Trenton III LPD-14
(LPD-14: dp. 16,913 (f.); 1. 569'; b. 105' dr. 22';
s. 31 k.; cpl. 454; trp. 1,436; a. 4 3"; cl. Austin)
The third Trenton (LPD-14) was laid down at Seattle, Wash., on 8 August 1966 by the Lockheed Shipbuilding ~ Construction Co.; launched on 3 August 1968;sponsored by Mrs. Richard J. Hughes, and commissioned on 6 March 1971, Capt. Karl R. Thiele in command.
Trenton got underway on 9 April for the east coast and reached her home port, Norfolk, Va., on 12 May. The amphibious transport dock remained in port until 1 June when she departed Hampton Roads for shakedown training out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. However, on 28 June, her shakedown cruise was interrupted when a steam valve in her number two engine room ruptured, killing four sailors instantly and severely injuring six others. The injured men were "medevaced" first to Guantanamo Bay and thence to the burn ward of the Army Hospital at Fort Sam Houston, Tex. There, two of the six subsequently died as a result of their injuries.
Trenton returned to Guantanamo Bay for interim ret pairs and then made her way back to Norfolk on one engine, arriving on 6 July. After repairs at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, she completed shakedown training off the Virginia Capes and in the Guantanamo Bay operating area. On 9 November, the ship returned to Norfolk and remained there through the end of 1971
On 17 January 1972, Trenton rounded Cape Charles and headed north to participate in Exercise " Snowy Beach." She arrived off Reid State Park, Maine, three days later and participated in the cold weather amphibious exercise until the 23d when she headed home. On 4 February, she stood out of Hampton Roads bound for the Gulf of Mexico in company with Ponce (LPD-15). The two ships reached New Orleans on 9 February and, for the next six days, served as "hotel" ships for ROTC and military participants in the Mardi Gras Festival.
Trenton returned to Norfolk on 20 February and resumed her east coast-West Indies routine. Following amphibious training at Onslow Beach, N.C., and sea trials near Norfolk, she visited the Caribbean in April with other units of Amphibious Squadron (PhibRon) 4. She then devoted the rest of the early summer to exercises and training at Onslow Beach and at Norfolk before preparing for her first Mediterranean deployment.
The ship departed Norfolk on 28 July, embarked marines at Morehead City, N.C., on the 29th, and headed across the Atlantic on the 30th. She reached Rota, Spain, on 10 August and, with the other units of PhibRon 4, was incorporated into the 6th Fleet as Task Force (TF) 61. She spent the remainder of the year and most of the first month of 1973 in the Mediterranean. During that six-month period, Trenton participated in six amphibious landing exercises (Phiblex's), most of which were conducted in cooperation with the military services of foreign nations. In September, she conducted a landing exercise at Timbakion, Crete, with units of the Italian Navy. Greek and Italian ships joined her later that month for Phiblex 3-73 conducted at Alexandroupolis, Greece. In mid-October, troops of the French Foreign Legion provided the opposition for a landing exercise at Corsica. Trenton visited Izmir, Turkey, in mid-September and, in mid-December, concluded her exercise schedule at Porto Scuda, Sardinia, with Phiblex 6-73. On 16 January 1973, she headed home; and, 10 days later, she entered the Naval Amphibious Base at Little Creek, Va.
On 1 March, Trenton shifted to the administrative command of PhibRon 10. On the 27th, she embarked marines at Morehead City and headed for Onslow Beach, where she participated in Exercise "Exotic Dancer VI." On 7 April, the warship headed south to Viequcs Island, near Puerto Rico. From 10 to 14 April Trenton joined other Navy ships in Exercise "Escort Tiger XIV," which consisted of training for disaster assistance to the island countries of the Caribbean During this Caribbean cruise, she visited Maracaibo; Venezuela, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands before embarking the marines at Vieques on 3 May. After a port visit at Ponce, Puerto Rico, Trenton carried her marines to Guantanamo Bay for a four-day exercise. On 14 May, she departed the Caribbean and, after disembarking the marines on 17 May, reached Norfolk on the 18th.
On 11 June, Trenton steamed out of Hampton Roads for northern Europe. She reached Kiel Germany, on the 22d, and, for the next week, participated in the annual "Kiel Week" naval celebration. Early in July, she visited Portsmouth, England, and, at mid-month, put into Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The amphibious transport dock bade farewell to Europe at Rotterdam on 21 July and headed back to the United States.
Trenton spent the remainder of the summer conducting drills in the Virginia capes operating area and in preparation for her second Caribbean deployment of the year. On 1 October, she shifted from PhibRon 10 to PhibRon 8. On the last day of that month, she embarked marines at Morehead City and headed south. For the remainder of the year, she cruised the Caribbean, visiting ports in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and in the Netherlands Antilles as well as conducting amphibious exercises at Vieques Island. The amphibious transport dock returned to Norfolk on 14 December.
During the first four months of 1974, Trenton conducted operations out of Little Creek and Norfolk and prepared for duty in the Mediterranean. On 10 May, she embarked marines at Morehead City and put to sea. Ten days later, she reached Rota, Spain, and joined the 6th Fleet. For the next six months' she cruised the Mediterranean, visiting ports and conducting exercises. In July, Trenton participated in the evacuation of 286 refugees from strife-torn Cyprus to Beirut, Lebanon. While with the 6th Fleet, she participated in four amphibious exercises. One-Operation "Good Friendship/Double Effect"—included ships of the Turkish Navy. On 20 October, she steamed out of Rota to return to the United States. She arrived in Norfolk on 31 October and operated in the western Atlantic through the end of 1974.
On 7 March 1975, she embarked marines at Morehead City and headed south. After an amphibious assault exercise at Onslow Beach from 8 to 10 March, she continued south to the Caribbean. During the two-month cruise, Trenton participated in four exercises, two of which—"LantReadEx 2-76" and "Rum Punch"—were held in cooperation with units of the British and Dutch navies. She returned to Norfolk on 28 April. In May, she hosted a class from the Naval War College, conducted a midshipman training cruise for the Naval Academy, and returned to Onslow Beach for joint service Exercise "Solid Shield." During the early summer,
Trenton prepared for overhaul. On 14 August, she headed north to New York, moored at the Coastal Drydock & Repair Co. on the following day, and commenced a nine-month overhaul.
On 12 May 1976, Trenton completed her overhaul and, following loadout at Little Creek, Va., she deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on 6 July for refresher training. Returning to Norfolk on 17 August, the ship's next three months was spent in preparation for a forthcoming Mediterranean deployment. On 15 November, Trenton, with embarked elements of Marine Battalion Landing Team 1/6, formed Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group 3-76 and operated with the Sixth Fleet until she returned to Norfolk on 12 May 1977.
Following post-deployment standdown which ended on 30 June, Trenton spent the remainder of 1977 conducting midshipman training cruises, engaging in amphibious exercises, and participating in COMPTUEX 3-77, which involved units of the Standing Naval Force Atlantic.
The year 1978 found Trenton embarking elements of Battalion Landing Team 1/2 and deploying to the Caribbean from 30 January to 7 March to participate in Atlantic Fleet Readiness Exercise 1-78. The succeeding four months were spent in preparations for a return to the Mediterranean. The ship, with embarked elements of Marine Battalion Landing Team 2/8, departed Morehead City on 27 July, as part of Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group 2-78. The remainder of 1978 was spent with the Sixth Fleet in that sea.