USS LONG BEACH, the third ship in the Navy to bear the name, was the first nuclear powered surface warship in the world and the first large combatant in the US Navy with its main battery consisting of guided missiles. She was also the first American cruiser since the end of World War II to built entirely new from the keel up, and, when completed, boasted the highest bridge in the world. She was also the last warship to be fitted with teakwood decks.
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. On May 1, 1995, LONG BEACH was decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list. She was then berthed at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA, and got her superstructure removed. LONG BEACH's hull is currently awaiting final disposal.
|General Characteristics:||Awarded: October 15, 1956|
|Keel laid: December 2, 1957|
|Launched: July 14, 1959|
|Commissioned: September 9, 1961|
|Decommissioned: May 1, 1995|
|Builder: Bethlehem Steel Company Shipyard, Quincy, Mass.|
|Propulsion system: 2 - Westinghouse C1W nuclear reactors, 2 geared turbines|
|Length: 721 feet (219.8 meters)|
|Beam: 73 feet (22.3 meters)|
|Draft: 30.8 feet (9.4 meters)|
|Displacement: approx. 17,500 tons|
|Speed: 30 knots|
|Aircraft: none but helicopter landing platform|
|Armament: two 5-inch/38 caliber Mk 30 guns, two Mk 10 missile launchers Standard missiles (ER), two Mk 141 Harpoon missile launchers, one Mk 16 ASROC missile launcher, Mk 46 torpedoes from two Mk 32 triple mounts, two 20mm Phalanx CIWS, two armored box launchers for Tomahawk cruise missiles|
|Crew: 79 officers and 1081 enlisted (after mid-life conversion: 55 officers and 770 enlisted)|
This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS LONG BEACH. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.
USS LONG BEACH Cruise Books:
USS LONG BEACH's Commanding Officers:
|September 9, 1961 - September 11, 1962||Captain Eugene P. Wilkinson, USN|
|September 11, 1962 - August 23, 1966||Captain Frank H. Price, USN|
|August 23, 1966 - June 15, 1968||Captain Kenneth C. Wallace, USN|
|June 15, 1968 - September 25, 1972||Captain William A. Spencer, USN|
|September 25, 1972 - October 24, 1975||Captain Frank R. Fahland, USN|
|October 24, 1975 - July 18, 1978||Captain Harry C. Schrader, USN|
|July 18, 1978 - February 1982||Captain Edmund B. Bossard, USN|
|February 1982 - February 1985||Captain Frederick Triggs III, USN|
|February 1985 - September 1987||Captain Marvin J. Weniger, USN|
|September 1987 - November 1990||Captain John C. Pollock III, USN|
|November 1990 - April 1993||Captain William R. Burns, Jr., USN|
|April 1993 - May 1, 1995||Captain Keith P. Bersticker, USN|
Notes of Interest:
Early History of USS LONG BEACH:
USS LONG BEACH was laid down as CGN 9, 2 December 1957 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Mass.; launched 14 July 1959; sponsored by Mrs. Craig Hosmer, wife of Congressman Hosmer of California; and commissioned 9 September 1961, Capt. E. P. Wilkinson in command.
The first nuclear-powered surface warship in history, LONG BEACH was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet and home ported at Norfolk, Va. The guided-missile cruiser conducted extensive shakedown testing of her complex weapons and propulsion systems from 2 October to 16 December 1961; her superlative performance proved the nuclear cruiser a highly capable and effective warship. Between 28 December and 6 January 1962, she conducted operational tests of her missiles off Puerto Rico, then sailed for Bremerhaven, Germany, arriving 15 January for courtesy calls in north European ports.
Returning to Norfolk 7 February, she trained on the east Coast and in the Caribbean, on 10 April joining in Atlantic Fleet exercises off North Carolina and Virginia as flagship for Adm. Robert H. Dennison, Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet. She was reviewed by President John F. Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B Johnson during this demonstration of naval power.
After overhaul and installation of new equipment at Philadelphia NSY, LONG BEACH trained in the Caribbean and sailed 6 August 1963 to join the 6th Fleet in its Mediterranean peacekeeping operations. She returned to Norfolk 20 December for coastal and Caribbean operations through 28 April when she sailed for the Mediterranean to join attack carrier ENTERPRISE (CVAN 65) and guided-missile frigate BAINBRIDGE (DLGN 25) in the formation of the first all nuclear powered task group 13 May. The force operated in the Mediterranean testing its unique capabilities until 31 July when it sailed under Rear Adm. Bernard M. Strean from Gibraltar on an around-the-world cruise. This operation, "Sea Orbit", reminiscent of the cruise of the Great White Fleet in 1907-09, demonstrated the strategic mobility of U.S. naval nuclear-powered surface forces independent of normal fleet logistic support. During 58 steaming days, LONG BEACH steamed over 30,000 miles at an average speed of 25 knots, without being refueled or resupplied. In the course of the voyage, numerous foreign dignitaries visited the ship during visits off both coasts of Africa and in-port calls at Karachi, Pakistan; Melbourne, Australia; Wellington, New Zealand; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. An unqualified success, the operation proved to people the world over the tremendous increase in capabilities nuclear power brings the Navy.
LONG BEACH returned to Norfolk from this triumph 3 October to join in exercises off the east coast and in the Caribbean. On 4 June, she sailed for the Global Strategy Conference at the Naval War College, Newport, where Vice Adm. Kleber S. Masterson, Commander, 2nd Fleet, broke his flag in the ship. Back in Norfolk 23 June, LONG BEACH resumed training and upkeep prior to her transfer to the Pacific Fleet. She sailed 28 February 1966 for her new home port and namesake, Long Beach, Calif. and arrived 15 March.
The summer of 1966 was spent in training and orienting midshipmen in the tactics and operations involved in the modern nuclear Navy. After a period of leave and upkeep in the fall, LONG BEACH sailed 7 November from Long Beach for the Far East. She arrived on PIRAZ (positive identification and radar advisory zone) station on the 30th, and continued on that vital operation throughout most of her WestPac tour. From 8 to 27 April 1967, the nuclear-powered cruiser made a cruise to Sydney, Australia. On the return portion of the trip back to Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, the ship made a stop in "Ironbottom Sound" on 23 April for a memorial service commemorating the battles fought and lives lost there in World War II. After the wreath-laying ceremony, she steamed up "The Slot" at 30 knots, back toward a different war.
LONG BEACH arrived back at the west coast on 4 July where, after a well deserved period of rest, she resumed the exercises and operations which would keep her well prepared for her return to Vietnam the following year. This next deployment began when she once again left her home on 15 April 1968. As before, the cruiser spent most of her time on PIRAZ station, guiding the many planes which operated over North Vietnam. This tour of duty in WestPac ended with her arrival again at Long Beach on 16 November, where she remained into 1969.
Major Deployments and Shipyard Periods of USS LONG BEACH:
...for additional information on the deployments read the history text above.
|Date of Departure||Date of Return||Area of Operations||Tasks and Events||Ports of Call|
|August 6, 1963||December 20, 1963||Mediterranean||Peacekeeping Operations with the 6th Fleet||Italy|
|April 28, 1964||October 3, 1964||Around-the-World Cruise||Operation Sea Orbit, an Around-the-World Cruise in company with USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) and USS BAINBRIDGE (CGN 25) without refueling to demonstrate the advantages and capabilities of nuclear power||Karachi, Pakistan|
Wellington, New Zealand
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
|August 1965 - February 1966: ROH at Newport News Shipbuilding|
|November 7, 1966||July 1967||Western Pacific, Vietnam||PIRAZ duty off Vietnam, April 8 - April 27: voyage to Australia and visit in Sydney||Subic Bay, Philippines|
|April 15, 1968||November 16, 1968||Western Pacific, Vietnam||PIRAZ duty off Vietnam in the Tonking Gulf, LONG BEACH shot down two MIGs over North Vietnam with her Talos surface to air missiles. The range of the MIGs was about 65 nautical miles.|
|1969||Western Pacific, Vietnam||Support of operations against North Vietnam|
|March 1970 - late 1971: ROH at Mare Island NSY|
|March 1972||November 1972||Western Pacific, Vietnam||PIRAZ duty off Vietnam, LONG BEACH downed several enemy planes and rescued 17 US pilots|
|1973||Western Pacific, Vietnam||Support of operations against North Vietnam|
|November 1974||June 1975||Western Pacific||Routine operations with the 7th Fleet|
|December 1975 - June 1976: Puget Sound NSY|
|September 1976||March 28, 1977||Western Pacific, Indian Ocean||Routine operations with the 7th Fleet|
|April 4, 1978||October 27, 1978||Western Pacific, Indian Ocean||Operated as part of the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) Battle Group|
|January - April 1979: Mid-Life Conversion Phase I at Puget Sound NSY|
|January 7, 1980||July 11, 1980||Western Pacific, Indian Ocean||Rescued 114 refugees ("boat people") off Vietnam|
|October 6, 1980 - March 26, 1983: Mid-Life Conversion Phase II|
USS LONG BEACH Image Gallery:
The photos below were taken by me and show the hull of the LONG BEACH laid-up at Bremerton, Wash., on March 14, 2010.