As a United States Marine Corps Veteran, I shed some tears when I found out the ship I had served on in 1996, the USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3) had been decommissioned and sunk in Hawaii after being used for target practice in July, 2006. Although the sinking of the vessel is a time-honored naval tradition, it still hurt to watch her go.  

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I served on the Belleau Wood in 1996 as apart of the 3rd FSSG (Force Service Support Group) supply regiment for about six weeks while I was stationed at Camp Kinser in Okinawa, Japan. I had some good times on the ship (as pictured above). It was my first time actually being on any type of seagoing vessel larger than a private boat in my entire life. It was truly one those experiences I would never trade for the world. The view off the ship at night, as well as in broad daylight was breathtaking. You could often see dolphins swimming in front of us.

In addition to sleeping quarters, a mess hall and other normal naval amenities, the Belleau Wood could receive Helicopters and Harrier jumpjets. The ship itself was about a third the size of an aircraft carrier. There was also a small video game arcade, a barber shop and a small MCX Store located on board as well.

Having been commissioned on September 23rd, 1978, the Belleau Wood's history will live on in memories forever.