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Cyclone (PC-1)


(PC-1: displacement 330 (full load); length 170'; beam 25'; draft 7'6".; speed 35 knots; complement 28 + SEAL team/law enforcement detachment; armament (upon commissioning) 2 Mk. 38 Mod 0 25mm weapons systems, 2 40-millimeter Mk. 19 Mod 3 machine guns, 2 50 caliber M2HB machine guns, 2 7.62-millimeter M60E3 machine guns, Mk. 52 Mod 0 decoy launch system, Stinger weapon system; class Cyclone)

Cyclone (PC-1) was laid down on 22 June 1991 at Lockport, La., by Bollinger Shipyard; launched on 16 February 1992; and sponsored by Ms. Betty LeMoyne, wife of Deputy Commander-in-Chief and Chief of Staff, U.S. Special Operations Command, Rear Admiral Irve C. LeMoyne.

Originally scheduled to be commissioned on 1 May 1993, Cyclone incurred damage in collision with the Waterman Steamship Co. LASH mothership Robert E. Lee on 12 March that required a ten-week yard period and delayed the ship’s commissioning into the summer. Consequently, Cyclone was commissioned at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., on 7 August 1993, Lt. Cmdr. Randall L. Johnson in command.

During her cruise from her homeport at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB), Little Creek, Va., to the Naval Academy and back, Cyclone’s high speed and precision maneuverability began to shine through, with her commanding officer observing that she “rides like a Porsche”.

Upon her return to NAB Little Creek, Cyclone embarked on an extensive shakedown and certification period that lasted through April 1994. During that time, on 8 February 1994, Cyclone’s MK38 Mod 0 25mm chain guns were integrated into the MK96 stabilized weapon system. After a month-long post-shakedown availability in March and April, Cyclone participated along with her sister ship Tempest (PC-2) in Exercise Agile Provider 94, operating out of Ft. Macon, N.C., between 23 April and 5 May.

Cyclone and Tempest deployed to the Caribbean on 24 May 1994 and operated out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from 27 May through 5 September in support of Operation Support Democracy, the United Nations (U.N.)-sponsored naval blockade of Haiti in response to a military coup that removed Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power. Cyclone’s first deployment began auspiciously as, thirteen hours into her maritime interdiction operations, the ship intercepted, boarded, and detained a sailboat smuggling prohibited supplies into Haiti. Cyclone boarded nine ships and queried a further five during Support Democracy. On 7 July, Lt. Mark S. Young relieved Comdr. Johnson as commanding officer.

Cyclone returned to NAB Little Creek on 8 September 1994 and began an intermediate maintenance availability on 10 October. She visited New York, N.Y. from 24 to 26 October to participate in the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and celebrated the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Underwater Demolition Team/SEAL Museum at Ft. Pierce, Fla., from 8 through 18 November.

Immediately after her Ft. Pierce visit, she proceeded to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, and began counter-narcotics operations in the vicinity of the Leeward Islands under the command of Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) East. Between 25 November and 5 December 1994, Cyclone operated out of Naval Support Facility, Antigua, and her law enforcement detachment boarded three vessels. Cyclone returned to Little Creek via Guantanamo Bay (7 December), Key West, Fla., (8-11 December), and Charleston, S.C. (12-16 December), arriving at her home port on 17 December.

Cyclone spent the next six months in routine training and certification operations. During that time, her weapons system received modification at the end of March 1995 when she received a Mk. 95 twin .50 caliber gun mount. Later, she interrupted her schedule to moor pierside at the Nauticus Maritime Museum in Norfolk, Va., for the Surface Warfare Flag Officer Conference (8 -15 May).

On 21 June 1995, Cyclone departed NAB Little Creek in company with Tempest and the combat store ship USNS Sirius (T-AFS-8) for her first overseas deployment, en route to the Persian Gulf. Crossing the Atlantic in nine days, the two patrol coastal ships detached from their escort and reached Rota, Spain, on 30 June. They underwent an upkeep and maintenance period there through 5 July before making their way to Souda Bay, Crete, by way of Augusta Bay, Sicily (8 July). After enjoying a short port visit between 9 and 13 July, Cyclone and Tempest made their way to Port Said, Egypt, through six to eight foot seas and high winds, arriving on 15 July. After transiting the Suez Canal that night through the morning of the 16th, the two ships took on fuel and rendezvoused with their escort, the guided missile frigate Gallery (FFG-26) at Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on 18 July.

The little convoy began to experience the full force of monsoon season in southwest Asia as it transited the Red Sea, arriving at Djibouti on the morning of 21 July 1995 in the face of 30 knot winds and transiting to Mina Raysut, Oman, on the 23rd amidst eight to twelve foot following seas. From Mina Raysut, Cyclone and Tempest steamed to Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, escorted through thirteen to fifteen foot seas by oiler USNS John Ericsson (T-AO-194). The ships arrived at Fujairah on 26 July, detached from John Ericsson, and steamed through the Strait of Hormuz to Bahrain, arriving on 28 July.

After a short maintenance and briefing period, Cyclone undertook Maritime Interdiction Operations in the central and northern Persian Gulf between 28 July and 15 September 1995, enforcing the U.N.-imposed embargo on Saddam Hussein’s ruling regime in Iraq. During the course of those operations, Cyclone boarded two motor vessels and, with the assistance of a Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk from HSL-49 Detachment 4, operating from the destroyer Merrill (DD-976), delivered one into the custody of Saudi warships on 28 August.

Between 15 and 28 September 1995, Cyclone participated in Indigo Desert 95-2, a joint U.S.-Qatari naval exercise. Operating out of Ad Dawhah (Doha), Qatar, Cyclone, Tempest, guided missile frigate Gary (FFG-51), and destroyer Harry W. Hill (DD-986) escorted a Maritime Prepositioning Force ship into Qatari waters after “defeating” an opposing force of Qatari patrol boats in a simulated long-range night surface engagement. Late on 24 September, in response to a major electrical fire in the ship's standard diesel generator (SSDG) enclosure on board Gary, Cyclone sent a five-man fire party via rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) to provide assistance. However, Gary’s fire parties had succeeded in extinguishing the blaze by the time assistance arrived.

Cyclone, in company with Tempest, began the long journey back to the States on 28 September 1995, calling at Fujairah (30 September), Mina Raysut (2 October), and Jiddah (6 October) before transiting the Suez Canal with the Canadian frigate HMCS Calgary (335). Touching at Port Suez, Egypt, on the night of 8 October, Cyclone and Tempest proceeded to Haifa, Israel, and enjoyed four days of liberty from 10 through 13 October before commencing their transit of the Mediterranean. After a refueling stop at Augusta Bay, Cyclone and Tempest proceeded to Port Mahon, Menorca, to participate in a special warfare exercise and some public relations activities between 19 and 23 October. They transited the Straits of Gibraltar and visited Rota from 26 October through 5 November before commencing the Atlantic crossing in company with the combat store ship USNS San Diego (T-AFS-6). Adverse weather conditions forced the convoy to put in to Fort Everglades, Fla., upon their return to the States on 14 November. Once the weather cleared, Cyclone and Tempest departed for Little Creek, arriving there on 17 November.

Cyclone underwent training and certification operations out of NAB Little Creek from her return on 17 November 1995 through 23 March 1996. On 23 March she left her homeport for another counter-narcotics deployment to the Caribbean, enjoying a two-day port visit to San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 27 and 28 March before commencing operations out of Roosevelt Roads from 29 March through 8 April. She operated from 10 through 12 April out of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, before making a port visit at St. George’s, Grenada, on the 12th. From 12 through 19 April she operated in the southern Caribbean, after which she enjoyed a port visit at Willemstad, Curacao, between the 19th and the 21st. Cyclone operated in the central Caribbean out of Guantanamo Bay from 23 through 28 April, then touched at Key West on 1 May before making a port visit at Ft. Lauderdale between 2 and 5 May. Cyclone returned to Little Creek on 6 May. During this deployment, Cyclone boarded four ships and queried a further four ships.

Two months of local training and certification operations awaited Cyclone upon her return to NAB Little Creek, with the exception of a four-day port visit to Annapolis between 20 and 24 May 1996. On 3 July, Lt. Curtis J. Gilbert relieved Lt. Comdr. Mark S. Young as the ship’s commanding officer, then guided the ship through an extended availability period at Norfolk Naval Shipyard between 9 July and 1 October, including Cyclone’s first and only drydocking between 26 July and 15 August. After this maintenance period, Cyclone continued local operations and training out of Little Creek in preparation for her participation in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 97-2 during March and early April 1997. Between 8 and 20 March, Cyclone operated out of Mayport, Fla., and Roosevelt Roads between 23 March and 1 April, conducting special warfare exercises.

After JTFEX 97-2, Cyclone had three weeks to prepare for her second overseas deployment, during which she buried Lt. Col. James C. Gilbert USA (Ret.) “and his faithful dog Balin” at sea. On 1 May 1997, Cyclone began her Atlantic crossing in company with Tempest, Thunderbolt (PC-12), and the combat store ship USNS Saturn (T-AFS-10). Cyclone arrived at Rota on 11 May and stayed in port until the 16th, then made an overnight port visit at Malaga, Spain (17-18 May), before proceeding on to Toulon, France, to participate in a combined special warfare exercise with elements of the French and German navies between 19 May and 2 June. At the conclusion of this exercise, Cyclone moored at Gaeta, Italy, from 3 through 6 June, then participated in Exercise Alexander the Great with elements of the Greek Navy in Volos Bay, Greece, from 11 through 19 June.

After the close of Alexander the Great, Cyclone transited the Dardanelles and the Bosporus and operated in the Black Sea under the auspices of NATO as part of the Partnership for Peace program. She participated in special operations training with Bulgarian armed forces while operating out of Varna, Bulgaria, between 21 and 30 June 1997, then touched at Constanta, Romania, on 1 July before traveling up the Bratul Sudina (a tributary of the Danube), and spending 2 July at Tulcea, Romania, where she entertained the mayor and various members of the Romanian Navy. She visited Constanta again between 3 and 6 July, then made a port visit at Odessa, Ukraine, between 6 and 9 July before steaming into the Aegean once more for an overnight port visit to Souda Bay, Crete (11-12 July).

The next month of Cyclone’s deployment was spent in various ports in the Aegean and Adriatic. She spent 13 through 19 July 1997 in Simi, Greece, off the coast of Turkey, then steamed to Corfu for a five-day port visit (21-25 July). From 28 July through 1 August, Cyclone visited Venice, Italy, and operated in the Adriatic between 1 and 4 August in support of Operation Joint Guard. Cyclone’s brief refueling stop at Brindisi, Italy, on 4 August marked the end of an era, as the last plankowner transferred off the ship. Visits to Souda Bay (6-7 August), Mikonos (8 August), and Sirous, Greece (9-11 August) rounded out Cyclone’s Aegean operations.

The remaining two months of Cyclone’s deployment saw her once more transiting the Mediterranean and Black Seas participating in various combined military operations. From 14 through 21 August 1997, Cyclone participated in Exercise Rescue Eagle with elements of the Romanian Navy, operating out of Constanta, Romania. From 25 through 27 August, the ship operated with Israeli patrol boats out of Ashdod, Israel. After a refueling stop at Augusta Bay, Sicily, on 1 September, Cyclone participated in special warfare operations out of Rota, Spain between 4 and 10 September. Port visits to Palma de Mallorca, Spain (12-17 September) and Catania, Sicily (19-22 September) preceded Exercise Dynamic Mix (22 September–6 October), a combined military exercise featuring a simulated amphibious assault on the island of Khiparissa, Greece, during which Cyclone operated with Tempest and the dock landing ship Carter Hall (LSD-50). After taking on fuel at Augusta Bay on 7 October, Cyclone visited Rota (10-16 October) before commencing her Atlantic transit with Tempest, Thunderbolt, and the oiler Monongahela (AO-178).

Cyclone undertook local operations out of Little Creek from 26 October 1997 through 31 January 1998. After a brief port visit at Key West (2-5 February), Cyclone steamed to Cartagena, Colombia, to take part in Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) with Colombian patrol boats and special operations forces (8-28 February). She refueled at Colon, Republic of Panama, on 1 March, then made a brief port visit at Cozumel, Mexico (4-9 March) and a refuel stop at Mayport (11 March) before returning to Little Creek on the 12th. After a brief training period, Cyclone steamed south once more, heading for Guayaquil, Ecuador, by way of Key West (3 April), the Panama Canal (7 April), and Balboa, Republic of Panama (8-11 April). Cyclone was “cleansed of all Pollywogs” on 12 April as she crossed the Equator before arriving Guayaquil the following day. From 12 April through 19 May, Cyclone participated in another JCET period with elements of the Ecuadorian Coast Guard and special operations forces.

Through the summer of 1998, Cyclone trained for her role in JTFEX 98-2. On 29 June 1998, Lt. Calvin Slocumb relieved Lt. Comdr. Curtis J. Gilbert as the ship’s Commanding Officer. From 25 through 29 August, Cyclone moored at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis with Whirlwind (PC-11) and the coastal mine hunter Raven (MHC-61) in order to avoid Hurricane Bonnie, a Class 3 hurricane that swirled ashore at Wilmington, N.C., on the 27th. Cyclone moored at Wilmington from 18 through 21 September, then operated with the amphibious assault ship Nassau (LHA-4) Amphibious Ready Group in the Onslow Bay area during JTFEX 98-2. The ship spent the rest of the year undergoing miscellaneous material upgrades and inspections at Little Creek.

Cyclone began 1999 with a short visit to Onslow Bay with Tempest from 25 through 27 January. After refueling at Morehead City, N.C., on the 27th, Cyclone steamed to Roosevelt Roads and operated in the Vieques area from 31 January through 17 February, then returned to Morehead City, whence she operated from 17 through 24 February. She returned to Little Creek on 25 February for regular maintenance, training, and various equipment upgrades prior to her final overseas deployment.

Cyclone set course for Rota in company with Tempest and the oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO-195) on 14 April 1999, arriving on 25 April. After a three-day port visit, Cyclone proceeded to Brindisi, Italy, arriving on 1 May after a 30 April refueling stop at Cagliari, Italy. While Cyclone transited the Atlantic, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was attempting to forge peace in the Balkans. In response to armed conflict in Kosovo, a breakaway province of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, NATO forces commenced aerial and cruise missile strikes on military targets in Yugoslavia on 24 March 1999, a military action termed Operation Allied Force. Cyclone operated out of Brindisi in the Adriatic Sea from 1 May through 22 June in support of Joint Special Operations Task Force: Noble Anvil, the U.S. component of Allied Force.

After the cessation of hostilities in the Balkans, Cyclone enjoyed port visits in Nice, France (24-30 June 1999), and Ibiza (1-7 July), Rota (8-17 July), and Las Palmas, Spain (19-20 July). She then steamed for West Africa, visiting Dakar, Senegal (22-27 July), Banjul, Gambia (27-30 July), and Conkary, Guinea (31 July–2 August). She returned to Las Palmas, Spain via Dakar (4 August), remaining in port from 6 through 10 August before steaming to Casablanca, Morocco. Cyclone operated out of Casablanca with elements of the Moroccan fleet from 11 through 17 August, then visited Tangier, Morocco (17-21 August) before returning to Rota on the 21st. Throughout the rest of August and into September, Cyclone participated in exercises General Shark and Eclipse Bravo, operating out of Rota from 21 August through 1 October. She began her transit of the Atlantic on 1 October in company with Tempest, amphibious transport dock Ponce (LPD-15), dock landing ship Gunston Hall (LSD-44), and amphibious assault ship Kearsarge (LHD-3), arriving at NAB Little Creek on 11 October.

Cyclone made preparations for her decommissioning throughout the fall and winter of 1999. On 28 February 2000, Cyclone was decommissioned, and was transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard the next day. She operated as USCGC Cyclone (WPC-1) for four years before finally being sold to the Philippine Navy on 8 March 2004, where she continues to operate as BRP Mariano Alvarez (PS-38).

Commanding Officers

Lt. Comdr. Randall L. Johnson - 7 Aug 1993
Lt. Mark S. Young - 7 Jul 1994
Lt. Curtis J. Gilbert - 3 Jul 1996
Lt. Calvin Slocumb - 29 Jun 1998


Daniel A. Jones,
May 2009


Published: Tue Nov 06 20:56:38 EST 2018