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US big deck Iwo Jima arrives at new homeport as part of fleet-wide basing shake-up

USS Iwo Jima in Mayport
USS Iwo Jima departing Naval Station Mayport on Dec. 10. 2021, for its homeport shift. Photo: US Navy

US Navy’s Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) arrived at its new base at Naval Station Norfolk on December 13, completing a homeport shift from Mayport, Florida.

Iwo Jima was stationed at Naval Station Mayport for the last seven years, during which time she completed three deployments and 14 maintenance availabilities.

Iwo Jima’s reassignment to Naval Station Norfolk is part of a series of planned homeport shifts to consolidate amphibious ships in Hampton Roads while increasing the number of guided-missile destroyers in Mayport.

The plan is designed to optimize extended maintenance availabilities at shipyards in both Norfolk and Mayport while balancing the economic impacts of personnel shifts to both communities.

“On behalf of Iwo Jima’s crew, I would like to personally thank Naval Station Mayport and the Jacksonville community for the support they have provided the ship and her crew,” said, Capt. J. A. Krier, Iwo Jima commanding officer. “Though we have enjoyed our time at Naval Station Mayport, the crew is excited for the transition to Norfolk and is ready to make a positive impact on the community here.”

“I also want to thank the family and friends of the crew for their unwavering support,” Krier said. “To complete a deployment and execute a move of this size takes a tremendous amount of work and preparation from the crew and the families.”

Iwo Jima arrived in Norfolk after completing a seven-month deployment to Europe and Middle East. The deployment saw the ship and crew take part in multinational operations and joint training exercises with international partners.

USS Iwo Jima commissioned on June 30, 2001 in Pensacola, Fla., and its initial homeport was Naval Station Norfolk, before it moved to Naval Station Mayport in August 2014. It is the second ship to bear the name, which pays homage to this pivotal World War II battle that claimed the lives of over 7,000 Americans and almost 21,000 Japanese from Feb. 19 to March 26, 1945. Of the battle, Adm. Chester Nimitz famously stated, “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.”