Thomas Truxtun was born on 17
February 1755 near Hempstead, Long Island, New York. When his father died in
1765, young Truxtun came under the guardianship of John Troup of Jamaica,
Long Island. Two years later, at the age of 12, he embarked upon a seafaring
career, sailing with Captains Joseph Holmes and James Chambers in the London
trade. At 16, he was pressed into service in the Royal Navy on board HMS
Prudent. Truxtun's British commanding officer observed the lad's natural
abilities and offered him aid in securing a midshipman's warrant. However,
Truxtum declined, obtained his release through the good offices of
influential friends, and returned to mercantile service. By the age of 20, he
had risen to command of Andrew Caldwell in which he brought large quantities
of gunpowder into Philadelphia in 1775. Later that year, his ship was seized
by HMS Argo off St. Kitts in the West Indies, an act that caused some natural
resentment in the young sea captain.
By the time Truxtun made his way back to Philadelphia, the colonies had
reached the point of open rupture with the mother country. He signed on as a
lieutenant in Congress, the first privateer to be fitted out for service
against Great Britain. During the remainder of 1776, Truxtun participated in
the capture of several prizes off the coast of Cuba. In 1777, he fitted out
Continental Navy sloop Independence and sailed her to the Azores where he
took three prizes. Upon his return, Truxtun fitted out Mars and made a highly
successful cruise in the English Channel. Successively, he commanded
Independence once more and then, in turn, Commerce and St. James.
In addition to privateering, Truxtun's ships also carried cargoes of military
stores to the colonies. On one voyage in St. James, he landed a valuable
cargo of gunpowder and military stores at Philadelphia. At a dinner to
celebrate the feat, George Washington declared that Truxton's services had
been worth those of a regiment. On another occasion, St. James - still under
his command - carried Thomas Barclay, the American consul, to France.
Following the Revolution, Truxtun resumed his career in mercantile service
and commanded Canton, the first Philadelphia ship to enter the China trade.
When the United States Navy was organized, he was selected as one of its
first six captains on 4 June 1798. He was assigned command of one of the new
frigates then under construction. His ship, Constellation, was completed late
in June; and he put to sea immediately to prosecute the undeclared naval war
with revolutionary France.
The frigate, accompanied by a squadron of smaller ships, operated in the West
Indies between St. Christopher and Puerto Rico. On 9 February 1799, Truxtun
scored the first of his two most famous victories. After an hour's fight,
Constellation battered Insurgente into submission, killing 29 and wounding 44
of the French frigate's crew. Truxtun brought Insurgente into St. Christopher
where she was refitted and commissioned in the United States Navy.
Almost a year later, on 1 February 1800, he sighted the 50-gun French frigate
La Vengeance, chased her all day, and finally overhauled her that evening.
For the next five hours, Truxtun used superior American gunnery and the
prevailing heavy seas to his advantage and, by 0100, completely overcame La
Vengeance's initial broadside superiority. During the action, the French
warship had struck her colors several times, but darkness had prevented
Truxtun from seeing the signal. Accordingly, the engagement continued until
every gun on board the Frenchman went silent. The French frigate then sheered
off to flee, and Constellation's battle-damaged rigging made it impossible
for the American frigate to pursue her escaping victim. After refitting
Constellation at Jamaica, Truxtun returned with her to Norfolk late in March.
After commanding frigate President in the West Indies from mid-1800 to May
1801, Truxtun was appointed to command the squadron then fitting out for the
Tripolitan expedition. Through a misunderstanding engendered by his request
to have a captain appointed to command his flagship Chesapeake, Truxtun's
unintended resignation from the Navy was accepted in Washington.
Commodore Truxtun retired first to Perth Amboy, N.J., and thence to
Philadelphia, where he was active in local politics for the rest of his life.
In 1809, he led the agitation in Philadelphia against the Embargo. The
following year, he was unsuccessful in his bid for a seat in Congress under
the Federalist banner. From 1816 to 1819, Truxtun served as the sheriff of
Philadelphia. Commodore Truxtun died at Philadelphia on 5 May 1822 and was
interred there at Christ Church.
The fifth Truxtun (DLGN-35)
was laid down on 17 June 1963 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Corp.;
launched on 19 December 1964; co-sponsored by Mrs. Kirby H. Tappan and Mrs.
Scott Umstead; and commissioned on 27 May 1967, Capt. David D. Work in
Truxtun cleared Camden on 3 June and headed for the west coast. En route, she
visited Yorktown and Norfolk, Va.; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil; and Mar del Plata, Argentina. The guided missile frigate rounded Cape
Horn on 10 July and entered the Pacific Ocean. After port calls at
Valparaiso, Chile, and Mazatlan, Mexico, Truxtun reached Long Beach, her home
port, on 29 July. After conducting trials there in late summer and early
fall, she commenced shakedown training in November. She interrupted shakedown
twice: on 10 and 11 November for Operation "Bell Anchor" and again from
27 November to 3 December for Exercise "Blue Lotus."
The nuclear-powered warship completed her shakedown training and, on 2
January 1968, got underway for the western Pacific. She made an overnight
stop at Pearl Harbor on the 7th and 8th and arrived in Sasebo, Japan, on the
19th. Five days later, Truxtun and Enterprise (CVAN-65) departed Sasebo and
headed for the Sea of Japan in response to North Korea's seizure of American
environmental research ship Pueblo (AGEB-2). She operated in the Sea of Japan
until 16 February when she headed south for her first line period off the
coast of Vietnam. After a brief overnight stop in Subic Bay on the 19th and
20th, the guided missile frigate set a course for "Yankee Station"
in the Gulf of Tonkin. Truxtun spent the majority of the remainder of her
deployment in the Far East operating off the coast of Vietnam. While in the
combat zone, she conducted search and rescue (SAR) missions, stood guard
against North Vietnamese air attacks as a positive identification radar zone
(PIRAZ) picket ship, and served as plane-guard ship for carriers Enterprise,
Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31), and Ticonderoga (CVS-14). Truxtun punctuated her
line periods with calls at Singapore, Hong Kong, Danang, and Subic Bay. She
departed Subic Bay on 6 July, steamed east toward the United States, and
reentered Long Beach on the 19th.
For the next four months, the warship operated along the west coast. She
acted as plane guard for Ranger (CVA-61), Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), Enterprise,
and Yorktown (CVS-10) while those carriers conducted landing qualifications
for pilots. In mid-November, Truxtun became an antisubmarine warfare school
ship and trained student sailors in the techniques of hunting submarines.
Early in December, the guided missile frigate returned to Long Beach to
prepare for overhaul. In January 1969, she shifted to Bremerton, Wash., where
she entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for refurbishing which lasted
until April. The ship then resumed operations along the west coast which
continued until 23 September when she got underway for her second deployment
with the 7th Fleet.
After a stop at Pearl Harbor, the guided missile frigate arrived at Subic Bay
on 20 October. Again, she spent much of her deployment cruising along the
coast of embattled Vietnam, taking time periodically to make port calls at
Hong Kong, Singapore, and Subic Bay. However, in addition to acting as plane
guard for carriers and standing duty as PIRAZ and SAR ship, she also served
as a peacetime aerial reconnaissance protective (PAPRO) picket in the Sea of
Japan and participated in the Taiwan Strait patrol. Just before departing the
Far East, she conducted exercises in the vicinity of Okinawa and then made
her final port visit at Sasebo, Japan, from 6 to 11 March 1970.
Truxtun returned to Long Beach on 23 March and launched into a round of
inspections and training cruises. In June, the warship embarked 40 NROTC
midshipmen for their summer training cruise. During the first part of the
cruise, she fired missiles on the Pacific missile range and visited San
Francisco and Seattle. On 13 July, she departed Seattle for Pearl Harbor to
conduct the second part of the training cruise. On 29 July, Truxtun returned
to Long Beach from Hawaii, disembarked the midshipmen, and resumed normal
operations. For the remainder of the summer, she conducted exercises and
underwent various inspections. From 16 to 25 October, she moored alongside
Gompers (AD—37) for a tender availability. Following one more period of
exercises at sea late in October, she entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard
in preparation for a three-month restricted availability which began on 2
Truxtun's yard work was completed in mid-January, and the frigate then
conducted type training and ASW exercises before preparing to deploy to the
western Pacific once more. She returned to Long Beach on 22 January 1971 and
remained there until 2 February when she got underway for Pearl Harbor. After
a two-day layover in Hawaii, she resumed her voyage to the Far East on 9
February and reached Subic Bay on the 20th. During that deployment, Truxtun
returned to her familiar routine along the coast of Vietnam, standing PIRAZ
picket duty and conducting exercises and tests. She visited Yokosuka, Japan,
several times and made single stops at Hong Kong and Sattahip, Thailand. In
late April, she also patrolled the Taiwan Strait for two days.
On 6 July, she completed her final line period of the deployment and left the
Gulf of Tonkin. After a visit to Subic Bay, she set a course, on the 10th,
for Fre-mantle, Australia, where she spent a week at the end of July.
Following port calls at Pago Pago, Samoa, and Pearl Harbor, she moored at
Long Beach on 17 August and began post-deployment standdown. Through the end
of September, Truxtun received visitors on board and conducted drills to
improve and to test her missile and gunnery marksmanship. During the first
week in October, a Board of Inspection and Survey inspected Truxtun; and, on
the 8th, she began a restricted availability during which she was modified to
utilize the Light Airborne Multi-purpose System (LAMPS). From 18 November to
9 December, she conducted post-availability dock trials and type training as
well as testing the newly installed LAMPS system. On 14 December 1971, a team
from Naval Air Systems Command inspected and certified Truxtun's LAMPS
During the first six months of 1972, Truxtun operated out of her home port in
North American coastal waters. She conducted exercises, entertained visitors,
and underwent several inspections. Following another restricted availability
in June, she spent July preparing for her fourth tour of duty with the 7th
On 13 July, she departed Long Beach with HMNZS Canterbury, bound for the
western Pacific and for her most eventful series of line periods off Vietnam.
She parted company from Canterbury on 18 July and put into Pearl Harbor the
following day. On the 23d, Truxtun resumed her voyage to the Orient and
moored at Subic Bay on 4 August. Four days later, she loaded ammunition and
got underway for her first line period in the Gulf of Tonkin. Over the next
five months, the guided missile frigate stood both SAR and PIRAZ picket duty.
During these assignments, she evaded at least three typhoons. Her busiest
week came between 8 and 15 October, when her radarmen vectored the combat air
patrol to six MiG kills, three of which occurred on the 15th alone. By the
end of her deployment, she had teamed up with the combat air patrol to down
five more, bringing her victory tally to 11 MiG's. In October, November, and
January, Truxtun briefly joined the Taiwan Strait patrol. She also made port
calls at Sasebo, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Yokosuka. On 21 January 1973,
Reeves (DLG-24) relieved her on the north SAR station, and Truxtun headed,
via the Taiwan Strait, for Japan. She stopped at Yokosuka from 26 to 30
January before continuing on, via Pearl Harbor, to Long Beach, where she
arrived on Lincoln's Birthday.
Post-deployment standdown took up the ensuing month. On 19 March, she moored
alongside Piedmont (AD-15) and commenced a tender availability which lasted
until late April. Truxtun then resumed operations in and out of Long Beach.
In May, she conducted type training off the California coast and naval
gunfire support qualifications at San Clemente Island. On 7 June, the warship
began embarking Naval Academy and NROTC midshipmen for their summer cruise.
For the next two months, she trained the midshipmen, carrying them to ports
along the west coast as well as to Hawaii.
She debarked the midshipmen on 27 July and began preparations for her fifth
deployment to the Far East. On 17 August, Truxtun got underway from Long
Beach, bound for the western Pacific. En route, she stopped at Pearl Harbor
and reached Subic Bay on 5 September. She punctuated relatively uneventful
tours of duty on PIRAZ station in the Gulf of Tonkin with port visits to
Sattahip, Singapore, Manila, and Yokosuka. Truxtun also conducted missile
exercises and ASW drills. On 9 December, she stood out of Subic Bay, sifted
through the San Bernardino Strait, and headed for home. On Christmas Eve
1973, the guided missile frigate moored at Long Beach and began preparations
for her first complex overhaul.
On 25 January 1974, Truxtun cleared Long Beach for Bremerton, Wash. Four days
later, she entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. There, the warship began a
major 18-month overhaul during which her nuclear reactors were
"refueled." On 30 June 1975, near the end of that repair period,
Truxtun was reclassifled a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser and was
redesig-nated CGN-35. On 31 July, she completed the overhaul and all
attendant tests and trials and sailed for San Diego. She arrived in her new
home port on 4 August and resumed normal operations in the southern
California area. That schedule occupied her for the following 12 months.
On 30 July 1976, the guided missile cruiser headed out of San Diego, bound
for the western Pacific. After two weeks of training in the Hawaiian Islands,
she continued her voyage west on 16 August; and, after a somewhat circuitous
cruise that took her to Wellington in New Zealand and Melbourne in Australia,
Truxtun arrived in Subic Bay on 25 September. She conducted operations in the
Philippines for about a month and then departed Subic Bay on 28 October,
bound for the Indian Ocean and participation in Operation "Midlink
76." She arrived in Karachi, Pakistan, on 9 November for three days of
briefings in preparation for the exercise. From 13 to 21 November, the
warship joined in the multinational exercise in the waters off the coast of
Pakistan. She returned to Karachi at the conclusion of "Midlink" on
the 21st and remained there until the 24th at which time she headed back to
Subic Bay. Local operations in the Philippines occupied the remainder of the
year. From 4 to 13 January 1977, Truxtun made a round-trip voyage to Hong
Kong and back. She completed READEX 1-77 between 15 and 21 January and then
again headed for the Indian Ocean in company with Enterprise (CVN-65) and
Long Beach (CGN-9). En route, she and her travelling companions conducted
exercise "Merlion III" with units of the Singapore Armed Forces on
the 25th. Truxtun participated in Operation "Houdini" in
mid-February and visited Port Victoria in the Seychelle Islands. She returned
to Subic Bay on 13 March and, four days later, got underway for the United
After an 11-day non-stop voyage, she reentered San Diego on 28 March. The
guided missile cruiser conducted a four-week restricted availability and then
resumed operations along the California coast. For six months, the warship
conducted routine independent snip's exercises, gunnery drills, and
antisubmarine warfare training. She spent the month of November at the Puget
Sound Naval Shipyard undergoing repairs to her nuclear power plant and
returned to San Diego on 4 December. For the remaining three weeks of 1977,
Truxtun operated out of her home port.
The first three months of 1978 were spent in operations off the west coast in
preparation for Truxtun's forthcoming deployment to the western Pacific. The
ship departed San Diego on 4 April and spent the next six months in
operations with the 7th Fleet which took her as far west as the Arabian Sea
and as far south as Perth, Australia. Truxtun returned to San Diego on 27
October. Local operations out of San Diego, following post-deployment
standdown, concluded the year.
From September 1982 to July 1984 Truxtun underwent her final complex overhaul
at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard which included upgrading the combat system
suite to its final configuration.
On 15 January 1986 Truxtun left on her tenth WESTPAC, this time serving as
the Anti-Air Warfare Commander for Battle Group FOXTROT. In April, because of
increased tension in Libya and the Gulf of Sidra, Truxtun was diverted to the
Mediterranean along with Enterprise and Arkansas. After almost two months of
operations in the Mediterranean, the three Nuclear Powered ships were
directed home by way of Gibraltar, the Cape of Good Hope, Western Australia,
the Philippines and Hawaii. By the end of the seven month deployment the all
nuclear group had steamed over 65,000 miles and operated in all four numbered
On 26 October 1987 Truxtun deployed with Battle Group FOXTROT on her first
Northern Pacific deployment and participated in one of the largest Surface
Action Group exercises ever massed. Truxtun again deployed with Battle Group
FOXTROT on 5 January 1988 for her 11th Western Pacific-Middle East
deployment. Truxtun also participated in Operation Praying Mantis. This
cruise earned Truxtun the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and her second
Meritorious Unit Commendation. Upon return from deployment, Truxtun spent 9
months in Puget Sound Naval Shipyard undergoing a Drydocking Selective
Restricted Availability. On 1 October 1989 Truxtun's homeport was shifted to
On 1 February 1990 Truxtun deployed with the Carl Vinson in Battle Group
Charlie. The Battle Group participated in TEAM SPIRIT 1990 with U.S. Marines
and forces from the Republic of Korea. Later during the same cruise while in
the Gulf of Oman, Truxtun was tasked with escorting re-flagged Kuwaiti oil
tankers in Operation Earnest Will.
Truxtun departed Bremerton for her 13th WESTPAC and a Middle East deployment
on 16 August 1991. Truxtun performed duties as the Persian Gulf Anti-Air
Warfare Commander, Force Track Coordinator, Electronic Warfare Commander and
alternate Anti-Surface Warfare Commander during Operation Desert Storm.
Truxtun also served as the Commander, United States Mine Counter-Measure
Group One flagship during minesweeping operations off the coastal waters of
Kuwait. During her time in the Gulf, she spent most of her time guarding the
'sweeps,' wooden mine sweepers deployed to search for water-borne mines in
After a short upkeep period in Bremerton, Truxtun began a two month
Counter-Narcotic mini-deployment off the coasts of Mexico and Central America
which ended in June 1992. The ship went 42 days completely unsupported by any
other ship. It found no vessels moving narcotics.
From 12 February 1993 to 1 August 1993 Truxtun was underway for her 14th and
final WESTPAC. On 19 February she began a high speed independent transit from
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to Melbourne, Australia covering 7,180 miles in 11 days
at an average speed of 25 knots. On 21 March Truxtun rendezvoused with the
Nimitz Battle Group in the Indian Ocean and transited the Strait of Hormuz.
While operating in the Gulf Truxtun conducted several multi-national force
exercises including operations with the Kuwaiti Air Force. On 22 April
Truxtun was detached from Battle Group operations and proceeded to the Red
Sea to enforce United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iraq by
boarding vessels bound for the Jordanian port of Aqaba. Utilizing two teams,
Truxtun queried 126 merchant vessels, boarded 73 and diverted seven ships.
In 1994 Truxtun was the platform of choice for a variety of missions which
included participation as opposition forces for fleet exercises, providing
Naval Gunfire Support spotter services and being Deck Landing Qualification
platform for LAMPS helicopters. Truxtun also served as the escort ship for
Reclaimer who towed a defueled nuclear submarine. She participated in two
Chief of Naval Operations projects off the coast of San Francisco and
conducted shipboard training at every opportunity. From 23 May to 17 June
Truxtun served as Coalition Forces flagship for CTF 331 during the highly
successful RIMPAC 94 multi-national exercise.
On 18 August 1994 Truxtun departed Bremerton on her final operational
commitment. Originally assigned to escort the tow ship's for two defueled
nuclear submarines from Rodman, Panama to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, the
orders were changed on short notice and Truxtun chopped (change of
operational control) to Commander, Joint Task Force Four to conduct Counter-Narcotic
operations for a second tour in the War on Drugs. On 3 September Truxtun
transited the Panama Canal for the first time in her history and began
patrolling the Caribbean Sea.
On 14 October 1994 and purely by a twist of historical coincidence, Truxtun
sailed the same waters in the southern Caribbean Sea where the USS
Constellation, under the command of Commodore Truxtun, had dueled with La
Vengeance almost 200 years earlier.
Truxton decommissioned on 11 September 1995, was struck from the Navy list
that same day and completed recycling (scrapping) at Puget Sound Naval
Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash., on 16 April 1999.
Truxtun was awarded seven battle stars and the Navy Unit Commendation for
service in the Vietnam conflict.