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USS Rathburne (FF 1057)

- formerly DE 1057 -
- decommissioned -
- sunk as a target -


USS RATHBURNE was the sixth ship in the KNOX class of frigates. Built and commissioned as a destroyer escort, USS RATHBURNE was redesignated a frigate on June 30, 1975. Decommissioned on February 14, 1992, and stricken from the Navy List on January 11, 1995, the RATHBURNE was then berthed at Pearl Harbor, HI. On July 5, 2002, the ship was finally sunk as a target during RIMPAC 2002.

USS RATHBURNE was last homeported in Pearl Harbor, HI.

The name RATHBURNE is an incorrect spelling of the name Rathbun, also spelled Rathbourne, Rathburn, or Rathbon making USS RATHBURNE one of the ships whose name is not identical to the one of its namesake.

General Characteristics:Keel laid: January 8, 1968
Launched: May 2, 1969
Commissioned: May 16, 1970
Decommissioned: February 14, 1992
Builder: Lockheed Shipbuilding & Construction Co., Seattle, Wash.
Propulsion system: 2 - 1200 psi boilers; 1 geared turbine, 1 shaft; 35,000 shaft horsepower
Length: 438 feet (133.5 meters)
Beam: 47 feet (14.4 meters)
Draft: 25 feet (7.6 meters)
Displacement: approx. 4,200 tons full load
Speed: 27 knots
Armament: one Mk-16 missile launcher for ASROC and Harpoon missiles, one Mk-42 5-inch/54 caliber gun, one 20mm Phalanx CIWS, Mk-46 torpedoes from single tube launchers
Aircraft: one SH-2F (LAMPS I) helicopter
Crew: 18 officers, 267 enlisted


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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS RATHBURNE. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.


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About the Ship's Name:

John Peek Rathbun served in the Continental Navy from its beginning. As a lieutenant in PROVIDENCE, he participated in an attack on New Providence in 1776. When John Paul Jones took command, he remained in PROVIDENCE, then went with Jones to ALFRED. Promoted to captain of the sloop PROVIDENCE in April 1777, Rathbun took his ship back to the Bahamas, and on the night of 27 January 1778, sent a small landing party of marines ashore at New Providence. They captured Forts Nassau and Montague without bloodshed. On the 28th Rathbun brought PROVIDENCE into Nassau harbor. Before departing on the morning of the 30th, he and his crew had taken two sloops and a brig, MARY; released American prisoners; dismantled the fortifications; and acquired badly needed small arms, ammunition, and powder.

In 1779, Rathbun assumed command of the frigate QUEEN OF FRANCE and in July cruised off Newfoundland with PROVIDENCE and RANGER. On the 16th the ships sighted a convoy bound for Britain. Fog closed in, but when it lifted, QUEEN OF FRANCE was next to a merchantman whose crew mistook the American for a British escort vessel. Rathbun took advantage of the situation, exploited the mistake in identity, and captured the ship. RANGER and PROVIDENCE followed suit. Ten more ships were cut out of the convoy, their total value approaching $1 million.

In 1780, Rathbun took QUEEN OF FRANCE south in Commodore Whipple's force to bolster the defenses of Charleston, S.C. There, with smaller ships, she was stationed in the Ashley River to prevent British forces under Cornwallis from crossing and attacking the city. As the American position weakened, QUEEN OF FRANCE's guns were removed and she was sunk as a block ship. Her crew then went ashore and Rathbun served as an artilleryman until the city fell in May 1781.

Taken prisoner at the fall of Charleston, Rathbun and the other American captains were paroled and allowed to return to New England. There he found that the Continental Navy had dwindled and no commands were available. Thereupon, Rathbun, a true patriot, secured a commission from congress on 4 August to command the Massachusetts privateer brig WEXFORD. About two weeks later, he set sail from Boston bound for St. Georges Channel and, within another six weeks reached the coast of Ireland. There, less than 100 miles from Cape Clear, he ran afoul of the 32-gun frigate HMS RECOVERY. Following a 24-hour chase during which HMS RECOVERY fired at least one broadside, Rathbun and his ship were captured by the British warship. Incacerated first at Kinsale Prison near Cork Ireland, Rathbun was later transferred to Mills Prison in Plymouth, England, where he died on 20 June 1782.


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SINKEX Image Gallery:

The multi-national forces participating in RIMPAC 2002 conducted a ship-sinking exercise (SINKEX) at Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), off the coast of Kauai on July 5, 2002. A variety of surface-to-surface missiles and naval guns were used to sink RATHBURNE.

In the SINKEX, five naval warships formed a battle line to engage an "enemy" ship some 30 miles (48 km) north of Kauai. The Peruvian Navy frigate BAP MONTERO (FM 53), Chilean Navy patrol frigate CS LYNCH (PF 07), guided missile cruiser USS LAKE ERIE (CG 70), destroyer USS PAUL F. FOSTER (DD 964), and guided missile destroyer USS LASSEN (DDG 82) took their position three miles (about 5 km) from the RATHBURNE and fired a variety of missiles and naval guns in succession.

Other platforms participating in the sinking included the guided missile destroyer USS O’KANE (DDG 77), U.S. Coast Guard high performance cutter HAMILTON (WHEC 715), and aircraft of VP-9, and VMFA-321.

Naval gunfire from participating units and two AGM-84D Harpoon missiles fired from a USN P-3C Orion aircraft helped sink the RATHBURNE.

A P-3C Orion aircraft approached the RATHBURNE at 300 knots and fired the first of two Harpoon missiles from 20 miles (18 km) away. Then the aircraft followed its missile to see what it did to the ship.

The missile blasted through the hull at the starboard-aft quarter near the waterline. The concussion blew the steel doors off the ship’s hangar. The hit also caused a large explosion and a lot of smoke followed. The RATHBURNE sunk on July 5, 2002, at 022° 11' 42.0" North, 160° 13' 07.0" West.




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