THE assault ship, U.S.S. Nassau, was anchored in the Bay of Palma yesterday.
The Nassau has taken part in support of both Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm during the first Gulf War and Operation Enduring Freedom during the most recent U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
The Nassau stands 20 stories high, measures 820 feet in length and 106 feet in width and displaces 40'000 tons of seawater when fully loaded.
Her crew is made up of 82 officers, 882 sailors and a 1'900-strong Marine Detachment and carries a wide range of aircraft and helicopters depending on the mission.
The Nassau always carried six AV-8B Harrier Attack planes accompanied by either Sea Knight, Sea Stallion and Super Cobra attack helicopters. Her two boilers are the largest ever manufactured in the U.S. Navy and can generate a total of 400 tons of steam per hour. The Nassau's keel was laid in 1975, was launched in 1978 and commissioned the following year. She was constructed using 20'000 tons of steel, 3'000 tons of aluminum, 400 miles of cable and 80 miles of pipe.
The ship has a 300-bed hospital, four operating theatres and three dental operating theatres.
President George Bush visited the ship for a Thanksgiving Service in 1990 during the Gulf War along with his wife, Barbara, General Norman Schwarzkopf and a number of members of Congress. Another interesting feature of the Nassau is that it has to stoop to pass under bridges. Its tallest mast is 221 feet above the keel but tilted the height is reduced by 23 feet.