WAVY’s Navy Ship Salute is a feature on WAVY News 10 Today. Each month, in partnership with the U.S. Navy, WAVY-TV 10 will profile a different ship based at the world’s largest Navy base: Naval Station Norfolk. The series aims to better introduce our viewers to some of the largest floating taxpayer assets there are, as well as life aboard a U.S. Navy ship. Special for this month, we featured a ship at JEB Little Creek Fort Story

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — USS Oak Hill is a Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship that was first commissioned in 1996. Built at Avondale Industries in Avondale, Louisiana, it is one of two of its kind based at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek.

This is the second U.S. Navy ship named to pay homage to the Virginia home of our fifth President, James Monroe. Oak Hill is a plantation located in modern-day Aldie in Loudoun County.

“The Monroe Doctrine was penned at Oak Hill, and subsequently delivered at an 1823 congressional address which asserted that the Western Hemisphere was never to be colonized again,” the ships webpage states. “It further stated that any attempt by a European power to oppress or control any nation in the Western Hemisphere would be perceived as a direct threat to the U.S. This doctrine continues to shape our national policy, and is the inspiration for the ship’s motto: ‘Nations’ Protector’.”

USS Oak Hill is 610 feet long and has roughly 300 sailors serving onboard. She’s powered by four Colt Industries, 16-cylinder diesel engines giving her the power and capacity to carry aircraft as well as 15 amphibious assault vehicles and two M1A1 Abrams tanks below deck.

“We’re amphibious warship. Our primary mission is to embark marines and get them to the fight and deliver them to shore via helios and other landing craft,” Cmdr. John Meise said.

The ship recently returned from Fleet Week 2023 in New York City.

While the ship remains in port for availability at the moment, training is constant on board.

“Tactile Team Movements” are utilized when the ship is underway and sailors are tasked with boarding other ships in their vicinity. Sailors are outfitted with buoyant bulletproof vests and weapons.

“Possibility of Drugs and Weapons … you know we’re out to sea near the coast of Africa there are pirates down there,” Chief Tom Mirsky said.

The crews also prepare for casualty incidents in which special turnout gear must be worn. WAVY’s Brett Hall experienced a VBSS drill and helicopter training on the flight deck, during his Navy Ship Salute coverage, which you can view in the video above.

“I’m super proud to be a part of this crew,” Meise said.