History of the name 'Essex'

The name Essex comes from a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East of England, and one of the home counties. It is located to the northeast of Greater London. It borders with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent to the South and London to the south west. Essex County Council is the principal local authority for much of the county, sharing functions with twelve district councils. The county town is Chelmsford. The southern Essex boroughs of Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea are governed separately as unitary authorities. It was established in antiquity and formed the eastern portion of the Kingdom of Essex. Sections of the county closer to London are part of the Metropolitan Green Belt, which prohibits development. It is the location of the regionally significant Lakeside Shopping Centre and London Stansted Airport; and the new towns of Basildon and Harlow. Many vessels have been named in honor of this land

The first ship named Essex was a British 60-gun ship. HMS Essex was launched in 1653 and was captured in the Four Days' Battle of 1666.

The second ship named Essex was a British 70-gun third-rate. This HMS Essex was launched in 1679, rebuilt 1700 and 1740, and wrecked at the battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759, an 80-year-old ship by then.

The third ship named Essex was a British 64-gun third-rate. HMS Essex was launched 1760 and sold in 1799.

The forth ship named Essex was an American 36-gun or 32-gun sailing frigate. USS Essex participated in the Quasi-War with France, the First Barbary War, and in the War of 1812, during which she was captured by the British in 1814 and served as HMS Essex until sold at public auction on 6 June 1837.

The frigate was launched on 30 September 1799 by Enos Briggs, Salem, Massachusetts, at a cost of $139,362 subscribed by the people of Salem and Essex County. On 17 December 1799 she was presented to the United States Navy and accepted by Captain Edward Preble.

With the United States involved in naval action against France on 6 January 1800, Essex, under the command of Captain Edward Preble, departed Newport, Rhode Island in company with Congress to rendezvous with a convoy of merchant ships returning from Batavia, Dutch East Indies. Shortly after commencement of her journey, Essex became the first U.S. Naval Ship to cross the Equator. Congress was dismasted only a few days out, and Essex was obliged to continue her voyage alone, making her mark as the first U.S. man-of-war to double the Cape of Good Hope, both in March and in August 1800 prior to successfully completing her convoy mission in November.

Captain William Bainbridge commanded Essex on her second cruise, whereon she sailed to the Mediterranean with the squadron of Commodore Richard Dale. Dispatched to protect American trade and seamen against depredations by the Barbary pirates, the squadron arrived at Gibraltar on 1 July 1801 and spent the ensuing year convoying American merchantmen and blockading Tripolitan ships in their ports. Following repairs at the Washington Navy Yard in 1802, Essex resumed her duties in the Mediterranean under Captain James Barron in August 1804. She participated in the Battle of Derne on 27 April 1805, and remained in those waters until the conclusion of peace terms in 1806.

Returning to the Washington Navy Yard in July, she was placed in ordinary until February 1809 when she was recommissioned for sporadic use in patrolling American waters and a single cruise to Europe.

When war was declared against Britain on 18 June, 1812, Essex, commanded by Captain David Porter, made a successful cruise to the southward. On 11 July near Bermuda she fell in with seven British (the HMS Silverside being one) transports and by moonlight engaged and took one of them as a prize. On 13 August she encountered and captured the sloop HMS Alert after an engagement. By September when she returned to New York, Essex had taken ten prizes.

Essex sailed in South Atlantic waters and along the coast of Brazil until January 1813, decimating the British whaling fleet in the Pacific. Although her crew suffered greatly from a shortage of provisions and heavy gales while rounding Cape Horn, she anchored safely at Valparaíso, Chile, on 14 March, having seized whaling schooners Elizabeth and Nereyda along the way. In the next five months, the Essex captured thirteen British whalers, including Essex Junior, (ex-Atlantic) which cruised in company with her captor to the Island of Nukahiva for repairs. Porter put his executive officer John Downes in command of that ship.

In January 1814, Essex sailed into neutral waters at Valparaíso, only to be trapped there for six weeks by the British frigate, Phoebe (36 guns) and the sloop-of-war Cherub (18 guns) under Captain James Hillyar. On 28 March 1814, Porter determined to gain the open sea, fearing the arrival of British reinforcements. Upon rounding the point, Essex lost her main top-mast to foul weather and was brought to action just north of Valparaíso. For 2½ hours, Essex, armed almost entirely with powerful, but short range carronades (which Porter had complained to the Navy about on several occasions), resisted the enemy's superior fighting power and longer gun range. A fire erupted twice aboard the Essex, at which point about fifty men abandoned the ship and swam for shore; only half of them landing. Eventually, the hopeless situation forced the frigate to surrender. The Essex suffered 58 dead and 31 missing of her crew of 154, while the British casualties were 5 dead, 10 wounded. One the crew members of the Essex present at this action was 12 year old Midshipman David Farragut, the foster son of Captain Porter, who would rise to the rank of Admiral and achieve renown during the American Civil War.

Essex was repaired and taken into the Royal Navy as HMS Essex, and in 1833 served as a prison ship at Kingston, Ireland. On 6 June 1837 she was sold at public auction. During some recent resurfacing work on the east pier of Dún Laoghaire harbor the permanent mooring anchor of the Essex was discovered embedded in the pier.

The fifth ship named Essex was a 1000-ton ironclad river gunboat of the United States Army and later United States Navy during the American Civil War. It was named for Essex County, Massachusetts. USS Essex was originally constructed in 1856 at New Albany, Indiana as a steam-powered ferry named New Era.

In September 1861 New Era was purchased by the United States Army for use in its Western Gunboat Flotilla and was modified into a 355-ton timberclad gunboat. In November 1861 USS New Era took part in an expedition up the Cumberland River. Shortly thereafter she was renamed USS Essex and received an upgrade to iron armor and various other alterations. On 11 January 1862, USS Essex engaged Confederate States Navy gunboats near Lucas Bend, Missouri. On 6 February 1862, she took part in the attack on Fort Henry, Tennessee and was badly damaged by Confederate gunfire.

Commanding officer William D. Porter upgraded his ship without official authorization into an ironclad gunboat. Under his orders she was lengthened, widened, and completely reengineered, and her appearance was changed drastically. New, more powerful, engines were put in place and she was rearmored. After her upgrade Essex took part in operations near Vicksburg, Mississippi. On 15 July 1862, USS Essex was engaged with CSS Arkansas as that ship successfully ran past the Union fleets in front of the city. On 23 July, Essex unsuccessfully attacked the Arkansas at her moorings but was repelled by the Arkansas and the shore guns under whose protection the Arkansas lay. Federal forces withdrew from Vicksburg shortly thereafter. After withdrawing, Essex joined Admiral David Farragut's squadron and was the only Federal ironclad on the lower Mississippi River. On 5 August 1862, Essex helped repel a Confederate Army attack on Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

On 6 August, the Essex once again engaged CSS Arkansas as that vessel attempted to relieve the beleaguered Confederates attacking Baton Rouge. As Essex approached, the steering mechanism of the Arkansas jammed and her crew was forced to scuttle her due to the presence of the Essex.

In October 1862 the Essex was transferred from the Army to the United States Navy. She was involved in the bombardment of Port Hudson, Louisiana and assisted during the occupation of Baton Rouge. In May–July 1863 under the command of Robert Townsend she participated in the siege and capture of Port Hudson. USS Essex took part in the Red River Campaign of March–May 1864.

In December 1864, the USS Essex was in Memphis, Tennessee. According to David Redrick, the Rear Admiral's cook, some of the boat's crew "slipped ashore at night" and "got on a spree". Boatswain William Bernard Dolen, age 33, was part of a detail sent ashore to "arrest the boys". During the arrest, he was stabbed in the right chest by a fellow seaman, and was honorably discharged for disability due to the chronicity of the wound, from which he later died in 1878.

Essex was decommissioned in July 1865. She was sold in November 1865 and reverted to the civilian name New Era. She was scrapped in 1870. USS Essex had the reputation as one of the most active gunboats on the Mississippi River, despite her relatively weak armor. It often was damaged in actions.

The sixth ship named Essex was a wooden screw steamer, was built on contract for the United States by Donald McKay at East Boston, Massachusetts; commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on 3 October 1876. USS Exxex was commanded by Commander W. S. Schley commanding; and reported to the North Atlantic Squadron.

During the following year Essex cruised to Liberia and along the west coast of Africa and in 1878-79 joined the South Atlantic Squadron. While at Monrovia, Liberia, on 31 October 1877, Ordinary Seaman John Millmore and First Class Fireman Henry Lakin Simpson rescued a shipmate from drowning, for which they were later awarded the Medal of Honor. Essex sailed on the Pacific Station from November 1881 to December 1882 and thence on the Asiatic Station for two years during which she took on board Captain S. H. Morrison and crew members of the shipwrecked Ranier. Following repairs' she returned to the Asiatic Station under command of Commander T.F. Jewell in June 1886 and in October anchored at Ponape, Caroline Islands, to afford protection to American missionaries during a native uprising. She returned to New York via the Suez Canal and was placed out of commission in May 1889.

Regarded as one of the finest ships of the fleet, Essex was designated next as a training ship. A three-month cruise with cadets at the Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1893 was followed by two lengthy tours to train naval apprentices (January 1894-April 1898, and September 1898 to December 1903.)

Essex was lent to the Ohio Naval Militia (1904–16) and served in the Ninth Naval District from 1917 to 1926. During that period she underwent a major refit, receiving new boilers and engine. The number of masts was reduced to two, and were not used as a means of propulsion. The Naval Reserve of the State of Minnesota used her as training and receiving ship from 1921 until 27 October 1930 when she was stricken from the Navy List. She was sold for scrap on 23 December 1930 and subsequently burned near Duluth: the National Register of Historic Places lists her remains.

The seventh ship named Essex was a Monmouth-class armored cruiser of the British Royal Navy. HMS Essex was built at Pembroke Dock and launched on 29 August 1901. She served in the First World War with most of her sisters, and survived to be sold for scrap on 8 November 1921. Essex was eventually broken up in Germany.

The eighth ship named Essex was an aircraft carrier, the lead ship of the 24-ship Essex class built for the United States Navy during World War II. She was the fourth US Navy ship to bear the name. Commissioned in December 1942, Essex participated in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, earning the Presidential Unit Citation and 13 battle stars. Decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, she was modernized and recommissioned in the early 1950s as an attack carrier (CVA), and then eventually became an antisubmarine aircraft carrier (CVS). In her second career she served mainly in the Atlantic, playing a role in the Cuban missile crisis. She also participated in the Korean War, earning four battle stars and the Navy Unit Commendation. She was the primary recovery carrier for the Apollo 7 space mission. She was decommissioned for the last time in 1969 and sold for scrap in 1975.

Essex was laid down on 28 April 1941 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., and launched on 31 July 1942, sponsored by Mrs. Artemus L. Gates, the wife of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air. She was commissioned on 31 December 1942 with Captain Donald B. Duncan commanding.

Following her shakedown cruise, Essex steamed to the Pacific in May 1943 to begin a succession of victories which would bring her to Tokyo Bay. Departing from Pearl Harbor, she participated with Task Force 16 (TF 16) in carrier operations against Marcus Island (31 August 1943); was designated the flagship of TF 14 and struck Wake Island (5–6 October); participated in carrier operations during the Rabaul strike (11 November 1943), along with Bunker Hill and Princeton; launched an attack with Task Group 50.3 (TG 50.3) against the Gilbert Islands where she also took part in her first amphibious assault, the landing on Tarawa Atoll (18–23 November). Refueling at sea, she cruised as flagship of TG 50.3 to attack Kwajalein (4 December). Her second amphibious assault delivered in company with TG 58.2 was against the Marshall Islands (29 January–2 February 1944).

Essex — in TG 58.2 — now joined with TG 58.1 and TG 58.3 to constitute the Fast Carrier Task Force, to launch an attack against Truk (17–18 February) during which eight Japanese ships were sunk. En route to the Mariana Islands to sever Japanese supply lines, the carrier force was detected and received a prolonged aerial attack which it repelled in a businesslike manner and then continued with the scheduled attack upon Saipan, Tinian and Guam (23 February).

After this operation, Essex proceeded to San Francisco for her single wartime overhaul. Following her overhaul, Essex became the carrier for Air Group 15, the "Fabled Fifteen," commanded by the U.S. Navy's top ace of the war, David McCampbell. She then joined carriers Wasp and San Jacinto in TG 12.1 to strike Marcus Island (19–20 May) and Wake (23 May). She deployed with TF 58 to support the occupation of the Marianas (12 June–10 August); sortied with TG 38.3 to lead an attack against the Palau Islands (6–8 September), and Mindanao (9–10 September) with enemy shipping as the main target, and remained in the area to support landings on Peleliu. On 2 October, she weathered a typhoon and four days later departed with TF 38 for the Ryukyus.

For the remainder of 1944, she continued her frontline action, participating in strikes against Okinawa (10 October), and Formosa (12–14 October), covering the Leyte landings, taking part in the Battle for Leyte Gulf (24–25 October), and continuing the search for enemy fleet units until 30 October, when she returned to Ulithi, Caroline Islands, for replenishment. She resumed the offensive and delivered attacks on Manila and the northern Philippine Islands during November. On 25 November, for the first time in her far-ranging operations and destruction to the enemy, Essex received damage. A kamikaze hit the port edge of her flight deck landing among planes gassed for takeoff, causing extensive damage, killing 15, and wounding 44.

Following quick repairs, she operated with the task force off Leyte supporting the occupation of Mindoro (14–16 December). She rode out the typhoon of 18 December and made special search for survivors afterwards. With TG 38.3, she participated in the Lingayen Gulf operations, launched strikes against Formosa, Sakishima, Okinawa, and Luzon. Entering the South China Sea in search of enemy surface forces, the task force pounded shipping and conducted strikes on Formosa, the China coast, Hainan, and Hong Kong. Essex withstood the onslaught of the third typhoon in four months (20–21 January 1945) before striking again at Formosa, Miyako-jima and Okinawa (26 January–27 January).

For the remainder of the war, she operated with TF 58, conducting attacks against the Tokyo area (16-17, and 25 February) both to neutralize the enemy's air power before the landings on Iwo Jima and to cripple the aircraft manufacturing industry. She sent support missions against Iwo Jima and neighboring islands, but from 23 March-28 May was employed primarily to support the conquest of Okinawa.
Essex being modernized, 1949.

In the closing days of the war, Essex took part in the final telling raids against the Japanese home islands (10 July–15 August). Following the surrender, she continued defensive combat air patrols until 3 September, when she was ordered to Bremerton, Washington for inactivation. On 9 January 1947, she was placed out of commission in reserve. Modernization endowed Essex with a new flight deck, and a streamlined island superstructure on 16 January 1951, when she was recommissioned, with Captain A. W. Wheelock commanding.

After a brief cruise in Hawaiian waters, she began the first of three tours in Far Eastern waters during the Korean War. She served as flagship for Carrier Division 1 (CarDiv 1) and Task Force 77. She was the first carrier to launch F2H Banshees on combat missions; on 16 September 1951, one of these planes, damaged in combat, crashed into aircraft parked on the forward flight deck causing an explosion and fire which killed seven. After repairs at Yokosuka, she returned to frontline action on 3 October to launch strikes up to the Yalu River and provide close air support for U.N. troops. Her two deployments in the Korean War were from August 1951-March 1952 and July 1952-January 1953.

On 1 December 1953, she started her final tour of the war, sailing in the East China Sea with what official U.S. Navy records describe as the "Peace Patrol". From November 1954-June 1955, she engaged in training exercises, operated for three months with the United States Seventh Fleet, assisted in the Tachen Islands evacuation, and engaged in air operations and fleet maneuvers off Okinawa.

In July 1955, Essex entered Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for repairs and extensive alterations. The SCB-125 modernization program included installation of an angled flight deck and an enclosed hurricane bow, as well as relocation of the aft elevator to the starboard deck edge. Modernization completed, she rejoined the Pacific Fleet in March 1956. For the next 14 months, the carrier operated off the West Coast, except for a six-month cruise with the 7th Fleet in the Far East. Ordered to join the Atlantic Fleet for the first time in her long career, she sailed from San Diego on 21 June 1957, rounded Cape Horn, and arrived in Mayport, Florida on 1 August.

In the fall of 1957, Essex participated as an anti-submarine carrier in the NATO exercise Strikeback and in February 1958, deployed with the 6th Fleet until May, when she shifted to the eastern Mediterranean. Alerted to the Middle East crisis on 14 July 1958, she sped to support the U.S. Peace Force landing in Beirut, Lebanon, launching reconnaissance and patrol missions until 20 August. Once again, she was ordered to proceed to Asian waters, and transited the Suez Canal to arrive in the Taiwan operational area, where she joined TF 77 in conducting flight operations before rounding the Horn and proceeding back to Mayport.

Essex joined with the 2nd Fleet and British ships in Atlantic exercises and with NATO forces in the eastern Mediterranean during the fall of 1959. In December she aided victims of a disastrous flood at Frejus, France.

In the spring of 1960, she was converted into an ASW Support Carrier and was thereafter homeported at Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Since that time she operated as the flagship of CarDiv 18 and Antisubmarine Carrier Group Three. She conducted rescue and salvage operations off the New Jersey coast for a downed blimp; cruised with midshipmen, and was deployed on NATO and CENTO exercises that took her through the Suez Canal into the Indian Ocean. Ports of call included Karachi and the British Crown Colony of Aden. In November she joined the French navy in Operation "Jet Stream".

In the fall of 1957, Essex participated as an anti-submarine carrier in the NATO exercise Strikeback and in February 1958, deployed with the 6th Fleet until May, when she shifted to the eastern Mediterranean. Alerted to the Middle East crisis on 14 July 1958, she sped to support the U.S. Peace Force landing in Beirut, Lebanon, launching reconnaissance and patrol missions until 20 August. Once again, she was ordered to proceed to Asian waters, and transited the Suez Canal to arrive in the Taiwan operational area, where she joined TF 77 in conducting flight operations before rounding the Horn and proceeding back to Mayport.

Essex joined with the 2nd Fleet and British ships in Atlantic exercises and with NATO forces in the eastern Mediterranean during the fall of 1959. In December she aided victims of a disastrous flood at Frejus, France.

In the spring of 1960, she was converted into an ASW Support Carrier and was thereafter homeported at Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Since that time she operated as the flagship of CarDiv 18 and Antisubmarine Carrier Group Three. She conducted rescue and salvage operations off the New Jersey coast for a downed blimp; cruised with midshipmen, and was deployed on NATO and CENTO exercises that took her through the Suez Canal into the Indian Ocean. Ports of call included Karachi and the British Crown Colony of Aden. In November she joined the French navy in Operation "Jet Stream".

In April 1961, Essex steamed out of Jacksonville, Florida on a two-week "routine training" cruise, purportedly to support the carrier qualification of a squadron of Navy pilots. Twelve A4D-2 Skyhawks had been loaded aboard. The pilots were from attack squadron VA-34 Blue Blasters. The A4D-2Ns were armed with 20 mm cannon, and after several days at sea all their identifying markings were crudely obscured with flat gray paint. They began flying mysterious missions day and night with at least one returning bearing battle damage. Not generally known to Essex crew was that they had been tasked to provide air support to CIA-sponsored bombers during the ill-fated Bay of Pigs Invasion. The naval aviation part of the mission was aborted by President Kennedy at the last moment and the Essex crew sworn to secrecy.[1]

Later in 1961, Essex completed a "People to People" cruise to Northern Europe with ports of call in Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Greenock, Scotland. During the Hamburg visit over one million visitors toured Essex. During her departure, Essex almost ran aground in the shallow Elbe River. On her return voyage to CONUS, she ran into a severe North Atlantic storm (January 1962) and suffered major structural damage. In early 1962, she went into drydock in the Brooklyn Navy Yard for a major overhaul.

Essex had just finished her six-month long overhaul and was at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base for sea trials when President John F. Kennedy placed a naval "quarantine" on Cuba in October 1962, in response to the discovered presence of Soviet missiles in that country (see Cuban Missile Crisis). (The word quarantine was used rather than blockade for reasons of international law—Kennedy reasoned that a blockade would be an act of war, and war had not been declared between the U.S. and Cuba.)[2] Essex spent over a month in the Caribbean as one of the US Navy ships enforcing this "quarantine", returning home just before Thanksgiving.

Essex was scheduled to be the prime recovery carrier for the ill fated Apollo 1 space mission. It was to pick up Apollo 1 astronauts north of Puerto Rico on 7 March 1967 after a 14-day spaceflight. However, the mission did not take place because on 27 January 1967, the Apollo 1's crew was killed by a flash fire in their spacecraft on LC-34 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Essex was the prime recovery carrier for the Apollo 7 mission. She recovered the Apollo 7's crew on 22 October 1968 after a splashdown north of Puerto Rico.

Essex was the main vessel on which future Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong served during the Korean War.

Essex was decommissioned on 30 June 1969. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 June 1973, and sold by the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) for scrapping on 1 June 1975.

The ninth ship named Essex was a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship built at the Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and commissioned on 17 October 1992 while moored at North Island NAS beside the Kitty Hawk (CV-63). USS Essex served as the command ship for Expeditionary Strike Group Seven led by the Commander, Task Force 76.

USS Essex conducted an arduous and highly successful training program during the spring of 1993, and from 18 August until 23 November, was undergoing upgrades, during Post Shakedown Availability, in Long Beach harbor, while her crew was at 4 section duty.

The Essex's maiden deployment was in October 1994. With the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) embarked, Essex showcased her abilities on numerous occasions. The highlight of the deployment came in January 1995, when she left the Persian Gulf to prepare for the complex task of covering the withdrawal of United Nations multinational force from Somalia in Operation United Shield. Under fire from advancing Somalis, every member of the force was successfully extracted. Essex returned to San Diego on 25 April 1995.

After a short maintenance period, Essex embarked on a vigorous workup cycle, culminating in her participation in RIMPAC ’96, a biennial, seven-nation naval exercise. On 10 October 1996, she embarked on her second Western Pacific deployment, with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (SOC) and Amphibious Squadron Five.

During the deployment, Essex participated in multinational exercises with Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, as well as Exercise Tandem Thrust ’97, an American-Australian combined exercise with over 28,000 troops, 250 aircraft and 40 ships participating.

Upon her return in April 1997, Essex again went into a short maintenance period, followed by a shortened workup cycle. She then departed for her third Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf deployment on 22 June 1998 with the 15th MEU (SOC) and Amphibious Squadron Five.

Essex participated in Exercises Sea Soldier and Red Reef, and participated in Military SALT and Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations with the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. Additionally, Essex supported Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the UN-mandated no-fly zone over southern Iraq.

On 26 July 2000, after successful completion of the largest crew swap in U.S. Navy history, Essex replaced Belleau Wood (LHA-3) and inherited the distinctive role as the Navy’s only permanently forward-deployed Amphibious Assault Ship in United States Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan.

In the role, Essex has participated in various humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations including East Timor in October and November 2001 and Foal Eagle in Korea in 2002.
LCAC entering the stern of the USS Essex.

In 2004, Essex carried the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU) to Kuwait. Along with USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49) and USS Juneau (LPD-10). Essex stayed in the Persian Gulf while the 31st MEU and the combat element 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines went into Iraq for the Battle of Fallujah. During that time, Essex went to aid in Operation Unified Assistance in Banda Aceh, Indonesia after the St. Stephen's Day 2004 Tsunami. She then returned to the Persian Gulf to embark the 31st MEU SOC and the combat element despite being in need of maintenance. After picking up the MEU and the Combat Element, the three ships returned to Okinawa, Japan. The ship had been at sea a total of 8 months.

During the 2008 Myanmar Cyclone Nargis crisis and the subsequent Operation Caring Response aid mission, the Essex and her carrier group (made up of the USS Juneau, the USS Harpers Ferry, and the USS Mustin) stood by off Burma from 13 May to 5 June, waiting for the Myanmar junta government to permit US aid to its citizens. However, in early June, with permission still not forthcoming, it was decided to put the group back on its scheduled operations.

Early in 2009, Essex completed a successful exercise Cobra Gold, which had been cut short the previous year. Essex followed this with exercise Balikatan with the Republic of the Philippines. Essex then got underway in support of exercise Talisman Saber 2009 and conducted various welldeck and flight deck evolutions in support of this joint bi-lateral exercise between the U.S. and Australian military forces.

During October 21–23, the Essex Expeditionary Strike Group provided humanitarian assistance/disaster relief to the Philippines after the Super Typhoon Juan (international name Megi) caused extensive destruction to municipalities along the eastern coast of the Province of Isabela. Despite the effort of the Essex Expeditionary Strike Group, 31st MEU, and elements of the 3rd MEB and Marine Air Group 36, no Humanitarian Service Medal and/or Philippine Presidential Unit Citation were awarded.

On the request for assistance from the Japanese government, the Navy directed the Essex to be deployed off the northeastern coast of Honshu after the massive 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. The ship was involved in relief activities in the Sea of Japan off Akita Prefecture. Helicopters from the ship helped deliver relief supplies to quake and tsunami survivors along the northeast coast of Tohoku.

The ship departed Sasebo in September 2011 for a patrol of the western Pacific. Accompanying the ship were the USS Germantown (LSD-42) and USS Denver (LPD-9)

The tenth ship named Essex was a Daedalus Class vessel. USS Essex NCC-173 was one of the first ships built specifically for Starfleet not at an Earth-based facility, being built at the new shipyard orbiting Andoria. She was put up as a training vessel in the early 23rd century and perpetually remained commissioned for a little over 150 more years, until the spaceframe was declared unsafe after major structural damage was found. USS Essex was finally decommissioned and repaired before being added to the Starfleet Museum.

The eleventh ship named Essex was a Sovereign class vessel commanded by Vice Admiral T'Lar. NCC-173-A served thirteen years. During her career she would serve during the Dominion war and later the Borg invasion of 2381 as a member of the Fourth Fleet. Later as a member of the Ninth Fleet, the vessel would meet with disaster and suffer extreme damaging making repairs impossible.

The newest ship named Essex is an Intrepid class vessel recently launched and commissioned, and now assigned to Starbase 400. Vice Admiral T'Lar is her commanding officer. This ship's career is just beginning.