The LHD is capable of employing several different methods of loading and unloading troops, cargo and vehicles, either separately or in various combinations. Within the restrictions set forth in subsequent paragraphs loading and unloading can be accomplished at the following locations in the manner specified:

Flight Deck by helicopter, the Amphibious Aircraft Crash Crane (AACC), floating crane or pierside crane.

Hangar Deck using the deck edge aircraft elevators and a floating crane, pierside crane or the AACC.

Well Deck by LCAC in a dry well, landing craft in a wet well, landing craft/stern gate marriage to a dry well, or a terminal supplied ramp to a dry well.

Third Deck (upper vehicle stowage) via sideports using the sideport ramp or sideport cranes.

Main Deck via stores sideport using stores sideport crane.

1. Embarkation Procedures:

a. Flight Deck. Cargo and vehicles can be loaded at the flight deck using helicopters, AACC, floating crane or a pier-side crane. Troops can be loaded via helicopters.

    1. Troops. Troops debarking from helicopters will be met by troop

guides who will lead them into the island via the garage door at the top of the fixed ramp. Life preservers and cranials will be collected at this point by combat cargo personnel. Unit personnel will meet the arriving heliteam at the top of the ramp and guide them to the Hangar Bay. If troops have ammunition it will be collected in the Hangar Bay. After ammo is collected, unit personnel will guide the troops to their perspective berthing area where weapons will be stowed in the weapons stowage areas.

(2) Cargo. Cargo may be loaded aboard the ship by helicopter (internally or externally). If the cargo is loaded internally, a forklift marries to the helicopter loading ramp to receive the pallets. The forklift then travels to either one of the cargo elevators or one of the deck edge elevators. Cargo loaded externally is deposited on one of the flight deck spots and forklifted to either one of the cargo elevators or one of the deck edge elevators. Cargo destined for Holds #4, #5 or #9 can be loaded on cargo elevators #1, #3 or #5, respectively, at the flight deck level or it may be lowered on the deck edge elevators and moved to cargo elevator #5 on the hangar deck or down the ramp to cargo elevator #1, #2 or #4 on the third deck. Cargo can also be placed on the ship by the shipboard AACC, a floating crane, or a pierside crane. Since the AACC is a mobile crane, it can service the entire flight deck. Once on the flight deck, cargo can be moved by forklift to the cargo elevators or the deck edge elevators and handled as described above.

(3) Vehicles. All vehicles arriving on the flight deck are normally lowered to the hangar deck via the deck edge elevators, however, small vehicles (M151ís/FAVís) arriving on the flight deck via internal or external lift will proceed down the ship's centerline on the flight deck to the forward end of the island structure. From there they are routed via the fixed and hinged ramps to their stowage locations on the third deck or first platform. Large vehicles will proceed from the helo spot to one of the deck edge elevators and be lowered to the hangar deck. They will then proceed down the fixed ramp to their stowage locations on third deck. Vehicles may also be loaded to the flight deck via the cranes described above. When arranging for

floating or pierside crane service, it should be noted that freeboard to flight deck is 65 feet.

b. Hangar Deck. Troops, cargo, and vehicles can be loaded through the hangar deck by utilizing the deck edge elevators as access points.

(1) Troops. Troops may be embarked inport when a platform brow is connected to the deck edge elevators on the pierside of the ship. Then they proceed through the hangar deck forward to their berthing compartments.

(2) Cargo. Cargo may be embarked to the hangar deck by utilizing cranes to lift cargo to the deck edge elevators and then transporting the cargo by forklift to the desired stowage location or to the cargo elevators for further movement to the cargo holds. It should be noted that the hangar deck is 35 feet above the waterline.

(3) Vehicles. Vehicles may be embarked to the hangar in the same manner as cargo and then driven to their respective vehicle stowage areas.

c. Well Deck. Troops, cargo and vehicles can be loaded through the well using LCAC, landing craft, causeway sections, or drive-on stern ramp inport.

(1) Troops. Troops may be embarked through the well deck via landing craft in the well. If not pierside and a large number of troops are involved, then the landing craft should enter the well to discharge passengers. Once on the upper vehicle deck, troops proceed up the fixed ramp to the hangar level and then forward to their berthing compartments.

(2) Cargo. Cargo may be embarked through the well deck or sideport doors. Landing craft entering the well with cargo for monorail pickup may be positioned in any of a number of areas of the well. Once the craft is grounded, monorail cars proceed along the track system to a point over the craft and commence pick-up of pallets two at a time. When the pallets are secure under the car, they are transported to the drop-off point near elevators #2 and #4 for cargo destined for cargo/ammo magazines #4 and #5 or to a point near the port fixed ramp for forklift transport to elevator #5 or #7 for cargo destined for holds #9 or #10. Cargo may also be removed from landing craft grounded in the forward well by RT forklift and be placed near the appropriate elevator. This method of handling may be slower than that previously described depending on the type of cargo and may be required (especially in the case of outsized or heavy cargo). Limited quantities of cargo may be lifted through the sideport doors by the cranes located at each door. If pierside, cargo may be transported via the sideport ramp by forklift from the pier to the appropriate elevator.

(3) Vehicles. Vehicles may be embarked by LCAC with a dry well deck, by landing craft through the well, with the well flooded or, if sea conditions permit, a marriage between the landing craft and the stern of the ship. Causeway sections may be employed to barge ferry vehicles from the beach to the well. Additionally, if pierside berthing permits, a ramp or pontoon bridge placed between the stern (dry well) and the shore is a feasible method of loading vehicles through the well. If pier-side, vehicles which meet the height/width restrictions of the sideport doors may be embarked up a ramp placed between the pier and either door. Once aboard, vehicles are directed to their final stowage positions on the lower vehicle or upper vehicle deck. It is generally necessary to embark vehicles to be stowed in lower vehicle prior to embarking the vehicles to be stowed on the upper vehicle deck.

d. Third Deck. Troops and vehicles (5 ton and smaller) can be embarked through the sideport doors while pierside utilizing the sideport ramp. Cargo can be forklifted up the sideport ramp or picked up from the pier utilizing the cargo sideport crane, set on the third deck and then forklifted to the appropriate stowage area or cargo elevators.



e. Main Deck. Cargo, primarily fuzes and small arms ammo, can be embarked via the stores sideports, port and starboard, at frame 48 utilizing the stores sideport cranes. The cranes have a 20 foot outreach, a 55 foot lift range and a 3,000 lb. capacity. Once lifted to main deck, fuzes and small arms will be lowered to the Fuze Magazine on the innerbottom level by the Vertical Conveyor and then moved by hand onto shelves there or transferred by hand to the adjacent Small Arms Magazine.

f. Other Areas. Organizational cargo, usually designated UP & TT Line 4, destined for 02 level office spaces should be palletized for movement by forklift to elevator #5 on the hangar deck, lifted to the flight deck, then either the pallets are moved by forklift forward to frame 33, broken down and boxes hand carried to forward offices or the pallets are moved by forklift aft to frame 111 or frame 123, broken down and boxes hand carried to aft offices.

2. Debarkation Procedures:

a. Flight Deck

(1) Troops. Troops debarking via aircraft will be formed into heliteams in accordance with the Helicopter Wave Serial Assignment Table (HWSAT). Heliteams will muster in the hangar bay and draw ammunition. When ready, the team leader will report to the Combat Cargo Manifest NCO located at the top of the fixed ramp to the flight deck that the heliteam is ready. The Combat Cargo Manifest NCO will verify the manifest, ensure all heliteam personnel don life preservers and cranials (when kevlar helmets are not worn), and report the heliteam staged and ready to the Flight Deck CCA in Flight Deck Debark. Heliteams, once ready to load, will be staged on the fixed ramp to the flight deck, then they will be led to the awaiting aircraft by troop guides once directed to do so by the Flight Deck CCA. Each phase of this movement from berthing compartment to flight deck is directed and monitored from the Debark Control Center on the 06 level.

(2) Vehicles. Vehicles to be airlifted must be stowed in a position to permit access to the hangar deck via the fixed and hinged ramp system. Whenever possible, vehicles will be staged on the hangar deck prior to airlift to ensure they are prepared for air delivery and leave in the proper sequence. When required, HMMWV's and smaller vehicles are driven up the ramp from the hangar deck to the flight deck and then to the particular spot from which they will be internally or externally lifted. Larger vehicles are lifted from the hangar deck to the flight deck by the deck edge elevators.

(3) Cargo. Cargo may be moved to the flight deck for airlift in a variety of ways. From Holds #9 and #10, cargo may be moved to the hangar deck via elevators #5 and #7 and then to the flight deck via elevator #5. From Holds #4 and #5, cargo moves directly to the flight deck via elevators #1 and #3. Internal loads are then taken to the helo's by forklift. Cargo to be externally lifted is placed in nets and prepared for lift on the helo spot. Alternately, cargo may be netted on either of the lowered deck edge elevators, the elevators are raised to flight deck level and helicopters pick up the netted cargo directly from the elevator.

b. Well Deck

(1) Troops. Prior to the commencement of landing operations, all troops will be assigned to a landing serial. Troops will draw their weapons, ready their gear, and remain in their respective berthing compartments until their serial is called away. Landing serials for surface craft will be called away over the general announcing system (1MC) to report to the hangar bay. Once in the hangar bay, they will draw their ammunition for individual weapons and be staged in a designated area. The Well Deck Combat Cargo Manifest NCO will verify the manifest while the serial is still in the hangar bay. Once directed by the Well Deck Combat Cargo Assistant to do so, troop guides will

bring the serial into the upper vehicle stowage and onto the designated landing craft. Personnel assigned to pre-loaded craft (pre-boats) will draw their ammunition in the hangar bay and report directly to the upper vehicle stowage where they will be directed to their respective landing craft.

(2) Vehicles. Vehicles in vehicle stowage areas are prepared for off-load prior to commencement of assault off-load. Vehicle movement control personnel will man their Condition 1A stations and vehicle drivers will report to their respective vehicles and remove vehicle tie-downs when directed. Vehicle assistant operators or passengers will assist in placing tie-down assemblies in stowage racks on bulkheads. Vehicle operators must remain alert and in control of their vehicle at all times when chains are being removed. Vehicles will be loaded into landing craft in accordance with established priority of off-load. If pierside, vehicles not exceeding the height/width limitations of the sideport doors may be driven directly to the pier via a ramp placed at the side port.

(3) Cargo. Units are responsible for preparing their cargo for offload and coordinating the movement from the stowage location to the staging area to be loaded aboard landing craft. No tie-downs will be removed until such time as clearance is received from the Well Deck Combat Cargo Assistant. All tie-downs will be placed in designated stowage areas prior to the movement of any cargo. Cargo stowed in Holds #4 and #5 may be loaded into landing craft in the well by moving it from the holds to the monorail system pickup points on the third deck. Here, monorail cars lift two pallets at a time and proceed on the track system to where the landing craft is positioned in the well. Pallets are lowered into the craft and the monorail car returns to the pickup station. Outsized cargo stowed in upper vehicle must be moved by RT forklift from upper vehicle to craft waiting in the forward portion of the well. If pierside, cargo may be off-loaded by forklift using the sideport door ramp.


































1. Prior to embarkation all drivers should receive as much training and practice as possible in backing vehicles, especially those towing a load. The single most time consuming aspect of an off-load can well be the requirement to back a vehicle onto a landing craft. Similarly, a great deal of time can be lost during embarkation by inexperienced drivers attempting to back their vehicles onto craft from the beach.

2. While embarked, a constant effort is required to maintain vehicles in the highest possible state of readiness for debarkation. Early detection of deadlined vehicles is essential to planning and executing a smooth off-load. Common problems include dead batteries, flat tires, inoperable starter, and low power steering fluid.

3. Vehicles to be airlifted should be stowed on the port side of upper vehicle stowage. Stowage in any other area risks blockage when the time comes to debark.

4. When on-loading/off-loading at anchorage with a mix of landing craft (LCAC, LCM-8s, LCU's) use the LCAC's and LCU's for vehicles and cargo, and the LCUís and LCM-8s for troops. Ideally, you want to mobile load all baggage. This saves a lot of time loading it into landing craft, keeps it from getting wet, and allows for up to 300 troops in an LCU. For troops carrying seabags, figure 225-250 troops per LCU and 100 per LCM-8.

5. Standard 48" x 40" pallets are most compatible with the cargo handling systems. Pallets must be in good condition with two-way entry or they may cause substantial delays in the movement of cargo/ammo.

6. KEARSARGE carries 10 Days of Supply (DOS) of ammunition for a MEU (SOC) as well as itís shipís fill ammunition. All ammo magazines normally are at maximum capacity once ammo is loaded. Therefore, cargo will normally be loaded in Upper and Lower Vehicle Stowage Areas. Cargo that requires access on a routine basis requires warehousing. Due to space limitations, it is prudent to plan on loading all warehoused cargo and block stow cargo in the aft portion of the Lower Vehicle Stowage Area. MRE pallets are best stowed on the port side of the Lower Vehicle Stowage Area where they can be accessed by forklift. QuadCons are best stowed underneath the monorail maintenance station midship and in the forward port side of the Upper Vehicle Stowage Area.

7. Cargo stowed in the Upper Vehicle Stowage Area should be on-loaded prior to on-loading vehicles. In any event clear access from the well or hangar/flight deck must be maintained in order to forklift cargo into the Upper Vehicle Stowage Area.

8. Cargo to be handled by monorail and requiring special slings must be rigged with the slings prior to coming aboard. Placing these slings on the cargo prior to their arrival on board (e.g., as they are put in a landing craft on the beach) will facilitate cargo handling in the well.

9. Special care must be exercised when constructing pallets for internal airlift to ensure that the height/width restrictions of the aircraft are not exceeded and that there is nothing that can present a FOD hazard to aircraft. All cargo must be properly marked with the correct landing serial and offload priority number to ensure it is identifiable to Combat Cargo personnel on the flight deck.

10. Requests to break out cargo stowed in the holds should be submitted to the Combat Cargo Officer in writing as far in advance of the evolution as possible but not less than 48 hours prior. This is especially critical in cases involving ammunition handling.


  1. Ensure all M149 water trailers are embarked empty. The ship has the capability to fill these trailers prior to debarking with fresh potable water.
  2. Ensure that rubber hoses or rubber matting is embarked with tracked vehicles. It must be placed on the deck in Upper Vehicle Stowage to protect the deck from damage.
  3. Ensure to plan accordingly if it is desired to conduct a fresh water washdown of vehicles arriving via LCAC to wash the saltwater off. Coordinate with the Combat Cargo Officer in advance on specific requirements.

14. Past experience dictates every effort should be made to avoid stowing vehicles or cargo on the hinged ramp leading from Upper Vehicle Stowage to Lower Vehicle Stowage. Stowing on the ramp prevents forklift access to cargo stowed in the Lower Vehicle Stowage. The portside of Lower Vehicle Stowage between the bulkhead and the hinged ramp provides an excellent area to stow palletized MREís or cargo in which forflift access is desired. Not stowing vehicles on the hinged ramp allows additional flexibility to shift the load underway due to a change in the offload sequence, prioritization, deadline vehicles etc. It also allows easier access to cargo stowed in the Lower Vehicle Stowage, which is required on a daily basis, such as the aviation tools, supplies, maintenance items, etc. Additionally, this is the primary route for fire parties to enter the Lower Vehicle Stowage in order to combat a fire.