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Truxtun V (DLGN-35)

USS Truxtun (DLGN-35)

Truxtun (DLGN-35) underway at sea, circa 1967-1968. Photograph received from the ship, 1968. Official U.S. Navy photograph from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command, NH 106548.

(DLGN-35: dp. 8,659 (f.); 1. 564'; b. 58'; dr. 30.5'; s. 31 k.; cpl. 492; a. 1 5", 2 3", 1 mis. In., Terrier, ASROC, 6 15.5" ASW tt.; cl. Truxtun)

Thomas Truxtun was born on 17 February 1755 near Hempstead, Long Island, New York. When his father died in 1765, young Truxtun came under the guardianship of John Troup of Jamaica, Long Island. Two years later, at the age of 12, he embarked upon a seafaring career, sailing with Captains Joseph Holmes and James Chambers in the London trade. At 16, he was pressed into service in the Royal Navy on board HMS Prudent. Truxtun's British commanding officer observed the lad's natural abilities and offered him aid in securing a midshipman's warrant. However, Truxtum declined, obtained his release through the good offices of influential friends, and returned to mercantile service. By the age of 20, he had risen to command of Andrew Caldwell in which he brought large quantities of gunpowder into Philadelphia in 1775. Later that year, his ship was seized by HMS Argo off St. Kitts in the West Indies, an act that caused some natural resentment in the young sea captain.

Thomas Truxtun

Thomas Truxtun. Naval History and Heritage Command photograph, NH 119313.

By the time Truxtun made his way back to Philadelphia, the colonies had reached the point of open rupture with the mother country. He signed on as a lieutenant in Congress, the first privateer to be fitted out for service against Great Britain. During the remainder of 1776, Truxtun participated in the capture of several prizes off the coast of Cuba. In 1777, he fitted out Continental Navy sloop Independence and sailed her to the Azores where he took three prizes. Upon his return, Truxtun fitted out Mars and made a highly successful cruise in the English Channel. Successively, he commanded Independence once more and then, in turn, Commerce and St. James.

In addition to privateering, Truxtun's ships also carried cargoes of military stores to the colonies. On one voyage in St. James, he landed a valuable cargo of gunpowder and military stores at Philadelphia. At a dinner to celebrate the feat, George Washington declared that Truxton's services had been worth those of a regiment. On another occasion, St. James, still under his command, carried Thomas Barclay, the American consul, to France.

Following the Revolution, Truxtun resumed his career in mercantile service and commanded Canton, the first Philadelphia ship to enter the China trade. When the United States Navy was organized, he was selected as one of its first six captains on 4 June 1798. He was assigned command of one of the new frigates then under construction. His ship, Constellation, was completed late in June; and he put to sea immediately to prosecute the undeclared naval war with revolutionary France.

The frigate, accompanied by a squadron of smaller ships, operated in the West Indies between St. Christopher and Puerto Rico. On 9 February 1799, Truxtun scored the first of his two most famous victories. After an hour's fight, Constellation battered Insurgente into submission, killing 29 and wounding 44 of the French frigate's crew. Truxtun brought Insurgente into St. Christopher where she was refitted and commissioned in the United States Navy.

Almost a year later, on 1 February 1800, he sighted the 50-gun French frigate La Vengeance, chased her all day, and finally overhauled her that evening. For the next five hours, Truxtun used superior American gunnery and the prevailing heavy seas to his advantage and, by 0100, completely overcame La Vengeance's initial broadside superiority. During the action, the French warship had struck her colors several times, but darkness had prevented Truxtun from seeing the signal. Accordingly, the engagement continued until every gun on board the Frenchman went silent. The French frigate then sheered off to flee, and Constellation's battle-damaged rigging made it impossible for the American frigate to pursue her escaping victim. After refitting Constellation at Jamaica, Truxtun returned with her to Norfolk late in March.

After commanding frigate President in the West Indies from mid-1800 to May 1801, Truxtun was appointed to command the squadron then fitting out for the Tripolitan expedition. Through a misunderstanding engendered by his request to have a captain appointed to command his flagship Chesapeake, Truxtun's unintended resignation from the Navy was accepted in Washington.

Commodore Truxtun retired first to Perth Amboy, N.J., and thence to Philadelphia, where he was active in local politics for the rest of his life. In 1809, he led the agitation in Philadelphia against the Embargo. The following year, he was unsuccessful in his bid for a seat in Congress under the Federalist banner. From 1816 to 1819, Truxtun served as the sheriff of Philadelphia. Commodore Truxtun died at Philadelphia on 5 May 1822 and was interred there at Christ Church.


The fifth Truxtun (DLGN-35) was laid down on 17 June 1963 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Corp.; launched on 19 December 1964; co-sponsored by Mrs. Kirby H. Tappan and Mrs. Scott Umstead; and commissioned on 27 May 1967, Capt. David D. Work in command.

Truxtun cleared Camden on 3 June and headed for the west coast. En route, she visited Yorktown and Norfolk, Va.; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Mar del Plata, Argentina. The guided missile frigate rounded Cape Horn on 10 July and entered the Pacific Ocean. After port calls at Valparaiso, Chile, and Mazatlan, Mexico, Truxtun reached Long Beach, her home port, on 29 July. After conducting trials there in late summer and early fall, she commenced shakedown training in November. She interrupted shakedown twice: on 10 and 11 November for Operation "Bell Anchor" and again from 27 November to 3 December for Exercise "Blue Lotus."

The nuclear-powered warship completed her shakedown training and, on 2 January 1968, got underway for the western Pacific. She made an overnight stop at Pearl Harbor on the 7th and 8th and arrived in Sasebo, Japan, on the 19th. Five days later, Truxtun and Enterprise (CVAN-65) departed Sasebo and headed for the Sea of Japan in response to North Korea's seizure of American environmental research ship Pueblo (AGEB-2). She operated in the Sea of Japan until 16 February when she headed south for her first line period off the coast of Vietnam. After a brief overnight stop in Subic Bay on the 19th and 20th, the guided missile frigate set a course for "Yankee Station" in the Gulf of Tonkin. Truxtun spent the majority of the remainder of her deployment in the Far East operating off the coast of Vietnam. While in the combat zone, she conducted search and rescue (SAR) missions, stood guard against North Vietnamese air attacks as a positive identification radar zone (PIRAZ) picket ship, and served as plane-guard ship for carriers Enterprise, Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31), and Ticonderoga (CVS-14). Truxtun punctuated her line periods with calls at Singapore, Hong Kong, Danang, and Subic Bay. She departed Subic Bay on 6 July, steamed east toward the United States, and reentered Long Beach on the 19th.

For the next four months, the warship operated along the west coast. She acted as plane guard for Ranger (CVA-61), Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), Enterprise, and Yorktown (CVS-10) while those carriers conducted landing qualifications for pilots. In mid-November, Truxtun became an antisubmarine warfare school ship and trained student sailors in the techniques of hunting submarines. Early in December, the guided missile frigate returned to Long Beach to prepare for overhaul. In January 1969, she shifted to Bremerton, Wash., where she entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for refurbishing which lasted until April. The ship then resumed operations along the west coast which continued until 23 September when she got underway for her second deployment with the 7th Fleet.

After a stop at Pearl Harbor, the guided missile frigate arrived at Subic Bay on 20 October. Again, she spent much of her deployment cruising along the coast of embattled Vietnam, taking time periodically to make port calls at Hong Kong, Singapore, and Subic Bay. However, in addition to acting as plane guard for carriers and standing duty as PIRAZ and SAR ship, she also served as a peacetime aerial reconnaissance protective (PAPRO) picket in the Sea of Japan and participated in the Taiwan Strait patrol. Just before departing the Far East, she conducted exercises in the vicinity of Okinawa and then made her final port visit at Sasebo, Japan, from 6 to 11 March 1970.

Truxtun returned to Long Beach on 23 March and launched into a round of inspections and training cruises. In June, the warship embarked 40 NROTC midshipmen for their summer training cruise. During the first part of the cruise, she fired missiles on the Pacific missile range and visited San Francisco and Seattle. On 13 July, she departed Seattle for Pearl Harbor to conduct the second part of the training cruise. On 29 July, Truxtun returned to Long Beach from Hawaii, disembarked the midshipmen, and resumed normal operations. For the remainder of the summer, she conducted exercises and underwent various inspections. From 16 to 25 October, she moored alongside Gompers (AD-37) for a tender availability. Following one more period of exercises at sea late in October, she entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard in preparation for a three-month restricted availability which began on 2 November 1970.

Truxtun's yard work was completed in mid-January, and the frigate then conducted type training and ASW exercises before preparing to deploy to the western Pacific once more. She returned to Long Beach on 22 January 1971 and remained there until 2 February when she got underway for Pearl Harbor. After a two-day layover in Hawaii, she resumed her voyage to the Far East on 9 February and reached Subic Bay on the 20th. During that deployment, Truxtun returned to her familiar routine along the coast of Vietnam, standing PIRAZ picket duty and conducting exercises and tests. She visited Yokosuka, Japan, several times and made single stops at Hong Kong and Sattahip, Thailand. In late April, she also patrolled the Taiwan Strait for two days.

On 6 July, she completed her final line period of the deployment and left the Gulf of Tonkin. After a visit to Subic Bay, she set a course, on the 10th, for Fremantle, Australia, where she spent a week at the end of July. Following port calls at Pago Pago, Samoa, and Pearl Harbor, she moored at Long Beach on 17 August and began post-deployment standdown. Through the end of September, Truxtun received visitors on board and conducted drills to improve and to test her missile and gunnery marksmanship. During the first week in October, a Board of Inspection and Survey inspected Truxtun; and, on the 8th, she began a restricted availability during which she was modified to utilize the Light Airborne Multi-purpose System (LAMPS). From 18 November to 9 December, she conducted post-availability dock trials and type training as well as testing the newly installed LAMPS system. On 14 December 1971, a team from Naval Air Systems Command inspected and certified Truxtun's LAMPS installation.

During the first six months of 1972, Truxtun operated out of her home port in North American coastal waters. She conducted exercises, entertained visitors, and underwent several inspections. Following another restricted availability in June, she spent July preparing for her fourth tour of duty with the 7th Fleet.

On 13 July, she departed Long Beach with HMNZS Canterbury, bound for the western Pacific and for her most eventful series of line periods off Vietnam. She parted company from Canterbury on 18 July and put into Pearl Harbor the following day. On the 23d, Truxtun resumed her voyage to the Orient and moored at Subic Bay on 4 August. Four days later, she loaded ammunition and got underway for her first line period in the Gulf of Tonkin. Over the next five months, the guided missile frigate stood both SAR and PIRAZ picket duty. During these assignments, she evaded at least three typhoons. Her busiest week came between 8 and 15 October, when her radarmen vectored the combat air patrol to six MiG kills, three of which occurred on the 15th alone. By the end of her deployment, she had teamed up with the combat air patrol to down five more, bringing her victory tally to 11 MiG's. In October, November, and January, Truxtun briefly joined the Taiwan Strait patrol. She also made port calls at Sasebo, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Yokosuka. On 21 January 1973, Reeves (DLG-24) relieved her on the north SAR station, and Truxtun headed, via the Taiwan Strait, for Japan. She stopped at Yokosuka from 26 to 30 January before continuing on, via Pearl Harbor, to Long Beach, where she arrived on Lincoln's Birthday.

Post-deployment standdown took up the ensuing month. On 19 March, she moored alongside Piedmont (AD-15) and commenced a tender availability which lasted until late April. Truxtun then resumed operations in and out of Long Beach. In May, she conducted type training off the California coast and naval gunfire support qualifications at San Clemente Island. On 7 June, the warship began embarking Naval Academy and NROTC midshipmen for their summer cruise. For the next two months, she trained the midshipmen, carrying them to ports along the west coast as well as to Hawaii.


Truxtun (DLGN-35) underway. National Archives photograph, USN 1149797.

She debarked the midshipmen on 27 July and began preparations for her fifth deployment to the Far East. On 17 August, Truxtun got underway from Long Beach, bound for the western Pacific. En route, she stopped at Pearl Harbor and reached Subic Bay on 5 September. She punctuated relatively uneventful tours of duty on PIRAZ station in the Gulf of Tonkin with port visits to Sattahip, Singapore, Manila, and Yokosuka. Truxtun also conducted missile exercises and ASW drills. On 9 December, she stood out of Subic Bay, sifted through the San Bernardino Strait, and headed for home. On Christmas Eve 1973, the guided missile frigate moored at Long Beach and began preparations for her first complex overhaul.

On 25 January 1974, Truxtun cleared Long Beach for Bremerton, Wash. Four days later, she entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. There, the warship began a major 18-month overhaul during which her nuclear reactors were "refueled." On 30 June 1975, near the end of that repair period, Truxtun was reclassifled a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser and was redesignated CGN-35. On 31 July, she completed the overhaul and all attendant tests and trials and sailed for San Diego. She arrived in her new home port on 4 August and resumed normal operations in the southern California area. That schedule occupied her for the following 12 months.

On 30 July 1976, the guided missile cruiser headed out of San Diego, bound for the western Pacific. After two weeks of training in the Hawaiian Islands, she continued her voyage west on 16 August; and, after a somewhat circuitous cruise that took her to Wellington in New Zealand and Melbourne in Australia, Truxtun arrived in Subic Bay on 25 September. She conducted operations in the Philippines for about a month and then departed Subic Bay on 28 October, bound for the Indian Ocean and participation in Operation "Midlink 76." She arrived in Karachi, Pakistan, on 9 November for three days of briefings in preparation for the exercise. From 13 to 21 November, the warship joined in the multinational exercise in the waters off the coast of Pakistan. She returned to Karachi at the conclusion of "Midlink" on the 21st and remained there until the 24th at which time she headed back to Subic Bay. Local operations in the Philippines occupied the remainder of the year. From 4 to 13 January 1977, Truxtun made a round-trip voyage to Hong Kong and back. She completed READEX 1-77 between 15 and 21 January and then again headed for the Indian Ocean in company with Enterprise (CVN-65) and Long Beach (CGN-9). En route, she and her travelling companions conducted exercise "Merlion III" with units of the Singapore Armed Forces on the 25th. Truxtun participated in Operation "Houdini" in mid-February and visited Port Victoria in the Seychelle Islands. She returned to Subic Bay on 13 March and, four days later, got underway for the United States.

After an 11-day non-stop voyage, she reentered San Diego on 28 March. The guided missile cruiser conducted a four-week restricted availability and then resumed operations along the California coast. For six months, the warship conducted routine independent ship's exercises, gunnery drills, and antisubmarine warfare training. She spent the month of November at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard undergoing repairs to her nuclear power plant and returned to San Diego on 4 December. For the remaining three weeks of 1977, Truxtun operated out of her home port.

The first three months of 1978 were spent in operations off the west coast in preparation for Truxtun's forthcoming deployment to the western Pacific. The ship departed San Diego on 4 April and spent the next six months in operations with the 7th Fleet which took her as far west as the Arabian Sea and as far south as Perth, Australia. Truxtun returned to San Diego on 27 October. Local operations out of San Diego, following post-deployment standdown, concluded the year.

[awaiting update]

Truxton decommissioned on 11 September 1995, was struck from the Navy list that same day and completed recycling (scrapping) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash., on 16 April 1999.

Truxtun was awarded seven battle stars and the Navy Unit Commendation for service in the Vietnam conflict.

Minor corrections and additions, 7 August 2007

Published: Wed Apr 29 13:45:30 EDT 2020