The carriers that aren’t

The below piece of shipbuilding history is a 1974 status report on the then-under construction Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship (LHA) class at Pascagoula’s Litton-Ingalls Shipbuilding.

Capt. Jack Lisanby, the LHA project manager, sums up the project, which married the old 17,000-ton LPH helicopter carrier with a 14,000-ton LSD style landing ship dock to create a 40,000-ton ship that was the same size as a WWII Essex-class fleet carrier, but could accommodate 20-30 rotor-wing aircraft (and harriers) and four LCU-sized landing ships along with 1,700 transient Marines. It must have been a good idea because it has become standard ever since.

The lead ship, Tarawa, was laid down in 1971 and the last of the class, Peleliu, did not commission until 1980, meaning these “aircraft carriers that aren’t” were a fixture of my childhood. You could always go down to “The Point” across from Ingalls’ East Bank and see these flattops under construction. This was extended with the visually and mission-similar Wasp class of LHDs (1985-2009, with me, personally, working on USS Boxer in my own time at Ingalls) and now the new America-class LHAs went into production, leaving an almost unbroken chain of LHA/D’s that has stretched across almost 50 years.

LHA-6 USS America under construction at Ingalls in 2011, image as seen from Singing River Island across from the yard’s West Bank, by Chris Eger

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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