USS Stethem

USS Stethem (DDG-63) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy. The ship was built in Pascagoula, Mississippi, starting on 11 May 1993. She was commissioned on 21 October 1995. Stethem is named for Steelworker 2nd Class Robert Stethem, who was a Navy sailor killed by terrorists onboard TWA 847 in Beirut, Lebanon in 1985. She is part of the Pacific Fleet, assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15.

USS Stethem
USS Stethem anchored in Hong Kong.
History
United States
Name: USS Stethem
Namesake: Robert Stethem
Ordered: 22 February 1990
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding
Laid down: 11 May 1993
Launched: 17 June 1994
Commissioned: 21 October 1995
Homeport: Naval Base San Diego, California
Identification:
Motto: Steadfast And Courageous
Nickname(s): "The Steel Worker"
Status: in active service
Badge: USS Stethem DDG-63 Crest
General characteristics
Class and type: Arleigh Burke-class destroyer
Displacement:
  • Light: approx. 6,800 long tons (6,900 t)
  • Full: approx. 8,900 long tons (9,000 t)
Length: 505 ft (154 m)
Beam: 66 ft (20 m)
Draft: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Propulsion: 4 General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines, two shafts, 100,000 total shaft horsepower (75 MW)
Speed: >30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Range:
Complement:
Sensors and
processing systems:
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Armament:
Aircraft carried: 2 Sikorsky MH-60R helicopters can be embarked

Ship history

Stethem is the 13th Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyer. Construction of Stethem began on 18 May 1992 with the ship's keel being laid down at the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi on 11 May 1993. She was launched on 17 June 1994 and was christened on 16 July 1994 by Mrs. Patricia L. Stethem, the mother of the ship's namesake. The vessel then transited the Panama Canal and was officially commissioned on 21 October 1995 at the Naval Construction Battalion Center Port Hueneme. On 15 February 1996 she successfully completed her Post Delivery Test and Trials and was thus cleared for combat operations.

1996: Rescue mission

On 23 November 1996 the ship was diverted for a Search and Rescue mission to recover survivors from a downed U.S. Air Force C-130 off the coast of northern California. In the company of two smaller boats Stethem patrolled the area around the crash for some twenty hours while engaged in recovery efforts, which earned the destroyer the U.S. Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal. She was additionally recognized for her achievements during her first year of service by earning the 1996 Destroyer Squadron Twenty-One Battle Efficiency Award.

1997: First deployment

On 4 April 1997 Stethem set sail for the Persian Gulf on her maiden overseas deployment, reporting for duty in Bahrain on 3 July. During the next three months she served in a variety of roles including the primary Air Warfare Commander, Surface Warfare Commander, Ready Strike Platform, and LINK Coordinator. She also provided support to both the USS Constellation and the USS John F. Kennedy Carrier Battle Groups (CBG) and several U.S. Air Force aircraft engaged in Operation Southern Watch. She also supported the United Nations Security Council resolutions against Iraq by conducting some 54 boardings and inspections of suspected sanctions violators.

Stethem's port visits during her deployment included Singapore, Malaysia, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Perth and Sydney. She finally returned to San Diego on 7 November 1997 to begin an inter-deployment training cycle, the second one undertaken by the ship.

Beginning with a Command Assessment of Readiness for Training (CART II) in May 1998, Stethem's crew trained in combat systems, navigation, engineering, mobility, damage control, and logistics management. Her training teams' mission readiness commitment resulted in the validation of all the Final Evaluation Period objectives during the Tailored Shipboard Training Availability Phase III (TSTA III) – a first for any surface combatant.

1999: Second deployment

Stethem began her second deployment to the Persian Gulf 16 April 1999, sailing as part of the Middle East Force 99-2. After port visits to Guam, Saipan, Singapore, and Thailand, she reported for duty in the Persian Gulf conducting freedom of navigation operations and maritime interception operations. During her 76 days on station she served as an Air Warfare Commander, a Ready Strike Platform, and a Force Over-The-Horizon Track Coordinator. Stethem also had the opportunity to support the Theodore Roosevelt CBG as a carrier escort and a plane guard. After serving as command ship for Northern Persian Gulf Maritime Interception Operations for a second time, she transited the Strait of Hormuz on 13 August, and arrived home in San Diego 4 October 1999.

In January 2000, Stethem was honored for her achievements and was once more awarded with the 1999 Destroyer Squadron Twenty-One Battle Efficiency Award. She was the recipient of the Raytheon CIWS Award, the Pacific Force Retention Award, and the Safety Award.

In mid-September 2000, during a port visit in San Francisco, Stethem was called out to sea by the Joint Interagency Task Force West to escort the fishing vessel Gran Tauro to San Diego. Gran Tauro had been caught with over five metric tons of uncut cocaine aboard, with a total net worth of over $500 million. After completing this escort the ship returned to conducting final preparations for her next deployment.

2001: Third deployment

On 13 January 2001 she departed on her third deployment to the Persian Gulf, this time as part of MEF 01-1. After port visits to Hawaii, Guam, Oman, Darwin and Cairns, Australia, American Samoa, Singapore, and Thailand, Stethem reported to the United States Fifth Fleet on 28 February 2001. During her 68 days on station in the Persian Gulf she conducted maritime interception operations, served as the Air Warfare Commander, supported Operation Southern Watch, served as a Ready Strike Platform, and participated in two international naval exercises; Exercise Arabian Gauntlet and Exercise Neon Falcon. During her maritime interception operations Stethem successfully intercepted the motor vessel Diamond, which resulted in the third largest arrest of an oil-smuggling sanctions violator since the Persian Gulf War. Stethem also escorted the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman through the Strait of Hormuz on 27 April before departing for the United States. The ship arrived home in San Diego on 28 June 2001.

9/11 and maintenance

After a Post-Overseas Movement Stand-down, Stethem supported the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and her Carrier Battle Group as an opposing force during their final battle problem. In early September she went through U.S. Navy Board of Inspection and Survey inspections (INSURV). She was conducting her INSURV on 11 September 2001 when terrorists attacked New York City and Washington, D.C., and shortly thereafter, Stethem was called into station in support of Operation Noble Eagle and tasked with conducting air surveillance of the approaches to San Diego and providing air defense coverage to shipping.

On 30 September 2001, Stethem entered into drydock for her third Selective Restricted Availability (SRA) at the Southwest Marine and Continental Maritime shipyards in San Diego. The purpose of this nine-week availability was the installation of equipment enhancements and quality of life upgrades. Stethem was also selected for the testing of the Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TTWCS). She departed drydock on 30 October 2001, and was again moved to the Continental Maritime Shipyard in San Diego. Her return to Naval Station San Diego on 6 December 2001 marked the end of the 9.4 million dollar refurbishment and refitting period. The destroyer got underway the following week to begin the work up for her next deployment, and on 14 December, she began her holiday leave and stand down period.

2002: Fourth deployment and periodic training

The crew assembled in mid-January 2002 to continue efforts in support of her Inter-Deployment Training Cycle (IDTC) and Tactical Tomahawk testing. In early February, Stethem anchored off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; this was the first foreign port visit by any U.S. naval combatant since the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001.

In the ensuing months Stethem embarked on her third Inter-Deployment Training Cycle and served as Command Destroyer, Squadron 23’s flagship throughout the month of February. In March, Stethem completed the Command Assessment of Readiness for Training II (CART II). Between the weeks of 1 April and 3 May 2002, Stethem completed the Tailored Ship’s Training Availability period. On 6 May Stethem served as the opposition forces for the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Battle Group’s Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX).

In early June 2002, Stethem earned her seventh Engineering Command excellence award as a result of her performance during the Engineering Underway Demonstration. Starting 8 July, she commenced a five-day supply management assessment which was upgraded to an inspection because of her exemplary combat logistics readiness. Returning to the site of her commissioning at the end of July, Stethem took part in the 60th Anniversary of Seabee Days in Port Hueneme, California, in honor of her namesake. She then transited to Everett, Washington, embarked families and friends for the short transit to participate in the Seattle Seafair festival. On 12 September 2002, Stethem was chosen to lead the Parade of Sail into San Diego Bay. In the beginning of October, Stethem docked at Broadway Pier as part of San Diego’s Fleet Week celebration. While at Broadway Pier, Stethem hosted the first public Navy ship tours in San Diego since the 11 September attacks. Soon afterward, on 16 October, Stethem successfully launched the first Tomahawk Cruise Missile using the new Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TTWCS). At the end of October, Stethem once again played the role of opposition force, this time for the Constellation CBG.

In January 2003, Stethem played the opposition force role for the Nimitz CBG. On 5 February 2003, Stethem returned to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for another port visit. Working with the San Diego and Puerto Vallarta Navy League Chapters, Stethem delivered medical equipment for distribution to handicapped residents of Puerto Vallarta. The crew also painted the local library frequented by many of Puerto Vallarta’s school children. On 5 April 2003, Stethem successfully performed the first ever surface ship launch of a Block IV Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile, bringing it one step closer to fleet introduction. This was followed up on 8 May with the first surface ship launch of a Block IV Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile with a live warhead. After the missile left the launcher, Stethem's strike team became the first to demonstrate Tactical Tomahawk’s post launch execution capability when they redirected the missile in flight. Both the team and the missile performed without error, destroying the intended target on San Clemente Island after over 2 hours and 700 miles of missile flight.

USN Tactical Tomahawk launch
Stethem launches a Tomahawk, May 2003

On 14 May 2003, after a two-week intermediate maintenance availability, Stethem sailed in support of a different kind of missile-firing exercise. During this exercise Stethem's air warfare team engaged two airborne targets with Standard Missiles. After this successful engagement, Stethem celebrated by transiting north to make post calls at Juneau, Alaska and Victoria, British Columbia.

Returning from her trek up North in June, Stethem rested for one week and then put back to sea to serve as the opposition force against Pacific Fleet's first Expeditionary Strike Group, which was headed up by amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu.

2017: Man overboard

On 2 July 2017, Stethem sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island in the South China Sea while conducting freedom of navigation exercises.[1]

On 1 August 2017, while on routine patrol 140 miles west of Subic Bay, Philippines, one of Stethem's sailors was reported missing and presumed to have gone overboard. U.S. Navy and Military Sealift Command ships were joined by ships and aircraft from the navies of China and Japan in an extensive search and rescue effort.[2] On 4 August 2017, after searching for 79 hours and covering 10,000 square miles without success, the search was called off.[3]

References

  1. ^ "UPDATED: USS Stethem Conducts Freedom of Navigation Operation Past Triton Island in South China Sea". 2 July 2017. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Search Underway for Stethem Sailor Overboard in South China Sea". Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Search for Missing USS Stethem Sailor Called Off After 79-Hour Search By US, Japan, China". usni.org. 4 August 2017. Retrieved 9 March 2019.

External links

Carrier Strike Group 5

Carrier Strike Group 5, also known as CSG 5 or CARSTRKGRU 5, is the U.S. Navy carrier strike group assigned to the United States Pacific Fleet and permanently forward deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet.

CSG 5 is responsible for unit-level training, integrated training, and material readiness for the group’s ships and aviation squadrons. As the only continuously forward deployed carrier strike group, the CSG-5 staff does not stand down when the strike group is in Yokosuka, but instead continues to maintain command responsibilities over deploying Carrier Strike Groups and independently deployed cruisers, destroyers, and frigates that operate in the Seventh Fleet operating area. The commander and staff are also responsible for the higher level Task Force 70 duties throughout the year in addition to the CSG-5 duties. The composition of the strike group in immediate proximity of the Ronald Reagan varies throughout the year.The CSG 5 Commander also serves as Battle Force Seventh Fleet and Commander, Task Force (CTF 70) for 7th Fleet. In these responsibilities, CSG 5 serves as the Commander of all surface forces (carrier strike groups, independently deploying cruisers, destroyers and frigates) in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. CTF 70 also serves as the Theater Surface Warfare Commander (TSUWC) and Theater Integrated Air Missile Defense Commander (TIAMDC) for Seventh Fleet.

The Strike Group Flagship is the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) which also embarks Strike Warfare Commander, Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW 5) and its nine squadrons. As of June 2015, CSG 5 includes three Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Destroyer Squadron Fifteen (CDS 15), which serves as the Sea Combat Commander and is responsible for eight assigned Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

Ronald Reagan and the ten surface combatant ships operate out of Yokosuka, Japan, while CVW 5 operates out of Atsugi, Japan, when not embarked on Ronald Reagan. Together, these units form the U.S. Navy's only continuously forward deployed (and largest) carrier strike group.

Craig S. Faller

Craig Stephen Faller (born c. 1961) is a United States Navy admiral. A 1983 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a native of Fryburg, Pennsylvania, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering. He earned his master's in national security affairs (strategic planning) from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1990.

Faller assumed duty as senior military assistant to the secretary of defense in January 2017. In that position, he served as the principal military advisor and assistant to the secretary of defense. On November 26, 2018, he succeeded Admiral Kurt W. Tidd as commander of United States Southern Command.

Destroyer Squadron 15

Destroyer Squadron 15 is a squadron of United States Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyers based at Yokosuka, Japan.

Destroyer squadron

A destroyer squadron is a naval squadron or flotilla usually consisting of destroyers rather than other types of vessel. In some navies other vessels, such as frigates, may be included. In English the word "squadron" tends to be used for larger and "flotilla" for smaller vessels; both may be used for destroyer units. Similar formations are used in non-English-speaking countries, e.g., the "escadrille"—which would translate directly as "squadron"—in France.

Guided missile destroyer

A guided-missile destroyer is a destroyer designed to launch guided missiles. Many are also equipped to carry out anti-submarine, anti-air, and anti-surface operations. The NATO standard designation for these vessels is DDG. Nations vary in their use of destroyer D designation in their hull pennant numbering, either prefixing or dropping it altogether. The U.S. Navy has adopted the classification DDG in the American hull classification system.

In addition to the guns, a guided-missile destroyer is usually equipped with two large missile magazines, usually in vertical-launch cells. Some guided-missile destroyers contain powerful radar systems, such as the United States’ Aegis Combat System, and may be adopted for use in an anti-missile or ballistic-missile defense role. This is especially true of navies that no longer operate cruisers, so other vessels must be adopted to fill in the gap.

Ingalls Shipbuilding

Ingalls Shipbuilding is a shipyard located in Pascagoula, Mississippi, United States, originally established in 1938, and now part of Huntington Ingalls Industries. It is a leading producer of ships for the United States Navy, and at 12,500 employees, the second largest private employer in Mississippi with WalMart being the largest with 24,000 employees.

List of current ships of the United States Navy

The United States Navy has approximately 490 ships in both active service and the reserve fleet, with approximately 90 more in either the planning and ordering stages or under construction, according to the Naval Vessel Register and published reports. This list includes ships that are owned and leased by the U.S. Navy; ships that are formally commissioned, by way of ceremony, and non-commissioned. Ships denoted with the prefix "USS" are commissioned ships. Prior to commissioning, ships may be described as a "pre-commissioning unit" or PCU, but are officially referred to by name with no prefix. US Navy support ships are often non-commissioned ships organized and operated by Military Sealift Command. Among these support ships, those denoted "USNS" are owned by the US Navy. Those denoted by "MV" or "SS" are chartered.

Current ships include commissioned warships that are in active service, as well as ships that are part of Military Sealift Command, the support component and the Ready Reserve Force, that while non-commissioned, are still part of the effective force of the U.S. Navy. Future ships listed are those that are in the planning stages, or are currently under construction, from having its keel laid to fitting out and final sea trials.

There exist a number of former US Navy ships which are museum ships (not listed here), some of which may be US government-owned. One of these, USS Constitution, a three-masted tall ship, is one of the original six frigates of the United States Navy. It is the oldest naval vessel afloat, and still retains its commission (and hence is listed here), as a special commemoration for that ship alone.

List of equipment of the United States Navy

The Equipment of the United States Navy have been subdivided into: watercraft, aircraft, munitions, vehicles, and small arms.

Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award

The Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award is presented annually by the U.S. Navy's Chief of Naval Operations to one ship in the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and one in the U.S. Pacific Fleet. A list of winners appears at the end of this article.

Generally the recipient is the ship with the highest score in the fleet's annual competitions for Battle Efficiency Awards, and is therefore often thought of as the fleet's most battle-ready ship. This isn't strictly correct, because it has been the policy to rotate eligibility for the award annually among the various type commands (aircraft carriers, submarines, amphibious ships, etc.).

The award includes a small monetary stipend (about $500 in 2004). Commanding officers receiving the award must put the money into the ship's recreation fund, where it can be spent on athletic equipment, prizes for athletic or marksmanship competitions, recreation room furniture, dances, parties, and similar recreational activities.

Operation Tomodachi

Operation Tomodachi (トモダチ作戦, Tomodachi Sakusen, literally "Operation Friend(s)") was a United States Armed Forces (especially U.S. Forces Japan) assistance operation to support Japan in disaster relief following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. The operation took place from 12 March to 4 May 2011; involved 24,000 U.S. servicemembers, 189 aircraft, 24 naval ships; and cost $90 million.

Robert Stethem

Robert Dean Stethem (November 17, 1961 – June 15, 1985) was a United States Navy Seabee diver who was murdered by Hezbollah terrorists during the hijacking of the commercial airliner he was aboard, TWA Flight 847. At the time of his death, his Navy rating was Steelworker Second Class (SW2). He was posthumously promoted to Master Chief Constructionman (CUCM).

TWA Flight 847

Trans World Airlines Flight 847 was a flight from Cairo to San Diego with en route stops in Athens, Rome, Boston, and Los Angeles. On the morning of Friday, June 14, 1985, Flight 847 was hijacked shortly after take off from Athens. The hijackers were seeking the release of 700 Shi'ite Muslims from Israeli custody. Later Western analysis considered them members of the Hezbollah militant group, but Hezbollah rejects that conclusion.

The passengers and crew endured a three-day intercontinental ordeal. Some passengers were threatened and some beaten. Passengers with Jewish-sounding names were moved apart from the others. United States Navy diver Robert Stethem was murdered, and his body was thrown onto the apron. Dozens of passengers were held hostage over the next two weeks until released by their captors after some of their demands were met.

Tomahawk (missile)

The Tomahawk () Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is a long-range, all-weather, jet-powered, subsonic cruise missile that is primarily used by the United States Navy and Royal Navy in ship- and submarine-based land-attack operations.

It was designed and initially produced in the 1970s by General Dynamics as a medium- to long-range, low-altitude missile that could be launched from a surface platform. The missile's modular design accommodates a wide variety of warhead, guidance, and range capabilities. At least six variants and multiple upgraded versions have been introduced since then, including air-, sub-, and ground-launched variants and conventional and nuclear-armed ones. As of 2019, only non-nuclear, sea-launched variants are currently in service.

The U.S. Navy launched the BGM-109 Tomahawk project, hiring James H. Walker and a team of scientists at the Applied Physics Laboratory near Laurel, Maryland. Since then, it has been upgraded several times with guidance systems for precision navigation. In 1992–1994, McDonnell Douglas Corporation was the sole supplier of Tomahawk Missiles and produced Block II and Block III Tomahawk missiles and remanufactured many Tomahawks to Block III specifications. In 1994, Hughes outbid McDonnell Douglas Aerospace to become the sole supplier of Tomahawk missiles. It is now manufactured by Raytheon. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Defense purchased 149 Tomahawk Block IV missiles for $202.3 million.

Triton Island

Triton Island (Chinese: 中建岛; pinyin: Zhōngjiàn Dǎo; Vietnamese: đảo Tri Tôn) is the westernmost and southernmost of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. It is located on the southwest corner of Triton Reef and has an area of 7 hectares (17 acres) above sea-level. The reef including the island measures about 120 hectares (300 acres) in area. The island is administered by the People's Republic of China, and is also claimed by the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Vietnam.

The island was historically known by the Chinese as Bànlù Zhì (Chinese: 半路峙; literally: 'halfway tower'), and as Luó Dǎo (Chinese: 螺岛; literally: 'snail island') to Chinese fishermen. Other Chinese sources have it named as 南建岛, as it was the southernmost point claimed by China until after 1933. The current Chinese name commemorates the Republic of China Navy warship ROCS Chung-chien (中建號) sent in 1946 to claim the Paracel Islands.

United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka

United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka (横須賀海軍施設, Yokosuka kaigunshisetsu) or Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (司令官艦隊活動横須賀, Shirei-kan kantai katsudō Yokosuka) is a United States Navy base in Yokosuka, Japan. Its mission is to maintain and operate base facilities for the logistic, recreational, administrative support and service of the U.S. Naval Forces Japan, Seventh Fleet and other operating forces assigned in the Western Pacific. CFAY is the largest strategically important U.S. naval installation in the western Pacific.Fleet Activities Yokosuka comprises 2.3 km² (568 acres) and is located at the entrance of Tokyo Bay, 65 km (40 mi) south of Tokyo and approximately 30 km (20 mi) south of Yokohama on the Miura Peninsula in the Kantō region of the Pacific Coast in Central Honshū, Japan.

The 55 tenant commands which make up this installation support U.S. Navy Pacific operating forces, including principal afloat elements of the United States Seventh Fleet, including the only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), the group she heads, Carrier Strike Group Five, and Destroyer Squadron 15.

United States Pacific Fleet

The United States Pacific Fleet (USPACFLT) is a Pacific Ocean theater-level component command of the United States Navy that provides naval forces to the United States Indo-Pacific Command. Fleet headquarters is at Pearl Harbor Naval Station, Hawaii, with large secondary facilities at North Island, San Diego Bay on the Mainland.

United States Seventh Fleet

The Seventh Fleet is a numbered fleet (a military formation) of the United States Navy. It is headquartered at U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka, in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. It is part of the United States Pacific Fleet. At present, it is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with 60 to 70 ships, 300 aircraft and 40,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel. Its principal responsibilities are to provide joint command in natural disaster or military operations and operational command of all naval forces in the region.

United States ship naming conventions

United States ship naming conventions for the U.S. Navy were established by Congressional action at least as early as 1862. Title Thirteen, Chapter Six, of the United States Code, enacted in that year, reads, in part,

The vessels of the Navy shall be named by the Secretary of the Navy under direction of the President according to the following rule:

Sailing-vessels of the first class shall be named after the States of the Union, those of the second class after the rivers, those of the third class after the principal cities and towns and those of the fourth class as the President may direct.

Further clarification was made by executive order of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907. However, elements had existed since before his time. If a ship is reclassified, for example a destroyer is converted to a mine layer, it retains its original name.

Flight I ships
Flight II ships
Flight IIA ships
Flight III ships

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