 May 1976, "Trenton" completed her overhaul and, following loadout at Little Creek, Virginia, she deployed to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba on 6 July for refresher training. Returning to Norfolk on 17 August, the ship's next three months was spent in preparation for a forthcoming Mediterranean deployment. On 15 November, "Trenton", with embarked elements of Marine Battalion Landing Team 1/6, formed Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group 3-76 and operated with the Sixth Fleet until she returned to Norfolk on 12 May 1977.

Following post-deployment stand down which ended on 30 June, "Trenton" spent the remainder of 1977 conducting midshipman training cruises, engaging in amphibious exercises, and participating in "Comptuex" 3-77, which involved units of the Standing Naval Force Atlantic.

The year 1978 found "Trenton" embarking elements of Battalion Landing Team 1/2 and deploying to the Caribbean from 30 January to 7 March to participate in Atlantic Fleet Readiness Exercise 1-78. The succeeding four months were spent in preparations for a return to the Mediterranean. The ship, with embarked elements of Marine Battalion Landing Team 2/8, departed Morehead City on 27 July, as part of Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group 2-78. The remainder of 1978 was spent with the Sixth Fleet in that sea.

1981-1996

On 21 April 1981, during a five-day port visit, the "Trenton" and USS "Jack" (SSN-605) were slightly damaged when the "Jack", surged against the "Trenton" in a sea swell.

On 17 October 1983 the "Trenton" departed Norfolk for the Mediterranean Sea. Somewhere east of Bermuda, she was diverted to Grenada to take part in Operation Urgent Fury. "Trenton" transited to the Eastern Mediterranean in November and took station off the coast of Beirut. While there she lost the hydraulic operating system for the port sterngate and had to retire to Larnaca Bay, Cyprus to raise it lest it be lost to heavy seas. Further repairs were made at Haifa, Israel during December and until 3 January 1984. [ [http://www.history.navy.mil/shiphist/t/lpd-14/1983.pdf 1983 Command History for the USS "Trenton"] ]

In April 1988, the Trenton participated in Operation Praying Mantis, a one-day naval battle between the United States and Iran.

In September 1990 the Trenton was ordered to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

On December 26 1990, Navy Seals, Marine Recon, and Marine MP's from the "Trenton" boarded the Libyan ship IBN "Kahldoon" to search for prohibited cargo which was found and confiscated.

On January 4, 1991 the ship conducted Operation "Eastern Exit". The U.S. Ambassador, the Soviet ambassador, and 193 additional foreign nationals evacuated in four helicopter round trips from U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia to the ship and ultimately to safety.

In April, 1996, President Clinton ordered the ship to steam towards the coast of Liberia to assist in the evacuation of U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. This operation became known as Operation Assured Response.

End of USN career

In July, 2006, the U.S. tasked the vessel with evacuating citizens from Lebanon. The ship took some 3,500 Americans in two trips to either Cyprus or Turkey. During the deployment, the ship’s crew also conducted maritime security operations off the Somali Peninsula in Africa.

USS "Trenton" (LPD-14) and its nearly 400 sailors made their final homecoming 21 September, 2006 before the ship’s decommissioning and transfer to the Indian Navy on 17 January, 2007.

On 16 February 2007, "Trenton" was awarded the 2006 Battle "E" award. [http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=27895]

USS "Trenton" purchased by the Indian Navy

In early 2006, there were numerous press reports that the Indian Navy was negotiating with the United States for the purchase of this vessel. The Indian government purchased "Trenton" for Rs 2.18 billion ($ 48.44 million). The US Government later revealed it had asked their Indian counterparts to keep this agreement under wraps as they felt it would arm the Non-Proliferation Activists and threaten the passage of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal. [cite news
url = http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1049265
date = 2006-08-25
title = India to buy $50 million ship from US
accessdate = 2007-01-05
publisher = DNA India
]

The ship was turned over to the Indian Navy on 17th January 2007. The Indian Navy has renamed the USS "Trenton" as the INS "Jalashwa" (Sanskrit: "Water horse"). It remained at Norfolk Naval Base for refitting until May 2007. [cite news
url = http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Hot_transfer_in_icy_conditions_Trenton_becomes_Jalashva/articles
date = 2007-01-18
title = Hot transfer in icy conditions: Trenton becomes Jalashwa
accessdate = 2007-01-18
publisher = Times of India
] Six H-3 Sea King maritime utility transport helicopters will be operated from the ship. [cite news
url = http://www.shephard.co.uk/Rotorhub/IndustryNews.aspx?Action=745115149&ID=8e93afed-527d-474c-9312-cda24fba63ed
date =
title = Indian navy buys six former US Navy Sea King helicopters
accessdate = 2007-01-05
publisher = Rotorhub
] The ship likely to be based at Visakhapatnam under the Eastern Naval Command. [cite news
url = http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/feb/01navy.htm
date =
title = Tragedy at Trenton
accessdate = 2008-02-01
publisher = aditya2507
]

On Friday, Feb 1st 2008, a tragedy took place aboard INS Jalashwa as the ship was taking part in a Naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal somewhere between Vishakapatnam and Port Blair. A hydrogen sulphide gas leak from one of the compartments on the ship resulted in deaths of five and injury of three Indian Navy personnel. [cite news
url = http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/feb/02navy.htm
date = 2008-02-02
title = Sailors died due to gas leak: Navy
accessdate = 2008-09-30
publisher = Rediff News
]

References

*
* [http://www.navsource.org/archives/10/0914.htm Navsource.org: USS "Trenton"]
* This article also includes text from [http://www.military.com/ Military.com]

External links

* [http://www.navysite.de/ships/lpd14.htm LPD-14 Crew List and Info at NavySite.de]
* [http://www.hullnumber.com/LPD-14 LPD-14 Personnel Roster at HullNumber.com]


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