The fourth U.S. Navy ship to honor Commodore Thomas Macdonough (1783-1825); see Macdonough I for biography.
(DLG‑8: displacement 5,368; length 513'0"; beam 53'0"; draft 24'6"; speed 35 knots; complement 377; armament 1 5-inch, 2 3-inch, Terrier, ASROC; class Coontz)
The fourth Macdonough was projected as DL‑8, but redesignated DLG‑8 prior to keel laying by the Fore River Shipyard, Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass., on 15 April 1958; launched 9 July 1959; sponsored by Mrs. Agnes Macdonough Wilson, great‑granddaughter of Commodore Macdonough; and commissioned on 4 November 1961, Cmdr. William G. Hurley in command.
The guided‑missile frigate Macdonough, having undergone an extended shakedown and training period, reported to her home port at Charleston, S.C., on 23 September 1962 and assumed duties as flagship for Commander, Cruiser‑Destroyer Flotilla 6, Atlantic Fleet. A, month later she joined other units of the Second Fleet in enforcing the Cuban quarantine, remaining with that force until it was dissolved on Thanksgiving Day. The first three months of 1963 were spent firing missiles off the coast of Florida under the auspices of the Operational Test and Evaluation Force. She returned to Charleston in March and operated in the Charleston‑Norfolk area until departing on her first Sixth Fleet deployment 4 June.
The frigate cruised the Mediterranean until the following fall, taking part in scheduled fleet exercises and training operations. Upon her return to the East Coast, 26 October, she resumed operations in the Charleston area. With the new year, 1964, Macdonough steamed south to Puerto Rico for training exercises with the Second Fleet. During these exercises, she participated in an Atlantic Fleet live‑firing antiair warfare exercise, which included missile firing at drone aircraft. The ship returned to Charleston for 2 weeks in February, and then put out to sea again for carrier exercises off the East Coast followed by helicopter evaluation tests in the Atlantic.
Macdonough's second Mediterranean deployment, 10 July to 22 December 1964, was followed by a six‑month overhaul at the Charleston [S.C.] Naval Shipyard. Coastal operations out of home port occupied the frigate until mid-September 1965, when she proceeded to the Atlantic Fleet Missile Range and then to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for training exercises. Having returned to her home port in early November, Macdonough prepared for another Mediterranean deployment, departing Charleston at the end of the month.
On 8 April 1966, Macdonough returned to South Carolina and once again resumed operations and fleet and squadron exercises along the southern East Coast and in the Caribbean. During the summer a midshipman training cruise took the frigate to several east coast ports and to the Caribbean. After participating in LANTFLEX 66, and AAW/ASW/amphibious exercise, she returned to Charleston on 16 December.
After conducting further exercises off the east coast, Macdonough prepared once again for oversea movement; and, on 2 May 1967, she departed Charleston for her fourth Mediterranean cruise. She conducted summer midshipmen training, visited various Mediterranean ports and participated in several joint exercises with ships of Allied navies, returning to South Carolina 28 October.
Macdonough continued operating with the Second Fleet until May 1968 when she again deployed to the Mediterranean, returning to her home port in September. She remained off the east coast into 1969.
Ultimately, Macdonough, having been reclassified as a guided missile destroyer, DDG-39, was decommissioned on 23 October 1992, and was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 November 1992. She was sold for dismantling [scrapping/recycling] on 15 September 2004.
Interim update, Robert J. Cressman
4 May 2022