USS Peterson (DD-969), named for Lieutenant Commander Carl Jerrold Peterson (1936–1969), was a Spruance-classdestroyer laid down by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries at Pascagoula, Mississippi. Peterson was sponsored by Mrs. Miriam C. Peterson, the mother of LCDR Carl J. Peterson. Matron of Honor was Peterson’s sister, Mrs. John F. Elliott. She commissioned on 9 July 1977 and decommissioned on 4 October 2002.
1979 – Persian Gulf deployment. Peterson made her first deployment which included duty as flagship for Commander, Middle East Force in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Upon return to Norfolk, Virginia she was awarded Destroyer Squadron Ten’s Battle ‘E’.
1980 – Persian Gulf deployment. Peterson spent her second deployment beginning in September 1980 in the Persian Gulf. She returned home in March 1981.
1981 – Mediterranean deployment. Six months later, Peterson returned to the Mediterranean on 1 December 1981 for her third deployment in three years.
1982 – Overhaul. During a nine-month overhaul starting in July 1982, Peterson’s weapons systems were upgraded to include the Target Acquisition System (TAS), two 20 mm Vulcan Phalanx CIWS mounts, and an enhanced communications and electronics suite.
1984 – Mediterranean (Lebanon) deployment. Peterson was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for her role as naval gunfire support ship off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon as part of the Saratoga battle group in April 1984.
1985 – Arctic deployment. In the Fall of 1985, Peterson participated in the NATO exercise ‘Ocean Safari’ in the North Atlantic, earning the title of ‘Blue Nose’ for the crossing of the Arctic Circle and was also awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for exceptional performance.
1986 – Mediterranean (Libya) deployment. In 1986, Peterson deployed to the Mediterranean with the America battle group and performed search and rescue duties during combat operations in the vicinity of Libya. She was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for her efforts.
1988 – Mediterranean deployment. During Peterson’s 1988 deployment, she served as the flagship for Commander, Destroyer Squadron Twenty Six and operated with the British, French, German, Spanish and Tunisian navies.
1990 – Mediterranean and African (Liberia) deployment. Peterson’s 1990 deployment began in the Mediterranean with the Dwight D. Eisenhower battle group, visiting Naples, St. Maxime, Palma and Tunis. When civil war broke out in Liberia, Peterson was called upon to make a high speed transit to the site with embarked Marines to stand by to evacuate American citizens trapped by the fighting. For the rest of the deployment, Peterson assisted in the evacuation of more than 1,600 refugees with Saipan and her Marine Amphibious Readiness Group, before returning home in September.
1991 – Overhaul. On 15 March 1991 Peterson commenced a thirteen-month overhaul at Ingalls Shipbuilding Company in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Modifications included installation of the Mk 41 Vertical Launch System, SQQ-89 Anti-Submarine Warfare SONAR suite and double RAST tracks to support two SH-60B helicopters.
1993 – Red Sea deployment (Operation Desert Storm). On 16 February 1993, Peterson commenced a six-month Middle East Force deployment in the Red Sea where she intercepted and boarded 247 vessels in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq. In response to Iraq’s attempted assassination of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, Peterson successfully struck the Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad with 14 Tomahawk missiles on 26 June 1993, as directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Peterson earned Destroyer Squadron Two’s battle efficiency award for 1993.
1994 – Haitian operations. July and August 1994 saw Peterson off the coast of Haiti where she provided support for Operation Support Democracy.
1995 – Mediterranean deployment and selected restricted availability (SRA). On 14 April 1995 Peterson returned to Norfolk, Virginia culminating a highly successful Mediterranean deployment as a member of the Eisenhower battle group. While on deployment, Peterson played an active role in several community service projects including the highly visible Project Handclaspprogram. On 22 October Peterson commenced a three and a half month SRA which included the installation of the state of the art Tomahawk Weapons Control System (ATWCS). Peterson earned Destroyer Squadron Twenty Eight’s battle efficiency award for 1995.
1996 – Counter drug operations. June and July 1996 saw Peterson off the coasts of South and Central America in the Eastern Pacific Ocean for counter drug operations. During this employment, the Peterson crew enjoyed a Line-crossing ceremony in sight of the Galápagos Islands. After returning home, she began training for her next deployment.
1997 – Atlantic deployment. In July 1997 Peterson deployed with NATO as a member of the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic Squadron. She operated with ships of the British, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Canadian and other NATO navies.
USS Peterson (DD-969) with Victor class sub
1999 – Mediterranean deployment. Peterson deployed as flagship for the Standing Naval Forces Mediterranean Squadron in support of NATO.
2001-2002 – Persian Gulf deployment. Peterson completed a deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She was at the tip of the spear, and involved in every facet of the operation. As the Comskey guardship and Commander, Destroyer Squadron Fifty flagship for maritime interdiction operations in the North Persian Gulf. Peterson was praised as ‘One of the best to have operated in the Persian Gulf in a long time!’. She operated as Surface Action Group commander of the JASK operating area in the Gulf of Oman then again in the North Arabian Sea off Karachi, Pakistan. Peterson conducted 349 queries and 4 boardings – one of which resulted in crew member fatalities – in support of maritime interdiction operations. She supported Bonhomme Richard amphibious readiness group as Combined Task Force 51 sea component commander conducting intelligence surveillance and reporting operations off the Horn of Africa for exercise Edged Mallet in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea. She received more than ten accolades from national and fleet commanders for the timely, high quality reporting provided to the Office of Naval Intelligence, greatly improving understanding of suspect activities in the Horn of Africa region. Peterson safely completed a 196-day deployment with 178 days spent underway, with over 600 queries conducted, more than 700 flight evolutions, 34 underway replenishments, 6 sea and anchor details, and more than 500 small boat operations.
Final underway: While returning from Newport, Rhode Island, Peterson steamed for 6 hours at full power and successfully fired 100 rounds from her 5″/54 guns. This demonstration of strength proved that she was an asset to her country until the end.
Peterson decommissioned on 4 October 2002, and was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 6 November 2002. On 16 February 2004 she was sunk in support of weapons effect tests for the new DD-21 program, later renamed DD(X), followed by a renaming to the DDG 1000 which is the current program of record. The ship’s bell was transferred to Baldwin County, Alabama for display at the war memorial at the Foley satellite courthouse and was unveiled on 5 January 2012. The site of the wreck was confirmed in approximately 2,400 m (7,874 ft) of water on 7 July 2014 by the EV Nautilus.
|Namesake:||Carl Jerrold Peterson|
|Ordered:||15 January 1971|
|Laid down:||29 April 1974|
|Launched:||21 June 1975|
|Acquired:||13 June 1977|
|Commissioned:||9 July 1977|
|Decommissioned:||4 October 2002|
|Out of service:||2002|
|Struck:||6 November 2002|
|Fate:||Sunk in support of fleet training exercise 16 February 2004|
|Class and type:||Spruance-class destroyer|
|Displacement:||8,040 (long) tons full load|
|Length:||529 ft (161 m) waterline; 563 ft (172 m) overall|
|Beam:||55 ft (16.8 m)|
|Draft:||29 ft (8.8 m)|
|Propulsion:||4 × General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, 2 shafts, 80,000 shp (60 MW)|
|Speed:||32.5 knots (60.2 km/h; 37.4 mph)|
|Complement:||19 officers, 315 enlisted|
|Sensors and |
|Electronic warfare |
|Aircraft carried:|| |
2 x Sikorsky SH-60 SeahawkLAMPS III helicopters.
- “Multi-Mission Destroyer Launched at Pascagoula”. Biloxi Sun Herald. 13 July 1975.
- reference navy.mil\factfile
- “Baldwin County gives USS Okaloosa bell to Okaloosa County for memorial”. AL.com. Mobile’s Press-Register. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
- Barlow, Kari C., “Bell from USS Okaloosa to come to airport”, Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Thursday 22 December 2011, Volume 65, Number 326, pages 1-2.
- “Identity of Unknown Shipwreck Revealed”. nautiluslive.org. Sea Research Foundation. Retrieved 7 July 2014.