The fourth U.S. Navy ship named to honor Charles Vernon Gridley, born on 24 November 1844 in Logansport, Indiana, the son of Franklin and Ann E. Gridley. He was a descendent of Thomas Gridley, an early member of the Massachusetts Bay colony. Gridley spent his early years in Michigan, and Representative Henry Waldron of the 2nd District of that state appointed him to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., on 26 September 1860. He became a midshipman on 16 July 1862, and soon after his graduation on 1 October 1863, served in screw sloop-of-war Oneida. He took part in the Battle of Mobile Bay, Ala., on 5 August 1864, leading Oneida’s Master’s Division and assisting in coning the ship from her topgallant forecastle.
Gridley served in screw sloop-of-war Brooklyn from 3 October 1865-5 September 1867, and received orders to screw sloop-of-war Kearsarge on the South Pacific Squadron on 23 December 1867. While assigned to side-wheel steamer Michigan on the Great Lakes, 3 January 1871-19 August 1873, he married Harriet F. Vincent on 1 May 1872. Their union produced a son, John P. V., and two daughters, Katherine and Ruth. He became the executive officer of screw sloop-of-war Monongahela on the South Atlantic Station, 3 September 1873-16 June 1875. Gridley then served four years as an instructor at the Naval Academy.
Following this service ashore, he returned to sea on board wooden-hulled screw steamer Trenton on the European Station, 26 September 1879-16 January 1882, and then completed torpedo instruction and served as the navigation officer at Boston Navy Yard, Mass., from 28 September 1882-24 January 1884. During the next two years, he commanded two sloops-of-war used as training ships: Jamestown, 5 February 1884-28 April 1886, followed by Portsmouth. He served briefly as the senior officer of the Cruiser Training Squadron, and then spent four years as the assistant inspector of the 10th Lighthouse District, Buffalo, N.Y., 20 June 1887-5 October 1891. He completed instruction in ordnance at the Washington Navy Yard, D.C., 5 October 1891-24 May 1892, and the next two years commanding Marion, a sloop-of-war, on the Asiatic Station. Gridley returned to light-house service at Buffalo on 3 August 1894 for another two years.
He was commissioned a captain and ordered to command Richmond, a wooden steam sloop-of-war used as a receiving ship at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pa., on 17 March 1897. On 10 June he was ordered to the Asiatic Station, where on 28 July, he took command of Olympia (Cruiser No. 6), flagship of the Asiatic Squadron. During his time on that station he befriended Commodore George Dewey. In the early stages of the Spanish-American War, however, the Navy pronounced him physically unfit for active service. Gridley bravely protested the ruling, which was overruled, and he retained his command in spite of his failing health and led Olympia during the Battle of Manila Bay on 1 May 1898.
Gridley displays his confidence in this picture taken shortly after he assumes command of Olympia (Cruiser No. 6), 1897. (Library of Congress Photograph No. LC-DIG-det-4a14589v, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)
“At 5:40 when we were within a distance of 5,000 yards,” Dewey later recalled the morning of the battle, “I turned to Captain Gridley and said ‘You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.’” Dewey’s orders virtually put upon Gridley the responsibility for beginning the action, a compliment of the highest order, and he further described the opening minutes of the battle. “While I remained on the bridge…Gridley took his station in the coning tower and gave the order to the battery. The very first gun to speak was an 8-inch from the forward turret of the Olympia, and this was the signal for all the other ships to join in the action.” The Americans gained a resounding victory, thereby leading to their rule of the Philippines.
A medical survey condemned Gridley and he started home on 25 May 1898, but he died on board Occidental & Oriental Steamship Company passenger liner Coptic while she prepared to sail from Kōbe, Japan, on 5 June. He was survived by his wife and three children, who had remained in the United States. Dewey strongly recommended that Gridley be advanced ten numbers in the promotion list, as a partial reward for his ability and judgement, and the Navy subsequently advanced him six numbers. Gridley was buried at Lakeside Cemetery, Erie, Pa. Four guns captured from the Spanish arsenal at Cavite Island were emplaced at his gravesite.
The first Gridley (Destroyer No. 92), was reclassified to DD-92 on 17 July 1920, and served from 1919-1937. The second Gridley, also a destroyer (DD-380), served from 1937-1947. The third Gridley, a guided missile frigate (DLG-21), was reclassified to a guided missile cruiser (CG-21) on 1 July 1975, and served from 1963-1994.
See Gridley (DDG-101) for the ship’s Command Operations Reports.
(DDG-101: displacement 9,515; length 510'; beam 66'; draft 32'; speed 30+ knots; complement 312; armament 1 5-inch, 2 Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) for BGM-109 Tomahawks, RIM-156 SM-2MR Standards, and RUM-139 VL-ASROC Antisubmarine Rockets, 1 Mk 15 Close In Weapon System (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 Arleigh Burke)
The fourth Gridley (DDG-101) was laid down on 30 July 2004 at Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works; launched on 28 December 2005; sponsored by Mrs. Catherine W. Forst, the late Capt. Gridley’s great-great granddaughter; and commissioned on 10 February 2007 at the Port of Miami-Dade, Fla., Cmdr. Stephen A. Shinego in command.
Operations Specialist 1st Class Korey Herinckx of the ships company joyfully sweeps his family into his arms as Gridley arrives at her new home port of San Diego, Calif., 21 March 2007. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kathleen Gorby, U.S. Navy Photograph 070321-N-4776G-130, Navy NewsStand)
Gridley returns to San Diego from a six-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, 5 February 2013. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Rosalie Garcia, U.S. Navy Photograph 130205-N-DH124-020, Navy NewsStand)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) advances across Iraq and Syria in 2014 led the coalition to launch strikes to destroy the Islamic extremist organization. The U.S.-led coalition gradually expanded these battles to contain ISIL, subsequently designating the fighting as Operation Inherent Resolve. Gridley deployed with the Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Carrier Strike Group, also comprising Destroyer Squadron 1, guided missile cruiser Bunker Hill (CG-52), and guided missile destroyers Dewey (DDG-105) and Sterett (DDG-104), to the Fifth and Seventh Fleets, 22 August 2014–4 June 2015. She screened Carl Vinson during Inherent Resolve, and the aircraft of Carrier Air Wing 17 flew 12,300 sorties, including 2,382 combat missions, from the carrier’s flight deck, dropping more than half a million pounds of ordnance against ISIL.
Sailors laboriously move a pallet of supplies across Gridley’s flight deck during a vertical replenishment with Military Sealift Command-manned oiler Joshua Humphreys (T-AO-188) in the Gulf of Oman, 2 December 2014. The Seahawk that just delivered the pallet returns to Joshua Humphreys - in the right background of the picture. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bryan Jackson, U.S. Navy Photograph 141202-N-DJ750-023, Navy NewsStand)
Detailed history under construction.
Mark L. Evans
23 June 2015