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USS South Carolina (CGN 37)

- formerly DLGN 37 -
- decommissioned -

USS SOUTH CAROLINA was the second ship in the CALIFORNIA class of nuclear powered guided missile cruisers and the fifth ship in the Navy to bear the name of the state. USS SOUTH CAROLINA was homeported in Norfolk, Va.

General Characteristics:Keel laid: December 1, 1970
Launched: July 1, 1972
Commissioned: January 25, 1975
Decommissioned: September 4, 1998
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News; Va.
Propulsion system: two D2G General Electric nuclear reactors
Propellers: two
Length: 597 feet (182 meters)
Beam: 61 feet (18.6 meters)
Draft: 31,5 feet (9.6 meters)
Displacement: approx. 10,500 tons
Speed: 30+ knots
Aircraft: none, but landing platform
Armament: two Mk 141 Harpoon missile launchers, two Mk 45 5-inch/54 caliber lightweight guns, two 20mm Phalanx CIWS, one ASROC missile launcher, two Mk 13 missile launchers for Standard missiles (MR), Mk 46 torpedoes
Crew: 40 officers and 544 enlisted

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Crew List:

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

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Commissioned in January 1975, SOUTH CAROLINA completed fitting out, Combat Systems Qualifications and Refresher Training in the Caribbean from May through July 1975. SOUTH CAROLINA conducted her first port visit, at the request of Senator Strom Thurmond, to her name sake state visiting Charleston, South Carolina. During August and September of that year, she participated in her first operational North Atlantic deployment with the NIMITZ Battle Group. Subsequently, SOUTH CAROLINA participated in Exercise Solid Shield in the Caribbean and completed her first Mediterranean deployment in February 1977. SOUTH CAROLINA, in company with her sister ship, CALIFORNIA, and NIMITZ commenced a second Mediterranean deployment in November 1977 and returned to Norfolk, Virginia in July 1978.

SOUTH CAROLINA deployed again to the Mediterranean in January 1979 with the DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER Battle Group. In 1980, SOUTH CAROLINA deployed as part of the first Atlantic battle group to spend an entire deployment in the Indian Ocean. After a cruise to the Virgin Islands in November 1981, SOUTH CAROLINA deployed in January 1982 for a 6 month deployment with the DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER.

SOUTH CAROLINA underwent her first overhaul at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va. from Jan. 1983 to late May 1984. Upon completion, she participated in Caribbean exercises, enjoying port visits to Puerto Rico, St. Croix and Nassau. SOUTH CAROLINA made her second visit to her namesake state in October 1984. The ship hosted numerous dignitaries, including the governor of South Carolina, during her visit to a Charleston. She also visited Annapolis, Md. that year.

In 1985, SOUTH CAROLINA began a new year by conducting preparatory exercises in the Caribbean. She deployed to the Mediterranean in March and completed the deployment seven months and 46,500 miles later. SOUTH CAROLINA spent the majority of the deployment on station off Lebanon, in the wake of the hijacking of TWA Flight 847.

SOUTH CAROLINA underwent her second extended maintenance period from October 1985 to June 1986. She departed in July 1986 for a North Atlantic Cruise, and made port visits to Wilhelmshaven, Germany and Olso, Norway. Upon her return to Norfolk, SOUTH CAROLINA commenced preparations for overseas deployment and got underway on December 30, 1986 with the NIMITZ Battle Group. SOUTH CAROLINA completed her seventh Deployment on June 30, 1987. In February 1988, SOUTH CAROLINA participated in the FLEETEX 2-88, and made an Independence Day visit to Nassau.

On August 1, 1988 the state of South Carolina officially adopted USS SOUTH CAROLINA as the state flagship. Approximately 1200 visitors toured the ship on that day in Charleston, South Carolina. SOUTH CAROLINA sailed in August 1988 to participate in the NATO Northern Wedding exercise with the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT Battle Group off the coast of Norway. She conducted joint exercises and a port visit to Wilhelmshaven, Germany. She returned home in October, 1988 to make final preparations for deployment.

SOUTH CAROLINA deployed to the Mediterranean in December 1988 with the THEODORE ROOSEVELT Battle Group. During this deployment, SOUTH CAROLINA and THEODORE ROOSEVELT helicopters teamed up to rescue the crews of seven yachts disabled by heavy weather. SOUTH CAROLINA return to Norfolk on June 30, 1989, and began a four month availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard following a one month Caribbean visit in support of operations with the USS FORRESTAL.

SOUTH CAROLINA departed January 5, 1990 for Limited Team Training in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, followed by READIEX BASIC from January 26 to February 15, 1990 in the Puerto Rico operating area. SOUTH CAROLINA again set sail for the Caribbean on March 12, 1990 for law enforcement operations returning on April 13, 1990 having acted as Coast Guard, COMCARIBRON flagship and making two drug interdictions. SOUTH CAROLINA returned to the Caribbean in July for counter narcotics operations, where she served as flagship for Commander, Joint Task Group 4 and COMCARIBRON.

SOUTH CAROLINA departed October 1, 1990 for operations with the SARATOGA Battle Group. Following a solo trans-Atlantic crossing, SOUTH CAROLINA transited the Suez Canal for the first time in her history. During Operation Desert Shield, she served as flagship for COMDESRON 24, the Maritime Interdiction Force Commander in the northern Red Sea. SOUTH CAROLINA conducted twenty-seven boardings during Maritime Interdiction Force operations. Admiral Frank Kelso, Chief of Naval Operations, visited SOUTH CAROLINA on station November 7, 1990.

Upon completion of Maritime Interdiction Force operations, SOUTH CAROLINA was selected as the first nuclear powered warship to visit the Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In January 1991, SOUTH CAROLINA participated in operations in the Central Mediterranean with the THEODORE ROOSEVELT and AMERICA Battle Groups.

She sortied early from Taranto, Italy January on 17, 1991 at the start of Operation Desert Storm. SOUTH CAROLINA acted as an Anti-Air Warfare Commander for the Mediterranean, protecting operation Silver Cloud air corridors and the approaches to the Suez Canal. SOUTH CAROLINA acted as on-scene commander and supervised the recovery of 4 survivors and 29 bodies from the sinking merchant ship Continental Lotus. SOUTH CAROLINA returned to homeport on March 28, 1991. SOUTH CAROLINA entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a Combat System New Threat Upgrade and refueling of both reactors and left the shipyard 30 March 1994 with a new lease on life.

SOUTH CAROLINA's first post-refueling employment was to the Straights of Florida during October and November 1994 to rescue Cuban refugees who were fleeing their homeland in hopes of reaching the United States. SOUTH CAROLINA commenced workups in the spring in preparations for her next major deployment.

In the fall of 1995, SOUTH CAROLINA started her eleventh deployment. This cruise saw service off the coast of the former republic of Yugoslavia in support of Operations Deny Flight, Sharp Guard, and Decisive Endeavor. SOUTH CAROLINA acted as "GREEN CROWN" and Air Warfare Commander in the Adriatic Sea, earning the NATO and Armed Forces Service Medals. SOUTH CAROLINA returned to homeport in the spring of 1996.

Upon completion of a two month maintenance availability in July 1996, SOUTH CAROLINA started the Total Ship's Training Availability work-up phase. The ship visited Ft Lauderdale, Florida in the fall of 1996 for the Broward County Navy Days celebration hosting hundreds of guests onboard. The ship completed all unit work-up phases and began fleet operations with the GEORGE WASHINGTON Battle group in the spring of 1997. From April to June 1997 SOUTH CAROLINA conducted a COMPTUEX with the GEORGE WASHINGTON Battle group coordinating and acting as Air Warfare Commander for the largest and most successful Surface to Air Missile exercise in the Atlantic fleet. In August of 1997 SOUTH CAROLINA participated in FLEETEX and completed all preparations for deployment.

In October of 1997, SOUTH CAROLINA began our final Mediterranean cruise visiting thirteen ports of call from Haifa, Israel to Naples, Italy and Rota, Spain. We served as the Sixth Fleet Air Warfare Commander and participated in three major NATO exercises. The ship returned to homeport Norfolk in April 1998. Just weeks after returning from the Mediterranean, SOUTH CAROLINA returned to sea for six weeks of Counter Narcotics operations in the South Western Caribbean.

The ship conducted its final port visit in Charleston, South Carolina 10-14 August 1998. SOUTH CAROLINA ended its proud Naval service during a Deactivation ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk Friday the 4th of September 1998. The ship was in the final Deactivation process and on November 4th, 1998, entered Drydock 4 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. From combat operations off the coast of Bosnia to rescuing refugees in the Caribbean, SOUTH CAROLINA has always been prepared to answer the call to duty. Be it power or peace SOUTH CAROLINA served the Navy and country with pride for over 23 years.

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The photo below was taken by Karl-Heinz Ahles and shows the USS SOUTH CAROLINA at Naval Base Norfolk, Va., in 1998.

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