USS Port Royal (CG-73)

USS Port Royal (CG-73)

USS "Port Royal" (CG 73) is a United States Navy "Ticonderoga"-class guided missile cruiser, the 27th and final in the class. She is the second US Naval Warship to bear the name of two naval battles of Port Royal Sound, South Carolina, of the American Revolutionary War and the American Civil War. However, during the initial building phase, the builders and crew were unaware of this history of the first "Port Royal", as a result, the Engineering Control Center bears a plaque "First ship named".

Ordered 25 Feb1988, laid down 18 October 1991 by Ingalls Shipbuilding at Pascagoula, Mississippi, launched on 20 November 1992, christened on 5 December1992 by Susan G. Baker (wife of James A. Baker III, chief of staff to President Bush, and former Secretary of State), and formally commissioned on 9 July 1994 at Savannah, Georgia, Captain Nicholas L. Richards Commanding, Lieutenant Commander Derek B. Kemp Executive Officer, and Master Chief Petty Officer Dennis W. Mills, Command Master Chief. Expected decommissioning date is tentatively set for the year 2029, however the Navy is approximately 16 years ahead of its decommissioning program for this class of ship.

Originally, "Port Royal" was planned to be outfitted with the experimental shipboard mounted HELWEP (High Energy Laser Weapon System). HELWEPS is based on a megawatt-class deuterium/ fluorine chemical laser, replacing the standard 5-in forward gun mount. HELWEPS, it is said, could be used to destroy missiles out to a range of about 4 km. It could also be used to burn out electro-optical sensors at about 10 km. The outfitting, scheduled to occur in Port Hueneme, California in 1994 was cancelled, along with any plans of incorporating HELWEPS onto a "Ticonderoga"-Class Cruiser Hull.


Reference: Commissioning Ceremony Crew Book, USS Port Royal Association, Savannah, July 9, 1994.


FMK 7 Mod 7 Aegis Weapon System, two 5"/54 caliber Mark 45 gun Mounts [] , two MK 41 Vertical Launching System [] (126 cells) capable of firing Standard surface-to-air missiles, Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles [] , two Harpoon Missile Quad-Canister Launchers, two MK 32 Mod 14 Three-Barrelled Torpedo Tube Mounts, two Mk 15 Mod 12 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System mounts, antisubmarine rockets, one Mk 36 Mod 2 Super Rapid Blooming Chaff System, and passive detection systems. The antisubmarine warfare suite consists of a trio of underwater surveillance equipments: hull mounted sonar, acoustic array sonar towed system, and two SH-60B LAMPS Mk III helicopters.


Four powerful gas turbine engines (LM 2500) propel "Port Royal" with 80,000 shaft horsepower at speeds greater than 30 knots. Two five-bladed controllable reversible pitch propellers (17 foot diameter) and two rudders assist in rapid acceleration and deceleration.


AN/SPY-1B(V) Multi-Function Radar (Four Mounts)AN/SPS-49(V)8 Air Search RadarAN/SPS-55 Surface Search RadarAN/SPS-64(V)9 Navigation RadarAN/SPQ-9 Gun Fire Control RadarAN/SPG-62 Illuminators (Four Mounts)AN/SQS-53C Hull Mounted SonarAN/SQR-19B Towed Array SonarAN/SLQ-32A(V)3 Electronic Warfare Suite


"Port Royal" deployed from Dec 1995 until May 1996 as part of the "Nimitz" battle group Carrier Group Seven. The CVBG was participating in Operation Southern Watch, but was deployed to the South China Sea in March 1996 to act as a stabilizing force the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis. During this deployment, Captain Richards transferred command to Captain Gary Roughead on 21 January1996. Following her first deployment, "Port Royal" became the first US Naval cruiser to integrate women into the crew.

"Port Royal" deployed with "Nimitz" battle group for participation in Operation Southern Watch from September 1997 until March, 1998.

"Port Royal" deployed with the "John C. Stennis" battle group, participating in Operation Southern Watch. Leaving in January 2000, she returned to Hawaii early after sustaining damage to her port shaft during pursuit of a vessel suspected of smuggling Iraqi oil in violation of U.N. sanctions. She returned in July for drydock repairs and upgrades.

"Port Royal" departed Pearl Harbor on 17 November 2001 to join the "John C. Stennis" battle group on deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"Port Royal" deployed with "Peleliu" Expeditionary Strike Group-One (ESG-1) in support of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) from September 3, 2003 until March 11, 2004.

"Port Royal" deployed with "Peleliu" Expeditionary Strike Group-Three (ESG-3) in support of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) from February 27, 2006 until August 5, 2006.

On January 62008 the destroyer USS "Hopper", the USS "Port Royal" and the frigate USS "Ingraham" were entering the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz when five Iranian boats approached them at high speed and in a threatening manner. The U.S. ships had been in the Arabian Sea searching for a sailor who had been missing from the USS "Hopper" for one day. The US Navy says the Iranian boats made "threatening" moves toward the U.S. vessels, coming as close as convert|200|yd|m. The U.S. Navy allegedly received a radio transmission saying, "I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes." As the U.S. ships prepared to fire, the Iranians abruptly turned away, the U.S. officials said. Before leaving, the Iranians dropped white boxes into the water in front of the U.S. ships. The U.S. ships did not investigate the boxes. [cite news | url= | title=Iranian boats 'harass' U.S. Navy, officials say | work=CNN | date=January 72008 | accessdate=2008-01-07] Officials from the two nations differed on the severity of the incident. The Iranians claimed they were conducting normal maneuvers while American officials claimed that an imminent danger to American naval vessels existed. [cite web |url= |title= Iranian boats 'harass' U.S. Navy, officials say |work=CNN |date=2008-01-07 |accessdate=2008-01-07]

Navy Area Theater Missile Defense

"Port Royal" (CG 73) and "Lake Erie" (CG 70) are distinguished to be the original cruisers for the Navy's Linebacker program (Milestone Phase I, II and III). The program provided the ships with theater ballistic missile defense capability, as test platforms to detect, track, cue, intercept, and interact with other national assets dedicated to Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM's) defense ( The vessel's Aegis and Stand Missile Tracking systems have been upgraded with "long range surveillance and track (LRS&T)", and the ships were outfitted to carry the modified with SM-2 Block IVA TMD (Pike, John. Ballistic Missile Defense Program Status Update, Arms Control Today, July 1998). Along with later upgrades to the USS "Shiloh" it is expected the these three ships will be the only "Ticonderoga"-class cruisers to be so capable (United Press International, Aug. 22, 2006) (Missile Defense Update #8, Center for Defense Information, Sep. 14, 2006). The "Lake Erie" continues its role, however the "Port Royal's" role has been replaced by the USS "Hopper" (De Coster, Jamie Lynn. USS Hopper Supports Ballistic Missile Defense in Sky Hunter, Armed Forces News Service Pacific Ocean, March 1, 2006).


LT Stephen P. Oliver (Lutheran) performed the first wedding ceremony as the ship's Chaplain for Hospital Corpsman Third Class Sean Mahan (Plank Owner) and his bride Helen Salviejo. The first Baptism to be held onboard was for the elder daughter of LT Timothy A. Dernbach, and the ship's bell was used for the first time for such a purpose.

About the Ship's Coat of Arms

Reference: Commissiong Ceremony Crew Book, USS Port Royal Association, Savannah, July 9, 1994.

The Shield:

Dark blue and gold are the colors traditionally associated with the Navy. Red is emblematic of courage and sacrifice. Gold denotes excellence and high ideals; blue refers to the sea in which PORT ROYAL sails. The blue and gray of the shield recall the Union and Confederate forces and the first PORT ROYAL's Civil War service, while the embattled pile alludes to the forts on either side of Port Royal Sound. The trident represents an Aegis symbol of seapower and is inflamed to symbolize past and present weapons and defense. The tines of the trident represent an Aegis cruiser's capabilities: on the surface, the subsurface, and in the air. The upward thrust of the trident head highlights the vertical launch capabilities of CG 73.

The Crest:

The demi-palmetto tree, adapted from the State flag of South Carolina, alludes to the Port Royal Sound and the Carolina Sea Islands where the battles occurred for which the ship is named. The sword and musket, crossed to express combined arms and joint service teamwork, signify the two PORT ROYALs. The musket recalls the Revolutionary War battles and when combined with the Civil War Naval sword symbolize a continuing heritage of devotion to country, duty and the defense of freedom. The stylized Aegis array emphasizes the industrial and naval team which resulted in the American technological achievement of the Aegis combat system, while the lightning flash represents the ship's strike capabilities.

The Motto:

An azure edged scroll inscribed "THE WILL TO WIN" in gold.

In Fiction

In the Tom Clancy novel, "Debt of Honor", "Port Royal" is mentioned as one of the escorts for the USS "John C. Stennis". She serves as a landing platform for Army RAH-66 Comanche helicopters after a special operation.

In the Tom Clancy novel, "Executive Orders", "Port Royal" is one of the missile cruisers escorting Task Force Comedy to the conflict between the UIR and other Gulf States


External links

* [ "Port Royal" (CG 73) homepage]
* [ Unofficial "USS Port Royal" webpage]
* [ CG-73 Personnel Roster at]
* [ Video of January 2008 incident in the Straight of Hormuz]

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