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As a forward-deployed unit, LA SALLE's primary mission is to provide flagship facilities and support to Commander. Sixth Fleet (COMSIXTHFLT), and his embarked staff. LA SALLE assumed the role of flagship for the U.S. Sixth Fleet on 8 November 1994, bringing expanded capabilities to the Fleet. With the ability and space available to embark a Joint Task Force staff when necessary, LA SALLE greatly increases the flexibility of the U.S. Sixth Fleet Commander and his staff. Additionally, LA SALLE has been outfitted with state-of-the-art communication, command and control electronic equipment. Any operation or exercise involving sea, air, land, and amphibious forces can be controlled and directed from the flagship while at sea or in port. This further increases the U.S. Sixth Fleet's capability to respond to crisis or contingency operations.

Following commissioning, LA SALLE served as flagship for Atlantic Fleet Amphibious Forces during the Dominican Crisis, and participated in the evacuation of Construction Battalion Six from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. During 1969, LA SALLE served as the test platform for the prototype AV-8 Harrier Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) fighter bomber.

In 1972, LA SALLE was designated a Miscellaneous Command Ship (AGF) and assumed duties as the flagship for Commander, Middle East Force. Forward-deployed to Bahrain, and painted white to reflect the Middle East Sun, "The Great White Ghost of the Arabian Coast" steamed an average of 55,000 miles annually in that role.

La Salle and five other ships in the Persian Gulf were the US Navy presence during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 02 August 1990. Over the course of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, La Salle assumed the added responsibility of controlling and coordinating the Maritime Intercept Force and served concurrently as flagship for Commander, US Naval Forces, Central Command. On March 12,1991, USS La Salle became the first United States Navy warship to enter the newly liberated port of Ash Shuaybay, Kuwait.

USS La Salle became the U.S. Sixth Fleet Command Ship on November 8, 1994. Prior to assuming the role of Sixth Fleet flagship, LA SALLE underwent an extensive yard period to upgrade its capabilities.


LENGTH 521 Feet
BEAM 84 Feet
DRAFT 21 Feet
MAIN PROPULSION SYSTEM De Laval Steam Turbines - Twin Shafts
PROPELLERS 2 (Combined 24,000 SHP)
BOILERS 2 Babcock & Wilcox (600 psi)
SPEED 20 Knots (sustained)/21.6 Knots (maximum)
ARMAMENT 2 20MM MK 16 Phalanx Close-In Weapons Systems
COMPLEMENT Ship's Company - 420 Enlisted/25 Officers
Staff - 90 Enlisted/48 Officers


Name Number Builder Homeport Ordered Commissioned Decommissioned
(formerly LPD 3)
NYNSY 22 Feb 1964

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Friday, December 11, 1998 12:17:36 PM