First in her class, first always. The USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41) convoys U.S. Marines to combat, busting records as she sails. Acknowledge her “firsts” and the swift stealth with which the ship and crew carry out their missions with the first challenge coin made for the USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41).
Commissioned in 1985, the USS Whidbey Island was the first ship of the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ships. The class and ship are both named for the U.S. Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, tucked away just north of Seattle in Washington state. The Navy built the station during WWII to fill the need for a secure refueling and rearming station for U.S. patrol planes.
To charge combat-ready Marines into battle, the USS Whidbey Island carries a mammoth well deck specifically designed to support Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCAC). And though the ship is not equipped with resident aircraft, she bears a generous flight deck to receive helicopters and V-22 Ospreys.
In 1991, the USS Whidbey Island grabbed the title of the first amphibious vessel and largest U.S. Navy warship to patrol the Black Sea. Within that historical deployment she also claimed status as the first Navy ship to port in Burgas, Bulgaria, and the first Navy ship to visit Samsun, Turkey in more than 70 years.
Next on her notable log, the ship and crew set a record during Operation Enduring Freedom with a 7-month, 700-nautical mile amphibious operation – the greatest distance yet in military history. The crowning honor came as every sailor and Marine returned unscathed. Not yet finished with record shattering, the USS Whidbey Island and crew evacuated 817 Americans from Lebanon in 2006. This would be the largest non-combatant evacuation for the Navy since Viet Nam.
Minted in antique bronze and highlighted with bold blue enamel, this challenge coin honors the USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41) and crew. The obverse features the ship slicing through the water on her way to another monumental first. The blue of the U.S. Navy and ship’s name encircle the detailed image. The reverse depicts the USS Whidbey Island’s crest and her unofficial motto, “FIRST IN CLASS, FIRST ALWAYS!”
Each coin measures 1 3/4 inch (44mm) round in diameter.
This is a surplus NWTMint item, packaging may vary.