California (CGN 36) - Naval Cruise Book

 - Class of 1981

Page 9 of 102


California (CGN 36) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 1981 Edition, Page 9
Page 9

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The " Golden Grizzly ' ' : A Proud Record of Accomplishments CALIFORNIA ' S keel was laid on January 23, 1970. The ship ' s sponsor was Mrs. Richard M. Nixon, the former first lady. Mrs. Nixon christened the ship on September 22, 1971. On February 16, 1974, CALIFORNIA was commis- sioned for service in the Atlantic Fleet. CALIFORNIA is 596 feet in length, with a beam of 61 feet and a full-load displacement of 11,100 tons. The crew consists of 31 officers and 512 enlisted men. The ship ' s mission is to operate as part of a fast carrier task force, or independently to detect and destroy any hostile force. The ship ' s armament includes two Tartar " D " guided missile batteries, two-quad Flarpoon (cruise missile) launchers, two Super Rapid Blooming Offboard Chaff (RBOC) launchers, two 5 " /54 Caliber lightweight guns, an 8 cell anti-submarine torpedo tubes. The CALIFORNIA is equipped with the AN/SQS-26 long range sonar. The ship carries an array of electronic equipment for long and short range communications, control of interceptor aircraft, air and surface target, detection and tracking, electronic warfare and navigation. It is capable of simultaneous 3-dimensional warfare with Combat Information Center ' s decision makers aided by the computerized Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS). The ship ' s twin reactors gives it essentially unlimited endurance. It can sustain high speeds for long periods of time and is capable of conducting extended operations in combat areas far from supply bases. CALIFORNIA ' S fuel supply will last approximately 13 years. Each year, CALIFORNIA participates in graded exercises and evolutions designed to measure the crew ' s training and readiness in all warfare areas. The standards are high, and the ships which meet or exceed the standards are presented with " Excellence " awards or " E ' s " for each warfare specialty. in the first six years, CALIFORNIA has participated in these exercises, the ship has won the Battle " E " three times ( ' 76, ' 78 and ' 80) as well as 36 departmental " E " awards. Currently, the ship holds its sixth consecutive Missile Systems " E " , fifth consecutive Gunnery " E " , fourth consecutive Combat information Center (CIC) " E " , fourth consecutive Electronic Warfare " E " , and the third consecutive Anti-Submarine Operations " A " . Additionally, CALIFORNIA has earned the Chezak Award for the Navy ' s Top Naval Gunfire Support Ship on two occasions, garnered Sixth Fleet ' s " Flook-em " award for Anti-Submarine Warfare excellence and was named the top Anti-Air Warfare ship in the Atlantic in 1977 as well as runner up in 1978 and 1979. CALIFORNIA was chosen to represent the United States Surface Fleet at the Silver Jubilee Naval Review at Portsmouth, England in June 1977. Over 150 warships from 18 nations participated in the Naval Review which commemorated Queen Elizabeth ' s 25th year of corona- tion. CALIFORNIA has been deployed to the Mediterran- ean, serving with the Sixth Fleet on three occasions. On the third occasion, in early September 1979, the CALIFORNIA, along with the USS NIMITZ (CVN-68) and USS TEXAS (CGN-39), forming a Nuclear- Powered-Battlegroup, embarked from Norfolk, Va. on a routine six month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea. But as the Iranian crisis worsened in late December, the three nuclear-powered ships were ordered to the Indian Ocean and duty with the Seventh Fleet. The CALIFORNIA traveled from Livorno, Italy to the Indian Ocean, a distance of nearly 22,000 miles, in only 18 days. In early March, the CALIFORNIA went to Mauritius, an island 450 miles east of Madagascar, to participate in that island nation ' s 12th anniversary of independence from Great Britain. In late April, CALIFORNIA ' S air trackers followed the flight of eight helicopters from NIMITZ ' s flight deck in an attempt to rescue 53 Americans held hostage by militant Iranians. Although, that mission was not successful, CALIFORNIA ' S readiness and the purpose for the battle group ' s presence remained unchanged: to demonstrate America ' s resolve to maintain the security and peace in the Persian Gulf region. After five months patrolling the Indian Ocean, the Nuclear-Powered-Battlegroup was relieved by the nuclear carrier USS EISENHOWER (CVN-69) and the nuclear powered cruisers USS VIRGINIA (CGN-38) and USS SOUTH CAROLINA (CGN-37). Nine months after their odyssey began, the CALIFORNIA, with the TEXAS and NIMITZ, began the long trip home: a 12,000 mile journey traveled in 19 days. Upon reaching Norfolk, Va. on May 26, 1980 (Memorial Day), CALIFORNIA had traveled nearly 80,000 miles. An estimated crowd of 30,000 lined the shores and piers as Tidewater communities, and the nation, greeted the three highly sophisticated warships in the biggest homecoming celebration since WWII. From NIMITZ ' s flight deck. President Carter greeted the Indian Ocean Battlegroup. The Secretary of the Navy, Eduard Hidalgo; the Deputy Secretary of Defense, VVilliam G. Claytor; Virginia ' s Senator John Warner, Lt. Governor Charles Robb,and Mrs. Louise Kennedy, wife of an American hostage, visited the CALIFORNIA to express their appreciation and welcome the ship home on that memorable day.

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