Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton named LPD 18, New Orleans. The USS New Orleans (LPD 18) is named to honor the largest city of Louisiana and one of the world's major ports. New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, sieur de Bienville, and named for the regent of France, Philipp II, duc d'Orleans. It is also the scene of Andrew Jackson's great victory at the close of the War of 1812 in which small naval forces under Commodore David Patterson played a large role. New Orleans also was the scene of a key naval action in the Civil War, in which Admiral David Farragut opened the southern Mississippi to Union forces.
Current USS New Orleans
USS New Orleans (LPD 18) was laid down on 14 October 2002, was christened on 20 November 2004 and commissioned on 10 March 2007 in New Orleans, Louisiana. May 3 2007 USS New Orleans arrived at its homeport of Naval Base San Diego, Calif. In December USS New Orleans was off the coast of southern California conducting routine training with the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and the ships of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7.
In February 22, 2008 the New Orleans participated in amphibious warfare certification exercises in the Pacific Ocean. In December the amphibious transport dock New Orleans participated in certification exercises as part of the Boxer (LHD 4) Expeditionary Strike Group.
January 9, 2009 USS New Orleans departed homeport for its maiden deployment. In February the New Orleans participated in five-day exercise Coconut Grove, consisting of military to military training with the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) and humanitarian assistance. In May The New Orleans deployed to perform Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility. In August USS New Orleans returned to San Diego after a seven-month deployment.
In February 2010 The New Orleans participated in the three-week exercise Iron Fist. In June USS New Orleans departed Naval Base San Diego for a three-month deployment in support of Southern Partnership Station (SPS). In July USS New Orleans participated in Partnership of the Americas (POA)/Southern Exchange (SE) 2010. LPD 18 served as the platform from which Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) 24 conducted amphibious operations. In New Orleans pulled into Bahia Malaga Naval Base, Colombia, as the third stop in A-SPS and in August LPD 18 arrived in Balboa, Panama as the final stop in support of A-SPS 2010. In September USS New Orleans returned to San Diego.
In May 2011 the amphibious transport dock USS New Orleans departed Naval Base San Diego for sea trials. In July LPD 18 prepared for the ship's upcoming deployment as part of the USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). In August New Orleans participated in Amphibious Squadron (Phibron)/Marine Expeditionary Unit Integration Training (PMINT). In September New Orleans supported Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX). In October LPD 18 participating in certification exercise (CERTEX). Then in November USS New Orleans departed Naval Base San Diego for a scheduled deployment with the Makin Island ARG.
In June 2012 USS New Orleans returned to homeport after more than a seven-month Middle East and western Pacific deployment. In July the New Orleans went to Seattle, Wash. for a six-day port visit to participate in Seafair festivities.
1st USS New Orleans
One of the most modern warships of her day, the twin-screw protected cruiser Amazonas, ordered by the Brazilian government was laid down in 1895 at the Elswick (Newcastle-on-Tyne) yards of the prominent British armaments manufacturing firm, Sir W. G. Armstrong, Whitworth, and Co., Ltd., and was launched on 14 December 1896. The ship was nearing completion in early March, 1898, when rising tensions between the United States and Spain prompted Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to direct naval attaches abroad in Europe to inform the Department “as to the prices at which [naval] vessels could be bought.” One of these attaches, Lt. John C. Colwell, in London, promptly completed arrangements on 16 March 1898 to acquire Amazonas from the Brazilians. On the 18th, Colwell took delivery of Amazonas at Gravesend, England.
Later that same afternoon, USS San Francisco (Cruiser No. 5) arrived at Gravesend and found Amazonas already flying the American flag. Lt. Comdr. Arthur P. Nazro, San Francisco’s executive officer, was detached from his ship and reported on board Amazonas to command her for the voyage to the United States. Over the next nine days, Amazonas prepared for sea and set course for the United States. She ultimately arrived off Tompkinsville, Staten Island. That same day, her log records, Amazonas “received official notification that this vessel is named New Orleans.” Amazonas assumed the name New Orleans on 16 April 1898.
New Orleans left Norfolk on 17 May and joined the Flying Squadron off Santiago de Cuba on 30 May. On the next afternoon she reconnoitered the harbor and exchanged fire with Spanish ships and batteries. After joining in the bombardment of the batteries at the entrance to the harbor on 6 and 16 June, New Orleans sailed to coal at Key West, and was thus absent during the Battle of Santiago on 3 July.
On 17 July 1898 New Orleans captured the French blockade runner Olinde Rodrigues. She sailed from New York on 21 October 1899 to join the U.S. Asiatic Fleet. For the next five years New Orleans served as flagship of the Cruiser Squadron, U.S. Asiatic Fleet. She was decommissioned on 6 February 1905.
Recommissioned on 15 November 1909, New Orleans returned to Asiatic duty at Yokohama on 25 April 1910. She cruised the Orient until 14 February 1912 when she went into reserve. Placed in full commission on 31 December 1913, New Orleans patrolled the west coast of Mexico during the spring of 1914, served as training ship for the Washington State Naval Militia through the summer and returned to Mexican waters in the fall. Upon American entry into World War I, she was overhauled at Puget Sound, and sailed for the Panama Canal and the East Coast, arriving at Hampton Roads on 27 August 1917. New Orleans escorted convoys from New York City to ocean rendezvous with destroyer escorts off the British Isles and the French coast until 16 January 1918, when she went to the Asiatic Station. She reached Yokohama on 13 March 1918 and cruised to China the Philippines and, from 17 July to 20 December 1919 served at Vladivostok, Russia.
Designated PG-34 in 1920, New Orleans served in the Allied Expeditionary Force from 20 May to 27 September 1920. She was redesignated to light cruiser, CL-22, on 8 August 1921. She was decommissioned on 16 November 1922 and stricken from the Navy List on 13 November 1929.
For a more complete history of the first USS New Orleans go to http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/n4/new_orleans-i.htm.
2nd USS New Orleans
The second USS New Orleans (CA-32) a heavy cruiser was commissioned in 1934. Moored in Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, and taking power and light from the dock, her engines were under repair. With yard power out during the attack, the cruiser's engineers fought to raise steam, working by flashlight, while on deck men fired on the Japanese attackers with rifles and pistols. Though guns had to be worked by hand, within 10 minutes all her AA batteries were in action. A number of her crew were injured when a fragmentation bomb exploded close aboard.
The heavy cruiser survived the Japanese attack and served throughout World War II. With four other cruisers and six destroyers she fought in the Battle of Tassafaronga, engaging a Japanese destroyer transport force. When flagship Minneapolis was struck by two torpedoes, New Orleans, next astern, was forced to sheer away to avoid collision, and ran into the track of a torpedo, which ripped off her bow. Bumping down the ship's port side, the severed bow punched several holes in New Orleans' hull. A fifth of her length gone, slowed to 2 knots, and blazing forward, the ship fought for survival. Individual acts of heroism and self-sacrifice along with skillful seamanship kept her afloat, and under her own power she entered Tulagi Harbor. Camouflaging their ship from air attack, the crew jury-rigged a bow of coconut logs, and 11 days later New Orleans sailed to replace a damaged propeller.
The New Orleans was decommissioned in 1946. She served valiantly during WW II and earned 17 Battle Stars (see list at USS New Orleans Reunion Association Web sitewww.ussneworleans.com).
3rd USS New Orleans
The third USS New Orleans (LPH – 11) was a 600-foot amphibious assault vessel. USS New Orleans was laid down on 1 March 1966 at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia PA, Launched, 3 February 1968 and commissioned on 16 November 1968. The vessel was also the command ship for minesweeping in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. The ship plucked command modules out of the sea for NASA's Apollo space program. Most recently it was used for location work during filming of the movie Apollo 13.
On 1 October 1997 the ship was decommissioned after conducting 90,000 helicopter landings and steaming 750,000 miles. She was laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay Benica, CA and struck from the Naval Register on 23 October 1998.