CG 55 | USS LEYTE GULF
Battle of Leyte Gulf
LEYTE GULF was commissioned in 1987 as the ninth TICONDEROGA Class AEGIS cruiser. LEYTE GULF served in the Arabian Gulf in 1991 in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, where she launched Tomahawk cruise missiles against Iraq, and served as local Anti-Air Warfare Commander for a four Aircraft Carrier Battle Force. In October 1992, LEYTE GULF provided support for Operation PROVIDE COMFORT in the Adriatic Sea, joining other multi-national forces in response to the conflict and suffering within the former Yugoslavia.
As part of New York City's "Fleet Week'93", a celebration honoring the U.S. sea services, USS LEYTE GULF and the Russian guided missile destroyer BEZUDERZHNY conducted maneuvering and communication drills 80 miles southeast of New York for a three-hour exercise on June 1. The two ships communicated using radio, signal flags and flashing light while maneuvering in formation. The ships also practiced rescue at sea operations. The exercise was part of an ongoing professional exchange between the two navies.
In July 1993, LEYTE GULF proceeded to the Caribbean Sea to provide support for the war on drugs. Dealing a severe blow to traffickers, LEYTE GULF coordinated several efforts that prevented over 100 million tons of cocaine from reaching the United States.
Following a Selected Restricted Availability, which was completed early and under budget, LEYTE GULF conducted a successful launch of the new BLOCK III Tomahawk missile in the Gulf of Mexico. The missiles traveled over 600 miles downrange, meeting 27 action points, arriving "on target" and "on time."
In July 1994, LEYTE GULF deployed to the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf in support of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and VIGILANT WARRIOR. During this critical time, she served as the principle "Ready Strike" platform for United States Naval Forces Central Command, and was seamlessly integrated into operations with two different Carrier Battle Groups.
In October 1994, LEYTE GULF made a high-speed, 3,600-mile transit to the Arabian Gulf (in just five days) as 80,000 Iraqi troops moved towards the Kuwaiti border in an act of aggression. As the first principle warship on the scene, stationed 15 miles off the Iraqi coast, LEYTE GULF provided a significant, visible deterrent to any planned invasion. The ship was praised by the Secretary of Defense and the Chief of Naval Operations for her critical role in deterring another war in the region. In her role as Maritime Interception Operations Coordinator in the Northern Arabian Gulf, LEYTE GULF conducted over fifty boardings, resulting in the capture and diversion of five vessels, accounting for 90 percent of the diversions since the inception of operations in 1990. These efforts resulted in the capture of over 25,000 tons of contraband Iraqi oil.
USS LEYTE GULF changed homeport on July 30, 1997, from Mayport, FL, to Naval Station Norfolk, VA. The guided-missile cruiser came to Norfolk under a realignment plan that allowed Carrier Group Eight's two cruisers to be collocated, to improve maintenance and training efficiencies. The move took place after LEYTE GULF's recently-completed deployment and just prior to a maintenance period.
USS LEYTE GULF deployed in the Adriatic Sea for Operation ALLIED FORCE as part of the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT Battle Group. The THEODORE ROOSEVELT battle group, which arrived in the Mediterranean on April 3, 1999, was originally slated to deploy directly to the Persian Gulf to relieve the USS ENTERPRISE battle group, but was ordered by Secretary of Defense Cohen to remain in the area to suppport Operation Allied Force. It returned home from deployment in September 1999.
As part of the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73) Carrier Battle Group (CVBG), and in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, USS LEYTE GULF set sail in support of defense and humanitarian efforts off the coast of New York before she deployed on September 19, 2001, as part of the THEODORE ROOSEVELT Carrier Battle Group, to the Mediterranean, and "to points East" in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The THEODORE ROOSEVELT Carrier Battle Group transited the Suez Canal on October 13th and arrived in the Arabian Sea on October 15th, before returning home in April 2002.
Since her commissioning, LEYTE GULF has earned two Navy Unit Commendations, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation, four consecutive Battle "E" Awards (a total of 23 mission area battle excellence awards), two Coast Guard Special Operations Ribbons, Kuwait Liberation Medal, two Southwest Asia Service Medals, National Defense Service Medal, and four Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.
of Coat of Arms:
The diving wings with trailing flames represent the Kamikazes, which
first appeared in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and which were the
forerunners of the anti-ship missiles against which the AEGIS system
was designed. The Crossed "Big Guns" represent the battleships, which
at the Battle of Leyte Gulf culminated centuries of naval tradition in
the last battle at sea of great ships of the line.