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Hull Number: DDG-53

Launch Date: 10/26/1991

Commissioned Date: 12/18/1993





Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1968)

John Paul was born at Arbigland, Kirkbean, Kirkcudbright, Scotland, 6 July 1747. Apprenticed to a merchant at age 13, the lad went to sea in brig Friendship to learn the art of seamanship. At 21 he received his first command, brig John. After several successful years as a merchant skipper in the West Indies trade, John Paul emigrated to the Continental British colonies and there added Jones to his name. In the summer of 1775, the Continental Congress commissioned him Lieutenant in the first American Navy. As First Lieutenant of Alfred, John Paul Jones was the first man to hoist the Grand Union flag on a continental warship, 3 December 1775. During the early part of 1776, he participated in the attack on New Providence, Nassau. Later that year, as Captain of Providence and Alfred, he made daring cruises between Bermuda and Nova Scotia, inflicting much damage on British shipping.

On 1 November 1777, he sailed for France in Ranger, carrying dispatches for the American commissioner and word of Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga. Admiral La Motte Piquet returned Jones’ salute at Quiberon Bay, France, 14 February 1778—the first time the new “stars and stripes” were recognized by a foreign power. Ranger subsequently raided the British coast and, in a notable engagement off Belfast, Ireland captured British sloop-of-war Drake.

Early in 1779, the French King gave Jones the ancient East Indiaman Duc de Duras, which he refitted and renamed Bon Homme Richard, as a compliment to Benjamin Franklin. Commanding four other ships and two French privateers he sailed 14 August 1779 to raid English shipping.

On 23 September 1779, his ship accompanied by Dallas engaged British Serapis and Countess of Scarborough off Famborough Head, Yorkshire. During this bloody and desperate battle, Captain Pearson of the Serapis, seeing the shambles on the deck of the Bon Homme Richard, asked if the American ship had surrendered. Jones’s immortal reply “I have not yet begun to fight,” served as a rallying cry to the crew of the badly-shattered Richard; and they went on to capture Serapis. Jones was forced to transfer to Serapis when his gallant Bon Homme Richard sank the next day. For this extraordinary victory, not only did Congress pass a resolution thanking him, but Louis XVI presented him with a sword.

After the war, Commodore Jones was active in Paris negotiating prize money claims. In 1788, he entered the service of Empress Catherine of Russia with the rank of Rear Admiral, but still retained his American citizenship. Although he successfully commanded the Black Sea Squadron, court intrigues forced Jones to leave Russia.

He returned to Paris in 1790 where he died 18 July 1792. The site of his burial was long forgotten; but American Ambassador Horace Porter began a systematic search for it in 1899. His body was eventually discovered, and in 1905 a special squadron of U.S. Navy ships brought it to America to be interred at the Chapel of the Navy Academy. Brilliant seaman, leader, and man of gr


Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Website)

John Paul Jones (DDG-53) was ordered 25 September 1987, laid down 8 August 1990 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, ME, launched 26 October 1991 and commissioned 18 December 1993.  USS John Paul Jones is the third Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer and the first ship of the class home ported on the west coast.

The mission of John Paul Jones is to conduct prompt and sustained operations at sea in support of U.S. national interests. John Paul Jones is capable of operating independently, as an element of a coordinated force, or as the nucleus of a surface action group, and to direct and coordinate anti-air, surface, undersea, and strike warfare operations. The ship is named in honor of Naval hero, John Paul Jones, and derives her motto from a famous quote of his, “I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm’s way.”

In order to successfully conduct this mission, John Paul Jones has been fitted with the latest weapons, engineering, and damage control systems. The AEGIS Weapons system is the most advanced air defense network in the world. John Paul Jones is capable of conducting both offensive and defensive operations using Tomahawk and Harpoon cruise missiles, standard missiles, CIWS, and 5 inch (127 mm) gun. The ARLEIGH BURKE Class is the first class of U.S. warships to be fitted with an integrated Chemical, Biological and Radiological defense system.

USS John Paul Jones was selected as the Shock Trial platform for the DDG-51 Class. The ship was subjected to a series of close range explosions in order for the Navy to obtain critical information concerning the survivability of the DDG-51 class in a shock environment. The crew prepared the ship for the most demanding and complex surface ship shock trial test in the history of the Navy. The ship has completed four deployments to the Persian Gulf.

One of the first to participate in the ‘Sea swap’ program, the crewmembers of the JOHN PAUL JONES assumed their posts after participating in OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM/ENDURING FREEDOM aboard the USS HIGGINS.  After a well-deserved stand-down period, the crew began to prepare the JOHN PAUL JONES for the training cycle and her next deployment.

Preparations for the training cycle began with a number of equipment installations, which significantly improved the ship’s war fighting capabilities.  The JOHN PAUL JONES simultaneously received enhanced AEGIS capabilities through the Track Initiation Processor (TIP), expanded the ship’s network with a Gigabyte Ethernet Local Area Network, and improved the ship’s crew capacity with the Women at Sea module.  All the while the ship became the first Arleigh Burke destroyer to have her shafts removed and replaced.  Throughout the maintenance period, the JOHN PAUL JONES maintained exceptional material readiness in all facets of shipboard operations from engineering to safety to supply management.  The tremendous efforts of the crew meant that the JOHN PAUL JONES was able to meet the challenges of a condensed training cycle while preserving 100% material readiness.

After a busy time in the docks, JOHN PAUL JONES began the training cycle with an unparalleled performance during its Initial Assessment.  Even with her shortened and exhaustive training period, the engineering team recorded the third highest Initial Assessment score ever achieved in the previous three years.  Furthermore, JOHN PAUL JONES’ exceptional combat capabilities were proven shortly thereafter in her superlative performance during the Command Assessment of Readiness and Training Part 2 (CART II).

Finally, the JOHN PAUL JONES demonstrated her war fighting proficiency during the multi-national RIMPAC exercise.  In a scenario coordinated between the Japanese, South Koreans, Australians, Canadians, and Chileans, JOHN PAUL JONES displayed Undersea Warfare proficiency by tracking Chilean and South Korean diesel submarines for an unprecedented twenty hours, during which the ship held continuous track for over three hours.  She also became the lead ship for a live, 17-ship, multi-national 5” Mark 54 gun firing exercise, which was executed flawlessly.

At the end of her RIMPAC performance, JOHN PAUL JONES returned to San Diego to participate in both the Trident Warrior Experiment and San Francisco’s Fleet Week.  The Trident Warrior Experiment was the premier sea trials event for the Navy’s network-centric initiatives and during this event JOHN PAUL JONES met or surpassed all expectations.

After her stellar performance JOHN PAUL JONES entered an extended pier side availability period to be outfitted with the newest technology for her upcoming deployment.

In 2005 USS JOHN PAUL JONES prepared for and executed a demanding Western Pacific Deployment under the command of Commander Andrew F. Cully.  Though JOHN PAUL JONES sailed with USS BOXER, as well as the KITTY HAWK strike group, her voyage was as an independent deployer.  As such she participated in a wide variety of exercises, including the TALISMAN SABER Exercise with the Australian Navy, the Proliferation Security Initiative Exercise, multiple Tomahawk training exercises, and a COUNTER SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES Exercise with the South Korean Navy.  In all the crew saw fifteen different ports all over the Pacific Rim.  The deployment demonstrated the ability of the crew and of independent deployers to meet important tasking in a variety of capacities over a six month period.  The ship gained valuable training by exercising with various units but these units also gained an important asset to help perform in several high visibility, joint exercises.  Furthermore, JOHN PAUL JONES contributed to national defense directly when she assumed the duties as Ballistic Missile Defense ready ship.  In December, CDR Cully turned over command of JOHN PAUL JONES to CDR James J. Housinger, who has since overseen the start of a successful training cycle and the installation of major system upgrades to the ship’s AEGIS Weapons System.

On March 13th, 2006, the John Paul Jones was named an honorary flagship for the upcoming search for the remains of the original Bonhomme Richard. The current amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard was also named an honorary flagship.