Andrew Sterett, born in 1760 in Baltimore, Md., was appointed a lieutenant in the Navy on 25 March 1798 and assigned to frigate Constellation as her Third Lieutenant. During the Quasi-War against the French, he served in Constellation when she captured French frigate L'lnsurgente. By 1800, he had risen to First Lieutenant; and he participated in Constellation's action against French frigate La Vengeance. Given command of schooner Enterprise, Lt. Sterett led her in the capture of French privateer V'Amour de la Patrie on Christmas Eve 1800. In June 1801, he sailed in Enterprise from Baltimore for service with the Mediterranean Squadron. While on that voyage, Enterprise engaged and captured 14-gun Tripolitan corsair Tripoli and her 80-man crew. In gratitude, Congress awarded Sterett a sword and commended his crew. Sterett continued his naval career until he resigned his commission in 1805. He died on 9 June 1807, at Lima, Peru.
The fourth U.S. Navy ship named to honor Sterett. The first Sterett (Destroyer No. 27) served from 1910-1935. The second Sterett, also a destroyer (DD-407), served from 1939-1947. The third Sterett, a guided missile frigate (DLG-31), was reclassified to a guided missile cruiser (CG-31) on 1 July 1975, and served from 1967-1994.
(DDG-102: 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 Sterett (DDG-102) was laid down on 17 November 2005 at Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works; launched on 20 May 2007; sponsored by Mrs. Michelle Sterett Bernson; commissioned without ceremony on 26 June 2008 at her building yard; and commissioned on 9 August 2008 at the South Locust Point Marine Terminal, Baltimore, Md., Comdr. Brian B. Eckerle in command.
Celeste represents Sterett’s worldwide mission capabilities, gold and dark blue symbolize the Navy’s traditions. Scarlet denotes courage and the sacrifices made in battle by the three previous ships to bear the name Sterett. The scarlet mullet in base recalls when Sterett (DLG-31) shot down and destroyed a Soviet-built Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17F Fresco with a RIM-2 Terrier surface-to-air missile during the Battle of Dong Hoi in the Vietnam War on 19 April 1972. The mullets on top of the demi-trident represent the three previous ships named Sterett; the trident signifies expertise and mastery at sea. The sword and spy-glass are derived from the insignia of the third Sterett; the sword recalls that awarded to Sterett by Congress for capturing a Tripolitan corsair in 1801, while he commanded Enterprise during the Barbary Wars, the telescope eye-glass symbolizes his outstanding service in the early days of the U.S. Navy. The bordure signifies unity and resolve.
The frigate recalls the battle in which Sterett participated as Third Lieutenant of frigate Constellation when she captured French frigate L'lnsurgente in 1799. The annulet of stars represents the combined battle stars awarded to the second and third Steretts for their World War II and Vietnam War service, respectively.
“Forever Dauntless” (Recalls the “Dauntless” motto of the third Sterett). The motto appears in gold letters on a dark blue scroll doubled gold with dark blue garnishing.
Crewmembers await the command to “board the ship and bring her to life” when Sterett commissions at the South Locust Point Marine Terminal, Baltimore, Md., 9 August 2008. (Chief Musician Stephen Hassay, U.S. Navy Photograph 080809-N-0773H-050, Navy NewsStand)
Following her commissioning, she set course for her home port of Naval Station (NS) San Diego, Calif. While en route, Sterett engaged in various maneuvers and exercises, the highlights of which included meeting with ships from NS Mayport, Fla., during a hurricane evasion exercise, and maneuvering with ships of the Mexican Navy, from 21-24 Aug 2008. She then passed through the Panama Canal on 5 September.
Sterett arrived in San Diego on 23 September 2008. After undergoing various certifications and testing programs, on 2 July 2009, she became a member of Destroyer Squadron 9, bringing the ship one step closer to deployment. In addition, Comdr. Darren McPherson relieved Cmdr. Eckerle as the commanding officer on 2 July. For Sterett, the year 2010 marked increasing concentration on in-port training, upkeep, and maintenance, as well as additional maneuvers and exercises. One of those evolutions involved a trip from San Diego to Esquimalt, Canada, and Everett, Wash., with her sister ship Halsey (DDG-97) from 26-30 April that focused on multi-ship drills and exercises. Following that coastwise trip, she spent the majority of June in port. Sterett received information of her late October deployment date in July and began concentrating on her preparations for that voyage. It had been decided that she would not being deploying with the rest of her Strike Group on 11 September, but instead, would deploy independently.
The ship launches a BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) during a training exercise in southern Californian waters, 22 June 2010. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Carmichael Yepez, U.S. Navy Photograph 100622-N-0775Y-043, Navy NewsStand)
The TLAM hurtles toward its target, 22 June 2010. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Carmichael Yepez, U.S. Navy Photograph 100623-N-0775Y-028, Navy NewsStand)
Following her late October departure, Sterett touched at Saipan, 9-12 November 2010, and then transited the Surigao and Balabac Straits, and the Strait of Malacca, entering the Indian Ocean on 21 November. She arrived at Phuket, Thailand, on 22 November.
While in the western reaches of the Indian Ocean, south of Sri Lanka and India, Sterett received a distress signal from motor tanker Esperanza, located hundreds of miles away, on 2 December 2010. Sterett answered the signal and sped to the scene. Upon arrival, she found that Esperanza had sailed from Mumbai, India, on 15 November and lost propulsion two days out. Although Sterett’s sailors attempted to repair the ship, from 3-13 December; in the end she was deemed irreparable, and Sterett embarked her crew and transported them to Oman.
Subsequently, Sterett steamed through the Strait of Hormuz on 15 December 2010, and then rendezvoused with aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) and Military Sealift Command-manned fast combat support ship Rainier (T-AOE-7). She then re-transited the Strait of Hormuz two days after Christmas. In January 2011, Sterett carried out the role of “shotgun” and Sector Air Defense Commander for the Abraham Lincoln Battle Group while the carrier launched strikes into Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
A Sailor manning a small attack craft team station on board guided missile cruiser Cape St. George (CG-71) watches for suspicious vessels as Sterett (right) leads Abraham Lincoln and the cruiser through the Strait of Hormuz into the Arabian Gulf, 14 February 2012. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher S. Johnson, U.S. Navy Photograph 120214-N-VY256-063, Navy NewsStand)
Detailed history under construction.
Julie Leighton, Robert J. Cressman, and Mark L. Evans
1 July 2015