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Hull Number: DD-985

Launch Date: 07/23/1978

Commissioned Date: 07/14/1979

Call Sign: NPGC

Voice Call Sign: STORMHAWK



Length Overall: 563’ 3"

Beam: 55’

Draft: 29'

Full Load Displacement: 8,040 tons


Two 5″/54 caliber guns
Two 20mm Close-In Weapons Systems
One ASROC Launcher
Two 12.75″ triple anti-submarine torpedo tubes


19 Officers
315 Enlisted


4 General Electric LM2500 Gas Turbines: 80,000 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 32.5 knots



Wikipedia (as of 2024)

William Barker Cushing (4 November 1842 – 17 December 1874) was an officer in the United States Navy, best known for sinking the CSS Albemarle during a daring nighttime raid on 27 October 1864, for which he received the Thanks of Congress. Cushing was the younger brother of Medal of Honor recipient Alonzo Cushing. As a result, the Cushing family is the only family in American history to have a member buried at more than one of the United States Service Academies.

Cushing was born in Delafield, Wisconsin, and was the youngest of four brothers and had two sisters. After the death of his father when he was still a young child, the family relocated to Fredonia, New York. He was expelled from the United States Naval Academy, just before graduation, for pranks and poor scholarship. At the outbreak of the American Civil War, however, he pleaded his case to United States Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles himself, was reinstated and went on to acquire a distinguished record, frequently volunteering for the most hazardous missions.[citation needed] “His heroism, good luck and coolness under fire were legendary.”[1]

Cushing saw action during the Battle of Hampton Roads and at Fort Fisher,[2] among many others. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1862, and to commander in 1872.[3] Two of his brothers died in uniform, Alonzo H. Cushing in the Battle of Gettysburg, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor,[4] and Howard B. Cushing, while fighting the Chiricahua Apaches in 1871.[5] His eldest brother, Milton, served in the Navy as a paymaster.[6]

Launch and torpedo

It was Cushing’s daring plan and its successful execution against the Confederacy’s ironclad ram CSS Albemarle that defined his military career. The powerful ironclad dominated the Roanoke River and the approaches to Plymouth through the summer of 1864. By autumn, the U.S. government decided that the situation should be studied to determine if something could be done. The U.S. Navy considered various ways to destroy Albemarle, including two plans submitted by Lieutenant Cushing. They finally approved one of his plans and authorized him to locate two small steam launches that might be fitted with spar torpedoes.

Cushing discovered two 30-foot (9.1 m) picket boats under construction in New York and acquired them for his mission.[7] On each he mounted a 12-pound Dahlgren howitzer and a 14-foot (4.3 m) spar projecting into the water from its bow. One of the boats was lost at sea during the voyage from New York to Norfolk, Virginia, but the other arrived safely with its crew of seven officers and men at the mouth of the Roanoke. There, the steam launch’s spar was fitted with a lanyard-detonated torpedo.

On the night of 27–28 October 1864, Cushing and his men began working their way upriver. A small cutter accompanied them, its crew having the task of preventing interference by the Confederate sentries stationed on a schooner anchored to the wreck of the USS Southfield. When both boats, under the cover of darkness, slipped past the schooner undetected, Cushing decided to use all 22 of his men and the element of surprise to capture Albemarle.[8]

As they approached the Confederate docks, their luck turned and even though under the cover of darkness they were spotted by a guard dog. They came under heavy sentry fire from both the shore and aboard Albemarle. As they closed with Albemarle, they quickly discovered she was defended against approach by floating log booms. The logs, however, had been in the water for many months and were covered with heavy slime. The steam launch rode up and then over them without difficulty. When her spar was fully against the ironclad’s hull, Cushing stood up in the bow and detonated the torpedo’s explosive charge.[9]

The explosion threw everyone aboard the steam launch into the water. Recovering quickly, Cushing stripped off his uniform and swam to shore, where he hid until daylight. That afternoon, having avoided detection by Confederate search parties, he stole a small skiff and quietly paddled down-river to rejoin the Union forces at the river’s mouth. Of the other men in Cushing’s boat, William Houghtman escaped, John Woodman and Richard Higgins were drowned, and 11 were captured.[9]

Cushing’s daring commando raid blew a hole in Albemarles hull at the waterline “big enough to drive a wagon in.” She sank immediately in the six feet of water below her keel, settling into the heavy bottom mud, leaving the upper armored casemate mostly dry and the ironclad’s large Stainless Banner battle ensign flying from its flag staff, where it was eventually captured as a Union prize.[9][10]

After the American Civil War, Cushing served in both the Pacific and Asiatic Squadrons; he was the executive officer of the USS Lancaster and commanded the USS Maumee. He also served as ordnance officer in the Boston Navy Yard.

Before taking command of USS Maumee, while he was on leave at home in Fredonia, Cushing met his sister’s friend, Katherine Louise Forbes. ‘Kate’, as she was known, would sit and listen for hours to William’s stories of adventure.[citation needed] Cushing asked her to marry him on 1 July 1867. Unfortunately, he received orders and was gone before a ceremony could take place. On 22 February 1870, Cushing and Forbes married. Their first daughter, Marie Louise, was born on 1 December 1871.[citation needed]

On 31 January 1872, he was promoted to the rank of commander, becoming the youngest up to that time to attain that rank in the Navy. Two weeks later he was detached to await orders. Weeks of waiting turned into months, but no word came. He had given up hope of another sea command, when early in June 1873, Cushing had an offer to take command of USS Wyoming. He took command of his new ship on 11 July 1873.[11]

He commanded Wyoming with his typical flair for being where the action was, performing daring and courageous acts. Wyomings boilers broke down twice, and in April she was ordered to Norfolk for extensive repairs. On 24 April, Cushing was detached and put on a waiting list for reassignment. He believed that he would be given Wyoming again when she was ready for duty, but in truth, his ill-health would not permit him to command another vessel.[11]

Cushing returned to Fredonia to see his new daughter, Katherine Abell, who had been born on 11 October 1873. His wife was shocked to see the condition of her husband. His health was in apparent decline. Kate remarked to William’s mother that he looked to be a man of sixty instead of his thirty-one years.[citation needed] Cushing had begun having severe attacks of pain in his hip as early as just after the sinking of the Albemarle.

None of the medical doctors he saw were able to make a diagnosis. The term “sciatica” was used in those days without regard to cause for any inflammation of the sciatic nerve, or any pain in the region of the hip. Cushing may have had a ruptured intervertebral disc. He had suffered enough shocks to dislocate half a dozen vertebrae, and with the passage of time they came to bear more and more heavily upon the nerve. On the other hand, he may have been suffering from tuberculosis of the hip bone, or cancer of the prostate gland. There was nothing to be done and Cushing continued to suffer.[12]

He was given the post of executive officer of the Washington Navy Yard. He spent the summer of 1874 pretending to be happy with his inactive role. He played with his children and enjoyed their company. On 25 August, he was made senior aide at the yard; in the fall he amused himself by taking an active interest in the upcoming congressional elections.[6]

On Thanksgiving Day, William, Kate and his mother went to church in the morning.[13] That night, the pain in Cushing’s back was worse than it had ever been and he could not sleep. The following Monday he dragged himself to the Navy Yard. Kate sent Lieutenant Hutchins, once of the Wyoming crew and now Cushing’s aide, to bring his superior home. She feared that he wouldn’t last the day. True to his nature, Cushing stayed at the yard until after nightfall, and went right to bed when he got home. He would not rise again. The pain was constant and terrible. He was given injections of morphine, but that only dulled the pain a little.[14]

On 8 December, it became impossible to care for Cushing at home, and he was removed to St. Elizabeths Hospital. His family visited him often, but he seldom recognized them. Cushing died on 17 December 1874, in the presence of his wife and mother. He was buried on 8 January 1875, at Bluff Point, at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis.[14]

Cushing’s grave is marked by a large, monumental casket made of marble, on which in relief, are Cushing’s hat, sword, and coat. On one side of the stone the word “Albemarle” is cut and on the other side, “Fort Fisher”.[15]

Five ships in the U.S. Navy have been named USS Cushing after him.[16][17] The most recent one, the USS Cushing (DD-985), was decommissioned in September 2005.[18]

Cushing has a portrait of him in full dress uniform hanging in Memorial Hall at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.[19] Nearly all of the other portraits in the hall are of admirals.[20] A monument that honors Alonzo, William, and Howard Cushing is located at Cushing Memorial Park in Delafield, Wisconsin.[21]


Not yet available

USS CUSHING DD-985 Ship History

Wikipedia (as of 2024)

USS Cushing (DD-985), named after Commander William Barker Cushing, was the fifth ship of the United States Navy to bear the name. Cushing was a Spruance-class destroyer built by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries at Pascagoula, MississippiCushing operated out of Yokosuka, Japan for the last several years of her career. Cushing was the last Spruance-class destroyer to remain in active service, until decommissioned on 21 September 2005.

Cushing was laid down 27 December 1976 by Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was launched on 17 June 1978 and commissioned on 21 September 1979. Cushing was the last U.S. warship to transit the Panama Canal prior to control of the canal being handed over to Panama in 1979.

Prior to its formal commissioning, Cushing departed her builders in Mississippi in order to avoid the oncoming Hurricane Frederic. She remained in the Gulf of Mexico with a crew of U.S. Navy sailors and ship builder personnel. After the passage of the storm, she returned to her builders yard for final outfitting and was quickly commissioned with her crew in dungarees in the helo hangar and deck prior to departure for her first homeport of San Diego, California where she was formally commissioned on 21 September 1979 in its home port.

During the mid-to-late 1980s Cushing was a member of the Pacific Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Squadron–Destroyer Squadron 31. She was specially modified to support the DESRON staff operations and served as the primary flagship. She was also one of the few of the class that carried the AN/SQR-15 Towed Array Sonar System.

In the early 1990s Cushing served to demonstrate the effectiveness of rudder roll stabilization (RRS). Engineers from the Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center installed the developmental RRS system and monitored its operations. The successful demonstration led to RRS being implemented in Arleigh Burke-class (DDG-51) destroyers. While home ported in Pearl Harbor HI, Cushing conducted cruises in the North Pacific in 1991 and 1992 with visits to the west coast and Canada. In 1992 Cushing deployed to Central and South America as the flagship for UNITAS 33, 92. Cushing passed through the Panama Canal from Pacific to Atlantic side in 1992 embarked the Admiral at Puerto Rico. Cushing circumnavigated South America and passed through the Panama Canal again from the Pacific to the Atlantic side in less than 6 months. After disembarking the Admiral in Puerto Rico the Cushing passed through the Panama Canal again on her return voyage to San Diego then home port Pearl Harbor HI in late 1992. 1993 was spent conducting short cruises at sea around HI and in 1994 Cushing entered dry dock at Pearl Harbor for, among other things, the addition of the VLS (vertical launch system) missile package.

As part of a 1995 reorganization of the Pacific Fleet‘s surface ships into six core battle groups and eight destroyer squadrons, with the reorganization scheduled to be completed by 1 October, and homeport changes to be completed within the following year, Cushing was reassigned to Destroyer Squadron 5.

A prototype Remote Minehunting System (RMS) was installed onboard Cushing in time for the Fall 1996

USS Kitty Hawk deployment to provide the battle group with a mine reconnaissance capability. This was an upgrade of the system successfully used in 1995 with the additional capability for shipboard launch and recovery and direct interface to the shipboard system. In fiscal year 1997, the RMS concept was successfully demonstrated by employment of a prototype system from Cushing during a Persian Gulf exercise.

In early 1997, Cushing was conducting Maritime Interception Operations in the Persian Gulf.

Cushing departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 16 March 1998, for its new home port of Yokosuka, Japan. The destroyer had been homeported in Pearl Harbor since 1991 and was set to replace USS Fife (DD-991) which was changing homeports to Everett, Washington. During her time in Pearl Harbor, Cushing made four Western Pacific deployments and one to the South Atlantic. Upon arrival in JapanCushing was assigned to Commander, Destroyer Squadron 15, and deployed in May to participate in CARAT ’98, a multi-national exercise with navies of Southeast Asian nations. CARAT ’98 was the fourth annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise held between the United States and six Southeast Asia countries from 12 May to 5 August 1998. As part of a series of bilateral training exercises, CARAT 98 had U.S. forces training with military forces of BruneiIndonesiaMalaysiaThailandSingapore, and the Philippines. CARAT ’98 demonstrated U.S. commitment to security and stability in Southeast Asia while increasing the operational readiness and capabilities of U.S. forces. The exercise also promoted interoperability and cooperation with U.S. regional friends and allies by offering a broad spectrum of mutually beneficial training opportunities.

From 22 to 25 March 1999 Cushing operated along with Battle Force 7th Fleet and took part in a multi-national live-fire missile exercise (MTX 99) in waters near the Marianas Islands. Also involved in the MTX 99 were naval units from Australia, Canada, Singapore, and South Korea. Fired during MTX 99 were live weapons which included HarpoonPenguin and Maverick missiles, torpedoes and various shipboard weapons systems. The former USS Oklahoma City (CL-91) was used as the target vessel.

Cushing took part in the 38th Foal Eagle exercise held in the fall of 1999. A regularly scheduled exercise, Foal Eagle combined forces from South Korea and the United States. In August 2000, Cushing took part in SHAREM 138. Cushing and various units in the Forward Deployed Naval Force (FDNF), participated in SHAREM (Ship ASW Readiness Effectiveness Measuring) 138 along with units from the host, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force near Okinawa, Japan. Although weather conditions curtailed SHAREM events, valuable training was accomplished in the art of Undersea Warfare (USW).

Cushing took part in Missile Exercise (MISSILEX) 01-1 which was held 17 to 18 November 2000 as part of a coordinated task group operation.

During a Naval Surface Fire Support exercise held near Guam on 4–5 December 2000, the Cushing posted a better-than-perfect score during a gun shoot. The exercise was designed to test the accuracy and effectiveness of Cushing’s guns and the proficiency of its watch teams. When the grade sheets were tallied, with bonus points for superior communications performance, Cushing was awarded 101.5 points out of 100.

Cushing was honored by Commander, Destroyer Squadron 15, when she received the Silver Enlisted Surface Warfare Excellence Pennant on 25 January 2001. As a result, Cushing was now authorized to fly the pennant as all enlisted personnel E5 and senior have qualified as enlisted surface warfare specialists within the required time standard set forth by the Chief of Naval OperationsCushing was the first ship of Destroyer Squadron 15 to qualify for this award.

On 5 July 2002, a U.S. Navy Sikorsky UH-3H Sea King, Desert Duck 744, operated by HC-2, Detachment 2, suffered a tail rotor failure while landing aboard Cushing. It spun out of control and went over the starboard side. The seven on board got out safely.

On 7 November 2003, Cushing began joint exercise Annualex 15G, which included maneuvers with the Japanese Navy.

Cushing operated out of Yokosuka, Japan for the last several years of her career. Cushing was the last Spruance-class ship to remain in active service, until decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on 21 September 2005. showed the ship listed for grant transfer to Turkey.[1] Ex-Cushing was sunk as a target on 14 July 2008[2] during RIMPAC 2008 along with USS David R. RayUSS Fletcher (DD-992) and USS Horne (CG-30).[3]