CG 53 Mobile Bay
"Full Speed Ahead"
The USS Mobile Bay's shield, located in the center of the crest, contains a ship's wheel and crossed cutlass and sword. The wheel represents naval leadership on the oceans of the world. The modern ship, crossed swords, and cutlass signify professional expertise and the spirit of the Surface Warfare community from which the ship's officers and crew are drawn. A naval cannon, typical of armaments used in the Battle of Mobile Bay, supports the shield and symbolizes ancient and modern weaponry.
The ships' crest recalls the Battle of Mobile Bay by the silhouettes of the steam sloop USS Hartford and CSS Tennessee. The former was the flagship of Admiral David Farrugut's Federal Fleet and the later a ram of the Confederate Navy. The four stars reflect Admiral Farragut's commission as the Navy's first four-star admiral.
The shield's border is made up of a continuous anchor chain signifies a unity of purpose and teamwork; the elongated octagonal band suggests the unique, primary radar associated with the AEGIS system.
USS Mobile Bay's primary mission is to operate as part of aircraft carrier battle groups or surface action groups in extreme threat environments. The purpose of the ship is to detect, classify and track hundreds of potential targets simultaneously in the air, on the surface, and under the sea. It can destroy targets using a variety of weapons: ship and helicopter launched torpedoes, deck guns, surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles, rapid-fire close-in weapons, and electronic jammers and decoys.
USS Mobile Bay was built in Pascagoula, MS, by Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries. The cruiser was commissioned on 21 February 1987 at the Alabama State Docks in Mobile, AL.
After commissioning, Mobile Bay joined the U. S. Atlantic Fleet, arriving at its Mayport, FL, homeport in March 1987. Following a year of crew qualifications, tests and systems trials, Mobile Bay embarked on its maiden deployment on 11 May 1989. During this cruise, Mobile Bay earned its first two awards: the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the Armed Services Expeditionary Medal, for operations conducted in the Gulf of Oman.
In June of 1990, Mobile Bay shifted homeports from Mayport, FL, to Yokosuka, Japan. Shortly thereafter, Mobile Bay deployed in August 1990 in support of Operation Desert Shield and Storm, becoming the first Aegis cruiser to circumnavigate the globe. In the Arabian Gulf, the ship distinguished itself by becoming the first Battle Force Anti-Air Warfare Commander to control a four-carrier Task Force. Mobile Bay launched 22 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile strikes, and controlling carrier-launched attack aircraft that contributed to the complete destruction of the Iraqi Navy.
In May of 1991, Mobile Bay was ordered to Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, to participate in Operation Fiery Vigil, the evacuation of thousands of people displaced by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. In December 1991, Mobile Bay began work-ups for a spring 1992 Arabian Gulf deployment.
On 15 April 1992, Mobile Bay once again set sail for the Arabian Gulf. En route, the ship and crew visited Sydney, Australia, to represent the U. S. Navy at the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Battle of Coral Sea. Sailing through the Straits of Hormuz in late May 1992, the ship began duties as the Arabian Gulf Anti-Air Warfare Commander. Mobile Bay also played a vital role in Operation Southern Watch, the enforcement of the U. N.-mandated "No Fly Zone" over Southern Iraq. Returning to Japan in October, Mobile Bay participated in ANNUALEX-92, a major naval exercise involving units of the U. S. Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force. Mobile Bay served as the Anti-Air Warfare Commander for a joint U. S. - Japanese flotilla.
In May 1993, Mobile Bay steamed to Western Australia for SPRING TRAINING-93, a multi-national exercise involving units of the U.S., Royal Australian, and Singaporean Navies. In September of 1993, Mobile Bay made an historic visit to the Russian seaport of Vladivostok. Departing Russia, Mobile Bay participated in ANNUALEX-93 before returning to Yokosuka to finish preparations for an upcoming Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf deployment.
On 17 November 1993, Mobile Bay departed Yokosuka for a third deployment in three years. Arriving in the Arabian Gulf a month later, Mobile Bay immediately assumed duties as Anti-Air Warfare Commander for naval forces in the Gulf. Remaining on station until February 1994, Mobile Bay helped to maintain stability in the region. Mobile Bay completed this deployment on 17 March 1994, returning to Yokosuka.
In May of 1994, Mobile Bay left home waters to participate in RIMPAC-94, a month-long exercise in the mid-Pacific involving over 50 warships from five Pacific Rim nations.
In spring 1999, the Mobile Bay sailed three times through the Taiwan Straits during a period of tension between Taiwan and China, and in June 1999 it was dispatched to Korea during the "Crab Wars" over fishing rights between North and South Korea.
In early May 1999, The USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) deployed to Singapore to participate in the 1999 International Maritime Defense Exhibition (IMDEX) Asia, there.
In mid-1999, the USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) deployed to serve US forces supporting INTERFET operations off the coast of East Timor. Sailing south on August 23, 1999, for a series of routine Australian port visits and Exercise Crocodile 99, USS Mobile Bay (CG-53) was redirected by Commander, 7th Fleet, and told to sail for the waters of East Timor. As the first U.S. forces on the scene, Mobile Bay was designated as Commander, Joint Task Force Timor Sea Operations (CJTF TSO). During Timor Sea operations, Mobile Bay performed many missions including guard ship; U.S. armed forces sanctuary; air surveillance; intelligence gathering; Timor ground operations repair efforts; link manager; (which provided primary air tracking in support of aircraft into and out of East Timor carrying supplies and troops); and ship escort.
Following the East Timor operation, Mobile Bay visited Singapore; Pattaya, Thailand; Kagoshima and Sasebo, Japan. After the Sasebo port visit, Mobile Bay participated in early November in the joint exercise Annualex, with the Japanese navy.
In July 2000, The USS Mobile Bay changed homeports from Yokosuka, Japan, to San Diego, CA, ending 10 years of 7th Fleet service.
The USS Mobile Bay was refurbished in 2001 as one of the Navy's first "Smart Ships," the cruiser USS Mobile Bay, and one of four ships selected to test how well Navy vessels can operate with sharply reduced crews. The Mobile Bay had been nominated for the Navy's "Optimal Manning Project", an early test of concepts to be integrated into the design of DD-21.
On December 21, 2001, a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment, operating from the USS Mobile Bay, seized 10.5 metric tons of cocaine approximately 800 miles southwest of Acapulco, Mexico.
The USS Mobile Bay departed with the Abraham Lincoln Battle Group in July 2002 for a WESTPAC deployment. This deployment turned out to be the longest that it or the Battle Group had ever experienced, lasting over nine months. The Mobile Bay returned to San Diego on April 25, 2003.
The Battle of Mobile Bay
USS Mobile Bay takes its name from the famous Civil War naval battle between Union forces under the command of Admiral David Farragut, and Confederate forces, under Admiral Franklin Buchanan. As "Freedom's Flagship," Mobile Bay carries on the tradition of patriotism and courage displayed by the ships and sailors in the historic battle.
By 1864, Mobile, Alabama, was the last Gulf Coast port of any consequence still remaining in Confederate hands. The only entrance to Mobile Bay was a channel running between Forts Morgan and Gaines, reduced to a width of 150 yards by Confederate mines and obstructions. Such Southern strategy forced Admiral Farragut to place his eighteen-ship force within easy range of Fort Morgan's heavy guns. Embarked in the flagship USS HARTFORD just outside Mobile Bay, Farragut scrutinized the forts and other bay defenses, sending in small boats by night to chart obstructions and mines.
Admiral Buchanan, the ranking officer of the Confederate Navy, was ordered to Mobile from Hampton Roads, Virginia, following his battle with USS MONITOR. He began to frantically work to organize a fleet in hopes of countering the imminent Union attack. The monitor CSS TENNESSEE had been floated down river to receive armor. Along with the monitor came three small, old wooden gunboats: MORGAN, GAINES, and SELMA. The group of four Confederate ships was all that stood between the Union Fleet and the port of Mobile.
On the morning of 5 August 1864, the Federal Fleet, led by the monitor TECUMSEH, entered the channel. Abreast of Fort Morgan, TECUMSEH veered from its course and dashed at TENNESSEE. When just 100 yards from TENNESSEE, TECUMSEH ran into a mine that exploded and ripped out its bottom. The ship sank almost instantly, its stern rising out of the water so that the propeller was seen turning in the air as it slipped beneath the waves. The battle line broke and ships backed up on one another. With fire from Fort Morgan raining upon them, they tangled in the channel. Then Farragut, lashed in the rigging of the HARTFORD, "damned the torpedoes" and moved into the bay at full speed.
TENNESSEE and its three tiny gunboats moved down to meet them, 20 guns against 200, and four ships against seventeen. MORGAN, GAINES, and SELMA were quickly out-of-action, leaving TENNESSEE to stand alone against the entire Union Fleet.
Farragut's ships converged upon the great ironclad, firing broadsides and ramming it at full speed with their prows. After two hours, TENNESSEE was dead in the water, its steering gone and stack shot away, filling the gun-deck with suffocating heat and flames. Only then did the wounded Admiral Buchanan give the order to surrender. TENNESSEE's colors came down, concluding one of the most important battles in the Civil War.
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