USS AINSWORTH (FF-1090)
Ainsworth (DE-1090) was laid down at Westwego, La., on 11 June 1971 by Avondale
Shipyards, Inc.; launched on 15 April 1972; sponsored by Mrs. Katherine Gardner Ainsworth, the widow of Vice Admiral Ainsworth; and commissioned
on 31 March 1973 at the Norfolk
Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va., Lt. Comdr. Terrence E. Siple in command.
fitting out, the new ocean escort departed her home port, Norfolk, on 11
June and headed for Port Everglades, Fla., to prepare for sensor tests and calibration. She then proceeded to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for shakedown training.
While the members of her crew were
becoming familiar with their ship and their duties, Ainsworth visited
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and then proceeded on
to La Guaira, Venezuela, where she joined warships of four other navies in a
voyage to Maracaibo to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Lake
Maracaibo, a naval victory which
helped Venezuela to win her independence.
En route home, the
ship made recruiting stops at New Orleans
and Miami before reaching Norfolk on 16 August and beginning preparation for her post-shakedown
overhaul. She got underway on 16
October and, two days later, entered the Charleston (S.C.) Naval
Shipyard. Less than a week after the work started,
it was interrupted by rising tension in the Middle East; and Ainsworth was placed in a 36-hour ready
standby status so that she would be
able, if necessary, to race to the Mediterranean. However, the stressful situation soon eased
sufficiently for her to resume the
repairs which were completed late in February 1974.
escort operated along the east coast and in the West Indies until 18 July when
she began a voyage in which she would circumnavigate South America, sailing south via
the West Indies
to Brazil and then proceeding on down the coast. Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo
were among her ports of call before the ship rounded Cape Horn. While returning north in
the Pacific, she
visited Valparaiso and Callao before reentering the Atlantic through the Panama
Canal. After stops at La Guaira and Cumona, Venezuela, she proceeded home via Roosevelt Roads,
and reached Norfolk on 16 December 1974.
leave and upkeep, the ship underwent tender availability alongside Puget Sound (AD-38) and
then prepared for operations in the Caribbean which lasted until 24 March 1975 when Ainsworth
again headed home. She arrived in Hampton Roads on the 27th and, but for a midshipmen
training cruise during the latter half of June and a run back to the West
22 to 29 August, she worked in the Norfolk-Virginia capes area until early autumn.
During that summer the ship was reclassified a frigate and redesignated FF-1090 on 30
3 October, the ocean escort headed across the Atlantic for her first visit to the
Mediterranean, beginning a routine of alternating deployments to the 6th Fleet with
operations on the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean. She reported to the 6th Fleet at Rota,
Spain, on 13 October and relieved Capodanno (FF-1093). During the remainder of the month, she
visited Tangier, Morocco; conducted operations in the western Mediterranean; and made a port call at Malaga,
left the Mediterranean on the last day of October and devoted the next three
weeks to Operation "Ocean Safari" in the northern Atlantic and
then spent from 22 to 28 November at Portsmouth, England, in company with Bowen (FF-1079).
She headed back toward Gibraltar on the latter day and rejoined the 6th Fleet at Rota on 3
December. Her operations during the next five months took her almost the full length of
as she visited ports in Italy, Greece, Turkey, France, and Spain before she headed
home on 26 April 1976.
reaching Norfolk on 5 May, the frigate operated in the Hampton Roads-Virginia
capes area for the remainder of the year with the exception of a trip up the Chesapeake
Bay to Annapolis
in late September and early October for a visit to the Naval Academy. On 17
January 1977, Ainsworth sailed for the Caribbean. She stopped at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba;
Fort-de-France, Martinique; and San Juan, Puerto Rico, before taking part in Exercise
"CARIBEX 1-77" from 11 to 21 February.
her return to Norfolk on George Washington's Birthday, the ship readied herself
for another deployment to European waters and got underway across the Atlantic
on the last day of March. After reaching Rota on 12 April, she sailed for Skaramangas, Greece,
on the 16th; reached there on the 21st; and remained at that port for a month before proceeding
via Suda Bay,
Crete, to the Ionian Sea. There she took part in a series of 6th Fleet
operations which-but for runs to nearby ports-kept her busy until mid-July.
15 July, she sailed for the Levant and visited Haifa, Israel, from the 20th to the 24th.
Then, after sailing westward, she reached Naples on 29 July and underwent a tender
availability there until 11 August. Three days at Augusta Bay, Sicily, preceeded
her participation in 6th Fleet Exercise "National Week XXIII" from 16 to 22
August. During her ensuing operations in the western Mediterranean, she called
at ports in France, Spain, and Portugal before sailing for home on 10 October.
ship reached Hampton Roads on 21 October and remained there until getting
underway on 28 November for MARCOTT 3/77, a joint exercise with Canadian warships which
kept her busy
until she returned to Norfolk in mid-December. She devoted the full month of
February 1978 to the Atlantic Fleet's annual readiness exercise and then spent the first
12 days of March
in upkeep at Norfolk before representing her sister frigates in Exercise
"Shamrock," a combined weapons test and training exercise. Carrier Dwight
D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), guided missile cruiser Virginia (CGN-38), and destroyer Peterson
also took part in this demonstration which was observed by President Jimmy Carter.
On St. Patrick's Day, she arrived at Jacksonville, Fla., and spent the rest of March in that
vicinity supporting advanced underway training of surface warfare officers. She returned to
Norfolk on 1 April to serve off the Virginia capes as deck landing
qualifications ship for LAMPS Squadrons 30, 32, and 34. During the five-day procedure 725
landings were made
while 94 pilots were qualified. Then, following further operations in the
Norfolk-Virginia capes area, Ainsworth entered the Philadelphia Naval
Shipyard for her first regular overhaul which kept her busy until 1 March 1979.
for her home port the following day, she arrived at Norfolk on the 3d and
conducted local operations until getting underway on 10 May for refresher training in the
West Indies cruise, which lasted through mid-summer, took her to the Bahamas, Guantanamo
Bay, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Then, with fighting skills again
honed to a keen edge, she returned to Norfolk on 23 August and operated locally until putting to
sea on 1 October for 12 days of combined underway training exercises along the east coast and
in waters off
Puerto Rico. Upon returning home on the 13th, she began preparations for another
deployment, got underway on 10 November, and proceeded via the Azores to Rota. After
Mediterranean, she continued on-via the Suez Canal and the Red Sea-to the
Persian Gulf and transited the Strait of Hormuz on 9 December. While in the Middle East she
visited Jidda, Saudi Arabia;
Djibouti, Afars and Issas; and Sitra, Bahrein. She departed the latter port on 22 December 1979 and began 84 consecutive days of service underway at sea ready
to act in any emergency which might
arise in the area which might result from
the prolonged crises precipitated by Iran's capture and occupation of the American Embassy in Teheran and
the imprisonment of the American
citizens who worked there.
On 11 March 1980, the
ship finally put in to Muscat, Oman, for fuel
as she began her voyage homeward. Three days later, she topped off her oil bunkers at Djibouti and
continued on through the Red Sea, the Suez Canal, and the Mediterranean,
to Gibraltar. Following brief stops in the
Azores and at Bermuda, she ended the
deployment upon her arrival at Norfolk on 17 April.
a month of leave and upkeep, the ship took part in COMPUTEX 4-80 and
carried out naval gunfire support qualifications. At the end of a four-day visit to
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, she got underway for home on 19 June and proceeded via
to Norfolk which she reached on the 23d. Two days later, she entered the
Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a restricted availability which lasted until 11 August. She then began
overseas movement and got underway on the 29th for Exercise "United
Effort" and "Teamwork 80" which kept her at sea in the North Atlantic and
the North Sea until she arrived at Copenhagen,
Denmark, on 24 September. She also put into Oslo, Norway, Leith and Rosyth, Scotland, and Portsmouth, England, en route home which she reached on 2 November.
remaining in the Norfolk area into the new year, the frigate sailed on 6
January 1981 for Narragansett Bay, R.I., where she supported submarine training until the
9th. She then prepared
for READEX 1-81 and gunfire qualifications which kept her busy until 17
February when work began on making the ship ready for another deployment to the
Middle East. She got underway on 18 March and reached Rota on the 29th. After
transiting the Suez Canal and the Red Sea from 14 to 17 April, she entered the Indian Ocean and headed back toward the
Persian Gulf. After refueling at Sitra, Bahrain,
she operated near the Strait of Hormuz
until 11 May and then took part in Exercise PASSEX in the Gulf of Oman
with HMS Bacchante and HMS Minerva. Next came battle group operations with America (C V-66) and a visit
to Kenya. En route to Mombasa, the
ship crossed the equator on 23 May.
Upon finishing another PASSEX on 3 June, an exercise conducted with two fast patrol boats of the Kenya
Navy, she sailed for Sitra, Bahrain,
in company with Kitty Hawk (CV-63), en route to the Persian Gulf, and
conducted operations with that carrier's
Following almost a
month's labors in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf, she sailed for Djibouti on
8 July-beginning the first leg of her voyage
home-and took part in further exercises with Bacchante and Minerva in
the Gulf of Oman and in operations with
America in the Arabian Sea. She reentered the Mediterranean on the 19th and reached Haifa, Israel, two
days later. Heading eastward on the 24th, she stopped at Palermo, Sicily, from 27 July to 8 August and then operated with
carriers Nimitz. (CVN-68) and Forrestal (CV-59) until the 19th.
On the last two days of those
operations, she took part in a missile exercise in the Gulf of Sidra, in international waters off the
coast of Libya. After arriving at Rota
on 22 August, Ainsworth took part in Exercises "Ocean Venture"
and "Magic Sword" before sailing for home on 4 September with the battle group built around Forrestal and reached Norfolk on the 15th.
a month in leave and upkeep status at Norfolk, the ship moved to the York
River on 15 October to take part in ceremonies celebrating the bicentennial of the
American victory at Yorktown. On the 20th, she headed for the Bahamas to serve as a schoolship in
antisubmarine warfare training for future commanding officers on the AUTEC Range at Andros
Island. She returned
to Norfolk on 2 November and, three days later, entered the Home Brothers'
Shipyard for a selected restricted availability. This work was completed on 4 January 1982;
and, but for
short operations in the Caribbean during the latter half of February and the first
half of October, the frigate spent most of the year in the vicinity of Norfolk.
again weighed anchor on 27 December 1982 and proceeded eastward across the
Atlantic, via Bermuda and the Azores, to Rota where she arrived on 7 January
1983. The next day, she pushed on toward the Levant to serve as a naval gunfire
backing the multi-national, peace-keeping force at Beirut, Lebanon. She served
off that troubled land from 13 to 29 January and then proceeded via the Suez Canal, the Red
Sea, and the Gulf of Aden for the
Arabian Sea. Following a tender availability at
Masirah, Oman, she got underway with carrier America's battle group for "Weapons-Week"
operations in the vicinity of Diego
Garcia, the American naval base in the Indian Ocean. Following these exercises,
she arrived at Male, Maldive Islands, on
7 March for a port visit. Underway again on the 13th, she worked her way back
with America's battle group to Masirah which
she reached on 26 March. Two days later, she sailed for Kenya and put into Mombasa on 5 April. On the
llth, the ship headed back toward the northern Arabian Sea in company with America
and, en route, participated in Exercise "PASSEX" which included Australian warships. She also took part
in submarine exercises with Boston (SSN-703). The ship transited the
Suez Canal on 30 April and conducted
special operations in the central Mediterranean
with Nimitz's battle group before she was detached from the 6th Fleet on 10 May to return home.
She pulled into Norfolk on the 20th
and began a post deployment leave and upkeep
ensuing operations along the east coast took her to New England waters before she
departed Hampton Roads on 10 August for an overhaul at the Charleston (S.C.) Naval
yard work, which included upgrading of the ship's sonar equipment and
installation of a close-in weapon system lasted into the spring of 1984. Ainsworth sailed
for Norfolk on 28 March and reentered her home port the next day. But for a run
to the Bahamas during the second week of July for acoustic trials on the AUTEC range, the ship
operated on the east coast for the remainder
of the year and well into 1985. Late in March of 1985, she traveled south to Florida and thence to the West Indies where she conducted shore bombardment practise at
north to Norfolk in mid-April, Ainsworth operated in the immediate
vicinity until late summer. On 27 August, the frigate stood out of her home port bound for a tour
of duty with the
6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. For the next seven months, the warship
escorted the carriers of the 6th Fleet as they traveled the length and breadth of the
Mediterranean. She participated in a number of exercises testing the fleet's readiness and its ability to
operate with elements of allied navies. When not so engaged, the frigate called
at a variety of ports on
missions. She completed turnover formalities at Rota, Spain, early in April 1986
and then set out across the Atlantic on the 6th. Ainsworth stood into Norfolk again
on 16 April.
the usual month of post-deployment leave and upkeep, the warship entered the yard at the Norfolk
& Drydock Co. to begin a 12-week repair period. Emerging from the yard
again on 12 August, she operated in the immediate vicinity of Norfolk-either in
the lower Chesapeake Bay or just off the Virginia capes-until early in October.
On 4 October, Ainsworth headed south to the coast of Florida where she occupied the rest of the
month carrying out refresher training. The frigate returned to Norfolk on 31 October and spent
of 1986 in port. As of the beginning of 1987, Ainsworth was still at Norfolk.
[Note: The above USS AINSWORTH (FF-1090) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS AINSWORTH (FF-1090), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]