USS WORDEN (CG-18)
The fourth Worden was
laid down on 19 September 1961 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine; launched on 2 June 1962; sponsored by Mrs. William R. Smedberg III; and commissioned at Boston on 3
August 1963, Capt. Scott Lothrop in
commissioning, Worden spent a two-month fitting-put period at the Boston Naval
Shipyard. The guided missile frigate
departed Boston on 12 October, bound
for Bermuda for shakedown training. She then proceeded to Hampton Roads and sailed from Norfolk on 28 October for her home port, San
Diego, Calif., arriving there on 13
November. Following a trip to Dabob
Bay and Seattle for sonar measurements, Worden became the flagship
of her squadron.
In January 1964, Worden
fired a series of missiles at the Pacific Missile Range for systems qualifications tests. She continued operations in the San Diego
area until she entered the Long Beach
Naval Shipyard in March for a post-shakedown availability which was completed in early May.
From 18 May to 26 June,
the ship participated in underway training at San Diego. Worden's first
took place from 10 to 17 July, a major antiair warfare exercise. On 11 August 1964, the frigate sailed for the western Pacific for a Far East deployment.
After refueling at Midway and Guam,
the ship arrived in Subic Bay,
Philippines, on 30 August and became an
active participant in 7th Fleet activities. Worden visited Yokosuka, Japan, in late October and early November, then continued operations in Southeast Asia until the end of 1964.
On New Year's Day, 1965,
Worden entered the port of Hong Kong for a period of rest and recreation. After a
brief visit to Yokosuka, Japan, the frigate set course for the United States
on 24 January. The ship arrived at her home port on 17 February and remained
in port through 5 March when the ship commenced a three-month restricted
availability at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard.
On 2 June 1965, Worden
returned to San Diego for evaluation of a newly installed radar system. She
continued to operate in her home port area and participated in
Fleet Exercise "Range Bush" off the coast of
southern California during the period 18 through 24 November 1965. She
ended the year making preparations for deployment to the western Pacific.
The frigate departed her
home port on 7 January 1966 for Subic Bay, Philippines, via Pearl Harbor
and Guam. She arrived at the Philippines on 30 January and,
the following day, set course for the Gulf of Tonkin and operations
with the 7th Fleet. On 4 February, Worden assumed "Tomcat" duties west of Hainan Island. After an eight-day visit to Sasebo, Japan,
Worden departed on 1 March and returned to the Gulf of Tonkin to assume plane-guard duties for Ranger
On 19 March, the frigate
received a helicopter detachment on board; and, the following day, a
rescue helicopter from Worden pulled a downed Phantom
pilot from the
water three miles from the beach, saving him from
certain capture by North Vietnamese junks converging on the area. Another such rescue was effected on 23 May. Worden conducted
operations in the Gulf of Tonkin until 17 June when she completed her commitment
and proceeded to Yokosuka, Japan, for a short
upkeep period prior to the return trip to California.
The frigate arrived at San Diego, Calif., on
10 July. During the period 11 September to 21
October, the ship fired a series of
missiles at the Pacific Missile Range,
Pt. Mugu, Calif., as part of a missile test project. As of 31 December
1966, Worden was moored at the Naval
Station, San Diego, preparing for future operations involving the project.
January 1967 was spent providing services for
continued missile tests, and the frigate
remained in port during February,
training and preparing for an upcoming
deployment. On 13 March, Worden took part in the second "Comtuex" of the year, then
returned to San Diego.
Worden began a
six-month deployment to the western Pacific on 8 April when she
sailed for Japan via Pearl Harbor. On 26 April, the frigate arrived at Yokosuka, Japan. May began with Worden en route to
Subic Bay via the Okinawa missile
range. On 14 May, the ship reached
Danang, South Vietnam, and served on a search
and rescue station until mid-September with intermittent periods of upkeep and liberty at Subic Bay, Hong Kong, Sasebo, and Yokosuka. During a
visit to Hong Kong on 13 August, a
Greek freighter lost control and rammed Worden on the starboard side inflicting
minor damage. As the frigate departed Hong Kong
for Subic Bay, she sighted and rescued a dugout canoe with three Philippine nationals who had been adrift for three days.
On 14 September 1967, Worden departed
the search and rescue station the last time
for Yokosuka via Subic Bay. The ship
departed Japan on 23 September for Pearl Harbor, thence to San Diego, arriving
on 6 October. Worden remained in port until 16 November when she
conducted local operations and type training. With the exception of a dependent's cruise and an off-load of ammunition at Seal Beach, Worden remained
in port at San Diego for the month of
December and thus ended the year.
The early days of 1968
found Worden at San Diego, Calif., completing plans and
preparations for yard overhaul, her first since commissioning. On 9 January, the
frigate sailed to the San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard where she entered drydock. The major
shipyard jobs were completed toward the
middle of April. On 6 May, the ship began sea trials, and the overhaul was
officially completed on 13 May 1968.
Upon returning to San Diego two days later, Worden
conducted various exercises and
evaluations in preparation for an
upcoming western Pacific deployment. On the 1st of July, the frigate commenced six weeks of refresher training. The 16th day of August marked the end of refresher training and the beginning of
a period of logistics and material
pre-deployment preparations. The
ship spent the month of September conducting
missile firings and antisubmarine warfare exercises. During the period 1
to 10 October, Worden joined in
Exercise "Beat Cadence," a simulation of the Tonkin Gulf task organization.
After a brief tender
availability, Worden departed San Diego en route to Subic
Bay, Philippines, via Pearl Harbor, arriving on 22 November. Three days later,
the ship departed Subic Bay and became involved in a search
and rescue (SAR) incident when a helicopter with nine Navy men on board
ditched in the approach to the harbor. All of the men were rescued, and
the helicopter was towed by boat to a nearby beach.
steamed to Danang, South Vietnam, for SAR briefings and anti-PT boat exercises before
assuming duties as commander of the task unit at the northern SAR station. The frigate shifted to the southern SAR station on 5 December and remained
on station without incident until 29 December when Coontz (DLG-9) relieved the ship. Worden then
proceeded to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for an overnight logistics stop en route to Sasebo, Japan, for repairs and a
The New Year, 1969,
found Worden en route to Sasebo, Japan. After stopping at Keelung, Taiwan;
and Subic Bay, Philippines; the ship
returned to the northern SAR station, Danang, South Vietnam, on 25 January
1969. She remained on station through 18 February when she departed for Subic Bay; then to Singapore and Hong Kong. The frigate returned to her station
on 14 March for a week of service
before departing the last time for Subic Bay, arriving on 23 March. For the remainder of the month, she conducted task group operations.
to Subic Bay on 4 April, then began a cruise which took her to Sydney, Australia (14 to 21 April); Wellington, New Zealand (25 to 27 April); and Pago Pago,
American Samoa (1 May). The ship arrived at San Diego, Calif., on 8 June
and conducted a Secretary of the Navy guest cruise and a materiel
inspection through 30 June.
The frigate conducted
local operations throughout July and August. On 22 September, she set sail for Acapulco, then transited the
Panama Canal. Worden's ultimate destination was Bath, Maine, where, on
10 November 1969, she was decommissioned at
Bath Iron Works Corp.
The lengthy yard period
which followed was the product of a Navy-wide program to enhance the anti-air
warfare capability of all guided missile frigates which
included the installation of the Navy Tactical Data System (NTDS) and
two Terrier missile directors.
Worden was recommissioned at the
Bath Iron Works 18 months later on 16
January 1971. On 6 February, the ship
departed for the transit to her new home port of Long Beach, Calif. After a
period of refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and liberty at Acapulco, Worden arrived at Long Beach on 19 March 1971. During the next two months, the ship underwent an intensive training period off the southern
California coast in connection with
the modernization program.
On 7 July 1971, the frigate entered the Long
Beach Naval Shipyard for an eight-week
period of post-shakedown
availability. The ship began preparations for her fourth overseas deployment beginning on 7 September following her departure from the shipyard. In late August, Worden crew members learned the
ship was to be permanently assigned
to the 7th Fleet with a home port
change to Yokosuka, Japan. This major policy
decision alleviated the burden of long family separations.
underway on 20 October 1971 for her new home port. She stopped
briefly at Pearl Harbor before arriving at Yokosuka on 11 November. During the
last six weeks of the year, Worden conducted special operations
in the Sea of Japan and enjoyed a month-long holiday rest.
The frigate sailed from
Yokosuka on the 3d of January 1972 for special operations in the Sea of
Japan. Returning to Yokosuka on 17 January, the ship prepared
for the first cruise in three years to the Gulf of Tonkin.
These preparations took her to Buckner Bay, Okinawa, and Subic Bay,
On 6 February, Worden
left the Philippines and proceeded west to assume duties in
the Gulf of Tonkin. The frigate operated on the northern SAR station, then moved closer to the North Vietnamese coast off
Thanh Hoa until 11 March when she
proceeded back to her home port,
Yokosuka, Japan. After a month of operations off Japan and Okinawa in
connection with amphibious Exercise
"Golden Dragon," Worden moved south to help counter a North Vietnamese major offensive. She assumed
duties as an escort for Coral Sea (CVA-43).
The first major air
strike on Haiphong since 1968 took place on the 15th of April. During the
strike, Worden was damaged by two
anti-radiation missiles inadvertently fired by United States support aircraft. One crew member was
killed, and nine others were seriously injured; they were airlifted by
helicopter to the carrier Tripoli (CVU-64) for treatment. Worden proceeded to Subic Bay for a 10-day repair period. The frigate returned
to the Gulf of Tonkin until 11 May and operated as an escort for Kitty Hawk (CVA-63). She
took a break from 8 to 11 May and assumed a search and rescue station off
Thanh Hoa during the first mine-laying strikes on North Vietnam.
On 16 May 1972, Worden
began a restricted availability at Yokosuka, Japan, followed by missile tests
at Okinawa. On 20 June, she returned to duties at the southern
SAR station, operating off Cape Mui Ron for the next month. After a
brief visit to Yokosuka, Worden returned to the Gulf of Tonkin
on 9 August and served as escort for Midway (CVA-41) and Kitty
to the middle search and rescue station off Vinh on the 1st of
October, then to the southern station shortly after. On 17 October, Worden
departed for Hachinohe, Japan, and Navy Day festivities.
The ship went into drydock at Yokosuka on the 25th of October for
replacement of both propellers. Worden again
returned to the Gulf of Tonkin on 18 November where she operated
until 5 December. After a visit to Taiwan, the frigate finished out the
year at Yokosuka, Japan, in a much-needed standdown period.
Operations in the Gulf
of Tonkin and in-port periods characterized Worden's employments during 1973. Support of Task Force (TF) 77 and TF 78 was interspersed
with needed repair availabilities in Yokosuka, Japan, and Subic Bay, Philippines, and relaxing port visits to Hong Kong and Taiwan.
On 28 January 1973, the
Vietnam cease fire was announced, and Worden joined TF 78 at Subic
Bay. During the sweeping of Haiphong harbor, she functioned
as Rear Admiral McCauley's flagship as well as the helicopter support
platform, the repair and logistic facility for the minesweeping units, and
task force antiair warfare and surface defense. For later operations,
the frigate served on antiair picket station and as the Positive
Identification and Radar Advisory Zone (PIRAZ) station. Besides the inherent
responsibility for aircraft control and identification and air surveillance,
Worden functioned as search and rescue asset coordinator and
platform for the pre-positioned helicopter.
After the combat and post-hostility period
had ended, Worden began stressing new phases of operations: antisubmarine warfare and engineering readiness.
The last underway period of the year, 30 November to 3 December, was spent conducting ship antisubmarine
tactics with Bausell (DD-845) and Darter (SS-576). Worden
returned to Yokosuka to a Christmas holiday upkeep period and a rest from
the activities of the past year.
first exercise of the new year 1974 was "Aswex 3-74"
(Taeknando III) with the Republic of Korea Navy, conducted from 14 to
17 January. After a brief return to Yokosuka, she participated in joint
Exercise "Fly-A-Way" off Okinawa, returning to her home
port on 8 February.
The warship remained in Yokosuka until 25 February in upkeep status, then sailed for Subic Bay,
Philippines, for surface missile exercises. The missile exercises marked
the first multi-ship missile exercise in the western Pacific of the
post-Vietnam era. Worden followed these exercises with a
port visit to Keelung, Taiwan, and tender availability at Sasebo, Japan.
On 29 March, the frigate departed Sasebo for operations with Midway
(CVA-41) in the Sea of Japan. She also joined Parsons (DDG-33) in a
search and rescue exercise simulating a North Korean surface unit. Worden returned
to Yokosuka on 7 April to begin a lengthy upkeep period in preparation for
her representation of the United States at the Shimoda Black Ship Festival
on 15 May. On 10 May 1974, a major earthquake occurred on the Izu
Peninsula causing extensive damage to the Shimoda area. As a result, the Black
Ship Festival was cancelled, and Worden continued
upkeep with a brief underway period
for type training.
The ship got underway
on 25 May and joined Midway (CVA-41) and the task group to
conduct air operations in the Yokosuka and northern Japan operations
areas. While underway, Worden joined the Japanese Maritime
Self Defense Force in joint Exercise "Aswex 5-74."
On 4 June, Worden was detached from Midway and proceeded
independently to the Okinawa missile range to conduct missile firing tests
followed by a port visit to Keelung, Taiwan. While in port, eight first
class NROTC midshipmen embarked in Worden to participate in
the six-week "Westpactramid 1-74."
On 27 June, Worden returned
to Yokosuka to begin a short upkeep period to prepare for the American-Japanese
midshipmen exchange cruise. The frigate sailed from Yokosuka on 17 July
in company with Midway and the task group for air
operations off northern Japan. After a brief stop in Yokosuka, Worden departed
on 22 July for Kure, Japan, to participate in the midshipmen exchange cruise. The
final phase of
the cruise took place in port at Yokosuka on
30 and 31 July and included spirits and social events. Worden remained
in Yokosuka until 2 August, when she sailed
for task group operations along the northern
coast of Japan. On 15 August, she began a period in port at Yokosuka and, in late August, sailed for the eastern Pacific, nearer the United
States than she had been since
deploying to the Pacific in October
of 1971. During this period, Worden remained in the company of Kanin, a Kynda Il-Class
Worden departed the area on 4
September for Hong Kong, thence to
Yokosuka, Japan. Upon arrival on 25 September, Worden underwent
upkeep, then sailed to Sasebo to embark
Japanese officers for training. Worden made rendezvous with Midway and conducted an operational readiness inspection en route to Yokosuka. Arriving in port on 11 October, the ship began an upkeep period and was drydocked on the 25th. Three days of underway training late in November
signaled the approaching end of the
upkeep period. Following a Thanksgiving
celebration, the ship got underway for Manila,
Philippines, arriving there on 4 December. Four days later, she joined Midway and steamed for northern Japan, conducting Operation "Command
Diamond," a major Air Force and Navy exercise off Okinawa on 16 December. Worden arrived in
Yokosuka on 19 December and entered a
holiday period which closed the year
The frigate departed the
naval ship repair facility at Yokosuka on 13 January 1975 en route to Subic
Bay, Philippines. During this two-week at-sea period, she conducted
antiaircraft and antisubmarine warfare operations with Midway. The
ship arrived on 27 January for a week at Subic Bav and participated in Operation
"Readex" before returning to Yokosuka on 19 February.
Upon arrival, she commenced a 20-day availability period; and, on 11
March, she got underway for 10 days of routine flight operations off
Okinawa. She then returned to Yokosuka where she commenced upkeep
and preparation for an upcomincr cruife. On 25 March, Worden got
underway for Pusan, Korea, for a port visit, thence to Subic Bav for
completing operations, Worden headed for Thailand and a much awaited port visit.
The frigate, as part of
the 7th Fleet, assisted in the evacuation of Americans from Vietnam as part of Operation
"Frequent Wind." As the operation came to a close
on 3 May, Worden returned to Thailand to resume
her port visit. However, the capture of the SS Mayaquez
by the Cambodians on 13 May interrupted her stay; and she sailed for Hong Kong. The Mayaquez
was freed before Worden reached
the British crown colony, so she
proceeded to Yokosuka, arriving there on 20 May.
inspections, Worden operated with Midway for 11
days in mid-June; followed by a dependents' cruise. By directive
from the Secretary of the Navy, dated 30 June 1975, Worden's designator was changed from a guided missile frigate (DLG) to a guided missile cruiser (CG). Following an at-sea period from 8 to 21 July with Midway, Worden conducted a midshipmen cruise with the Japanese
Maritime Self Defense Force. August
saw operations in ocean areas between Japan and Okinawa with Midway in
preparation for "Midlink-75," a
CENTO exercise in the Indian Ocean. Worden
and Midway arrived in Yokosuka on 22 August for a lengthy upkeep period.
On 4 October 1975, the
cruiser got underway for "Midlink-75," the first stop being Subic
Bay, Philippines. En route, she participated in Exercise "Cape Diamond."
Departing Subic Bay on 14 October, she joined Exercise "Merlion" with
the Royal Singapore Navy and Air Force off the coast of Malaysia. On 30
October, she arrived at Colombo, Sri Lanka. On 3 November, the cruiser got
underway for Bandar Abbas, Iran, conducting naval maneuvers and training
exercises en route. On 11 and 12 November, elements of the Pakistan Navy
joined Worden and conducted training before she arrived at Bandar Abbas.
After a week in Iran attending conferences and meetings to plan the
at-sea operations, the cruiser departed on 19 November to Exercise
"Midlink-75." Ten days later, Worden departed for her
home port of Yokosuka, Japan, via Subic Bay, Philippines. During her
brief stay at Subic Bay, the cruiser enjoyed the honor of a visit by the
Honorable J. William Middendorf II, Secretary of the Navy. The ship entered
Yokosuka harbor on 19 December and celebrated the holiday season
at her home port.
entered the bicentennial year moored at the Yokosuka
Naval Base, Yokosuka, Japan. On 3 January 1976, the cruiser sailed from
Yokosuka, making port visits to Hong Kong; Okinawa; Pusan, Korea; and Sasebo,
Japan; with exercises and task group operations held en route. The ship
returned to her home port on 2 February and began a pre-overhaul restricted availability.
Worden went into drydock from 20 February until 22 June, and
the regular overhaul came to a close on 6 December. On 13 December, Worden went
to sea for five days of independent steaming exercises; then the cruiser
returned to Yokosuka on 17 December and spent the holiday
season in port.
During the first six
months of 1977, Worden conducted comprehensive
post-overhaul training and inspections in the areas of Yokosuka, Japan; and
Subic Bay, Philippines. Operations commenced on 18 June at Subic
Bay with "Multiplex" exercises. After a port visit
to Singapore, Worden arrived at Yokosuka on 14 July
and remained in port through 23 July when she set sail for Subic
Bay. The cruiser conducted underway replenishment drills and
"Missilex" exercises before arriving in Hong Kong on the morning of 13 August.
On 2 September, Worden
returned to her home port of Yokosuka and began preparing for an upcoming
deployment. This deployment commenced on 27 September
when Worden sailed for Subic Bay, thence to Victoria Quay, Fremantle,
Australia, for a month-long visit. The ship
then visited Bandar Abbas, Iran, from 9
to 21 November and Singapore from 5 to 11 December. Worden arrived at Yokosuka, Japan, on 21 December and enjoyed a period of leave and liberty for
the holiday season.
From 14 to 21 January
1978, Worden cruised to Chinhae, South Korea. After briefly returning to
Yokosuka on 25 January, the cruiser left again for operations
with Midway and the task group. On 13 February, Worden and Midway rendezvoused
with TF 77 and conducted "Readex
78," maneuvering to avoid detection by "enemy" ships and land-based aircraft from Okinawa
while positioning for a simulated assault on the island of Okinawa. On 19 February, Worden got underway
for Yokosuka, via Chinhae, South Korea. She arrived there on 27 February and
began an in-port period.
in-port period was marked by several inspections, an open
house, plus visits from staff members of the 7th Fleet and
officers of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force. On 23 March, the ship
departed for Chinhae and conducted antisubmarine warfare
training en route. Once anchored, she completed the final phase of a
Navy technical proficiency inspection. She returned to her home port on 28
March and conducted operations with Midway from 11 to 23 April. Preparations for a
material inspection continued throughout
April and May. Worden spent May in an upkeep period in Yokosuka with support from the destroyer tender Prairie (AD-15) and the
Yokosuka repair facility.
On 30 May, the cruiser
departed for Keelung, Taiwan, her first liberty port in 1978. Worden returned to Yokosuka on 9 June for a brief four-day visit
before joining carrier task group
activities in the northern Philippine
Sea. She returned to Yokosuka, Japan, on 28 June for an in-port period which ended on 19 July with a three-week transit to Subic Bay with the Midway
task group. Having detached from task group operations and traveled to Buckner Bay, Okinawa, Worden commenced
"Missilex 4-78" on the morning of 1
August. Due to three successive unsuccessful launch attempts by the Japanese antiaircraft training ship
Azuma, the exercise was cancelled, and Worden headed
back to Subic Bay, Philippines, and a
week of upkeep.
completing a missile shoot on 12 August, the cruiser returned to
Yokosuka briefly before taking part in task group operations on 22 August.
On 1 September, she paid Chinhae, Korea, a port visit, then returned to her
home port one week later. From 19 September to 2 October, Worden operated
with Midway, after which time she conducted a two-day, combined
antisubmarine warfare exercise with elements of the Republic of Korea Navy. The
cruiser continued operations with Midway, then returned
to Yokosuka for an in-port period.
On 6 November 1978, Worden
got underway from Yokosuka for underway tests and evaluations. She took part in "Maulex
1-79," an amphibious exercise involving units of the United States and
Republic of Korea Navies, then celebrated
Thanksgiving at Hong Kong. On 3 December, the ship entered Subic Bay, Philippines, for various tests and then made rendezvous
with Midway and returned to Yokosuka, Japan, on 22 December for the duration of the holiday season.
spent the year 1979 operating out of Yokosuka, Japan, and was
still homeported there as of early 1980.
Worden decommissioned and was struck from the Navy list at Pearl Harbor on 1 October 1993. Although originally intended for a scrap sale, that contract was rescinded and the hulk was destroyed of as a target during fleet training exercises on 17 June 2000.
nine battle stars for her Vietnam service.
[Note: The above USS WORDEN (CG-18) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS WORDEN (CG-18), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]