USS Paul F. Foster
USS Paul F. Foster sailing through smooth seas in 1986.
|Namesake:||Paul F. Foster|
|Ordered:||1 June 1970|
|Laid down:||6 February 1973|
|Launched:||22 February 1974|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. Isabelle L. Foster, widow of namesake.|
|Acquired:||1 February 1976|
|Commissioned:||21 February 1976|
|Decommissioned:||27 March 2003|
|Reclassified:||16 March 2005 as EDD-964|
|Struck:||6 April 2004|
|Motto:||Honor, Valor, Service|
|Status:||Assigned to NSWC Port Hueneme as SDTS ship, as of 2017.|
|Class and type:||Spruance-class destroyer|
|Displacement:||8,040 (long) tons full load|
|Length:||529 ft (161 m) waterline; 563 ft (172 m) overall|
|Beam:||55 ft (16.8 m)|
|Draft:||29 ft (8.8 m)|
|Propulsion:||4 × General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, 2 shafts, 80,000 shp (60 MW)|
|Speed:||32.5 knots (60 km/h)|
|Complement:||19 officers, 315 enlisted|
|Aircraft carried:||2 x Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk LAMPS III helicopters.|
USS Paul F. Foster (DD-964), named for Vice Admiral Paul F. Foster USN (1889–1972), was a Spruance-class destroyer built by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries at Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was commissioned on 21 February 1976 and decommissioned on 27 March 2003. She now serves as a test ship for experimental U.S. Navy weapons and sensors.
As the initial Spruance-class destroyer assigned to the Pacific Fleet, Paul F. Foster had many milestone firsts, including successfully firing a NATO Sea Sparrow missile, demonstrating the feasibility of landing H-46 helicopters, and determining the operational limits of the SH-3 helicopter.
Operating out of San Diego, Paul F. Foster became the first Spruance-class destroyer to deploy to the Western Pacific in March 1978. The ship deployed again in 1979 and 1982, serving in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific.
Paul F. Foster joined Destroyer Squadron Nine and moved to its new home port of Long Beach, California, in August 1983. She became the Navy's first "all electric destroyer" after major modifications at Long Beach Naval Shipyard, which included the addition of a fourth ship's service gas turbine generator.
On 29 August 1984, Paul F. Foster began its fourth Western Pacific deployment as Destroyer Squadron Nine's flagship, with then Desron Nine Commodore, T.O. Gabriel and his staff embarked aboard, leading a five-ship surface action group and participating in several major allied fleet exercises.
During a fifth deployment beginning in August 1986 with Desron Nine as part of the Carl Vinson Battle Group, Paul F. Foster was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for her performance in Operation Kernel Potlatch in the North Pacific and Bering Sea.
From July 1987 through July 1988, Paul F. Foster completed a regular overhaul at Northwest Marine Iron Works in Portland, Oregon. During the overhaul the ship received over 55 major ship alterations, including installation of the Mk 41 Vertical Launch System for Tomahawk cruise missiles, the AN/SQQ-89 Anti-Submarine Warfare Detection System, and facilities to employ the Navy's most sophisticated submarine helicopter, the LAMPS MkIII.
Paul F. Foster departed on its sixth Western Pacific/Indian Ocean deployment on 24 February 1989 in company with the Ranger Battle Group. Conducting North Arabian Sea operations, the ship was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
1990 to 2003
On 8 December 1990, Paul F. Foster departed Long Beach on its seventh overseas deployment to the Persian Gulf in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The first ship to fire Tomahawk missiles against Iraqi targets, she was instrumental in the liberation of Kuwait and in winning the campaign. Deploying for the eighth time on 20 July 1992, she returned to the Arabian Sea, where she operated in support of Persian Gulf Operations-Southern Watch while participating in numerous bilateral exercises with Persian Gulf Nations.
During the ship's ninth deployment, Paul F. Foster again served with Carl Vinson Battle Group and was the first ship on the scene to provide assistance to a burning oceangoing tug, Glorious City, putting out the fire and saving its crew of seven.
Upon returning from deployment on 20 October 1994, Paul F. Foster entered into a regular overhaul at Long Beach Naval Shipyard where several of the latest technological weapons, sensors and engineering systems were added. A major change implemented during this overhaul was a retrofit of a berthing, to accommodate her first female crew members. After completion of overhaul, she moved to her new home port of Everett, Washington arriving November 1995.
During the ship's tenth deployment which began 21 February 1997, Paul F. Foster was a part of the multinational force during Persian Gulf Operations, enforcing United Nations sanctions against Iraq.
Paul F. Foster departed for her eleventh deployment on 27 January 1999. While serving as part of the Pacific Middle East Force, she participated in Operation Iron Siren, Eager Sentry, and Arabian Gauntlet. In addition, the ship conducted boarding's in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq.
Paul F. Foster departed for her twelfth deployment on 11 January 2001, where the ship once again conducted numerous boarding operations in support of the United Nations sanctions against Iraq. Her thirteenth and final deployment began on 18 June 2002.
Decommissioning and Self Defense Test Ship role
Paul F. Foster was decommissioned on 27 March 2003. In 2004, Paul F. Foster was designated to replace ex-Decatur as a Self Defense Test Ship for the Navy, a role she assumed in 2005. In support of this new role, she is assigned to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division. As of 2011, ex-Paul F. Foster is the last surviving example of the Spruance-class.
On 8 April 2011, Wired.com reported that ex-Paul F. Foster had successfully used the Maritime Laser Demonstrator for the first time in a sea-to-sea target test, sinking a small inflatable motorboat at a range of one mile in rough seas.
On 17 November 2011, ex-Paul F. Foster demonstrated the use of shipboard alternative fuel, while underway in the Pacific Ocean on a 50–50 blend of an algae-derived, hydro-processed algal oil and petroleum F-76. The ship arrived Thursday morning to the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Port Hueneme in Southern California after traveling for 17 hours on a maiden trip from San Diego.
According to the Navy unit Awards site, Paul F. Foster received the following awards:
- Navy Expeditionary Medal, 6 March 1980 to 31 March 1980 for Iran / Indian Ocean.
- Meritorious Unit Citation, 16 January 1987 to 2 February 1987.
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, 22 April 1989 to 4 May 1989, for Persian Gulf and 22 May 1989 to 15 June 1989.
- Navy Unit Commendation, 17 January 1991 to 7 February 1991, for Desert Storm.
- Combat Action Ribbon, 17 January 1991 to 28 February 1991, for Desert Storm.
- Southwest Asia Service Medal, 13 January 1991 to 19 April 1991.
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, 3 April 1997 to 30 to June 1997, for Bosnia.
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, 18 April 1999 to 17 July 1999, for Bosnia.
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, 28 February 2001 to 6 May 2001, for Bosnia.
- Navy E Ribbon, 3 awards, 1 July 1977 to 31 December 1978, 1 January 1991 to 31 December 1992 and 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2002.
In popular culture
A season 1 episode of NCIS, "The Immortals" (episode 4), is set aboard Paul F. Foster (though the stock footage of the destroyer used shows USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51)—the hull number is clearly visible). In 2008, Foster was used in the episode "Road Kill" (season 6, episode 10) portraying USS Rubicon, a ship about to be decommissioned. In the 2013 episode "Squall", in the final scenes resolving the mystery, the bow of Foster is seen in the background, her number plainly visible. In the movie "The Final Countdown" (1980), she was shown as part of the Nimitz' battle group before the carrier went back in time to fight Pearl Harbor. In a season 4 episode of Bones, "The Hero in the Hold" (episode 13), FBI Agent Seely Booth escapes from a Naval ship rigged with explosives, intended to be sunk to create an artificial reef. The ship can be seen in an aerial shot just a moment after explosion, but any identifying marks are blocked from view by the fireball of the explosion itself. Thanks is given (THIS EPISODE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MADE WITHOUT THE SUPPORT AND GENEROSITY OF THE...) to "THE CREW OF THE SELF DEFENSE TEST SHIP, EX-PAUL F. FOSTER (DDG 964)," among other Naval and Department of Defense entities.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Navy document "Command History".
- "Launching". USS Paul F. Foster (DD-964). U.S. Navy Cruise Books, 1918-2009: 12. 1977.
- "Command History". www.foster.navy.mil. Archived from the original on 2002-12-02.
- "NSWC Port Hueneme Welcomes New Self Defense Test Ship". GlobalSecurity.org. 2 April 2003. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- Ackerman, Spencer (8 April 2011). "Video: Navy Laser Sets Ship on Fire". Wired.com. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- "Navy launches its largest biofuel test for ship". Fuelfix.com. 17 November 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- "Paul F Foster EDD-964 Final DOI Naval Vessel Historical Evaluation" (PDF). navsea.navy.mil. 5 March 2013.
- "Unit Awards Query". awards.navy.mil. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
- "The Immortals". NCIS. Season 1. Episode 4. 14 October 2003. CBS.
- "Road Kill". NCIS. Season 6. Episode 10. 2 December 2008. CBS. Archived from the original on 17 July 2010.
- "Squall". NCIS. Season 10. Episode 19. 14 October 2003. CBS.
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