USS Lawrence (DDG-4)
USS Lawrence (DDG-4)
|Ordered:||28 March 1957|
|Builder:||New York Shipbuilding Corporation|
|Laid down:||27 October 1958|
|Launched:||27 February 1960|
|Acquired:||20 December 1961|
|Commissioned:||6 January 1962|
|Decommissioned:||30 March 1990|
|Struck:||16 May 1990|
|Motto:||"Don't give up the ship"|
|Fate:||sold for scrap|
|Class and type:||Charles F. Adams-class destroyer|
|Displacement:||3,277 tons standard, 4,526 full load|
|Length:||437 ft (133 m)|
|Beam:||47 ft (14 m)|
|Draft:||15 ft (4.6 m)|
|Speed:||33 knots (61 km/h)|
|Range:||4,500 nautical miles (8,300 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h)|
|Complement:||354 (24 officers, 330 enlisted)|
Lawrence was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation at Camden in New Jersey on 27 October 1958, launched on 27 February 1960 by Mrs. Fernie C. Hubbard, great-great-granddaughter of Captain James Lawrence and commissioned on 6 January 1962, Comdr. Thomas W. Walsh in command. Lawrence served on blockade duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962.
After a shakedown cruise on the Great Lakes, Lawrence proceeded to Naval Station Norfolk for duty in the Atlantic Fleet. Following the rapid development of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, the warship deployed with Task Group 136.1, a surface quarantine group of cruisers USS Canberra (CAG-2), USS Newport News (CA-148), three guided-missile destroyers including Lawrence and twelve escorts. The group took up a blocking position north of Cuba on 24 October, two days into the crisis. On Friday the 26, Lawrence and MacDonough (DLG-8) began shadowing Grozny, a tanker proceeding towards Cuba. The next day, the Soviet Union agreed to defuse the crisis and military forces on both sides began standing down.
After returning to Norfolk on 6 December 1962, Lawrence began the first of many Mediterranean cruises on 6 February 1963, steaming across the Atlantic to join the Sixth Fleet for operations in European waters, where she remained until 1 July. Following a second Mediterranean deployment between April and August 1964, the warship received an extensive overhaul in Norfolk over the ensuing winter. Before the end of the decade she conducted four more cruises; a Sixth Fleet deployment in 1965 (24 August to 17 December), a NATO exercise in the North Atlantic in 1966 (3 August to 5 September), another Mediterranean tour in 1966-67 (27 September to 1 February) and a third Sixth Fleet cruise in 1968 (10 January to 4 May). During her fourth Mediterranean deployment, Lawrence helped rescue crewmen from the sinking merchant vessel New Meadow, in distress off the coast of Crete.
Following two additional Mediterranean deployments, one in 1969-70 and another in 1971, the much-traveled destroyer made one Vietnam War tour in the Western Pacific in 1972-73, providing naval gunfire support, dodging enemy return fire, rescuing downed Aviators and serving as plane guard during aircraft carrier operations. Among her guests on Yankee Station were the CNO and Sec NAV. For her service, she was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation, as follows:
The Secretary of the Navy takes pleasure in presenting the Meritorious Unit Commendation to USS LAWRENCE (DDG-4)
CITATION: For meritorious service during operations against enemy forces in Southeast Asia from 7 August 1972 to 10 January 1973. Upon assignment to the US SEVENTH Fleet in support of United States objectives in Southeast Asia, USS LAWRENCE consistently displayed a high degree of professionalism and resourcefulness while carrying out arduous combat support missions along the coast of the Republic of Vietnam and 116 high speed strike missions against North Vietnam. During this period, USS LAWRENCE damaged or destroyed significant enemy fortifications and logistic support facilities. The sustained high level of personnel and material readiness achieved by LAWRENCE enabled her to respond instantly to every commitment ranging from pilot rescue to emergency naval gunfire support. By the exemplary performance of duty throughout this period, the officers and men of the USS LAWRENCE reflected great credit upon themselves and the United States Naval Service.
John W. Warner Secretary of the Navy
As the U.S.S. Lawrence came through the locks in the Panama canal her sister ship was sabotaged by a crewman that dropped a large wrench into the main reduction gear shaft causing her to be towed to San Diego for repairs while the Lawrence sailed on to Nam and engaged in "Operation Linebacker". She and served with pride due leadership and a willing crew. . At the time, she was affectionately known as the "leapin Larry" by her crew. Two more Sixth Fleet cruises followed in 1977-78 and 1979, and during the latter she briefly visited the Black Sea. Lawrence also passed through the Mediterranean en route to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf, deployments that took place in 1974-75, 1980 and 1983-84.
Lawrence also saw frequent service closer to home, in the western Atlantic and Caribbean, and occasionally visited other waters. In 1986 she circumnavigated around South America as part of Operation Unitas XVII, exercising with Latin American navies and visiting ports in Puerto Rico, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Uruguay and Brazil. During that deployment she served as the flagship for Destroyer Squadron 26.
Lawrence was decommissioned on 30 March 1990, stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 16 May 1990, and sold for scrap on 15 April 1994. The scrap contract was terminated on 1 October 1996 and resold on 10 February 1999.
- 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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