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Mitscher II (DDG-57)

1994-

Marc Andrew Mitscher, 26 January 1887-3 February 1947. For additional information see Marc Andrew Mitscher.

The second ship named Mitscher. The first was laid down as a destroyer (DD‑927) on 3 October 1949, reclassified to a frigate (DL‑2) on 2 February 1951, and reclassified to a guided missile destroyer (DDG-35) on 15 March 1967. She served from 1953-1978.

For the ship’s Command Operations Reports see Mitscher (DDG-57).

II

(DDG-57: displacement 8,960; length 505'; beam 66'; draft 31'; 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)

The second Mitscher (DDG-57) was laid down on 12 February 1992 at Pascagoula, Miss., by Ingalls Shipbuilding Division, Litton Industries; launched on 7 May 1993; sponsored by Mrs. Elizabeth Ferguson, niece of the late Adm. Mitscher; and commissioned on 10 December 1994 at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., Cmdr. Roy J. Balaconis in command.

Mitscher began her service with Destroyer Squadron 2 when she moored to Pier 3 at her initial home port of Naval Station (NS) Norfolk, Va., on 18 December 1994. The ship, Cmdr. William P. McKinley in command, steamed around South America and shifted from the Atlantic Fleet to the Pacific Fleet when she took part in Partnership of the Americas 2007. She took Salt Lake City (SSN-716) in tow from Portsmouth, N.H., to Cristóbal, Panama (23 March-7 April 2007), while the attack submarine, which was decommissioned on 15 January 2006, made her final voyage to the breakers at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash. At times during the following months, Mitscher operated with Task Group (TG) 40.0, also consisting of dock landing ship Pearl Harbor (LSD-52), guided missile frigate Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58), and Chilean frigate Almirante Latorre (FFG.14) - which sailed nearly 4,000 miles from Chilean waters to participate in the task group’s evolutions.

Those ships took part in Partnership of the Americas 2007, consisting of three phases. Phase 1 consisted of the Atlantic and Pacific sections of UNITAS 48-07, a multinational exercise designed to enhance interoperability between the participants, as well as Teamwork South, a similar but localized Chilean bi-annual exercise. Phase 2 comprised a variety of theater security cooperation events in the Caribbean and Central America running the gamut from military-to-military cooperation to humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, combined training, exercises and operations, intelligence sharing, and maritime security assistance. Phase 3 encompassed Panamax 07, an annual exercise designed to assist the Panamanians in protecting the sovereignty and security of the Panama Canal.

Mitscher visited Salvador, Brazil (18-20 April 2007), Montevideo, Uruguay (26-30 April), and Ingeniero White, Argentina (2-4 May). The ship briefly took part in UNITAS Atlantic (4-11 May) with: Argentinean destroyer Almirante Brown (D.10), corvettes Gómez Roca (P.46) and Spiro (P.43), and tanker Patagonia (B.1); Brazilian multipurpose frigate Independência (F.44), antisubmarine frigate Bosísio (F.48), and tanker Almirante Gastão Motta (G.23); and Spanish frigate Santa María (F.81). Mitscher sent one of her officers to Gómez Roca and another to Independência, and welcomed Argentinean and Brazilian sailors who trained alongside their U.S. counterparts. The exercises included flight operations, underway replenishments, live fire shoots, tactical maneuvering, and passing through aerial, surface, and submarine threats to prepare for the final battle problem, which the ship’s historian described as “an all encompassing event between two powerful forces that escalated into a wartime scenario” – Mitscher operated as the opposing force. She then returned to Ingeniero White (11-14 May).  

The ship sailed through the first half of her passage of the Strait of Magellan (15-17 May), visited Punta Arenas, Chile (17-22 May), and embarked four Chilean naval pilots and continued through the remainder of the strait and the Chilean inland waterway (22-29 May). This part of the voyage challenged the navigating and seamanship skills of her crewmembers as the destroyer threaded her way carefully through the dangerous English Narrows, sailing between numerous rocks and shoals with barely 80 yards of water on either side, while making two greater than 90 degree turns. Mitscher visited Mejillones (29 May-3 June) and Iquique, Chile (6-8 June). She participated with the Argentineans, British, Chileans, and French in Teamwork South (8-10 June), and returned to Iquique (10-15 June).

Mitscher stood out of that port for UNITAS Pacific (15 June-2 July), which included a scripted scenario that involved two multinational forces and a potential war at sea, the purpose of which was to test the ability of the participants to respond to short notice tasking and crisis action planning. The ship operated with TG 40.0, U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mohawk (WMEC-913), Chilean oiler Araucano (AO.53), Colombian frigate Independiente (FL.54), and Peruvian frigate Palacios (FM.56) and submarine Arica (SS.36). She then celebrated the United States’ Independence Day at Callao, Peru (2-6 July). The ship resumed her voyage and reached Vasco Nunez Balboa, Panama, for a brief visit (10-11 July), before passing through the Panama Canal from midnight to 0400 on 11 July, refueling at NS Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on 15 July, and carrying out repairs at NS Mayport, Fla. (18-30 July). She returned to sea for additional operations, followed by visits to Fort de France, Martinique (8-12 August 2007) and Bridgetown, Barbados (14-19 August). Cmdr. Daniel B. Uhls relieved Cmdr. McKinley as the commanding officer at Bridgetown, but the destroyer sortied to avoid Hurricane Dean, visiting Castries, St. Lucia (21-24 August). Mitscher took part in Panamax 07 (29 August-7 September), visited Colon, Panama (7-8 September), picked up “Tigers” -- some of the crewmembers’ dependents -- at Mayport on 15 September, and concluded her participation in Partnership of the Americas 2007 when she returned to Norfolk on 18 September 2007.

Mitscher (DDG-57) 1994-070620-N-8861F-054
Mitscher displays her sleek lines during Partnership of the Americas 2007, 28 June 2007. (Unattributed, U.S. Navy Photograph 070620-N-8861F-054, Navy NewsStand)
Mitscher (DDG-57) 1994-110205-N-LY640-020
The ship sails in the Atlantic silhouetted against a stunning sunset, 7 February 2011. (Unattributed, U.S. Navy Photograph 110205-N-LY640-020, Navy NewsStand)
Mitscher (DDG-57) 1994-110520-N-TB177-009
The Stars and Stripes snap proudly in the wind as Mitscher crosses the Atlantic with the George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) Carrier Strike Group, 20 May 2011. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin J. Steinberg, U.S. Navy Photograph 110520-N-TB177-009, Navy NewsStand)

Detailed history under construction.

Mark L. Evans

6 November 2014

Published:Wed Jun 10 10:44:08 EDT 2015