Capital city of the island nation of Kiribati. On top of that, its just a cool name. It was the name of one of the British ships or submarines in Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October.

I've been known to use it as a pseudonym.

Lived there 1974-1976. Small and hot. Formerly a British colony, a part of the Gilbert Islands until independence in 1979, when the group became Kiribati (pronounced Ki-ri-bahss]. Liam - if you have my pale blue toy train carriage that you stole during my third birthday party out there, I'd like it back please. If global warming becomes fashionable, this nation could disappear fairly quickly as it is lacking in high ground.

This was the site of some very bloody battles in WWII between the Americans and the Japanese; hence the warships link.

The Tarawa class aircraft carrier (LHA) is used by the United States Marine Corps for amphibious assault missions. 820 feet long, 100 feet wide, and 20 stories high, it usually carries six Harrier attack planes, 12 Sea Knight helicopters, and 9 Sea Stallion helicopters: it can also carry Cobras and Hueys, as well as smaller landing boats such as the LCU and LCAC. 2,000 marines and 1,000 naval personnel make all this stuff work.

Unlike full-fledged carriers, the Tarawa is designed to support ground troops, rather than project air power. Its main purpose is to get marines to their insertion point, and serve as a platform from which they can stage their attack. Semper Fi.

The five Tarawa-class ships (USS Tarawa, Saipan, Belleau Wood, Nassau, and Peleliu) were ordered during the Vietnam War as replacements for the aging Iwo Jima class. They were commissioned in the late 1970's at Norfolk, Virginia and San Diego, California, and built by Northrop Grumman's Ingalls Shipbuilding subsidiary at a cost of $75 million each. Four more Tarawas were scheduled to go into operation, but their orders were cancelled, and the Marines filled the gap with newer Wasp-class ships.

USS Tarawa LHA-1 was named after the Battle of Tarawa in 1943, where one thousand U.S. Marines died in the defeat of a 5,000-strong Japanese garrison. It was commissioned in 1976 and nicknamed "Eagle of the Sea." Today, Tarawa is part of the PHIBRON 7 task force: it was used to land Marines during War on Iraq 2003. The Navy plans to decommission it sometime in the late 2010's.

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