The U.S. Navy’s next America-class amphibious assault ship will be named the USS Fallujah, in recognition of two battles U.S. forces fought in the key Iraqi city in 2004.
On Tuesday, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro announced the name for the new amphibious assault ship. The America-class ship serves as a sort of miniature aircraft carrier to launch helicopters and the short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) F-35B fighter jet.
“It is an honor to memorialize the Marines, Soldiers, and coalition partners that fought valiantly and those that sacrificed their lives during both battles of Fallujah,” said Del Toro. “This namesake deserves to be in the pantheon of iconic Marine Corps battles and the LHA’s unique capabilities will serve as a stark reminder to everyone around the world of the bravery, courage, and commitment to freedom displayed by those who fought in the battle.”
The name selection follows a Navy tradition of naming amphibious assault ships after U.S. Marine Corps battles, early U.S. sailing ships, or legacy names of earlier carriers from World War II. Other ships in the America class include the USS Tripoli, named in honor of the Marine Corps’ Battle of Derna in Tripoli; and the USS Bougainville, which is named in honor of the Bougainville campaign in World War II.
The Navy’s older amphibious assault ship class, the Wasp Class, includes ships named after World War II battles on Bataan, Iwo Jima and Makin Island.
The First Battle of Fallujah saw Marines fighting alongside U.S. soldiers fighting to assert control over the Iraqi city after insurgents ambushed and killed four American private military contractors who worked for Blackwater on March 31, 2004. Fighting during the first battle lasted from April 4 to May 1, 2004.
Following the first battle, U.S. forces handed over responsibility for the city to the newly formed Fallujah Brigade, a U.S.-backed Iraqi security force. Members of the Fallujah Bridge either gave up or outright joined the insurgency, which once again took control over the city.
The Second Battle of Fallujah was fought from Nov. 7, 2004 to Dec. 23, 2004 and saw even deadlier urban combat than the first battle. Over 100 coalition forces were killed and over 600 more were wounded in the course of the two battles.