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The mission of the Landing Ship Dock (LSD) is to transport Marine personnel, landing craft, vehicles, and cargo and then launch them using landing craft and helicopters in support of military or humanitarian assistance operations.

CARTER HALL is a cargo variant of the WHIDBEY ISLAND class LSD. The major difference between the two classes is the well deck, shortened from 440 to180 feet. The shortened well deck gives CARTER HALL additional vehicle and cargo stowage areas. The well deck is capable of holding two (2) Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) and a variety of landing craft and tracked amphibious vehicles. The two (2) spot flight deck can land and service any helicopter in the Navy and Marine Corps inventory.