Fort McHenry (LSD 43) - Naval Cruise Book

 - Class of 1992

Page 8 of 128


Fort McHenry (LSD 43) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 1992 Edition, Page 8 of 128
Page 8 of 128

Fort McHenry (LSD 43) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 1992 Edition, Page 7
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Page 8 text:

HISTORY OF FORT MCHENRY Fort McHenry ' s history began in 1776 during the Revolutionary War. The people of Baltimore feared an attack by the British and wanted to build a fort for protection. Anticipating an attack at any time, a fort of earthen mounds was constructed quickly. Originally, it was called Fort Whetstone, because of its location on Whetstone Point. Whetstone Point was an excellent location for a fort for two reasons. It was located far enough from Baltimore to provide protection without endangering the city, and the area was a peninsula. Constructing the fort on this site meant that enemy ships sailing into Baltimore would have to pass the fort first. The Revolutionary War ended without an attack on Baltimore, but improvements to the fort continued. In 1798, a French engineer was directed by the Secretary of War to draw plans for a new fort on Whetstone Point. These plans were expensive, and it was difficult for the people of Baltimore to raise money for construction. However, James McHenry, a well known politician, was instrumental in raising funds for the new fort. The fort was renamed " Fort McHenry " in his honor. Fort McHenry became famous when the British tried to attack Baltimore during the War of 1812. When the bombardment began on September 13, 1814, there were 1,000 soldiers defending the fort. Some were federal soldiers who were stationed at Fort McHenry permanently. Many were volunteers from the city of Baltimore. Their commanding officer was Major George Armstead. For 25 hours the British bombarded Fort McHenry, but the fort ' s artillery fire kept the British away. Baltimore was saved. In the 1860 ' s the fort was used by the Union army during the Civil War to keep the confederates from getting to Baltimore. It was also used as a prison for political prisoners suspected of being Confederate sympathizers. Many Confederate soldiers were imprisoned at the fort as well. In 1917, during the first World War, General Hospital No. 12 was established at Fort McHenry by the War Department. It was the largest military hospital in the country with over 100 temporary buildings to accommodate wounded American soldiers returning from the war in Europe.

Page 7 text:

FRANCIS SCOTT KEY AND THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER O! say can you see by the dawn ' s early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight ' s last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight, O ' er the ramparts we watch ' d, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets red glare, the Bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there; O! say does that star-spangled Banner yet wave, O ' er the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave? FRANCIS SCOTT KEY was born on August 1, 1779, in western Maryland. When Key was 10 years old, his parents sent him to grammar school in Annapolis. After graduating at the age of 17, he studied law in Annapolis while working with his uncle ' s law firm. By 1805, he had a well-established law practice of his own in Georgetown, a suburb of Washington, D.C. By 1814, he had appeared many times before the Supreme Court, and had been appointed the United States District Attorney. During the War of 1812, Dr. William Beanes, a close friend of Key ' s, was taken prisoner by the British. Since Key was a well-known lawyer, he was asked to assist in efforts to get Dr. Beanes released. Knowing that the British were in the Chesapeake Bay, Key left for Baltimore. There he was to meet with Colonel John Skinner, a government agent who arranged for prisoner exchanges. Together, they set out on a small boat to meet the Royal Navy. Onboard the british flagship, the officers were very kind to Key and Skinner. They agreed to release Dr. Beanes. However, the three men were not permitted to return to Baltimore until after the bombardment of Fort McHenry. After 25 hours of continuous bombing, the British decided to leave since they were unable to destroy that fort as they had hoped. Realizing that the British has ceased the attack. Key looked toward the fort to see if the flag was still there. To his relief, the flag was stil flying! Quickly, he wrote down the words to a poem which was soon handed out as a handbill under the title. " Defense of Fort McHenry. " Later, the words were set to music and renamed " The Star Spangled Banner. " This became a popular song and in 1931 it became our national anthem.

Page 9 text:

â– wiuKr-BWiU! USS FORT MCHENRY 1983-1992 USS FORT MCHENRY (LSD-43) is the third Amphibious Dock Landing Ship built by Lockheed Shipbuilding Company in Seattle, Washington, and the third WHIDBEY ISLAND class LSD to be built. In August, 1985, the Secretary of the Navy assigned the name FORT MCHENRY to LSD-43. The ship is named for the national monument located in Baltimore, Maryland, the scene of the successful defense of that port against a British naval assault in September, 1814. The fort stood firm in American hands after a massive naval bombardment. Its defense inspired Francis Scott Key ' s immortal " Star Spangled Banner, " which eventually became our National Anthem. FORT MCHENRY ' s keel was laid 10 June 1983 and the ship was launched on February, 1986. The Honorable Helen D Bentley was the sponsor for FORT MCHENRY ' s christening and launching ceremony. Mrs. Bentley is a member of the United States House of Representatives, 2nd Division, State of Maryland. Commissioning took place in Seattle, Washington at Lockheed Shipyard Corporation on 8 August, 1987, where the ship joined the amphibious forces of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. FORT MCHENRY started 1988 conducting Amphibious Refresher Training, and during the following six months, she was involved in an extremely intense operational schedule on order to get ready for her first deployment. On 16 June, 1988, FORT MCHENRY got underway, under the tactical command of COMPHIBRON THREE, for her maiden six month deployment to the Western Pacific, returning to San Diego on 16 December, 1988. FORT MCHENRY completed a mini- deployment to Prince William Sound, Alaska, from 28 April to 22 June, 1989, where she helped the Coast Guard in support of the Alaskan Oil Spill Cleanup Operation. In recognition of her services to the operation, the crew was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Coast Guard ' s Special Operations Service Ribbon. FORT MCHENRY also completed a port visit to Seattle, Washington from 28 July to 11 August, 1989, participating in the annual Seattle Sea Fair festivities. On 29 August, 1989, command of FORT MCHENRY changed hands as CDR James A. Hayes relieved CDR George S. Rhodes as Commanding Officer. The first six months of 1990 were extremely busy as FORT MCHENRY trained and operated at an intense pace. During this period, her training evolutions included a Training Readiness Evaluation, Refresher Training, Amphibious Refresher Training, an Operational Propulsion Plant examination, a major amphibious exercise- Kernel Usher 90-1, and a one-day Dependent ' s Cruise. FORT MCHENRY got underway on 20 June, 1990, under the tactical command of COMPHIBRON FIVE for what was to have been a routine six-month deployment to the Western Pacific. World events altered FORT MCHENRY ' s deployment schedule by evolving it into a 10-month Desert Shield Desert Storm deployment. Following Iraq ' s invasion of Kuwait in August, 1990, FORT MCHENRY spent three months in the North Arabian Sea in support of Operation Desert Shield, and three months in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Storm. She returned to her homeport of San Diego on 17 April, 1991. During this time the crew was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, with two bronze stars, and the Kuwaiti Liberation Medal. USS FORT MCHENRY, part of the " ARG of Choice " was informed that a regularly scheduled drydock period would be shortened to get underway for another deployment. After eight months of long hours and hard work, the USS FORT MCHENRY was ready for another 6-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf. During this time command of the FORT MCHENRY was passed from CDR James A. Hayes to CDR Thomas J. Anderson on 12 September 1991. On January 6, 1992 FORT MCHENRY along with USS OKINAWA, DULUTH. DURHAM and TUSCALOOSA left San Diego Bay for the WESTPAC 92. The ARG returned home on July 6, 1992. During this deployment the ship earned the Sea Service Ribbon and the Southwest Asia Service Medal with a bronze star.

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