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USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54)

USS CURTIS WILBUR is the fourth ship in the ARLEIGH BURKE - class of guided missile destroyers and the first ship in the Navy to bear the name.

General Characteristics:Keel Laid: March 12, 1991
Launched: May 16, 1992
Commissioned: March 19, 1994
Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
Propulsion system: four General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine engines
Propellers: two
Blades on each Propeller: five
Length: 505,25 feet (154 meters)
Beam: 67 feet (20.4 meters)
Draft: 30,5 feet (9.3 meters)
Displacement: approx. 8.300 tons full load
Speed: 30+ knots
Aircraft: None. But LAMPS 3 electronics installed on landing deck for coordinated DDG/helicopter ASW operations.
Armament: two MK 41 VLS for Standard missiles, Tomahawk; Harpoon missile launchers, one Mk 45 5-inch/54 caliber lightweight gun, two Phalanx CIWS, Mk 46 torpedoes (from two triple tube mounts)
Homeport: San Diego, Calif.
Crew: 23 Officers, 24 Chief Petty Officers and 291 Enlisted

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Crew List:

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

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Named in honor of the forty-third Secretary of the Navy, USS CURTIS WILBUR was built by Bath Iron Works, in Bath, Maine. Her keel was laid March 12, 1991, and she was christened just a year later, on May 16, 1992.
Her maiden voyage began on February 14, 1994, when she set sail for her home port of San Diego, California. This voyage included many hours of training for the crew of this new ship, as well as a transit through the Panama Canal. On March 19, 1994, CURTIS WILBUR was commissioned in Long Beach, California. The Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable John H. Dalton, was the principal speaker for the ceremony.

During the summer of 1994, CURTIS WILBUR participated in RIMPAC '94, a major multi-national exercise involving more than thirty ships as well as numerous submarines and air assets, both carrier and land-based. During this exercise, she performed duties as Force Air Defense Coordinator. Also that summer, the Board of Inspection and Survey conducted Final Contract Trials to assess the material status of the ship. CURTIS WILBUR became the first ship of the class, and only the second ship ever to complete the examination with zero mission degrading deficiencies.

CURTIS WILBUR departed on her first Western Pacific Deployment on July 31, 1995, transiting the Pacific and heading to the Arabian Gulf. While deployed with the United States Naval Forces Central Command, she supported Operations Southern Watch and Vigilant Sentinel. During her 100 days in theater, she served as Air Warfare Commander, Surface Warfare Commander, Undersea Warfare Commander, and Strike Warfare Commander. CURTIS WILBUR also served as a member of the United States Fifth Fleet Expeditionary Task Force supporting United Nations sanctions against Iraq.

In September of 1996, CURTIS WILBUR became part of the United States Seventh Fleet, shifting homeports from San Diego to Yokosuka, Japan. Upon arrival in Japan, she successfully completed Tailored Ship's Training Availability II and III and was the first ship ever to validate the Final Evaluation Period. On February 15, 1997, she deployed with the INDEPENDENCE (CV 62) Battle Group and participated in exercises Tandem Thrust '97 and Cobra Gold. CURTIS WILBUR served as the Air Warfare Commander during this deployment.

Throughout the remainder of 1997, CURTIS WILBUR participated in numerous Seventh Fleet Exercises, including Javelin Maker, Missilex 97-4, ASWEX 97-6JA, HARMEX 97-2, ANNUALEX 09G, and COMPTUEX. For her successful year and contributions to the fleet, CURTIS WILBUR was selected as the Destroyer Squadron Fifteen Battle Efficiency Winner for 1997.

In January of 1998, CURTIS WILBUR participated in SHAREM 108-1 before deploying again, on short notice, to the South Pacific. During this deployment, CURTIS WILBUR visited ports in Singapore, Australia, Guam, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan. She also participated in MERLION '98 and the Shimoda Black Ship Festival.

In June of 1998 CURTIS WILBUR commenced her second Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) in Yokosuka. This nine week shipyard period brought with it many new upgrades, including JTIDS (Link 16), JMCIS 98, INMARSAT B, and numerous other Engineering and Combat System upgrades, making her the most capable destroyer in Seventh Fleet.

Upon completion of SRA and Sea Trials in August 1998, in addition to beginning the training cycle, CURTIS WILBUR deployed for the joint and combined Exercise FOAL Eagle 98 with the Republic of Korea Navy and completed a successful Cruise Missile Tactical Qualification and Naval Surface Fire Support qualification. During the training cycle the ship certified the Main Space Fire Drill for ECERT at TSTA II and had a near flawless performance during ECERT. After completing her second complete training cycle while forward deployed, CURTIS WILBUR participated in SHAREM 127 with the Korean Navy and deployed in March of 1999 with the USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) Battle Group.

After completing TANDEM THRUST 99, an annual multi-national training exercise, CURTIS WILBUR received immediate tasking to proceed at best speed en route the Arabian Gulf. Steaming in company with USS KITTY HAWK and USS CHANCELLORSVILLE (CG 62), CURTIS WILBUR conducted a no-notice high speed transit and arrived in the Gulf April 18, 1999. Proceeding directly to the Northern Arabian Gulf, CURTIS WILBUR commenced operations in support of OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH; enforcing the Southern No-Fly Zone over Iraq and supporting United Nations Sanctions against Iraq by conducting Maritime Interception Operations (MIO) as a member of Fifth Fleet. CURTIS WILBUR also participated in two major exercises while on her second Arabian Gulf deployment: NAUTICAL SWIMMER 99, a combined exercise with the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, and SHAREM 128, an Undersea Warfare exercise in the North Arabian Sea. Following port visits to Bunbury, Australia and Phattaya, Thailand, CURTIS WILBUR returned to Yokosuka, Japan on August 25, 1999.

On October 1, 2001, CURTIS WILBUR departed Yokosuka on her latest deployment. Assigned to the KITTY HAWK Battle Group, she conducted operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Arabian Sea. After a port visit to Phuket, Thailand, CURTIS WILBUR's first port visit in ten months, from December 13 -15, the ship returned to Yokosuka on December 23, 2001.

In early February 2002, CURTIS WILBUR along with the Yokosuka-based ships USS O'BRIEN (DD 975), USS COWPENS (CG 63), USS JOHN S. McCAIN (DDG 56), USS CHANCELLORSVILLE (CG 62), USS CUSHING (DD 985), USS VANDEGRIFT (FFG 48), USS GARY (FFG 51) and the Sasebo-based USS ESSEX (LHD 2) as well as the USNS JOHN ERICSSON (T-AO 194) and JDS SAGAMI (AOE 421) participated in MISSILEX '02, an anti-ship missile defense training evolution. The MISSILEX took place on February 7 -8, 2002, in a training area off the island of Okinawa, with all the ships participating except ERICSSON and SAGAMI, which had conducted replenishments at sea with several ships earlier in the exercise.

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Notes of Interest:

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About the Ship's Coat of Arms:

( Click on the Coat of Arms for a larger version )

The Shield:

Red, white and blue are our national colors. Dark blue and gold are the colors traditionally associated with the Navy. Red denotes courage, white is for integrity and gold stands for excellence and high ideals. The anchor is reminiscent of maritime tradition and excellence of achievement. The gavel represents Curtis Wilbur, for whom the ship is named, as a distinguished jurist. The hammer suggests his role in shipbuilding revival. His major objective was to unite a strong Navy. The gavel and hammer are crossed to express strength. The embattled bordure alludes to the fortress like quality of a DDG ship.

The Crest:

The eagle is adapted from the Secretary of Navy seal referring to Curtis Wilbur's support of naval aviation. The three missiles are reminiscent of a trident, a traditional symbol of sea power, and represent the modern technology and power of the ship in the three traditional warfare missions of a destroyer: air, surface, and subsurface.

The Motto:

Latin for "Judicious Power for Country"

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About the Destroyer's Name, about Secretary of the Navy, Curtis Dwight Wilbur:

The forty-third Secretary of the Navy, Curtis Dwight Wilbur, was born in Boonesboro, Iowa, on May 10, 1867. He was appointed to the United States Naval Academy in 1884. Shortly after graduation, Curtis Wilbur resigned his commission, a common practice at the time, and moved to Riverside, California. He was admitted to the California bar in 1890 and served as Los Angeles Deputy Assistant District Attorney. Curtis Wilbur moved to the Superior Court in 1903, and finally, in 1918, to the California Supreme Court where he served as Chief Justice.

On March 19, 1924, Curtis Wilbur was sworn in as Secretary of the Navy. The first appointee of President Calvin Coolidge. Curtis Wilbur came into the position with a reputation as a man of high intellect and a character of "unimpeachable integrity."By the end of his term, Curtis Wilbur had achieved success in enlarging and modernizing the fleet and established a naval air force which would grow to become a potent component in the war with Japan.

When Herbert Hoover became president in 1929, he appointed Curtis Wilbur to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. He served with distinction as the presiding judge until his retirement in 1945. Following retirement, Curtis Wilbur spent time with his wife, Olive Doolittle, and his three children; Edna, Paul and Lyman Dwight. The Honorable Curtis D. Wilbur passed away in 1954.

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Click here to view more Photos.

The photos below were taken by Hagen Wagner and show the CURTIS WILBUR at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, on July 28, 2017.

The photos below were taken by Shiu On Yee during USS CURTIS WILBUR's port visit to Hong Kong November 21-25, 2018.

Click here for more Photos.

The photos below were taken by Michael Jenning and show the CURTIS WILBUR at Yokosuka, Japan, on August 3, 2019.

The photos below were taken by Michael Jenning and show the CURTIS WILBUR at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., on December 28, 2021.

The photos below were taken by Michael Jenning and show the CURTIS WILBUR undergoing her Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability (DSRA) at General Dynamics NASSCO, San Diego, Calif., on October 10, 2022.

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