USS BAINBRIDGE DLGN-25 Ship History
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1981)
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 French Navy.
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 next day.
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 Haiphong.
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 Molala.
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 7 July.
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 3½-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 November.
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 1975.
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 March.
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 FRG Hessen (D-184) and FRG Augsburg (F-213) and the British guided-missile destroyer HMS Nottingham (D-91).
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 Toulon, France.
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 crossing.
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.