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Briscoe II (DD-977)

A county in northwestern Texas, established on 21 August 1876. Briscoe County's seat of government is Silverton.


Robert Pearce Briscoe, born on 19 February 1897 in Centreville, Miss., graduated from the Naval Academy on 7 June 1918. His first assignment was to Roe(Destroyer No. 24), which operated out of Brest, France, during World War I on coastal patrol and escort duty. Following duty on board Kearsarge (Battleship No. 5) and Alabama (Battleship No. 8), Lt.(jg.) Briscoe returned to destroyer duty on board Bagley (Destroyer No. 236).

In August 1920, Briscoe was transferred to Humphreys (DD-236), operating in the eastern Mediterranean supporting efforts to restore order in the aftermath of World War I and during the civil war that grew out of the Russian Revolution. Humphreys did surveying work, served as communications ship, evacuated civilians from the Crimea, and even put a landing force ashore there under Briscoe's command.

After further sea duty on board Bush (DD-166), Flusser (DD-289), and Henderson (AP-1), and recruiting duty at Little Rock, Ark., Lt. Briscoe served as the engineering officer's senior assistant in West Virginia (BB-48). He then returned to the Naval Academy as an instructor in mechanical engineering.

Between 1931 and 1933, Lt. Comdr. Briscoe served on the China Station, assigned first as executive officer of Edsall (DD-219) on Yangtze Patrol during the occupation of Woosung and Manchuria, and later as communications officer of Houston (CA-30), flagship of the Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet. He returned to the Naval Academy in June 1934 and served for three years as Head of the Department of Chemistry.

Comdr. Briscoe next served as navigator in Mississippi (BB-41) until assigned to the Naval Research Laboratory as its Assistant Director just before World War II broke out in Europe on 1 September 1939. While holding that position and serving as the Navy Department's liaison officer with the National Defense Research Committee, Briscoe helped to pioneer modern electronics development in the Navy. In March 1942, he reported to Prometheus (AR-3), a World War I repair ship which he commanded upon her recommissioning in May. The ship sailed to Noumea, New Caledonia, where Capt. Briscoe was detached to command Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 5 and to serve as escort commander for Task Forces (TF) 67, 68, and 10.

Capt. Briscoe assumed command of Denver (CL-58) in July 1943 and saw action in the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay and in the northern Solomon Islands. On 13 November, his ship was severely damaged by an aerial torpedo, and Briscoe returned to the United States with her for repairs. Denver was awarded a Navy Unit Commendation medal for this action, and Capt. Briscoe received a Navy Cross.

In February 1944, he joined the staff of the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, as Head of New Developments; and, upon his promotion to flag rank in April 1945, Rear Admiral Briscoe assumed command of Amphibious Group (PhibGru) 14. When V-J day came, he was in Manila working on plans for the invasion of the Japanese homeland.

At war's end, Briscoe took command of the Operational Development Force, Atlantic Fleet, headquartered at Norfolk. After two years there and a tour of duty as Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Readiness), he became Commander, Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet, on 1 November 1950.

Ordered in January 1952 to command the 7th Fleet in Korean waters, Vice Admiral Briscoe retained this command until designated Commander Naval Forces, Far East, in June of that year. Two years later, he reported as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Operations and Readiness and, on 2 July 1956, Admiral Briscoe became Commander in Chief, Allied Forces, Southern Europe.

Admiral Briscoe retired from the Navy on 1 January 1959, and died on 14 October 1968 in Liberty, Missouri.

Briscoe (APA-65) was named for the county in Texas, and Briscoe (DD-977) honored Admiral Briscoe.


(DD-977: dp. 7,600 (f.); l. 563'; b. 55'; dr. 19'; s. 30 k.; cpl. 272; a. 2 5", ASROC, Sea Sparrow, 2 Mk. 32 tt.; cl. Spruance)

The second Briscoe (DD-977) was laid down on 21 July 1975 at Pascagoula, Miss., by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries; launched on 8 January 1977; sponsored by Mrs. Katherine Lewis Briscoe, Admiral Briscoe's widow; and commissioned on 3 June 1978; Comdr. Frank H. Thomas, Jr., in command.

Briscoe got underway from Pascagoula on 5 June and set a course for Norfolk, Va. She arrived in her new home port on 8 June and embarked NROTC midshipmen for their summer training cruise. That occupation lasted until 11 July. She put back into Norfolk to disembark the midshipmen and to have her main battery aligned. At the conclusion of that job, the destroyer began three months of various drills, trials, and tests, much of which constituted shakedown training. After a period of upkeep at Norfolk, Briscoe put to sea for Pascagoula where she spent the period, 7 November to 8 December, undergoing post-shakedown availability. The warship departed Pascagoula on 9 December and reentered Norfolk on the 13th. The remainder of 1978 she spent in holiday routine.

On 9 January 1979, Briscoe entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and began a six-month restricted availability. Briscoe completed repairs on 10 July 1979 and embarked on normal operations out of Norfolk. In August, she took Naval Academy midshipmen on board for their second class summer cruise. Then, from early October to late November, the destroyer conducted refresher training out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Briscoe spent the remainder of the year in port at Norfolk. Operations out of Norfolk occupied her time for the first fifteen weeks of 1980. On 16 April 1980, the destroyer stood out of Norfolk, bound for her first overseas deployment. She arrived in Rota, Spain, on 26 April and, on the 29th, entered the Mediterranean Sea. Briscoe made port visits and operated with units of the 6th Fleet until early in July. On 10 July, the warship transited the Suez Canal and joined the Middle East Force operating in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. At the end of August, Briscoe retransited the Suez Canal and rejoined the 6th Fleet. Mediterranean operations occupied her time until early October. She departed Rota on 6 October and arrived back in Norfolk on the 17th. Briscoe remained in port for the rest of the year.

For almost the entire year of 1981, the warship conducted operations out of Norfolk. Those operations, however, took her as far south as the West Indies and as far north as the New England coast. On 30 November, the destroyer departed Norfolk and embarked upon her second oyerseas deployment. She arrived in Rota on 10 December and entered the Mediterranean Sea on the 11th. At the end of the first week in January 1982, Briscoe transited the Suez Canal and, again, became a unit of the Middle East Force. Between 12 January and 12 March, the destroyer operated on a radar picket station in the Persian Gulf 15 miles wide and 60 miles long. She alternated that duty with brief periods anchored in port at Sitra, one of the islands of the Bahrain Archipelago. The usual drills and exercises augmented her duties as radar picket ship until 12 March when she was relieved by John Hancock (DD-981).

Briscoe retransited the Suez Canal on 22 March and rejoined the 6th Fleet for the duration of the Mediterranean transit. She arrived in Rota on the 27th and headed back to the United States on the 29th in company with six other ships of Cruiser-Destroyer Group (CruDesGru) 12. They reentered Norfolk on 8 April, and Briscoe began post-deployment standdown. The warship resumed normal operations out of Norfolk just over a month later on 10 May. Those operations took her to the Florida coast and to the West Indies and occupied her time until the beginning of October. On 1 October, she departed Norfolk on her way to Pascagoula for regular overhaul. On the 6th, she entered the Ingalls shipyard to begin her extended repair period. 

Update for 1982 to 2003 pending.

Briscoe was decommissioned on 2 October 2003 and struck from the Navy list on 6 April 2004. She was sunk in a fleet training exercise on 25 August 2005.

Raymond A. Mann 
2 December 2005

Published: Mon Jun 29 08:54:27 EDT 2015