The Harpers Ferry-class class amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill, named for President James Monroe’s Aldie home, has returned home to Virginia Beach from a seven-month deployment.
Monroe, the nation’s fifth president, lived at Oak Hill, a mansion and plantation near Gilberts Corner, for 22 years. It was built in 1820, during his presidency which lasted from 1817 to 1825. It is also where he wrote the Monroe Doctrine, a policy that the United States opposed European colonization in the Americas.
The Monroe Doctrine was also the inspiration behind the ship’s motto, “Nation’s Protector.”
It is the second ship to bear the name. The previous USS Oak Hill was an Ashland-class dock landing ship, a WWII-era class of which all seven ships have been scrapped.
Today Oak Hill is a privately-owned National Historic Landmark.
The Harpers Ferry class of naval ships are dock landing, amphibious warfare ships with a well dock, meaning a deck at the rear of ship which can be flooded to admit amphibious vehicles and landing craft.
The USS Oak Hillreturned to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach on Wednesday, July15. It had departed in December, before the COVID-19 pandemic began in the U.S. According to the Navy, the sailors and Marines remained healthy while deployed, trained on the uninhabited Karan and Kurayn islands in the Arabian Gulf and an isolated location in the United Arab Emirates, and adhered strictly to Centers for Disease Control and Department ofDefense COVID-19 guidelines.
“I am tremendously proud of what the Sailors and Marines of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit accomplished during this deployment,” stated Capt. Lance Lesher, who commanded the amphibious squadron up to and through the deployment until a change of command at sea July 12. “Our team worked tirelessly to remain fully mission ready during the unprecedented challenge of a global pandemic.”