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JUNE 27, 1975

 

The heavy cruiser USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA 148) is named in honor of the shipbuilding city of southern Virginia. The last of 18 cruisers built by the NEWPORT NEWS Shipbuilding and Drydock Company between 1902 and 1949, NEWPORT NEWS was commissioned on January 29, 1949.

NEWPORT NEWS NEWPORT NEWS served as the flagship for the SIXTH FLEET on eight occasions during its early years of service. The cruiser responded to the Syrian crisis in 1957 and again, in 1958, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent U.S. Marines into Lebanon. In 1960, when an earthquake shattered the city of Agadir, Morocco, and left 12,000 dead and missing, NEWPORT NEWS raced more than 1,200 miles in 40 hours to aid the stricken city.

In 1962, NEWPORT NEWS became permanent flagship for the SECOND FLEET. In that same year and with the Commander, SECOND FLEET onboard, she headed the blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1965, NEWPORT NEWS served as flagship and landed the first detachment of U.S. Marines in the Dominican Republic when a revolt broke out that spring.

NEWPORT NEWS NEWPORT NEWS was the last naval vessel in the world with rapid-fire weaponry of heavy caliber. Her fire-power includes three turrets, each housing three rapid-fire 8-inch/55 caliber guns. A secondary gun battery is composed of 12 dual purpose 5-inch /38 caliber guns.

During three deployments to the waters of North and South Viet Nam, NEWPORT NEWS called on all of her combat capabilities. From October 1967 to April 1968, the ship supported the SEVENTH FLEET's effort to stem the flow of enemy supplies and war goods into South Viet Nam. Firing more than 59,000 rounds, the ship earned the Navy Unit Commendation. For support of Allied Forces in South Viet Nam from December 1968 to June 1969, the cruiser earned the Meritorious Unit Citation. The third, longest and most demanding tour in Vietnamese waters lasted from April to December 1972. During this time, NEWPORT NEWS lead the first cruiser-destroyer surface actions against the Haiphong Harbor complex on two occasions. She also made record-breaking performances in firing and at-sea replenishment of 8-inch ammunition.

NEWPORT NEWS has deployed on countless occasions to the waters of Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, North America, South America, the Caribbean and Asia. The cruiser has hosted tens of thousands of visitors, from the man on the street to Kings and Queens. NEWPORT NEWS will end her active service on June 27, 1975, after 26-years of naval service. -USN- NO. 127-75

 

USS NEWPORT NEWS DECOMMISSIONED (128-75 JUNE 13, 1975)
FIFTH NAVAL DISTRICT NEWS RELEASE

After 26-years of service to the United States Navy, the heavy cruiser USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA 148) will be decommissioned. The ceremony will take place at the St. Helena Annex of the Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility on Friday, June 27th at 11 a.m.

Captain Walter F. Zartman, USN, Deputy Director of the Strategic Warning Staff, Washington, D.C. will be the guest speaker for the decommissioning ceremony. Captain Zartman served as Commanding Officer of USS NEWPORT NEWS from March 1971 to May 1973.

The heavy cruiser received her name after a petition, sponsored by the Peninsula Junior Chamber of Commerce successfully solicited over 40,000 signatures in support of Virginia's shipbuilding city. The signature drive began on April 17, 1944 and within five days a telegram was sent to the then Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, requesting that CA-148 be named for the city in which she was built.

When commissioned on January 29, 1949, USS NEWPORT NEWS was the world's largest heavy cruiser--by half-a-foot. The last of 18 cruiser built by the NEWPORT NEWS Shipbuilding and Drydock Company between 1902 and 1949, NEWPORT NEWS underwent extensive modernization in 1962 in order to better fill her new role as permanent flagship of the SECOND FLEET. From April 1962 to January 1975, she carried the three-star flag of 11 SECOND FLEET Vice Admirals.

Six United States Presidents have been elected and served in office since NEWPORT NEWS was commissioned over a quarter of a century ago. During her early years of service, the cruiser served as flagship for the SIXTH FLEET on eight occasions. She responded to the Syrian crisis in 1957 and again, in 1958, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent U.S. Marines into Lebanon. In 1960, when an earthquake shattered the city of Agadir, Morocco and left 12,000 dead and missing, NEWPORT NEWS raced more than 1,200 miles in 40 hours to aid the stricken city.

In 1962, NEWPORT NEWS became permanent flagship for the SECOND FLEET. In that same year Commander, SECOND FLEET, flying his flag from NEWPORT NEWS, was in tactical command of the U.S. blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In spring 1965, when a revolt broke out in the Dominican Republic, NEWPORT NEWS, serving as flagship, landed the first detachment of U.S. Marines sent to protect American lives and property.

NEWPORT NEWS NEWPORT NEWS was the last naval vessel in the world with rapid-fire weaponry of heavy caliber. During three deployments to the waters of North and South Viet Nam, she called on all of her combat capabilities. From October 1967 to April 1968, she supported the SEVENTH FLEET's effort to stem the flow of enemy supplies and war goods into South Viet Nam. Firing more than 59,000 rounds, the ship earned the Navy Unit Commendation. For support of Allied Forced in South Viet Nam from December 1968 to June 1969, the cruiser earned the Meritorious Unit Citation.

The third, longest and most demanding tour in Vietnamese waters lasted from April to December 1972. During this time NEWPORT NEWS lead the first cruiser-destroyer surface actions of the war against the Haiphong Harbor complex on two occasions. Tragedy marked the final combat tour when, on October 1, an explosion in the center gun of Turret II rocked the ship during a shore fire support mission. Twenty crewmen were killed and 26 others injured. Only heroic and speedy action by damage control teams prevented the resulting fire from engulfing the ship. NEWPORT NEWS steamed into Subic Bay for repairs following the explosion. She returned for two more gunline tours before returning to Norfolk on December 24th. This final deployment earned her a second Navy Unit Citation.

NEWPORT NEWS NEWPORT NEWS has deployed on training and NATO exercises in the waters of Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, North America, South America, and the Caribbean. During her 26-years of service, she has hosted tens of thousands of visitors, from kings and queens to the man on the street. The ship has steamed to five continents, visited more than 20 countries, and sailed on two oceans and eight major seas.

The last of the heavy cruisers, USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA 148), is the final reminder of the era of big gunships. For the thousands of sailors and officers who have served onboard the "Grey Ghost," and have walked her teakwood decks, it's an era they will never forget.

 

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