USS Mississippi (CGN-40)
USS Mississippi (CGN-40)
|Namesake:||State of Mississippi|
|Ordered:||21 January 1972|
|Builder:||Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company|
|Laid down:||22 February 1975|
|Launched:||31 July 1976|
|Sponsored by:||Janet Finch|
|Acquired:||14 July 1978|
|Commissioned:||5 August 1978|
|Decommissioned:||28 July 1997|
|Struck:||28 July 1997|
|Motto:||Virtute et armis (By valor and arms)|
|Status:||Berthed at NAVSEA Inactive Ships On-site Maintenance Office, Bremerton, WA|
|Class and type:||Virginia-class cruiser|
|Displacement:||approx. 11,300 tons full load|
|Length:||585 ft (178 m)|
|Beam:||63 ft (19 m)|
|Draft:||31.5 ft (9.6 m)|
|Propulsion:||Twin D2G General Electric nuclear reactors|
|Complement:||39 Officers, 539 Enlisted|
As built: Helicopter pad (Afterdeck)with hangar / elevator – until later retrofit to Tomahawk launchers.
USS Mississippi (CGN-40), a Virginia-class nuclear powered guided-missile cruiser, was the fourth ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the 20th state admitted to the Union. Her keel was laid down by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company at Newport News, Virginia, on 22 February 1975. She was launched on 31 July 1976. The ship was commissioned on 5 August 1978 by president Jimmy Carter, then serving as the 39th President of the United States. Early deployment included escorting the carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68). She also was deployed in 1989 as a response to the capture and subsequent murder of U.S. Marine Corps Colonel William R. Higgins by terrorists.
Mississippi (DLGN 40) was laid down on 22 February 1975 at Newport News, Va., by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.; reclassified as a guided missile cruiser and designated CGN 40 on 30 June 1975; launched on 31 July 1976; sponsored by Miss. Janet H. Finch, daughter of Governor Charles C. Finch of Mississippi; and, in ceremonies attended by President James E. [Jimmy] Carter, Jr., Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, and Senator John C. Stennis of Mississippi, was commissioned at Norfolk, Va., on 5 August 1978, Capt. Peter M. Hekman, Jr., in command.
Mississippi conducted her shakedown cruise to Caribbean and South American waters (8 January–13 February 1979), then made her first deployment—to the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean -- (3 August 1981 – 12 February 1982) during a confrontation between the United States and Libya. She operated as part of the screen for aircraft carriers Nimitz and Forrestal when two Libyan Sukhoi Su‑22 Fitter-Js threatened the task force (19 August 1981). Cmdr. Henry M. Kleeman and Lt. David J. Venlet, and Lieutenants Lawrence M. Muczynski and James Anderson, of Fighter Squadron (VF) 41, manned a pair of Grumman F‑14A Tomcats on a reconnaissance mission from Nimitz for a missile-firing exercise during freedom of navigation operations over international waters. The Libyans opened fire at the Tomcats and the F-14As shot down the Fitter-Js with AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. Mississippi fired three RIM-66B Standard SM-1 surface-to-air missiles during the exercise.
While Mississippi steamed with Nimitz and guided missile cruiser Arkansas off the coast of Lebanon, she received a distress call from Greek cargo vessel Andalusia, registered with the Belgravia Maritime Company of London, England, bearing 166°, range 26 nautical miles (0030 on 3 December 1982). Crew 11, a Lockheed P-3C Orion from Patrol Squadron (VP) 49, vectored Mississippi to Andalusia and the cruiser rescued all 19 crewmembers. Two Sikorsky Sea Kings from Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS) 9 operating from Nimitz, an SH-3H designated AJ 615, pilot Lt. Michael G. Mulcahy, co-pilot Lt. (j.g.) Randall K. Ewald, and aircrewmen Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Operator 2d Class Robert S. Chronister and Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Operator Airman Henry J. Miller; and an SH-3G designated AJ 617, BuNo 149000, pilot Lt. Cmdr. David B. Small, Jr., co-pilot Lt. Cmdr. Larry W. Zimmer, and aircrewmen Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Operator 2d Class Richard M. Lane and Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Operator Airman Allen L. Estel; transferred survivors from Mississippi to the carrier. Mississippi’s chief engineer and damage control assistant inspected Andalusia but determined that her damage precluded salvage, and the ship sank at 0824, 1,200 yards off the port bow of the cruiser in 195 fathoms (36°1'N, 12°19'2"E).
Arab terrorists in Beirut, Lebanon, kidnapped and hung Lt. Col. William R. Higgins, USMC, a member of the UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon, and threatened to murder additional hostages they held (1 August 1989). Aircraft carrier America departed early from a visit to Singapore and made for the Arabian Sea, and Coral Sea steamed from Alexandria, Egypt, to the Eastern Mediterranean as a show of force. Mississippi had deployed as part of the Sixth Fleet’s Med 3-89 Battle Force and was visiting Haifa, Israel, when the crisis began. She emergency sortied and operated as the battle group’s Composite Warfare Coordinator for anti-surface warfare off the Lebanese littoral throughout the remainder of the month. Midway had originally been scheduled to participate in Pacific Exercise-89, but sailed to fill a carrier commitment in the Indian Ocean, where she operated until mid-October.
Mississippi deployed with the John F. Kennedy Battle Group to the Mediterranean for Operations Desert Shield/Storm/Sabre—the liberation of the Kuwaitis from the Iraqis (16 August 1990 – 28 March 1991). She escorted the carrier Theodore Roosevelt, which broke with her conventionally fueled battle group upon exiting the Suez Canal. These two ships travelled at flank speed the length of the Red Sea and through the Bab al Mandeb into the Gulf of Aden arriving on (15 January). The importance of that day and break-neck speed to arrive on it was due to uncertainty about Yemen's position on the war, getting the carrier beyond shore batteries and short range patrol boats in the narrow straights was a priority before hostilities could commence on (16 January). Mississippi then waited off the coast of Yemen to escort the engine room troubled Nitro through the Bab al Mandeb (18 January) and out beyond the Gulf of Aden. As an ammunition ship, Nitro was needed for battleship shore battery and amphibious landing support. Once escort duty was complete Mississippi made flank speed to her launch position in the northern Red Sea. Mississippi fired three BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) at Iraqi strategic and military targets (25 January 1991) and two more the following day. One Tomahawk failed after launch and landed in the sea after a short erratic flight. The ship then operated as the local anti-air warfare screen commander for the Red Sea Battle Force (27 January–24 February).
Following the Haitian Army’s overthrow of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide (September 1991), a succession of governments led to sectarian violence. The UN authorized force to restore order and the U.S. initiated Operations "Support Democracy" and "Uphold/Restore Democracy—Uphold Democracy" for a peaceful entry into Haiti, and "Restore Democracy" in the event of resistance. Mississippi enforced the embargoes imposed upon Haiti as part of "Support Democracy" (14 July–3 August). The deteriorating situation then (12 September 1994) prompted the dispatch of a multinational force that included the carriers America and Dwight D. Eisenhower—about 1,800 soldiers of the Army’s XVIII Airborne Corps embarked on board Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Haitians agreed to allow the Americans to land peacefully, and (31 March 1995) the U.S. transferred peacekeeping functions to international forces. The crisis marked the first deployment operationally of Army helicopters on board a carrier in lieu of most of an air wing.
NATO and the UN carried out Operations: Provide Promise to provide humanitarian relief for people displaced by the fighting in former Yugoslavia (2 July 1992 – 9 January 1996); Deny Flight to monitor the air space over Bosnia-Herzegovina to prevent the warring parties from using their air strength (12 April 1993 – 21 December 1995); and Sharp Guard to enforce the arms embargo against the combatants (15 June 1993 – 2 October 1996). Mississippi served as Red Crown—coordinating air operations—in the Maverick Operating Area in the Adriatic Sea (2–18 April, 14–21 May, 11–21 June, 30 June–9 July, 22–27 July, and 22 August–6 September 1995). In addition, the cruiser intercepted Polish vessel Dajti, and her boarding team boarded and inspected the Eastern European ship as a possible smuggler (7 April).
Two Cuban Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-29UB Fulcrums shot down two Cessna 337 Skymasters flown by the “Brothers to the Rescue,” a non-profit organization opposed to the Cuban government of Fidel R. Castro, over contested international waters (24 February 1996). Mississippi led a surface action group that included guided missile cruiser Ticonderoga and guided missile frigate John L. Hall during Operations Sentinel Lifeguard, Standoff IV, and Escort 1-96 in the Straits of Florida in response to the Cubans’ downing the Skymasters (25–28 February and 1–7 March). In addition, the group escorted a civilian flotilla that laid a wreath on the water where the victims fell.
By 1995 it was determined her nuclear reactors would need to be refueled, but cuts in the Navy budget ruled out the refueling overhaul the ship would need to continue in service. After serving just 18 years in commissioned service, USS Mississippi (CGN-40) was deactivated on 6 September 1996 at Norfolk and was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 28 July 1997. The ship was prepared and then towed from Norfolk, VA to Bremerton, WA via the Panama Canal from March 1998 to May 1998. The MSC fleet tug USNS Mohawk began the tow until ex-Mississippi was moored at Rodman Naval Station, Panama. The Pacific tow was completed by USNS Navajo to the Naval Sea Systems Command Inactive Ships Onsite Maintenance Office, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington from March to May 1998.
ex-Mississippi entered the Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program around October 2004 and recycling was completed 30 November 2007.
- Nuclear powered cruisers of the United States Navy
- USS Mississippi for other ships with the same name
- Virginia class cruiser
- DANFS - USS Mississippi-IV
- Morison, Samuel L (2009). "US Naval Battle Force Changes, 1 January 2008 - 31 December 2008" (PDF). Proceedings. United States Naval Institute (May 2009): 115.
- USS Mississippi Mast Raised At Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. WLOX, May 5, 2003.
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