The crew of USS Denver (LPD 9) celebrated the ship's 40th birthday Oct. 26 during the annual Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) off the coast of the Philippines.
The entire crew gathered on the mess decks to celebrate the 40 years since Denver's commissioning as a U.S. Navy warship in 1968.
Current USS Denver commanding officer, Capt. Kent D. Whalen offered some historical prospective.
"There's a lot of history associated with the two previous hulls that carried the name Denver and with the current one we are on," said Whalen. "It is a great honor to be the commanding officer. Not a lot of ships make it to 40-years old.
The first USS Denver (C-14) was the first of the Denver class of cruisers. She was commissioned in 1904, only 46 years from the founding of the city of Denver and 28 years from the year Denver was made the capital of Colorado.
Denver operated primarily in the Atlantic Ocean including forays into the Caribbean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Suez Canal and the Panama Canal. She participated in the ceremonies of internment for John Paul Jones at Annapolis, Md., and escorted convoys in World War I. She was decommissioned in 1931 after 27 years of service.
The second ship to bear the name USS Denver (CL-58) was a Cleveland class light cruiser commissioned in 1942. She fought with U.S. forces in the Pacific during World War II including the campaigns in the Solomon Islands and Marianas. After the war, Denver reported to Newport, R.I., to train Reserve naval officers and was decommissioned 1947 after only five years of service.
The third and current ship named after the capital city of the state of Colorado, USS Denver (LPD 9), is an Austin class amphibious transport dock. Her keel was laid July 7, 1964 in Seattle, and she was launched Jan. 23, 1965, being christened by the wife of the governor of Colorado. She was commissioned on Oct. 26, 1968.
In her 40 years since commissioning, Denver has participated in the three wars, steamed from the Persian Gulf to the west coast of the United States, served as a flagship on multiple occasions, received and processed refugees and worked with numerous allies and friends throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
The ship’s executive officer, Cmdr. Butch Neuenschwander, said, "This ship was in three different wars - Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Between 2005 and 2007, USS Denver went through a complete overhaul to prepare her for her current mission as the U.S. Navy's only forward deployed amphibious transport dock. Denver relieved USS Juneau (LPD 10) in a highly successful hull swap in July 2007 and is currently on her first patrol following the hull swap serving as part of the Navy's only forward deployed amphibious force, headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan.
(Source: Navy News Service)