USS Ponce (LPD-15)

Ponce returning to Norfolk, Virginia, after the Libyan Civil War. US Navy photo.

Laid Down
1966
Launched
1970
Commissioned
1971
Decommissioned
2017
AD/BC
AD
History

Laid down in 1966, USS Ponce (LPD-15) was an Austin-class amphibious transport dock. Ponce commissioned in 1971 and operated in the Mediterranean and Atlantic. She was deployed off Lebanon in 1984, and assisted with the evacuation of US citizens from Liberia in 1990. Ponce was deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1991, and supported relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Andrew in September, 1992. Ponce would go on to support the invasion of Iraq in 2003, following which she headed a mine countermeasures unit in the Persian Gulf. Ponce was deployed to Libya in 2011, during their civil war, and was scheduled to be decommissioned in 2012. Instead, she was converted into a mine countermeasures platform, and the prototype for the Afloat Forward Staging Base. Renumbered AFSB(I)-15, she redeployed to the Persian Gulf, and successfully tested a point-defense laser weapon system in 2014. Ponce was decommissioned in October, 2017, and is scheduled for scrapping, although Argentina has expressed interest in purchasing the ship.