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LHA 8 Rendering

Large-deck Amphibious Ship

Ingalls has delivered 15 large-deck amphibious ships to the U.S. Navy including the Tarawa-class, LHA 1-5; the Wasp-class, LHD 1-8; and most recently the America-class, LHA 6 and LHA 7. In addition to Bougainville, Fallujah (LHA 9) is also under construction and the keel was authenticated during a ceremony in September 2023.


LHA 8 is the second ship named in honor of Bougainville Island in the Solomons. The name commemorates a successful World War II campaign enabled by close coordination between the Navy, Marine Corps and our allies. During the campaign, which lasted from 1943 to 1944, allied forced secured a strategic airfield from Japan in the northern Solomon Islands, helping the allies break the Japanese stronghold in the South Pacific.



Ship Sponsors

Bougainville and the America-class

The Americaclass is a multi-functional and versatile ship that is capable of operating in a high density, multi-threat environment as an integral member of an expeditionary strike group, an amphibious task force or an amphibious ready group.

Bougainville is the first ship in the America-class to be built with a well deck. The ship will retain aviation capabilities while adding the surface assault capability of a well deck and a larger flight deck configured for F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and MV-22 Osprey aircraft. These large-deck amphibious assault ships also include top-of-the-line medical facilities with full operating suites and triage capabilities.

LHA class ships are 844 feet long with a 106-foot beam displacing more than 44,000 tons. The gas turbine propulsion system drives the ship in excess of 22 knots. The ships can accommodate a crew of 1,204 and transport up to 1,800 troops and their equipment including carrying a Marine Expeditionary Unit, including Marine helicopters, V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and F-35B V/STOL Joint Strike Fighters.

Ellyn Dunford 1

Mrs. Ellyn S. Dunford

Sponsor and Spouse of General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Growing up in the Boston area, Mrs. Dunford graduated from Simmons College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy and moved to northern Virginia, where she met her husband, Joe Dunford. They have been married for 39 years, through 22 homes, six states, three children and numerous deployments in peacetime and war.

For almost 30 years, Mrs. Dunford was a practicing physical therapist, working the majority of her time in pediatric care. The practice gave her much insight into issues facing Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) families, children with educational special needs, and Wounded Warriors.  Her role from 2015 to 2019 as spouse of the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has broadened her exposure to and work with non-profits and government agencies working on behalf of military members and their families.

Mrs. Dunford’s current favorite role is being Nana. Her volunteer efforts include Blue Star Families, the USO, and other military serving groups, and advocating for military families.

Sponsor Kathleen 1

Mrs. Kathleen Dunford Cicchese 

Matron of Honor and Daughter of Ellyn Dunford

Kathleen was born in Boston, Massachusetts and was raised with the opportunity to live in many communities and six states as a military child.  She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Counseling at Lesley University with a specialization in Art Therapy and her Master’s degree in Social Work from Boston College with a certificate in clinical work with veterans and military families.

Kathleen currently works as a Clinical Social Worker providing psychotherapy and case management for military service members, veterans, and their families at a non-profit outpatient clinic in Boston. She resides in the Boston area with her husband Mike. 


Mrs. Laura Wiegert

Matron of Honor and Sister of Ellyn Dunford 

Laura Sartucci Wiegert was born in Connecticut and raised in the Boston area. She graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design.

After residing in Miami Florida for over 40 years and raising three children there, Laura and her husband Michael retired to Central Florida and are enjoying their new role as grandparents.

Special Guests

Kari 2
Erik Raven 1
Major Adams 1
Admiral Del Crandell 1
Admiral Thomas Anderson 1

Mrs. Kari Wilkinson

President of Ingalls Shipbuilding and Executive Vice President, HII

The Honorable Erik Raven

Under Secretary of the Navy

Major General James Adams III, USMC

Nominee for Deputy Commandant for Programs and Resources, Headquarters Marine Corps

Vice Admiral Del Crandall Jr., USN

Judge Advocate General of the Navy

Rear Admiral Thomas Anderson, USN

Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command (Acting) 

Thomas Rivers 1
Mcneal 1 1
Wint 1 2
Slaff 1
Captain Marsh 1 1

Mr. Thomas Rivers

Program Executive Officer, Ships (Acting)

Captain Cedric McNeal, USN

Amphibious Warfare Program Manager, Program Executive Office, Ships

Lieutenant Wileslie Wint, CHC, USN

Deputy Command Chaplain, NCBC Gulfport

Captain Randy Slaff, USN

Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Gulf Coast

Captain Harry Marsh, USN

Commanding Officer, Pre-Commissioning Unit Bougainville and Prospective Commanding Officer, Bougainville (LHA 8)

LHA Facts and Stats

With a typical air combat element embarked, an LHA amphibious assault ship can be equipped with:

  • 5 F-35B Joint Strike Fighters
  • 4 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters
  • 2 UH-1Y Venom attack helicopters
  • 4 CH-53E Super Sea Stallion helicopters
  • 12 MV-22 Osprey
  • 2 MH-60S Search and Rescue helicopters

Defensive weapons systems include .50 caliber machine guns, The Phalanx, Sea Sparrow and Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) anti-ship cruise missile weapon systems and decoy launchers. 

LHA 8 Milestones

  • Started Construction: Oct. 6, 2018
  • Keel Authenticated: March 14, 2019
  • Launched: September 29, 2023

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