The US Navy has decommissioned USS Peleliu (LHA 5), the last of five Tarawa class big deck amphibious carriers. The assault ship, nicknamed ‘Iron Nickel’, deployed 17 times and steamed more than a million nautical miles during 35 years’ service, including roles in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, where she was the first ship to deploy Marines in support of operations in Afghanistan.
Peleliu, named for a Pacific island where a bloody World War II battle took place, will be towed to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and placed in inactive reserve status alongside the class’s namesake, USS Tarawa (LHA 1).
She will be replaced by USS America (LHA 6). The new ship is currently undergoing combat system qualification trials and final contract trials following her commissioning last October. The US Navy plans to acquire as many as 11 ships of the class, with the addition of a stern docking well from LHA 8 onwards, that will subsequently supersede the Wasp class.