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General Characteristics Crew List Memorabilia Cruise Books About the Ship's Coat of Arms Accidents aboard the Ship Patch Gallery About the Name "Caron" History Image Gallery to end of page

USS Caron (DD 970)

- decommissioned -
- sunk as a target -

USS CARON was the eighth SPRUANCE - class destroyer and the first ship in the Navy named after Hospital Corpsman Third Class Wayne Maurice Caron.

During CARONís more than 20 years of service, she has been involved in every conflict that the US has been involved in since her commissioning. CARON has been in Grenada, the Gulf of Sidra, the Black Sea and the Gulf War.

USS CARON was last homeported in Norfolk, Va. On December 4, 2002, she was "accidentally" sunk as a target during explosive tests off Puerto Rico as CARON was believed to survice the tests and scheduled to be sunk as a target in 2003. Secondary explosions during the test finally caused her to sink. USS CARON was the first VLS-equipped ship ever used as target during a SINKEX. (Pictures at the end of the page).

General Characteristics:Keel Laid: July 1, 1974
Launched: June 23, 1975
Commissioned: October 1, 1977
Decommissioned: October 10, 2001
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: one 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 CARON. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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USS CARON Cruise Books:

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About the shipís Coat of Arms:


The design of the shield and crest of the coat of arms is based on service of Wayne Maurice Caron, Hospital Corpsman Third Class, United States Navy, who heroically sacrificed his life on 28 July, 1968 while aiding wounded Marines on the field of fire in Vietnam. The Medal of Honor was awarded him posthumously. USS CARON (DD 970) is named in his honor.

The light blue center section and the white five-pointed star allude to the Medal of Honor ribbon; the star is also inverted in reference to the silhouette of the Medal of Honor pendant. The one light blue and the two Navy blue sections refer to the courage, steadfast determination and selfless dedication of Petty Officer Caron in performance of duty while serving as Platoon Corpsman with Company K, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division. The sweep of his unit through an open rice field in Quang Nam Province is indicated by the scarlet base and the embattled gold chevron. Navy blue and gold and scarlet and gold are the colors of the Navy and Marine Corps.

The Crest:

The Navy blue caduceus is the insignia worn on the white uniforms by Hospital Corpsmen, United States Navy. This insignia and the crossed bayonets (in the colors of the Marine Corps) allude to the medical services customarily provided the Marine Corps by the Navy. In particular, the caduceus and bayonets symbolize the combat operation in which Petty Officer Caron, though grievously wounded, was killed while giving medical assistance to his wounded comrades.

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Accidents of USS CARON:

February 22, 19889 miles off the Crimean Peninsula, Black Sea
USS YORKTOWN (CG 48) and USS CARON are bumped by a Soviet destroyer and frigate, respectively. The action came after the two US ships entered the Soviet's 12-mile territorial water limit.

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USS CARON Patch Gallery:

MEF 1-96

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About the Shipís Name, about Wayne Maurice Caron:

Wayne Maurice Caron was born in Middleboro, Massachusetts, on 2 November 1946, son of Aime Joseph and Lorraine Janet (Paradise) Caron. He graduated from Memorial High School, Middleboro, June 1966, and on 12 July that year, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy at Boston, Massachusetts. He subsequently advanced to Hospital Apprentice 23 September 1966, Hospitalman 1 April 1967, and Hospital Corpsman Third Class 16 January 1968.

Following his enlistment in 1966, he had recruit training at the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois until October of that year, then was a student at the Naval Hospital Corps School, Great Lakes. From January 1967 to April 1968, he served at the Naval Hospital, Great Lakes, after which he had instruction at the Field Medical Service School, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California. In July 1968, he joined Headquarters and Service Company, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, and was serving as Platoon Corpsman with Company K, when he was killed in action on 28 July 1968. "For conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty...during combat operations against enemy forces in the Republic Vietnam..," he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The citation further states:

"While on a sweep through an open rice field in Quang Nam Province, Petty Officer Caron's unit started receiving enemy small-arms fire. Upon seeing two Marine casualties fall, he immediately ran forward to render first aid, but found that they were dead. At this time, the platoon was taken under intense small-arms and automatic weapons fire, sustaining additional casualties. As he moved to the aid of his wounded comrades, Petty Officer Caron was hit in the arm by enemy fire. Although knocked to the ground, he regained his feet and continued to aid the injured Marines. He rendered medical assistance to the first Marine he reached, who was grievously wounded, and undoubtedly was instrumental in saving the man's life. Petty Officer Caron then ran toward the second wounded Marine, but was again hit by enemy fire, this time in the leg. Nonetheless, he crawled the remaining distance and provided medical aid to this severely wounded man. (He) started to make his way to yet another injured comrade, when he was again struck by enemy small-arms fire. Courageously, and with unbelievable determination, (he) continued his attempt to reach the third Marine, until he, himself, was killed by an enemy rocket. His inspiring valor, steadfast determination, and selfless dedication in the face of extreme danger, sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in the aforementioned action.

In addition to the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart Medal, he has the Combat Action Ribbon, The National Defense Service Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal. He also had the Vietnamese Military Merit Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm.

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History of USS CARON:

USS CARON (DD 970) was the eighth of a 31 SPRUANCE-class Destroyer program developed to maintain America's naval strength for the foreseeable future. CARON was designed and built by Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries in Pascagoula, MS. Her keel was laid on 1 July 1974, launched on 23 June 1975 and commissioned on 1 October 1977.

On February 15, 1990, USS CARON completed a regular overhaul and from January 14, 1991, until the cease-fire CARON participated in the Second Gulf War.

In October 1993, USS CARON was one of six US Navy ships ordered by President Clinton to patrol the waters off Haiti so that they would be in a position to enforce United Nations sanctions fully on the date at which they went into effect. The order followed an October 14.

In April 1995, USS CARON took part in the NATO mine countermeasures exercise, Blue Harrier. During Blue Harrier, the U.S. Task Group, to which the USS CARON belonged, operated with the mine countermeasures forces of the other NATO navies in the Kattegat area of Denmark.

As part of a reorganization announced in mid-1995 of the Atlantic Fleet's surface combatant ships into six core battle groups, nine destroyer squadrons and a new Western Hemisphere Group, USS CARON, was reassigned in FY96 to Destroyer Squadron 22. The reorganization was phased in over the summer and took effect on August 31, with homeport shifts occurring through 1998. The plan focused on developing squadron integrity, increasing Sailors' time in homeport, economizing training, and providing a more efficient organization to meet Western Hemisphere requirements.

In mid-June 1996, USS CARON launched its SH-60B helicopter to rescue a drifting seaman that had survived the capsizing and sinking of a cargo vessel in rough approximately 28 miles off the coast of Oman. USS CARON returned home on July 8, 1996 after her six-month deployment with the Middle East Force. During the deployment, the ship patrolled the Arabian Gulf enforcing United Nations sanctions against Iraq and operating in support of Operation Southern Watch.

As part of the USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74) Carrier Battle Group (CVBG), USS CARON took part in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 98-1 from January 12 through February 4, 1998. Then, again with the USS JOHN C. STENNIS CVBG, USS CARON, departed its homeport on February 26, for a six-month overseas deployment, to relieve the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73) CVBG and USS GUAM (LPH 9) ARG, who had been forward deployed during the previous five months to regions including the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Gulf.

USS CARON took part in April 1998 in Exercise Shark Hunt 98 off the coast of Spain. Exercise Shark Hunt is an undersea warfare (USW) training evolution designed to teach participating units to the latest USW threat, diesel submarines in a shallow water environment. Shark Hunt 98 was conducted in two distinct phases. Phase 1, open ocean search, tracking, and localization utilizing maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) and submarine assets, and Phase 2, choke-point/constrained geography operations involving high value and screening units.

As part of the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73) Battle Group (CVBG), USS CARON began a scheduled six-month deployment on June 21, 2000, after completing essential combat training in Puerto Rico. The USS GEORGE WASHINGTON was sent to relieve the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) Battle Group, which deployed in February and returned home in August. The GEORGE WASHINGTON battle group trained for the previous eight months in preparation for this deployment through participation in a series of increasingly demanding exercises and operations. Over the following six months, battle group ships conducted multi-national and joint operations with European countries and visited ports in the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf nations. The ships and squadrons returned home in December 2000.

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The photo below was taken by Thomas Zera and shows the CARON laid up at Philadelphia, Penn., on July 13, 2002.

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