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USS Spruance (DD 963)

- decommissioned -
- sunk as a target -

USS SPRUANCE was the lead ship of the SPRUANCE class of destroyers and the first ship in the Navy named after Admiral Raymond Ames Spruance. Decommissioned on March 23, 2005, the SPRUANCE was subsequently laid-up in Philadelphia, Penn. On December 8, 2006, the destroyer was sunk as a target off the Virginia Capes. USS SPRUANCE was the longest-serving ship in her class.

General Characteristics:Awarded: June 23, 1970
Keel laid: November 27, 1972
Launched: November 10, 1973
Commissioned: September 20, 1975
Decommissioned: March 23, 2005
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding, West Bank, Pascagoula, Miss.
Propulsion system: four General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine engines
Propellers: two
Blades on each Propeller: five
Length: 564,3 feet (172 meters)
Beam: 55,1 feet (16.8 meters)
Draft: 28,9 feet (8.8 meters)
Displacement: approx. 9,200 tons full load
Speed: 30+ knots
Aircraft: two SH-60B Seahawk (LAMPS 3)
Armament: two Mk 45 5-inch/54 caliber lightweight guns, one MK 41 VLS for Tomahawk, ASROC and Standard missiles, Mk 46 torpedoes (two triple tube mounts), Harpoon missile launchers, one Sea Sparrow launcher, one Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) System, two 20mm Phalanx CIWS
Crew: approx. 340

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Crew List:

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

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USS SPRUANCE Cruise Books:

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Accidents aboard USS SPRUANCE:

January 25, 1989near Andros Island, Bahamas
USS SPRUANCE runs aground on a coral reef while fighting heavy winds. The wind also causes the top of the foremast to break. No injuries are reported but the ship requires $1.4 million in repairs. The SPRUANCE is pulled free on January 28 by the USNS MOHAWK (T-ATF 170) and USS GRASP (ARS 51).


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History of USS SPRUANCE:

Commissioned on 12 August 1975 in Pascagoula, Mississippi, USS SPRUANCE is the first of a class of 31 destroyers developed for the primary mission of Undersea Warfare.

During her first decade, the SPRUANCE went to the South Atlantic and Africa in 1978 and deployed several times to the Mediterranean, with some of those cruises extending into the Black Sea, West Africa, the Persian Gulf, and Northern Europe.

USS SPRUANCE was modernized in 1986-87, receiving the vertical missile launching system, and subsequently continued her travels in Middle Eastern and European waters.

The USS SPRUANCE deployed for a six-months period on May 26, 1993 to the Red Sea where is spent over three and a half months conducting visit, board and search operations in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq. While attached to Sixth Fleet, Spruance conducted a brief stop for fuel in Rota, Spain, followed by a liberty port visit in Palma De Mallorca, Spain. Additional stops in the Mediterranean consisted of a brief stop in Augusta Bay, Sicily, then to Souda Bay, Crete, for a maintenance period (IMAV) with USS SHENANDOAH. SPRUANCE transitted the Suez Canal on June 29.

Upon arrival in the Red Sea, under command of CTG 152.1, Commander Maritime Interdiction Forces, SPRUANCE assumed the duties as flagship for the task force commander. While on station, SPRUANCE was the flagship for three different task force commanders. While on station, SPRUANCE conducted exercises with the Egyptian navy and the Jordanian navy. During SPRUANCE's tenure in the Red Sea, SPRUANCE conducted several port visits to Hurghada, Egypt for crew rest and relaxation. Other official port visits were conducted in Safaga, Egypt and Aqaba, Jordan, where SPRUANCE hosted receptions for top military and embassy officials. On September 10, 1993, the USS SPRUANCE intercepted the 18,000th ship since sanctions were put into place in August 1990, as part of the multinational maritime interception effort enforcing United Nations sanctions against Iraq. The ship's crew intercepted the Maltese-flagged bulk carrier EARLY STAR in the North Red Sea during normal intercept operations. The merchant ship was sailing from Massaua, Eritrea, to Aqaba, Jordan. As the ship was empty, it was allowed to proceed toward its destination.

SPRUANCE was relieved as flagship by USS HAYLER (DD 997) on October 9 after having completed more than 170 boardings, and then started her transit homeward through the Suez Canal on October 11. Once back in the Mediterranean, the ship made port calls in Toulon, France; Alicante, Spain; and Rota, Spain. She returned home on November 14.

In July 1994, as part of Operation Restore Democracy, US Navy ships were tasked with helping to enforce the United Nations embargo of Haiti. However, so many Haitians were picked up from the sea that Coast Guard ships needed an assist from Navy "gray hulls" in the region to handle the volume. Among these was the USS SPRUANCE which took onboard nine-hundred Haitians for the transit to Guantanamo Naval Station.

In mid-1996, the USS SPRUANCE took part in the 24th annual US invitational maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea, the BALTOPS 96 exercise. Made up of air, surface and subsurface operations, the exercise involved 47 ships and aircraft from 12 different squadrons sent by 13 NATO-member and Partnership for Peace nations: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, The Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States.

USS SPRUANCE deployed to the Mediterranean from April through October 1997 with the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67) Battle Group. Serving as the Destroyer Squadron 24 flagship, USS SPRUANCE made significant contributions throughout the deployment including: visiting thirteen foreign ports; participating in five multi-national naval exercises in the Mediterranean and Black Seas; serving as Presidential Support Ship in Rotterdam, Netherlands; representing the U.S. Navy in Thoule Sur Mer, France, in commemoration of the USS SPRUANCE aboard the floating drydock SUSTAIN.fifty-second anniversary of the Allied landings in southern France; and hosting Ukrainian military and diplomatic distinguished visitors during the 1997 Ukrainian Independence Day celebration. During that period, the USS SPRUANCE also took part in the Partnership For Peace Exercise "Sea Breeze 97" in the Black Sea. Sea Breeze 97 trained military forces on how to provide humanitarian relief for victims of a simulated earthquake in Southern Ukraine.

Almost two years later the SPRUANCE again deployed with the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67) Battle Group to the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf. In the fall of 1999, the USS SPRUANCE detached from the JOHN F. KENNEDY Battle Group to relieve the USS PETERSON (DD 969) as the United States' representative to the Standing Naval Forces Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED). After dealing with the effects of Hurricanes Floyd and Gert off the east coast of Florida, USS SPRUANCE crossed the Atlantic and entered the Mediterranean with other ships from the JOHN F. KENNEDY.

Back in Mayport in March 2000, the destroyer made history on June 1, because it was the first time a U. S. Navy ship commenced a drydock period in Jacksonville in over ten years. The ship's Drydocked Selected Restricted Availability (DSRA) was conducted aboard the floating drydock SUSTAIN that was specially brought from Norfolk to Jacksonville arriving in January 2000. The SUSTAIN was berthed at the Atlantic Drydock facility on the St. John's River.

While USS SPRUANCE's drydock period costed several million dollars, the Navy will save money by eliminating the costs associated a ship leaving homeport for a drydock period, such as food, fuel, and other operating expenses. For example, USS SPRUANCE uses an average of 27,000 gallons of fuel per day underway; staying in Jacksonville avoids that expenditure almost entirely.

USS SPRUANCE returned to Naval Station Mayport in early August.

On September 24, 2001, as part of the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67) Carrier Battle Group (CVBG), the USS SPRUANCE commenced use of the Vieques Island inner range in conjunction with their Composite Unit Training Exercises (COMPUTEX). The exercise, which began the week prior, also utilized the northern and southern Puerto Rican operating areas, and involved complex battle group training events, naval surface fire-support training and air-to-ground bombing. COMPUTEX is an intermediate level battle group exercise designed to forge the battle group into a cohesive, fighting team, and is a critical step in the pre-deployment training cycle and prerequisite for the battle group's Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) scheduled for early the following year. Successful completion of the COMPUTEX also certifies the carrier and its embarked air wing as qualified for open-ocean operations.

USS SPRUANCE, along with the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67) Battle Group (CVBG) took part, from January 19 through 26, 2002, in Phase I of Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 02-1; and from February 7 through 14 in Phase II of Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 02-1. The JTFEX is designed to meet the requirement for quality, realistic training to prepare U.S. forces for joint and combined operations and also provides the opportunity to certify the CVBG for deployment. That particular JTFEX was scheduled for two phases to accommodate recent repairs to the carrier, which required it to be pierside during Phase I. The exercise took place in the waters off the East Coast, as well as on training ranges in North Carolina and Florida.

On February 16, 2002, USS SPRUANCE commenced her deployment to the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf.

In June 2004, the USS SPRUANCE departed Mayport, Fla., on her final deployment. Again assigned to the JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67) Strike Group, the destroyer returned to Florida on December 7, 2004.

On March 23, 2005, the SPRUANCE was decommissioned at her homeport Mayport, Fla.

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About the Coat of Arms of USS SPRUANCE:
(Click on the coat of arms for a larger image)

The official crest of SPRUANCE is highly symbolic of the ship it so strikingly represents. The trident is a naval symbol of authority, power, and maritime domination. The "double trident" device indicates that SPRUANCE is an entirely new class of Navy destroyer that indicates that is more than twice the size of World War II destroyers. The six points of the trident refer to the multi-mission accomplishments of SPRUANCE. These missions include: (1) Undersea Warfare Operations in support of carrier battle groups, amphibious readiness groups and convoys; (2) Strike Operations against shore based targets; (3) Surface Warfare against hostile shipping; (4) Air Warfare for local area air protection; (5) Command, Control, and Communications Operations; and (6) Humanitarian missions such as rescue and evacuation operations.

The crest symbolizes the 1942 Battle of Midway in which Admiral Raymond A. Spruance administered a decisive defeat to a large Japanese carrier strike force. The battle was the turning point in the Pacific War.

The cherry blossom, similar in design to that worn by personnel of the Japanese Navy, symbolizes a number of associations with the decisive battle. The end of the petals identify the letter "M" for midway, the letter "V" for Victory, and the Greek letter "Sigma" for SPRUANCE. The five petals allude to the five Japanese ships sunk in the battle. The fifteen small dots and larger center dot add up to sixteen and refer to "Task Force 16", the numerical designation of the task force under Spruance's command. The fifteen small dots also symbolize the six cruisers and nine destroyers which made Task Force 16, with the larger center dot being the symbol of the three task force carriers.

The red disc, "cut off" at Midway, refers to the defeat which halted the Japanese advance in the Pacific. The crossed staffs signify the cancelling out of Japanese naval air power and naval ambition. The four white pointed stars on the banner of blue indicate the ultimate rank achieved by Admiral Spruance during the Second World War.

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USS SPRUANCE Patch Gallery:

HSL Detachment MED 2002HSL Detachment MED 2002

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Click here to view more photos.

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