USS Caron (DD-970)


USS Caron (DD-970)

USS "Caron" (DD-970) was a sclass|Spruance|destroyer, named for Hospital Corpsman Third Class Wayne M. Caron (1946–1968), who was killed in action during the Vietnam War, and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

"Caron" was laid down by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries at Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Ship's history

*1 July 1974 - Laid down.
*1 October 1977 - Commissioned.
*August 1979 - Soviet planes stage a mock missile attack against "Caron" in the Black Sea
*October 1983 - Participant in Operation Urgent Fury
*November 1983 to March 1984 - Part of Multi National Peacekeeping Force Beirut, Lebanon
*10 March 1986 - Departs Norfolk, Virginia with USS|America|CV-66|2 carrier battle group deploying to the Mediterranean as part of Operation Attain Document, a freedom of navigation exercise in the Gulf of Sidra.
*23 March 1986 - Operating with USS|Ticonderoga|CG-47|2 and USS|Scott|DDG-995|2, "Caron" moves south of the Libya-claimed "Line of Death". This prompted a reaction from Libya resulting in two days of low intensity conflict in which "Caron" did not fire any weapons.
*12 February 1988 - Lightly rammed by Soviet Mirka II class light frigate (FFL 824) in the Black Sea (see "Soviet collision" below).
*15 February 1990 - Completed regular overhaul.
*14 January 1991 - Participated in Operation Desert Storm from this date until end of conflict.
*14 October 1993 - Began participation in UN sanctions enforcement against Haiti.
*April 1995 - NATO mine countermeasures exercise off Denmark.
*January to July 1996 - Deployed to Persian Gulf upholding UN sanctions against Iraq and aiding in Operation Southern Watch.
*February to August 1998 - Deployed to Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf, operating with USS|John C. Stennis|CVN-74|2.
*April 1998 - Participated in Exercise Shark Hunt 98 off the coast of Spain.
*January to 4 June 1999 - Completed regular overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding. This overhaul included modifications to accommodate female crew.
*June to December 2000 - Deployed to Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf, operating with USS|George Washington|CVN-73|2.
*15 October 2001 - Decommissioned.
*4 December 2002 - Prematurely sinks off the coast of Puerto Rico as a result of explosives tests.

Soviet collision

In February 1988, "Caron" operating with USS|Yorktown|CG-48|2, entered the Soviet Union's 12 mile (22.2 km) territorial waters limit in the Black Sea off the Crimean Peninsula without permission. Under established international law, this act was permissible if the transiting foreign ship is progressing from one point in international waters to another point in international waters via the shortest course possible. The Soviet Union had however claimed the right to authorize or prohibit travel in selected areas within the 12 mile limit. The United States did not recognize the Soviet claim. To prevent it from becoming accepted precedent, the US Navy had sailed warships through such areas at regular intervals in the past.

On this occasion, "Caron" had onboard a ships signal exploitation spaces system, operated by a crew of 18 personnel in support of the U.S. National Security Agency. This system was capable of recording data on Soviet defense radars and communications.

In response, the Soviets deployed a destroyer and a Mirka II class light frigate as well as many other Soviet Navy, Coast Guard, KGB and "civilian" ships to intercept the U.S. ships. Soviet aircraft continuously buzzed the "Caron" and "Yorktown" as smaller vessels weaved to an fro in front of the American ships. Several times, Soviet vessels and aircraft obtained radar "lock" on the "Caron" and "Yorktown". Both American ships maintained a constant course and speed throughout the incident. Eventually, the Soviets lightly rammed both "Caron" and "Yorktown". No significant damage resulted to any of the ships involved. The much beloved (by the crew) Captain of the "Caron" Lou Harlow, ordered that people go over the side of the "Caron" to paint over the superficial marks created by the "ramming" within minutes of the event. The move was intended to intimidate the U.S. as a measure to encourage them not to engage in such flexing of international law in the future.

Ship's crest

The design of the shield and crest of the coat of arms is based on service of Wayne Maurice Caron, Hospital Corpsman Third Class, United States Navy, who heroically sacrificed his life on 28 July, 1968 while aiding wounded Marines on the field of fire in Vietnam. The Medal of Honor was awarded him posthumously. "Caron" is named in his honor.

The light blue center section and the white five-pointed star allude to the Medal of Honor ribbon; the star is also inverted in reference to the silhouette of the Medal of Honor pendant. The one light blue and the two Navy blue sections refer to the courage, steadfast determination and selfless dedication of Petty Officer Caron in performance of duty while serving as Platoon Corpsman with Company K, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, 1st Marine Division. The sweep of his unit through an open rice field in Quang Nam Province is indicated by the scarlet base and the embattled gold chevron. Navy blue and gold and scarlet and gold are the colors of the Navy and Marine Corps.

The Navy-blue caduceus is the insignia worn on the white uniforms by Hospital Corpsmen, United States Navy. This insignia and the crossed bayonets (in the colors of the Marine Corps) allude to the medical services customarily provided the Marine Corps by the Navy. In particular, the caduceus and bayonets symbolize the combat operation in which Petty Officer Caron, though grievously wounded, was killed while giving medical assistance to his wounded comrades.

ee also

*List of United States Navy destroyers

External links

* [http://www.nvr.navy.mil/nvrships/details/DD970.htm Naval Vessel Register entry for USS "Caron"]
* [http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/970.htm navsource.org: USS "Caron"]
* [http://www.united-states-navy.com/dd/dd970.htm united-states-navy.com: USS "Caron"]


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