Guided Missile Cruiser

CG 72  -  USS Vella Gulf

 

 

USSVella Gulf CG 72 - patch crest insignia

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser - US Navy

USS Vella Gulf (CG 72)

Type, Class:

 

Guided Missile Cruiser; Ticonderoga (Baseline 4) - class;

planned and built as CG 72;

Builder:

 

Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi, USA

STATUS:

 

Awarded: February 25, 1988

Laid down: April 22, 1991

Launched: June 13, 1992

Commissioned: September 18, 1993

 

ACTIVE in Service / ATLANTIC FLEET

Homeport:

 

Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia

Namesake:

 

named after and in honor of the Battle of Vella Gulf / Southern Pacific;

World War II; August 1943.

Ship’s Motto:

 

MOVE SWIFTLY – STRIKE VIGOROUSLY

Technical Data:

(Measures, Propulsion,

Armament, Aviation, etc.)

 

see: INFO >> Guided Missile Cruiser / Ticonderoga – Class

LINKS:

 

Official US Navy site

 

ship images

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - New York City 2009

New York City, New York – May 20, 2009

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Norfolk, Virginia 2009

Norfolk, Virginia – March 27, 2009

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Haifa, Israel 2009

Haifa, Israel – March 1, 2009

 

 

HDMS Absalon (L 16), USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USS Mahan (DDG 72) - Gulf of Aden 2009

Danish HDMS Absalon (L 16), USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USS Mahan (DDG 72) transit the Gulf of Aden – February 20, 2009

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Indian Ocean 2008

Indian Ocean – December 7, 2008

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Indian Ocean 2008

Indian Ocean – December 7, 2008

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Indian Ocean 2008

Indian Ocean – December 7, 2008

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Atlantic Ocean 2008

Atlantic Ocean – September 6, 2008

 

 

USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) - Atlantic Ocean 2008

USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) – Atlantic Ocean – September 6, 2008

 

 

USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) - Atlantic Ocean 2008

USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) – Atlantic Ocean – September 6, 2008

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 fires her Mk.45/Mod.2 gun - Atlantic Ocean 2008

USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) fires her stern Mk.45/Mod 2 5-inch gun – Atlantic Ocean – July 27, 2008

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 fires her Mk.45/Mod.2 gun - Atlantic Ocean 2008

USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) fires her bow Mk.45/Mod 2 5-inch gun – Atlantic Ocean – July 27, 2008

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Atlantic Ocean 2008

Atlantic Ocean – July 13, 2008

 

 

USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195) and USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) conduct a replenishment at sea (RAS) - Atlantic Ocean 2008

USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195) and USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) conduct a replenishment at sea (RAS) – Atlantic Ocean – July 13, 2008

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Atlantic Ocean 2008

Atlantic Ocean – July 9, 2008

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Port Everglades, Florida 2008

Port Everglades, Florida – April 28, 2008

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Arabian Sea 2007

Arabian Sea – April 14, 2007

 

 

USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USS George Washington (CVN 73) - Arabian Gulf 2004

USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USS George Washington (CVN 73) – Arabian Gulf – June 30, 2004

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Arabian Gulf 2004

Arabian Gulf – June 3, 2004

 

 

USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USNS John Ericsson (T-AO 194) - Arabian Gulf 2004

USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and USNS John Ericsson (T-AO 194) – Arabian Gulf – March 6, 2004

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Gulf of Aden 2004

Gulf of Aden – February 21, 2004

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Souda Bay, Crete, Greece 2004

Souda Bay, Crete, Greece – February 10, 2004

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Atlantic Ocean 2004

Atlantic Ocean – January 28, 2004

 

 

USNS Supply (T-AOE 6) and USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) - Atlantic Ocean 2003

USNS Supply (T-AOE 6) and USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) – Atlantic Ocean – November 21, 2003

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Atlantic Ocean 2003

Atlantic Ocean – October 25, 2003

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Baltic Sea 2003

Baltic Sea – June 13, 2003

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Baltic Sea 2003

Baltic Sea – June 9, 2003

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Atlantic Ocean 2002

Atlantic Ocean – March 4, 2002

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - Operation Enduring Freedom 2002

Operation Enduring Freedom – January 24, 2002

 

 

The Naval Battle of Vella Gulf – Solomon Islands, 1943

 

Solomon Islands area with Gulf of Vella

map of the Solomon Islands area with the Gulf of Vella marked between the islands Vella

 

 

Namesake & History:

About the Battle of Vella Gulf / Solomon Islands – August 1943:

 

In August 1942, U.S. Marines waded ashore at Guadalcanal and began a year-long struggle to control the waters and islands nearby. The Solomon Islands were the furthest outpost of the Japanese Empire, and one of two points of entry in the Pacific for Allied forces committed to victory. The narrow body of water between Kolombangara and New Georgia Island became the route of the "Tokyo Express" - a group of Japanese destroyers that made midnight runs to resupply army garrisons engaged in the struggle against the Americans. The Battle of Vella Gulf was one of the last and most decisive battles in the Solomons campaign.

Onboard USS DUNLAP (DD 384) early on 6 August 1943, captains of six destroyers met with Task Group Commanders Frederick Moosbrugger and Rodger Simpson to discuss a plan to interdict the next running of the Tokyo Express. The group was divided in two divisions of three destroyers each. USS DUNLAP (DD 384), USS CRAVEN (DD 382) and USS MAURY (DD 401) comprised Division ABLE ONE. Division ABLE TWO had USS STACK (DD 406), USS STERRETT (DD 407), and USS LANG (DD 399). In accordance with revolutionary doctrine proposed by Commander Arleigh Burke, Moosbrugger planned to have ABLE ONE attack with torpedoes first and direct ABLE TWO to attack with guns and torpedoes after the initial attack was complete. It was to be the first time that destroyers were used as an independent striking force, free from responsibilities for screening battleships and cruisers.

Later that evening, the task group proceeded at 25 knots into Vella Gulf via Gizo Strait. American destroyers used their new “Sugar George” (SG) radar to find the enemy and close under cover of darkness and rain clouds. The Japanese did not have radar and relied on visual sightings to position themselves for battle. It was quickly determined there were multiple targets on a southerly course closing at nearly 30 knots. Commander Moosbrugger ordered ABLE ONE to prepare to fire twenty-four torpedoes to port. A fourth target eventually appeared and the formation maneuvered again.

At 2341, the torpedoes were fired and the American crews waited for explosions. CDR Moosbrugger turned ABLE ONE to starboard to escape counter-battery fire. As the torpedoes hit, Simpson’s ABLE TWO turned to port and opened up with 5 inch guns. Both divisions then turned and closed the enemy. With two targets sinking and one burning, the American ships continued to fire on an enemy barely able to respond. The fourth Japanese destroyer, SHIGURE, escaped to the north with only minor damage.

American forces experienced no combat-related damage to ships or crews. The Japanese lost three first-rate ships, 1500 soldiers and Sailors, and tons of cargo. 310 survivors washed up on nearby islands over the next few days. The enemy suffered a humiliating defeat and never again attempted to resupply through Vella Gulf. Within three months, the garrisons at Vila, Munda, and Vella Lavella surrendered and the Japanese soon evacuated their important base at Rabaul.
The tide had turned and the end was in sight.

 

USS Vella Gulf (CG 72):

 

The first Vella Gulf was an escort carrier commissioned on 9 April 1945 with Captain Robert W. Morse in command. A Commencement Bay class carrier, she displaced 11,373 tons, carried 34 aircraft, and held a complement of 1,066 men. Vella Gulf won a battle star for air strikes against Rots and the Pagan Islands in the Marianas in July 1945 and then participated with occupying forces after the surrender of Japan. CVE-111 was deactivated and decommissioned on 9 August 1946.

The ship is sponsored by Mrs. Mary Ann McCauley and was commissioned into the Naval Service on 18 September 1993 in ceremonies at Norfolk, VA. A multi-mission ship, Vella Gulf is designed to be capable of sustained combat operations in Anti-Air, Anti-Submarine, Anti-Surface, and Strike warfare environments. Vella Gulf is employed in support of carrier battle groups, amphibious assault groups, as well as in interdiction and escort missions. Vella Gulf’s diverse combat capability is orchestrated by the Aegis Weapon System, a fully integrated electronic detection, engagement, and fire control system. Aegis enables Vella Gulf to detect, evaluate, and engage an enemy with great firepower and accuracy.

The Vella Gulf successfully completed sea trials during the month of February 1998. In the months of May and June, the Vella Gulf completed a two month BALTOPS Cruise, taking part in the 26th annual maritime exercise U.S. Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) '98 in the Western Baltic Sea from June 8–June 19, 1998. During the exercise, the commander, Carrier Group Eight, commanded the exercise from the ship. Also, the ship completed an AMMO onload, LAMPS moved aboard, completed a successful C2X, and had made a port call at St.John, U. S. Virgin Island. Upon the completion of C2X, the Vella Gulf continued pre-deployment work-ups.

In January 1999, after winning her fifth consecutive “Battle "E",” the ship commenced training operations while hosting the week-long course Force Air Defense Commander training.

Vella Gulf’s successful completion, in February 1999, of JTFEX ’99 marked the end of a ten-month work-up. The vessel headed out for deployment to the Adriatic Sea on 26 March 1999. After a six-day transit, the Vella Gulf took her position in the Adriatic Sea and participated in everything from Tomahawk Strike Ops to Fast-track Logistics Ops as part of Operation Noble Anvil. In May and June, the Vella Gulf continued to participate in support of combat operations, shot Tomahawks, assumed warfare commander duties (ADC, ASUWC, ASWC and Launch Area Coordinator), and conducted numerous at-sea refueling and stores replenishment events until the relaxation of weapons posture and cessation of hostilities.

Vella Gulf began the month of August engaged in multi-ship exercises. She participated in DIVTACS, LeapFrogs, Tomahawk exercises, submarine exercises, Flight Ops, and Gunnery exercises. The Vella Gulf returned home on 22 September 1999 and went in November to Yorktown, VA for a complete weapons offload.

As part of the George Washington Carrier Battle Group (CVBG), and in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the ship set sail in support of defense and humanitarian efforts off the coast of New York. Only a week later, she deployed as part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Battle Group, to the Mediterranean, and South-Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Roosevelt Carrier Battle Group transited the Suez Canal on 13 October and arrived in the Arabian Sea on 15 October, before returning home in April 2002.


Deployment 2007

On 5 January 2007, Vella Gulf departed on a six month cruise as part of the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group (BATESG). She conducted operations in the Persian Gulf, Northern Arabian Sea with French Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle (in support of Operation Enduring Freedom), Gulf of Oman and Gulf of Aden. She participated in multi-national exercises, including AMAN '07, hosted by Pakistan. Vella Gulf visited Agadir, Morocco and Gaeta, Italy as liberty ports and twice pulled into Manama, Bahrain. She returned to home port in Norfolk, VA on 3 July 2007.


MV Faina incident off Somalia, 2008

The Vella Gulf was identified as one of the U.S. Navy ships surrounding the MV Faina, a Ukrainian-owned, Belizian-registered ship carrying 33 T-72 tanks, RPGs and other munitions, after it was seized by pirates off Somalia on 25 September 2008. Several photographs used by news services were sourced as having been taken from the cruiser.


Capture of alleged pirates in Gulf of Aden

On 11 February 2009 the Vella Gulf responded to a distress call from the tanker Polaris in the Gulf of Aden. The Polaris reported that pirates in a single skiff were attempting to board the tanker with ladders, though the Polaris crew was able to thwart their efforts. Upon arriving in the area, the Vella Gulf intercepted a skiff with 7 men aboard. The crew aboard the Polaris confirmed their identity as the aforementioned attackers, and the 7 were taken aboard the Vella Gulf before being transferred to the USNS Lewis and Clark for processing before being sent to Kenya for trial.

Vella Gulf was involved in another action against pirates the next day on February 12 when it responded to a distress call from a merchant vessel. The Indian freighter Premdivya reported that it had been pursued by pirates and taken fire from them. The American cruiser responded by dispatching a helicopter to the scene which fired warning shots and chased the pirate skiff down. The Vella Gulf then launched a boarding party in two RHIB's and captured nine pirates, these were then sent to the Lewis and Clark as the previous batch of pirates captured by the cruiser were.

 

patches

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - patch crest insignia

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - patch crest insignia

 

 

USS Vella Gulf CG 72 - patch crest insignia

 

 

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