Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro named a future landing helicopter assault ship after the first and second Battle of Fallujah, the Navy announced Tuesday.
LHA-9, an America-class amphibious assault ship, will be called USS Fallujah, the Navy said in a news release. Del Toro announced the name at a promotion ceremony for Private 1st Class Chesty, the Marine Corps bulldog mascot.
“The name selection follows the tradition of naming amphibious ships after the U.S. Marine Corps battles, early U.S. sailing ships or legacy names of earlier carriers from World War II,” Del Toro said during the announcement. “It is an honor for me for our nation to memorialize the Marines, the soldiers and coalition forces that fought valiantly and those who sacrificed their lives during both battles of Fallujah.”
The two battles of Fallujah were fought in 2004 during the Iraq War. The first, occurring in April, was an effort to kill or capture insurgents thought to be responsible for the deaths of four U.S. contractors. The second, in November and December, was a U.S. attempt to retake control of Fallujah, according to the Navy announcement.
The Fallujah battles were part of Operation Phantom Fury, thought to be the bloodiest engagement of the Iraq War, with 100 coalition forces killed and another 600 injured.
The operation is also considered the “fiercest urban combat” for Marines since the Battle of Hué City in the Vietnam War. That battle lent its name to the former Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Hué City (CG-66), which was decommissioned in September after 31 years in service.
Fallujah‘s sponsor will be Donna Berger, the wife of Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger.
“Under extraordinary odds, the Marines prevailed against a determined enemy who enjoyed all the advantages of defending in an urban area,” Berger said in the statement. “The Battle of Fallujah is, and will remain, imprinted in the minds of all Marines and serves as a reminder to our Nation, and its foes, why our Marines call themselves the world’s finest.”
The Navy awarded HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding the $2.4 billion contract to build LHA-9 in October. Ingalls is also building future USS Bougainville (LHA-8).
Fallujah will be the fourth America-class landing helicopter assault ship. The future USS Bougainville (LHA-8) is currently under construction at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.