The fourth Bainbridge - a
nuclear-powered, guided-missile frigate - was laid down on 15 May 1959 at
Quincy, Mass., by the Bethlehem Steel Co.; launched on 15 April 1961;
sponsored by Mrs. Robert L. Goodale; and commissioned on 6 October 1962,
Capt. Raymond E. Peet in command.
On 8 October, Bainbridge got underway for a two day stay at Newport, R.I.,
where the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral George W. Anderson, paid her a
visit. She arrived at her assigned home port of Charleston, S.C., on 13
October. After proving her anti-submarine warfare and gun firing capabilities
in waters reaching to the Virginia capes, she sailed from Charleston on 28
November to conduct missile qualification firings on the Atlantic missile
range out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. She returned to Charleston on 1 December
and completed the final phases of her underway training out of Norfolk,
Virginia. Back at Charleston by early 1963, the new guided-missile frigate
became the flagship of Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 18 on 3 February, the
first such unit to be composed entirely of ships armed with guided missiles.
Two days later, Bainbridge stood out of Charleston on her first overseas
deployment. On the 7th, she rendezvoused with Enterprise (CVAN-65) and some
20 other ships bound for duty in the Mediterranean. She steamed by Gibraltar
on 16 February and entered Pollensa Bay, Majorca, where the turnover
formalities by which she joined the 6th Fleet took place. Soon thereafter,
the warship participated in intensive maneuvers staged to hone further the
striking force's already keen fighting edge. Bainbridge demonstrated her
mobility by a high-speed dash to Crete's southern coast where she provided
antisubmarine and antiair support for amphibious landing exercises.
After a visit to Taranto, Italy, she joined British, French, Greek, Italian,
and Turkish forces in a large NATO exercise. Bainbridge turned in a fine
performance with highly trained teams running her combat information, weapons
control, and antisubmarine warfare centers. She made simulated attacks to pin
down “enemy” submarines, which permitted surface warships a safe exit from
the harbor of Naples. After a high speed run to and from the eastern
Mediterranean, the guided missile frigate took part in Exercise "Fair
Game," an evolution carried out by 6th Fleet units and elements of the
Later, the guided-missile frigate joined Enterprise for the unique and fast
moving exercise "Chick's Charge" that demonstrated the potential of
a small nuclear-powered task unit to cope with limited war in widely
separated locations. With Bainbridge defending her against air and submarine
attack, the carrier moved between targets delivering simulated air strikes
around the clock. Relieved of duty with the 6th Fleet at Sardinia, the
warship took search and rescue station in the Atlantic to help guard
President John F. Kennedy on his trip to Europe. After a visit to Rota,
Spain, between 26 and 29 June, Bainbridge sailed for home. She disembarked
the DesRon 18 staff at Norfolk on 7 July and arrived back in Charleston the
After post-deployment standdown, Bainbridge cruised north to Newport, R.I.,
to participate in a Naval War College demonstration cruise late in August.
From there, she sailed south to Puerto Rican waters for gunnery and missile
firing exercises. Returning north early in September, the warship entered
Bethlehem Steel's Quincy, Mass., yard on the 9th for post-shakedown
availability. She departed the yard 23 November for sea trials and then
returned to Charleston the following day.
Local operations out of her home port occupied her until 27 January 1964 when
she departed Charleston for extensive standardization and performance trials
out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She returned to
Charleston on 15 February but sailed again on 9 March to participate in 2d
Fleet exercises in the West Indies. She made final preparations at
Charleston, departing on 28 April 1964 to cross the Atlantic in company with
Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) and Long Beach (CGN-9).
Bainbridge entered the Mediterranean on 10 May and joined the 6th Fleet at
Majorca two days later. The next day, she sailed from Pollensa Bay with the
world's first nuclear-powered task group, Enterprise, Long Beach, and
herself. After conducting antiair and antisubmarine warfare exercises with French
naval units, the task group steamed rapidly to the eastern Mediterranean
early in June to demonstrate its ability to respond to a crisis. In the
ensuing weeks, Bainbridge and Seawolf (SSN-575) collaborated in working out
new antisubmarine warfare tactics. The guided-missile frigate also devoted
time to the development of tactics employing the Naval Tactical Data Systems
installed in Long Beach and Enterprise. She took part in still more exercises
designed to protect a fast carrier task group during a transit of areas with
concentrated submarine opposition.
The guided-missile frigate finally reentered Pollensa Bay on 29 July and
turned over her 6th Fleet responsibilities to Leahy (DLG-15). Bainbridge
replenished at sea on 30 July, taking maximum stores and provisions on board
since it would be over 60 days before she would replenish again. On 31 July,
she exited the Mediterranean with Enterprise and Long Beach in the all
nuclear-powered Task Force (TF) 1. Thus began Operation "Sea
Orbit," the first circumnavigation of the world by a task group composed
solely of nuclear-propelled warships. Bainbridge and her traveling companions
crossed the Equator on 6 August and rounded the Cape of Good Hope on the
17th. After traversing the Indian Ocean, the task force made a two day call
at Karachi, Pakistan, and then proceeded down the west coast of India. South
of Indonesia, on 28 August, the task force conducted air defense exercises
with HMS Victorious and other units of the British Royal Navy.
The warship arrived at the western Australian port of Fremantle on 31 August
for a two-day visit. Bainbridge then steamed south of Australia for a brief
call at Wellington, New Zealand, on 8 September. From there, the task force
crossed the South Pacific, rounding Cape Horn on 17 September and then
heading north along the eastern coast of South America. Bainbridge entered
the harbor of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 23 September. As the task force
departed Rio de Janeiro 25 September, Enterprise aircraft flew over the
bathers at Rio's world-famous Copacabana Beach. Two days later, according to
the command history report, a similar performance "delighted the
citizens of Recife." The task force then steamed north through the
Caribbean for the last leg of Operation "Sea Orbit." Bainbridge
parted company with the task force on 30 September and proceeded
independently to Charleston, S.C., arriving there on 3 October.
In the following months, Bainbridge spent much time on the missile range off
Cape Kennedy, Fla., testing the effectiveness of surface-launched tactical
missiles as a defense against strategic missiles. Later, during the early
months of 1965, the warship took part in maneuvers in the West Indies with
task groups built around Franklin D. Roosevelt and the ASW carrier Essex (CVS-9).
She also escorted Independence (CVA-22) to Puerto Rico on the first leg of
the carrier's passage to the western Pacific. Bainbridge returned to
Charleston on 21 May, but soon moved farther north to the Naval Academy
where, on 8 June, she embarked midshipmen for training at sea. That mission
took her to ports in Florida and Puerto Rico. Following 2d Fleet maneuvers,
she prepared for duty in the western Pacific.
She departed Charleston on 25 October for missile firing exercises on the
Atlantic missile range and then rendezvoused with the nuclear-powered
Enterprise for the transit to the Pacific. The warship rounded the Cape of
Good Hope on 14 October and arrived in Subic Bay on 27 November. Three days
later, Bainbridge returned to sea with Enterprise and units of DesRon 24 and
headed for the Gulf of Tonkin and the coast of Vietnam. On 2 December,
Enterprise catapulted bomb-laden planes from her flight deck, while
Bainbridge helped screen the carrier during combat operations against
communist positions in South Vietnam. On 16 December the task group steamed
north and began attacks on North Vietnam. Naval aircraft struck supply
depots, and on the roads and bridges heading south from them, in an effort to
interdict the flow of military supplies to communist forces in South Vietnam.
On 22 December, carrier air strikes demolished the Uong Bi power plant which
provided most of the electricity for both Hanoi and the large port at
The first big raid of the new year came on 8 January 1966 with strikes against
targets in all four Corps areas in South Vietnam. Suspected troop
concentrations and storage areas came under repeated attacks. On 15 January,
the task group retired to Subic Bay in the Philippines, but Bainbridge was
back on station 3 February. She and Enterprise also discovered a Russian
intelligence-gathering trawler dogging them. To combat this bothersome
electronic “spy,” fleet tug Molala (ATF-106) went off to “snoop the snoop.”
For the next couple of weeks, Bainbridge steamed in Enterprise's wake,
fending off the shadowing Russian trawler who, in turn, was being followed by
On 13 February, Bainbridge began a stretch of independent duty on "Tom
Cat" picket station far up in the Gulf of Tonkin. There, she helped
verify the friendly identity of all returning aircraft. After being relieved
by Worden (DLG-18), she took up search and rescue missions with a unit of
Helicopter Support Squadron 1 embarked. She returned to Subic Bay on 25
February and remained there until 13 March. After a brief series of air
defense exercises with units of the Chinese Nationalist Navy off Taiwan, the
guided missile frigate returned to Yankee Station.
Bainbridge took up "Tomcat" patrol in the Gulf of Tonkin from 20
March to 1 April, then joined the screen of Hancock (CVA-19) as that carrier
launched air strikes against inland and coastal targets. Following another
tour of independent picket duty, she conducted a short anti-trawler patrol
with Wedderburn (DD-684) before returning to Subic Bay on 16 May.
Unfortunately for her crew, she stayed there only briefly, putting to sea for
SEATO Exercise "Sea Imp" before resuming patrol in the Gulf of
Tonkin on the 26th. Relieved by Dyess (DD-880) on 6 June, Bainbridge
proceeded to Subic Bay where she made preparations to return home.
On 10 June, the frigate started across the Pacific in company with
Enterprise. Parting company with the carrier on 20 June, she entered her new
home port of Long Beach on the 21st. After post-deployment standdown,
Bainbridge took up a normal schedule of training operations. That employment
lasted until the beginning of September when she entered the Long Beach Naval
Shipyard for a restricted availability. In October, she conducted
missile-firing drills on the Pacific missile range before joining in fleet
exercises that simulated combat conditions off Vietnam.
On 18 November, she set course for the western Pacific in company with
Enterprise, Turner Joy (DD-951), McKean (DD-784), and Gridley (DLG-21). The
task group stopped in Hawaii between the 23d and the 28th, and then resumed
its voyage to southeast Asia. Bainbridge and her colleagues arrived in Subic
Bay on 8 December. A week later, she left Subic Bay bound for duty in the
Tonkin Gulf and reached Yankee Station on the 18th. Bainbridge provided plane-guard
services and defense against air and submarine attack to Enterprise as the
first jet air strikes roared off her flight deck to blast bridges and supply
dumps near Vinh, Thon Hon and Ha Tinh. Numerous bombing and rocket missions
against enemy barges and supply areas in the mountains near the demilitarized
zone followed as the old year yielded to the new.
On 4 and 5 February 1967, these attacks damaged the Thanh Hao trans-shipment
complex enough to require major reconstruction before it could operate again.
These coordinated attacks, conducted as part of the Navy's "interdiction
in depth" campaign to halt the flow of military supplies to the rebels
in the south, continued through the month of February. On 2 March, Bainbridge
and Enterprise left the combat zone for a visit to Subic Bay where she
remained from the 4th to the 6th.
On 6 March, she put to sea again but headed in a southerly direction this
time, making a port visit Fremantle on the southwestern coast of Australia.
The warship spent five days in there before departing Fremantle on 18 March
to return to Yankee Station. She arrived back in the combat zone on 23 March
and resumed duties in support of TF 77 carriers conducting air strikes in
Vietnam. On 13 April, Bainbridge left the Tonkin Gulf to make repairs at
Subic Bay. She completed those repairs between the 15th and the 27th and then
returned to duty off the Vietnamese coast. The warship spent the next month
supporting the carriers on Yankee Station. She returned to Subic Bay again
between 29 May and 3 June and made one final, brief line swing on Yankee
Station that ended on 12 June. After a liberty call at Singapore from 15 to
20 June, Bainbridge called at Subic Bay one last time before returning home.
Departing the Philippines on 26 June, the guided missile frigate, in company
with Enterprise, sailed across the Pacific and arrived back in Long Beach on
Following a seven-week post-deployment stand down and preparations for
overhaul, Bainbridge entered the San Francisco Bay Area Naval Shipyard for
reactor refueling on 31 August. This complicated and time consuming procedure
occupied all her time during the remainder of 1967 and she did not complete
post-overhaul refresher training until December 1968. On 6 January 1969, the
guided missile frigate set out on her first Far East deployment in almost a
year and a half. Enroute, she spent 10 days in Hawaii, mainly conducting a
series of training exercises in the Hawaiian operating area. She also
assisted Enterprise when that carrier suffered a serious flight deck fire on
14 January, which killed 27 sailors and destroyed 15 aircraft.
Resuming her voyage west, Bainbridge stopped at Subic Bay on 3 February to
replenish before sailing on to the combat zone off Vietnam, where she arrived
on the 7th. The warship served in the Tonkin Gulf until 22 February at which
time she headed south to visit Australia. She arrived in Fremantle on 1
March, shifted to Bunbury on the 6th and then headed back to the Philippines
on the 10th. After a two-day stop at Subic Bay between 16 and 18 March,
Bainbridge returned to Vietnamese waters. After arrival on 20 March, she
served off Vietnam for most of the spring, with her only break a 1 to 13 May
liberty and maintenance period at Subic Bay. On 4 June, the warship shaped a
course for Kaohsiung, Taiwan, arrived there on the 7th, and stayed until the
12th when she headed for the Philippines. She stopped briefly at Manila
before entering Subic Bay on the 17th for the last time. On 20 Bainbridge set
out on the voyage back to the United States. After a nonstop transit, she
pulled into port at Vallejo on 2 July. The warship remained at Vallejo for
nearly two months, moving back to her home port, Long Beach, on 29 August.
She operated from that port through the end of February 1970.
Bainbridge departed Long Beach on 8 April 1970 and embarked on her fourth
western Pacific deployment. She visited Pearl Harbor from 13 to 18 April,
during which time she was alerted as part of the Apollo 13 recovery effort.
On 18 April, the ship resumed her voyage to the Far East, steaming by way of
Australia. She visited Sydney between 28 April and 2 May for the celebration
of the bicentennial of Capt. James Cook's initial exploration of Australia in
1770 and Melbourne from 4 to 8 May to participate in ceremonies commemorating
the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942.
From there, Bainbridge sailed to Subic Bay, arriving on 18 May for a four-day
stop before heading for her first combat tour on the 22d. She stood into the
Tonkin Gulf on 25 May and began nearly two months of duty on Yankee Station.
Her main duties were plane guard station for the carriers and serving on the
sea-air rescue station; a routine broken only by a brief call at Subic Bay on
10 and 11 June to embark a helicopter unit.
Late in July, Bainbridge left the Tonkin Gulf and, after visits to Subic Bay
and Singapore, entered the Indian Ocean for 10 days of operations near
Cambodia in August. After another visit to Subic Bay in mid-August, the
warship resumed duty in the Tonkin Gulf where she spent about a month plane
guarding carriers and serving on the northern SAR station. She concluded her
last combat tour of the deployment in mid-September, made a liberty call at
Hong Kong from the 19th to the 25th, and stopped briefly at Subic Bay on the
27th before embarking on the trip home.
The warship arrived back in Long Beach on 11 October and began an extended
post-deployment stand down that lasted through the end of November. December
brought some short periods of underway training, but the holidays at month's
end signaled another stand down. In January 1971, Bainbridge resumed normal
training operations out of her home port. On 1 February 1971, the cruiser
shifted from the naval station to Long Beach Naval Shipyard for repair work
that lasted until 26 March, at which time she returned to local operations.
She departed Long Beach on 26 May to deploy again to the western Pacific. She
stopped at Pearl Harbor for a week between 31 May and 6 June then continued
her trip west and arrived in Yokosuka on 12 June. During the next six weeks,
Bainbridge operated in the Sea of Japan from the base at Yokosuka. On 23
July, she departed Yokosuka on her way, via Subic Bay, to the Vietnamese
combat zone. Following the briefest of pauses at Subic Bay on 29 July, she
arrived in Tonkin Gulf on the 30th. After little more than a week of duty
with the carriers in the combat zone, the cruiser left it to visit Hong Kong
between 9 and 14 August. Back on station off the Vietnamese coast by the
15th, she spent the next three weeks supporting the carriers during the
continuous air strikes against communist forces in Vietnam.
On 5 September, Bainbridge cleared the combat zone for Subic Bay where she
spent the period 6 to 15 September. When she departed Subic Bay on the 15th,
instead of heading back to the Tonkin Gulf, the warship made for the Indian
Ocean where she carried out unspecified operations until putting into
Singapore on 25 September. Returning to sea on 29 September, she reentered
Subic Bay on 2 October and conducted operations in the South China Sea from
that base until the 9th when she headed back to the Tonkin Gulf. Her final
tour in the combat zone lasted until early November. On the 2d, Bainbridge
started the passage back to Subic Bay and, after stopping there from 4 to 8
November, the guided missile frigate got underway to return to the United
States. At the end of a two-week passage, broken only by a 3 1/2-hour call at
Pearl Harbor on 18 November, she arrived in Long Beach on the 23d and spent
the remainder of the year in port.
Bainbridge concluded her combination post-deployment and holiday standdown
early in January 1972 getting underway again for local training operations on
the 4th. Similar employment occupied her time into the spring. On 10 April,
she began a four-week availability at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard. The
warship resumed local operations after leaving the yard on 3 May. Through the
summer of 1972, training missions - including two voyages to Hawaii and back
- kept her busy.
Bainbridge departed Long Beach once again for the western Pacific on 12
September and arrived in Subic Bay on the 24th. Four days later, she started
out for the combat zone off Vietnam. Over the next three months, the cruiser
conducted three combat tours in the Tonkin Gulf, either screening carriers or
serving on one of the SAR stations. These four to six-week cruises were
punctuated by six to ten day stand down periods in Subic Bay.
Late in January 1973, near the end of her third return visit to Subic Bay,
direct American involvement in the Vietnamese war came to an end. When she
returned to the Tonkin Gulf at the beginning of February, therefore, her
mission changed from supporting carrier air strikes to supporting
minesweeping operations and enforcing terms of the ceasefire. Bainbridge
reentered Subic Bay on 23 February and stayed there until the 29th. After
spending the first week of March in Hong Kong, she supported minesweeping
operations in the Tonkin Gulf for nine days in early March before sailing
back to Subic Bay.
The warship made an overnight call at Subic Bay on 20 and 21 March and then
set out on a somewhat circuitous voyage by way of Yokosuka back to the United
States. She arrived in Long Beach on 4 April and immediately began a 30-day
post-deployment stand down. In May, Bainbridge resumed normal training duty
along the west coast. In late June and early July, she expanded her range of
operations with a midshipman training cruise to Hawaii. Returning to the west
coast in mid-July, she took up normal training duty once more until
mid-August when she entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for a restricted
availability accompanied by a variety of tests and checks in conjunction with
a major overhaul scheduled for the following year. More training and tests
occupied her time during September, October and the first three weeks of
On 23 November, Bainbridge stood out to sea on her way back to the Far East.
She paused at Pearl Harbor from 29 November to 1 December and then resumed
her passage to Subic Bay, where she arrived on 14 December. Given the
American withdrawal from Vietnam, Bainbridge focused her activities on
displaying American forward presence in the western Pacific and the Indian
Ocean. This included a visit to Singapore for the Christmas holidays and an
extended cruise in the Arabian Sea starting in January 1974.
Upon arrival, she relieved some of the units stationed there in response to
the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the deterioration in relations between the
United States and Arab nations as a consequence of America's unqualified
support for Israel in the conflict. The guided missile frigate spent January
and February of 1974 almost continuously at sea, with her only port call
between 5 and 9 February when she visited Bandar Abbas, Iran. On 3 March,
Bainbridge headed back to the Philippines and, after a short repair period
alongside the tender Samuel Gompers (AD-37), the warship got underway to
return to the United States on 18 March, reaching Long Beach on the 31st.
After a five weeks post-deployment leave and upkeep period, Bainbridge began
preparations for an extensive shipyard modernization and overhaul. Sailing to
Bremerton, Wash., on 11 June, she began shipyard work at the Puget Sound
Naval Shipyard soon after her arrival on the 14th. The repairs,
modifications, and refueling - which included replacing her 3-inch guns with
20-millimeter cannon and installing a new radar and the Navy Tactical Data
System (NTDS) - had been projected to take 19 months, but complications and
delays so plagued the process that Bainbridge did not complete the overhaul
until 10 September 1976. About halfway through the overhaul, Bainbridge was
reclassified a guided-missile cruiser and redesignated CGN-25 on 30 June
At the conclusion of these repairs and modifications, the warship remained in
the Puget Sound area, combining post-overhaul certifications and evaluations
with intermittent participation in Operation "Sea Crow," a
long-range aircraft detection exercise carried out in cooperation with Air
Force units. Late in November, Bainbridge sailed for the southern California
coast where she carried out series of tactical exercises first with
Constellation (CV-64), then with a pair of submarines, and finally with the
carrier again. She returned to Bremerton just before Christmas and spent the
rest of the year in holiday stand down.
Bainbridge opened 1977 with a voyage to Hawaii. She departed Bremerton on 4
January and reached Oahu on the 10th. After two weeks of tests and
inspections, the cruiser headed back to the west coast on 25 January. She
arrived in Bremerton on the 30th and began a two-month post-shakedown
availability at the shipyard. She concluded these finishing touches on 31
March and, following several final tests early in April, got underway on the
11th for her new home port, San Diego. Bainbridge resumed active service, out
of San Diego, on 14 April. Her routine consisted of more training,
particularly refresher training in May, as well as additional inspections and
certifications. She spent most of the first half of August visiting the
Seattle Seafair, resuming her training schedule at mid-month. That
employment, carried out from San Diego, occupied her time until early
December when she began preparations for overseas movement.
Following the usual year end holiday leave and upkeep period, the cruiser
completed her deployment preparations during the first nine days of 1978. On
10 January, she cleared San Diego for the first overseas deployment in almost
four years. She tarried in the Hawaiian operating area from the 16th to the
23d for drills and then resumed her voyage west. Bainbridge reached Yokosuka
on 3 February but departed again on the 6th for operations near Okinawa. She
concluded those exercises on 19 February and steered for Pusan, Korea, where
she visited from the 22d to the 28th. The cruiser then conducted operations
in the Sea of Japan and in the South China Sea before calling at Singapore
between 28 March and 2 April and at Sattahip, Thailand, from 6 to 11 April.
After operating in waters to the west of Luzon, she made a port call at Hong
Kong on 22, 23 and 24 April. Bainbridge put into Subic Bay on the 29th but
returned to the seas west of Luzon again on 3 May to conduct operations with
Midway (CV-41). That duty lasted until 9 May when she headed for Okinawa and
the nearby operating area where she drilled until setting course for Pusan,
Korea, on 21 May. The warship passed the last six days of May at Pusan and
then made for Yokosuka, where she arrived on 5 June. Bainbridge spent the
major part of June at Yokosuka undergoing repairs. She left Yokosuka on 28
June and, after a short stop at Subic Bay on 2 July, embarked on a circuitous
voyage home. Sailing by way of Darwin in Australia, the Tonga Islands, and
Pearl Harbor, the guided missile cruiser reached San Diego on 9 August.
After the usual post-deployment stand down, which kept her in port for almost
two months, Bainbridge headed north to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard where
she arrived on 6 October. The shipyard availability there, where she received
the new Harpoon missile system, kept her at Bremerton through the end of the
year and nearly through the first month of 1979. Leaving Puget Sound on 27
January, she reentered San Diego on 2 February. There, she resumed a normal
training schedule along the California coast that included refresher
training, an operational readiness examination and other tests, calibrations,
and certifications. This routine lasted well into the summer when attention
shifted to preparations for her next deployment.
On 8 August, Bainbridge departed San Diego for the western Pacific. She
visited Oahu from 18 to 23 August, stopped briefly at Midway on the 27th, and
then arrived in Yokosuka on 2 September. After escorting Ranger (CV-61) to
the vicinity of Midway in early September, the guided missile cruiser
rendezvoused with TF 75 to carry out Operation "Free Seas 79" in
the Sea of Okhotsk between 15 and 20 September. Returning to Yokosuka on the
25th, she joined TG 70.1, built around Midway, and sailed by way of Subic Bay
to Perth in western Australia for a six-day port call between 20 and 25
October. From there, the task group moved into the Indian Ocean and made a
“show the flag” port visit to Mombasa, Kenya, in early November.
During this time, however, political unrest and violence mounted in Iran and,
on 20 November, Bainbridge and her task group moved north to the Arabian Sea
for contingency operations. The cruiser remained on station there through the
end of the year and she was still there when the government of the Shah fell
in mid-January 1980. On 21 January, TG 70.4 - built around Nimitz (CVN-68) -
joined the Midway group in the Arabian Sea on what had been dubbed
"Gonzo" Station. This arrival allowed Bainbridge and her colleagues
to set course back to Subic Bay, where the task group arrived on 13 February.
Four days later, she started her voyage home and, traveling via Pearl Harbor,
the warship arrived back in San Diego on 7 March.
After the usual 30-day post-deployment standdown, Bainbridge took up a normal
training routine along the west coast at the end of the first week in April.
She remained so occupied through the summer and fall of 1980 and ended the
year moored at San Diego. Late in January 1981, after completing a periodic
maintenance inspection and a readiness exercise, Bainbridge began
preparations to deploy to the western Pacific near the end of February.
On 27 February, she embarked on the long voyage to the Far East in company
with four other Navy ships as well as another four from the Canadian Navy.
The task group put in at Pearl Harbor on 6 March for a three day visit before
resuming the journey west on the 9th. The guided-missile cruiser changed
operational control to the Commander, 7th Fleet, on 15 March and then arrived
in Subic Bay on the 20th. Four days later, however, the warship was on her
way back to the Arabian Sea to rejoin the Midway task group on patrol on
"Gonzo" station. After transiting the Malacca Strait on the 27th,
Bainbridge rendezvoused with Midway on station and soon assumed duties as the
task group antiair warfare commander. She prosecuted that mission until 13
April when she turned the job over to Reeves (CG-24) and headed back to the
western Pacific to take up duty with the 7th Fleet.
During the passage back to Subic Bay, Bainbridge made three separate rescues
at sea. The first came on 20 April when she encountered three Malaysian
fishermen in the Malacca Strait who had been adrift on a box for more than 36
hours. She resumed her journey after delivering those people to the harbor
master at Port Kelang but made another rescue the next day, picking up 17
Vietnamese refugees about 300 miles southwest of Saigon, South Vietnam. The
warship carried these refugees to Sattahip, Thailand, where they were
transferred to John Young (DD-973) to await transportation to a refugee camp.
Bainbridge then set out for Subic Bay again on 27 April only to run across
another 48 Vietnamese refugees about 90 miles south of Hon Khoui Island.
These people she carried into Subic Bay, arriving there on 30 April.
After two weeks of upkeep, the guided-missile cruiser set off for the Sea of
Japan on 14 May. There she took part in an antisubmarine warfare exercise and
made a port call at Pusan, Korea, before returning south to the Philippines
early in June. Late that month, she participated in another ASW exercise in
nearby waters. In July, Bainbridge joined several other Navy warships in a
surface warfare exercise in the waters around Okinawa and made a liberty call
at Hong Kong. Returning to Luzon on 25 July, the warship spent the month of
August engaged in local operations out of Subic Bay. Her mission with the 7th
Fleet at an end, Bainbridge departed Subic Bay on 29 August and set course
back to the United States. Steaming by way of Pearl Harbor, she concluded her
deployment at San Diego on 21 September.
After a five-week post-deployment stand down, the guided missile cruiser
began preparations for another restricted availability, which began at San
Diego on 4 January 1982. After completing this work in early April, she
underwent a series of assist team visits and certification exercises that
occupied her time until late May. Early in June, the warship again took up
normal training operations out of her home port, and she remained so occupied
through the end of August.
On 1 September, Bainbridge departed San Diego in company with Enterprise,
bound ultimately for the western Pacific. The task group paused for more than
a week to train in the Hawaiian operating area, and Bainbridge also took part
in an exercise with an explosive ordnance dispoal unit. Resuming the voyage
west on 18 September, the guided-missile cruiser and her colleagues conducted
more training along the way before arriving in the Sea of Japan on 2 October.
After nearly a week of maneuvers in the waters between Korea and Japan,
Bainbridge's task group left the Sea of Japan on 8 October for the
Philippines. Ending her stay at Subic Bay on 20 September, the warship
rejoined her task group at sea on 20 October and set out for Singapore. En route,
she encountered a dilapidated 32-foot boat carrying 51 Vietnamese refugees,
all of whom she took on board before sinking their craft as a hazard to
navigation. She reached Singapore on the 26th, disembarked the refugees, and
then began her port visit.
Bainbridge left Singapore with her task group on 30 October and headed for
the Indian Ocean. On the way, she received orders to render assistance to an
out-of-control oil derrick barge but, upon arrival, discovered that an Indian
ocean-going tug had already completed the mission of mercy. She returned to
her task group and resumed operations in the Indian Ocean. After a port call
at Mombasa, Kenya, between 22 and 26 November, the guided-missile cruiser
sailed north for operations with Enterprise off the coast of Oman. Then,
between 24 and 26 December, she trailed the Soviet intelligence-gathering
trawler Ilmen in the Indian Ocean.
After returning to San Diego from the western Pacific on 29 April 1983,
Bainbridge, after a short post-deployment upkeep, spent the next five months
conducting local operations and port visits along the California coast. In
October, after unloading munitions at Seal Beach, the warship proceeded to
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for what proved to be her final modernization
overhaul. Although she only remained in drydock until June 1984, the
guided-missile cruiser did not finish her yard work for another year.
Meanwhile, on 1 June 1985, Bainbridge's home port was changed from San Diego,
Calif., to Norfolk, Va. After completing overhaul later that month and
carrying out refresher training in early July, she began the passage to her
new home port on the 22d. After passing through the Panama Canal, she visited
Maracaibo, Venezuala, before mooring at Norfolk in early August. The warship
spent the remainder of the year familiarizing herself with Atlantic fleet
procedures and conducting local operations out of Norfolk.
On 6 January 1986, Bainbridge embarked a Coast Guard law enforcement
detachment and got underway for her first drug interdiction patrol in the
West Indies. Two days later, she made a rescue at sea, finding two Haitians
adrift in a small boat. Taking the boat in tow, she dropped them off in
Guantanamo Bay later that day. On 10 January, the guided-missile cruiser
shaped course for Norfolk, where she moored on the 13th.
At this time, owing to several recent terrorist incidents in Europe,
President Ronald Reagan directed the Joint Chiefs of Staff to look into
military operations against Libya. Although tapped for contingency operations
with America, Bainbridge did not sail when that battle group departed Norfolk
on 10 March. Instead, the guided-missile cruiser resumed her West Indies
patrol by sailing south from Norfolk on 11 March. After nine days at sea, she
put into Port Everglades, Fla., for liberty before returning to Norfolk on 26
Following a series of fleet exercises in the Virginia capes operating area in
April, Bainbridge sailed to the West Indies again on 9 June, this time for a
series of weapons exercises near Puerto Rico. On 11 and 13 June, the
guided-missile cruiser fired two Standard SM-2 missiles and five
antisubmarine torpedoes off Vieques Island. She then returned to Norfolk to
prepare for her upcoming Mediterranean deployment.
Departing Norfolk on 18 August, the warship worked her way around a hurricane
while crossing the Atlantic - suffering 45 degree rolls in the process - and
reported to the 6th Fleet on the 28th. Transiting the Strait of Gibraltar on
1 September, she proceeded east and anchored at La Spezia, Italy, three days
later. Departing Italy on 12 September, the warship visited Monaco for a week
before putting back to sea on the 19th. Bainbridge then participated in the
month-long NATO exercise “Display Determination,” which took her from the
western Mediterranean to the coast of Turkey. During this exercise the
warship provided medical assistance to the Turkish destroyer Yucetepe
(D-345). Bainbridge then spent four days at Haifa, Israel, before sailing
west to Toulon, France. While enroute, she searched for a downed Grumman A-6
“Intruder,” recovering the bodies of the aircrewmen and some debris before
putting in to port on the 27th.
This fast pace continued on 10 November when the guided-missile cruiser
returned to sea and provided antiair support to Moosbrugger (DD-980) and
McCandless (FF-1084) as those warships tracked a Soviet submarine. Detached
on the 19th, she proceeded west and anchored at Palma de Majorca, Spain, on
24 November. In December, the warship sailed to Naples - where she joined John
F. Kennedy (CV-67) for flight operations between 5 and 9 December - before
moving on to Haifa, Israel, mooring there on the 23d.
Underway for the western Mediterranean on 2 January 1987, Bainbridge operated
near Augusta Bay, Sicily, for most of that month. Although she had planned to
return home after a short stop at Tangiers, Morocco, on the 29th, the
worsening situation in the Persian Gulf - where Iran and Iraq were engaged in
tit-for-tat attacks on neutral oil tankers - sent the warship on three weeks
of contingency operations in the eastern Mediterranean. Finally, on 21
February, she sailed for home, arriving in Norfolk on 3 March.
Following a quick period of upkeep and local operations, Bainbridge embarked
33 midshipmen on 1 June for a short training cruise to northern Europe.
During this five-week interlude, she visited Zeebrugge, Belgium; Rotterdam
and Den Helder, Netherlands; and Wilhelmshaven, West Germany. Bainbridge’s
crew also conducted ship visits with the German warships FGS Hessen (D-184) and
FGS Augsburg (F-213) and the British guided-missile destroyer HMS Nottingham
After returning home in July, the warship remained busy for the rest of that
summer, conducting routine operations out of Norfolk and ending the month of
August with a missile exercises off Puerto Rico. After returning to Norfolk
on 8 September, the guided-missile cruiser began preparations for a
restricted availability at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va.
After this shipyard period, conducted between 1 October and 22 December,
Bainbridge went through refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, returning
to Norfolk on 5 February.
Beginning with a combat readiness exercise on 8 February, Bainbridge spent
the next six months undergoing inspections and conducting local operations
out of Norfolk. These included a series of ship and helicopter handling
qualifications, weapons calibration drills, and an operational reactor
safeguards evaluation. Following a fleet exercise off Puerto Rico in June -
in which she provided antiair protection for the John F. Kennedy battle group
- she began preparations for another Mediterranean deployment in July.
In company with that battle group, and a marine amphibious readiness group,
Bainbridge departed Norfolk on 2 August. After crossing the Atlantic, she
transited the Strait of Gibralter on the 14th before helping to relieve the
Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) battle group two days later. The guided-missile
cruiser operated with 6th Fleet for the next six months. The start of this cruise
was highlighted by Exercise “Seawind,” a complex series of operations
conducted between 7 and 10 September with Egyptian air and naval forces in
the Levantine basin. She also took part in Exercise “Display Determination
88,” held in September and October. This joint operation, alongside Italian
and Turkish forces, served to demonstrate NATO’s resolve to defend the
Mediterranean sea lanes. Then, starting on 29 November, she escorted John F.
Kennedy during the four-day Exercise “African Eagle,” an amphibious landing
evolution with the Royal Moroccan Navy off Al Hoceima. In between these
exercises, the warship visited Leghorn, Naples and La Spezia, Italy;
Alexandria, Egypt; and Antalya, Turkey. The battle group ended the year at
On 1 January 1989, the warships put to sea and steamed south and east,
enroute to Haifa, Israel. Three days later, while north of the Gulf of Sidra,
two Libyan MiG-23 “Flogger” jet fighters closed the battle group. After
repeated maneuvers failed to shake off the aircraft, two F-14 “Tomcats” from
Fighter Squadron (VF) 32 shot down both Libyan aircraft. Although tensions
remained high following the shootdown, the battle group arrived at Haifa on 6
January without further incident. After being relieved by the Theodore
Roosevelt (CVN-71) battle group on 15 January, the warships transited the
Strait of Gibralter on the 22d and headed home. After a 29 January
“war-at-sea” exercise with P-3 “Orion” patrol aircraft operating out of
Bermuda, she moored at Norfolk on 1 February.
After the usual four-week post-deployment standdown, Bainbridge took up a
normal routine along the east coast and in the West Indies in early March.
Although she spent the majority of her time concentrating on surface warfare
training, the warship also went through the familiar reactor safeguard and
other systems inspections and remained so occupied through the spring and
ended May moored at Norfolk.
On 6 June, Bainbridge got underway for a short cruise to northern Europe.
Arriving at Oslo, Norway, on the 18th, she held a ship tour for the staff of
the United States embassy and hosted a hundred guests at a reception held on
her forecastle. Underway for the Netherlands on 22 June, the guided-missile
cruiser moored at the port of Den Helder the next day. Shortly after setting
out for Wilhelmshaven, Germany on the 27th, Bainbridge slightly damaged her
aft sonar dome and returned to the Dutch anchorage. After diving teams
completed hull repairs, the guided-missile cruiser departed the Netherlands
for home, arriving at Norfolk on 25 July after an uneventful Atlantic
The warship remained in Norfolk for the next two months, receiving minor
repairs alongside Puget Sound (AD-38) and conducting several routine
inspections. On 27 September, following the devastation of Hurricane “Hugo,”
Bainbridge got underway for the Virgin Islands. After arriving there on 1
October, she provided disaster relief assistance until turning for home on
the 8th. Once again in Norfolk on the 13th, the crew began three weeks of
preparations for a restricted availability. The warship entered the Norfolk
Naval Shipyard on 2 November.
On 13 February 1990, Bainbridge moved out of drydock and tied up to Berth 38.
Departing the shipyard on 2 April, the guided-missile cruiser moved back to
Norfolk. She then spent the next month conducting drills in damage control,
engineering, and maneuvering. Underway on 17 May, the guided-missile cruiser
steamed to Guantanamo Bay for two weeks of limited team training. After
returning to Norfolk on 8 June, the warship embarked a platoon from Seal Team
8 and three “Zodiac” rubber boats for a special operations exercise in the
Virginia capes operating area. After dropping the Seal team off near the
Little Creek Amphibious Base, Bainbridge got underway for two port visits in
New England and Canada. The guided-missile cruiser stopped at Newport between
25 and 28 June and visited Halifax, Nova Scotia, between 2 and 5 July.
On 5 September, Bainbridge departed Norfolk for another visit to northern
Europe. After a short stop at Portsmouth, United Kingdom, she steamed to
Wilhelmshaven, Germany, on the 18th for Operation “Steel Box.” Assuming
escort duties over USNS Gopher State (T-ACS-4) and USNS Flickertail State
(T-ACS-5) - which were carrying nerve gas canisters to be destroyed at an
incinerator in the Pacific - she began the long journey south on 22
September. After sailing past North Africa, the ships crossed the equator on
2 October, continued down along the coast of South America and rounded Cape
Horn on the 13th. After rendezvousing with Truxtun (CGN-35) on 22 October,
Bainbridge turned over her charges and steamed northeast to Panama. Passing
through the canal on the 26th, she traversed the Caribbean, headed north, and
arrived back at Norfolk on 31 October.
After a holiday standdown period, Bainbridge’s crew began preparations for
counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean. Underway on 10 January 1991,
she steamed to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, and commenced two weeks of
anti-drug-smuggling patrols. By the time she returned to Norfolk on 14
February, Bainbridge had been credited with the detection - and subsequent
seizure - of two drug cartel aircraft operating out of Colombia. She made
another counter-drug cruise to the Caribbean between 6 April and 30 May.
During that mission, the guided-missile cruiser also spent some time at the
Underwater Tracking Range off St. Croix, where she fired two Standard
missiles and a Mark 46 exercise torpedo.
Bainbridge spent the next seven weeks conducting normal operations out of
Norfolk. This included the always important nuclear propulsion plant training
and inspections. Departing Norfolk on 23 July, the guided-missile cruiser
steamed south to Puerto Rico for battle group exercises with Dwight D.
Eisenhower. Back at Norfolk on 9 August, the warship and crew began
preparations for her upcoming Arabian Gulf deployment.
Underway from Norfolk on 26 September, Bainbridge rejoined the Dwight D.
Eisenhower battle group and commenced an uneventful Atlantic crossing. After
passing through the Strait of Gibraltar on 7 October, and then the Suez Canal
on the 13th, the battle group began operations in the Red Sea in support of
United Nation’s sanctions against Iraq that same day. While in the Red Sea,
the carrier’s aircraft patrolled the Iraqi “no fly zones,” preventing Iraqi
aircraft from flying, and the rest of the battle group helped monitor
merchant shipping to keep the Iraqi’s from reconstituting their conventional
and special weapons programs. The battle group then moved southeast 10 days
later, shifting around the Arabian Peninsula and entering the Persian Gulf on
30 October to conduct similar missions. Bainbridge’s main duty during this
period was to provide antiair warfare coverage for the battle group.
As part of the overall American efforts to build regional defense agreements,
naval forces conducted many small training exercises with both the
multinational forces in the region and the Gulf states of Kuwait, Bahrain,
Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. In mid-December, Bainbridge participated in Gulf
Exercise “Seven,” a tactical operation with Robert E. Peary (FF-1073) and one
British and one French warship.
After a holiday standdown, the guided-missile cruiser departed Dubai on 2
January 1992 and joined Exercise “Red Reef III,” a large open ocean and
amphibious exercise held with four warships of the Royal Saudi Navy. During
almost two weeks of live surface-to-surface and air-to-surface missile
firings, Bainbridge fired two Standard missiles, one of which scored a direct
hit on a target barge on the 10th.
Following a short repair period alongside Yosemite (AD-19), the warship
departed the Persian Gulf on 4 February and independently sailed south to
Kenya. Arriving at Mombasa on the 12th, the warship hosted the President of
Kenya, Daniel Toritorich Arap Moi, for a visit on the 15th. Departing
Mombassa the next day, Bainbridge steamed north to the Red Sea and rejoined
the Dwight D. Eisenhower battle group on 21 February.
Transiting the Suez Canal on 27 February, the battle group sailed west and
stopped at Toulon, France, for a port visit between 1 and 5 March. Departing
the next day, the warships passed through the Strait of Gibraltar on the 7th
before turning north for the Norwegian Sea. Between 10 and 21 March, the
battle group participated in NATO Exercise “Team Work 92," an evolution
that took Bainbridge across the Arctic circle and into “the realm of the blue
nose.” The guided-missile cruiser turned for home on the 21st and, after an
uneventful crossing, moored at Norfolk on 2 April.
Following her usual four-week post-deployment leave and upkeep period, the
warship spent the rest of the spring preparing for another shipyard
availability. Entering Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 14 July, the warship
remained at the pier until 14 December. After three days of sea trials, the
warship returned to her familiar berth for the holidays.
By January 1993, economic disruption and civil unrest in Haiti had produced a
growing exodus of refugees who put to sea in rafts and small boats in
desperate attempts to reach Florida. In early February, Bainbridge received
orders to support the Coast Guard’s efforts to interdict them near Haitian
coast. Departing Norfolk on 8 February, the warship steamed to Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba, embarked a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment (LEDET), and
joined Operation “Sea Signal” on 22 February. Relieved on 10 March, the
warship sailed north, mooring at Norfolk on the 12th.
Bainbridge spent the next four months mainly conducting local training
operations out of Norfolk. These evolutions were broken once in May, when she
participated in another counter-narcotic patrol in the Caribbean, and again
in June when she visited Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. In late August, the
guided-missile cruiser put to sea for another NATO operation - Exercise
“Solid Stance 93" - in the North Atlantic. During these evolutions the
warship visited Oslo, Norway; Wilhelmshaven, Germany; and Portsmouth and
Plymouth, England. She returned to Norfolk on 15 October.
She began a similar operation early the following year. Between 19 January
and 17 February 1994, Bainbridge participated in “Computex 2-94" off
Puerto Rico. After returning to Norfolk in late February, the warship
received orders to join Standing Naval Forces, Atlantic (StaNavForLant). Underway
on 1 April, she sailed to Palma de Mallorca, Spain, to relieve Dale (CG-19)
as StaNavForLant flagship. Departing Palma on the 16th, she steamed to the
Adriatic Sea to support Operation “Sharp Guard” and helped enforce United
Nations sanctions against the warring factions in the former Republic of
Yugoslavia. For the next five months, Bainbridge conducted patrols and served
as the antiair warfare coordinator, in the Adriatic Sea. During this period,
the warship also visited Corfu, Greece; Naples and Livorno, Italy; and Souda
Bay, Crete. On 14 September, she pulled into Toulon, France - where she was
relieved as StaNavForLant flagship two days later - before heading for home
on the 17th. She arrived at Norfolk on 30 September and spent the remainder of
the year conducting post-deployment maintenance.
Bainbridge’s final deployment began on 9 February when she headed into the
North Atlantic for NATO exercise “Strong Resolve 95.” The operation, held in
the rough waters off Norway, provided extensive shiphandling and flight
operations training. When the exercise ended on 11 March, the crew received a
well deserved reprise during short port visits to Bremerhaven, Germany, and
Den Helder, Netherlands. The guided-missile cruiser turned for home for the
last time on the 19th and moored at Norfolk on 30 March.
The crew began the long, arduous task of deactivation, nuclear defueling and
final decommissioning in early May. Inactivated at Norfolk on 6 October 1995,
Bainbridge spent the winter having her nuclear reactors removed. Bainbridge
was decommissioned at Norfolk on 13 September 1996, and her name was struck
from the Navy list that same day. Later towed to Bremerton, Wash., she was
recycled at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard by mid-November 1999.
Bainbridge (DLGN-25) earned eight battle stars for Vietnam service.