USS Fallujah: Navy to name future assault ship after iconic Iraq War battles

The USS Fallujah will be the fourth America-class landing helicopter assault ship

The U.S. Navy is naming a future America-class landing helicopter assault (LHA) ship the USS Fallujah, a nod to two of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq War.

"It is an honor to memorialize the Marines, Soldiers, and coalition partners that fought valiantly and those that sacrificed their lives during both battles of Fallujah," Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said in a press release announcing the name Tuesday. "This namesake deserves to be in the pantheon of iconic Marine Corps battles and the LHA’s unique capabilities will serve as a stark reminder to everyone around the world of the bravery, courage, and commitment to freedom displayed by those who fought in the battle."

The U.S. military fought two fierce battles in and around the Iraqi city in 2004, the first coming in April, when U.S. forces launched an effort to kill or capture insurgents who were believed to be responsible for the death of U.S. contractors. The second, which was fought between November and December, was a U.S. effort to fully retake the city.

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The US Navy's USS Tripoli (LHA-7) amphibious assault ship is seen during a port call at the Port Area in Manila on September 27, 2022.

The US Navy's USS Tripoli (LHA-7) amphibious assault ship is seen during a port call at the Port Area in Manila on September 27, 2022. (Photo by JAM STA ROSA/AFP via Getty Images)

The battles together were the bloodiest of the Iraq War for American troops, with 27 U.S. service members being killed in the April assault on the city. When U.S. forces returned for the second battle later that year, 95 Americans were killed, and another 560 were wounded. 

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"Under extraordinary odds, the Marines prevailed against a determined enemy who enjoyed all the advantages of defending in an urban area," Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David H. Berger said in the release. "The Battle of Fallujah is, and will remain, imprinted in the minds of all Marines and serves as a reminder to our Nation, and its foes, why our Marines call themselves the world’s finest."

Now the new LHA-9, an America-class amphibious assault ship, will commemorate the battle and become the fourth ship of its type.

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U.S. Marines of the Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) company of 1st Battalion 3rd Marines fire a rocket to clear houses at the site where four insurgents staged a bloody counter-attack, killing one American and wounding many others November 23, 2004, in Fallujah, Iraq.

U.S. Marines of the Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) company of 1st Battalion 3rd Marines fire a rocket to clear houses at the site where four insurgents staged a bloody counter-attack, killing one American and wounding many others November 23, 2004, in Fallujah, Iraq. (Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images)

Ingalls Shipbuilding was awarded the $2.4 billion contract to build the ship.