United States Ship GUNSTON HALL (LSD 44) is the fourth ship of the Whidbey Island class and the second ship of which to serve in the Atlantic Fleet, Virginia. GUNSTON HALL's mission is to transport United States Marines with their combat equipment to designated areas around the world, and then to launch and support assault landing craft and helicopters during amphibious operations against hostile shores. GUNSTON HALL carries the new Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC). The LCAC is an assault hovercraft with the ability to exceed 40 knots while carrying a 60 ton payload. Using this new craft, GUNSTON HALL forces will be able to carry out an amphibious assault against a wilder range of beaches.
GUNSTON HALL accomplishes her mission through the use of a well deck which is flooded to embark and launch assault craft. Potomac After leaving the ship, the assault craft are directed toward the shore by the ship's Combat Information Center.
To provide continuing support to the assault force, GUNSTON HALL is equipped with the Navy's latest advanced technology including updated communication and combat systems, 20 and 60 ton cranes, expanded repair facilities, two helicopter landing areas, complete medical and dental facilities, and an automated computer-based supply system.