The assault ship USS Tarawa (1976-2008). This 1:1200 scale miniature was built by Hans Bosma and is on display in our naval aviation history exhibition on deck 5 of the museum.
The USS „Tarawa“ (LHA-1) was the namesake of an innovative five-sister class of amphibious assault ships built for the US Navy in the 1970s at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi. These ships were designed to combine the capabilities of vehicles such as the amphibious transport docks, amphibious cargo ships and dock landing ships. Their type of designation LHA stands for Landing Helicopter Assault. The ships had a crew of over 900 and could carry more than 2,000 marines as well as the helicopters and landing crafts needed for their missions. They also carried AV-8B Harrier V/STOL (Vertical or Short Takeoff and Landing) aircraft.
The „Tarawa“ was launched in 1973, commissioned in 1976 and sailed through the Panama Canal to her homeport in San Diego, California. After further training, her first main deployment took place in 1979. She completed a tour in the Western Pacific, successfully testing the AV-8B Harrier II aircraft and rescuing over 400 Vietnamese „boat people“ refugees in the South China Sea. In 1983, she supported the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. In 1990, she was the flagship of the US amphibious support fleet during the Gulf War. A year later, she participated in the humanitarian operation Sea Angel in Bangladesh after the country was devastated by a cyclone. In 2007, she took part in Operation Sea Angel II in the same situation. Over the years, her main areas of operation were the Indian Ocean and in particular the Persian Gulf, where she took part in many US military actions. In 2008, the amphibious assault ship USS Tawara was decommissioned and placed in reserve. In 2014, the first of the America-class amphibious assault ships was commissioned. This class was built to replace the then obsolete Tarawa class. Efforts were made to convert the USS „Tarawa“ into a museum ship, but there has been no news about her fate for a long time.