The first U.S. Navy ship named to honor Grace Murray Hopper, 9 December 1906-1 January 1992. For additional information see: Grace Murray Hopper.
(DDG-70: displacement 8,960; length 505'; beam 66'; draft 32'; speed 30+ knots; complement 356; 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, 8 RGM-84 Harpoons (2 Mk 141 launchers), 2 Mk 15 Close In Weapon Systems (CIWS), 4 .50 caliber machine guns, and 6 Mk 32 torpedo tubes, aircraft operate (but not embark) 1 Sikorsky SH-60B Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) Mk III Seahawk; class Arleigh Burke)
Hopper (DDG-70) was laid down on 23 February 1995 at Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works; launched on 6 January 1996; sponsored by Mrs. Mary M. Westcote, sister of the late Rear Adm. Hopper; and commissioned on 6 September 1997 at San Francisco, Calif., Cmdr. Thomas D. Crowley in command.
Blue and gold are the colors traditionally associated with the U.S. Navy. The lion, a symbol of strength and courage, stands for Hopper’s characteristics of survivability and alludes to the ship's motto of “Dare and Do”. The rampant lion is adapted from the arms of Scotland and refers to Rear Adm. Hopper’s heritage. Gold stands for excellence; blue represents devotion to duty.
The lozenge, traditionally used in the coats of arms of women, honors Rear Adm. Hopper. Her distinction as the first woman to achieve flag rank is represented by the single silver star. The trident symbolizes her love for the Navy and her naval service, the focus of her life’s work. The lightning bolts, framing the bottom of the shield, connote the image of a ship's hull cutting through the sea. They also represent the sophistication and power in the Aegis warship, in large part made possible by Hopper’s pioneering work in the computer field. The wreath consists of laurel and oak representing honor and strength. Red denotes courage and sacrifice; gold stands for excellence.
The Latin phrase Aude et Effice translates into the English phrase “Dare and Do,” in the context of a command. Hopper frequently used that phrase when issuing advice, and it captured her quest to push the limits of conventional thinking to look beyond the norm for innovative solutions and approaches to problem solving. That simple Latin phrase exemplified the essence of her spirit while paying tribute to her significant academic achievements.
A Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk of her embarked Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (Light) Detachment lifts off to search for smugglers during maritime interception operations in the Arabian Gulf, 1 August 2002. (Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Michael Sandberg, U.S. Navy Photograph 020801-N-4374S-006, Navy NewsStand)
Hopper follows a tug suspected of pulling barges suspected of smuggling Iraqi oil in defiance of UN sanctions, in the Arabian Gulf, 4 August 2002. (Chief Photographer’s Mate Johnny R. Wilson, U.S. Navy Photograph 020804-N-3580W-009, Navy NewsStand)
Sailors reported seeing IT2 Menelek Brown of the ships company at 0430 on 3 January 2008, but Menelek failed to muster at 0730 that morning, while Hopper carried out maritime security operations in the Arabian Sea. Crewmembers unsuccessfully searched the destroyer for their shipmate, and Hopper sounded “man overboard.” At 1505 the ship commenced a coordinated search of the surrounding area with guided missile cruiser Port Royal (CG-73) and guided missile frigate Ingraham (FFG-61). A Lockheed P-3C Orion assisted the ships as they conducted an “expanding square” search from the position 18°26ˈ21̎N, 63°53ˈ35̎E, but they ended their search the following day without finding Brown.
Hopper led Port Royal and Ingraham (in that order) in column through the Strait of Hormuz into the Arabian Gulf, beginning their passage at 0334 on 6 January 2008. The Iranian Coast Guard routinely queried the three ships at 0615, and the Americans responded professionally and continued their voyage. At 0800, however, five Iranian speedboats, likely operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Revolutionary Guard Navy (IRGCN), dangerously closed the column at high speed from off Hopper’s starboard bow. The Iranians split up into two groups in an apparent attempt to flank the U.S. ships. Three of the speedboats hovered ominously while the other two boats crossed Hopper’s bow and passed down her port side at about 200 yards, came about, and plunged toward the destroyer a second time at high speed. The Americans blared horns and whistles and radioed the revolutionaries: “You are straying into danger.” Captain David B. Adler, Port Royal’s commanding officer, observed that one of the Iranian boats appeared to have a weapon mount though “it was just too far away to tell.”
The IRGCN dropped white box-like objects into the water, closed, and then came about. The ships continued on but did not retrieve the boxes for identification, and exited the strait at 1130. Some officers suspected the Iranians of practicing mining the strategic waterway. “Mining in international waters is an act of war,” Rear Adm. R. Guy Zeller, who had commanded the Enterprise (CVN-65) Carrier Battle Group during Operation Praying Mantis -- strikes against the Iranians on 18 April 1988 in retaliation for the mining of guided missile frigate Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) -- observed. “Somebody would have to do something about it, and that somebody would be the United States.”
The Iranian speedboats dangerously close the U.S. formation, 6 January 2008. (Unattributed U.S. Navy Photograph 080106-N-0000X-008, Navy NewsStand)
One of the boats recklessly races by the U.S. ships. (Unattributed U.S. Navy Photograph 080106-N-0000X-005, Navy NewsStand)
Hopper fires a Standard SM3 Block 1A surface-to-air missile that intercepts and destroys a simulated ballistic missile nearly 100 miles above the earth during Stellar Avenger, a ballistic missile defense exercise in Hawaiian waters, 30 July 2009. (Unattributed U.S. Navy Photograph 090730-N-XXXXX-001, Navy NewsStand)
Detailed history under construction.
Mark L. Evans
12 December 2014