USS Long Beach (CGN 9)
formerly CGN 160, formerly CLGN 160 -
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.
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, Massachusetts
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)
USS LONG BEACH's Commanding Officers:
September 9, 1961 - September 11, 1962 Captain E. P. Wilkinson, USN
September 11, 1962 - August 23, 1966 Captain F. H. Price, USN
August 23, 1966 - June 15, 1968 Captain K. C. Wallace, USN
June 15, 1968 - September 25, 1972 Captain William A. Spencer, USN
September 25, 1972 - October 24, 1975 Captain F. R. Fahland, USN
October 24, 1975 - July 18, 1978 Captain Harry C. Schrader, USN
July 18, 1978 - February 1982 Captain E. B. Bossard, USN
February 1982 - 1985 Captain F. Triggs, USN
1985 - ? Captain M. J. Weniger, USN
Notes of Interest:
USS LONG BEACH was authorized as USS BROOKLYN but the name was changed shortly afterwards.
USS LONG BEACH was commissioned without any guns aboard. In April 1962, President John F. Kennedy visited the ship and it is said that he ordered the LONG BEACH to be equipped with the two 5-inch guns that were installed aboard the ship later that year.
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.