On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2004, a Marine from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, talks on the radio as a car burns during an offensive Fallujah, Iraq. On Dec. 13, 2022, the Pentagon announced a new amphibious warship would be named in honor of the battle. Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images.
To honor the Marines and soldiers who fought there 18 years ago, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro will name a new $3.2 billion warship “Fallujah.”
The America-class amphibious assault ship will commemorate the First and Second Battles of Fallujah, waged in the restive Iraqi city in mid-2004 and then from Nov. 7 to Dec. 23, 2004, Del Toro announced Tuesday, Dec. 13.
Marines spearheaded the second fight, which wrested control of Fallujah from local insurgents and foreign fighters in harrowing house-to-house fighting. Del Toro’s decision follows a tradition of naming amphibious warships after Marine Corps battles or famous Navy sailing vessels and World War II aircraft carriers.
“It is an honor to memorialize the Marines, soldiers, and coalition partners that fought valiantly and those that sacrificed their lives during both battles of Fallujah,” said Del Toro in a prepared statement. “This namesake deserves to be in the pantheon of iconic Marine Corps battles and the LHA’s unique capabilities will serve as a stark reminder to everyone around the world of the bravery, courage, and commitment to freedom displayed by those who fought in the battle.”
Donna Berger (right), wife of the 38th commandant of the US Marine Corps, and Stacie Black (middle), wife of the sergeant major of the Marine Corps, talk with Beverly McAnallen-Szybka (left), a trauma nurse coordinator, on July 30, 2019, at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. US Navy photo.
Del Toro also announced that Donna Berger — a fierce advocate for military families who also is the wife of Gen. David H. Berger, the 38th commandant of the Marine Corps — will sponsor the ship.
America-class warships resemble flattops as much as they do traditional troop carriers, with more rugged decks to accommodate Marine F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters, larger aviation fuel tanks, and bigger maintenance bays.
They’re replacing the decommissioned Tarawa class of vessels.
The Navy previously announced that the future Fallujah, LHA-9, would come with a well deck, key to moving Marines to shore in Amphibious Combat Vehicles and other watercraft.
America, the first in its class, doesn’t have a well deck.
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Carl Prine is a former senior editor at Coffee or Die Magazine. He has worked at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
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