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Navy Decommissions USS Peleliu In San Diego Ceremony

Photo caption:

Photo credit: U.S. Navy

USS Peleliu in Subic Bay, Philippines, October 2014.

The Navy Tuesday decommissioned the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu — known as the "Iron Nickel" — in a ceremony at Naval Base San Diego.

The 820-foot-long vessel, which called San Diego and Long Beach home during its nearly 35 years of service, deployed 17 times and steamed more than 1 million nautical miles, according to the Navy. Its final deployment ended last Christmas Eve when it pulled into San Diego Bay.

The decommissioning ceremony marked an end of a career for the ship that deployed on several humanitarian and peacekeeping missions over the years, including a role in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Hundreds of former crew members and Marines transported by the ship attended the decommissioning ceremony. The ship will now be towed to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where it will join the Navy's reserve fleet.

The Peleliu, named for a Pacific island where a bloody World War II battle took place, was commissioned May 3, 1980, in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

It's the last of the Navy's five Tarawa-class amphibious assault ships to be in service. The Navy began decommissioning that class of warship in 2005.

This year, the Navy is expected to replace them with America-class amphibious assault ships, which are designed to carry helicopters and other small aircraft that can help transport troops from ship to shore more easily.

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