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The USS ARTHUR W. RADFORD (DD-968), a Spruance class destroyer, was commissioned on 16 APR 1977. USS ARTHUR W. RADFORD served her country for 25 years, 11 months and 2 days, until decommissioned on 18 MAR 2003.

The USS ARTHUR W. RADFORD (DD-968) deployment history and significant events of her service career follow:

DD-968 Deployments - Major Events

Add a DD-968 Shellback Initiation Add a DD-968 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
JAN1974-Keel Date: 31 JAN 1974
at Ingalls Shipbuilding Pascagoula MS
MAR1975-Launch Date: 21 MAR 1975
APR1977-Commissioned: 16 APR 1977
AUG1978-OCT1978North Atlantic
JUL1980-Shellback Initiation - 27 JUL 1980 - Atlantic Ocean
JUL1980-NOV1980South America
AUG1980-AUG1980Panama Canal
OCT1980-MAR1981Dry Dock
NOV1980- Shellback Initiation - 10 NOV 1980 - Atlantic Ocean
JAN1985-JUL1985Mediterranean-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf
AUG1987-Shellback Initiation - 11 AUG 1987 - Atlantic Ocean
AUG1987-Shellback Initiation - 8 AUG 1987 - Atlantic Ocean
AUG1988-Shellback Initiation - 8 AUG 1988 - Atlantic Ocean
SEP1991-MAR1992Desert Storm
AUG2000-Shellback Initiation - 27 AUG 2000 - Indian Ocean
AUG2000-Shellback Initiation - 19 AUG 2000 - Atlantic Ocean
JUL2002-JAN2003Blue Nose - Arctic Circle
MAR2003-Decommissioned: 18 MAR 2003

DD-968 General Specifications

Class: Spruance-class destroyer

Named for: Arthur W. Radford

Complement: 19 Officers and 315 Enlisted

Displacement: 8040 tons

Length: 529 feet

Beam: 55 feet

Flank Speed: 32 Knots

Range: 6 000 nautical miles

Final Disposition:Placed in reserve at Philadelphia Pennsylvania to be disposed at the Del-Jersey-Land Inshore Reef.


Arthur W. Radford (DD-968) was laid down on 31 January 1974 at Pascagoula Miss. by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries; launched on 27 February 1975; sponsored by Mrs. Arthur W. Radford the widow of the late admiral placed in "special service" on 4 April 1977 upon delivery to the Navy Comdr. David E. Woodbury in command and commissioned at her builder's yard on 16 April 1977.

Underway for the east coast that same day Arthur W. Radford was forced to return to her builder's yard for repairs soon thereafter but got underway again on 30 April. Touching at Charleston on 3 and 4 May the ship proceeded to her home port Norfolk which she reached on the 6th.

Three days later she sailed for Newport to provide support for the Naval Surface Warfare Of Officer Training Command. While the ship proceeded north a LAMPS helicopter landed on her helo deck to prepare for the possible embarkation of a LAMPS detachment. The helicopter returned to Norfolk later that day 11 May. Mooring at Newport on 13 May the destroyer remained there until the 17th when she headed home. Soon after returning to Norfolk she conducted gunnery exercises and helicopter operations off the Virginia capes.

The ship headed down the coast on 24 May and reached Port Canaveral Fla. the following day. After embarking Capt. R. K. Albright Commander Destroyer Squadron 22 the destroyer got underway on the 27th and for the next few days conducted air surface and sub-surface surveillance of the surrounding waters while the President of the United States Jimmy Carter observed operations on board the attack submarine Los Angeles (SSN-688) The destroyer rendezvoused with the submarine prior to her initial dive and then again when the submarine surfaced. Throughout the operation she provided support services for local and national press covering the Chief Executive's voyage.

Underway for Norfolk on 31 May Arthur W. Radford reached her home port on 2 June for local operations. While returning from waters off the Virginia capes on 6 June the ship ran into low-visibility conditions and winds in excess of 90 knots which disabled a radar antennae and literally drove the ship outside of the main shipping channel. At one point her fathometer read only one foot of water under the keel.

Fighting her way back to the channel in the teeth of the gale Arthur W. Radford sighted a capsized motor vessel Dixie Lee II 300 yards south of Thimble A Shoals Channel bouy 21. Unable to assist due to the shallow water and high winds the destroyer notified the Coast Guard of bodies seen floating in the water. The destroyer then anchored in Hampton Roads until the wind had dropped and shipping adrift in the vicinity had moved off.

Arthur W. Radford then proceeded to the West Indies for training operations including gunfire support. En route to Frederickstad St. Croix in the American Virgin Islands in late June she conducted further weapons tests. Firing a gunnery exercise at Vieques Puerto Rico the destroyer returned to the eastern seaboard with a port visit to Fort Lauderdale Fla. on Independence Day 1977. Further work in the Bahamas and at Guantanamo Bay preceded her return to Charleston S.C. on the last day of July. She then headed home where she arrived on 3 August.

The ship returned to Pascagoula on 11 September for post shakedown availability and remained in her builder's hands until she returned to Norfolk in mid-October. Entering the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 25 October for restricted availability she remained there into the spring of 1978 before resuming local operations out of her home port. She principally engaged in ship Qualification trials and underway training before sailing south to Guantanamo Bay and Vieques for refresher training and gunfire support practice respectively. Following these evolutions the ship returned to Norfolk on 30 July 1978.

On 23 August Arthur W. Radford got underway from the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown Va. and headed for NATO exercises in the North Atlantic. En route she participated in Exercise "Common Effort " carrying out escort duties in an "opposed Atlantic transit " and briefly embarked Vice Admiral Wesley L. McDonald Commander 2d Fleet. Next came Operation "Northern Wedding"a joint NATO exercise which began on 4 September and involved several carrier groups in an amphibious landing and many other facets of simulated naval warfare. During that operation Arthur W. Radford operated alongside British Danish Norwegian Swedish West German and Canadian naval units.

Following the conclusion of "Northern Wedding " the destroyer visited Copenhagen Denmark; Rotterdam Holland and Portsmouth England. She again embarked Vice Admiral McDonald at Portsmouth on 16 October and wore his flag during the return voyage to Norfolk. The admiral disembarked upon her arrival at Norfolk on 25 October. The warship then operated locally through the winter varying periods in port of upkeep with underway training.

Arthur W. Radford cleared Norfolk on 13 March 1979 bound for the Mediterranean and a tour with the 6th Fleet. Over the next six months she participated in a variety of exercises and visited the ports of Catania Sicily Split Yugoslavia; Trieste Italy; Alexandria Egypt; Cannes France Palma and Barcelona Spain; the French ports of Toulon and Theoule and the Spanish ports of Rota and Valencia. During the deployment the vessel fired her first Harpoon missile in the Mediterranean on 28 July. Her target was the hulk of a destroyer ex- Lansdowne (DD-486) (later the Turkish Gaziantep D-344). Arthur W. Radford also participated in Exercise "Multiplex 1-79" in the Ionian Sea Exercise "Dawn Patrol" in the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas Exercise "Tridente" out of Alexandria and Exercise "National Week" XXVII Phases 1 and 2. While en route from Toulon to Theoule France she rescued the French ketch Laurca adrift 50 miles from the French resort of St. Tropez.

Clearing Rota on 12 September Arthur W. Radford reached Norfolk on the 22d. Underway for Miami on 23 October she served as the platform for deck landing qualifications for helicopter pilots en route and after touching at Mayport Fla. to unload a crippled H 3 helicopter from HSL-30 reached Miami on 27 October for a two-day port visit.

After returning briefly to Norfolk from 31 October to 5 November the destroyer proceeded to Halifax Nova Scotia and participated in a training exercise with American and Canadian warships. During the course of Exercise "Canus-Marcot" she logged her 1 000th helicopter landing of 1979. Returning to Norfolk on 21 November she remained in port for the remainder of the year 1979.

For the first half of 1980 the warship principally operated off the eastern seaboard of the United States and ranged as far north as Halifax and as far south as the Caribbean working briefly out of Vieques and Roosevelt Roads as well as out of Jacksonville Fla. During this time she also visited Annapolis where Naval Academy midshipmen toured the ship's engineering plant on an orientation visit. Admiral James L. Holloway III the former Chief of Naval Operations visited the ship as well.

Following a brief period at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard Arthur W. Radford prepared for another extended deployment. She departed Norfolk on 21 June embarking HSL-34 Detachment 2 and proceeded to Roosevelt Roads where she embarked Rear Admiral Peter K. Cullins Commander South Atlantic Force and his staff to become Cullins' flagship for UNITAS XXI. Visits to St. Kitts and to Bridgetown Barbados followed before the destroyer sailed for Venezuelan waters.

Over the next four months Arthur W. Radford operated with elements of the Venezuelan Ecuadorian Peruvian Colombian Trinidad and Tobagan Argentine Uruguayan and Brazilian Navies. Her ports of call included Puerto La Cruz and La Guaira Venezuela Rodman Panama Manta Ecuador Paito and Callao Peru Cartagena Colombia; Trinidad and Tobago Santos Brazil Puerto Belgrano and Bahia Blanca Argentina Montevideo Uruguay and the Brazilian ports of Rio de Janeiro Salvador and Recife. She also transited the Panama Canal twice during UNITAS XXI the first time on 21 July 1980 and the second on 24 August.

Completing UNITAS XXI on 4 November Arthur W. Radford sailed for Gabon as a unit of the West Africa Training Cruise (WATC) reaching Libreville the capital of Gabon on 12 November. Over the next few weeks she visited Tema Ghana Freetown Sierra Leone and Dakar Senegal. Clearing Dakar on 1 December the destroyer stopped at Guadalupe and at Roosevelt Roads on the return voyage and arrived at Norfolk on 15 December.

The ship spent the next two years engaged in operations along the east coast and in the West Indies mostly in underway training out of Norfolk Roosevelt Roads and Vieques and in refresher training at Guantanamo Bay. During the summer of 1981 she operated out of Annapolis training midshipmen. She underwent upkeep at Norfolk and Boston and received an overhaul at her builder's yard. En route to Puerto Rico the ship had a Coast Guard detachment embarked from 20 to 23 September 1982 and cooperated with the Coast Guard on drug interdiction duties.

For the first few months of 1983 Arthur W. Radford operated primarily in the Virginia capes area but ranged into the Atlantic as far as the Bahamas. After embarking Commander Destroyer Squadron 26 at Norfolk on 7 March to begin a nine-month period on board Arthur W. Radford hosted Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman Jr. on 29 March. A little less than one month later the destroyer cleared Norfolk on 27 April for a six-month deployment in the Mediterranean.

Touching at Gibraltar on 10 May Arthur W. Radford proceeded to Augusta Bay Sicily and thence moved to waters off the coast of Lebanon. After supporting the multinational peacekeeping force in Beirut from 20 to 28 May the destroyer visited Taranto Italy before returning to Lebanese waters for another brief period. During a port call at the Romanian port of Constanta along with guided-missile frigate Antrim (FFG-20) the destroyer served as flagship for Vice Admiral William H. Rowden Commander 6th Fleet.

Visiting Catania Sicily Monte Carlo Monaco and Livorno Italy Arthur W. Radford exercised with 6th Fleet battle groups later that summer later visiting Gaeta and Naples Italy. While visiting Istanbul Turkey she hosted the retired Army leader and former Presidential advisor General Alexander M. Haig.

Arthur W. Radford returned to the waters off Beirut on 18 September 1983 to assume duty as ready gunfire support ship. She conducted gunfire support missions against forces threatening the peacekeeping force on 21 and 22 September until relieved on station by the battleship New Jersey (BB-62) on 8 October. Visits to La Maddalena Sardinia and to Tangier Morocco rounded out the destroyer's time in the 6th Fleet. Operating briefly with Spanish Navy units en route to the turnover port of Rota Arthur W. Radford cleared Rota on 10 November with the battle group formed around the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN- 69). She arrived at Norfolk 11 days later remaining there for the rest of 1983.

Arthur W. Radford operated briefly in the Virginia capes area in January 1984 before undergoing an overhaul at the Metro Machine Shipyard at Portsmouth Va. between 16 February and 27 April. Subsequently undergoing sea trials and repairs in the floating drydock Sustain (AFDM-7) Arthur W. Radford conducted routine training out of Norfolk through early August.

The destroyer next operated out of Roosevelt Roads and off St. Croix before returning to Norfolk at the end of August and becoming flagship for Destroyer Squadron 10. After then conducting underway training in the Virginia capes area in September and October Arthur W. Radford accompanied the recommissioned battleship Iowa (BB-61) to Roosevelt Roads. She later conducted gunfire support exercises off Vieques. Returning northward the destroyer took part in exercises off the coast of North Carolina before reaching to Norfolk on 20 November.

After local operations Arthur W. Radford sailed for a deployment with the Middle East Force (MidEastFor) on 4 February 1985 in company with Barney (DDG-6). Rendezvousing with Antrim and Charles F. Adams (DDG-2) near Bermuda two days later and refueling from USNS Waccamaw (T-AO-109) the destroyer reached Rota on 16 February. She then visited Naples before heading for Egypt to transit the Suez Canal on 27 February 1985.

The destroyer touched briefly at Mina Raysut Oman on 8 March before transiting the Strait of Hormuz the following day and entering the Persian Gulf After touching briefly at Bahrain Arthur W. Radford got underway on the 14th for the Persian Gulf radar picket station (RPS). Five days into her time on station she responded to a "Mayday" from the Liberian-flag tanker Caribbean Breeze which had been attacked and set afire in the central Persian Gulf. The destroyer provided medical advice over the emergency radio channel and launched a helicopter to render assistance.

Refueling on 25 March at Sitrah Anchorage Bahrain Arthur W. Radford got underway to resume her radar picket duty later the same day remaining employed thus until she moored alongside La Salle (AGF-3) for availability. The destroyer resumed steaming on radar picket station again on 8 April also conducting surveillance operations simultaneously.

Arthur W. Radford embarked Rear Admiral John Addams ComMidEastFor on 17 April and served as his flagship until 5 June. During that time the destroyer served twice on radar picket duties in the Persian Gulf the first from 17 to 26 April and the second from 23 to 29 June and once on routine cruising. She visited the Sitrah anchorage twice during this period and visited Manama Bahrain twice.

After Rear Admiral Addams shifted his flag from Arthur W. Radford the ship served two more tours of radar picket duty in the Persian Gulf (6 to 16 June and 20 to 29 June). During the first of these periods on 7 June the destroyer's embarked Sikorsky SH-3 "Sea King" helicopter from squadron HS-1 transported a civilian rescued from drowning and in need of medical attention to Bahrain hospital saving the person's life.

Arthur W. Radford underwent her final upkeep in the Persian Gulf at Mina Sulman Manama Bahrain from 29 June to 4 July observing Independence Day there before getting underway that afternoon to transit the Persian Gulf for the Strait of Hormuz. She conducted turnover to the destroyer Comte De Grasse (DD-974) the following day and exited from the gulf.

Stopping for fuel at Mina Raysut Oman on 8 July Arthur W. Radford transited the Strait of Bab el Mandeb in company with Antrim on 10 July and the two warships conducted freedom of navigation operations off the coast of the Democratic People's Republic of Yemen on the 11th. The destroyer transited the Suez Canal on the 14th and replenished from the oiler USNS Neosho (T-AO-143) that same day. Fueling from USNS Truckee (T-AO-144) the following day Arthur W. Radford conducted a port visit to Benidorm Spain from 20 to 23 July before reaching Rota on the 24th. Proceeding thence with Antrim Barney and Charles F. Adams the destroyer sailed for Norfolk on 24 July. After visiting Ponta Delgada in the Azores and Bermuda en route Arthur W. Radford reached her home port on 5 August 1985.

The destroyer remained at Norfolk into late October preparing for a command inspection and operating locally in the Virginia capes operating area. Early in this period Hurricane "Gloria" prompted Arthur W. Radford to depart Norfolk on 13 September 1985 and proceed to the upper Chesapeake Bay anchorage to ride out the storm. The destroyer returned to her home port on 21 September.

Departing Norfolk on 25 October Arthur W. Radford sailed for Nova Scotia and arrived at Halifax on the 28th. After being briefed for her participation in an exercise SHAREM 62 the ship departed Halifax on the following day for Notre Dame Bay Newfoundland. Transiting the Strait of Belle Isle on the 31st Arthur W. Radford reached her destination on 1 November and took part in SHAREM 62 until the 6th when she sailed for Halifax.

Following the post-exercise debriefing Arthur W. Radford sailed for Norfolk arriving at her home port on 13 November. Moving up the eastern seaboard the destroyer visited Boston (5 to 8 December) before spending a brief Period at NewPort serving as Surface Warfare Officer School (SWOS) school ship from 9 to 12 December. Arthur W. Radford then returned to the Norfolk area unloading weapons at Yorktown from 15 to 18 December before conducting a dependents' cruise on the 18th.

The destroyer underwent a restricted availability until late March 1986 running her post-repair trials on 29 and 30 March before Proceeding to Yorktown to take on weapons. Arthur W. Radford operated locally out of Norfolk into late July interspersing this work with a drydocking in Sustain from 30 May to 17 June for repairs to her struts and stern tubes as well as an inspection of her sonar dome. Following refresher training in Guantanamo Bay the ship touched at Roosevelt Roads before operating at Vieques for gunfire support practice surface gunnery exercises and missile shoots. After visiting Fort Lauderdale en route the ship returned to Norfolk on 12 September

Arthur W. Radford returned to Guantanamo Bay soon thereafter to embark HSL-36 detachment 6 and then proceeded to Roosevelt Roads where she arrived on 6 October to load ammunition to take on fuel and to embark a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment along with Commander Caribbean Squadron (ComCaribRon) and his staff. The ship operated in her assigned waters from 6 to 19 October returning to Roosevelt Roads to debark ComCaribRon and his staff.

Detaching the Coast Guardsmen at Nassau on 22 October at the commencement of the ship's port visit there Arthur W. Radford sailed for Norfolk on the 25th arriving two days later. As before her stay in port proved brief for she got underway on 3 November for the Bermuda operating area for exercises. One day out of Norfolk she assisted Preble (DDG-46) in searching for a crewman who had been lost in the Cape Hatteras area.

Arthur W. Radford conducted her exercises SHAREM 1-87 before returning to Norfolk on 16 November. With the exception of a period underway in the Virginia capes operating area on 9 and 10 December Arthur W. Radford spent the month of December in port m Norfolk. As of mid-1987 Arthur W. Radford was still active in the Atlantic Fleet homeported at Norfolk.

[Note: The above USS ARTHUR W. RADFORD (DD-968) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS ARTHUR W. RADFORD (DD-968) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]