Guided Missile Destroyer

DDG 4  -  USS Lawrence



DDG-4 USS Lawrence patch crest insignia

DDG-4 USS Lawrence - Charles F. Adams class guided missile destroyer

Type, Class:


Guided Missile Destroyer; Charles F. Adams - class

planned as DD 954; built as DDG 4



New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, New Jersey, USA



Awarded: March 28, 1957

Laid down: October 27, 1958

Launched: February 27, 1960

Commissioned: January 6, 1962

Decommissioned: March 30, 1990


Fate: sold for scrap - February 10, 1999; scrapping completed in 2004






named after and in honor of Captain James Lawrence (1781 - 1813);

> see history, below;

Ship’s Motto:



Technical Data:

(Measures, Propulsion,

Armament, Aviation, etc.)


see: INFO > Charles F. Adams - class Guided Missile Destroyer


ship images


DDG-4 USS Lawrence


DDG-4 USS Lawrence


DDG-4 USS Lawrence


DDG-4 USS Lawrence - Charles F. Adams class guided missile destroyer


DDG-4 USS Lawrence - Adams class guided missile destroyer




USS Lawrence fires a RGM-84A Harpoon anti-ship-missile from her Mk-11 launcher

DDG-4 USS Lawrence fires a RGM-84 Harpoon anti ship missile from Mk-11 missile launcher


DDG-4 USS Lawrence fires a RGM-84 Harpoon anti ship missile


USS Lawrence DDG-4 fires a RGM-84 Harpoon missile


DDG-4 USS Lawrence fires a RGM-84 Harpoon missile


DDG-4 USS Lawrence fires a RGM-84 Harpoon



James Lawrence


James Lawrence, US Navy   James Lawrence, US Navy



Namesake & History:

Captain James Lawrence (October 1, 1781 – June 4, 1813):


James Lawrence (October 1, 1781 – June 4, 1813) was an American naval hero. During the War of 1812, he commanded the USS Chesapeake in a single-ship action against the HMS Shannon (commanded by Philip Broke). He is probably best known today for his dying command "Don't give up the ship!", which is still a popular naval battle cry.
Lawrence was born in Burlington, New Jersey, the son of John and Martha (Tallman) Lawrence. His mother died when he was an infant and his Loyalist father fled to Canada during the American Revolution, leaving his half-sister to care for him. Though he studied law, he entered the United States Navy as a midshipman in 1798.
During the Quasi-War with France, he served in the ship USS Ganges and frigate USS Adams in the Caribbean. He was commissioned a lieutenant on April 6, 1802 and served aboard USS Enterprise in the Mediterranean, taking part in a successful attack on enemy craft on 2 June 1803.
In February 1804, he was second in command during the expedition to destroy the captured frigate USS Philadelphia. Later in the conflict he commanded Enterprise and a gunboat in battles with the Tripolitans. He was also First Lieutenant of the frigate Adams and, in 1805, commanded the small Gunboat Number 6 during a voyage across the Atlantic to Italy.
Subsequently, Lieutenant Lawrence commanded the warships USS Vixen, USS Wasp and USS Argus. In 1810, he also took part in trials of an experimental spar torpedo. Promoted to the rank of Master Commandant in November 1810, he took command of the sloop of war USS Hornet a year later and sailed her to Europe on a diplomatic mission. From the beginning of the War of 1812, Lawrence and Hornet cruised actively, capturing the privateer Dolphin in July 1812. Later in the year Hornet blockaded the British sloop HMS Bonne Citoyenne at Bahia, Brazil, and on 24 February 1813 captured HMS Peacock.
Upon his return to the United States in March, Lawrence learned of his promotion to Captain. Two months later he took command of the frigate USS Chesapeake, then preparing for sea at Boston, Massachusetts. She left port on 1 June 1813 and immediately engaged the blockading Royal Navy frigate HMS Shannon in a fierce battle. Although slightly smaller, accurate gunfire from the British ship disabled Chesapeake within a first few minutes. Captain Lawrence, mortally wounded by small arms fire, ordered "Don't give up the ship" as he was carried below. However, his crew was overwhelmed by a British boarding party shortly afterwards. James Lawrence died of his wounds on 4 June 1813, while Chesapeake was being taken to Halifax, Nova Scotia, by her captors.
He was buried with military honors in Halifax, Nova Scotia but reinterred at Trinity Church in New York City. He left behind a wife and daughter.

… from the US Naval Historical Center:
HMS Shannon captures USS Chesapeake, June 1, 1813:
On 9 April 1813 the U.S. Frigate Chesapeake returned to Boston after a cruise against British commercial shipping. Over the next several weeks she was refitted and received a new Commanding Officer, the recently promoted Captain James Lawrence. Many of her officers were replaced and a large percentage of her crew was newly enlisted. Though the ship was a good one, with a well-seasoned Captain, time would be necessary to work her men into a capable and disciplined combat team.
However, the time was not available. Blockading off Boston was HMS Shannon, commanded for the past seven years by Captain Philip Broke, whose attention to gunnery practice and other elements of combat readiness was extraordinary. Shannon and Chesapeake were of virtually identical strength, though the American ship's crew was rather larger, and a duel between the two was attractive to both captains. Broke even issued a formal challenge, though it did not reach Lawrence, whose previous experience with British warships had convinced him that they were not likely to be formidable opponents.
Chesapeake left Boston Harbor in the early afternoon of 1 June 1813. The two ships sailed several miles offshore, where Shannon slowed to await her opponent, who approached flying a special flag proclaiming "Free Trade and Sailors' Rights" in recognition of America's prewar grievances against British policies. Though Lawrence had a brief opportunity to rake, he did not do so, but closed to place his port broadside against Shannon's starboard battery. Somewhat before 6 PM the ships opened fire, both hitting, but the British guns did more damage and produced crippling casualties on Chesapeake's quarterdeck. Captain Lawrence was mortally wounded by small arms fire and had to be taken below, giving his final order "Don't give up the ship!"
The American ship was soon out of control. The two frigates came together. Captain Broke led his boarding party onto Chesapeake's quarterdeck, where they met fierce but disorganized resistance. Assisted by cannon and small arms fire from on board Shannon, they soon gained control above decks, though Captain Broke was badly wounded in the process. Some fifteen minutes after the battle began, Chesapeake was in British hands.
Casulaties were heavy: more than sixty killed on Chesapeake; about half that many on Shannon. The latter's cannon had made more than twice as many hits, and her boarding party demonstrated decisive superiority in hand-to-hand fighting. The action, which greatly boosted British morale, provided another of the War of 1812's many convincing examples of the vital importance of superior training and discipline in combat on sea and land.


USS Lawrence (DDG 4):


Lawrence (DDG-4), a guided missile destroyer was laid down 27 October 1958 by New York Shipbuilding Corp.. Camden, N.J.; launched 27 February 1960: sponsored by Mrs. Fernie C. Hubbard, great-great-granddaughter of Capt. James Lawrence: and commissioned 6 January 1962, Comdr. Thomas W. Walsh in command. Originally projected as DD-954, she was redesignated DDG prior to construction.


Shortly after a Great Lakes shakedown cruise, Lawrence departed Norfolk 22 October 1962 to take up station during the Cuban Missile Quarantine. Surprised at the firm stand taken by the United States, Russia agreed to dismantle her of offensive weapons, thereby averting an atomic crisis. While on her patrol in the Caribbean, the guided missile destroyer investigated-four foreign merchant tankers to verify their cargo. Following additional exercises with the nuclear carrier Enterprise, Lawrence returned to Norfolk 6 December.


Sailing 6 February 1963, she steamed to the Mediterranean on her first 6th Fleet deployment. After 4 months of operations in Europe she returned to Norfolk 1 July, and for the rest of the year engaged in training exercises along the Atlantic coast. During 1964, Lawrence made another Mediterranean cruise ( April-August ), performing support and antisubmarine operations and joining in exercises with British and French navies. She returned to Norfolk and operated along the coast until 20 November when she entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for regular overhaul.


Lawrence completed overhaul 27 April 1965 and commenced refresher training out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On 30 July she returned to Norfolk to make preparations for a forthcoming 6th Fleet deployment. The guided missile destroyer departed Norfolk 24 August 1965, visited numerous Mediterranean ports, and participated in vital training and readiness exercises with the 6th Fleet before returning to her home port 17 December 1966.


Through the first half of 1966 Lawrence alternated time in port in Norfolk with diverse exercises in the Caribbean and off the Atlantic coast. On 7 June she embarked midshipmen from Annapolis, Md., for their annual summer cruise. For the next 6 weeks these future naval officers received valuable training and at sea experience.


On 3 August Lawrence got underway for a North Atlantic cruise. After operating with ships of other NATO countries, she returned to Norfolk 5 September. On the 27th of the same month, she departed for another 6th Fleet deployment. On 22 November, Lawrence went to the aid of a sinking merchantman, New Meadow off the coast of Crete. Survivors were taken aboard a French command ship, and the American destroyer remained by the stricken vessel to lend assistance until the following afternoon. After a valuable 4 months, Lawrence returned to Norfolk 1 February 1967.


From 12 June to 3 August she again conducted midshipmen training in the Atlantic and Caribbean. The remainder of the year was spent on various exercises in the Caribbean and in port in Norfolk in preparation for a Mediterranean deployment which commenced 10 January 1968. Arriving in the Mediterranean 20 January, she relieved Tattnall (DDG-19) and then steamed for Naples. Departing Naples 30 January, she conducted at-sea operations throughout the Mediterranean until relieved by MacDonough (DLG-8) on 4 May. The same day, she commenced her voyage home arriving at Norfolk 19 May. She commenced overhaul 1 July at Norfolk Navy Yard and remained in the yards until 10 January 1969. Lawrence then spent her time conducting refresher training and local operations.


The much-traveled destroyer made one Vietnam War tour in 1972-73. Lawrence provided naval gunfire support, participated in combat operations off of the coast of North Vietnam, and served as plane guard during aircraft carrier operations. Lawrence also saw frequent service closer to home in the western Atlantic, Caribbean,  and  visited the waters of Northern Europe. Other Mediterranean tours took place in 1964, 1965, 1966-67, 1968, 1969-70, 1971, 1977-78 and 1979. During the cruise of June, 1979 she briefly visited the Black Sea. Lawrence also passed through the Sixth Fleet area en route to deployments in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf areas that took place in 1974-75, 1980 and 1983.


 In 1986, Lawrence steamed around South America as part of Operation Unitas XVII and exercised with Latin American navies. During this deployment, she visited ports in Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Uruguay and Brazil.


USS Lawrence was decommissioned in late March of 1990 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register a few months later. She was sold in April of 1994, but was repossessed in October 1996 after the contractor originally scheduled to scrap Lawrence went out of business. Following over two more years in Navy custody, Lawrence's hull was again sold for scrapping in February 1999.




DDG-4 USS Lawrence patch crest insignia  DDG-4 USS Lawrence patch crest insignia  DDG-4 USS Lawrence patch crest insignia


DDG-4 USS Lawrence patch crest insignia  DDG-4 USS Lawrence plaque



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