- USS Aquila (PHM-4)
The second USS "Aquila" (PHM-4) was the fourth ship of her class of
hydrofoils operated by the U.S. Navy. "Pegasus" class vessels were designed for high speed and mobility, and carried a powerful (for their size) armament.
Named for the constellation, "Aquila" was laid down on
10 July 1979at Seattle, Washington, by Boeing Marine Systems; launched on 16 September 1981; sponsored by Mrs. John D. Bulkeley, the wife of Rear Admiral John D. Bulkeley, World War II, PT-boat hero; and commissioned at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyardon 26 June 1982, Lieutenant Commander David M. Lee in command.
After completing her fitting out, "Aquila" got underway from
Bremerton, Washington, on 15 July in company with "Taurus" and "Frederick" and shaped a course for her home port, Key West, Florida. "Frederick" escorted the two guided-missile hydrofoil gunboats as far as Rodman in the Canal Zone where "El Paso" took over. "Aquila" and her traveling companions transited the Panama Canalon 8 August and arrived in Key West three days later. The warship spent the remainder of 1982 conducting shakedown and other training out of her base at the Trumbo Point Annex, Naval Air Station, Key West, Florida. During the first quarter of 1983, post-shakedown repairs occupied her time. That spring, "Aquila" embarked upon a schedule of normal training duties out of Key West that occupied her time through the summer and into the all of 1983. From 10 to 20 October, she joined "Taurus" and "Spartanburg County" for special operations in the Caribbean Sea.
In mid-November, "Aquila" and "Taurus" joined "Aubrey Fitch" at Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba, to test the feasibility of operating guided-missile frigates and guided-missile hydrofoil gunboats together in the same task organization. However, demands attendant to the American presence in Grenadaforestalled the experiment. "Aquila", "Taurus", and "Aubrey Fitch" headed for Grenada where they performed patrol duties and relief work until the middle of December. "Aquila" returned to Key West on 16 December and spent the last two weeks of the year in port.
Holiday leave and upkeep ended early in January 1984, and "Aquila" reembarked upon normal operations out of her base at Key West. In May, the guided-missile hydrofoil gunboat added another duty to her busy training schedule, helping the Coast Guard to interdict the traffic in illicit drugs. That fall she joined "Taurus" in a special mission to the Caribbean coast of
Central America. The two warships returned to Key West at the end of the first week in November, and "Aquila" resumed her program of training missions and drug traffic interdiction. She continued so occupied through the end of 1984 and during the first half of 1985. Late in July 1985, the warship began a restricted availability that lasted until the middle of October. Following post-overhaul trials, "Aquila" rejoined the effort against drug smugglers in mid-December.
Law enforcement duties occupied her during the first two months of 1986. In March, she carried out post-overhaul refresher training and, late in April, participated in FLEETEX 1-86 staged in the
West Indies. Immediately thereafter, "Aquila" joined in another exercise, Operation "Ocean Venture 86," that simulated an attack on an enemy fleet attempting to force the Mona Passagebetween Hispaniolaand Puerto Rico. At the beginning of the second week in May, the guided-missile hydrofoil gunboat returned to normal operations out of Key West. She interrupted those operations twice that summer—once early in July and again early in August—to conduct special tests with A-7E Corsair II aircraft for the Chief of Naval Operations. Otherwise, she carried out normal duties from her base at Key West through the end of the year.
"Aquila" was decommissioned in 1993 and sold in 1996.
* [http://navysite.de/pboats/phm4.htm Navysite.de PHM-4 page]
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