USS Bainbridge (CGN-25)

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USS Bainbridge (CGN-25)
USS Bainbridge (CGN-25)
USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25) in September 1962.
United States
NamesakeWilliam Bainbridge
Ordered1 September 1958
BuilderBethlehem Steel, Quincy, Massachusetts
Laid down5 May 1959
Launched15 April 1961
Sponsored bySusan Bainbridge Goodale
Acquired28 September 1962
Commissioned6 October 1962
Decommissioned13 September 1996
Stricken13 September 1996
Motto"Mobility Endurance Versatility"
FateRecycled 30 October 1999
NotesOriginally designated destroyer, re-designated Cruiser
General characteristics
Class and typeHeavily modified nuclear version of the Leahy-class cruiser
Displacement9100 tons
Length565 ft (172 m)[1]
Beam57.75 ft (17.60 m)[1]
Draft29 ft (8.8 m) (maximum)[1]
Propulsion60,000 shp; 2 G.E. Reactors (D2G), Geared Turbines, 2 screws
Speed34 kn (63 km/h; 39 mph)
Complement556 (43 Officers, 513 enlisted)[2]
Sensors and
processing systems

USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25/CGN-25) was a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser in the United States Navy, the only ship of her class. Named in honor of Commodore William Bainbridge, she was the fourth US Navy ship to bear the name. With her original hull classification symbol of DLGN (nuclear-powered guided missile destroyer leader, called a "frigate" at the time), she was the first nuclear-powered destroyer-type ship in the US Navy, and shared her name with the lead ship of the first US Navy destroyer class, the Bainbridge-class destroyers.

Bainbridge was re-designated as a guided missile cruiser in 1975. She was commissioned in 1962, and served for over 30 years in the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, and Middle East before being decommissioned in 1996.


Bainbridge was designed and built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation at Fore River Shipyard at Quincy, Massachusetts. Commissioned in October 1962, she shook down off the East Coast and in the Caribbean area until February 1963, when she began her first Mediterranean deployment. This included demonstrations of her long-range high-speed dash capabilities and operations with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Enterprise. Bainbridge returned to the Mediterranean Sea in May 1964, this time joining Enterprise and the guided missile cruiser Long Beach to form the all-nuclear-powered Task Force 1. At the end of July, the three nuclear powered ships began Operation "Sea Orbit", a 30,565 mile, 65 day unrefueled cruise around the world.[5][6]


Operation "Sea Orbit" – Bainbridge (top), Long Beach (center) and Enterprise (bottom) in 1964

In October 1965, Bainbridge again rounded Cape Agulhas, en route to the Western Pacific for the first of eleven Seventh Fleet cruises. Operating for much of this deployment off strife-torn Vietnam, she screened aircraft carriers, served as a radar-picket ship, and performed search and rescue missions. In June, the frigate crossed the Pacific to her new home port, Long Beach, California. Her next five Far Eastern tours, in 1966–67, 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972–73, also involved Vietnam War combat operations, as well as voyages to Australia and, beginning in 1970, the Indian Ocean. In 1967–1968, Bainbridge underwent shipyard overhaul and her first nuclear refueling. The ship's seventh trip to the Far East, beginning in November 1973, included a lengthy visit to the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, a locale that would become very familiar in the coming decades.[citation needed]

Bainbridge received an extensive modernization and refueling between June 1974 and September 1976, with post-overhaul work lasting until April 1977. While in the shipyard, at the end of June 1975, she was reclassified from frigate (destroyer leader) to cruiser, receiving the new designation CGN-25. Her next Seventh Fleet deployment ran from January to August 1978 and included visits throughout the region, from Japan and South Korea to Thailand and Singapore, with her homeward-bound voyage taking her to Australia and through the South Pacific. Bainbridge made three more WestPac tours, in 1979–80, 1981 and 1982–83, each involving extensive operations in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.[citation needed]


Bainbridge in the Suez Canal
Bainbridge circa 1991

In 1982 she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award.[citation needed]

After receiving her final nuclear refueling overhaul in 1983–85, Bainbridge left the Pacific after two decades, transited the Panama Canal and rejoined the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Her operations thereafter included counter-drug smuggling patrols in the Caribbean, several deployments to northern European waters and four Mediterranean cruises 1986–87, 1988–89—including combat operations off Libya, 1991–92—with a Red Sea and Persian Gulf tour, and 1994 as Standing Naval Force Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT).[citation needed]

The 1994 deployment supported United Nations resolutions that became part of Operation Sharp Guard, which enforced sanctions against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. During these operations, she safely conducted over 100 boardings of merchant vessels to inspect for illegal cargo shipments. Bainbridge also supported Operation Deny Flight, where she acted as "REDCROWN" coordinating the air warfare environment over Bosnia. Bainbridge's AAW suite could provide almost complete radar coverage of the airspace over Bosnia and the Adriatic. With her SM-2 ER missiles, she could engage more than 16 aircraft or cruise missiles simultaneously; and at ranges in excess of 75 nautical miles (139 km).[citation needed]


Deactivated in October 1995, Bainbridge was officially decommissioned in September 1996. She was towed to Bremerton, Washington in mid-1997, and in October of that year entered dry dock to begin "recycling," the process by which nuclear-powered warships are scrapped.[7]

Honors and awards[edit]

Bainbridge has been awarded the following decorations;[1]

  • Joint Meritorious Unit Award (2) - Navy
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation (2) - Coast Guard
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation
  • Navy Battle "E" Ribbon (5)
  • Navy Expeditionary Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal (2)
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • Vietnam Service Medal (8)
  • Southwest Asia Service Medal (1)
  • Humanitarian Service Medal
  • Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (9)
  • Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon
  • Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
  • Republic of Vietnam Civil Action 1st Class Unit Citation
  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
  • Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
  • Bainbridge has also earned eight battle stars for Vietnam service.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25/CGN-25)". 31 December 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  2. ^ Naval Vessel Register
  3. ^ a b c d e Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships (1970/71) p.430
  4. ^ Polmar, Norman "The U.S. Navy: Shipboard Radars" United States Naval Institute Proceedings December 1978 p.144
  5. ^ Baldwin, Hanson W. (1964-10-03). "Nuclear Task Force to End World Cruise Today". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Thompson, Jason (2004-08-04). "Operation Sea Orbit Veterans Celebrate 40th Anniversary Aboard Big E". United States Navy. Archived from the original on 2005-11-30.
  7. ^ USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25, later CGN-25), 1962–1997. Naval Historical Center. Accessed Feb 2014.


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

External links[edit]

  • Photo gallery of USS Bainbridge (DLGN/CGN 25) at NavSource Naval History