Letter sent to Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, requests the naming of a new LPD amphibious ship for the city of Duluth and in honor of the USS Duluth LPD-6, commissioned in 1966 and later decommissioned in 2005
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and Congressman Rick Nolan (all D-MN) sent a letter to Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, urging the Navy to consider naming a new LPD amphibious ship for the city of Duluth and in honor of the USS Duluth LPD-6, commissioned in 1966 and later decommissioned in 2005. The USS Duluth has received numerous awards and commendations for her service, including three Humanitarian Service Medals and the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Award for supporting Navy SEAL operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Traditionally, Naval amphibious ships are named after major cities and communities across the country, and naming a new ship, USS Duluth, would make it the third ship of the name to continue a long and proud legacy of honoring excellence in both the Navy and the city of Duluth.
“Starting in WWII the strong independent spirit of Minnesota has been proudly represented around the world by a naval ship named in honor of the city of Duluth,” Klobuchar said. “It is important that we continue to honor and commemorate the service of the men and women who’ve served on ships previously named USS Duluth by naming a new LPD ship for the city of Duluth.”
“Duluth has so much to be proud of, including the USS Duluth and the service the ship and its crew provided for Minnesota, our nation, and the world,” Smith said. “The ship is immortalized on Duluth’s waterfront with a monument built by local companies and community members, and now we’re urging the Navy to continue honoring the city and the USS Duluth by naming a new LPD ship after such a rich part of Minnesota’s history.”
“Minnesotans are proud of the USS Duluth LPD-6 for her 40 years of honorable service to our Nation fulfilling missions throughout the world including Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Nolan said. “The numerous awards and commendations, including 3 Humanitarian Service Medals for her role supporting nations devastated by natural disasters, are well-deserved. I can’t think of a better way to recognize this distinguished service and carry forward the spirit of the great city of Duluth than naming a new ship in her honor.”
The full text of the letter can be found below:
Dear Secretary Spencer,
We write to strongly urge you to consider naming a new LPD amphibious ship for the city of Duluth and in honor of the USS Duluth LPD-6, commissioned in 1966 and later decommissioned in 2005.
Over its 40 years of distinguished service, whether tasked with a routine or contingency operation, the USS Duluth LPD-6 performed per her motto “Fortiter in Re” (Bold in Action). As such, the USS Duluth received numerous awards and commendations for her service, including the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Award for supporting Navy SEAL operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom. During its last deployment in 2005, the USS Duluth supported Operation Unified Assistance and received its third Humanitarian Service Medal after successfully delivering 210 tons of supplies to Sumatra and Sri Lanka in response to the tsunami that struck the area in December 2004.
The second ship in the Navy to be named after Duluth, Minnesota, the USS Duluth LPD-6 has a long and valiant history. Her missions spanned from sailing to Vietnam in 1975 to support the evacuation of almost 9,000 people in Saigon, to operating as support for Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The first USS Duluth was a light cruiser (CL-87), commissioned in 1944 and decommissioned in 1949 after receiving two battle stars for her late World War II service in the Pacific Theater.
Named in honor of Sir Daniel Greysolon De Lhut who raised the French flag at the westernmost point of Lake Superior in 1679, the USS Duluth LPD-6 is unique in the way it has been embraced by the local community over the years. In 2014, the City of Duluth honored the ship and its crew with a permanent monument on the City’s waterfront, using the ship’s anchor as its centerpiece. Notably, the monument was built by 27 local companies and 62 individuals in the community without a single invoice changing hands.
To this day, the USS Duluth Crewmembers Association holds its annual reunion in the city. After the ship was decommissioned in 2005, former crewmembers, including two former commanding officers, traveled to Brownsville, Texas, and boarded the ship prior to scrapping for mementos and photographs. Those items are today on display at a local museum.
Naming a new LPD ship in honor and commemoration of those that came before her would no doubt continue what is already a unique and lasting legacy. Thank you for your review and consideration of this request.