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Monterey IV (CG-61)


United States General Zachary Taylor led the Army of Occupation, a mixed force of Texas Rangers, regulars, and volunteers, to victory against Mexican General Pedro de Ampudea, who led the Army of the North, at the Battle of Monterey, fought at Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, from 21-24 September 1846.

The fourth ship named Monterey. The first ship named Monterey, a steam screw tug, was built as Monitor but renamed Monterey on 18 May 1863, and served from 1863-1892. The second Monterey (Monitor No. 6), was reclassified to BM-6 on 17 July 1920, and served from 1893-1921. The third Monterey (CVL-26), a small aircraft carrier, was laid down on 29 December 1941 as light cruiser Dayton (CL-78); reclassified to an aircraft carrier (CV‑26) on 27 March 1942; renamed Monterey on 31 March 1942; reclassified to CVL‑26 on 15 July 1943; reclassified to an auxiliary aircraft transport (AVT‑2) on 15 May 1959, and served from 1943-1971.

(CG-61: 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 46 torpedoes, aircraft 2 Sikorsky SH-60B Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) Mk III Seahawks; class Ticonderoga)

The fourth Monterey (CG-61) was laid down on 19 April 1987 at Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works; launched on 23 October 1988; sponsored by Mrs. Sally I. Hardisty, wife of Adm. Huntington Hardisty, Commander Pacific Command; and commissioned on 16 June 1990, at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., Capt. Joel B. Heaton in command.

Monterey (CG-61) IV 1990-Seal


General Zachary Taylor leads his men into battle, leg slung over the saddle atop his white stallion “Old Whitie,” before the heavily defended Independence Hill, the turning point in the Battle of Monterey. Black Fort, a stone work that protected the city, rises in the background.


The central shield represents AEGIS, the impenetrable defensive shield of the Greek god Zeus. The Surface Warfare Insignia appears over AEGIS, symbolizing the three dimensional (Air, Surface, and Underwater) threat. The AEGIS elongated octagon covers this symbol. This octagon is familiar to people who view the cruiser’s sophisticated radar array. A dark blue anchor centered on the octagon characterizes seapower, strength, and Navy tradition. The gold star depicts battle stars earned by small aircraft carrier Monterey (CVL-26) during World War II. The principle colors, red and gold, establish bravery and excellence as traits honored on board Monterey (CG-61).


“Rough in Battle and Ready in Peace” originates from Zachary Taylor’s nickname of “Old Rough and Ready,” which he earned fighting the Seminoles in Florida, and later used as a campaign slogan for his election to the office of President of the United States.

Monterey operated at times with aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) during a deployment to the Fifth and Sixth Fleets (10 September 2008-18 April 2009). Theodore Roosevelt conducted a passing exercise with a South African submarine, and an Atlas Oryx helicopter of the South African Air Force’s No. 22 Squadron performed cross-deck training on board the carrier, while in South African waters. Theodore Roosevelt then entered Table Bay, South Africa (3-6 October). The event marked the first visit by a U.S. carrier to the port following the abolition of the South African government’s apartheid policy. An AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300 Mk. 64 maritime helicopter of No. 22 Squadron photographed the carrier as she sailed into the bay. Because of the great size of Theodore Roosevelt, the ship anchored in the bay between Robben Island and Milnerton beach, at 0730 on 3 October.

Rough seas, meanwhile, compelled Monterey to anchor in the bay temporarily prior to mooring at Cape Town. The weather further interfered with a reception for distinguished American and South African visitors scheduled to be held on board the carrier, and the gathering thus shifted to the cruiser. Theodore Roosevelt took on supplies while at the port, and on 5 October, Seahawks of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS) 3 flew cargo to the ship. Following her departure from Table Bay, Theodore Roosevelt participated in a theater security cooperation exercise with South African frigate Isandlwana (F.146), patrol boat Isaac Dyobia (P.1565), and support vessel Drakensburg (A.301), together with French frigate Floréal (F.730), on 9 October.

Monterey (CG-61) IV 1990-11237753435_916f3d704a_o
The ship fires her forward 5-inch gun while participating in a NATO exercise in the Mediterranean during a deployment to the Sixth and Fifth Fleets, 5 December 2013. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Billy Ho, U.S. Navy Photograph Series 11237753435_916f3d704a_o, Commander Naval Forces Europe-Africa Sixth Fleet)
Monterey (CG-61) IV 1990-11237756745_15b92efbe7_o
Two French Dassault-Breguet Super Étendards hurtle past the ship during the exercise, 5 December 2013. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Billy Ho, U.S. Navy Photograph Series 11237753435_916f3d704a_o, Commander Naval Forces Europe-Africa Sixth Fleet)
Monterey (CG-61) IV 1990-140102-N-QL471-164
Monterey crosses the Atlantic beneath a brilliant sun during the voyage, 2 January 2014. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Billy Ho, U.S. Navy Photograph 140102-N-QL471-164, Navy NewsStand)

The Syrian regime killed at least 45 people and sickened hundreds of others in a chemical weapons attack on Douma, Syria, on 7 April 2018.

“This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime,” President Donald J. Trump said during an announcement from the White House on 13 April. “The evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not actions of a man; they are crimes of a monster instead.”

“As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad [Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad] regime,” Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis said at a Pentagon news conference on 13 April. “On April 7, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents. We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable.”

On the night of 13 April, U.S., British, and French servicemembers attacked the Syrian chemical arsenal. Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White and Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, USMC, the Joint Staff director, briefed the press from the Pentagon the following day, saying that the operation appeared to be successful and that the allies did not suffer any casualties.

White said the attack on the people in Douma “demanded a response,” and the coalition consequently targeted the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons infrastructure. “We launched these strikes to limit Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons in the future,” she said. “We successfully hit every target,” White summarized.

Coalition forces struck three distinct military chemical weapons targets. “The three facilities are -- or more appropriately, were -- the fundamental components of the regime’s chemical weapons warfare infrastructure,” McKenzie observed.

The first target comprised a scientific research center near Barzah in the greater Damascus area. The military facility operated as a center for research, development, production, and testing of chemical and biological agents, the general revealed. The other targets lay in two locations near the city of Homs. The Him Shinshar chemical weapons storage facility lay west of Homs. “We assess this was the primary location of Syrian sarin and precursor production equipment,” McKenzie said. “The third target…contained both a chemical weapons storage facility and an important command post.”

“I would use three words to describe the operation: Precise, overwhelming and effective,” the general said.

The Department of Defense releases a chart showing the locations of the Syrian chemical weapons facilities, 13 April 2018. (Defense Chart No. 180413-D-ZZ999-002, DoD News)
Caption: The Department of Defense releases a chart showing the locations of the Syrian chemical weapons facilities, 13 April 2018. (Defense Chart No. 180413-D-ZZ999-002, DoD News)

The allies fired 105 missiles at the enemy. Monterey and guided missile destroyer Laboon (DDG-58) launched a combined 37 RGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) while steaming in the Red Sea. Higgins (DDG-76) hurled another 23 Tomahawks while sailing in the Arabian Gulf, and submarine John Warner (SSN-785) launched six UGM-109 TLAMs from the Eastern Mediterranean. Donald Cook (DDG-75) operated in the region but did not fire weapons, according to Pentagon officials. The French Navy meanwhile released footage of their frigate Languedoc (D.653) firing three Missile De Croisière Naval (MdCNs), naval variant land attack cruise missiles.

Allied aircraft also took part in the battle, including two USAF Rockwell B-1B Lancers and their fighter escorts, along with a marine Grumman EA-6B Prowler and tankers. The Prowler helped jam enemy air defense communications and radar, while the Lancers launched 19 extended range AGM-168B Joint Air-To-Surface Standoff Munitions (JASSM-ERs). British Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons and Panavia Tornado GR4s, and French Dassault Rafales and Mirage 2000s, also flew in the fighting.

Planners timed the attacks to occur during the Syrian pre-dawn hours and for all of the weapons to hit at about 0400. Gen. McKenzie noted that the missiles struck their targets within one minute of the designated strike time. The allies fired 76 missiles, numbering 57 TLAMs and 19 JASSMs, into Barzah, and photographs taken after the strikes show that the attack reduced the three buildings there to rubble. Twenty-two weapons, including nine TLAMs, eight British Storm Shadow low-observable air-launched cruise missiles, and the three French MdCNs, slammed into the Him Shinsar chemical weapons storage facility. French jets launched seven Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portèe – Emploi Général (SCALP EG — general purpose long range standoff cruise missiles) against the Him Shinsar command facility.

“None of our aircraft or missiles involved in this operation were successfully engaged by Syrian air defenses,” McKenzie said. “We have no indication that Russian air defenses were employed.” The Syrians launched surface-to-air missiles on a ballistic trajectory that missed the attackers. “Most of the launches occurred after our strike was over,” the general said. “When you shoot iron into the air without guidance, it has to come down somewhere.”

Obviously, the Assad regime did not get the message last year,” Mattis said. The strikes now send a very clear message to Syrian leaders “that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable,” the secretary reflected. “It is a time for all civilized nations to urgently unite to end the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process,” Mattis said.

Detailed history pending.

Mark L. Evans
17 April 2018

Published: Tue Apr 17 15:42:44 EDT 2018