USS Tattnall (DDG-19) - 1980s

1980s

After departing Genoa on 4 January 1980, the guided-missile destroyer conducted training and an underway replenishment as she sailed south for a port visit to Bari, Italy (9–14 January) in advance of a task group missile exercise at Souda Bay, Crete on the 16th. Tattnall remained at a training anchorage in Crete until the 22nd when she got underway for a large battle group replenishment before sailing to Athens (25–31 January) for rest and relaxation. After passing through the Suez Canal on 3 February, the guided-missile destroyer relieved Claude V. Ricketts (DDG-5) and joined Koelsch (FF-1049) for the passage around the Arabian peninsula. Tattnall stopped briefly at Djibouti (7 February) for fuel and replenishment before reaching the Persian Gulf on the 13th. In the Persian Gulf, the guided-missile destroyer remained at sea to defend the Middle East Force flagship La Salle (AGF-3) and conduct surveillance operations in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. She briefly visited Bahrain (15–17 March) (double check deg log) before pointing homeward. Tattnall squeezed a two-day goodwill visit to Berbera, Somalia between stops for fuel in Djibouti (22 and 29 March) prior to transiting the Suez Canal on 3 April. The warship enjoyed a repair availability in Naples (7–22 April), sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar on the 25th and passed a propulsion plant examination while in Rota, Spain (25–27 April). With Commander DESRON 24 embarked and in the company of the Forrestal Battle Group, the guided-missile destroyer reached Mayport on 7 May. The crew enjoyed a post-deployment leave period and the ship underwent an intermediate maintenance availability with Yosemite (AD-19) upon return to homeport.

On 2 July, with only fourteen hours notice, Tattnall got underway as DESRON 24 flagship of a quick reaction task group that included Koelsch, Truett (FF-1095), and Manitowoc (LST-1180). The task group conducted type training in the waters off Key West until the 8th. Upon return to Mayport on the 11th, the ship's crew prepared for the annual Nuclear Technical Proficiency Inspection which she passed with outstanding grades in six of seven areas evaluated. After a dependent's cruise (7 August), the warship departed Mayport for a goodwill cruise of Latin American under operational control of Combined Joint Task Force Commander, Key West. She refueled at Guatanamo Bay (18 August) before calling on Veracruz, Mexico (23–26 August) and Puerto Cortes, Honduras (30–31 August). The guided-missile destroyer suffered substantial damage from an electrical fire in the after engine room upon her departure from Honduras, but this did not deter her from earning the top score for her class of ship in naval gunfire support qualification at Vieques (7 September). After a brief return to Mayport (11–16 September), Tattnall visited Port Everglades (19–21 September) en route to the Atlantic Underwater Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) in the Bahamas (23–25 September) for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercises. Upon her return to Mayport on the 26th, the guided-missile destroyer remained in port, except for type training off Jacksonville (22 October), to concentrate on training and preparations for an upcoming deployment and overhaul. After completion of sea trials (24–26 November), she set sail for Puerto Rican waters on 1 December to participate in gunfire and missile exercises. The warship returned to homeport on the 13th for holiday leave and final preparations for deployment.

In 1981, the Tattnall was taken over by Captain P. T. Deutermann who served as captain for a three year tour of duty. On 12 January 1981, Tattnall joined Blakely a day after setting sail from Mayport for a passage across the Atlantic plagued by high winds and rough seas. The pair refueled at Bermuda and Rota, then navigated the Strait of Gibraltar on the 24th. Tattnall arrived at Port Said, Egypt on the 30th where she embarked Vice Admiral Small, Commander Sixth Fleet for the transit of the Suez Canal the following day. After a stop for fuel in Djibouti (3 February), she joined Task Group 70.9 in the Indian Ocean. Her crew marked the crossing of the equator on the 11th with the traditional rites and rituals. Then the warship put into Diego Garcia (12–14 February) for a tender availability alongside Jason (AR-8). She rejoined Task Group 70.9 for three days of exercises in the Indian Ocean before heading north to link up with the Independence (CV-62) Battle Group on the 18th for a week-long exercise from which the destroyer briefly took leave to unsuccessfully search for survivors of a mid-air collision between two Navy aircraft. Upon conclusion of exercise "Gonzo 1-81", Tattnall continued operations with Independence until the 27th when she departed for the Persian Gulf to relieve Jonas Ingram (DD-938) and Barney (DDG-6). Assigned to Middle East Force until 18 May, Tattnall punctuated her patrol of the Persian Gulf with numerous visits to Bahrain and a port visit to Damman, Saudi Arabia (13–14 May). After Bigelow (DD-942) relieved her, the warship again joined Blakely for the long passage back to Mayport. On the 26th, Tattnall struck an uncharted object as the ship completed her transit of the Suez Canal and suffered damage to the starboard propeller. She put into Malaga, Spain (1–6 June) where divers from Edenton (ATS-1) repaired the damage and the warship passed through the Straits of Gibraltar on the 7 June. Tattnall refueled in the Azores and Bermuda, then returned to Mayport on the 18th for a month of upkeep.

On 20 July 1981, Tattnall got underway for the ten-day NATO fleet exercise "Ocean Venture" that included large battle group exercises and an opportunity for the guided-missile destroyer to utilize her various weapon systems. After removal of weapons at Charleston, South Carolina (31 July-4 August), the ship returned to Mayport on 7 August to prepare for a 15-month overhaul. When Tattnall departed her homeport on the 26th, the Mk 68 Gun Fire Control System, the MK 32 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes, the ASROC launcher, SPG-51 missile fire control radar, the WLR-1 over-the-horizon threat detection radar, and the ULQ-6B electronic countermeasures system had all been removed. Upon arrival in Philadelphia, the warship received a warm welcome from city leaders and hosted 15,000 visitors on 29 and 30 August before she arrived in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on the last day of the month. On 9 September, Tattnall moved into dry dock and the crew moved to barracks ship APL-54 for the duration of an overhaul the included installation of the Harpoon anti-ship missile system and the Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS).

After completion of her sea trials, Tattnall set sail from Philadelphia Naval Shipyard one day ahead of her scheduled 28 November 1982 departure date. She returned to Mayport on 3 December where she began planning and preparation for refresher training. In early April 1983, she tested her weapons systems during trials in Port Everglades and her ASW systems at the AUTEC range in the Bahamas. The guided-missile destroyer conducted missile qualification training at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico and naval gunfire support qualification at Vieques en route to refresher training at Guantanamo. Due to engineering problems Tattnall returned to Mayport for two weeks of boiler repairs then returned to Cuba in late June to complete her training. She returned to Mayport in mid-July to prepare for her upcoming deployment.

Following a dependents cruise on 23 September 1983, the warship departed Mayport for the Mediterranean Sea on the 29th. Tattnall visited Recife and Salvador, Brazil then joined John F. Kennedy battle group for the passage across the Atlantic. The guided-missile destroyers original schedule called for two months in the Indian Ocean following operations in the Mediterranean, however, resurgent violence in Lebanon between Christian and Druze militia followed by the killing of 241 U.S. Marines in the suicide bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut on 23 October prompted a high-speed transit to the eastern Mediterranean after she changed to 6th Fleet control on the 28th. For the two and half months after her arrival off Beirut on 3 November, Tattnall supported the U.S. Multinational Force, occasionally putting in at Haifa, Israel for repairs, rest, and replenishment. On 13, 18, and 19 December, the warship fire her 5-inch guns on Syrian anti-aircraft positions and claimed the destruction of her two assigned targets on the 13th. On 24 January 1984, a fire erupted that required the assistance of Claude V. Ricketts (DDG-5), patrolling nearby. Tattnall lost all anti-aircraft capability and was handicapped in her ability to fire Harpoon missiles, and so set sail for Naples, Italy to assess the damage. Afterwards the guided-missile destroyer steamed home for extensive repairs, arriving in Mayport on 24 February.

Though she devoted most of her time to repair of fire damage and scheduled repairs to the engineering plant, Tattnall did manage to get underway for training from 4–7 June and host the Federal Republic of Germany (West German) destroyer Mölders (D-186) in August. In October, an unforeseen problem with one of her main engines kept her pierside for a month while General Electric technical representatives and the ship's crew made repairs. Following a sea trial in November, Tattnall loaded weapons at the Naval Weapons Station Charleston and returned to Mayport until February 1985 for a limited availability for boiler maintenance, to test her combat systems, and conduct major engineering repairs.

She put to sea off Jacksonville the first two weeks of February 1985 to test her combat and fire control systems. An availability at Mayport for further maintenance and repair followed until 15 March when Tattnall departed for six weeks of refresher training at Guantanamo Bay. Shortly before leaving Guantanamo Bay, the guided-missile destroyer responded to a call for help from Coral Sea (CV-43) following her collision with an Ecuadoran tanker, but the aircraft carrier managed to get underway without assistance. In early May, Tattnall returned to Mayport for a brief maintenance availability prior to sailing to Mobile, Alabama to help celebrate the opening of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. Thousands of Mobile residents and tourists visited the ship during the early June event. Three weeks of combat system qualifications off Puerto Rico preceded a maintenance and repair availability in July. During this period, Tattnall hosted the frigate HMS Brilliant (F-90). On 13 August, she sailed to Puerto Rico to participate in three weeks of fleet readiness exercises. In September, she returned to Mayport to prepare for her upcoming deployment to the Persian Gulf.

On 7 October 1985, Tattnall set sail in company with Conolly (DD-979), Gallery (FFG-26), and Boone (FFG-28). Following brief stops at Bermuda, Rota, and Palma de Majorca, the guided-missile destroyer transited the Suez Canal in late October. In the first week of November, Tattnall relieved Lynde McCormick (DDG-8) in the Persian Gulf and then entered Bahrain for upkeep, supplies and briefings. In the Persian Gulf, she operated on a radar patrol station in concert with Air Force E3A AWACS based in Saudi Arabia until January. During that time, the warship also spent Christmas liberty in Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia, made several port visits to Dubai, and conducted a "passing exercise" that test the guided-missile destroyer's ability to communicate with units of the Royal Saudi Navy.

On 24 January 1986, Tattnall sailed to the Gulf of Oman for escort operations then returned to the Persian Gulf for further surveillance operations in the first week of February. On 8 February, Tattnall visited Karachi, Pakistan for a brief port visit prior to conducting a "passing exercise" with units of the Pakistani Navy in the north Arabian Sea. The guided-missile cruiser conducted more surveillance operations in the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf en route to Bahrain where the ship enjoyed a five-day port visit prior to moving to a training anchorage on the 22nd to practice engineering and damage control exercises. On 3 March, Tattnall departed Bahrain and continued surveillance operations in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, and Red Sea until she transited the Suez Canal on the 17th. During that time, Luce (DDG-38) relieved her of duties with Middle East Force on the 7th in the western patrol area of the Gulf of Oman. Following six days of Mediterranean operations, the ship visited Barcelona (22nd-25th), Rota (26th) prior to reaching Mayport on 8 April.

After a four-week standdown, Tattnall devoted most of the remainder of the year to maintenance and upkeep. On 18 May, the warship embarked Commander, DESRON 12. She twice got underway in June for engineering training and on 8 July conducted three days of sea trials off Jacksonville. On 11 September, the ship held a dependent's cruise a day ahead of commencing an extended maintenance availability. On 18 December, the SPS-40 radar suffered damage when it rotated into span wire rigged for holiday lighting. Although a 23 December fast cruise concluded her availability, the need for a significant amount of work on her underwater hull led to the guided-missile destroyer being towed to Jacksonville Shipyard on 13 January 1987 for three months in drydock. On 9 April, Tattnall left drydock and entered Mayport under tow the following day. The ship occupied herself with inspections, sea trials, and a visit to Jacksonville as part of the "Say No to Drugs" program ahead of her 5 June departure for refresher training at Guatanamo Bay.

After a five weeks of training in West Indies waters (9 June-16 July), she visited Bahamas for two days before returning to Mayport on the 21 July 1987. Mobile Training Team from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (ComNavSurfLant) arrived on the 27th and the ship completed a routine test and inspection the following month before getting underway for a fleet exercise on 21 August. Before the exercise concluded on 4 September, the warship had participated in a successful missile firing as well as naval gunfire support exercises off Puerto Rico. The guided-missile destroyer made a port Honduras (7–8 September) before she put into Mayport on the 13th for a maintenance availability. The ship conducted inspections and training, including an inspection by Commander, DESRON 12, before she completed her availability in early December. Following sea trials (7–11 December), the warship returned to Mayport for holiday leave and upkeep.

On 11 January 1988, Tattnall got underway with Luce for fleet exercises with a dual-carrier battle group in the Puerto Rican operations area. The guided-missile destroyer then returned to Mayport on the 26th to prepare for her Mediterranean deployment. On 29 February, Tattnall, in company with Luce and Vreeland (FF-1068), commenced a busy passage across the Atlantic. The warship conducted training with a carrier battle group until she detached with Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) to steam independently to the Mediterranean. After the pair transited the Strait of Gibraltar on 11 March, Tattnall relieved Claude V. Ricketts (DDG-5) on the evening of the 15th. In addition to battle group training and operations, she visited Palma de Majorca (18–25 March), Genoa, Italy (29 March-5 April) and Villefranche, France (11–15 April) before the battle group moved to a training anchorage at Augusta Bay, Sicily (18–24 April). The warship visited Taranto, Italy (26–29 April) then refueled in Turkey on 1 May in advance of the NATO exercise "Dragon Hammer". After five days of upkeep in Sicily, Tattnall paused at Antalya Turkey (23–26 May) and Haifa (29 May-3 June) prior to transiting the Dardanelles to Golcuk, Turkey (6–20 June). After two weeks of availability and upkeep, she got underway for the Black Sea, via the Bosporus, where a Soviet ship escorted her to Constanta, Romania (21–24 June). Tattnall briefly stopped at Antalya (28–30 June) before entering Haifa for a two week visit interrupted by local exercises from 12 to 14 July. The ship visited Cannes (26 July-1 August) and MacDonough (DDG-39) relieved Tattnall on 14 August during two weeks of upkeep at Gibraltar (4–18 August). The warship returned to Mayport on the 29th and began preparations for the upcoming Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV).

After a fast cruise on the 28th, Tattnall visited Wilmington (30 September-3 October) then sailed to Port Everglades for Navy Appreciation Week (7–15 October). The warship sailed to the Virginia Capes for tracking and live firing exercises on the 18th and 19th then returned to Mayport two days later. After the guided-missile destroyer received a satisfactory report from the INSURV conducted 14 to 18 November she conducted an intermediate avaialbility on the 21st.

On 19 January 1989, Tattnall entered drydock for work on her boilers and painting her hull among other upkeep. After sea trials, an availability and a visit to Charleston to load weapons, she returned to Mayport on 19 May. On 19 June, the warship embarked Commander DESRON 12 for Type Commanders Core Training with other ships in the squadron. Following visits to Fort Lauderdale and Freeport, Bahamas she returned to Mayport for Independence Day festivities. On 19 July, Tattnall departed for refresher training at Guatanamo Bay. With a Coast Guard detachment embarked, the guided-missile destroyer interdicted a small Haitian sailing vessel with 150 refugees bound for United States. After the Coast Guard evacuated the passengers, Tattnall sank the vessel to eliminate a hazard to navigation. She visited Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico before returning to Mayport. In early August, Tattnall participated in missile firing exercises off the Virginia Capes. On 29 August, the warship got underway for fleet exercises then returned to Mayport for an availability on 18 September. In October, the warships visited Fort Lauderdale and Tampa and she sailed to the AUTEC range for ASW training from 11 to 14 December.

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