USS Reeves (DLG-24)

USS Reeves (DLG-24)

USS "Reeves" (DLG/CG-24),a United States Navy ship named for Admiral Joseph Mason Reeves [Thomas Wildenberg, "All the Factors of Victory" (Brassey's, 2003] (Commander-in-Chief of the US Fleet, 1934-1936), was a "Leahy"-class cruiser built by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, in Bremerton, Washington.

"Reeves" began her history as a "Leahy"-class destroyer leader (DLG-24) when her keel was laid down on 1 July 1960. She was launched on 12 May 1962 and commissioned on 15 May 1964. Mrs. Joseph M. Reeves, Jr., daughter-in-law of Vice Adm. Reeves, was the ship's sponsor.

"Reeves" was later reclassified as a guided missile cruiser (CG-24) on 30 June 1975. On 12 November 1993, "Reeves" was decommissioned and stricken from the Navy Register at Pearl Harbor Naval Base. "Reeves" remained in mothballs until she was sunk as a target ship on 31 May 2001.

"Reeves" Operational History

The 1960s

Following an extended trial and shakedown period, "Reeves" was homeported at Long Beach where she underwent availability and further training. On 10 April 1965, she departed for her first tour with the 7th Fleet in the western Pacific (WESTPAC). Deployed for just over six months, she operated primarily in support of Allied operations off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam, serving as an anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) picket, first with TG 77.3 built around aircraft carrier USS "Oriskany" (CVA-34), then with TG 77.6 centered on aircraft carrier USS "Midway" (CVA-41). Returning to Long Beach on 3 November 1965, she conducted local operations for the remainder of the year and into 1966. On 26 May 1966, she got underway for Japan and a two-year nonrotated tour with the 7th Fleet. Arriving at her new homeport of Yokosuka on 16 June, she departed shortly thereafter and on 7 July and anchored at Da Nang, R.V.N. to begin another tour off the embattled coast. For the next two years, she regularly sailed south from Japan for combat air-sea rescue (CSAR) tours off Vietnam, compiling a total of 493 days underway, 312 of which were spent in the Gulf of Tonkin.

"Reeves" rotated back to the United States in August 1968 and operated out of Long Beach for the remainder of the year, participating in local operations, as well testing and evaluating radar systems. In early 1969, "Reeves" was ordered to Maine for overhaul and modernization at Bath Iron Works. Arriving on 31 March, she was placed out of commission (special) on 10 April and the extensive modification work began.

The 1970s

"Reeves" was recommissioned 29 August 1970 at Bath. She spent the period from 10 September19 November making the passage from Bath to her new home port at Pearl Harbor. The uncommonly long duration of the passage was due to frequent stops along the way at various ports for additional work to be done and by a three-week refresher training (REFTRA) period in the vicinity of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. After arriving at Pearl Harbor, "Reeves" engaged in numerous exercises and operations in the waters around Hawaii.

June 1971 found "Reeves" steaming westward for another deployment in the Gulf of Tonkin. "Reeves" returned to Pearl Harbor on 20 December 1971 and remained in the Hawaii and west coast areas until September 1972 where she participated in various operations and exercises, notably a Midshipman cruise in July. She departed Hawaii on 18 September, headed for her second WESTPAC deployment since recommissioning, arriving at Subic Bay Naval Base, Philippine Islands 14 days later. After six months in the western Pacific, stationed off the coast of Vietnam, "Reeves" sailed into port at Pearl Harbor on 17 March 1973. She remained in the Hawaiian Islands into 1974. She was reclassified a guided missile cruiser (CG-24), on 30 June 1975.

"Reeves" earned three battle stars for Vietnam service.

The 1980s

During most of the 1980s, "Reeves" was forward deployed to the WESTPAC and homeported in Yokosuka. During that time, she served as the AAW picket for Battle Group Alpha centered around "Midway" (CV-41).

In March 1986, she participated in a Team Spirit exercise off the coast of the Republic of Korea. Later that year, "Reeves" conducted REFTRA in the Philippines which was quickly followed her involvement in special operations (SPECOPS). SPECOPS consisted of conducting surveillance operations on the Soviet aircraft carrier "Minsk" off the coast of Vladivostok, which was home to the Soviet Pacific Fleet. During this operation, "Reeves" blasted either the Bruce Springsteen song "Born in the U.S.A." or Jefferson Starship's "Layin' It On The Line" over the ship's 1MC when in the proximity of Soviet naval vessels.

On 5 November 1986, "Reeves" led the USS "Rentz" (FFG-46) and USS "Olendorf] " (DD-972) into the harbor of Qingdao (Tsing Tao), the People's Republic of China (PRC) for a historic six-day port visit. This would be the first time that U.S. Navy vessels had moored in China since the repair ship USS "Dixie" (AD-14) departed in 1949 in the face of the communist advance which forced the evacuation of Americans from China. The visit was hosted by soldiers and sailors of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).


The port visit was important because it provided visible evidence of growing Sino-American cooperation. Adm. James Lyons, commander of the United States Pacific Fleet, was embarked in "Reeves" during the visit. Shortly after arriving in Qingdao, he said there are "three pillars" in the US.-China military relationship-high level visits, military exchanges and a limited amount of military technology cooperation. "I see this port visit as strengthening all three pillars," he said.

Throughout their stay, the crews of the visiting ships held lectures and discussion sessions on Navy shipboard organization, management, training, propulsion, logistics and weapons systems for their Chinese hosts. At the time such navy-to-navy orientations were conducted with many countries. However, this was the Navy’s first opportunity for such an exchange with China.

During May 1987, "Reeves" found herself involved with yet another Team Spirit exercise. "Reeves" was deployed to the Persian Gulf from July to December 1987 where she participated in the first of nine Operation Earnest Will tanker reflagging operations beginning on 23 July. Her primary duty was to escort commercial vessels through the Strait of Hormuz. In March 1988 she was involved again with the Team Spirit exercises.

On 26 June 1989, "Reeves" and USS "Fife" (DD-991) rescued 92 Vietnamese refugees in the South China Sea, about convert|320|mi|km|-1 southwest of the Philippines. The refugees were pulled from their sinking vessel and provided with medical assistance and other care before being delivered to a United Nations refugee organization in Thailand a week later.

On 30 October 1989 an F/A-18 Hornet aircraft from "Midway" mistakenly dropped a 500 pound general-purpose bomb on the deck of "Reeves" during training exercises in the Indian Ocean, creating a five-foot hole in the bow, sparking small fires, and injuring five sailors. "Reeves" was convert|32|mi|km|0 south of Diego Garcia at the time of the incident.

Fate of "Reeves"

"Reeves" was decommissioned on 12 November 1993, stored at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility (NISMF), Pearl Harbor. She was ultimately used as a target ship on 31 May 2001 during a sink exercise (SINKEX) off the coast of Queensland, Australia during a joint U.S. and Australian naval exercise. Her final resting place is coord|26|26|53.0|S|155|24|27.0|E| where she lies at a depth of 2,541 fathoms. Following are two press releases issued in conjunction with the sinking of "Reeves".


* Combat Action Ribbon
* Navy Unit Commendation
* Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
* Battle E
* Navy Expeditionary Medal
* National Defense Service Medal
* Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
* Vietnam Service Medal
* Humanitarian Services Medal
* Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Reclassification of "Reeves" from DLG to CG

In 1975, the "double-end" "Leahy"-class guided missile destroyer leaders (DLG) were reclassified as guide missile cruisers (CG), as were other similar ships. The class was given an AAW upgrade during the late-1960's and early 1970s, with Terrier launchers modified to fire Terrier or Standard SM-1ER missiles. The 3"/50 guns were replaced by Harpoon missile launcher, the Terrier launchers were upgraded to fire the Standard SM-2ER missile, and 2 Phalanx CIWS were added. All were upgraded under the late-1980's New Threat Upgrade (NTU) program, which included combat system capability improvements to the ship's Air Search Radars (AN/SPS-48E and AN/SPS-49), Fire Control Radars (AN/SPG-55B), and Combat Direction System (CDS). These improvements provided an accurate means of coordinating the engagement of multiple air targets with SM-2 Extended Range missiles. During the NTU overhaul, all spaces were renovated, berthing and food service areas were refurbished, and the engineering plant was fully overhauled.


*Combat Information Processing
**Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS)
** OE-82 satellite communication antenna
** SSR-1 receiver
** 3x WSC-3 transceivers
*Fire Control
**SAM 4x Mk 76 Terrier FCS
**ASW Mk 114
*Weapons Direction System
**Mk 14 WDS

Role of "Reeves"

Modern guided missile cruisers, such as "Reeves", performed primarily in a Battle Force role. These ships were multi-mission (AAW — anti-air warfare, ASW — anti-surface warfare, ASUW — anti-submarine warfare) surface combatants capable of supporting carrier or battleship battle groups, amphibious forces, or of operating independently and as flagships of surface action groups. Due to their extensive combat capability, these ships were designated as Battle Force Capable (BFC) units.

Photo Galleries


* [ DANFS entry on USS "Reeves"]
* [ entry on "Leahy"-class cruisers]
* [ entry on USS "Reeves"]
* [ Jane's Fighting Ships entries on "Leahy"-class cruisers]
* [ Naval Vessel Register entry on USS "Reeves"]
* [ NavSource Online entry on USS "Reeves"]
* [ Warfighter's Encyclopedia entry on Surface Ships — Cruisers]

External links

* [ All Hands reports on USS "Reeves" Qingdao port visit] (Downloads as a PDF)
* [ Australian Navy news release on USS "Reeves" HULKEX]
* [ Fire When Ready — USS "Reeves" and urinals]
* [ The Guardian reports on USS "Reeves" HULKEX]
* [ I Remember Carmen]
* [ Unofficial U.S. Navy website entry on USS "Reeves"]
* [ USS "Reeves" Homepage]
* [ USS "Reeves" Association Homepage]
* [ USS "Reeves" Model by Jamie Campbell — I]
* [ USS "Reeves" Model by Jamie Campbell — II]
* [ USS "Reeves" Zippo lighter]

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