Marinha do Brasil-NDD Ceará G-f30

Life after death:


NDD CEARA (G-30), former USS HERMITAGE (LSD-34).
Photo courtesy of Michael Flanagan.

After 33 years of service, HERMITAGE was decommissioned in 1989 and transferred to Brazil, where it served as the NDD Ceara (G-30). It is scheduled to be decommissioned on April 29, 2016.

Great ships never die. In December 2006, Captain Michael Flanagan, USNR, sailed on the former HERMITAGE. Flanagan was working for the Naval Mission at the U.S. embassy in Brasilia. His outbrief was with the Assistant Naval Attache in Rio de Janeiro. Flanagan was a visiting O6 on the Brazilian Navy command ship. He was observing the Brazilian Navy's semi-annual amphibious assault exercises. The Ceara was operating about 500 kilometers north of Rio on the Brazilian coast. This area is their equivalent of Onslow, North Carolina.

The Ceara has been used for United Nations operations, transporting army and marines (fusseliers in Portuguese) to Angola and Mozambique.

Flanagan explained, "From what I could understand, the UN uses the Brazilians in areas where Portuguese is spoken (former Portuguese colonies like Mozambique and Angola). The UN recognizes Brazil's diversity. There are a variety of ethnic backgrounds and colors in any Brazilian unit which makes for a better mix on UN missions. Did you know that the largest Japanese expatriot community in the world is in Brazil?"

Following is Mike’s email to Quarter Deck, dated 21 December 2006:

She has been involved in Angola UN ops, Mozambique UN ops and Haiti UN Ops. In January she is heading to Northern Brazil for work up there. That trip is about 2000 miles one way. Brazil is one huge country.

As far as I go....I enlisted in the Navy in 1976 specifically to be a Quartermaster with the intent to use the training to become a Merchant Marine Officer. I spent my entire enlisted time on the USS Plymouth Rock (LSD 29). Less than a month after getting out in 1980, When I got out, I joined a Military Sealift Command ship in Little Creek. When I made third mate (like Ensign or JG) I applied for a commission in one of the smaller programs in the Navy, the Merchant Marine Reserve Program. I am one of less than 5 per cent who are up through the ranks (Mustang). I received my commission at 34 and made Captain last year at the age of 56. I also sail Captain (Civilian) for military sealift command.

I was asked by a friend in the Reserve to do this job in Brazil but did not know I would be on LSD 34. The Brazilians were amazed at how well I knew the ship. She is in good shape but it is very obvious she is old. Not tired....just old.

Here are some pics.

Merry Christmas to all the Herm Guys...



Photo courtesy of Michael Flanagan.

A native of Rockland, Maine, Flanagan lives in Thomaston, Maine. Where else? The HERMITAGE was an LSD of the Thomaston class. In an email dated 22 December 2006, Flanagan said,

My civilian work is as a Master with Military Sealift Command. Two years ago I was the Chief Mate (XO) on the hospital ship Mercy after the Tsunami. The Navy and especially BUMED hopes to run a joint exercise with the Brazilian hospital ships. I really got into briefing that to the 2 star assigned to the Amphib op. A lot of these guys have done time training in the States so they know how we do business. As with most things you can't beat face to face interaction amongs operators.

"Glad to help you here...I would not have squat if I had not joined the Navy all those years ago. At the time I thought it might have been a mistake but now I see how much it has done for me.

Bon Natal as they say in Rio


You are welcome to email Mike at

Hermitage in Brazil
Photos. Google search by Walt Kabis.

Flickr photos by Victor_Brasil

NDD Ceará (G-30)
Click for Bing Map
The Flickr photos and Bing Map were submitted by Mark Slebodnik, FTG1 1973-1977,

Our sister ship, USS ALAMO (LSD-33) is now in the Brazilian Navy as the RIO DE JANEIRO
Click for ALAMO website

Ceara photos submitted by Claudio Almeida



Click for video of ship
From Caio Cezar Costa Cardoso

Jack Pusel,, 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.

Ex-Hermitage participates in Brazilian Naval Parade on 31 January 2015.

Don Kromer

After watching the video of the Herm in brazil, I believe the gun mounts, were
replaced. I did not see the 3" 50's or the Phalanx  20mm guns on port or starboard,
which were installed after we got home from Beirut 

I also believe the 3" guns are replaced  with a different type of anti aircraft armament.
The helo deck looks like the nets still fold out and down, many a peaceful nights watching the stars at sea laying in one of those nets.

I was also, at the decommissioning, at Little Creek, when the Brazilians
took her, I was MDSU-2 in school at the time, and went to say farewell, to some old 

I remember talking to the outgoing CO, and quoting"are they crazy getting rid of such a great ship" and then my request for one last walk around her   decks was denied. The  Brazilians were onboard. I said farewell to some of our old shipmates and returned to the other side of the quay wall to my new command. I will comment on this, Little Creek was like a home away from home for me. I was, always comfortable there. I know when I left there to move on I would miss it. I'm sure it has changed since this old salt seen it, it was changing when I left.

Best Wishes and my fraternal best to all my Shipmates

The Kromers