USS Harry E. Yarnell
USS Harry E. Yarnell in 1967
|Name:||Harry E. Yarnell|
|Namesake:||Harry E. Yarnell|
|Ordered:||11 July 1958|
|Builder:||Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine|
|Laid down:||31 May 1960|
|Launched:||9 December 1961|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. Philip Yarnell|
|Acquired:||25 January 1963|
|Commissioned:||2 February 1963|
|Decommissioned:||20 October 1993|
|Reclassified:||CG-17 on 30 June 1975|
|Struck:||29 October 1993|
|Fate:||Sold for scrap. Scrapping completed 17 APR 2002|
|Class and type:||Leahy class cruiser|
|Displacement:||7,800 tons full load|
|Length:||547 ft (167 m)|
|Beam:||55 ft (17 m)|
|Draft:||25 ft (7.6 m)|
|Propulsion:||Steam turbines, 4 1200 psi boilers, 85,000 hp, 2 shafts|
USS Harry E. Yarnell (DLG/CG-17), a Leahy-class guided missile cruiser, was a ship of the United States Navy named in honor of Admiral Harry E. Yarnell (1875–1959). Originally called a "destroyer leader" or frigate, in 1975 she was redesignated a cruiser in the Navy's ship reclassification. She was the second of the "double-end" Leahy-class guided missile frigates to join the fleet.
Harry E. Yarnell was launched 9 December 1961 by the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. Philip Yarnell, widow of Admiral Yarnell; and commissioned 2 February 1963 at the Boston Naval Shipyard, Captain Charles E. Nelson in command.
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Harry E. Yarnell was equipped with RIM-2 Terrier surface-to-air missile launching rails both fore and aft and ASROC anti-submarine missiles, as well as more conventional torpedo tubes and guns. The new ship was fitted out at Boston and received a grim reminder that even in peacetime the sea can be a powerful enemy. While out on trials, Yarnell was diverted on 10 April 1963 to search for USS Thresher (SSN-593), the nuclear submarine later found on the bottom some 8,000 feet down. Quartering the area where the sub was last reported, the guided missile frigate found an oil slick and some debris but could not contact the lost submarine.
On her way to her new home base, Naval Station Norfolk, on 23 April, Harry E. Yarnell passed and photographed several Soviet "merchant" ships. The next few months were spent conducting training for shakedown and missile qualification. Designated to carry out standardization trials for her class as well as special acoustical tests, Yarnell spent 28 October–26 November in the Caribbean operating out of Guantanamo Bay and then returned to Norfolk.
Yarnell continued operating in the Virginia Capes area and the Caribbean until departing from Norfolk on 8 September 1964 for her first Atlantic crossing. NATO ASW exercises en route took the guided missile frigate far north, and she crossed the Arctic circle on 21 September. She visited Amsterdam en route to the Mediterranean, where she remained until returning to Norfolk in February 1965.
On her next Mediterranean deployment, which began 8 October, she transited the Dardanelles on 3 January 1966 and entered the Black Sea to operate close to the Soviet Union before returning to Norfolk in March. After NATO exercises in the North Atlantic, Harry E. Yarnell received the battle efficiency "E" for the preceding year. She also won the 1966 Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award for the Atlantic Fleet.
Operations in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean brought the fine ship and her crew to a high degree of readiness before she sailed for her 3rd Mediterranean deployment early in 1967. She cruised the Mediterranean ready to help snuff out trouble, should it occur in that troubled area, until returning to Norfolk in May. At mid-year she operated in the North Atlantic, honing her fighting edge to prepare for the challenges of the future.
After the upgrade in Bath, Maine, in 1969, the Yarnell made its way to Boston Naval Shipyard. The Yarnell was given a new crew and recommissioned for service in Boston. The Yarnell was then assigned to the Newport Naval Station. A year of testing all the new systems and the Yarnell set sail in July, 1970 on a UNITAS cruise for exercises with Naval forces of South American countries. Following departure from Newport and an overnight visit at Dam Neck, VA, Yarnell sailed to San Juan, Puerto Rico to pick up the admiral for the cruise. The Yarnell visited Caracas, Venezuela, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro (twice) and São Paulo, Brazil. A scheduled visit to Montevideo, Uruguay was cancelled due to political activity there, so Yarnell returned to Rio de Janeiro for a second visit. Following a stop in Commodore Rivadavia, Argentina to take on supplies, Yarnell proceeded through the Magellan Straits and the Chilean Waterway into the Pacific ocean, where stops were made in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, and Panama before going through the Panama Canal and returning to Newport via San Juan and St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands.
In late 1972, the Yarnell was again deployed to the Mediterranean. On the way across the Atlantic a helicopter from a Russian cruiser flew around the Yarnell taking many photographs. To return the favor, the Yarnell was ordered to accompany 3 Russia subs from the Gibraltar Straits to the Black Sea. When not busy with naval duties the Yarnell visited Naples, Genoa, and Venice Italy, Nice France, Mallorca, Valencia and Barcelona Spain, Athens, Corfu, Rhodes, and Kavalla Greece.
August 1973 found Yarnell on the way to the Med again, with a visit to Lisbon Portugal, afterward, Exercise Quickshave off the coasts of France,England and Portugal,followed by turnover in Rota with the USS Dale.P alma followed by Western Med ops as a picket with a short return afterward, to Palma. Group Ops off Crete along with an ORE,were followed by a trip to Athens. Further visits to Barcelona and Malaga occurred before turnover in Rota to USS Leahy (CG-16) on 14 January, Yarnell returning to Newport 24 January 1974. After a short period of local ops,the Yarnell entered Pennsylvania Naval Shipyard at Philadelphia for a one year overhaul. Completion of overhaul also included a trip to NYC, a not often mentioned but memorable running aground, before ammunition load-out at Earle NJ, and a Home Port change to Norfolk. Refresher Training at Guantanimo Cuba, with a side trip over July 4 to Port-au-Prince Haiti and local ops off Virginia rounded things off.
The entire Leahy class was given an AAW upgrade during the late-1970s and early 1980s. The 3/50s were replaced by 8 RGM-84 Harpoon missiles, the Terrier launchers were upgraded to fire the Standard missile, and 2 Phalanx CIWS were added. All were upgraded under the late-1980s NTU program. This included new radars, a new combat system, new fire control systems, and upgraded missiles and missile launchers.
In late June 1990, Rear Admiral Thomas D. Paulson, Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Group Two, led the Yarnell and USS Kauffman (FFG-59) to visit Poland in conjunction with BALTOPS '90, a U.S. Naval Forces Europe-hosted international naval exercise in the Baltic Sea. Their port call at Gdynia represented the first visit by United States Navy vessels to Poland since 1927.
Harry E. Yarnell was decommissioned 20 October 1993, and stricken 29 October 1993. She was sold 14 April 1995 for scrapping at Quonset Point, RI, but the scrap contract was terminated 1 December 1996 (scrapping 10% complete), and the hulk returned to Philadelphia for storage. Scrapping was ultimately completed in April 2002.
- "USS Kauffman (FFG 59) and USS Harry E. Yarnell (CG 17) Polish Port Visit". Navsource Online: History Page. Navsource.org. 29 December 2006. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain. The entry can be found here.
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