While I was an Airedale in the Navy I always appreciated the Blackshoe side. Warships can be dramatic and beautiful. This collection contains shots I took over about a 20 year period. All pictures copyright Rick Morgan.
Spruance-class destroyer USS Cushing (DD 985) plows through the seas off San Diego, 5 May 1984
A column of warships prepares to enter San Francisco Harbor on 13 Oct 1984 to participate in Fleet Week. Spruance-class destroyer Elliott (DD 967) is in the van with an OHP-class frigate, two more "Spru-cans" and an AOE in trail. A single Coast Guard cutter can be seen in the distance as well.
USS Joseph Strauss (DDG 16) in W-291 off San Diego. I've always thought the C.F. Adams-class DDGs were among the best looking warships the US has operated since WWII. They were well-balanced "Greyhounds of the Sea" with two 5" guns, ASROC and Tartar (later Standard) SAMs. Strauss saw combat during the Vietnam war as well as during Operation Praying Mantis when it fired a Harpoon SSM into an Iranian Frigate. She was decommissioned in February 1990 and sold to Greece.
USS California (CG 36) steams in the Indian Ocean in July 1985. Lead ship of a class of two nuclear-powered cruisers, she was decommissioned in July 1999.
The ammo ship USS Santa Barbara (AE 28) off Bermuda, 1 Jan 1990 with its HC-6 UH-46 moving weapons over to the Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) that will be used during Operation Desert Storm. The ship was commissioned in 1970 and decommissioned in 1998.
USS Bordelon (DD 881) at the pier in Charleston SC, July 1976. A World War II build (July 1945), Bordelon was a Gearing-class tin can and subsequently modified to FRAM 1 standards. Most of her deployments would be to the Med; only three months after this picture was taken she suffered a collision with the carrier John F. Kennedy (CV 67) and was subsequently decommissioned. The ship to the other side is a Belknap-class CG.
USS Truett (FF-1095). Commissioned in Jun 1974 as a Knox-class Ocean Escort (DE 1096) Truett was re-designated a Frigate in 1976 along with the rest of the class. This picture was shot in May 1990 in the Caribbean. She was decommissioned in July 1994 and ended up with the Thai Navy.
Coming alongside USNS Taluga (T-AO-62), July 1977. Taluga was a Cimarron -class fleet oiler commissioned in 1944 with combat service in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The ship took a Kamikaze during the Okinawa campaign and was one of the last of her sisters decommissioned, lasting until 1979.
USNS Taluga with USS Knox (FF 1052) alongside. Shown off SoCal in July 1977. Knox was lead ship of a class of 46 "Ocean Escorts" (DE) re-designated as Frigates (FF) in 1975. Although frequently called "Fast Frigates" they weren't, with only a single screw they were limited to about 30 kts.
Subs pass near the mouth of the Cooper River, Charleston SC in June 1976. Headed out to sea is the USS Batfish (SSN 681) a Sturgeon-class fast attack boat. Behind her is USS James Madison (SSBN 627).
The USS James Madison (SSBN 627) in the Cooper River off Charleston SC June 1976 with a group of Midshipmen preparing to come aboard. Madison was commissioned in 1964 and left the service in November 1992. i spent two nights on this boat - a fascinating visit and my only time underway on a submarine.
One of the U.S. Navy's final three diesel-powered fleet submarines; USS Blueback (SS 581) at Vancouver BC on 12 Sep 1986. Commissiioned in 1959, decommissioned in 1990 and now a museum ship at Portland OR.
What appears to be a Guppy II diesel submarine at the pier in Norfolk in June 1976. I presume it's retired and either headed for scrapping or sale perhaps. Please contact me if you have any idea which boat this is.
USS Jonas Ingram, (DD-938) underway at NOB Norfolk under heavy clouds in June 1976. A Forrest Sherman class DD modified for ASW work. Commissioned in July 1957, decommissioned March 1983.
USS DuPont (DD 941) underway off Norfolk during a Midshipman cruise in June 1976. She's an ASW-configured Forest Sherman class destroyer, commissioned 1957, decommissioned 1990.
USS Decatur (DDG 31) an AAW-configured Forrest Sherman-class destroyer, in San Diego Bay, 16 June 1977. Commissioned 1956, decommissioned 1983.
USS Brooke (FFG-1) in San Francisco harbor on 13 Oct 1984 for Fleet Week. A small vessel, but not unattractive; with a single 5" gun and ASROC as well as a Standard SAM system.
USNS Pawcatuck (T-AO 108) in the Caribbean in June 1990. Commissioned in 1946 as an Ashtabula-class oiler, she would gain roughly 8000 tons in the "Jumbo" extension program in 1965 and serve through 1991.
Knox-class Frigate USS Vreeland (FF-1068) alongside USS Sacramento (AOE-1) in the Arabian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. 26 JAN 1991.
The Asheville-class Patrol Gunboat Beacon (PG-99) at Little Creek, VA in June 1976. Green Bay (PG-101) sits behind. Part of a group of 16 vessels built in the mid-'60s they were truly "Littoral Combat Ships" long before the silly term was coined. Both went to the Greek Navy in 1977.
Nothing quite says "Welcome to the Party" like a 16" broadside from a battleship. This is New Jersey (BB 62); exercising its guns off San Clemente Island in 1987.
Magnificent: The world's only Battleship Division (at that time) underway in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm; this is Missouri (BB-63) and Wisconsin (BB-64) between gunfire missions. I took this shot from about 10,000 feet from the back seat of an EA-6B.
The Battleship Missouri (BB-63) alongside Sacramento (AOE-1) while a UH-46 conducts VERTREP. The date is 7 Feb 1991, during Operation Desert Storm. I don't exaggerate when I say that being near these historical ships was one of the more memorable events of my Naval career.
Underway Replenishment (UNREP) with the USS Camden (AOE-2) in the Indian Ocean, 4 Jun 1985. The ability of the U.S. Navy to supply its forces overseas is what made it a global Navy power.
The Guided Missile Cruiser Long Beach (CGN 9) underway off Hawaii on 18 Oct 1984. Commissioned in 1961, the ship was armed by Talos and Terrier SAM systems as well as a pair of 5 inch guns. She saw extensive service in Vietnam, where she was credited with shooting down at least one MiG with Talos. In 1980 she lost her distinctive 'billboard' SPS-32 and -33 radar systems (shared with the carrier Enterprise, CVAN 65), being replaced by SPS-48 and -49 radars. The weapons system had the Talos removed and Terriers replaced by Standard ER missiles. Harpoon anti-ship and Tomahawk cruise missiles were added as well. Long Beach was decommissioned in 1995.
The Guided Missile Cruiser Worden (CG 18) in San Francisco Bay, 13 Oct 1984. A Leahy-class ship; Worden served in Vietnam, where it was damaged in 1972 by a pair of AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missiles shot by a USAF aircraft. Most of the bridge crew was wounded with one killed.
USS Fletcher (DD 992) underway in the Indian Ocean on 4 June 1985. Named for legendary Admiral (and Medal of Honor recipient) Frank Jack Fletcher; she was commissioned in 1980 and decommissioned in 2004.
The frigate Crommelin (FFG-37) in San Francisco harbor, 13 Oct 1984, only a year after being commissioned. Named for a remarkable group of five brothers and Naval Officers, the ship would be decommissioned in 2012.
The frigate USS Aylwin (FF-1081) stands out from NOB Norfolk on an overcast day in June 1976. The Knox-class were optimized for ASW with an SQS-26 sonar, ASROC and, late in life, a hangar for an SH-2 LAMPS helicopter. Their castle-like mack amidships made them easy to identify from a long distance. She was commissioned in 1971 and served through 1992, when transferred to the Republic of China.
Port call: Monterey California. The guided missile cruiser Fox (CG 33) sits at anchor in Monterey Bay on 5 June 1977. Fox was a Belknap-class ship, commissioned in 1966 and decommissioned in 1994.
Port Call: Vancouver BC. The Denver (LPD 9) maneuvers to berth in downtown Vancouver BC on 8 July 1977 while a float Beaver flies nearby.
UNREP in the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm; USS Platte (AO-186) refuels the guided missile cruiser Richmond K. Turner (CG-20), 11 Feb 1991.
USS Callaghan (DDG-994) underway in the Indian Ocean on 4 June 1985. One of four Kidd-class guided missile destroyers originally built for the Shah of Iran and taken over by the US Navy after the Shah's fall. All were named for Admirals killed in action; three of which received posthumous Medals of Honor. They were remarkably capable warships; being based on a Spruance hull but with two Standard SAM launchers. All four were decommissioned in the late 1990s and subsequently sold to Taiwan.
USS Richmond K. Turner (CG-20) operating in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. A Leahy-class cruiser, commissioned in 1964 as a Guided Missile Frigate (DLG-20). She would be decommissioned in 1994.
USS Paul F Foster (DD 964) receives 5" shells from the ammo ship USS Haleakala (AE 25) off of San Diego. July 1077.
USS Preble (DDG-46) on an overcast day in the Caribbean in July 1990. Commissioned in 1960 as a Coontz-class frigate (DLG-15) the ship was reclassified along with her sisters in 1975 as a guided missile destroyer. This attractive class of ships had a 5"/54 gun forward with an ASROC launcher in the "B" position. A twin-armed Terrier (Standard) SAM system dominates the stern. Preble was decommissioned in 1991.
Frigate USS Albert David (FF-1050) in San Diego Bay, Jun 1983. One of ten Garcia-class vessels optimized for ASW with SQS-26 sonar and ASROC as well as a pair of 5"/38 guns. Commissioned in 1968, decommissioned in 1988; sold to Brazil.
The USS Mars (AFS-1), a combat stores ship, off SoCal in July 1984.
USS Mauna Kea (AE 22) transferring ammunition to Constellation in August 1985.
USNS Saturn (T-AFS-10) alongside Theodore Roosevelt in the Red Sea, April 1991. The ship was originally built for the Royal Navy as the HMS Stromness, with whom it served in the Falklands War. The ship was subsequently bought by the US Navy with whom it served many productive years.
Beauty, eh? Canadian destroyer Huron (DDG 281) operating in the Red Sea after the end of Operation Desert Storm on 15 April 1991. Commissioned in 1972 Huron would be decommissioned in 2000 and subsequently sunk as a target.
The Soviet Frigate Zharkyy, a Krivak-class vessel in the eastern Med, 22 April 1991. At this time she was trailing the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) while it operated off of Turkey. She ended up being almost a second plane guard for the carrier and was pleasant enough to work with that the TR's Skipper sent over a helo load of ice cream when they said they were leaving.
Egyptian Shanghai-class patrol boat in the Great Bitter Lake, 14 Jan 1991.
The German destroyer Bayern (D183) underway in the Atlantic Ocean on 5 Jan 1991. The Germans provided training for US forces headed for Operation Desert Shield, particularly in countering the expected Exocet missile threat the Iraqis presented. Bayern served from 1964 through 1994 and at this time carried three 100MM guns and four Exocet SSMs.
Deutsches Zerstoerer Bayern, wieder; mid-Atlantic. 5 Jan 1991.