Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Gettysburg II (CG-64)

1991-

A city in southern Pennsylvania, the site of one of the most important battles of the Civil War, fought from 1-3 July 1863. Union General George G. Meade, Commander of the Army of the Potomac, defeated Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, ending the Confederate invasion of the North. President Abraham Lincoln delivered his immortal Gettysburg Address during the Consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, on 19 November 1863.

The second ship named Gettysburg. The first Gettysburg, a side wheel steamer, served as Confederate blockade runner Douglass and then Margaret and Jessie, was captured by Union ships on 5 November 1863, and served under U.S. colors from 1864-1879. PCE-904 was named Gettysburg on 15 February 1956 while she lay in reserve, but never served under that name.

II

(CG-64: displacement 9,600; length 567'; beam 55'; draft 33'; speed 30+ knots; complement 363; 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), 4 .50 caliber machine guns, and 6 Mk 32 torpedo tubes, aircraft 2 Sikorsky SH-60B Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) Mk III Seahawks; class Ticonderoga)

The third Gettysburg (CG-64) was laid down on 17 August 1988 at Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works; launched on 22 July 1989; sponsored by Mrs. Julie N. Eisenhower, wife of Dwight D. Eisenhower II, grandson of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and son-in-law of former President Richard M. Nixon; and commissioned on 22 June 1991, Capt. John M. Langknecht in command.

Gettysburg steams majestically through a peaceful sea
Gettysburg steams majestically through a peaceful sea. (Undated and unattributed U.S. Navy photograph, Gettysburg (CG-64), Ships History, Naval History & Heritage Command)

Gettysburg, Capt. Philip C. Davidson in command, and with a Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light (HSL) 46 Detachment 5 and a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment (LEDET) embarked, sailed from Naval Station Mayport, Fla., on a two-part counter narcotics deployment to the Western Caribbean and Eastern Pacific (11 October-23 December 2005 and 1 January-4 April 2006). She visited Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles (21-25 October), passed through the Panama Canal (3-4 November), and provided air surveillance and evacuation support for a visit by President George W. Bush to Panama. In addition, the ship visited Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Panama (18-22 November and 5-6 and 16-18 December). Gettysburg intercepted three narcotics smuggling vessels, 14 metric tons of cocaine, and 17 smugglers before the New Year. She came about on 17 December, and intercepted her third suspect, a vessel carrying more than 11 tons of cocaine in the Eastern Pacific, on 22 December.

The ship, with HSL-46 Detachment 5 and Coast Guard LEDET 409 embarked, intercepted motor vessel Perseus V on 12 January 2006. The boarding team discovered a hidden compartment containing 1.6 metric tons of cocaine and detained 11 suspected smugglers. The boarders then placed a custody crew on board, which delivered the boat to host nation authorities more than 500 miles away four days later.

On 7 February Gettysburg, with LEDET 404 embarked, carried out a covert, nighttime surveillance and pre-dawn interception of fishing boat Divi, which analysts suspected of smuggling up to 15 metric tons of cocaine. The suspects sighted Gettysburg, set fire to their vessel, and abandoned ship in a skiff. The cruiser deployed two rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) to battle the blaze, but the intense, fuel-fed flames overwhelmed Divi and she sank. The boarders observed more than 150 bales of cocaine on the smuggler’s deck, but only retrieved less than 150 kilograms. The Americans took the eight crewmen into custody.

Gettysburg patrolled an area about 1,750 nautical miles west of the Galapagos Islands when a Lockheed P-3C Orion directed her to query fishing boat William, on 24 February 2006. The Orion aggressively monitored the suspected vessel, preventing her from rendezvousing with a go-fast. Gettysburg meanwhile launched Cutlass 467, her Seahawk, which guided the ship toward William, but the suspects attempted to scuttle their boat. Gettysburg’s rescue and assistance teams and LEDET 404 saved William, enabling her boarding team to recovery 4.9 metric tons of cocaine and apprehend the eight smugglers.

An Orion located a stealthy go-fast steaming westerly courses through a known drug-trafficking area on 11 March. Gettysburg closed and under cover of darkness, deployed LEDET 404 and a security team on board a RHIB, which boarded the suspected vessel, seizing 3.75 metric tons of cocaine, eight kilograms of heroin, and detaining five smugglers. In addition, she sailed through the Panama Canal twice (30-31 January and 15-16 March), and visited Cartagena, Colombia (20-21 January), Vasco Nunez de Balboa (16-19 February and 4-5 and 15-16 March), Curaçao (23-26 March), and Port Everglades, Fla. (29 March-1 April). During this second voyage she seized or interdicted four suspected smuggling vessels and more than 25 metric tons of cocaine with a street value of $1.7 billion, detaining 34 suspected smugglers. Additionally, she issued return-to-port orders to two Colombian-flagged vessels capable of providing logistics support to narcotics traffickers. Working with other agencies and Orions during the two deployments, Gettysburg proved instrumental in the seizure of seven vessels, 45 smugglers, and 750 bales totaling more than 28 metric tons of cocaine and heroin valued at $1.95 billion.

Amphibious assault ship Boxer (LHD-4), which operated as the afloat staging base for Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, coordinated the apprehension of six pirates in the Gulf of Aden on 20 March 2009. A skiff containing the suspects pursued Philippine-flagged motor vessel Bison Express, which sent a distress call. Gettysburg’s embarked SH-60B from HSL-46 spotted the pirates throwing objects overboard, and a visit, board, search, and seizure team from the cruiser seized the suspects, who were then transferred to Boxer for questioning.

CTF-151, Turkish Rear Adm. Caner Bener in command, defeated a pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden on 13 May 2009. Gettysburg and South Korean helicopter destroyer Munmu the Great (DDH.976) responded to a distress call from Egyptian-flagged motor vessel Amira when pirates attacked her 75 nautical miles south of Al Mukalla, Yemen. A Seahawk from HSL-46 Detachment 9, embarked on board Gettysburg, located a dhow suspected of serving as a “mother ship” for pirates. A visit, board, search, and seizure team and Coast Guard LEDET 409 from the cruiser discovered a variety of weapons on board the dhow and detained her 17 crewmembers. Gettysburg rescued another ship during her busy deployment when a Seahawk from the cruiser responded to Yemeni motor vessel Alaseb and her 11 passengers, adrift in the Gulf of Aden on 26 May. The helo guided Gettysburg to the area, which towed Alaseb to a rendezvous with the Yemeni Coast Guard for repairs.

Gettysburg’s visit, board, search and seizure team
Gettysburg’s visit, board, search and seizure team and Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team 91112 hurtle past the ship as they inspect a dhow in the Gulf of Aden, 2 June 2009. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric L. Beauregard, U.S. Navy Photograph 090602-N-0743B-018, Navy NewsStand)
Sailors inspect the dhow
The Sailors inspect the dhow but discover that she is not a suspect and release the vessel to continue her voyage. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric L. Beauregard, U.S. Navy Photograph 090602-N-0743B-062, Navy NewsStand)

Detailed history under construction.

Mark L. Evans

31 December 2014

Published: Mon Jul 13 09:57:33 EDT 2015