USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3) - formerly PHILIPPINE SEA - decommissioned - sunk as a target -
BELLEAU WOOD was the third ship in the TARAWA - class and the first amphibious assault ship homeported outside the United States. In 2000, the BELLEAU WOOD was relieved by the USS ESSEX (LHD 2) which became the new forward deployed amphibious assault ship in Sasebo, Japan. Decommissioned on October 28, 2005, the USS BELLEAU WOOD spent the following months at the Naval Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility at Pearl Harbor, Hi. On July 13, 2006, the BELLEAU WOOD - which was the first TARAWA - class amphibious assault ship to be decommiss
August 1982 marked the ship's second deployment where she participated in four major amphibious exercises in the Philippines, Thailand, Somalia, and Australia - including Valiant Usher; Team Spirit and Jade Tiger 83 and eleven port visits. Ports visited were Honolulu, Hawaii (2 times); Hong Kong; Subic Bay, Philippines (2 times); Singapore (2 times); Phuket, Thailand; Diego Garcia; Barbara, Somalia; and Perth, Australia. The ship returned to San Diego in February 1983. She went to an extensive yard period in Naval Station Long Beach for almost eight months from early March to late October 1983. Her third successful deployment ran from January 1984. Belleau Wood joined numerous major amphibious exercises in Hawaii, Korea and the Philippines. The ship visited twelve ports uncluding Honolulu, Hong Kong, Subic Bay, Philippines (2 times); Yokosuka, Japan; Singapore; Pohang and Pusan, South Korea and Phuket, Thailand.
USS Peleliu (LHA-5) was a Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy, named for the Battle of Peleliu of World War II. Entering service in 1980, she has been deployed to the Persian Gulf on several occasions, performed an evacuation of U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, operated with the INTERFET peacekeeping taskforce, participated in Pacific Partnership deployments, and provided assistance following the massive floods in Pakistan in 2010. She was decommissioned in San Diego, California on March 31, 2015. She will rest in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii alongside USS Tarawa in the inactive reserve in case of further need
The ceremony observes a mariner’s transformation from slimy Pollywog, a seaman who hasn’t crossed the equator, to trusty Shellback, also called a Son or Daughter of Neptune. It was a way for sailors to be tested for their seaworthiness.
When a ship crosses the equator, King Neptune comes aboard to exercise authority over his domain and to judge charges brought against Pollywogs that they are only posing as sailors and haven’t paid proper homage to the god of the sea.
High ranking members of the crew and those who have been Shellbacks the longest dress up in elaborate costume and each play the part of King Neptune’s court. For instance, the ship’s captain might play the part of King Neptune himself. What proceeds is a day of festivities, which builds camaraderie among the seafaring crew.