CG 73 | USS PORT ROYAL
Battle of Port Royal Sound
The life of USS PORT ROYAL as an AEGIS cruiser began at Ingalls Shipbuilding division of Litton Industries in Pascagoula, MS, with the start of fabrication work on November 9, 1990. CG 73's keel was laid on October 18, 1991. CG 73 was launched on November 20, 1992, and was christened on December 5, 1992, by Mrs. Susan G. Baker, wife of then Chief of Staff and Senior Counselor to the President, James A. Baker III. On December 6, 1993, PORT ROYAL sailed into the Gulf of Mexico for her first predelivery sea trials. The ship was delivered to the U.S. Navy by Ingalls on April 25, 1994, in preparation for formal commissioning ceremonies on July 9, 1994, in Savannah, GA.
USS PORT ROYAL was one of the two US Navy ships to first receive TBMD system modifications and SM2 Block IV-A missiles, as part of the US Navy Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (TBMD). It was scheduled to conduct at-sea testing, develop core doctrine and tactics, and serve as focal points for developing the very latest theater ballistic defense technology. USS PORT ROYAL, along with USS LAKE ERIE (CG 70), has served as an operational unit for the development of doctrine and training, in addition to performance validation of the Navy Area TBMD Program.
PORT ROYAL deployed in March 1996 as part of a battle group centered on the aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ to the waters near Taiwan. The NIMITZ battle group was the second carrier task force deployed to the area where tension were building over Chinese military exercises and missile tests just off Taiwan.
In 1997, PORT ROYAL departed on its second deployment. She conducted surface and air defense operations for the USS NIMITZ battle group as it was operating in the Persian Gulf in support of the U.S. and coalition enforcement of the no-fly-zone over Southern Iraq.
USS PORT ROYAL completed this second deployment in 1998. She supported Operation Southern Watch in the Arabian Gulf and participated in United Nations Maritime Interception Operations. USS PORT ROYAL enjoyed an historic port visit to Durban, South Africa, the first U.S. Navy ship to visit in over 25 years. While in Durban, more than 10,000 visitors toured the ship.
USS PORT ROYAL underwent successful LINEBACKER sea trials at the Pacific Missile Range, Kauai, Hawaii, in the fall of 1998. PORT ROYAL was next scheduled to participate in at-sea TBM target tracking events that same fall.
USS PORT ROYAL took part in the Northern Edge '99 Exercise. During Northern Edge '99, the Navy's Modeling and Simulation Center and the Army's Space and Missile Defense Battle Lab ran simulations which assessed the effectiveness of planned defenses against the missile threat. USS PORT ROYAL was connected to the TMD cell and shared warning information.
In January 2000, PORT ROYAL left Pearl Harbor, HI, on its third WESTPAC deployment. During the deployment, the cruiser was part of the JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74) Battle Group and again operated in support of Operation Southern Watch. PORT ROYAL returned to Pearl Harbor, HI, in late June 2000.
Following her return, USS PORT ROYAL entered dry dock on August 18, 2000, marking PORT ROYAL's first dry-docking since new construction in 1994. Repair of voyage casualties to the port hub and sonar dome were the hottest items for the dry dock period. Also accomplished during the dry-docking were numerous combat systems and quality of life upgrades. USS PORT ROYAL undocked from Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Dry Dock One on the evening of October 24, 2000, before conducting sea trials during a two-day underway at the end of the month. PORT ROYAL was afterwards scheduled to make a shakedown cruise to Tahiti, French Polynesia in November.
USS PORT ROYAL conducted a Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) FIREX I exercise off the southeast coast of San Clemente Island on the morning of May 9, 2001. The first series of missions were spotter service exercises which were primarily conducted to train new Marine Corps spotters. Upon completion of the spotter services, the FIREX I began. The ship's forward gun mount (MT51) fired 72 rounds before a gun-loading casualty rendered it inoperative. The following day, the aft gun mount (MT52) suffered a minor casualty to the lower hoist assembly. PORT ROYAL nevertheless executed the remaining five missions of the FIREX I which included a coordinated illumination mission.
Following the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington D.C., USS PORT ROYAL departed Pearl Harbor, HI, on its fourth WESTPAC deployment on November 17, 2001. The cruiser was again assigned to the JOHN C. STENNIS Battle Group which deployed two months earlier than previously scheduled to provide support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Dark blue and gold are
the colors traditionally associated with the Navy. Red is emblematic of
courage and sacrifice. Gold denotes excellence and high ideals; blue
refers to the sea in which PORT ROYAL sails. The blue and gray of the
shield recall the Union and Confederate forces and the first PORT
ROYAL's Civil War service, while the embattled pile alludes to the
forts on either side of Port Royal Sound. The trident represents an
Aegis symbol of seapower and is enflamed to symbolize past and present
weapons and defense. The tines of the trident represent an Aegis
cruiser's capabilities: on the surface, the subsurface, and in the air.
The upward thrust of the trident head highlights the vertical launch
capabilities of CG 73.