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USS Essex (LHD 2)

ESSEX is the second ship in the WASP - class of multipurpose amphibious assault ships and the fifth ship of the Navy to bear the name.

General Characteristics:Awarded: September 10, 1986
Keel laid: March 20, 1989
Launched: February 23, 1991
Commissioned: October 17, 1992
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding , West Bank, Pascagoula, Miss.
Propulsion system: two boilers, two geared turbines
Propellers: two
Aircraft elevators: two
Length: 840 feet (256 meters)
Flight Deck Width: 140 feet (42.6 meters)
Beam: 106 feet (32,.3 meters)
Draft: 26,5 feet (8.1 meters)
Displacement: approx. 40,500 tons full load
Speed: 23 knots
Aircraft: (depends upon mission)
6 AV-8B Harrier attack planesor6 AV-8B Harrier attack planes
4 AH-1W Super Cobra attack helis12 CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters
12 CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters9 CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters
9 CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters
4 UH-1N Huey helicopters
Assault:orSea Control:
42 CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters20 AV-8B Harrier attack planes
6 ASW helicopters
Crew: Ship: 73 officers, 1,009 enlisted      Marine Detachment: 1,894
Armament: two Mk-29 NATO Sea Sparrow launchers, two 20mm Phalanx CIWS, eight Mk-33 .50 cal. machine guns, two Rolling Airframe Missile Systems
Cost: approx. $403 million
Homeport: San Diego, Calif.

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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS ESSEX. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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USS ESSEX Cruise Books:

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Accidents aboard USS ESSEX:

June 7, 2005western Pacific
A DC2 dies June 27, 2005 from complications following inhaling hydrogen sulfide (H2S) while conducting system maintenance on June 7. The accident occurred during routine training involving aqueous film forming foam.
May 16, 2012120 miles west of San Diego, Calif.
USS ESSEX collides with the USNS YUKON (T-AO 202) during an underway replenishment off southern California. The collision happened approx. 9:20 am after a steerage malfunction aboard ESSEX. Both ships received only minor damage and no injuries were reported. ESSEX's starboard aircraft elevator was scraped and dented and parts of the railing and catwalks were damaged. YUKON suffered structural damage to her flight deck, lifeboats and davits.

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History of USS ESSEX:

After commissioning the ESSEX departed San Diego on her maiden deployment on October 25, 1994 during which, was a major participant in the withdrawal of the Multinational force from Somalia in Operation United Shield.

On its second deployment the ship and embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit participated in Operation Southern Watch/ Exercise; Eager Mace off the coast of Kuwait and Exercise; Tandem Thrust off the coast of Australia.

In July 2000, ESSEX took part in the Navy's largest crew swap to date when she arrived in Sasebo, Japan to relieve the USS BELLEAU WOOD (LHA 3) which was forward deployed to Sasebo since the fall of 1992.
The swap was part of a planned rotation of forward deployed naval forces in Japan, and was the third crew-swap exchange. The ships’ crews simply switched ships, minimizing the impact of moving families from homeport to homeport. Sailors in Sasebo assigned to USS BELLEAU WOOD, moved on to ESSEX, while Sailors from San Diego assigned to ESSEX moved aboard BELLEAU WOOD. BELLEAU WOOD and the San Diego-based crew then returned to San Diego in mid-August to begin overhaul and maintenance cycles.

USS ESSEX is the 5th ship to bear the name dating back to the frigate which was launched in Salem, Mass. on September 30, 1799.

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USS ESSEX stories:

ESSEX rescues sailor at sea

The ESSEX Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) Navy and Marine Corps team responded to a medical emergency during FLEETEX exercises off the coast of Southern California. ESSEX (LHD 2) was directed to provide assistance for a Sailor from USS LA JOLLA (SSN 701) who had been transferred to the USS MCKEE (AS 41). He suffered from severe chest pains and a suspected heart attack. The ARG was more than 600 miles away and sprang into action to get close enough to render support.

Embarked assets of 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Amphibious Squadron FIVE (CPR5) teamed up with the skilled professionals of ESSEX to plan the vital lifesaving mission. MCKEE and ESSEX steamed at their best speed toward each other while the joint team developed an air-lift plan to get the Sailor safely back to shore based medical facilities.

CPR5 tasked the embarked Search and Rescue Helicopter Detachment with a nighttime helicopter hoist over the deck of MCKEE to bring the patient back to ESSEX. HC-11 detachment officer-in-charge and mission pilot, Lt. Cmdr. Maribeth Smith, said they were ready for this unique mission. "We’re trained to do medevacs, search and rescue missions and hoists over ship’s at sea, but since this was at night our capabilities were tested to their fullest," she said. Smith had to fly through heavy rain and storms to reach MCKEE, and hoisted the Sailor from the deck in a flawless evolution.

The Sailor safely arrived on ESSEX and was immediately evaluated by a team of doctors equipped with the most extensive medical facilities on any Navy warship. Doctors determined the sailor’s condition was serious but not life threatening, and suggested he be stabilized overnight and transferred in the morning.

Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 (Reinforced) was tasked with flying the patient to Naval Medical Center San Diego. The squadron’s executive officer, Lt. Col. Chuck Cooga of Columbus, Ohio, said "We have the fuel and capabilities for these missions, and we’re always ready to get the job done and apply the best assets for a long range flight."

During the flight, 15th MEU Air Combat Element Flight Surgeon Lt. Christopher Lucas, of Irvine, Calif., provided medical assistance. "We have a little intensive care unit we take with us with the ability to monitor a patient’s vital signs and provide advanced cardiac life support if needed."

The Sailor safely made it shore and is currently under medical evaluation. ESSEX ARG Commander Capt. Larry Nelms pointed to the total team effort that made this mission a success. "ESSEX traveled 34 and one half hours and covered 714 miles. The engineering plant never faltered and the ESSEX crew and embarked units performed magnificently."

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The photos below were taken by me and show the ESSEX at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., on October 3 and 11, 2012.

The photo below was taken by Lydia Perz and shows the ESSEX at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., on May 3, 2014.

The photos below were taken by Michael Jenning and show the ESSEX at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., on December 27, 2014.

The photos below were taken by Shiu On Yee and show the USS ESSEX during a port visit to Hong Kong on June 7, 2015. The ship arrived at Hong Kong on June 5. The ESSEX departed San Diego for a scheduled deployment on May 11.

The photos below were taken by Michael Jenning and show the ESSEX during a Phased Maintenance Availability (PMA) at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., on April 18, 2016.

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