USS Leftwich (DD-984)

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Career (US)
Namesake: William G. Leftwich, Jr.
Ordered: 15 January 1974
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding
Laid down: 12 November 1976
Launched: 8 April 1978
Acquired: 6 August 1979
Commissioned: 25 August 1979
Decommissioned: 27 March 1998
Struck: 27 March 1998
Fate: Sunk in support of fleet training exercise, 1 August 2003
General characteristics
Class & type: Spruance class destroyer
Displacement: 8,040 (long) tons full load
Length: 529 ft (161 m) waterline; 563 ft (172 m) overall
Beam: 55 ft (16.8 m)
Draft: 29 ft (8.8 m)
Propulsion: 4 × General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, 2 shafts, 80,000 shp (60 MW)
Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h)
Range: 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
3,300 nautical miles (6,100 km; 3,800 mi) at 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Complement: 19 officers, 315 enlisted
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPS-40 air search radar
AN/SPG-60 fire control radar
AN/SPS-55 surface search radar
AN/SPQ-9 gun fire control radar
Mk 23 TAS automatic detection and tracking radar
AN/SPS-65 Missile fire control radar
AN/SQS-53 bow mounted Active sonar
AN/SQR-19 TACTAS towed array Passive sonar
Naval Tactical Data System
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System
AN/SLQ-25 Nixie Torpedo Countermeasures
Mark 36 SRBOC Decoy Launching System
AN/SLQ-49 Inflatable Decoys
Armament:

2 x 5 in (127 mm) 54 calibre Mark 45 dual purpose guns
2 x 20 mm Phalanx CIWS Mark 15 guns
1 x 8 cell ASROC launcher (removed)
1 x 8 cell NATO Sea Sparrow Mark 29 missile launcher
2 x quadruple Harpoon missile canisters
2 x Mark 32 triple 12.75 in (324 mm) torpedo tubes (Mk 46 torpedoes)

2 x quadruple ABL Mark 43 Tomahawk missile launchers
Aircraft carried: 2 x Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk LAMPS III helicopters.
Motto: Superiority Through Teamwork

USS Leftwich (DD-984) was a Spruance-class destroyer built by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries at Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was named for Lieutenant Colonel William G. Leftwich, Jr.,[1] USMC (1931–1970), who was killed in action at Quang Nam in the Republic of Vietnam on 18 November 1970 in a helicopter crash during the extraction of one of his reconnaissance teams. For this action, Lieutenant Colonel Leftwich received the Silver Star. Lieutenant Colonel Leftwich’s medals and awards include: the Navy Cross, the Silver Star (posthumous), the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” and two gold stars, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with one gold star, the Purple Heart with two gold stars, and various personal awards from the Republic of Vietnam.

Leftwich was laid down on 12 November 1976; and launched 8 April 1978; and commissioned 25 August 1979 under the command of Commander Al Carney. The Commissioning speaker was the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Thomas B. Hayward, USN, who was a classmate of Bill Leftwich at the United States Naval Academy. Also in attendance at the Commissioning was H. Ross Perot, also a classmate of Lieutenant Colonel Leftwich. Both of Colonel Leftwich's sons, and his widow attended the commissioning as well.

1979–1985[edit]

Leftwich sailed from Pascagoula, MS the morning following the commissioning on 26 August 1979, en route via the Panama Canal for her homeport, Naval Station San Diego, from which she operated until March, 1985.

On sailing, Hurricane David was threatening to make its way into the Gulf of Mexico, so shipping traffic on the transit to the Panama Canal was unusually light. Hurricane David did strike the Gulf coast, and was followed shortly after by Hurricane Frederic, which caused many ships at Ingalls Shipbuilding and Drydock to sortie into the hurricane.

The Leftwich made one of the fastest transits on record of the Panama Canal, making the passage without having to anchor. On sailing north in the Pacific Ocean, Leftwich found herself behind Hurricane Guillermo, which tracked along the western coast of Mexico, and then turned westward out into the Pacific, allowing the ship to arrive at her new homeport on schedule. While following the storm, Leftwich experienced 30 ft (10 m) waves.

In the few months after arrival in San Diego, CA, Leftwich conducted "Shakedown" training under the guidance of Fleet Training Group, Pacific, in the San Diego Operations Area (OPAREA). In January, 1980, Leftwich returned to Litton Industries at Pascagoula, MS for Warranty repairs and a Post-Shakedown Availability, which included the installation of the NATO Sea Sparrow and Harpoon missile system.

On 29 November 1982 she collided with the submarine USS Thomas A. Edison (SSBN-610) approximately 40 miles east of Subic Bay, Philippines. Both ships were conducting war games. Thomas A. Edison was at periscope depth when the collision occurred. Both ships suffered damage and returned to Subic Bay. Edison suffered damage to her sail, sail planes, and sonar dome. Leftwich suffered damage to her sonar dome, sonar dome "banjo" strut, and forward fuel storage tanks located in the forward hull. Two months later, Thomas A. Edison made a surface transit to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for decommissioning without the damage having been repaired.

In 1984, Leftwich suffered hull and sonar window damage due to high-speed operations in heavy seas during fleet exercises on her deployment to Indian Ocean/Western Pacific (WESTPAC 1984).

1985–1998[edit]

On 1 April 1985 Leftwich arrived at her new homeport of Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This remained her homeport for the rest of her career.

Leftwich, under the command of RADM (then Commander) Daniel Bowler, participated in Operation Nimble Archer on 19 October 1987. This was a response to Iran's 16 October 1987 attack on the MV Sea Isle City, a reflagged Kuwaiti oil tanker at anchor off Kuwait, with a Silkworm missile.

Leftwich with Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 3 Detachment 5 embarked, arrived at Naval Station Pearl Harbor homeport. In 1990–91, under the command of Commander Patrick Garrett in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the destroyer conducted more than 200 merchant ship interceptions and one boarding. She was one of the first ships to fire BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles during the conflict, and was the first combatant to conduct a wartime reload of Tomahawks for continued operations. With embarked helicopters and SEALs, she captured the first Iraqi territory repatriated in the war (an island off the coast of the al-Faw waterway), multiple enemy prisoners of war, and conducted 16 combat search and rescue cases. For her efforts in the Persian Gulf, The Leftwich and her crew were awarded the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon and the Combat Action Ribbon.

During her career, Leftwich made eight deployments in the Western Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. She participated in Operation Nimble Archer, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm as well as operations in support of UN sanctions against Iraq.

Leftwich was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 27 March 1998. She was sunk as a target on 1 August 2003 at 22°48′47″N 160°34′00″W / 22.81306°N 160.56667°W / 22.81306; -160.56667 in the Pacific Ocean.

Awards, Medals, and Commendations for ship and/or crew: (needs more help) Sept 87 – Nov 87, Jan 97 – Mar 97, Apr 97 Three Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals, Jan 91 – Feb 91 Combat Action Ribbon, Jan 91 – Feb 91 Navy Unit Commendation, Jul 81- Sept 81 Navy Expeditionary Medal, Jan 88 – Jun 89 & Jan 91 – Dec 92 Two Battle Effectiveness Awards, National Defense Service Medal, Dec 90 – Mar 91 Southwest Asia Service Medal, 8 Sea Service Ribbons, Dec 97 – Dec 98 Chief of Naval Operations Letter of Commendation, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)

REUNIONS: 3 reunions for any crew member who has served aboard the Leftwich, July 2009, September 2011, July 2013. Captains Bowler and Garrett have attended a reunion. Plankowners, Decommissioning crew, and everyone in between have attended. See Facebook USS Leftwich Alumni Association or email ussleftwich @ gmail.com (you know how to spell it) to be on the list for information on future reunions.

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