Commissioning and the First and Last Year on the USS Plymouth Rock
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The USS Plymouth Rock (LSD29) is named in honor of a famous historical place as are all the new THOMASTON CLASS LSD'S. The Plymouth Rock was named after the site of the first permanent settlers of this country.
The original Rock at Plymouth, MA is well known in the United States as well as abroad as the landing place of the Mayflower Company in the year 1620. Although it served the early settles for some years as a "stepping stone" and foundation for a pier across the mud flats in Plymouth Harbor; the upper third of the Rock was removed to the town Square in Plymouth and exhibited as an inspiration to all in revolutionary days.
After several other temporary placements, the Rock was reassembled and on November 29, 1921, the present portico which houses the Rock was dedicated. It is interesting to note that the USS Plymouth Rock was commissioned exactly thirty-three days later to the day.
Authorized: 28 February 1952
Keel Laid: 4 May 1953
Launched: 7 May 1954
Commissioned: 29 November 1954
Well deck measures 400 feet of her 5610 foot length.
Underway, with her well deck empty, she draws 17 feet of water. When fully ballasted, can draw as much as 34 feet, giving her 10 feet of water in the well deck.
The USS Plymouth Rock was a new type of Dock Landing Ship, larger, faster and with greater armament that the World War II class. The LSD was developed primarily to load, transport and launch LCU's, LCM's and/or amphibious vehicles with their crews and emparked personnel in support of amphibious operations.
Launched on May 7, 1954 at Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation, Pascagoula, Mississippi, the 510 foot Dock Landing Ship was sponsored by Mrs. Francis C. Denebrink, wife of Vice Admiral Denebrink, Commander of the Military Sea Transportation Service.
The first Commanding Officer was CDR D. Bontecou, USN (29 Nov. 1954 - 23 Nov. 1955), a former Merchant Marine Master. The Plymouth Rock was commissioned in Pasagoula, MS and sailed to Norfolk VA her home port in January 1955. The Plymouth Rock is the second in the new series of LSD's (the LSD28 class). At the present time, the class is scheduled to include eight of these new, fast and better armed LSD's. The ship has a small piece of the original Plymouth Rock upon which the first settlers landed on our continent in 1620, on board.
In March and April 1955 the ship underwent shakedown training supervised by the Commander Fleet Training Group, Narragansett Bay. From August 1955 through February 1956, the Plymouth Rock participated in a number of operations. She demonstrated her ability to steam into an assault area at high speed and to ballast expeditiously so that her embarked landing craft might hit the beach immediately after the assault troops and supply them with critical equipment. See detailed map with schedule for first year. Go to Map
The Plymouth's Rock's battery of sixteen rapid-fire AA guns can erect a deadly curtain of gunfire to protect herself against both surface and aircraft attack. She is sesond to no other ship of the US Amphibious Force in this department
The USS Plymouth Rock was "struck from Naval Registry" on February 24, 1992 and towed from Fleet Reserve Anchorage at Ft. Eustis, VA to Portsmouth, VA. She was later towed to Richmond, VA to Peck Recycling Yard to be broken up in April 1996. The price paid for scrap was $289,000.
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