Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ron Keen I am a retired US. Navy Boatswain's Mate First Class Petty Officer. I am writing on behalf of the newly formed USS Saint Louis (LKA-116) Veterans Organization. We represent a group of naval veterans who have served aboard the USS. Saint Louis (LKA-116) an amphibious cargo ship. She was decommissioned on November, 2, 1992 after 24 years of faithful and honorable service. She is currently stored in "mothball" at the fleet reserve facility at Pearl Harbor Hawaii, waiting for the Navy to either re-activate her or eventually strike her from her records and sell to be scrapped or made into a reef.
We feel she deserves a better fate than the scrap yard or the bottom of the sea, and believe it would be better to see her given to the City of Saint Louis and turned into a Museum and educational facility. This would not only generate historical interest but encourage revenue as a tourist attraction on the St. Louis water front. We are officially asking for the VFW's help in making this happen.
Comrades, there has not been a Navy ship on the water front since a mine sweeper on loan to the city from the US. Navy broke her moored and sank during the great flood of 1983, and we believe that she would be a real boost to the waterfront and energize tourism to the city and state. We've already begun to develop some ideas about what could be done with her, such as a living museum where patrons can go out on her for a day cruise and experience life on a Navy ship. Sleeping in a navy berthing, eating in a Navy Galley, simulate loading cargo and launching, and recovering boats as well as a movie theater in one of the cargo holds – all of which would offer opportunities to create jobs and revenue for the city and state.
Once again, Comrades, we are officially requesting your help and the resources and influence of the VFW on this project. We have already been in touch with Senator McCaskill, Congressman Akin, Congressman Carnahan, and Governor Nixon's offices as well as the Mayor's office however we believe your participation is vital to this cause.
Comrades, please fined the following background and historical information about our beloved ship below:
Charleston Class Amphibious Cargo Ship: " Laid down, 3 April 1968, as AKA-116, at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock, Co., Newport News, VA. " Re-designated LKA-116, 1 January 1969 " Launched, 4 January 1969 " Commissioned USS St Louis (LKA-116), 22 November 1969 " During the Vietnam War St. Louis (LKA-116) participated in the following campaigns: ? Campaigns and Dates Campaigns and Dates Vietnamese Counteroffensive – Phase II
20 to 29 August 1970
10 to 14 October 1970
28 December 1970 to 3 January 1971
30 January to 3 February 1971
23 to 25 February 1971
8 to 12 March 1971 Vietnam Ceasefire
27 April to 28 May 1972
9 June to 2 July 1972
10 July to 24 August 1972
16 to 20 September 1972
29 September to 1 October 1972
6 to 20 October 1972
" Decommissioned, 2 November 1992 " Laid up at the Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility (NISMF) in Maintenance Category B, as of July 2011 Specifications: " Displacement 8,368 t.(lt) 18,600 t.(fl)
" Length 575' 6"
" Beam 82'
" Draft 25' 5"
" Speed 20 kts.
" Armament four twin 3"/50 dual purpose gun mounts
" Complement 50 Officers, 592 Enlisted
" Boats 18 landing craft
" Propulsion single shaft with geared turbine machinery, shp 22,000
Awards: " St. Louis earned two campaign stars for service during the Vietnam War
" St. Louis earned armed forces expeditionary medal for Persian Gulf Operations 1987 in support of oil tanker escort operations during Iran / Iraq war.
Here's a little known fact Mr. Antwan Fisher, the same one portrayed in the Denzel Washington movie of the same name also served on the USS St. Louis in the 1980's.
Comrades, as you can see she served her country with distinction and brought honor and pride to the wonderful City she was named after. We are asking you to please help us save our ship.
On behalf of all the men that sailed her from commissioning to de-commissioning we thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely, Ron Keen
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USS Saint Louis (LKA-116) Veterans Organization