USS COMSTOCK (LSD 45) is the second ship to be named after the Comstock Lode, an early American pioneer mining site near Virginia City, Nevada. The Comstock Lode, founded in 1859, has become indelible in the history of our American West; it produced more than $500,000,000 in gold and silver.
Equally important as the riches the mineproduced, were the peripheral effects that it had on other industries. To mine the ore, huge hoisting machines, giant pumps, heavy stamps, drills, cables and hundreds of other tools were manufactured.To drain water from underground reservoirs, engineers completed a five mile tunnel under the floor of the Carson River to the Comstock mine. Water required for the 40,000 inhabitants of Virginia City and its surrounding area was transported from an artificial lake, Marlette, 30 miles away in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Using pipes that were cast to fit around mountains, tunnels, flumes and a large inverted siphon, the water transportation and distribution system was considered an engineering marvel during this epochal period.
The original USS COMSTOCK (LSD 19) was commissioned during the end of World War II in 1945, and later served in both the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts. She earned ten battle stars for service in the Korean War, the most awarded to a ship of this type. She received a Meritorious Unit Commendation and six battle stars for Vietnam War service. Now her successor, LSD 45, continues the rich naval tradition associated with the name Comstock.
Since her commissioning in February, 1990, COMSTOCK has completed three extended deployments to the Western Pacific and the Middle East Forces, and has completed one deployment to the Southern Pacific conducting counter narcotic operations.
In December, 1995 COMSTOCK returned from an extended deployment to the Arabian Gulf in continued support of United Nations and United States policies for that region. Among the highlights of the deployment were integrated amphibious operations with the Jordanian Armed Forces during Operation Infinite Moonlight.
Upon entering into dry dock on 5 February 1996, COMSTOCK began a five month Dock Phased Maintenance Availability. On 5 June, COMSTOCK returned pier-side Naval Station San Diego and began upkeep and training. Upkeep continued throughout the months of July, August, and September. In October, COMSTOCK got underway for NORTHPAC, embarking NROTC students and making a port visit to San Francisco for Fleet Week. COMSTOCK returned to San Diego at the end of October to resume upkeep, finishing out the year with an Intermediate Maintenance Availability in late November.
COMSTOCK began 1997 with a Change of Command in late February. COMSTOCK remained in the San Diego area doing operations off the coast of Southern California until mid-April when the ship made a port visit to Cabo San Lucas. COMSTOCK was in port San Diego in a training and upkeep status for the months of May, June, July and the beginning of August. 28 August 1997, COMSTOCK began her track toward the Arabian Gulf for Western Pacific Deployment. COMSTOCK made port visits to Hawaii, Guam, Singapore, Thailand, Bahrain, and UAE. COMSTOCK was a vital part of exercise EAGER MACE, and finished out the year of 1997 in the North Arabian Gulf.
COMSTOCK began the year of 1998 in the North Arabian Gulf as part of Operation EAGER MACE. The end of WESTPAC 1998 brought port visits to India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Guam and Hawaii, enroute to San Diego. COMSTOCK returned to home port San Diego on 27 February 1998. In April COMSTOCK began INSURV. After INSURV, COMSTOCK made a port visit to San Francisco. Once back in port San Diego, COMSTOCK began the PMA which continued from May to July. COMSTOCK made port visits to Everett and Seattle Washington. COMSTOCK finished out the year with a Change of Command, followed by upkeep and training.
COMSTOCK began 1999 with Amphibious Specialty Training during the month of January, followed by pre-deployment work-ups. At the end of May, COMSTOCK was enroute to Hawaii as she began CARAT 1999. During deployment COMSTOCK made port visits to Hawaii, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia before returning to San Diego at the beginning of October. COMSTOCK finished out the year with a post-deployment PMA period.
COMSTOCK began 2001 with Amphibious Specialty Training and an Amphibious Readiness Group Certification. In March, COMSTOCK was enroute to San Francisco for Exercise Kernel Blitz. During the months of May and June COMSTOCK participated in COMPTUEX and FLEETEX. COMSTOCK was enroute to Hawaii mid-August for the beginning of WESTPAC 2001. COMSTOCK made port visits to Hawaii, Australia, and Bahrain and was part of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
COMSTOCK began 2002 mid WESTPAC 01, with Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. She made port visits to Fremantle and Sydney Australia and had a Change of Command end of January. By mid-March COMSTOCK was back in home port San Diego for post-deployment upkeep. May and June, COMSTOCK was dry-docked at Southwest Marine. In July, COMSTOCK commenced Sea Trials, and the months of August – December, COMSTOCK began upkeep, training, and certifications.
COMSTOCK began 2003 with a Surge Deployment to the Arabian Gulf. COMSTOCK made port visits to Guam, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Hawaii and was part of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and MERO. Early July, COMSTOCK was back in port San Diego for upkeep and training. COMSTOCK commenced INSURV at the end of August. COMSTOCK made a port visit to British Columbia, Canada beginning of September. COMSTOCK finished out the year with a Change of Command at the end of October, followed my upkeep and training.
COMSTOCK began 2008 with a CMAV, 3M Assessment, and INSURV. February through June COMSTOCK was underway various times off the coast of Southern California for training and certifications. In June, COMSTOCK commenced RIMPAC 2008 making port visits in Hawaii. Early August, COMSTOCK was back in San Diego for upkeep, LTT and INSURV preparations. COMSTOCK finished out 2008 with INSURV, CERTEX, and ULTRA-E.
COMSTOCK is a “can do” ship with “can do” Sailors and Marines. The ship was the first USN combatant to have a fully integrated crew of male and female sailors.
Sailors on COMSTOCK have seen the world with port visits to the tropical climes and Asian shopping extravaganzas with stops in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. Her extensive tours in the Arabian Gulf have been highlighted by visiting such ports as: Aquaba, Jordan; Manama, Bahrain; Kuwait City, Kuwait; and Jebel Ali, United Emirates. Other popular ports of call for COMSTOCK have included: Mombasa, Kenya; Seychelles; Perth, Australia; and Hawaii. Not all the good liberty ports are overseas, however. Some of the best visits have been to some of America’s fine west coast cities, such as San Francisco and Monterey, California.