Old war vessel leaves Richmond
West County Times
Article Launched: 06/26/2008 03:15:20 PM PDT
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The USS Horne is towed out of its Richmond docking on Thursday June 26, 2008 in Richmond, Calif....
By Katherine Tam
An old warship destined to be sunk left Richmond on Thursday afternoon, shepherded by tugboats as it headed out to sea.
The 547-foot USS Horne, a guided-missile cruiser, left the Richmond harbor at 2:10 p.m. and passed under the Golden Gate Bridge about 5 p.m. The Coast Guard warned mariners in San Francisco Bay to stay out of the way to avoid the "big ship coming through."
The USS Horne was built in San Francisco in 1962, according to the Web site www.usshorne.net. It was put out to sea in 1967 and became an operational part of the Pacific Fleet.
The warship was deployed overseas 14 times, including to Vietnam and to the Persian Gulf, traveling more than 750,000 miles during its working life.
It was decommissioned in 1994 in San Diego and was transferred back to the Bay Area to become part of the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, a collection of decommissioned cargo and Navy vessels awaiting disposal. It remained there for 12 years as part of the mothball fleet, before it moved to Richmond in February. It is scheduled to be sunk near Hawaii this year.
Reach Katherine Tam at 510-262-2787 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
From: don hall <email@example.com>
To: Ken Deshaies <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thursday, June 26, 2008, 10:47:28 PM
Subject: SFGate: A warship built at Hunters Point is to be sunk
Ken, working from memory, wasn't the HORNE involved in a "drag race" with
This article was sent to you by someone who found it on SFGate.
The original article can be found on SFGate.com here:
Thursday, June 26, 2008 (SF Chronicle)
A warship built at Hunters Point is to be sunk
Jim Doyle, Chronicle Staff Writer
USS Horne (DLG/CG-30) was a Belknap-class destroyer leader / cruiser.
She was launched as DLG-30, a Frigate and later reclassified as a Cruiser.
After more than 26 years of service, Horne was decommissioned on 4
February 1994. She was struck the same day, transferred to the United
States Maritime Administration and was laid up at the Suisun Bay National
Defense Reserve Fleet. Initially scheduled to be scrapped, she was spared
the breakers torch and is now scheduled to be sunk as a target in 2008.
A once powerful guided-missile cruiser that was built at San Francisco's
Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, fought in the Vietnam War and the Gulf War,
and was then mothballed in Suisun Bay, is scheduled to be towed to sea
today to be strafed, torpedoed and sunk by allied forces in the Pacific.
The Horne (CG-30) was named for a Navy admiral who began his career on
sailing ships at the turn of the 20th century, and will be remembered by
legions of former crew members who served on the ship during its
quarter-century of service. The ship's passing echoes a bygone era when
San Francisco Bay was ringed with naval bases and warships were often
Capt. Tim Lockwood of the fleet ocean tug Navajo said he plans to tow the
Horne beneath the Golden Gate this afternoon on its final voyage toward
Hawaii, where a multinational exercise is scheduled to use the cruiser's
steel hull and superstructure for target practice.
"It's laid to rest," Lockwood said. "That's all I can say."
The Navajo is equipped with 7,200-horsepower engines - enough heft to tow
an aircraft carrier. The 226-foot tug has a crew of 20 and a 1,800-foot
tow wire that can pull a vessel of up to 500,000 pounds. Commissioned in
The Horne was commissioned as a guided-missile frigate in April 1967. With
its tall bridge, Terrier missiles, helicopter deck and a huge sonar drone
beneath the water line, the 547-foot warship was considered one of the
finest vessels in the fleet. Its twin propeller shafts provided speeds of
36 knots. Its crew included 24 officers and 420 enlisted personnel.
It took five years for shipfitters, pipe fitters and boilermakers at
Hunters Point to build the 8,000-ton vessel. Once commissioned, the Horne
was sent to Vietnam as an escort ship to protect an aircraft carrier,
deter MIG fighters from interfering with U.S. bombing runs, and rescue
downed American pilots in the Gulf of Tonkin.
The Horne, home ported in San Diego, served four tours of duty in Vietnam.
It also saw duty in the first Gulf War to liberate Kuwait and was deployed
at other flash points including the coast of Iran in 1980-1981, Libya in
1987-1988, and Liberia in 1993.
"Serving on the Horne was probably my highlight at sea," said retired Adm.
Stansfield Turner, the Horne's first skipper, who later became director of
central intelligence for former President Jimmy Carter. "It hurts me
personally (to hear the ship will be sunk), but I can certainly understand
it. A ship that old, it's just too costly to upgrade its communications
and weaponry." 52 years of Navy service
The warship was named after Adm. Frederick J. Horne, who retired in 1947
after 52 years of active service in the Navy. As a midshipman, he fought
at the Battle of Santiago in the Spanish-American War. As a junior
officer, he used a brass mouth horn to shout orders to sailors working
aloft on the Alert, a square-rigged sailing ship.
Decades later, as vice chief of naval operations, Adm. Horne played a
major role in directing the Navy's efforts during World War II.
He died in 1959, and three years later, the Navy laid the keel of the
Horne to honor him. The ship was launched and christened by his widow,
Edythe Horne, in October 1964.
In the mid-1970s, the Horne was modified and reclassified as a cruiser. In
1994, after nearly 27 years of service and traveling more than 750,000
miles, the Horne was decommissioned by the Pentagon's budget cutters. The
Horne's payroll ran about $1 million a month. Benicia mothball fleet
The Horne joined the Suisun Bay National Defense Reserve Fleet in Benicia
- a collection of mothballed warships.
"As far as I can tell, there's no other ship afloat that was built at
Hunters Point," said Paul Watroba, a representative of the Navy League.
"The other ship that was around for a while was the (guided missile
cruiser) Halsey. I think it was already sunk."
The South Pacific has become a graveyard of once-proud warships. Since
1971, the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercises provide a month of
intensive warfare training and the opportunity to test naval gunnery,
torpedo accuracy and missile drills with real targets and live ammunition.
This year's exercise, from Sunday through July 31, consists of 35 surface
ships including the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, six submarines including
the South Korean sub Lee Sunsin, more than 150 tactical aircraft and
20,000 personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Netherlands, Peru,
South Korea, Singapore, United Kingdom and the United States.
Sarah Burford, a spokeswoman for the Military Sealift Command, said that
the Horne is one of four warships scheduled to be sunk during this
summer's exercise. The Horne was moved to a pier in Richmond in February
for final preparations.
"We spend a lot of time and money to get the ship ready and to remove any
environmental problems," Burford said. "We don't just tow it out there."
Apart from the battleship Iowa, there are few warships left in Suisun Bay.
The mothball fleet is largely made up of auxiliary ships such as troop
For sailors, a ship is more than a collection of metal and wires. Memories
Memories of the Horne run deep for former crew members, who cite the
ship's motto - "L'Audace, Toujours, L'Audace" (Audacity, Always Audacity).
"I think a lot of people are understandably upset about it," said Joe
Westerberg of Palm Springs, a former crew member who created a Web site
for the Horne, www.usshorne.net. "But I was a bit relieved to hear that
the ship was going to be sunk in the ocean. I think a more fitting resting
place for a ship is in the ocean rather than being torn up in a scrap
Some sister ships of the Horne, including the Halsey, have been torn apart
at a ship-breaking facility in Brownsville, Texas.
"The USS Horne was literally my home," Westerberg said. "As a single crew
member, I lived on the ship for almost three years. It really was a
well-run ship - and that passed on from captain to captain and crew to
E-mail Jim Doyle at email@example.com. --------------------------------
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