USS Arthur W. Radford
was a in the United
. She was named for Admiral Arthur W. Radford
USN (1896–1973), the first naval
officer to hold the title of Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff
laid down by the Ingalls
Shipbuilding Division of Litton
Industries at Pascagoula, Mississippi and launched on 21 March 1975, sponsored by Mrs.
Radford, the widow of the late admiral. She
commissioned on 16 April 1977 and decommissioned on 18 March 2003,
after serving 26 years.
Underway for the East Coast the day she was commissioned,
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,
South Carolina on 3 and 4 May, the ship proceeded to her home port
Virginia which she
reached on the 6 May.
later, she steamed for Newport, Rhode Island, to provide support for the Naval Surface Warfare
Officer Training Command.
While the ship proceeded north, a
LAMPS helicopter practice-landed on her helo deck to prepare for
the embarkation of a LAMPS III detachment. The helicopter returned
to Norfolk later that day 11 May. Mooring at Newport on 13 May, the
destroyer remained there until 17 May, when she headed home. Soon
after returning to Norfolk, she conducted gunnery exercises and
helicopter operations off the Virginia
headed down the coast on 24 May and reached Port Canaveral,
Florida the following day.
After embarking Capt. R.
K. Albright, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 22 (DesRon 22) the
destroyer got underway on 27 May and, for the next few days,
conducted air, surface, and sub-surface surveillance of the
surrounding waters while President Jimmy Carter
, observed operations on board the
. 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 (170 km/h) which disabled a radar antenna and
drove the ship outside of the main shipping channel. At one point
her fathometer read only 30 centimeters of water under the
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 buoy 21. Unable to assist due to the shallow water
and high winds, the destroyer notified the United States Coast Guard
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
Indies for training operations including gunfire
support. En route to Frederickstad, Saint Croix, in the U.S. 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, Florida on Independence Day
During this firing exercise, a dummy shell hit the USS
Opportune which was towing a target sled. Further work in the
Bahamas, and at Guantanamo Bay, preceded her return to Charleston, South Carolina,
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 steaming
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
Weapons Station Yorktown Virginia, and headed for NATO exercises in
route, she participated in Exercise "Common Effort", carrying out
escort duties in an "opposed Atlantic transit", and briefly
embarked Vice Admiral Wesley L.
, Commander, U.S. 2nd 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, the Arthur W.
operated alongside Royal
, Royal Danish Navy
Royal Norwegian Navy
, Swedish Navy
, and Canadian Forces Maritime naval units. During
this exercise, the ship encountered huge seas from hurricane
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 destroyer then operated locally
through the winter, varying periods between in port for upkeep and
getting underway for training.
First deployment and interim
Arthur W. Radford
cleared Norfolk on 13 March
1979, bound for the Mediterranean and a tour with the U.S. 6th Fleet
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, Spain; Barcelona, Spain; Toulon, France,
Théoule, France, Rota, Spain and Valencia, Spain.
During the eployment, the vessel fired her
first Harpoon missile
Mediterranean on 28 July. Her target was the hulk of a destroyer,
ex- (later the Turkish TCG Gaziantep
W. Radford also participated in
Exercise "Multiplex 1-79" in the Ionian Sea, Exercise "Dawn Patrol" in the Tyrrhenian
Sea 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 22 September. Underway for Miami, Florida on 23 October, she served as the platform for deck
landing qualifications for helicopter pilots en route, and, after
touching at Mayport,
Florida to unload a crippled H 3 helicopter from
HSL-30, reached Miami on 27 October for a two-day port
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.
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 Naval Station, as well as out of Jacksonville, Florida. During this time, she also visited Annapolis,
Maryland where United States Naval Academy midshipmen toured the ship's engineering plant on
an orientation visit.
Admiral James L. Holloway III
, the former Chief of Naval Operations
the ship as well. FTG2 Mark (Spud) Coy left the ship on 20 March
1980. DS1 Mark (VD) Vendeiro, plankowner, departed the ship on or
about 18 June 1980.
Second deployment and interim
Following a brief period at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Arthur
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 Saint 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
, Trinidad and Tobagan
, 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 Bahía Blanca, Argentina, Montevideo, Uruguay, and the Brazilian ports of Rio de
Janeiro, Salvador and Recife.
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.
next few weeks, she visited Tema, Ghana Freetown, Sierra
Leone, and Dakar, Senegal. Clearing Dakar on 1 December, the destroyer
stopped at Guadeloupe 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,
Massachusetts and received an overhaul at her builder's
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.
Third deployment and interim
For the first few months of 1983, Arthur W.
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
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
May 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
Constanţa along with guided-missile frigate , the destroyer
served as flagship for Vice Admiral William H. Rowden
, Commander, 6th Fleet.
Catania, Sicily, Monte
Carlo, Monaco, and
Livorno, Italy, Arthur W. Radford
exercised with U.S. 6th Fleet battle groups later that summer,
later visiting Gaeta and
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 on 8 October. Visits to La Maddalena, Sardinia, and to Tangier, Morocco rounded out the destroyer's time in the U.S.
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 . 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
Virginia, between 16 February and 27 April.
Subsequently undergoing sea trials and repairs in the floating drydock
, Arthur W.
conducted routine training out of Norfolk through
The destroyer next operated out of Roosevelt Roads and off St.
Croix before returning to Norfolk at the end of August and becoming
for DesRon 10
. After then conducting
underway training in the Virginia Capes area in September and
October, Arthur W. Radford
recommissioned battleship to Roosevelt Roads. She later conducted
gunfire support exercises off Vieques. Returning northward
the destroyer took part in exercises off the coast of North
reaching to Norfolk on 20 November.
Fourth deployment and interim
After local operations, Arthur W. Radford
for a deployment with the Middle East Force (MidEastFor) on 4
February 1985, in company with . Rendezvousing with and near Bermuda two days later, and refueling from , the destroyer
reached Rota on 16 February. She then visited Naples before heading
for Egypt to transit the Suez Canal on 27 February 1985.
destroyer touched briefly at 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
underway on 14 March for the Persian Gulf radar picket station.
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.
on 25 March at Sitrah Anchorage, Bahrain, Arthur W.
got underway to resume her radar picket duty later
the same day, remaining employed thus until she moored alongside
for availability. The destroyer resumed steaming on radar picket
station again on 8 April, also conducting surveillance operations
Arthur W. Radford
embarked Rear Admiral John
Addams, Commander, Middle East Force, 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 June 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.
, the ship served two more tours of radar picket
duty in the Persian Gulf from 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
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
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 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 People's Democratic
Republic of Yemen on 11 July.
The destroyer transited
the Suez Canal
on 14 July, and replenished from the
that same day. Fueling from the
following day, Arthur W. Radford conducted a port visit
to Benidorm, Spain, from 20 July to 23 July before reaching
Rota on 24 July.
Proceeding thence with Antrim
, and Charles F. Adams
destroyer sailed for Norfolk on 24 July. After visiting
Delgada, 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
to depart Norfolk on 13 September 1985,
and proceed to the upper Chesapeake
anchorage to ride out the storm. The destroyer returned to
her home port on 21 September.
Departing Norfolk on 25 October, Arthur W.
sailed for Nova Scotia, and arrived at Halifax on
28 October. 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 31 October Arthur W.
reached her destination on 1 November, and took
part in SHAREM 62 until 6 November, when she sailed for
Following the post-exercise debriefing, Arthur W.
sailed for Norfolk, arriving at her home port on
13 November. Moving up the eastern seaboard, the destroyer visited
Boston, Massachusetts (5 December to 8 December) before spending a
brief period at Newport serving as Surface Warfare Officer School
school ship from 9 December to 12 December. Arthur W.
then returned to the Norfolk area, unloading
weapons at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown from 15 December to 18
December before conducting a dependents' cruise on 18
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.
operated locally out of Norfolk into late July,
interspersing this work with a drydocking in Sustain
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, Florida en route, the ship returned to Norfolk on 12
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 and his staff.
The ship operated in her assigned waters from 6 October to 19
October, returning to Roosevelt Roads to debark Commander,
Caribbean Squadron and his staff.
the Coast Guardsmen at Nassau, Bahamas, on 22 October at the commencement of the ship's
port visit there, Arthur W. Radford
for Norfolk on 25 October, 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 in searching for a crewman who had been lost
in the Cape
Arthur W. Radford
Radford (DD-968) replenishes from (CVN-73) in the
Mediterranean in 1996.
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
December and 10 December, Arthur W. Radford
the month of December in port in Norfolk.
- History from 1987 forward goes here
Later career and collision
In May 1997, Arthur W. Radford
received the first
ever shipboard installation of the Advanced Enclosed
which fully integrates advanced materials,
structures, and manufacturing technologies with sensor technology,
electromagnetics, and signature reduction to achieve improved
On February 4, 1999 at about 11:30 p.m. the RADFORD collided with
the SAUDI RIYADH, a 29,259-ton, 656-foot-long, roll-on, roll-off
container ship, which was preparing to enter the Chesapeake Bay for
According to the Navy, the RADFORD was conducting calibration tests
on electronics equipment at the time of the collision. The tests
required the ship to operate in circles around an electronic
The SAUDI RIYADH, meanwhile, was approaching the Chesapeake Bay
from the northeast, preparing to line up in the shipping lanes
before taking on a marine pilot for its eventual trip to
When they collided, the Saudi ship's bow struck the starboard side
of the RADFORD, about 30 feet behind its bow. A pie-shaped gash,
penetrating into the centerline of the RADFORD, left a hole from
the deck to the waterline, toppled its 5-inch 54-caliber gun and
damaged Tomahawk cruise missile tubes.
The SAUDI RIYADH sustained a four-foot-high, 30-foot-long gash
along the port and starboard sides of its bow, with most of the
damage to its port side.The RADFORD, more heavily damaged,
sustained a deep gash on its starboard side, penetrating nearly 25
feet into the main deck, ripping a hole from the deck to below the
waterline. One sailor aboard suffered a broken arm.
The RADFORD sustained an estimated $32.7 million in damages and the
damage prevented the RADFORD from leaving March 26 on a scheduled
six-month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea with the carrier
THEODORE ROOSEVELT battle group.Repairs aboard the RADFORD were
completed on September 13 and the destroyer then deployed with the
EISENHOWER battle group.
As a result of the collision, RADFORD's commanding officer was
Arthur W. Radford
was decommissioned in 2003 and
was stricken from the Naval Vessel
6 April 2004. As of 21 September 2007, she was at the
Maintenance Facility, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
According to the Naval Vessel Register, she
will be sunk to become an artificial reef.