A Steel Ship and Iron Men: Catastrophe and Courage Aboard USS IWO JIMA

By Timothy C. Cummings

The USS Iwo Jima (LPH2) underway, April 30, 1979. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

In August 1990 an international coalition led by the United States began preparations for war. Called Operation Desert Shield, it involved the coordination and prepositioning of military forces that would be deployed in Desert Storm. One warship included in the buildup was USS IWO JIMA (LPH 2). She was a 30-year old amphibious assault ship with a crew of over 700 and capable of transporting a Marine aviation squadron and landing team of over 1,500. She was dependable and deployable. Just weeks after the start of Desert Shield, she participated in maneuvers meant to confuse the Iraqi army. In late October, the ship transmitted a maintenance request to the Navy’s repair unit in the region, Ship Repair Unit Detachment Bahrain (SRU), for repairs to components in her propulsion plant which required repairs before returning to the operational theater. An item added later, which did not have to be repaired before returning to sea, was main steam valve 2MS-7, which provided steam generated from #2 boiler to a turbo service generator. IWO JIMA requested it be added “to maximize valve maintenance” and “correct a myriad of small packing and flexitallic gasket leaks”. SRU requested additional information about 2MS-7 and ship’s force personnel responded with information, a part of which indicated it was a six-inch globe valve. In reality it was a four-inch gate valve.

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Posted by on May 1st, 2014 and filed under Feature Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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