Awarded: May 18, 1961
Laid down: April 23, 1962 (as DLG 27)
Launched: December 2, 1963 (as DLG 27)
Commissioned: May 8, 1965 (as DLG 27)
CG 27: June 30, 1975
Decommissioned: January 21, 1994;
Fate: Sold for scrap to International Shipbreaking
LTD, Brownsville, Texas.
November 8, 1999.
Josephus Daniels was born
in Washington, North Carolina on May 18, 1862. The Civil War was in full
fury, and the town of Washington changed hands several times. Josephus Daniels'
father, also named Josephus, was a shipbuilder for the Confederacy and was
killed before his son reached three years of age. Mary Daniels, Josephus'
mother, started a small dressmaking business to support the family, but
eventually moved the family to Wilson and became the postal official there.
The three Daniels brothers also worked to aid the family income. Josephus
worked several odd jobs, which included picking cotton and clerking in a drug
store. Eventually he found a job in a printing office, a position which set
the stage for a lifelong career in newspaper publication.
At sixteen, Josephus and his brother Charles entered the newspaper field with
the Cornucopia. Josephus also became an editor of Our Free Blade
at about the same time. By the time he was eighteen, he had bought out his
partners in the Advance, a paper serving Wilson, Nash, and Greene
counties, and was the local editor. Daniels used his position at the helm of
the Advance to address political issues ranging from trade to temperance.
In 1882, once again with his brother Charles, Josephus established another
newspaper, the Free Press, in Kinston, North Carolina. The Free Press
became a fiery pulpit from which Daniels campaigned for Grover Cleveland and
the Democratic Party. Daniels' political activity and influence grew in
coming years, but this political activity and his outspoken views in the Free
Press cost his mother her job as postmistress in Wilson.
Daniels studied at the Wilson Collegiate Institute and in 1885 entered the
Law School of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was
admitted to the bar in 1885 but never actively practiced law. During this
stage of his life, Daniels acquired the State Chronicle and the Farmer and
Mechanic, both based in Raleigh. He merged the Farmer and Mechanic with
the State Chronicle, publishing it initially as a weekly but later as
a daily. The influence of the State Chronicle, combined with Daniels'
past history of political activity, assisted him in his 1887 bid for and
election to the office of Printer-to-the-State. He was reelected to this
office in 1889, 1891 and 1893.
When the State Chronicle began losing money, Daniels sold the paper in
1892 and began the North Carolinian. When this paper also began to
lose money, Daniels wrote to members of the Cleveland administration offering
his services and was given positions in the United States Department of the
Interior until 1895. While serving in Washington, Daniels purchased the News
& Observer of Raleigh and merged it with the State Chronicle
and the North Carolinian.
The News & Observer became extremely popular and prosperous.
Daniels used the paper to advance the Democratic Party position on the issues
of the day. The Democratic Party of the late 19th century was resentful of
the Republican party and especially of the newly emancipated blacks. Daniels
was also a proponent of the Jim Crow laws that were rampant at that time. The
editorials of the News & Observer and their sensationalizing of
crimes committed by blacks reinforced white supremacist views that neither
party disputed. In this environment, Josephus Daniels and the News &
Observer flourished, and the paper became the first newspaper in the
world to have more subscribers than the population of the city in which it
Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst offered Daniels one million dollars
for the News & Observer. Daniels refused the offer. He continued
to use the paper as an instrument for political influence battling the
trusts, American expansion in the Philippines, Southern railroad companies
who governed politics in the South, and others. Daniels' paper quickly earned
the moniker "Nuisance and Disturber." One railroad company funded a
competing paper in hopes of putting Daniels and the News & Observer
out of business. Daniels' paper frequently sparked dislike, but the publisher
is quoted as saying, "Dullness is the only crime for which an editor
ought to be hung."
In spite of the anger of many readers of the News & Observer,
Daniels was known as a man of courage and integrity. Once, held in contempt
of court and fined $2,000, Daniels refused to pay the fine and spent three
days in jail. He maintained an open door policy toward anyone who wished to
speak with him. A sign on his office door read, "Office hours between 9
a.m. and 12:00 o'clock midnight. Can be seen at all other hours by calling
As a member of the Democratic Executive Committee, Daniels and the News
& Observer promoted Woodrow Wilson for the presidency in the election
of 1912. Wilson was victorious and in return for Daniels' service and
support, Wilson appointed him Secretary of the Navy. Daniels served in this
office from 1913 through the war years to 1921. He was the last cabinet
official to vote for a declaration of war against the Central Powers in 1917.
Daniels appointed the young Franklin Delano Roosevelt as his Assistant
Secretary of the Navy. Daniels supported creation of shipboard vocational
schools for the training of enlisted men, attacked corrupt military
contractors of armor plate, and increased the number of navy chaplains. He
was also responsible for eliminating beer and wine onboard naval ships.
According to legend, the term "Cup of Joe" began when sailors drank
coffee in deference to Josephus' proscription of alcohol.
In 1932, Daniels was encouraged to seek the governorship of North Carolina,
but refused. He endorsed and supported his old assistant, Franklin Roosevelt,
for the presidency. After FDR's election, Daniels accepted the post of Ambassador
Upon Daniels' arrival, the Mexicans stoned the American Embassy. Although the
American naval bombardment in April 1914 of the Mexican Naval Academy at Vera
Cruz, preceding the American invasion of Mexico and the ousting of Mexican
General Huerta, was blamed on Daniels, his speeches and policies while
serving as ambassador to Mexico greatly improved relations between the two
nations. He praised a proposed Mexican plan for universal popular education
and, in a speech to U. S. consular officials, advised them to refrain from
interfering too much in the affairs of other nations. Daniels also favored
the Loyalist cause in the Spanish Civil War, realizing that a collapse of the
Spanish government would have dire affects on Mexico. When the health of
Daniels' wife, Addie, failed, he resigned his post in Mexico to return to
North Carolina in 1941.
Daniels had married Addie Worth Bagley on May 2, 1888, and the Daniels family
grew to include four sons: Josephus, Worth Bagley, Jonathan Worth, and Frank
A. III. After Addie Daniels died in 1943, the S.S. Addie Daniels was
commissioned in her honor in 1944. Upon his return from Mexico, Daniels
resumed the leadership of the News & Observer and continued his
outspoken editorial style.
Daniels published several recollections of his years in public office. The
Navy and the Nation, a collection of Daniels' war addresses as Secretary
of the Navy, was published in 1919; Our Navy at War followed in 1922;
the Life of Woodrow Wilson was published in 1924; and The Wilson
Era in 1944.
Josephus Daniels died on January 15, 1948. During the course of his life,
Daniels operated several newspapers, culminating with the News &
Observer, which is still in operation today. He served in public office
with a strong belief in improving conditions for labor and the working class.
The story of Daniels' life closely mirrors that of North Carolina during the
same time period. From the catastrophe of Civil War to national prominence,
Daniels was a prime example of the strengths and weaknesses that marked the
progress of his state. From the continuing presence of the News &
Observer to the public middle school in Raleigh which bears his name, the
influence of Josephus Daniels continues to be felt.
USS Josephus Daniels was
laid down 23 April 1962 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine; launched 2
December 1963, sponsored by Mrs. Robert M. Woronoff and Mrs. Clyde R. Rich
Jr., granddaughters of Josephus Daniels; and commissioned 8 May 1965, Captain
Harry A. Cummings in command.
The guided missile frigate, based at Norfolk, Va., cruises as a unit of
Cruiser-Destroyer Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Josephus Daniels operated off
the Fast Coast until departing the Virginia Capes 9 December for the
Mediterranean. She operated with the 6th Fleet, a force of peace and
stability in the volatile Middle East, until returning home in the spring of
Stricken 21 Jan 1994, to be scrapped. Laid up at James River Reserve Fleet,
Fort Eustis VA.
USS Josephus Daniels departed Maritime Administration (MARAD) James River
Reserve Fleet, Fort Eustis, VA on 17 Feb. 1999 under tow to International
Shipbreaking LTD, LLC, Brownsville, Texas, for scrapping. A scrapping
certificate was issued by International Shipbreaking on 8 Nov 1999 certifying
scrapping was complete.
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