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USS Ticonderoga (CG-47)


USS Ticonderoga (CG-47)

Ticonderoga transiting the Suez Canal en route to the Mediterranean Sea, following a deployment in support of Operation DESERT SHIELD, on 22 August 1990. (Naval History and Heritage Command photograph, NH 106516-KN)

The fifth U.S. naval vessel named in honor of Ticonderoga, a village in Essex County, N.Y., on La Chute River, 100 miles north of Albany. The name is an Iroquois Indian term meaning “between two lakes” and refers to Lake George and Lake Champlain. Here, the French built Fort Carillon in 1755, was captured four years later by British troops under General Amherst. Early in the American Revolution, on 10 May 1775, Ethan Allen and his “Green Mountain Boys” captured the fort from the British. General Sir John Burgoyne recaptured the fort in May 1777, holding it until his surrender at Saratoga, N.Y., on 17 October 1777.

(CG-47; displacement 9,600 tons; length 563'; beam 55'; draft 24'; speed 30+ knots; complement 366; armament 2 5-inch, 2 Mk 41 Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) for BGM-109 Tomahawks, RIM-66 SM-2MR Standards, and RUM-139 VL-ASROC Antisubmarine rockets, 8 RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile canister launchers, 2 Mk 15 Close-in Weapon Systems (CIWS), and 6 Mk 32 torpedo tubes, aircraft 2 Sikorsky SH-60B Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) Mk 111 Seahawks; class Ticonderoga)

The fifth Ticonderoga (CG-47) was laid down on 21 January 1980 at Pascagoula, Miss., by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries; launched on 25 April 1981; sponsored by First Lady of the United States Nancy D. Reagan; and commissioned on 22 January 1983, Capt. Roland G. Guilbault in command. 


USS Ticonderoga (CG-47) commissioning

First Lady Nancy Reagan, sponsor, christens the Aegis guided missile cruiser Ticonderoga, on 16 May 1981, at Ingalls Shipbuilding Division, Litton Industries, Pascagoula, MS. (Photo courtesy of Vice Admiral (ret.) William Rowden, now in the collections of the Navy History and Heritage Command).

Departing Pascagoula for Charleston, S.C., Ticonderoga conducted exercises along the Eastern seaboard and in the Caribbean. Arriving to her homeport at Naval Base Norfolk, Va., on 3 June 1983, she prepared for a Mediterranean deployment later in the year. After departing Norfolk on 20 October, the guided missile cruiser steamed with Independence’s carrier task force. Three days into her journey, Independence and her small task force were diverted to Grenada. Ticonderoga resumed her transit across the Atlantic before steaming north for her first port visit to Portsmouth, England (30 October-5 November).

While off Beirut (15 November-26 December 1983), after the terrorist bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks, Ticonderoga opened fire on hostile units attempting to down friendly reconnaissance aircraft. After 48 days on station, the guided missile cruiser made a port call to Haifa, Israel (28 December 1983-5 January 1984). After departing the Mediterranean, Ticonderoga steamed to Norfolk, arriving on 4 May.

Later that year, on 8 September 1984, a fire broke out in the aft main engine exhaust uptake at 0208, while operating approximately 180 nautical miles east of Mayport, Fl. The At-Sea and General Quarters fire parties eventually put the fire out, and Ticonderoga returned to Norfolk under her own power (4-6 October).

Ticonderoga spent the first three months of 1985 in availability at the Berkley Shipyard in Norfolk. She made way for the Caribbean and South America for Central American operations on 28 January. Returning to Norfolk, her AEGIS combat system software was upgraded with the installation of Baseline One (4 March-11 April). Underway for sea trials, she conducted SEABAT exercises on 9 May. An in-port period at Norfolk followed (23 May-14 June), before Ticonderoga steamed for the North Atlantic on 27 August to take part in Exercise OCEAN SAFARI with approximately 60 U.S. Navy ships and a British antisubmarine warfare group.

The guided missile cruiser participated in FLEETEX 1-86 (6-24 February 1986). Just over two weeks later, she departed for another Mediterranean cruise (10 March-10 September). On 24 March, Ticonderoga crossed the “Line of Death” while conducting a Freedom of Navigation exercise in the Gulf of Sidra. Libya responded by unsuccessfully attacking battle force aircraft. Ticonderoga responded by destroying several Libyan patrol boats. For her participation in Operation ATTAIN DOCUMENT III (23-31 March), Ticonderoga received her second Navy Unit Commendation and Navy Expeditionary Medal. During joint Navy-Air Force air strikes on Libyan targets on 15 April, she received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

Upon arrival from her Mediterranean deployment, Ticonderoga went into the shipyards for an overhaul (8 March-3 May 1987). On 10 September, she again got underway on a Mediterranean cruise. After engaging in a missile exercise at NATO Missile Firing Installation (NAMFI), Crete, on 23 November, she transited the Suez Canal two days later. On 2 December, the guided missile cruiser crossed the Equator and initiated polliwogs into the mysteries of the deep, turning them into shellbacks. At the end of the month, Ticonderoga participated in Exercise EARNEST WILL convoy operations, providing air coverage through the Straits of Hormuz.

Returning to her homeport at Norfolk on 10 March 1988, Ticonderoga remained in port until participating in law enforcement operations in the Caribbean (11-26 July). She made way for New York City in April 1989 to participate in Fleet Week 89. In June, she transited the Atlantic for BALTOPS 89, and made port visits to Kiel, West Germany; Stockholm, Sweden; and Amsterdam, Netherlands. 


Fleet Week New York, 1989

Sailors walk along the newly constructed Pier 1 as they return to the guided missile cruiser Ticonderoga (left), and the destroyer Hayler (DD-997). Both ships were in New York City during Navy Fleet Week 89. (Navy History and Heritage Command Photograph, DN-SC-90-09371)

After participating in Exercise FLASHING SCIMITAR (1-7 August 1990), Ticonderoga steamed for the Eastern/Central Mediterranean to take part in Operation DESERT SHIELD. Providing air coverage and other patrol duties off the Kuwaiti coast, she returned to Norfolk on 12 September.

After a regular overhaul period in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (8 January-13 March 1991), Ticonderoga got underway to participate in FLEETEX 4-91 (23 July-8 August). She then made way for a Mediterranean/Persian Gulf deployment on 26 September, transiting the Suez Canal on 13 October. The guided missile cruiser also entered the Strait of Hormuz (24-27 October).

Attached to Battle Force Zulu, Ticonderoga received orders to become the Arabian Gulf Track Coordinator during military operations against Iraq in Operation DESERT STORM (30 October 1991-4 February 1992). After exemplary performance of her duties during the Gulf War, she transited the Straits of Hormuz on 4 February and steamed into the North Atlantic to participate in Exercise TEAMWORK 92. After a brief respite in Norfolk, she began counter-narcotics operations (15-31 May). Ticonderoga then entered the Old Dominion Dry Dock at Metro Machine Corp., Newport News, Va., for the remainder of the year (12 October-31 December).

After work continued on the guided missile cruiser at the Old Dominion Dry Dock (1 January-27 February 1993), Ticonderoga underwent sea trials off Norfolk (21-23 June) and participated in counter-narcotics operations, based out of Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico (7-10 December), before steaming south into the Caribbean to perform law enforcement operations in the area (12 December 1993-17 January 1994). Ticonderoga participated in the annual MISSILEX training (8-11 March 1994), before conducting counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean (27 May-30 June). Later in the year, she conducted training with COMPUTEX (7 November-15 December).

Celebrating her 12th birthday on 22 January 1995, Ticonderoga’s crewmembers readied for a six-month Mediterranean deployment (22 March-22 September). She participated in two main exercises while underway, including NATO exercise DESTINED GLORY 95 (28 April-11 May) and TRIDENTE 95 (23-31 May).

Ticonderoga spent the next year participating in counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean, transiting through the Panama Canal on 8 March 1996 to patrol the Pacific. After returning to the Atlantic in June, the guided missile cruiser conducted SLAMEX 33-96 (6 June) before her homeport changed from Norfolk to Pascagoula (19 June). Returning to conduct counter-narcotics operations, she steamed into the Caribbean and made contact with F/V Don Celso on 9 October. Boarding the vessel the next day, she later delivered F/V Don Celso to Esmeraldas, Ecuador. On 16 October, she received a report that 6.8 tons of cocaine were seized following a search of F/V Don Celso.

After a sonar dome inspection (7-11 April 1997), Ticonderoga participated in MISSILEX 97 (10-11 May). Getting underway for counter-narcotics operations on 25 June, the guided missile cruiser conducted a seizure with the Columbian Navy after performing a night boarding of M/V Taru II Negres, off Colon, Columbia. More than 200 kilograms of cocaine were seized onboard the vessel (19 July).

Ticonderoga crewmembers celebrated the guided missile cruiser’s 15th birthday on 22 January 1998. After conducting sea trials (15-16 April), she was en route to New York City with John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) for Fleet Week 98 (20-26 May). After counter-narcotics operations in the Panama Canal Zone area, Ticonderoga made a port visit to Rodman, Panama (9-13 January 1999). After a Crossing the Line ceremony on 22 January, she made way to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (29-31 January). Getting underway, she made her next port visit at Port au Prince, Haiti (1-2 February) before conducting a replenishment at sea with USNS Big Horn (13 March).

On 22 February 2000, Ticonderoga received the Battle “E” Efficiency award for the year 1999. She conducted exercises with John L. Hall (FFG-29) during Hurricane Debby on 24 August, before steaming back to port. On 29 December, she shifted berths at Naval Station Pascagoula in order for Ingalls Shipyard to begin extensive repairs to Cole (DDG-67), which had been severely damaged in a deadly terrorist attack on 12 October while anchored in Yemen to take on fuel.

Ticonderoga got underway at 1600 on 20 April 2001 for the Panama Canal, to begin counter-narcotics operations. On 6 May, a Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk from HSL 48 Vipers launched to conduct a dusk patrol of suspected vessels smuggling narcotics. After making contact with a suspicious vessel, crewmembers of Ticonderoga boarded fishing vessel Don Henri and subsequently discovered large amounts of cocaine.

On 13 June, Ticonderoga engaged in a high-speed chase with a “go fast” smuggling boat fitting the description of the type of high-powered boats used to transport illegal drugs by outrunning Navy and Coast Guard patrols. Ticonderoga overtook the “go fast” boat at over 30 knots. Panicked by the approach of the guided missile cruiser, the crew threw bundles of cocaine over the side. Rescue swimmers and sailors in Ticonderoga’s small boats retrieved $12 million worth of pure cocaine from the sea, all wrapped up in 22 bales weighing in at 1,340 pounds, while U.S. law enforcement agents detained the smugglers.

After several more months of successful counter-narcotics operations and training exercises off Colombia, Ticonderoga steamed for her homeport of Pascagoula, arriving on 28 August at 0830. After the horrific terrorist attacks of 11 September, the guided missile cruiser got underway the next day at 0800 with Yorktown (CG-48) to support Operation NOBLE EAGLE, protecting airspace along the Gulf Coast from any suspect aircraft entering sea approaches to the continental United States. Returning to Pascagoula on 20 September, Ticonderoga remained on standby for the rest of the year.


Ships parade

Steaming in a “Ships Parade” formation during Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 2002, (from lead, in foreground) Underwood (FFG-36), Ticonderoga (CG-47), Carney (DDG-64), Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81), and Taylor (FFG-50), transit the Atlantic on 18 January 2002. (U.S. Navy Photograph 020118-N-6154P-001)

Ticonderoga earned an outstanding final grade of 98.16% during her FIREX 1 conducted in January 2003. She also had the honor of firing the last round into the naval training range at Vieques, Puerto Rico. In July, she took part in several Groupsail and COMPUTEX exercises, and by October completed pre-deployment certifications. The guided missile cruiser also won the coveted Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy for 2003 as the most improved ship in the fleet. Additionally, she received an overdue Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) for meritorious service from August 2000-September 2001.

Departing on her final deployment on 10 March 2004, Ticonderoga enjoyed liberty ports in Cozumel, Mexico (15-17 March); Colon (27-28 March); Mayport (1-9 April); Guantánamo Bay (12-13 April); Cartagena, Colombia (27-29 May); Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Panama (6-7 May); Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala (17-19 May). She conducted counter-narcotics operations in conjunction with Colombian military authorities from April-June. Ticonderoga successfully intercepted five of the cigarette-shaped “go-fast” smuggling boats, and one fishing vessel, netting over 14,000 pounds of cocaine, detaining 25 suspects in the process.

After conducting a decommissioning stores offload in Mayport (19-23 July) and an ammunition offload at Yorktown, Va., (26-30 July), Ticonderoga returned to Pascagoula on 3 August 2004. Her crew immediately began decommissioning preparations.

Ticonderoga decommissioned on 30 September 2004, the first AEGIS cruiser decommissioned from U.S. naval service.

Commanding Officers                                                     Date Assumed Command

Capt. Roland G. Guilbault

22 January 1983

Capt. Michael R. Walsh

19 January 1985

Capt. James M. Arrison III

07 March 1987

Cmdr. Morris C. Foote

04 August 1989

Capt. Edward F. Messina

21 July 1991

Capt. Gary A. Storm

30 June 1993

Cmdr. Charles T. Bush

08 June 1995

Cmdr. David G. Yoshihara

03 December 1996

Cmdr. King H. Dietrich

30 June 1998

Cmdr. Glen R. Sears II

09 June 2000

Cmdr. Glenn W. Zeiders III

30 January 2002


Guy Joseph Nasuti

21 November 2019

Published: Fri Nov 22 12:58:23 EST 2019