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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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U.S.S. DUBUQUE. USS Dubuque (PG-17) was the name given to two United States Navy patrol combatant ships. One fought in WORLD WAR I while the other saw action in WORLD WAR II.

The first U.S.S. Dubuque was launched August 15, 1904, by Gas Engine and Power Co. and Charles L. Seabury and Co., Morris Heights, Long Island, New York. She was commissioned on June 3, 1905, and commanded by Lieutenant Commander A. F. Fechteler. She was reclassified AG-6 in 1919; IX-9, April 24, 1922; and PG-17, on November 4, 1940.

U.S.S. DUBUQUE matchbook

The Dubuque cruised from her home port of Portsmouth, New Hampshire in Atlantic coastal waters and in the Caribbean protecting American interests and citizens. She saved some Americans from attack by Cuban bandits on the night of May 18-19, 1907. The Dubuque arrived at Chicago, Illinois on June 29, 1911 and was decommissioned July 22nd for use as a training ship by the Illinois Naval Militia.

Issued on the first day of commissioning.

On August 4, 1914, the Dubuque was recommissioned and sailed three days later for Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where she was placed in commission in reserve October 3rd. She was fitted out as a mine-training ship and on July 30, 1915 returned to a fully commissioned status and was assigned to the Mining and Minesweeping Division, Atlantic Fleet. She participated in training along the Atlantic coast and after American entry into World War I in April 1917, she installed and tended submarine nets in Hampton Roads and at New London, Connecticut. She was also used to train reserve officers at the Naval Academy.

Assigned to temporary duty with the Cruiser and Transport Force, the Dubuque made three voyages between New York and Halifax, Nova Scotia, as a convoy escort between June 6th and July 14, 1917. She arrived at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands on August 3rd for duty with the French division of the Caribbean Patrol, investigating isolated harbors and inlets in the Caribbean and on the coasts of Venezuela and Colombia to prevent their use by German submarines. On December 8, 1918, she reported to the American Patrol Detachment, Atlantic Fleet, with whom she served along the East Coast until returning to Portsmouth May 6, 1919. She again went out of commission May 27, 1919.

The Dubuque was recommissioned May 25, 1922 and sailed from Portsmouth June 8th for Detroit, Michigan, where she arrived June 24th. Attached to the 9th Naval District, she took Naval Reservists on cruises from her home port of Detroit into Lakes Superior and Michigan every summer. She was placed in reduced commission November 1, 1940 and on the 14th sailed for Boston. The Dubuque was assigned to the 1st Naval District and was modernized and refitted.

Special envelope honoring the Dubuque.

The Dubuque returned to full commission July 1, 1941 and patrolled on the New England coast until October 14th. Two days later she arrived at Little Creek, Virginia to serve as gunnery practice ship for the Armed Guard School there. Throughout her second war, the Dubuque trained merchant ship armed guard crews in Chesapeake Bay. She was decommissioned September 7, 1945 and transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal December 19, 1946.


The second U.S.S. Dubuque was commissioned on September 1, 1967, in Portsmouth, Virginia. The current USS Dubuque (LPD-8), was an Austin-class amphibious transport dock. Her keel was laid down on January 25, 1965 by Ingalls Shipbuilding. She was launched on August 6, 1966 and commissioned on September 1, 1967 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia. In November 1967, the ship arrived at her first home port of San Diego, California after transiting the Panama Canal.

Special mailing.

From 1968 until 1975, Dubuque made five Western Pacific deployments that saw duty in Vietnam. In October 1968, the ship returned 14 repatriated prisoners of war to North Vietnam. From 1969 until 1971 the ship conducted ten "Keystone Cardinal" troop lifts to Okinawa as part of the "Vietnamization" of the war. From February to June of 1973 the ship operated helicopters that conducted naval mine clearance operations in Haiphong Harbor as part of Operation End Sweep. In April 1975 the ship participated in the evacuation of Saigon and the rescue of refugees fleeing South Vietnam.

On August 15, 1985 Dubuque departed San Diego for its new home port of Sasebo, Japan, where she arrived September 4, 1985. There, she joined the Seventh Fleet Overseas Family Residency Program to support the Marine Corps in the Western Pacific.

U.S. Navy U.S.S. Dubuque LPD-8 plaque

In May 1988 Dubuque deployed to the Persian Gulf and served as the control ship for mine sweeping operations to protect US-flagged tankers during the Iran–Iraq War. For its participation in this operation, the ship was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation. In 1989 the ship participated in the contingency operation to evacuate American personnel from the Philippines during a failed coup attempt.


Immediately following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, Dubuque was deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Shield. The ship functioned as the leading element of Amphibious Ready Group Bravo, which transported Marine Regimental Landing Team Four to Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia during the critical early stages of the multi-national build up.

In November 1998 Dubuque again deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of the Belleau Wood Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) on support of Operation Desert Fox.

On July 30, 1999, Dubuque was relieved by the USS Juneau (LPD-10) as part of the forward-deployed naval forces. Since then, she has been once again home ported in San Diego, California.


From June to September 1999, Dubuque participated in the first SHIP-SWAP with her sister-ship Juneau, where each ship's crew remained in their original home ports, allowing Dubuque to return to the home port of San Diego.

From September 2006 to May 2007 Dubuque was deployed with the USS Boxer (LHD-4) and the USS Comstock (LSD-19), transporting the 15th MEU to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where among other missions the ship served as a holding facility for Iraqi POWs.

The Dubuque deployed again in 2008 with the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group and participated in rescuing six mariners from a sinking vessel. The event proved the flexibility of U.S. Maritime Strategy in time of crisis or emergency.

According to the Navy Awards website, the Dubuque received one Navy Unit Commendation, four Meritorious Unit Commendations, three Battle Efficiency Awards, three Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals, three Humanitarian Service Medals and participated in countless amphibious exercises and operations throughout the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans.

In November 1987, the ship's crew of twenty-six officers and four hundred enlisted men pledged a donation of two thousand dollars toward the Tri-State Veteran's Memorial Association goal of $300,000 to construct a memorial for all veterans.

NOTE: For a video about the USS Dubuque, see: http://cityofdubuque.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=3092

USS Dubuque IX PG 17 Early 1930s, embossed seal, R.T. Brodhead CO signed
USS Dubuque IX 9 PG-17 (about 1934)
USS Dubuque IX-9 PG-17 Limited Edition 1937
May 20, 1938
USS Dubuque IX-9 PG-17 Easter Sunday 1938
USS Dubuque PG 17 Navy Day
Patrol Gunboat USS Dubuque PG-17 FDPS 1941 Naval Cover MhCachets
1941 U.S.S. Dubuque
USS Dubuque LPD-8 Launch, Pascagoula 1966
USS Dubuque LPD-8 Pascagoula 1966
USS Dubuque LPD Sept. 1, 1967
1967 Commissioning
USS Dubuque Dec. 29, 1970
USS Dubuque LPD 8 December 7, 1972 Pearl Harbor Anniversary
USS Dubuque LPD 8 October 13, 1975 Stamped Cachet
USS Dubuque LPD 8 April 11, 1977 Bicentennial Label
USS DUBUQUE LPD 8 August 2, 1983
USS Dubuque LPD-8 Flag Day, 1985
USS Dubuque LPD 89 Oct. 30, 1988
USS Dubuque LPD 89 Aug. 24, 1992
USS Dubuque LPD October 14, 1992
Amphibious Ship USS Dubuque LPD-8 Decommissioning Naval Cover MnCachets 2011
USS Dubuque LPD-8 Decommissioning Fancy Pictorial Postmark, San Diego, California, 2011