These missile cruisers were the first designed in the USA. They were contemporary with the series of Farragut and Adams missile destroyers. To justify their rank of cruisers (their standard naming was “fleet escort”), they had two Terrier anti-aircraft launchers instead of one. However they eliminated in fact the only versatile gun of the edge, not having any armament said “classic”. In itself, the Leahy were the first cruisers of this new generation dedicated to the guided missile, coexisting for a while with many “classic” cruisers, whose design dates back to the Second World War. However, in the long run, these ships were quickly rendered obsolete and modernized due to constant progress in guidance and sensors. Nine buildings were started between December 1959 and July 1960 and commissioned between August 1962 and May 1964. The class included the Leahy, Harry E Yarnell, Worden, Dale, Richmond K Turner, Gridley, England, Halsey and Reeves.
During the Viet-Nam conflict, these ships were recast to include the NTDS fire management system, the SPG-55B guidance radar coupled with the new SM-1 Standard Launchers, and two pairs of 76mm AA guns. were added. These were removed in the 1970s for the benefit of two quadruple Harpoon missile ramps, giving them the anti-ship capability they lacked. Finally, in the 80s, a second overhaul gave them the SPS49 radar, the CME SQL-32 system, and finally two Phalanx missile guns and two 12.7mm pieces. Arrived at the service limit, they began to be removed between 1993 and 1994. Most have been scrapped since.
Leahy Class missile cruiser – Author’s Illustration
|Displacement||Standard 5,150 t, 7,600 t FL|
|Dimensions||162.5 x 16.3 x 5.8m|
|Propulsion||2 shafts steam turbines, 4 B&W or Foster-Wheeler boilers, 85,000 hp|
|Armament||2×2 Terrier SAM (80), 1×8 ASROC (8), 2×2 76 mm AA, 2×3 18-in TTs (12 mk32)|
|Sensors||Radar SPS37, SPS49, 4 lines of fire SPS55, Sonar SQS23|
|Air Group||LAMPS II seasprite helicopter|
USS Leahy CG-16
Ordered to Bath Iron Works, Bath, laid down 3 December 1959, launched 1 July 1961, comp. 4 August 1962, decom. 1 October 1993, Broken up at Brownsville, 2005
USS Leahy (DLG/CG-16) was the lead ship of her class, named for Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy and commissioned as a guided missile frigate (fleet escort) DGG-16, reclassified later CG-16, or guided missile cruiser, on 30 June 1975. 1962-1976, saw her operating in the Atlantic Fleet and from 1976 to 1993 in the Pacific Fleet. She made six Mediterranean deployments with the 6th Fleet), two UNITAS, eight WestPac deployments with the 7th Fleet and she crossed the equator 12 times. Once she visited Leningrad in Russia, and operated from the Aleutian Islands to the Straits of Magellan. Her 16th deployment was across six continents. She was the longest in service of her class, 31 years, as the “Sweet 16”. She won 2 Awards for the Vietnam War (1961–1974), and one for the Gulf War (1990–1995).
USS Harry E. Yarnell CG-17
Ordered to Bath Iron Works, Bath laid down 31 May 1960, launched 9 December 1961, comp. 2 February 1963, decom. 29 October 1993, Broken up at Philadelphia, 2002
USS Harry E. Yarnell (DLG/CG-17) was named in honor of Admiral Harry E. Yarnell, originally classified as frigate and DD leader, but redesinated in 1975 as cruiser and second “double-end” (missile) Leahy-class to join the fleet. Her career was spent on the Atlantic fleet, with several Med TOD and she earned several awards. Her last mission was BALTOPS ’90, and she was the first to visit Gdynia, poland, a first US ship^after 1927.
USS Worden CG-18
Ordered to Bath Iron Works, Bath, laid down 9 September 1961, launched 2 June 1962, comp. 3 August 1963. Decom. 1 October 1993 Sunk as target, 17 June 2000
The ship entered service in 1963 and participated in the Vietnam War and foir the remainder of her career served with the Pacific Fleet. However she was posted at the end of it to Key West in florida to take part in the “war on drugs”.
USS Dale CG-19
Ordered to New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, laid down 6 September 1960, launched 28 June 1962, comp. 23 November 1963, decom. 27 September 1994, Sunk as target, 6 April 2000
USS Dale was named in honor of Commodore Richard Dale (1756–1826) and assigned Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force Pacific Fleet, making five deployments to the Western Pacific in seven years wit Vietnam TODs in 1965 and 1970, in the Gulf of Tonkin. In the 1970s she was versed to the Atlantic fleet and made several Med TOD. She earned notably Vietnam Service Medal, for several time periods between 1966 and 1970.
USS Richmond K. Turner CG-20
Ordered to New York Shipbuilding Corporation, laid down on 9 January 1961, launched on 6 April 1963, comp. 13 June 1964, decom. 13 April 1995, Sunk as target, 9 August 1998
Named after Admiral Richmond K. Turner, she served at first with the PacFleet, from HP San Diego, and started her first pacific TOD on 4 June 1965 with TF 77 in the South China Sea. She therefore took part in the Vietnam war. In the 1970s and 1980-90s however she served with the Atlantic fleet, 6th fleet in the Med and Middle East.
USS Gridley CG-21
Ordered to Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company, Seattle, laid down 15 July 1960, launched 31 July 1961, comp. 25 May 1963, decom. 21 January 1994, Broken up at Brownsville, 2005
Named after Charles Vernon Gridley, which was with Admiral George Dewey’s force at the Battle of Manila Bay on 1 May 1898, she served at first with the Pacific fleet with tours of duty in Vietnam, and later in the Persian gulf and middle east.
USS England CG-22
Ordered to Todd Shipyards, San Pedro, laid down 4 October 1960, launched 6 March 1962, comm. 7 December 1963, decom. 21 January 1994, BU at Brownsville, 2004.
Named in honor of Ensign John C. England, a Missouri born (December 1920) Naval Reserve sailor on 6 September 1940 and ensign on 6 June 1941 and on the battleship Oklahoma, saving others aboard during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The cruiser served and she served in every major Pacific engagement from Vietnam to Desert Storm.
USS Halsey CG-23
Ordered to San Francisco Naval Shipyard, laid down 26 August 1960, launched 15 January 1962, comp. 20 July 1963, decom. 28 January 1994, Broken up at Brownsville, 2003.
Named in honor of Fleet Admiral William Halsey, she served with the Pacific fleet and saw action in Vietnam.
USS Reeves CG-24
USS Reeves was named after Joseph Mason Reeves, a United States Navy admiral who served in various leadership positions during his career, and Commander-in-Chief of the US Fleet, 1934–1936). She was commissioned on November 15, 1964. One of the most notable incidents involving the USS Reeves occurred in 1981 when it collided with the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) during a night exercise in the Indian Ocean. The collision resulted in a fire and significant damage to both ships. USS Reeves was repaired and remained in service until it was decommissioned on November 12, 1993. After her decommissioning, she was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register and subsequently sunk as a target during a training exercise. The sinking took place on May 31, 2001, in the Pacific Ocean.