USS Richmond K. Turner (CG-20)

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USS Richmond K. Turner
USS Richmond K. Turner (CG-20)
Career (US)
Name: USS Richmond K. Turner
Namesake: Richmond K. Turner
Builder: New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey
Laid down: 9 January 1961
Launched: 6 April 1963
Sponsored by: Mrs. Claude V. Ricketts
Commissioned: 13 June 1964
Decommissioned: 31 March 1995
Reclassified: CG-20 on 30 June 1975
Struck: 31 March 1995
Fate: Sunk as target 09 AUG 1998 near Puerto Rico
Badge: USS RKT DLG-20 Badge.jpg
General characteristics
Class & type: Leahy class cruiser
Displacement: 7,630 tonnage (full load)
Length: 533 ft (162.5 m)
Beam: 55 ft (17 m)
Draft: 26 ft
Propulsion: 2 shaft; De Laval gear turbines; 4 Foster & Wheeler D Type 1200PSI boilers; 85,000 shp
Speed: 34 knots
Range: 8,000 nmi (15,000 km) at 20 knots (20 mph; 40 km/h)
Complement: 37 officers and 408 enlisted
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPS-49 air search radar
AN/SPS-48 air search radar
AN/SPG-55 fire control radar
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
AN/SLQ-32
Mark 36 SRBOC
Armament: 2× Mark 10 Terrier SAM,
1× ASROC ASW system,
4× 3 in(76 mm)guns,
6× 12.75 in(324 mm)ASW TT,
Motto: "Roaring 20"[1]

USS Richmond K. Turner (DLG-20 / CG-20) was a Leahy class destroyer leader in the United States Navy. The ship was named for Admiral Richmond K. Turner, who served during World War II.

The keel of the Richmond K. Turner was laid on 9 January 1961 by New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey. It is one of nine Leahy-class "double-ended" guided missile destroyers.

History[edit]

Initial operations[edit]

The ship departed Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 10 August 1964 for her homeport of San Diego, Calif., stopping briefly at Yorktown and Norfolk, Va., and then Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It crossed through the Panama Canal, and after a port call in Acapulco, Mexico, arrived in San Diego on 11 September 1964.

Richmond K. Turner departed San Diego 4 June 1965 for her first deployment to the Western Pacific. It joined Task Force 77 in the South China Sea area and served as missile support ship for the attack carriers Coral Sea (CVA-43), Independence (CV-62), and Oriskany (CV-34).

Vietnam[edit]

It was reassigned to the Search and Rescue Destroyer Unit in the Tonkin Gulf in September 1965. After participating in missions in which eight aviators were rescued, it departed Subic Bay and arrived San Diego 18 December.

It stood out of San Diego 15 October 1966, bound a second time for Southeast Asian waters, returning to her homeport 28 March 1967 and making a midshipman training cruise to Pearl Harbor.

It departed for her third tour off Vietnam 10 June 1968, and contributed to Fleet readiness in Asian waters until returning to San Diego in December 1968.

Richmond K. Turner assumed the duty as antisubmarine warfare (ASW) Schoolship in the southern California operating areas. In February, it conducted a SecNav guest cruise, and 1 March, it commenced an extensive updating of her shipboard missile systems at the Naval Station San Diego. It then underwent training and further preparations for its fourth WestPac deployment, which commenced in January 1970.

It arrived in Yokosuka, Japan, 4 March 1970 and spent two months operating in the Sea of Japan. ≤While in the Sea of Japan, she cruised off the coast of South Korea and all over the Sea of Japan (SOJ). When another EC-121 reconnaissance plane was sent to pass along North Korea and Russia subsequent to the EC-121 shoot down by North Korea in 1969, the Turner was sent in close to North Korea as an escort for the EC-121 with orders to launch missiles against any fighters sent from North Korea should they cross a given line drawn on a large highlighted map located in the Combat Information Center (CIC).≥[2] It operated off the coast of Vietnam from June until July 1970 and returned to San Diego in August after stopping at Guam and Pearl Harbor.

Refit[edit]

On 22 March 1971, it embarked for Bath, Maine and arrived at the Bath Iron Works on 27 April. It was decommissioned 5 May, under a Navy wide program to enhance the anti-air warfare capability of major guided missile ships. Richmond K. Turner was recommissioned at Bath Iron Works on 17 May 1972.

For seven months, Richmond K. Turner engaged in various trials, exercises, and refreitr training along the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean. It returned to Newport, R.I., 22 November 1972 and remained there until 9 January 1973, when she entered Boston Naval Shipyard for a two-month yard period. Leaving Boston in March, Richmond K. Turner deployed on a UNITAS cruise to South America in 1973.

Richmond K. Turner was re-designated CG-20 in July 1975 and participated in Operation 200 which included the International Naval Review in New York City for the Nation's Bicentennial Celebration on 4 July 1976.

In September 1978, after overhaul at the Charleston Naval Shipyard, the Richmond K. Turner reported to Fleet Training Center, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO) for Refresher Training (REFTRA). The day after arrival Richmond K. Turner was directed to intercept and conduct surveillance of Soviet Naval units operating in the West Indies. With that task completed, Richmond K. Turner was then directed to transit the Panama Canal and conduct surveillance operations off the west coast of Nicaragua. Embarking REFTRA instructors, TURNER completed all its training requirements while deployed in an operational status. The ship received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for these operations in March 1979. In July 1979 while deployed with the 6th Fleet, TURNER successfully launched a Harpoon missile in the Gulf of Sidra, destroying the target at a range of 78 miles. This was the first firing of a Harpoon missile from a deployed US Navy Ship.

In May 1980 Richmond K. Turner participated in Boston's OPSAIL 80 and was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation for conducting two special operations. Richmond K. Turner completed four highly successful Mediterranean deployments as part of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, prior to an extensive baseline overhaul at Charleston Naval Shipyard, Charleston, SC from January to December 1982. During this overhaul Richmond K. Turner received numerous updates to modernize its combat systems suite. It was also fitted with the Vulcan Phalanx Close in Weapons System (CIWS) for self-defense against cruise missiles. After this overhaul Richmond K. Turner completed two more Mediterranean deployments. The ship received both Navy Expeditionary and Meritorious Unit Commendation during this employment. (Action in the Gulf of Sidra (1986)).

Persian Gulf[edit]

Richmond K. Turner also completed a 1988 deployment to the Persian Gulf and was a participant of Operation Earnest Will.

Upon its return to the United States, Richmond K. Turner was overhauled in Ingalls Shipyard at Pascagoula, Mississippi, where it received the New Threat Upgrade (NTU) to its Combat Direction System as well as many engineering improvements.

In response to the crisis in the Persian Gulf caused by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, Richmond K. Turner deployed early as a primary AAW unit in the Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) battle group, which arrived in the theater just before hostilities broke out. During 60 days in the Persian Gulf, Richmond K. Turner provided protection to four carriers and served as an advance picket ship in the mine infested waters off Kuwait. Following the cease fire, Richmond K. Turner relocated to the Red Sea where it participated in the continuing maritime interception operations in support of U.N. sanctions against Iraq.

Escorting USS Theodore Roosevelt through the Suez Canal in late April 1991, Richmond K. Turner participated in Operation Provide Comfort, a massive relief effort to help tens of thousands of Kurdish refugees who fled the turmoil of Iraq following that country's defeat in the war. During this time Richmond K. Turner became the Anti-Air Warfare Commander for the Aircraft Carrier Striking Force, U.S. Sixth Fleet.

For its operations during Desert Storm and Operation Provide Comfort, the Secretary of the Navy awarded Richmond K. Turner the Joint Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Unit Commendation, the National Defense Medal and the Southwest Asia Service Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon. The ship also received the Joint Meritorious Unit Award for its participation in Operation Provide Comfort, one of only five USN ships to be included in that award.[citation needed] The citation was signed out by CJCS General Colin Powell on 18 December 1991.

Bosnia[edit]

It made a final deployment to the Mediterranean as a part of the USS Theodore Roosevelt battle group and served as an anti-air warfare command during Operation Deny Flight over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Prior to its decommissioning on 31 March 1995, Richmond K. Turner served as the test platform for the Navy's Light-weight Exoatmosheric Projectile (LEAP) Program, firing the first LEAP shot ever and launching the Navy into the future of missile technology.

End of career[edit]

On 9 August 1998, USS Richmond K. Turner was sunk as a target near Puerto Rico. The SINKEX was conducted by the USS Enterprise battle group including the USS Philippine Sea (CG-58), USS Thorn (DD-988), USS Nicholson (DD-982) and Carrier Air Wing 3.

References[edit]

  1. ^ May not be an official motto
  2. ^ I was in CIC at the time of the incident.

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

External links[edit]