The Navy secretary has named the service’s newest amphibious assault ship after two battles in Iraq that included some of the deadliest urban combat that U.S. troops took part in since 1968’s Battle of Hue in Vietnam.
The USS Fallujah, an America-class amphibious assault ship, will be the first U.S. warship named for a military engagement that occurred following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
“It is an honor to memorialize the Marines, soldiers and coalition partners that fought valiantly and those that sacrificed their lives during both battles of Fallujah,” Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said in a statement. “This namesake deserves to be in the pantheon of iconic Marine Corps battles.”
The first Battle of Fallujah occurred in the spring of 2004 as part of an effort to capture or kill insurgents responsible for the death of four U.S. contractors.
At the end of that year came the second Battle of Fallujah. It was a U.S.-led offensive to retake control of the city from insurgents and foreign fighters. More than 100 U.S. and coalition forces were killed in the clash.
Mr. Del Toro said the warship’s “unique capabilities will serve as a stark reminder to everyone around the world of the bravery, courage and commitment to freedom displayed by those who fought in the battle.”
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America-class vessels, known as landing helicopter assault (LHA) ships, are the largest amphibious warships and resemble small aircraft carriers. They can carry 1,600 troops along with a variety of aircraft such as the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and the MV-22 Osprey.
Gen. David H. Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps, said Marines prevailed in Fallujah against an enemy who had all the advantages of defending in an urban area.
“The Battle of Fallujah is, and will remain, imprinted in the minds of all Marines and serves as a reminder to our nation and its foes, why our Marines call themselves the world’s finest,” Gen. Berger said in a statement after the ship’s name was announced.
The 45,000-metric-ton vessel will be constructed at the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The completion date has not been announced.