On 1 February 1986, ASSAULT CRAFT UNIT FOUR was commissioned in Panama City, Florida. On 18 March 1987, ACU4 accepted delivery of the Atlantic Fleet's first LCAC. Designed to operate from every well deck configured amphibious ship, the LCAC's main mission is to deliver a 60-ton payload to a designated beachhead at speeds in excess of 35 knots. Combining high speed, exceptional maneuverability, and long-range qualities with the ability to travel over land, the LCAC provides added versatility to our Amphibious Forces.
The first LCAC detachment, consisting of three craft from ACU5, deployed to the Western Pacific in June 1987. Several highly successful operations provided further proof of the LCAC's potential. ACU4 milestones include Cold Weather Testing at the Air Force's Climatic Control Hangar, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida from July 1987 to September 1987. These tests successfully demonstrated that the LCAC is able to operate in a temperature range of -30F to +160F. In October of 1987, ACU4 participated with Air Force M.A.S.H.. units from Tyndall Air Force Base in Exercise TEQUILA SUNRISE, providing logistics support utilizing the LCAC for equipment insertion and extraction across the beach.
In early November 1987, ACU4 changed homeports from Panama City, Florida to Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Norfolk Virginia. On 10 November 1987, ACU4 placed three LCAC in operation from their newly constructed multimillion-dollar LCAC complex.
ACU4 LCAC have been deployed throughout the world and taken part in all major amphibious operations. In 1990-91, LCAC were deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. In 1993, LCAC were present in Somalia were used to bring Marines and equipment ashore in support of United Nations actions to restore order to the region. In 1994, LCAC took part in Operation PROVIDE COMFORT in Haiti. In recent years, LCAC have also operated successfully in support of operations in Bosnia, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Most recently LCAC were sent to the Caribbean to provide humanitarian assistance to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic after Hurricane George devastated the area.