SASEBO, Japan -- The amphibious dock landing ship arrived at Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan, Nov. 17, as the newest addition to U.S. 7th Fleet's forward-deployed naval forces.
Rushmore relieves another Whidbey Island-class ship, USS Germantown (LSD 42), which departed Sasebo in September after more than a decade of FDNF service. Like Germantown, Rushmore is capable of embarking, launching, and recovering up to 500 Marines and their landing craft in support of expeditionary operations.
“Rushmore has a fantastic reputation and I am certain that the team will seamlessly pick up where Germantown left off,” said Capt. Greg Baker, commodore of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11. “Cmdr. Emily Royse brings a wealth of FDNF and Sasebo experience, and I am excited for her return to set an even higher bar of excellence as Rushmore operates with the ships, Sailors, and Marines of the America Expeditionary Strike Group.”
Named for Mount Rushmore National Monument in South Dakota, Rushmore was commissioned June 1, 1991 in New Orleans. Rushmore has participated in multiple operations in the U.S. 3rd, 5th, and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility, including operations Restore Hope and Support Hope off the coast of Africa in 1993 and 1994, and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. In 2015, Rushmore rescued 65 people in the Makassar Strait near Indonesia after their ferry had capsized.
“Rushmore and her Sailors look forward to continuing our service to the Navy and the nation while forward-deployed to the tip of the spear,” said Cmdr. Emily Royse, Rushmore’s commanding officer. “Our crew is ready to join the elite blue-green team of the America Expeditionary Strike Group, and to establish positive relationships with our new host country, and our partners and allies.”
In 1997, Rushmore became the Navy’s first “smart ship,” featuring Electronic Chart Display, Integrated Bridge System, and Machinery Control System. Two years later, Rushmore completed the first six-month “smart ship” deployment to the Western Pacific.
Together, the ships of Amphibious Squadron 11 and elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, the Navy’s only forward-deployed ARG-MEU team, are operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with allies and partners, and to serve as a ready-response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.