LPD 15 Ponce
LPD 15 Ponce
USS PONCE is the 12th and last ship in the AUSTIN - class of Amphibious Transport Docks. The contract to build the Ponce was awarded on May 17, 1965, the keel was laid on October 31, 1966 and she was launched on May 20, 1970. She was delivered to the Navy by Lockheed on June 25, 1971 and she was commissioned on July 10, 1971.
More than 1,100 Atlantic Fleet Sailors and Marines left Norfolk on June 10, 1996 aboard USS Ponce (LPD 15) to support security operations off the coast of Liberia. The landing platform dock ship compliment included a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) from Marine Corps bases in North Carolina. The SPMAGTF, more than 700 combat-ready Marines, could conduct special operations, rescue downed pilots and enhance security at facilities ashore. Once on station, Ponce supported security needs of the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia. It relieved USS Guam (LPH 9), USS Portland (LSD 37) and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
USS Ponce (LPD 15) returned to Norfolk August 24, 1996 after a two-and-a-half month mission of providing security and other assistance to the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia. Deploying with only 10 days notice, Ponce carried a crew of more than 300 Sailors and 700 Marines from Special Purpose Marine-Air-Ground Task Force 8, from Camp Lejuene, N.C. This was not the first time Ponce deployed to Liberian waters. In 1990, Ponce responded to "Operation Sharp Edge," guarding American interest and supporting troops assigned to the area at the time.
On or about December 31, 2002 the USS Saipan and the USS Ponce departed Norfolk and headed to Naval Weapons Station Earle to onload ammunition, according to the Associated Press. Such a movement was highly unusual as neither of these ships was due to deploy until August 2003, and ARG's normally make the trip to Earle only a few months prior to a deploment.
On January 10, 2003 a report in the Associated Press confirmed that the USS Ponce would deploy in support of the war against terrorism. Early indications are this ship along with the USS Saipan would depart on or about January 12 and would either head to North Carolina to begin taking on elements of the 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade or would receive the Marines in Norfolk.
USS PONCE's insignia is comprised of four major elements: a rampant lion signifying the high spiritedness of the Navy-Marine Corps team that serves in her; a trident, emblematic of the U.S. Naval Power and supremacy; an anchor chain, linking the ships name and its designator symbols; the total purple lion, which is the coat of arms of Juan Ponce de Leon, a continuing reminder of our bond with the people of our namesake city. You may overhear several of the crew refer to our ship as the "Proud Lion".
Posted by Rodney Brewer
Nov 07 2010 03:29:48:000PM