- USS Oldendorf (DD-972)
USS "Oldendorf" (DD-972), named for Admiral
Jesse B. OldendorfUSN, was a Sclass|Spruance|destroyer built by the Ingalls ShipbuildingDivision of Litton Industriesat Pascagoula, Mississippi.
"Oldendorf" was the tenth "Spruance"- class destroyer and the first ship in the Navy named after Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf, one of the most distinguished surface warfare flag officers to serve during World War II. She was built by Ingalls Shipbuilding in
Pascagoula, Mississippibeginning December 27, 1974. Was Launched in October 21, 1975 and was commissioned on March 4, 1978.
"Oldendorf" was originally stationed in the
Everett, Washingtonarea. It was about this time the ship and crew took on the nickname "Team Oly" in part inspired from the Olympia Beer that was popular in the area at the time. The command maintained a large inflatable Olympia Beer Can that was set up for special occasions. Subsequently the ship was posted to Yokosuka, Japanas part of the United States Seventh Fleet. She was a member of the USS|Midway|CV-41|6 battle group until being transferred to San Diego, Californiain 1991. During her time in the 7th Fleet she was involved with numerous events including regular exercises with all major navies in the area. In 1986 she was part of the first group of US warships to visit Mainland China since 1949. She also was the first warship to be granted access to the small Australian village of Govesince 1975, when a seafaring naval tug was last to visit. The "Oldendorf" had received approval from the Aboriginaltribe leaders to make a port of call there as a sign of good will to the US Navy. She received numerous awards for achievement and excellence.Fact|date=March 2008 The commanding officer during her deployment to the Gulf Warwas Commander Cyrus H Butt IV. "Oldendorf" was part of the first United States response to the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. She served with distinction throughout the war earning the Combat Action Ribbon escorting the various major warships and supporting the naval blockade of Iraq. She returned to Japan in mid-1991. The summer of 1991 had the ship change its homeport to Long Beach, Californiafor a year and a half long overhaul in the Long Beach Naval Shipyards. In the Fall of 1993 the command was shifted to her final homeport of San Diego. In early 1993 she participated in LEO operations off the South American coast returning in March 1993.
"Oldendorf" took part in the surface exercise Eager Sentry, as part of the larger Exercise Native Fury '94. Involving Kuwaiti and British military members, it was the largest naval exercise ever conducted in
Kuwait. It was conducted from 4 April through 25 April, to demonstrates U.S. resolve to support the peace in the Persian Gulfregion after ousting Iraqfrom Kuwait three years prior. Native Fury comprised several exercises under one umbrella. In the namesake exercises, two Maritime Prepositioning Ships sailed from their homeport of Diego Garciaand discharged more than 1,000 tanks, artillery pieces and vehicles at the port of Shuaibah, starting 5 April. Approximately 2,000 marines and sailors from I Marine Expeditionary Force, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Force Service Support Group and Naval Beach Group One arrived by air, off-loaded and convoyed the equipment to a training range north of Kuwait City. There, they trained with the Kuwaiti Army and British Royal Marines, perfecting tactics which would delay, and perhaps turn back, any repeat of the invasion of Kuwait. Other elements of Native Fury involved the surface exercise Eager Sentry; Eager Archer, an aerial exercise; and Eager Express with explosive ordnance disposal units training on the southern Kuwaiti beaches.
As part of a reorganization by the Pacific Fleet's surface ships into six core battle groups and eight destroyer squadrons, with the reorganization scheduled to be completed by 1 October 1995, and homeport changes to be completed within the following, year, "Oldendorf" was reassigned to
Destroyer Squadron 23.
"Oldendorf" departed on 1 December 1995, as part of the USS|Nimitz|CVN-68|6 Battle Group, for a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment.
In March 1996, and in response to the announcement of missile tests and military live-fire exercises to be conducted by the Chinese in the waters surrounding the island of
Taiwan, the United States dispatched forward deployed naval assets, including a carrier and other combatants to the area to monitor the situation. USS|Independence|CV-62|6 and other units in its battle group, operating in international waters, were on the scene from the beginning of the exercises. However, to augment the monitoring efforts, and further demonstrate U.S. commitment to peace and stability in the region, "Nimitz" and elements of its battle group, including the "Oldendorf", were ordered to sail from the Persian Gulf to the Western Pacific earlier than planned, after two months in the Persian Gulf for Operation Southern Watch.
"Oldendorf" took part, from 13 April through 24 April in Pacific Joint Task Force Exercise 98-1 (PAC JTFEX 98-1) off the Southern
CaliforniaCoast. The aim of the exercise was to prepare naval forces to participate in joint operations with other U.S. forces. Naval operations included Maritime Interception Operations (MIO), Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO), various air strike and support missions, operational testing of various weapons systems, Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (TBMD), logistics support, search and rescue, and command and control. An amphibious landing at Camp Pendleton, California, on 21 April, involved Navy surface and helicopter assault forces, U.S. Air Force aircraft, as well as units from Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.
"Oldendorf" deployed on 9 November 1998, for a six month overseas assignment, as part of the USS|Carl Vinson|CVN-70|6 battle group. Joining the "Carl Vinson" was the USS|Boxer|LHD-4|6
Amphibious Ready Group(ARG). The "Carl Vinson" battle group and the "Boxer" ARG were to relieve the USS|Abraham Lincoln|CVN-72|6 battle group and the USS|Essex|LHD-2|6 ARG, which had been forward deployed for the previous five months to the Western Pacific, Indian Oceanand the Persian Gulf.
"Oldendorf" arrived on station in the Persian Gulf with the "Carl Vinson" battle group and took part in
Operation Desert Foxin December 1998. The operation was designed to degrade Saddam Hussein's ability to deliver chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and wage war against his neighbors. It also took part in Operation Southern Watch. The "Carl Vinson" battle group, led by "Carl Vinson" and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) Eleven departed the Persian Gulf on 18 March 1999, after spending three intense months supporting Operations Southern Watch and Desert Fox in Southern Iraq. The ships returned home in May.
As of early 2000, developmental tests were in progress on "Oldendorf" as part of the SPQ-9B Radar Improvement Program. The program aimed at using COTS systems and NDI to improve the performance of the
AN/SPQ-9Radar in the Mk 86 Gun Fire Control System (GFCS), which would be integrated into the Mk 1 Ship Self-Defense System.
In August 2000, "Oldendorf" was directed to the scene of a crash into the Persian Gulf, on 23 August, by a commercial passenger jet, in order to assist in the recovery of the
flight data recorderand the cockpit voice recorder. The jet, a twin-engine Airbus A320operated by Gulf Airwhich originated in Cairo, plunged into shallow water about 3 to 4 miles north of Bahrain International Airportwhile making its approach. The bodies of all 143 people aboard the aircraft were recovered.
"Oldendorf" took part in the first Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) of 2001 during the month of February. Together with the Special Operations Capable certification (SOCCERT), the JTFEX aimed at providing progressive and realistic pre-deployment training for a carrier battle group, an amphibious ready group, a Marine Expeditionary Unit and other deployers. The name Joint Task Force Exercise reflects the focus on preparing naval forces to participate fully in joint operations with other U.S. forces and the armed forces of allied countries. Naval operations included Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO), Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO), various air strike and support missions, operational testing of various weapons systems, Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (TBMD), logistics support, search and rescue and command and control. U.S. Navy and Marine Corps forces were joined in the exercise by U.S. Air Force aircraft as well as units from Canada.
The U.S. Navy Surface Force was scheduled to begin, in the summer of 2002, an initiative to test the effectiveness of deploying a single ship for 18-months while swapping out crews at six-month intervals. Called Sea Swap, this initial two-phased initiative would involve three "Spruance"-class destroyers (DDs) -- USS|Fletcher|DD-992|6, USS|Kinkaid|DD-965|2 and "Oldendorf", and three "Arleigh Burke"-destroyers (DDGs) -- USS|Higgins|DDG-76|2, USS|John Paul Jones|DDG-53|2 and USS|Benfold|DDG-65|2. For the DD phase, "Fletcher" and her crew would deploy with their battle group this summer, but after six months, only the crew would return. The ship would remain deployed and be manned by the crew from "Kinkaid". After completing their training cycle and decommissioning "Kinkaid", these sailors would fly to a port in either Australia or
Singaporeto assume ownership of "Fletcher" and steam her back on-station. After six months, they would be replaced by the crew from "Oldendorf" who would have completed the same training and decommissioning schedule with their ship before flying out to relieve the "Kinkaid" crew. After four more months on station, the "Oldendorf" crew would then bring "Fletcher" back to the United States where it too would be decommissioned. Additionally, by executing this plan, the Navy would be able to eliminate the deployment of USS|Paul F. Foster|DD-964|6 because the additional on-station time generated by swapping out the crews meant a ship would already be in theater meeting that requirement.
"Oldendorf" was decommissioned 20 June 2003 and berthed at
Bremerton, WashingtonNISMF. She was stricken 6 April 2004. The ship was sunk as a target during a live-fire exercise off Hawaii by the USS|Russell|DDG-59|6 on August 22, 2005
The design of the "Oldendorf" crest is composite of emblems representing Admiral Oldendorf's achievements during his illustrious career. The shield commemorates Admiral Oldendorf's crossing of the "T" in the epic sea
Battle of Surigao Straitduring World War II, which resulted in a brilliant and decisive victory for the United States.
The vertical blue bar, alluding to a narrow passage or waterway, refers to
Surigao Strait, and the eight red and white sections of the background represents the total losses of the enemy in terms of the number of ships sunk, damaged or crippled. The blue chief at the top crossing of the "T" battle plan, with upper section simulating red sky over the night battle of Surigao Strait. The four stars denote Admiral Oldendorf's highest rank. The crest symbolizes the award of the Navy Cross, The Navy's highest decoration, awarded to Admiral Oldendorf for exceptional leadership and heroism in the Battle of Surigao Strait. The trident signifies authority and power and the annulet with red center suggest the muzzle of a gun in action. The two wavy bars are indicative of World War II and the Pacific area. The ship's motto, "Ad Proelium Victoriamque Futuram" (To the Fight and Victory Ahead) is the Latin translation of a line taken from Admiral Oldendorf's memoirs regarding his charge to his forces on the eve of the decisive Battle of Surigao Strait.
List of United States Navy destroyers
* [http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/DD972.htm Naval Vessel Register entry for "Oldendorf"]
* [http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/972.htm navsource.org: USS "Oldendorf"]
* [http://www.united-states-navy.com/dd/dd972.htm united-states-navy.com: USS "Oldendorf"]
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