USS Long Beach (CGN-9)

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USS Long Beach
USS Long Beach
Career (US)
Name:Long Beach
Namesake:Long Beach, California
Ordered:15 October 1956
Builder:Bethlehem Steel Co., Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts
Laid down:2 December 1957
Launched:14 July 1959
Sponsored by:Mrs. Craig Hosmer
Acquired:1 September 1961
Commissioned:9 September 1961
Decommissioned:1 May 1995
(deactivated on 2 July 1994)
In service:0
Out of service:1
Reclassified:as CGN-9 1 July 1958
Struck:1 May 1995
Fate:

Superstructure and Nuclear Reactor recycled at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard 25 September 2002.

Hull auctioned for scrap to Tacoma Metals on 12 July 2012 for around $900,000
General characteristics
Class & type:Long Beach-class cruiser
Displacement:15,540 tons
Length:721 ft 3 in (219.84 m)
Beam:71 ft 6 in (21.79 m)
Draft:30 ft 7 in (9.32 m)
Propulsion:2 C1W nuclear reactors; 2 General Electric turbines; 80,000 shp (60 MW); 2 propellers
Speed:30 knots (56 km/h)
Range:Nuclear
Complement:1160 officers and men
Sensors and
processing systems:
1 AN/SPS-10 surface search radar[1]
AN/SPS-12 search radar[1]
AN/SPS-32 bearing and range radar[1]
AN/SPS-33 target tracking radar[1]
AN/SPS-48 3D air search radar
AN/SPS-49 2D air search radar
2 AN/SPG-49 Talos fire control radar[1][2]
4 AN/SPG-55 Terrier fire control radar[1][2]
AN/SQS-23 SONAR[1]
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
AN/SLQ-32
Armament:Two twin Terrier guided-missile launchers
One twin Talos missile launcher (later removed)
One 8-cell ASROC launcher
Two 5 inch guns
Two triple 12.75 inch ASW torpedo tubes
launchers for 8 Harpoon missiles added later
two Armored Box Launchers for a total of eight Tomahawk cruise missiles replaced the Talos launcher
Aircraft carried:None. landing pad available for one helicopter
Motto:"Strike Hard, Strike Home"
 
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For other ships of the same name, see USS Long Beach.
USS Long Beach
USS Long Beach
Career (US)
Name:Long Beach
Namesake:Long Beach, California
Ordered:15 October 1956
Builder:Bethlehem Steel Co., Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts
Laid down:2 December 1957
Launched:14 July 1959
Sponsored by:Mrs. Craig Hosmer
Acquired:1 September 1961
Commissioned:9 September 1961
Decommissioned:1 May 1995
(deactivated on 2 July 1994)
In service:0
Out of service:1
Reclassified:as CGN-9 1 July 1958
Struck:1 May 1995
Fate:

Superstructure and Nuclear Reactor recycled at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard 25 September 2002.

Hull auctioned for scrap to Tacoma Metals on 12 July 2012 for around $900,000
General characteristics
Class & type:Long Beach-class cruiser
Displacement:15,540 tons
Length:721 ft 3 in (219.84 m)
Beam:71 ft 6 in (21.79 m)
Draft:30 ft 7 in (9.32 m)
Propulsion:2 C1W nuclear reactors; 2 General Electric turbines; 80,000 shp (60 MW); 2 propellers
Speed:30 knots (56 km/h)
Range:Nuclear
Complement:1160 officers and men
Sensors and
processing systems:
1 AN/SPS-10 surface search radar[1]
AN/SPS-12 search radar[1]
AN/SPS-32 bearing and range radar[1]
AN/SPS-33 target tracking radar[1]
AN/SPS-48 3D air search radar
AN/SPS-49 2D air search radar
2 AN/SPG-49 Talos fire control radar[1][2]
4 AN/SPG-55 Terrier fire control radar[1][2]
AN/SQS-23 SONAR[1]
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
AN/SLQ-32
Armament:Two twin Terrier guided-missile launchers
One twin Talos missile launcher (later removed)
One 8-cell ASROC launcher
Two 5 inch guns
Two triple 12.75 inch ASW torpedo tubes
launchers for 8 Harpoon missiles added later
two Armored Box Launchers for a total of eight Tomahawk cruise missiles replaced the Talos launcher
Aircraft carried:None. landing pad available for one helicopter
Motto:"Strike Hard, Strike Home"

USS Long Beach (CLGN-160/CGN-160/CGN-9) was a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser in the United States Navy. She was the only ship of her class.

Long Beach was the first "all-new" cruiser designed and constructed after World War II (all others were completions or conversions of cruisers begun or completed during the war.)[citation needed][disputed ] She was the third Navy ship named after the city of Long Beach, California, and the last ship built on a traditional "cruiser hull" in the U.S. Navy; all subsequent cruisers were built on scaled-up destroyer hulls. This led to the slogan she carried in her later years: "The Only Real Cruiser."[citation needed]

Long Beach was decommissioned in 1995 and was scrapped at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

Configuration[edit]

Artist's concept of nuclear powered cruiser design from 1956.

The ship was designed as an "all-missile" ship from the very beginning, but was fitted with two 5"/38 caliber gun mounts amidships on the orders of President Kennedy. Long Beach was also the last cruiser built on a traditional long, lean cruiser hull; later new-build cruisers were actually converted frigates (DLG/CG USS Leahy (DLG-16), USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25), USS Belknap (DLG-26), USS Truxtun (DLGN-35), and the California and Virginia classes) or uprated destroyers (the DDG/CG Ticonderoga class was built on a Spruance class destroyer hull).

Long Beach was first laid out to be a smaller frigate, but expanded to a cruiser hull due to the ship being slated for the Regulus nuclear cruise missile or, later, 4 launching tubes for the Polaris missile, which would occupy the space taken up by the 5"/38 caliber gun mounts and the ASROC system. The open space just aft of the bridge "box" was to be the area for these.

In addition to steel, Long Beach was built with 450 tons of structural aluminum.[3] Because of this unusually high quantity of aluminum, she was assigned the voice radio call sign "Alcoa".[3]

The ship was propelled by two nuclear reactors, one for each propeller shaft, and was capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots (56 km/h). The high box-like superstructure contained the SCANFAR system, consisting of the AN/SPS-32 and AN/SPS-33 phased array radars. One of the reasons Long Beach was a one-ship class was because it was an experimental platform for these radars, which were precursors to the AN/SPY-1 phased array systems later installed on Aegis warships (Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers). At the time, Long Beach had the highest bridge of any ship smaller than an aircraft carrier.

Weapons suite[edit]

The original weapons suite consisted of:

The ship went through several modifications by the time she was decommissioned. The final weapons suite consisted of:

The 5"/38's and the ASROC were retained, and several 12.7mm (50-cal) were installed as needed.

RIM-8 Talos missile launcher on USS Long Beach, July 1961
RIM-2 Terrier missile launch from USS Long Beach, October 1961

History[edit]

Long Beach was originally ordered as CLGN-160. She was reclassified CGN-160 in early 1957, but was again reclassified as CGN-9 on 1 July 1957. Her keel was laid down on 2 December 1957 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts. She was launched 14 July 1959, sponsored by the wife of Craig Hosmer, Congressman from California. She was commissioned on 9 September 1961, with Captain Eugene P. Wilkinson in command.

Long Beach served in the Atlantic Fleet from her commissioning in 1961 until completing her first refueling in early 1966, when the cruiser was transferred from the home port of Norfolk, Virginia to Long Beach, California.

Operation "Sea Orbit" — USS Bainbridge, Long Beach, and Enterprise.

In May 1964, Long Beach joined the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) and the guided missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25) to form the all-nuclear-powered Task Force 1. At the end of July, the three warships began Operation Sea Orbit, a two-month unrefueled cruise around the world. It was the first all-nuclear battle formation in the history of naval operations.

In October 1966, Long Beach deployed for the first of a number of cruises to the Western Pacific. During this initial cruise, the cruiser served primarily as the Positive Identification Radar Advisory Zone (PIRAZ) unit in the northern Gulf of Tonkin. As such, her main responsibility was to "sanitize" returning US air strikes, ensuring that no enemy aircraft were attempting to evade identification by hiding amongst returning friendlies. Additionally, the ship provided support for an on-board Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter unit. During this tour, Long Beach was responsible for directing the downing of one Soviet-made An-2 'Colt' aircraft that was attempting to engage South Vietnamese naval units. The shoot-down was executed by an F-4 Phantom II fighter under the control of a Long Beach Air Intercept Controller (AIC). The cruiser returned to Long Beach, California, in July 1967, and was redeployed to the Gulf of Tonkin in 1968, shooting down a MiG fighter plane with a RIM-8 Talos missile in May 1968, at a range of 65 miles. She was the first ship to down an aircraft using SAMs. In September of the same year, she downed another MIG, this one at 61 miles. She also directed other MIG kills by American fighters.

Artist's impression of Long Beach following conversion to Aegis cruiser.

After Vietnam Long Beach performed routine duties in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean, although in 1975 she served escort duties for an ad-hoc U.S. task force during the Mayagüez incident. Around this time, Long Beach was identified as being suitable for conversion to accommodate the newly developed Aegis combat system, as part of the plans for a force of nuclear powered Aegis cruisers.[4] When the Talos missile system was removed in 1978 two 4-cell Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers were installed aft. In 1980 the vessel rescued 114 Vietnamese boat people off the coast of Vietnam. In 1979, and again from 1980 to 1983, Long Beach returned to Puget Sound to undergo a mid-life conversion, during which time the Billboard radars were removed from the forward superstructure and enhanced flagship facilities installed, along with modern radars. The Standard SM-2ER missiles and the associated modern electronics replaced the obsolete Terrier system. In addition, two 4-cell launchers and fire control for BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles, two Phalanx close-in weapons CIWS were installed, and the Harpoon anti-ship missile SSM launchers were re-sited. Long Beach deployed throughout the 1980s, conducting Tomahawk cruise missile test launches, serving as an escort for the USS Missouri task force, and providing aircraft carrier escort support during the Gulf War of 1991.

Due to cuts in the defense budget after the First Gulf War, the decision was made to decommission all nuclear cruisers from the Navy as their reactor cores ran down. As Long Beach had been refueled during her 1970 refit, her third refueling was due in the early to mid-1990s. As a consequence, a decision was taken to decommission her in 1994.

A deactivation ceremony occurred on 2 July 1994 at Norfolk Naval Station, and the ship was then towed over to Newport News Shipbuilding where her entire superstructure was removed and her reactors were defueled and removed, along with any radioactive parts. After this work was completed in the winter of 1995 the hull was towed through the Panama Canal to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Long Beach was stricken on 1 May 1995, over 33 years after she had entered service.

On July 13, 2012, Long Beach was sold [5] for recycling as prescribed for nuclear-powered vessels by Code 350 of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash.

Milestones[edit]

USS Long Beach c.1989.

Commanders[edit]

Awards[edit]

Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Combat Action RibbonJoint Meritorious Unit Award
with 1 star
Navy Unit Commendation
Meritorious Unit Commendation
with 1 star
Navy E Ribbon with
wreathed Battle "E" Device
National Defense Service Medal
with 1 star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
with 1 star
Vietnam Service Medal
with 6 stars
Southwest Asia Service Medal
with 1 star
Humanitarian Service MedalSea Service Deployment RibbonSpecial Operations Service Ribbon
Vietnam Campaign MedalKuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Humanitarian Service Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Battle Efficiency Award
Navy Unit Commendation
Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon
Southwest Asia Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships (1970/71) p.425
  2. ^ a b Polmar, Norman "The U.S. Navy: Shipboard Radars" United States Naval Institute Proceedings December 1978 p.144
  3. ^ a b USS Long Beach Association. "CGN-9 VITAL STATISTICS". USS Long Beach Association. 2003. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  4. ^ "CGN 9 Long Beach - Program". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Censer, Marjorie (18 September 2012). "Historic nuclear cruiser headed to scrap heap". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°33′16″N 122°38′26″W / 47.55444°N 122.64056°W / 47.55444; -122.64056