USS Manitowoc (LST-1180)
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USS Manitowoc LST-1180

USS Manitowoc (LST-1180)
United States
Name: USS Manitowoc (LST-1180)
Namesake: Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Ordered: 29 December 1965
Builder: Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Laid down: 27 February 1967
Launched: 4 January 1969
Acquired: 1 April 1970
Commissioned: 24 January 1970
Decommissioned: 30 June 1993
Struck: 23 July 2002
Fate: Transferred to Taiwan through the Security Assistance Program (SAP), 29 September 2000
Name: ROCS Chung Ho (LST-232)
Fate: In service
General characteristics
Class and type: Newport class tank landing ship
  • 5,190 long tons (5,273.3 t) (light),
  • 8,792 long tons (8,933.1 t) (full)
Length: 522 ft (159.11 m) overall, 500 ft (152.4 m) at the waterline.
Beam: 70 ft (21.3 m)
Draft: 19 ft (5.79 m)
Propulsion: 6 EMD 16-645E diesel engines, 16,000 brake horsepower, two shafts, twin controllable-pitch screws; bow thruster: single screw, controllable pitch
Speed: 20+ knots (37+ km/h)
Troops: Marine detachment: 360 plus 40 surge
Complement: 14 officers, 210 enlisted

USS Manitowoc (LST 1180) was the second ship of the Newport class LST in the United States Navy. LST 1180 was laid down at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 27 February 1967; named Manitowoc (after the county in Wisconsin) on 21 March 1967; launched 4 January 1969 and sponsored by Mrs. Gaylord Nelson, wife of the U.S. senator from Wisconsin; and commissioned 24 January 1970.

"Manitowoc" is Anishinaabe for "Home of the Great Spirit."

Manitowoc conducted two deployments off Vietnam in 1971 and 1972. She carried troops to Lebanon in 1982 and 1983 during U.S. participation in the Beirut Multinational Peacekeeping Force, and participated in the Operation Urgent Fury in October-November 1983. While off the coast of Beirut in 1983, comedian Bob Hope and other celebrities visited the ship as part of Hope's first USO tour since the Vietnam War. The show was broadcast on TV on Jan. 15, 1984 as "Bob Hope's USO Christmas in Beirut." It was nominated for a primetime Emmy award.

Manitowoc participated in the Persian Gulf War before decommissioning on 30 June 1993. The ship was transferred to the Republic of China through the Security Assistance Program on 29 September 2000.

Awards, citations, campaign ribbons

Top row: Navy Unit Commendation (2)
Second row: Navy Battle "E" Ribbon (7) - Navy Expeditionary Medal (2 - Lebanon) - National Defense Service Medal
Third row: Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Grenada, Lebanon) - Vietnam Service Medal (2) - Southwest Asia Service Medal
Fourth row: Humanitarian Service Medal (2 - Beirut, Lebanon Evacuation) - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal - Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) [1]

Commanding officers

Thirteen Navy commanders served as commanding officer of the USS Manitowoc:[2]
CDR. George Thomas Dyer Jr., 24 January 1970 - 21 May 1971
CDR. George Delbert Bess, 21 May 1971 - 14 December 1972
CDR. Elmer Francis (Frank) Poyet, 14 December 1972 - 7 September 1974
CDR. John Aubrey Chrisman Jr., 7 September 1974 - 30 September 1976
CDR. John Francis Doyle, 30 September 1976 - 7 November 1978
CDR. Thomas Terrence Triplett, 7 November 1978 - 17 October 1980
CDR. Richard Montague Butler, 17 October 1980 - 30 November 1982
CDR. John Dennis Kolata, 30 November 1982 - 11 January 1985
CDR. Charles Paul Vion, 11 January 1985 - 27 February 1987
CDR. Jerome Edward Schill, 27 February 1987 - 16 June 1989
CDR. Robert Stanly Martin, 16 June 1989 - 16 November 1990
CDR. Dale Arthur Rauch, 16 November 1990 - 9 June 1992
CDR. Timothy James Concannon, 9 March 1992 - 30 June 1993

Notable officers and crew

Notable officers and crew include:

Capt. Robert A. Bellitto, USN, served as an ensign aboard the Manitowoc after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1981. He retired from active duty in 2008 as commanding officer of Training Support Center Hampton Roads. His wife, Rita, served on the Virginia Beach City Council. "During his tour at [TSC Hampton Roads], Bellitto achieved numerous milestones. Most notable among them was the record 200,000+ Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Airmen who were honed for service in the fleet under his seasoned eye," The Flagship reported when Bellitto retired. "From the business perspective, Bellitto's aggressiveness in eliminating unnecessary training facilities resulted in a reduction of nearly 300,000 square feet and at a cost avoidance to the Navy in excess of $33 million."[3] During his Navy career, Bellitto also served as commanding officer of USS Briscoe (DD-977), and as a division director at U.S. Joint Forces Command. After retiring from the Navy, he joined the Boeing Corporation as an analyst and in 2018 was serving as Boeing Global Services' managing director for Northeast Asia.

Capt. Richard M. Butler, USN, served as commanding officer of the Manitowoc from 17 October 1980 to 30 November 1982, during the first landing of Marines supporting the NATO presence in Beirut. He served as chief staff officer of Amphibious Squadron 4, based on the USS Guam (LPH 9), during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada.

His experience as a recreational sailor proved invaluable during the landing of Marines in Grenada. In "U.S. Marines in Grenada 1983," Lt. Col. Ronald H. Spector, USMC, reported: "Information about Grenada itself was extremely sketchy. Marine ground units normally use military maps of 1:50,000 scale, but in the case of Grenada, no maps of any type were available on the ships. The Guam did have a full set of nautical charts, which included one for Grenada (based on a 1936 British reference chart). Lacking grid lines and other important information, these had limited usefulness for operations ashore.

"By a fortunate coincidence, Commander Richard [M.] Butler, the chief staff officer of the amphibious squadron, was an amateur yachtsman. He had sailed in Grenadian waters six years earlier, and was familiar with the area. Although Commander Butler's visit in 1977 had been purely recreational, his experienced sailor's eye nevertheless had noted important features of the coast, tides, surf, and beach. These would prove invaluable to the Marines as they planned operations for Grenada. At the request of Colonel Faulkner, Commander Butler soon became deeply involved with the MAU staff in examining options for Grenada."

Prior to Capt. Butler's Navy career, he was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

Cmdr. John D. Kolata, USN, served as commanding officer of the Manitowoc from 30 November 1982 to 11 January 1985 during the ship's involvement in the Beirut Multinational Peacekeeping Force and Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada). After he retired from the Navy, he served as a city manager in Ohio and Illinois. [4] He ran for city council in Kewanee, Illinois, in 2011. [5]

In an October 2014 article for Veterans Life/Kitsap Military Times, Kolata wrote that Operation Urgent Fury stopped the expansion of communist Cuba and contributed to the end of the Cold War. "The entire amphibious task force that Manitowoc was part of during Operation Urgent Fury displayed true flexibility in carrying out the orders of our commander in chief, President Ronald Reagan," he wrote. "In my opinion, it was necessary to stop the expansion of communist Cuba and its ally, the USSR, into other parts of our hemisphere and in no small manner was a first step in the dissolution of the USSR and the end of the Cold War." [6]

Rear Adm. William J. Marshall III, USN, served as a lieutenant commander aboard the Manitowoc in the early 1980s. He later served as the Navy's director of expeditionary warfare and as commanding officer of Navy Region Northwest.[7][8]

John J. Murray, actor and author, served as a seaman aboard the Manitowoc in the early 1980s. As Malachy Murray, he appeared in several episodes of "All My Children" (2004) and "One Life to Live" (2004) and, as of 2016, had significant roles in three films. He authored the book "Unique New York" (260 pages, One Broadway Productions, 2007).[9]


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