USS Leahy, Harry E Yarnell, Worden, Dale, Richmond K Turner, Gridley, England, Halsey, Reeves (DLG-16 to 25).
The Leahy class cruisers have a complicated history reflected in their successive denominations, and organizational changes in the USN. After conversion of several WW2 Baltimore and Cleveland class ships into hybrids (or full) missile cruisers from 1955 to 1961, the idea of a large class of “double ender” dedicated escort missile frigates was planned already in 1959, and nine ships (the tenth was converted to nuclear power as USS Bainbridge) built, later reclassed as destroyers leaders, and in 1975, as cruisers, although they were a bit “light” for this role. They were active until the 1990s, experiencing everything between Vietnam and the Gulf War. A complete rewrite and expansion of the 2017 post. #missilecruiser #leahyclass #ussleahy #usnavy #coldwar #vietnamwar #terrier #sm1standard
Development of a new dedicated fleet escort (cruiser)
The need for missile escorts
The 1950s saw the need for a first generation of missile armed large fleet escort, capable ot protecting an entire carrier task force, which can coordinate a combined defence, act as flagships, and dhot down tne latest generation of Soviet fast high altitude bombers, such as the Tu-95 “Bear” (1952) and later the Tu-142 “Bear-F”. However to develop a brand new generation of such cruisers, tailored to operate the “three T” (Talos, Tartar, Terrier), especially the first, was estimated to take as long as four or five years. But in 1952 a new war was looming and the USN needed such cruisers now. One solution was chosen as a shortcut, converting existing ones. There was no shortage indeed of recent ww2 Cleveland and Baltimore class ships still in service or recently decommissioned.
Thus, in 1953, conversion of the Terrier-armed hybrid Boston class commenced. Next, six Cleveland class were chosen as alternative (Talos and Terrier), the Galveston and Providence classes.
However the naval staff saw the Cleveland class ships were too light and decided to come back to Baltimore class hulls and converted six more, later curtailed to six, with the Albany class ), and this time to drop the hybridation, and created full missile conversions with the Talos and Tartar. These mixes of missiles enabled a way to compare their combined use, the Albany class being the most complex and costly missile conversions ever.
And already with the Boston class in service it was realized however that such as large cruiser was not only costlier to convert (the Albany class needed almost four years), but this large ships were also costly to maintain and had very large crews. This realization came already in 1957-58. As an alternative, the Navy also looked after a nuclear-powered escort, which became the USS Long Beach, fitted with the same radar as USS Enterprise. Like the latter she proved way too complex and costly to built and its large array a failure. So in 1958 it was clear that if more missile cruisers were needed, neither solutions were ideal. Conversions were still seen as interim ships until a brand new cruiser was designed, and this process started already in 1956.
The first dedicated missile cruisers
The idea of double-ended guided-missile launching surface ships originated at the suggestion of Admiral Sanders at the head of the Long-Range Shipbuilding and Conversion Committee which also undertook the conversion of the Albany class on the same idea. Characteristics Board Project Number 172 (SBC 172) was promulgated stating clearly “double ended missile frigates”. Two designs were studied:
–A Norfolk (DL 1) class flush deck hull based design
-A long forecastle-deck design.
The latter won over consideration of seakeeping, costs (it was simpler to built than a flush deck one) and chiefly seakeeping and stability.
Missions were aligned on the Farragut Class, focused around AAW/ASW defence of carrier task forces:
-Control aircraft from the carrier, vectoring them.
-Assume medium range anti-air missile defence with the capabilities of dealing with four bogeys at once
-Took part in the ASW defense of the task force at all ranges (missiles and torpedoes)
RIM-67 launch from a Leahy class cruiser
The design was quite radical with no 5-inch gun and so as a tradeoff, two 3-inch/50 twin mounts were placed on the superstructures’s sides amidship. This was worth ot as two launchers, four missiles made a better defense bubble, added to more missiles for a prolongated defence against staturation attacks. The core of the specifications for the admiralty board was to create ships really tailored to carry missiles, smaller, with a reduced crew and more automation, cheaper to be built in larger numbers. The best missiles at the time were not the Talos, now seen as soon obsolecent already, but the more promising RIM-2 Terrier, an intermediary medium type missile. Long range defence would still be provided by Albany class ships, also acting as flagships, that the new cruiser class were not. Ideally it was envisioned for the most prominent task forces (1st Atlantic, 6th Mediterranean, 7th Pacific) one Albany, two Leahy, four missile destroyers (Adams class or converted ships), and four ASW Frigates as an ideal format.
Started as destroyer leaders (DLG) under SBC 172
The Leahy-class were originally designated as Destroyer Leaders (DLG), not cruisers indeed, explaining why they ended smaller than the converted cruisers. Much after their entry into service, as the concept of missile destroyer evolved, their denomination cas changed through the 1975 cruiser realignment and they were reclassified as guided-missile cruisers (CG).
As a side note here, the term “SBC” often referred for USN cold war ships here is related to the acronym “Ship Characteristics Board” created in 1945 by the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OpNav) after the General Board’s previous experience with ineffective series of earlier Navy bureau miscoordinations. The SCB assigned numbers to its projects from 1946 and many would remain conceptual only, or replaced by other projects. This was more in line in what the Soviet navy did with its Proy’ekt classification and in line with NATO navies own classifications.
The Leahy and Belknap class for comparison (src navypedia)
As fleet escort(frigates) the yet unnamed vessels were designed as “double-ender” and only with the most promising Terrier (later upgraded to the Standard ER). These twin arm missile launchers were located fore and aft. At the time, still designed as frigates, they were the first not having a main gun armament for shore bombardment or classic engagements at sea. This gun was still present on destroyers though. This was quite radical as a concept but an obligation to fit the necessary missile storage, and based on the rather limited 3,500 to 4,000t design proposed at first.
One of the principal missions like the Farragut class, was take in charge both the anti-air and antisubmarine screen for carrier task forces and controlling aviation interception as well from the carrier, vectoring them to assigned targets thanks to their most advanced radar suite and Command and Control facilities. They were still not large enough to be considered as flagships, but “leaders” anyway (for destroyers). Meanwhile the designed evolved as “destroyers” and reached the 5000t standard displacement to fit in many contradictory specifications.
USS Gridley underway late 1960s
To also not waist time in design, they just recuperated the trusted propulsion plant of the Farragut class, in a modified hull, no longer flush deck, but with a return to the forecatle and knuckled “hurricane” bow reducing plunging in rough seas and keeping the forecastle dry. This kind of hull was later also adopted by the Spruance class destroyers. The forward missile launcher also needed to stay dry.
What however was new, were an expanded electrical plant to serve not only the planned electronics suite, power-hungry, but also had some room for extra power for future upgrades. The last point linked to the powerplant and unlike the Farragut, was increased endurance. Their main design innovation howere compared to the Farragut class was their use of “macks” (combined masts and stacks), more advanced than those fitted on the Albany class. These supported heavier radars without smoke interference, on an even more sturdy basis than derricks, and avoid installations of these. This was a solution to reduce stability issues as well by cutting down sources of top weight.
Final Approval and Construction
Ten ships were planned at first. They were planned FY1959 for the first batch, FY1960 and FY1961 for the second and third, while the tenth ship was cancelled in her original configuration and converted to nuclear power to test how practicable was a smaller, cheaper alternative to the USS Long Beach, based on the Leahy (see below, Bainbridge). The final plans were prepared by the technical staff of Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, lead design yard, passed on to six others below (respectively, laying down, launch, commission dates):
Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine:
-Leahy CG-16: 3 December 1959, 1 July 1961, 4 August 1962
-Harry E. Yarnell CG-17: 31 May 1960, 9 December 1961, 2 February 1963
-Worden CG-18: 9 September 1961, 2 June 1962, 3 August 1963
New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, New Jersey:
-Dale CG-19: 6 September 1960, 28 June 1962, 23 November 1963
-Richmond K. Turner CG-20: 9 January 1961, 6 April 1963, 13 June 1964
Puget Sound Bridge & Drydock, Seattle, Washington:
-Reeves CG-24: 1 July 1960, 12 May 1962, 15 May 1964
Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company, Seattle:
-Gridley CG-21: 15 July 1960, 31 July 1961, 25 May 1963
Todd Shipyards Corp., San Pedro, Cal.
-England CG-22: 4 October 1960, 6 March 1962, 7 December 1963
San Francisco Naval Shipyard, San Francisco, California:
-Halsey CG-23: 26 August 1960, 15 January 1962, 20 July 1963
Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Quincy:
-USS Bainbridge CGN-25: 5 May 1959, 15 April 1961, 6 October 1962
USS Leahy underway off San Diego, May 1978.
Hull and general design
The general design of the Leahy class was unlike anything made before. They had a very long forecastle ending aft, to the second deck missile launcher and with a semi-transom stern opening an area usable as helicopter spot (still no hangar), which was now a common feature on ships larger than destroyers. In addition the large hull with a pronounced clipper bow had fine entries but “fuller” hull shape, creating almost a parallelepipedic volume for most of the lenght. The same shame was adopted for the Belknap class and derivatives, the lenghtened Bainbridge and Truxtun. The other preculiarity was the use of a knuckle on the bow, never seen in the USN and more proper to the Royal Navy, which used it on cruisers from the interwar onwards. This feature was proper to the Leahy/Belknap series but not repeated on the later California/West Virginia classes nor Ticonderoga and Spruance.
Overview of USS England underway 27 February 1992, close to the end of her career, and considerably more capable than in 1965.
The final design as approved in 1959 stated a light displacement of c5,150 tonnnes standard and 7,800 tons fully loaded, a differences that spoke volumes about the missile weight and reserves they carried. That’s almost 3,000 tonnes of difference ! As for the hull, it was most definitely cruiser size (at least compared to a ww2 Atlanta class) with a length of 533 ft (162 m), a beam of 55 ft (17 m) and a draft of 26 ft (7.9 m).
3D profile, showing how compact was the design.
The superstructures were centered in the middle of the ship to keep less space, something alike the late WW2 cruisers redesigns, such as the Oregon City class. They freed 2/3 of the hull space for the missile, placed in the centerline with a generous arc of fire forward, between the twin Terrier and ASROC behind. In fact the bulky bridge started past the 1/3 forward sectoon of the hull.
The two forward radar FCS (one for each launcher arm) were superfiring, placed on the roof, and the forward mack followed, taller, exactly amidships and supporting the largest array as well as a secondary mast at its rear for lighter arrays and antennae.
A smaller, two deck high structure then extended further aft, down to the end of the forecastle, with the second mack, and further away the two after superfiring FCS for the aft launcher, located one deck lower for stability. The large reload system was located behind, entering the inner hull down into the forecastle and to the main deck (waterline).
Thse ships had three anchors, two on either side and one in the axis of the bow. The ASW torpedo tubes, service boats, rescue inflatable boats, RAS apparatus, cranes and extra space existed on the side of the superstructure, allowing further upgrades in the future. At the end of the day the Leahy appeared compact, well balanced and relatively aesthetic ships. This compact design also made them the smallest U.S. Navy ships ever classified as cruisers, at least in modern times.
USS Worden in high speed trials
The Leahy class repeated a classic powerplant repeated on ships of the 1950-60s, with two propellers, driven by two steam turbines, fed by four admiralty boilers providing 85,000 shp (63 MW). Top speed was 32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph) and Range was 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph).
View of the Combat Information Center (CIC) in USS Yarnell in 1967
The “double ended” configuration had many reasons, notably a better arc of fire for two twin launchers, but this practice stopped with Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) that can be stuck anywhere, regardless of the arc of fire. The fire control systems were thus easier to distribute on the ship. It was also reasoned that double-ended warship could only manage a single gun at best. This task of old school shore bombardment and defence against another ships (soon made obsolete by better antiship missiles, but still uncertain in 1960), could be devolved to the escorting destroyers or converted cruisers (Sheman, Mistcher, Farragut and Adams, even the 1975 Spruance had batteries as well as the hybrid cruisers). This classic part of the bilogy (anti-ship, anti-air) was just swapped for anti-air and ASW and all missile-based. This made the Leahy class certainly the most innovative (and risky) ship at the time.
RIM-2 Terrier Missiles
RIM-2 Terrier on a Leahy class ships, src navsource
The RIM-2 Terrier is a surface-to-air missile system that was developed by the United States in the mid-20th century. It played a significant role in the U.S. Navy’s fleet defense systems during the Cold War. The development of the RIM-2 Terrier began in the late 1940s, and it was one of the first operational surface-to-air missile systems in the world. It was primarily designed to provide defense against aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The Terrier missile system went through several variants and upgrades over the years, including Terrier, Terrier ER (Extended Range), Terrier Oriole, Terrier-Mark 7, and Terrier-Mark 10. These variants had different ranges, speed, and capabilities.
The Terrier missile system used a sloped ramp reload, twin arm launch system, fore and aft. The conveyor belt and stores were located below the weather deck.
It was a medium range missile, with several tens of miles and could engage targets at altitudes of tens of thousands of feet.
It used radar and radio command guidance to track and intercept targets with associated radar systems, four mounts fore and aft with independent channels.
There were teething issues with the Terrier. It was a very complex system using with 100 vacuum tubes and 1,000 resistors which had to function under harsh and very diverse conditions. Weighing over a ton it was supersonic speed in three seconds, captured by the radar beam right after launc and guided all the way to its target.
The RIM-2 Terrier was replaced by the Standard Missile (SM-1) after refit.
⚙ RIM-2 Terrier
|Launcher||Twin-arm, 280° traverse and 60° elevation|
|Weight||1,180 lb (540 kg), booster 1,820 lb (830 kg), total 3,000 lb (1,400 kg)|
|Size||27 ft (8.2 m) x 13.5 in (34 cm)|
|Warhead||218 lb (99 kg) frag/1kT W45 nuclear|
|Engine||Solid propellant rocket motor|
|Range||17.3 nmi (32.0 km)|
|Ceiling||80,000 ft (24,000 m)|
RUR-5A ASROC launcher
The RUR-5 ASROC (Anti-Submarine Rocket) is an anti-submarine missile system developed by the United States Navy. ASROC was first introduced in the 1960s and has gone through several upgrades and variations over the years. Its primary purpose is to launch a rocket-propelled depth charge or a torpedo from a ship or submarine to attack and destroy enemy submarines.
ASROC was installed in front of the bridge, aft of the forward Terrier ramp and reload system. Eight could be fired, no reload, from the armoured box magazine.
The missiles could aletrnatively be fitted with depth charges, or a Mark 46 torpedo.
The missiles were vectored to the located point by sonar, and the torpedo then followed its acoustic guidance to the target.
USS Gridley fires its RUR-5A ASROC in 1984
⚙ RUR-5A Missile
|Container||Full traverse/elevation 8-canister box launcher|
|Weight/size||1,073 pounds (487 kg), 14.75 ft (4.50 m) x 16.6 inches (420 mm), wspan 26+7⁄8 inches (680 mm)|
|Warhead||Mark 46 Torpedo, HE or 10 kt (42 TJ) W44 nuclear|
|Engine||Solid propellant rocket motor|
|Range||6 mi (9.7 km)|
3-in/50 Mark 33 AA Mounts
Located on either side of the superstructure aft, close to the superfiring rear FCS, and after the service boats davits, they were installed on the deck.
⚙ 3-in/50 Mark 33 specifications
|Shell||12.13 in (30.8 cm) 24 lbs. (10.9 kg)|
|Elevation/Traverse||-15°/+85° at 30°/sec and 360° at 24°/sec|
|Muzzle Velocity||2,700 fps (823 mps)|
|Antiship Range||(45°): 14,600 yards (13,350 m)|
|Rate of Fire||40 rpm automatic (28 in 1968)|
|Ceiling||(85°): 30,400 feet (9,266 m)|
324mm Mark 32 ASW Torpedo Tubes
The standard light triple ASW torpedo tubes banks, complementary to ASROC for short range but using the same acoustic Mark 46 Torpedo. They were located on the sides and rear of the of the forward superstructure on deck, close to the barriers that had a gap at this point. The rear superstructure had recesses to allow a full 360° traverse of the mounts. The bank can be pointed by an operator with electric drive and manual backup and torpedo reload was manual. Note, the Mark 46 was just introduced (1967) as these cruisers were completed. They were probably equipped prior with the Mark 44.
⚙ Mark 46 mod 0 acoustic torpedo
|Powerplant||2-speed, reciprocating external combustion (Otto fuel II)|
|Weight and size||508 lb (230 kg), 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) x 12.75 in (324 mm)|
|Warhead||PBXN-103 HE HBX-3 96.8 lb (43.9 kg)|
|Speed||40 kn (74 km/h; 46 mph)|
|Range||12,000 yd (11,000 m)|
|Exploder||Mk 19 type Mod 12 contact exploder|
|Guidance||Active/passive, homing (Helix/snake search) 123m to 3.4 miles (5.5 km)|
|Max depth||1,200 ft (370 m))|
Helicopter: SH-2 Seasprite
The Kaman SH-2 Seasprite was for decades the main ASW and SAR helicopter onboard most ships of the USN. The prototype first flew in 1959, and it was adopted from 1966, the SH-2D/F LAMPS I version being the first deployed from december 1971. Later the 2F was developed. Full post on Plane Enyclopedia.
US-2 Seasprite lands aboard USS Worden in the Gulf of Tonkin 1967
UH-2A taking off from the fantail of USS Gridley in 1964. Helicopters were used daily by the Leahy class ships operating there during SAR missions in Vietnam.
AN/SPS-39 air search radar
Hughes 1960 1MW 3D, S Band PRF 1850 Hz bw 1.1° × 2.25° pw 4 µs range 296 km (160 nmi)
AN/SPS-43 air search radar
1961 41 ft (12 m), 180 kW 2D VHF 0.2 GHz Range 250 nmi (460 km)
AN/SPS-10 surface search radar
Rayhtheon 1959 280 kW 2D, C Band PRF 650 Hz bw 1.9° × 16° pw 1.3 µs
AN/SPG-55 missile fire control radar
3D data, C-band (Tracking) or X-band (Illuminator) PRF 427 Hz, Range 300,000 yd (150 nmi)
AN/SQS-23 bow mounted sonar
1958, 20 ft, 5 kHz, range +10,000 yards
Post Refit Sensors (1980s)
AN-SLQ-32 v3 Electronic Warfare Suite (uss lake erie)
AN/SPS-48 air search radar
1966 17 ft 35 Kw 3D Frq E/F band Range 250 nmi (460 km) alt 100,000 ft (30,000 m)
AN/SPS-49 air search radar
1975 2D 24 ft 360 KW L band Range 3-256 nmi (474 km), alt 150,000 ft (45,720 m), prec 1/16 nmi range
AN/SLQ-32 electronic warfare suite
AN/SLQ-32(V)3 likely, electronic attack capability, jamming targeting radars, anti-ship missile terminal guidance radars.
Mk-36 SRBOC (chaff/decoy system)
Mark 36 Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Countermeasures Chaff and Decoy Launching System, with radar/infrared decoys (4×6 and 64 reserves)
At the end of the Viet-Nam war (1968-73) these ships experienced their first upgrade, to include the NTDS fire management system, SPG-55B guidance radar, coupled with the new SM-1 Standard Launchers, and two pairs of 76mm AA guns. were added (at last for still many officers not comfortable with the idea of missile only ships -or Pdt.Kennedy…). These were removed later in the 1970s for the two quadruple Harpoon missile ramps giving them the anti-ship capability they lacked. Finally, in the 1980s, their last overhaul (NTU program) gave them the SPS49 radar, CME SQL-32 system, and two Phalanx guns, even two close range 0.5-in M2HB HMGs. Arrived at their limit, they were decommissioned in 1993-1994 and scrapped afterwards.
1st Upgrade Programme (1967-1972)
In 1967 and 1968 USS Leahy and later Harry E. Yarnell, Worden, Gridley, England and Reeves had their two twin arm Terrier (and associated SPG-55) replaced by two Standard SM-1MR SAM (80 RIM-66) ass coated with the SPS-43 and SPG-55B radars, but also installation of the NTDS CCS
This was delayed until 1972 for USS Dale, Richmond K. Turner, Halsey.
By the late 1970s, USS Harry E. Yarnell, Richmond K. Turner, Gridley, Halsey and Reeves had their two twin 3-in/50 Mk.33 removed as well as the associated Mk 35 radars. In place, two quad canisters of Harpoon SSM (8 RGM-84A) were added as well as the LN-66 radar installed for them. This was done in the early 1980s for USS Leahy, Worden, Dale and England.
Before this in the late 1970s, USS Leahy, Worden, Dale, England received two six-tubes 20mm/76 Mk 15 Phalanx CIWS and the Mk 90 FCS radars associated.
USS Harry E. Yarnell, Richmond K. Turner, Gridley, Halsey, Reeves only received theirs in the 1980s.
2nd Upgrade, NTU Programme (1985-87)
USS Halsey in Drydock, 1990
This upgrade started in the early 1980s with their Standard SM-1MR replaced by SM-2ER and four 0.5 in/90 M2HB HMGs installed, no electronics change.
USS Harry E. Yarnell had its SQS-23 sonar replaced by a SQQ-23B PAIR sonar.
In 1987 to 1989, USS England, Leahy, Harry E. Yarnell, Dale, Worden, Richmond K. Turner had their NTU modernisation:
This including the removal of the SPS-37, SPS-39, SPS-43, SPS-10F, SPG-55B radars, WLR-1 and WLR-3 ECM suites as well as the Mk 28 decoy rocket launchers. Instead were installed one SPS-48A, the SPS-49(v)3, SPS-67, and four SPG-55C fire control radars as well as the SLQ-32(v)3 ECM suite and four new Mk 36 SRBOC decoy launchers.
In 1990 only USS Gridley and Halsey had their NTU modernisation performed the same way, and Reeves followed last on the same pattern, same year. This was not to serve them long, as they were discarded in 1993-94.
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|
The case of USS Bainbridge (CGN-25)
Laid down as a frigate, and soon modified as a nuclear-powered cruiser from the start, USS Bainbridge was called at first DLGN-25 (nuclear-powered guided missile destroyer leader), and it was changed in 1975 by CGN-25. Commissioned in 1962, she remained the only nuclear on-slip conversion of the class, and served for over 30 years in the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, and Middle East before decommissioned in 1996, just two years after the last of her sisters.
She diverged considerably in size and displacement, since basically her hull was stretched with the extra section containing the nuclear reactor installation.
Displacing 9100 tons fully loaded, she measured 565 ft (172 m) overall so ten meters more than the class. Beam and draft were the same.
Her powerplant included two General Relectric D2G type nuclear reactors for a total output of 60,000 shp as the overheated steam boilers were still there, as the Geared Turbines and same 2 propellers. To speed was a bit better at 34 kn (63 km/h; 39 mph) but of course Range was unlimited. The crew was larger, 556 with 43 Officers and 513 enlisted men.
It seems she was modernized, her Terrier removed and replaced by SM-2s but it was essentially the same (as the radar suite) as the Belknap class: 2 RIM-2 Terrier, 3-inch/50 AA, MK 112 ASROC, 2×3 12.75 in (324 mm) ASWTTs. Later the AA guns were removed for the installations of two quad Harpoon SSM and since they were longer, spaced was found for two quad armored box canisters for BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles and two Phalanx CIWS. The similar conversion was done on the tenth Belknap class. They were essentially prototypes for the California class that followed.
“A Historical Review of Cruiser Characteristics, Roles and Missions”. 05D, Naval Sea Systems Command, Department of the Navy.
Friedman, Norman (2004) , U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Illustrated Design Histories NIP; Src
Jane’s American fighting ships of the 20th century, New York, N.Y. Mallard Press, 1991.
Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane’s Fighting Ships (1970/71) p.430
Polmar, Norman “The U.S. Navy: Shipboard Radars” NIP
secretprojects.co.uk usn in the 1960s
USS Leahy CG/DLG-16
After sea trials, fixes, and shakedown in the Caribbean, USS Leahy moved from Boston on 19 September 1963 to Charleston in South Carolina as designated homeport, placing herself under command of Rear Adm. E. E. Grimm as CruDivFlot 6’s flagship. In Jacksonville area she starting extensive fleet training and was back in November and returned in the Caribbean for AA warfare exercises. On 2 January 1964 she made another Caribbean missile training until 26 February and in April took part in the amphibious exercise “Quick Kick V”. In June she joined DesRon6 astill as leader and flagship.
She joined the Mediterranean 6th Fleet on 17 July for her first oversead deployment, in Fast Carrier Task Group USS Forrestal, for fleet exercise MEDLANDEX-64 between the Baleares and Sardinia. Next she was independent training, eastern Mediterranean and joined the USN base at Naples on 22 September for FALLEX-64 and in Vovember, POOPDECK-IV (40 ships TF 60 off Spain).
Resupplied in Barcelona in 2 December she clocked 32,750 nautical miles (60,653 km) with the 6th Fleet and was back to Charleston on 22 December for restricted availability (RAV) and more test of the now already aging Terrier. She completed these in September 1965 and was sent in emergency to the Dominican Republic for a Crisis from 28 April to 7 May 1965 (Strike and Covering Force).
She started from Charleston her second Med TOD from 30 November 1965, relieving USS William V. Pratt in Majorca on 9 December and took part in many combined exercises with NATO fleets.
She was back HP on 8 April 1966. She made summer cruise with 60 midshipmen from Annapolis, visited Atlantic coast, Caribbean ports. Next she went to Souh America for UNITAS VII. She crossed the Panama Canal in September and Straits of Magellan in October for a full tour until 6 December 1966.
She started next a modernization at Philadelphia NyD from 27 January 1967 until 4 May 1968, followed extensive testing from Philadelphia on 18 August, HP Norfolk.
Her second shakedown cruise went until late 1969. She took part in UNITAS X and was back in Norfolk for Xmas. September 1970 made an emergency 3rd Med TOD in the eastern Mediterranean (Jordanian Crisis), staying there for seven months with USS Forrestal battle group, and back home in May 1971, earning a Meritorious Unit Commendation. Her 4th Med TOD started in 1972 and afterwards an overhaul at Norfolk in 1974. She stayed with USS America battle group, stopping in France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Turkey.
In 1975 she made her 6rh Med TOD after an historic trip to the Baltic and port visit of Leningrad escorted by USS Tattnall, first us warships to visit the Soviet Union since WW2, staying 5 days and she hosted some 12,300 visitors while the crew took part in numerous athletic contests with local teams, invited to a hockey game and Kirov Ballet while also visited by Elizabeth Taylor filming “The Blue Bird”. She also visited Helsinki and Portsmouth. She was in Monaco for the 4th of July celebrations with Princess Grace’s Red Cross Ball.
Redesignated CG-16 in June 1975 she was in RAV until January 1976, transferred after reorganization to the Pacific Fleet, San Diego as first HP. On 6 June 1976, she rescued 22 crewmembers from the research ship Aquasition, which sank after a fierce fire. On 1 November 1976 she was in overhaul at Long Beach for a year. She made her first WestPac TOD in July 1978, USS Constellation carrier battle group. She made port calls at Okinawa, Yokosuka, Taiwan, Singapore, Manila, Pusan, and back in February 1979.
Her 2nd WestPac started by May 1980. She visited the Arabian and joined USS Midway/Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier battle groups. In October she was in the Persian Gulf to watching over Iran. She was back in December and another overhaul in January-May 1981.
FIM-92 Stinger short range MANPAD aboard Leahy in 1988 in its ready crate on deck
She started her 3rd WestPac in March 1983 USS New Jersey Battle Group (a battleship BG). She visited the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and in 1984, was in USS Carl Vinson BG touring the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. She was in the Persian Gulf in 1985 and made her next WestPac again in 1986 with Carl Vinson, also including the Persian Gulf.
She had her last large modernization until 1988, making another WestPac after systems tests. In 1990, she hosted the Soviet Navy’s first historic trip to San Diego. In April 1991 she returned in the Persian Gulf after Operation Desert Storm. In 1992 she was with USS Kitty Hawk battle group and hekped UNOSOM relief flights to Mogadishu, Somalia (Operation Restore Hope). In early 1993, she was in the northern Persian Gulf for Operation Southern Watch, southern Iraq.
In 1993 she won her Battle “E” for combat preparedness and AAW/ASW, one of the oldest cruiser in the Navy. But her career was reaching its end.
USS Leahy was decommissioned on 1 October 1993 despite her recent upgrade, and stricken. On 8 October 1993 she was sent to the USDOT Maritime Administration and joined the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet (Benicia in Calif.) In 2004 she was towed to Rodman Naval Station, Canal Zone, then on 21 June 2004 the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Beaumont, Texas and in July 2004, to the scrapyard at Brownsville, for BU starting in August 2004 until 6 July 2005.
Her bell and builder’s plaque are now in the Naval History & Heritage Command, Franklin County Historical Society Museum, Hampton, Iowa, home of William D. Leahy as the yard’s 1/48 scale model.
USS Harry E. Yarnell CG-17
Ordered to Bath Iron Works and completed on 2 February 1963 USS Harry E. Yarnell (DLG/CG-17) (after Admiral Harry E. Yarnell) started as a frigate and then Destroyer leader, and cruiser from 1975. When fitted out at Bosto and later in sea trials she was dispatched to search for the missing USS Tresher (SSN-593) on 10 April 1963. She found the site, explored the area revealing an oil slick and debris. Homeported to NS Norfolk on 23 April, she photographed several Soviet “merchant” ships underway to Cuba. After shakedown and missile qualification she performed special acoustical tests in the Caribbean and back to Norfolk.
USS Yarnell left Norfolk on 8 September 1964 for her first Atlantic exercises with NATO and ventured far north, crossing the Arctic circle on 21 September, visiting Amsterdam when back and entering the Mediterranean, until back home by February 1965.
Her second Med TOD started 8 October and this time she crossed the Dardanelles on 3 January 1966, entering the Black Sea before returning to Norfolk in March. After NATO exercises, North Atlantic she received her first battle efficiency “E” for 1965 and by 1966 the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award, Atlantic Fleet.
She ws back at the end of the year in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, and departed for a 3rd Med TOD in 1967, cruising the Mediterranean and back in May to Norfolk. She had an overhaul at Bath, Maine, in 1969 and Boston Naval Shipyard, recommissioned and assigned to NS Newport. After scores of tests, she departed south for the July 1970 UNITAS cruise. After another sortie from Newport she sailed to San Juan in Puerto Rico to pick up the admiral for UNITAS, and crossed the Magellan Straits into the Pacific, then the Panama Canal and back to Newport.
In late 1972 she made her 4th Med TOD. While underway in the Atlantic she was shadowed and photographed up close by a KAMOV helicopter from a cruiser. She tracked soviet submarines from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Black Sea, stopping in Naples, Genoa, Venice, Nice, Mallorca, Valencia, Barcelona, Athens, Corfu, Rhodes, and Kavalla during her tour.
Her 5th Med TOD started by August 1973 and she visited Lisbon, took part in Exercise Quickshave off France, Britain and Portugal, then exchanged place with USS Dale in Rota NS. She sailed to La Palma, and became a picket, took part in Group Operations off Crete, stopping to Athens, Barcelona and Malaga when back to Rota, exchanging places with USS Leahy on 14 January and sailing back to Newport on 24 January.
USS Harry E Yarnell DLG-17 and a SH-3A Sea King escort a Soviet Whiskey-class sub, S592 c1967
This year, 1974, she entered Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for an overhaul and modernization. While off New York she ran aground and had hr ammunitions loaded at Naval Weapons Station Earle, then returned to Norfolk as HP. She made a cruise at Guantanamo Bay NS and visit Port-au-Prince, Haiti. By 19 November 1980 USS Yarnell under Cdr. Howard F. Burdick Jr joined USS Independence battle group to the Arabian sea and Indian Ocean, stopping at Mombasa, Perth and Fremantle in February 1981, back to Norfolk on 10 June 1981.
June 1990 saw RADM Thomas D. Paulson (CruDesGroup 2) aboard with USS Kauffman to visit Poland as par tof BALTOPS’90, a first Baltic Sea with recently independent Poland. She stoppad at Gdynia for a first USN visit since 1927.
She was decommissioned on 20 October 1993, stricken on 29 October 1993, sold on 14 April 1995 for BU at Quonset Point (Rhode Island), cancelled and she ended in Philadelphia scrapped until April 2002.
USS Worden CG-18
USS Worden in high speed trials as completed
Ordered to Bath Iron Works, Bath, laid down 9 September 1961, launched 2 June 1962, comp. 3 August 1963 under command of Captain Scott Lothrop. After fitting-out in Boston she started shakedown on 12 October, went to Norfolk, and departed on the 28th for her Pacific west coast HP, San Diego on 13 November. She made her sonar measurements off Seattle and became squadron flagship.
In January 1964 she tested her missiles at the Pacific Missile Range for qualifications and had a post-shakedown availability period in Long Beach by March-May.
From 18 May to 26 June she was training in San Diego, a fleet exercise on 10-17 July and by August 1964 she departed for her first Far East deployment, refueling at Midway and Guam to Subic Bay, Philippines and join the 7th Fleet, visiting Yokosuka and in Honk Kong on 1st January 1965, setting sail home by 24 January. She had a three-month restricted availability (RAV) at Long Beach.
In June 1965 she made tests and by November took part in “Range Bush”. She started her 2nd WestPac on 7 January 1966 and operations in the Gulf of Tonkin, “Tomcat” duties off Hainan Island and screening USS Ranger Battle Group.
On 19 March, she received an helicopter detachment for plane guard, SAR duties. She resupplied in Yokosuka and was back in San Diego on 10 July. After tests at the Pacific Missile Range she stayed at the Naval Station San Diego for an experiment until 1967 and “Comtuex”. Her third WestPac started on 8 April. After Japan and the Philippines she was detached to Da nang in South Vietnam, SAR station. While in Hong Kong on 13 August, a Greek freighter lost control and rammed her (light damage). After another SAR tour she went for Pearl Harbor and San Diego, 6 October 1967. In 1968 she started a yard overhaul in San Francisco, until 13 May 1968. She departed for her 4th WestPac after a refresher training and Exercise “Beat Cadence”. From the Philippines via Pearl Harbor she took part in a SAR incident and returned to Da nang, northern SAR station, then Taiwan and Japan; New Year 1969 and back to northern SAR station Da nang in January 1969, rest and back on 14 March, plus task group operations.
In April she made a cruise to Sydney and Wellington, then the American Samoa and San Diego, hosting there the Secretary of the Navy for an inspection until 30 June 1969.
After local operations in September she transited the Panama Canal to Bath, Maine, decommissioned at Bath Iron Works for a yard period and installation of NTDS and new Terrier missile directors AN/SPG-55.
This was over on 16 January 1971 and she returned to Long Beach, then tests and refresher, post-shakedown availability and new WestPac from 7 September, permanently assigned to the 7th Fleet and homeported to Yokosuka, arriving on 11 November, then “special operations” in the Sea of Japan and return to the Gulf of Tonkin via Okinawa and Subic Bay. Northern SAR station and ops. off Thanh Hoa until 11 March, Exercise “Golden Dragon” off Japan and escort for USS Coral Sea for a major strike on Haiphong. However USS Worden was damaged by two AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missiles fired by support aircraft in a “blue on blue” that had one crew member killed, nine others seriously injured. Next she screened USS Kitty Hawk and was in SAR off Thanh Hoa.
After RAV in Japan and exercizes she was back in the Gulf of Tonkin on 9 August with USS Midway and Kitty Hawk and SAR station off Vinh in October, then southern station and third tour in the Gulf of Tonkin. The same routine repeated in 1973 with operations for TF 77 and TF 78 until a ceasefore on 28 January 1973. She became flaghip for Rear Admiral Brian McCauley and helicopter support platform and later anti-air picket station, PIRAZ station. Later she honed her antisubmarine tactics with USS Bausell and sub USS Darter. In 1974 she took part in “Aswex 3–74” with ROKN in January, then “Fly-A-Way” off Okinawa. After Yokosuka upkeep status she fired tests her missiles in Subic Bay, and trained with Midway in the Sea of Japan, joined USS Parsons in SAR exercise. She returned with Midway and took part to “Aswex 5–74” with the JSDMF followed by a tour at Okinawa missile range and visit to Taiwan, and “Westpactramid 1–74”.
After upkeep and American-Japanese midshipmen exchange cruise she returned with USS Midway off northern Japan. In August 1974 she sailed for the eastern Pacific, Aleutians and Alaska and shadowing a Soviet Kanin-class destroyer and Kynda II-class cruiser. In late 1974 she took part in Operation “Command Diamond” off Okinawa. On 25 March 1975 he visited Pusan, Korea? Later she took part in the evacuation of Americans from Vietnam, Operation “Frequent Wind” until 3 May, and visit to Thailand. She returned with USS Midway CBG made a new midshipmen cruise with the JSDMF and “Midlink-75” in the Indian Ocean, then “Cape Diamond”, “Merlion” with the Royal Singapore Navy off Malaysia and Sri Lanka. She was sent in November to Bandar Abbas, Iran and exercises with the Pakistan Navy, then ex. “Midlink-75.” She hosted while in the Philippines J. William Middendorf II, Secretary of the Navy.
In 1977 she started “Multiplex” and “Missilex” exercises and visited Australia at the end of the year, then Bandar Abbas, Iran and Singapore. In January 1978 she stopped at Chinhae, South Korea. She joined TF 77 for “Readex 78” off Okinawa. 1978 repeated the same routine, with “Missilex 4–78” in August and ops. with USS Midway, then “Maulex 1–79” amphibious exercise. She trained in the South China Sea in 1980, and was releaved by USS Reeves (CG-24) in Japan. On 10 February 1980 she rescued 33 Vietnamese refugees.
USS Worden in December 1990
After a stop in Thailand, she went to Sasebo, Yokosuka and started a new Indian Ocean deployment with USS Constellation Battle Group by April off Singapore. They were deployed in the Gulf of Oman, Gonzo Station. She also assisted the USS Eisenhower Battle Group as Air Defence Commander, the visited Kenya and back to the Gulf of Oman until 6 July 1980 and sailed to Australia. Then Yokosuka, closing a 1980 Indian Ocean of 114 days. She exchanged HP with USS Reeves in August and departed for Pearl Harbour and her first ‘Tiger’ cruise. Pearl Harbor became her new HP, and she was deployed in the first Gulf War, making her first Middle East tour after a last modernization.She was on duty for anti air warfare commander, northern Persian Gulf. In late 1991 back hiome she took part in Navy/Coast Guard Law Enforcement operations off Mexican coast, with massive seizures of cocaine. Next, Operation Southern Watch, and first exercise with the Russian ships Admiral Tributs.
USS Worden was decommissioned, stricken at Pearl Harbor on 1 October 1993, and later sunk as target in fleet training on 17 June 2000.
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). After commission at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 23 November 1963 she joined the Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force Pacific Fleet, making five deployments to the Western Pacific over seven years. By November 1970 she was decommissioned and modernized at Bath, Maine, fitted with NTDS among others and recommissioned on 11
By December 1971, then assigned to Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, homeported to Newport in Rhode Island.
Her first Mediterranean deployment started in June 1973 with exercise “Swift Move”, northern European Waters, and joined the 6th Fleet in the eastern Mediterranean at the height of the October 1973 Yom Kippur War. By February 1974 she was homeported to Mayport. 1974 saw her fitted for tests with the new AN/SPS-492 2D air search radar, making trips in the Caribbean until early 1975.
October 1975 saw her back in the Mediterranean through multinational exercises. By July 1976, she was present at the Bicentennial Naval Review in New York Harbor. After her 12-month overhaul at
Charleston, by June 1978 she returned to the Mediterranean, and again was in national and multinational exercises, back home by February 1979.
September 1979 saw her in the North Atlantic for two months as flagship, Commander SFAF for NATO “Ocean Safari.”
January and February 1980 had her in “READEX 1-80.” She returned to the Mediterranean in March 1980 as flagship for Commander Div.Group 8, 6th fleet. She entered the Black Sea to visit Constanța and was back to Mayport in August 1980, later taking part in COMPUTEX/ASWEX 1-81.
She had a new overhaul at Charleston from March 1981 until February 1982, and a Refresher Training in June 1982.
She deployed from December 1982 to the Mediterranean, visited Villefranche-sur-Mer and Athens, passed the Suez Canal to the Indian Ocean, to Karachi, Trincomalee, Mombasa, and Diego Garcia, crossing the equator on 26 February 1983 and 12 April 1983. On 27 April 1983 she trained with a US-RN fleet but collided with the British frigate HMS Ambuscade. The latter years she styed in the area and in 1986 took part in the confrontation with Libya. After a last overhaul at Philadelphia until June 1988 she joined USS America (CV-66) battle group (Mediterranean-Indian Ocean) and back to Mayport 10 November 1989.
Next year was spent in counter-narcotics patrols in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico and back with the 6th Fleet, Red Sea off Iraq after Operation Desert Storm and same in 1993, as well as Bosnia and Yugoslavia. She was decommissioned in September 1994 at NS Mayport, placed in reserve at Philadelphia in 1999, Roosevelt Roads Naval Station and sunk as part of “CG-19 Weapons Effect Test (WET)” by December 1999.
Her first Mediterranean tour started in June 1973, and she took part in the exercise “Swift Move”, northern European Waters and accompanied the 6th Fleet in the eastern Mediterranean in high alert due to the October 1973 Yom Kippur War. By February 1974 she was homoeported to Mayport in Florida and in 1974 she was selected to test the new AN/SPS-49 2D air search radar, making several Caribbean cruises in 1974-1975, being reclassified later as CG-19 in July. In October she returned to the Mediterranean, for multinational exercises, being awarded an “E” by the 6th Fleet CiC.
In July 1976 she took part in the Bicentennial Naval Review in New York. Next she entered a 12-month overhaul at Charleston and returned afterwards to Mayport.
In June 1978 she made her 3rd Med TOD and spent her time between national and multinational exercises until sailing back home by February 1979.
In September 1979 she deployed to the North Atlantic as flagship, Commander Striking Force Atlantic Fleet and NATO “Ocean Safari.” January-February 1980 saw her in the Atlantic Exercise “READEX 1-80.” She returned to the Mediterranean in March 1980 and became flagship, Commander-Destroyer Group 8, 6th Fleet. She entered the Black Sea, visited Constanța in Romania. She was back home in August 1980 and made two cruisers in the Caribbean for”COMPUTEX/ASWEX 1-81.”
She started another overhaul in Charleston by March 1981, completed by a Refresher Training in June 1982.
She made another Med TOD by December 1982 visiting France and Greece, transited the Suez Canal to the Indian Ocean, visited Karachi in Pakistan or Trincomalee (Sri Lanka) as well as Mombasa in Kenya, and then Diego Garcia. On 27 April 1983, while in tactical maneuvers with the US-RN she collided with HMS Ambuscade on her port quarter, causing serious damage to the Ambuscade’s bow and flank of Dale Dry which had to returned sooner to Jacksonville’s yard in Florida having provisional repairs underway, notably in the Suez Canal and Málaga, back in June 1983.
She started a last overhaul at Philadelphia from January 1987 to June 1988. She joined USS USS America (CV-66) battle group in the Mediterranean, also cruising in the Indian Ocean from May 1989 and back home on 10 November 1989.
1990 saw her in Caribbean counter-narcotics patrols and in the Gulf of Mexico and other deployments with the 6th Fleet. In 1991 she was in the Red Sea to enforce sanction against Iraq after Operation Desert Storm. This was repeated in 1993, as well as operation off ex-Yugoslavia in 1993-94 to appl UN resolution for Bosnia.
She was eventually decommissioned in September 1994 at NS Mayport, moved to Philadelphia in June 1999, towed to Roosevelt Roads NS in December 1999 for a Weapons Effect Test with a 500lb SLAM-ER missile and on 13 January 2000, was hit by a F/A-18’s SLAM-ER on her starboard side and towed back for evaluation. On 6 April 2000 she ended sunk as a target off Maryland.
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. She departed Philadelphia on 10 August 1964 for homeport of San Diego with stops along the way at Yorktown, Norfolk, Guantanamo Bay, Panama, Acapulco. She departed on 4 June 1965 for her first WestPac, with TF77, South China Sea as missile support ship for USS Coral Sea, Independence, and Oriskany battle groups and later SAR Destroyer Unit, Tonkin Gulf, by September 1965. She was back at San Diego on 18 December. On 28 March 1967 she made a midshipman training cruise to Pearl Harbor and started her third TOD off Vietnam on 10 June 1968, plus Fleet readiness trials and back by December 1968.
She made a turn at the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) school, southern California, SecNav guest cruise, and updates at NS San Diego followed by her fourth WestPac deployment from January 1970. From Yokosuk in March she spent two months in the Sea of Japan and off Vietnam from June until July 1970, back to San Diego in August. From 22 March 1971 she sailed to Bath, Maine for an overhaul starting on 27 April 1971 until 27 April 1972 followed by seven months of trials, exercises, and refresher training. She was homeported back to Newport on 22 November 1972 until 9 January 1973, followed by a two month Boston yard period. In March she operated along the Atlantic seaboard-Caribbean and by July 1973, she made a 5-month south american deployment as flagship, UNITAS XIV, until mid-December 1973. In 1974, she was homeported to Norfolk and returned to the Mediterranean by November 1974, back in May 1975.
She took pat in multinational Operation 200 and US Bicentennial celebration on 4 July 1976.
In September 1978 after an overhaul ate Charleston she was sent to the Fleet Training Center, Guantanamo Bay for a refresher Training and conduct surveillance of Soviet ships in the West Indies.Next she did the same off the west coast of Nicaragua with REFTRA instructors, earning a Meritorious Unit Commendation by March 1979. Until September she operated wioth the 6th Fleet, visiting Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Civitavecchia, Alassio, Athens, Constanta in the Black Sea. She represented the US at the 35th Anniversary of the Allied landings in southern France. In July 1979 she tested a Harpoon missile in the Gulf of Sidra, destroyer her target at 78 miles (126 km), a first.
In May 1980, she took part in OPSAIL 80 and made later four Mediterranean deployments, homeported to Charleston until December 1982 and a last overhaul, then two more Mediterranean deployments, earning the Navy Expeditionary Medal and Meritorious Unit Commendation notably for her actions in the Gulf of Sidra against the Libyan navy, sinking a Libyan patrol boat with a Harpoon.
She had a new overhaul in Ingalls, Pascagoula (NTU) and sailed for the Persian Gulf after the invasion of Kuwait, becoming the primary AAW unit, USS Theodore Roosevelt battle group, staying 60 days providing protection to four carriers, and advance picket ship. She later moved to the Red Sea for interceptions, UN sanctions against Iraq.
She took part in Operation Provide Comfort (relief of Kurdish refugees) and she took the role of AAW Commander, carrier strike force 6th Fleet.
For Desert Storm she was awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation, National Defense Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon.
For her last deployment in the Mediterranean she was sent off Bosnia with the USS Theodore Roosevelt battle group, Operation Deny Flight, being awarded the Armed Forces Service Medal for service. Back home she became a test platform for the Navy’s Lightweight Exo-Atmospheric Projectile (LEAP) Program after she was decommissioned on 31 March 1995, stricken and sunk on 9 August 1998 near Puerto Rico (SINKEX) by USS Enterprise battle group, hit by three 2,000-pound bombs.
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. Named after Charles Vernon Gridley, which was with Admiral George Dewey’s force at the Battle of Manila Bay on 1 May 1898. After outfitting at Puget Sound, sea trials she made a goodwill visit to British Columbia and acceptance trials off Long Beach, then post-fixes at Puget Sound Shipyard until 9 December 1963, joining the Pacific Fleet as flagship DesRon 19.
After shakedown off California in 1964 she departed on 8 April via Pearl Harbor to Australia (Battle of the Coral Sea commemoration at Adelaide on 5 May). Next she sailed to the Philippines, Subic Bay, Okinawa in June, back to Subic Bay and Hong Kong. On 4 August she escorted USS Constellation off Vietnam after the Maddox/Turner Joy Gulf of Tonkin incident, part of DESRON-19. Sge was in screening and picket duty and coordinating air strike, relaying communications until 6 September earning a Navy Unit Commendation. She was back in Long Beach on 21 November.
Next year was spent off West Coast before sailing for Vietnam on 10 July 1965. She worked with carriers of the 7th Fleet, making a pause at Yokosuka in December and back as “Tomcat” (checking-in planes returning to their carriers) and back to Long Beach on 1 February 1966.
She won the Capt. Edward F. Ney Memorial Award, for the best feeding food ship in the Navy and had a letter of Commendation from CiC, Destroyer Force Pacific Fleet and “Battle E” for DesRon 19 on 30 June 1966 and “Supply E”. After the usual routine off the California coast and China Sea/Gulf of Tonkin she sailed for Australia and back to Long Beach on 8 June. On 8 June 1967 Ensign John Kerry (future president candidate) reported on board.
By 20 November 1970, after a major overhaul (first outfitted with NTDS) she was back to Yokohama, Yokosuka and Sasebo and was “shotgun” for USS Ranger, USS Constellation and USS Kitty Hawk in the Gulf of Tonkin. The next year she also was the first testing a new digital missile fire control system for the SM 2. In 1975 she provided air traffic control for “Operation Frequent Wind”. She also did the same during the Mayagüez incident. She stayed in Subic Bay as CruDesGroup 3.
In 1976 she made a cruise across the Pacific ad through the 180th parallel in July, but was based in Yokosuka.
On 21 August she was implicated in the “Axe Murder Incident” two U.S. Army officers by North Korean soldiers when she was in Yokosuka and this had for effect to sent the entire Midway battle group off Korea for a month.
In early 1980 escorted by USS USS Barbey she screened USS Okinawa Battle Group (31st MEU) for Operation Eagle Claw (Iranian hostages crisis). The stopped at Busan, Mombasa and Diego Garcia. By 1981 she escorted Battle Group Charlie to the Middle East. In 1982, Gridley she trained on Southern California waters until October and overhaul in Long Beach until October 1983. Nor records for 1983-86.
In July 1987 she was part of USS Ranger battle group watching over Iranian oil platforms, Operation Nimble Archer and back in January 1988. She was back in the Persian Gulf on 15 December 1988 with USS John Young escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers through Hormuz, Operation Earnest Will. In South China Sea she rescued Vietnamese refugees, being awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal.
By 17 October 1899 she visited NS Naval Station Treasure Island, intervening after the Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Francisco Bay area, providing and awarded a second Humanitarian Service Medal. From February 1990 to March 1991 she was upgraded at Southwest Marine Shipyard, San Diego, notably to operate her SM-1ER and SM-2ER SAMs.
She joined USS Independence Battle Group in the North Arabian Sea by June 1992 and took part in Operation Southern Watch by August, picket and air-defense coordination.
She was back in San Diego by October 1992 for another overhauled until April 1993 to operate the SM-2ER block III and new countermeasures against sea-skimming cruise missiless. By July she tested them at the Pacific Missile Test Center range. Next she joined USS Constellation in Acapulco, Mexico and San Diego for her SLEP at Philadelphia. By October 1993 she was decommissioned in San Diego, stricken, transferred to the Maritime Administration by 21 January 1994, Suisun Bay and scrapped in 2005.
USS England CG-22
Ordered to Todd Shipyards, San Pedro, laid down 4 October 1960, launched 6 March 1962, comm. 7 December 1963.
She was named in honor of Ensign John C. England (1920-41, an officer on battleship Oklahoma KiA at Pearl Harbor), second ship of the name, the first being a Fletcher class destroyer, DE-635 which sank six U-Boats in 12 days in May 1944 and praised by Admiral Ernest King. USS England served from Vietnam to Desert Storm, in SAR missions, picket duties, plane guard, air strike cooridnator, screen for carriers. She was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon for her actions in the Gulf of Tonkin from 3 January to 6 June 1966.
She also earned a Navy Unit Commendation from 2 to 16 August 1990 as leading US Warship in the region (gulf war) for shipping interdiction/Air defense roles and general support in Operation Desert Shield. She was decommissioned on 21 January 1994, mothballed at Suisun Bay, then sold for scrap to a company of Brownsville, Texas, complete by 20 October 2004.
USS England in 1992
USS Halsey CG-23
Ordered to San Francisco Naval Shipyard, laid down 26 August 1960, launched 15 January 1962, comp. 20 July 1963, she was named in honor of Fleet Admiral William Halsey, well known Pacific fleet lead, which passed out in 1959. After sea trials, she departed from San Francisco on 25 November 1963 for Dabob Bay, Carr Island for ASW weapons qualifications, acoustical surveys and joined her homeport San Diego on 11 December. Assigned DesRon 7, DesDiv 71 on 13 December she took part in an exercise in front of the Secretary of the Navy as screen commander 15-18 December and completed full weapons qualification trials until 14 February, then missiles at Pacific Missile Range on 10 February 1964.
Her shakedown cruise went on from 16 March to 1 May followed by post-fixes in San Francisco on 15 May, post-shakedown trials on 17 July 1964. She tested a brand new internal organization system combining weapons systems and CIC management under a single combat officer and completely separate hull and communications departments.
In 1966 she the Pacific Fleet, leaving San Diego for Subic Bay in July and by August was in SAR/ASW operations in the South China Sea, rescuing 16 airmen in the Gulf of Tonkin. On 5 December she left Yokosuka for the West Coast. In 1967 she trained off the West Coast and started an overhaul in April to August. No records yet for the rest of her career, but she served in Vietnam and was decommissioned on 28 January 1994, Stricken she same day and Sold for scrap to International Shipbreaking LTD, Brownsville, Texas. Scrapping completed on 30 November 2003.
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.