will be in San Juan from May 8 to 12.

We will visit the ship on May 11.

We have secured a group rate at the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel and Casino. The hotel is conveniently located directly across the street from the Port of San Juan. At this time we have 10 rooms blocked, and may request more if needed. The rate at this time is guaranteed for the first 10 rooms.  Additional nights will be offered at the same rate,

Rooms will be offered at a rate of $129.00 plus applicable hotel fees/taxes, for either a Traditional King or a Deluxe Double. An extra person charge of $30 per night will apply for double occupancy.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The cut-off date for this room block is APRIL 20, 2015. Any cancellations after this date will be charged 100% of anticipated room rate/taxes and fees.

The contact person(s) for this hotel booking is either Diana Guensler, or Mary Beth Casey. We can be reached at Expedia CruiseShipCenters, (954) 349-1330. Contact emails are:

dguensler@cruiseshipcenters.com OR mbcasey@cruiseshipcenters.com.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.


Diana Guensler
Cruise & Vacation Specialist

Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Weston
302 Indian Trace
Weston, FL, 33326
Contact Us

Click for video of ship

Jack Pusel, jcpusel@msn.com, comments on the changes:

We had six twin mount 3"50 cal guns.  I see by these pictures one forward and two aft on 02 level single guns . We had no fence around flight deck . We had netting around flight deck to catch you if you fell. Just off the open bridge where three are standing is a platform that the ship fitters built to place a 50 cal machine gun while in Vietnam. I hung over the side while in Long beach and welded these on while a ship yard crane held them in place. I was a certified high pressure welder . We used I believe two inch pipe for support. We then welded the 50 cal stands to the deck. We placed two more 50 cal machine guns aft one on the top of the DC shack and another on top of the Boatswain shack. 

The video  just moves too fast for me to see more. If someone ever goes to see the Herm, go to the DC shack and look up between the old water cooling tank for water cooled guns when she was first made. Stand next to bulkhead and look up. There is a hidden door that opens to the tank. Only a few knew about this hiding place. It is where we kept pop and popcorn and sometimes beer and hard stuff. One officer knew about it as after a long day ballasting he would come to me and say Jack, I could sure use a drink. I would give him the keys and he would bring them back to me with a smile on his face. The safe in the Damage Control compartment up in the bow had a safe in it. No one knew what was in it or the combination. A couple of us spent hours with a glass listening to the safe for falling tumblers. We final figured out the combination. There was nothing in is so it became another place to store pop and popcorn or candy and money. No booze up there. I sure hope these memories don't come back to bite me. 

I was in three years nine months as Nixon gave us early outs. I never got a good conduct ribbon as you had to be in the Navy four years to get it. Army only two years. We just had to be better than the Army. Anyway this is some of the things I remember.

Another thing I remember is that just before we went to Vietnam we went to one of the ship yards where they added onto our flight deck. I can't remember which items because along that time I was at high pressure welding school with J.M. Slone. After Vietnam, we took the Aluminate (just guessing on the spelling) to the Caribbean. It was at that time the deepest diving sum in the world. We also took Sea Lab where the Aquanauts spent, I believe, six months living under water.

USA_240-animated-flag-gifsHerm ColourUSA_240-animated-flag-gifs

USS HERMITAGE was the seventh THOMASTON - class dock landing ship. Decommissioned on October 2, 1989, the HERMITAGE was leased to Brazil the same day. There, the ship was recommissioned as CEARA. On January 24, 2001, the ship was finally purchased by Brazil.

Awarded: October 14, 1954
Keel laid: April 11, 1955
Launched: June 12, 1956
Commissioned: December 14, 1956
Decommissioned: October 2, 1989
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi
Propulsion system: two 600 psi boilers, two geared turbines
Propellers: two
Length: 510 feet (155.5 meters)]
Beam: 84 feet (25.6 meters)
Draft: 19 feet (5.8 meters)
Displacement: approx. 11,300 tons full load
Speed: 22 knots
Well deck capacity three LCU or nine LCM-8 or 50 AAV
Aircraft: help platform only
Crew: Ship: 18 officers, 330 enlisted
Crew: Marine Detachment: approx. 330 Marines
Armament: two dual 3-inch/50 caliber Mk-33 gun mounts

Source: Unofficial US Navy Site


Ship's History 1956-1962

Unofficial Ship's Log 1957-1958



Walt Kabis' 1963 Med Shots

Vietnam 1967 Ship's History

Vietnam Cruise Book

Vietnam 1967 and Robert Stack

David F. Worley, USMC on Vietnam Cruise

People to People Programs 1967

San Diego to Pearl to Danang

Chronology 1968

Basic Narrative 1968

Chronology 1969

Chronology 1970

Chronology 1971

Chronology 1972

Med Cruise In Port Routine

Richard Ray's Carib 2-72 Photos

Rudy Smith's 1969 Med Shots

Jack Pusel's Memorabilia

Hermitized Gator

Smitty's 1973 Photos

Collision by Gregory Hausler

Christmas Menu

Christmas in Rota

MARG 3-84

Michael Sheridan's Photos

Plank Owners

Decommissioning Booklet I

Decommissioning Booklet II

Decommissioning Booklet III

Decommissioning Booklet IV

Decommissioning Booklet V

Decommissioning Booklet VI


High Line


2009 Reunion

2011 Reunion

2013 Reunion

Don Phillips' Med and North Atlantic Cruise Books--Part One

Don Phillips' Med and North Atlantic Cruise Books--Part Two

Third Division 1975 Cruise Book

JFK Remembered


Radio Shack

Thanksgiving 1979-1980 Med Cruise

Documenting Claims of Injury and Disability


page0_2-2 Collision


Around 1986, an LST hit the Herm off South Carolina, and put a big ding in the her bow.

page0_2 Panama 1964
Where else were we encouraged to wear white and khaki shorts. Photo courtesy  of Mr. Chadwick, the XO. Jim Cullen reports that the

"Panama deployment was known by the famous PA call "Beer on the Pier," as there was no liberty (too dangerous). The pier, on a semi-deserted U.S. Army Special Forces base (surrounded by jungle) was as far as we were allowed. Lots of beer consumed on that pier with basketball court and music (probably all Frankie Valle/Four Seasons) on the PA system."

page0_2 Hermitage in Brazil----NDD Ceara Gf-30 After 33 years of service, the Hermitage was decommissioned in 1989, sold to Brazil, where it became the Ceara.

Click for more Ceara photos on Flickr


2015 Reunion in Annapolis, Maryland.

Thank you Ted Waples for coordinating the 2013 Reunion cruise. Outstanding!


John Papalia jpapalia@mac.com
Walt Kabis
Stan Hildenbrand
Ted Waples
Roger Tatum
Aaron Finestone
Dennis Clarke


We thank C.J. and Julene DeHart for founding the Reunion and managing it for years and years of dedicated service.

Snail mail: 10097 Cleary Boulevard, No. 174, Plantation, Florida 33324

Join now. For membership email Walt Kabis.

Facebook Groups: USS Hermitage Association / U.S.S. Hermitage (LSD-34)



It was an honor to be able to start the USS Hermitage LSD-34 reunion group as we call it. We have meet so many wonderful people and enjoy seeing so much of the United States. We wish to thank the seven that are taking over and we are sure that they will do a beautiful job. Good job on the website too. All of the group will not be forgotten and we thank each one of the shipmates and wives that have made this USS Hermitage LSD-34 group possible. May God bless each of you and everyone of you!
C. J. and Julene DeHart

Click to
Aaron Finestone's photo collection