Save the USS Saint Louis (LKA-116)

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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Acting President

USS Saint Louis (LKA-116) Veterans Organization

32 thoughts on “Save the USS Saint Louis (LKA-116)

  1. would love to see the ship saved and see her again i served on her from 1981-1984 good luck

  2. Wesley Duncan says:

    I served on her from 85 to 87 while she was in sasebo japan,i would love to be able to go back on her one more time

  3. carlos rivera says:

    Please save the USS Saint Louis LK a 116 I served on her from 1970-1972 I would like to see her 1 more time

  4. I served on her from Nov 90 -until decommissioning. It is my personnal belief that becoming a museum is the only way from the Mighty Lou from becoming a reef or razor.

  5. MS2 Michael George Belcher says:

    I proudly served onboard the Lucky Lou from Dec 76-Jun 80…We did not see action durring my Tour but, we were ready at a moments notice. I beleive durring WesPac 79 off Japan durring one Excersise we moved all of the Marines, their gear, equipment, and all the support Cargo as they requested, non-stop and in Record Time, such a feat was not done since WWII ….I served as a Mess Specialist 2nd Class on the Mess Deck,Galley,Ward Room, and Captin’s Cook, durring training I maned the rail and helped lower the Boats as well as and Deck Hand, cross training was a must, demanded, and accepted…I would love to see the St. Louis turned over to the fine city of St. Louis…I cleaned and polished the Ships Silver from time to time that was handed down from one of the eailer vessels that beared the name and I spent mant an hour cleaning and polishing the Ship’s Bell, a fine piece of work….She is now retired in Hawaii, side by side with a Sister Ship, lonely and naked…She needs to have young men and ladies on her decks again, to go to sea again, to belch smoke and part the waters once again at 20 knots…Please, do what you can, We as Americans forge steel to bring Her to life and should maintain the life we gave…MS2 Michael Belcher USN

  6. Bruce Pollock says:

    I served on the St Louis from ’70-’73 as a Boiler Tech. and would like to see her as a museum for the St Louis water front.

  7. save the old girl what nice feeling it would be to be on the bridge again like i did many a time on board

  8. Marc Figueroa says:

    I served on the “Mighty Lou” from Oct 83′ to July 85′ in the Admin Department while forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan. The best tour I ever had. The crew was great and the people of Sasebo were the best host. I would love the opportunity to walk upon her decks once more. I live in Phoenix, AZ now but would have no problem getting to St. Louis if this project becomes a reality. GOOD LUCK!

  9. Served on her from 78-81 as a hole snipe when she was in San Diego. She would look really good down by the Arch.

  10. David A. Combs says:

    I served on the Lou from ’73 to ’76 as an EN2 in the Boat shop. I would like to be involved in trying to bring the Lou to Saint Louis. If there is anything I can do please contact me at I and two other Enginemen from the early 70’speriod are planning a ship’s reunion. Information about the reunion can be found on the USS Saint Louis Facebook page or by contacting me personally at the email address above.

  11. BIll Velier says:

    DK3 Velier, served on St.Lou from 74-77. Went on 2 West Pacs. It would be nice to see it in St. Louis on the waterfront. I have Commissioning booklets and other items to contribute.

  12. Lots of names i remember that have replied. I was a hole snipe to from 80 – 84, Lot’s of great times.

  13. BM2 I served 76-78 LCM 3 L DIV

  14. Charles Mcphail BT3 says:

    served on her 86-90 would love to see her in St. Louis. would like to take another tour on her with family, great idea!!

  15. Larry Ainsworth says:

    1972-1976 MR2

  16. Robert Wickman says:

    Served on the Lou, Jan 72 to July 73. She needs a good home. Have her in a place of honor near the St. Louis Arch…she deserves that much…

  17. BILL ANDERKIN says:

    i grew up on that ship love to help hope this happens maybe we can go to GQ and have one more 1ALPHA “AWAY ALL BOATS” 0400-0800 WATCH AT SEA NOTHING BETTER !!!!!

  18. SM2 Mark Lemon says:

    I served on board from 1985 until 1990 I loved that boat and Sasebo, Japan so much I extended onboard. From operations in Korea, Philippines, Okinawa, Thailand, Hong Kong, to the Persian Excursion. She was a fine ship. The Mighty Lou, The Shakin’ Gator, she had many nicknames and all of them remembered with fondness. I am proud to have served on her and proud to have so many shipmates that will be friends till I shake this mortal coil. I believe she has earned the honor to serve our great country again as a place of learning and remembrance in the City of St. Louis. Lets make this happen.

  19. LindseySturkie HM2 says:

    Served on board from 1982-1985 under Cpt. Wm.Gaines. Loved my ship. Best tour of duty ever. It broke my heart to read she was towed back to “san-dog” from Sasebo and placed in moth balls. I would love to see her one more time and walk the decks. A museum in St. Louis would be very fitting and honorable.

  20. I was on board the lucky lou, 80, 81, a great ship, and great crew. I was able to go on my last west pac, on her
    Please save her if possible, I was a GMG. LOVED IT.

  21. I am the guy who heard all your comments on too much roars beef. Haha

  22. And we drank beer at the Euclid Beer Inn in San diego

  23. alan m goldberg says:

    Was wondering how your effort is going.

  24. Bill Ponzi says:

    I for one would to see her saved. I served on her from 1969 to 1973 and I am a plank owner… and I would gladly give my plank to the city of St Louis… maybe all plank owners can donate there planks in a effort to save her..

  25. Michael Woerther says:

    I was a junior officer that did a 2 week reserve cruise riding the USS St. Louis from Long Beach to Pearl Harbor in Mar-Apr 1972. I have seen that the St. Louis was on the list of ships subject to Agent Orange exposure (mostly due to port visits like DaNang). Is anyone aware of the St. Louis ever transporting Agent Orange as cargo?

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