CG 54 Antietam
"Power to Prevail"
USS Antietam's primary mission is to operate with aircraft carrier battle groups and surface action groups in extreme threat environments well into the 21st century. 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 Antietam is the third ship named after the Civil War battle fought along Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg, Maryland. The first Antietam was a sailing sloop constructed in 1864 that served as a sailing stores ship. The second Antietam (CV-36) was the first aircraft carrier to be fitted with an angled deck, and was re-classified CVS 36 for anti-submarine duty.
USS Antietam (CG-54) was commissioned in Baltimore, Maryland on 6 June 1987. Antietam then steamed through the Panama Canal to her first homeport in Long Beach, California.
Antietam's initial deployment, beginning in September 1988, took her to the Arabian Gulf where she escorted Kuwaiti tankers as part of Operation EARNEST WILL. Following the ship's first full competitive cycle, she was awarded the Battle "E" and the LAMPS MK III Safety Award. Antietam departed on her second deployment in June 1990. A full schedule of Pacific operations was cut short by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 2 August. Antietam entered the Arabian Gulf on 6 August, and assumed duties as Anti-Air Warfare Commander for Middle East Force, serving during the early turbulent days of Operation DESERT SHIELD. For her second deployment, Antietam was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation and the Southwest Asia Defense Medal. Antietam received another Battle "E" and the Spokane Trophy for Combat Systems Excellence.
In January of 1992, Antietam again deployed to the Western Pacific, this time for a series of bilateral exercises with regional allies. She conducted joint operations with the Japanese, Singapore and Brunei Navies, and visited ten cities in eight countries.
After winning the Navy-wide 1993 Captain Edward F. Ney Award for Food Service Excellence, Antietam departed in February 1994 on her fourth deployment, again to the Arabian Gulf. She participated in Operation SOUTHERN WATCH and hosted many ambassadors and diplomats in the Gulf and Australia.
Returning from deployment, Antietam completed her first regular overhaul in Long Beach, and in late 1995, she switched homeports to San Diego, California. She was awarded the Battle "E" and four of four area awards for the 1995 competitive cycle. In May and June 1996, Antietam participated in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC-96) Exercise, which included numerous U.S. and foreign naval units in the largest naval exercise ever.
In April 1997, Antietam returned from the Arabian Gulf, completing her fifth deployment, this time with the USS Kitty Hawk Battle Group. She participated in Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and VIGILENT SENTINEL, and conducted exercises with the English, French, and South Korean Navies. The ship again won four of four area excellence awards including a fleet-leading eight consecutive red Engineering "E" for excellence. In the middle of 1997, Antietam received the Chief of Naval Operation's Safety Award for Pacific Fleet Cruisers. During June 1998 Antietam participated in a second Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise. Later that year she deployed for the sixth time to the Western Pacific, making port calls in Singapore, Thailand, Bahrain, The United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, and Australia before returning home to San Diego in May 1999.
In May of 2000 Antietam participated in a Counter-Narcotics deployment aimed at stemming the flow of illegal drugs into the United States. The highly successful four-month deployment set new standards for counter drug operations and provided the crew with port visits to Mazatlan, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas. Upon returning to San Diego, Antietam was again awarded the Battle "E" for excellence and began work-ups for her seventh Western Pacific deployment in July 2001.
In February 2001, Antietam underwent the three-week long intensive pre-deployment workup COMPTUEX. COMPTUEX represented the first time that Antietam operated with the other ships in the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) battle group with which she would be deploying. In April Antietam went through INSURV and successfully completed both the underway portion and the open and inspect phase. The inspection is a comprehensive review mandated by Congress to ensure that all Navy ships are properly maintained. It also serves to identify any problems that could limit a ship's ability to continue in service for the length of its intended life span.
In May, Antietam tok part in the JTFX exercise along the Carl Vinson battle group. It deployed with that Battle Group on 26 July. The first stop of the deployment was Lualualei, Hawaii, home of Pearl Harbor's Naval Magazine where Antietam completed her ammunition onload with the addition of Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles. Following this, Antietam proceeded to Singapore and then to Phuket, Thailand. On the way to Singapore, Antietam participated in a PASSEX with the Royal Singaporean Navy.
Antietam was transiting with the Carl Vinson battle group to the Arabian Gulf when the 11 September terrorist attacks on the United States took place. The battle group immediately took station in the North Arabian Sea, prepared for action. On 15 September, Antietam and USS O'KANE were detached to transit through the Strait of Hormuz to conduct Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) in the North Arabian Gulf, enforcing United Nations sanctions imposed on Iraq. Antietam's two Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) teams inspected over 125 vessels for contraband oil and other cargo entering or leaving Iraq.
Antietam was designated to provide air defense for the annual meeting of the World Trade Organization held in Quatar in November. During this time, Antietam operated in a Modified Location box with the Pelielu Amphibious Ready Group.
Antietam was detached to proceed to Mumbai, India on 17 November, 2001. During the transit through the Strait of Hormuz Antietam was turned around to assist with the Search and Rescue (SAR) efforts as a result of the loss of two crewmembers from USS Peterson. On 15 December Antietam and O'Kane pulled into Mumbai, India. The port visit was a significant public relations event and received a great deal of positive media coverage in India. Antietam departed India and proceeded to Singapore on 18 December, on her route home.
Throughout the deployment, the Aegis cruiser's primary missions have been to provide area air defense for the carrier strike group and to direct air defense of U.S. naval units throughout the western Pacific. A multi-mission warship, Antietam also provided surface and sub-surface surveillance for the strike group and was prepared to conduct Tomahawk cruise missile strikes, if directed. The first Carl Vinson Strike Group ship to return home was the USS Antietam, arriving Sep. 14, 2003 at Naval Station San Diego.
The serpent symbolizes the first Navy Jack, Antietam's many sensors, the Maryland copperhead, and Antietam's striking ability. The guns and the vertical launch missile represent Antietam's continuation of the U.S. Navy's excellence in ordinance. The Trident refers to the three dimensions of naval warfare. The two gold stars refer to heroism and suffering at the Battle of Antietam, 17 September 1862, as does the Burnside Bridge. The broken chain symbolizes the Emancipation Proclamation which followed the battle.
The First Antietam
The first Antietam - a screw sloop of war begun in 1864 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard - was not finished by the end of the Civil War. Instead, she remained on the stocks, about two-thirds completed until 1869. At that time, it was decided to complete her as an equipment storeship. She served as a storeship and Marine barracks at League Island, PA from 1876 to 1888. On 8 September 1888, Antietam was sold to Mr. C. II. Gregory of Thomaston, Long Island, N.Y.
Antietam (CV 36)
The second Antietam (CV-36) was laid down on 15 March 1943 by the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched on 20 August 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Millard E. Tydings, the wife of Senator Tydings of Maryland; and commissioned on 28 January 1945, Captain James R. Tague in command.
The aircraft carrier completed fitting out a Philadelphia until 2 March when she got underway for her shakedown cruise. The ship arrived in Hampton Roads on the 5th and conducted operations from Norfolk until 22 March when she stood out of Chesapeake Bay bound for Trinidad in the British West Indies. At the conclusion of her shakedown cruise, Antietam returned to Philadelphia on 28 April to begin post-shakedown availability. She completed repairs on 19 May and departed Philadelphia that same day. After a three-day stop at Norfolk, the warship resumed her voyage to the Panama Canal in company with Higbee (DD-806), George W. Ingram (APD-43, and Ira Jeffery (APD-44). She arrived at Cristobal on 31 May, transited the canal the next day and continued her voyage up the coast to San Diego. She stopped at San Diego from 10 to 13 June before beginning the first leg of Trans-Pacific voyage. Antietam arrived in Pearl Harbor on the 19th and remained in the Hawaiian Islands conducting training missions until 12 August. On that day, she shaped a course for the Western Pacific.
Three days out of Oahu, she received word of the Japanese capitulation and the consequent cessation of hostilities. Thus, by the time of her arrival in Eniwetok Atoll on the 19th, her mission changed from combat to occupation support duty. On the 21st, she exited the lagoon in company with Cabot (CVL-28) and a screen of destroyers bound for Japan. En route, she suffered some internal damage with forced her into port at Apra Harbor, Guam, for inspections. The inspection party deemed the damage minimal; and the carrier remained operational, resuming her course on the 27th. By that time, however, her destination had been changed to the coast of the Asian mainland. She stopped at Okinawa between 30 August and 1 September and arrived in Chinese waters near Shanghai the following day.
The aircraft carrier remained in the Far East for a little more than three years. The Yellow Sea constituted her primary theater of operations while her air group provided support for the Allied occupation of North China, Manchuria, and Korea. During the latter stages of that assignment, her airmen conducted surveillance missions in that area as a result of the civil war in China between communist and nationalist factions which later resulted in the expulsion of Chiang Kai-shek's forces from mainland China and the establishment of Mao Tse-tung's communist Peoples Republic of China. Throughout the period, however, she did depart the Yellow Sea on occasion for visits to Japan, the Philippines, Okinawa, and the Marianas. Early in 1949, she concluded her mission in the Orient and headed back to the United States for deactivation.
Antietam remained in reserve at Alameda, CA. Until communist forces from the north invaded South Korea in the summer of 1950. She began reactivation preparations on 6 December and went back into commission on 17 January 1951. Captain George J. Dufek in command. Initially, the carrier conducted shakedown training and carrier qualifications along the California coast, first out of Alameda and - after 14 May - out of San Diego. She made one voyage to Pearl Harbor and back to San Diego in July and August before departing the latter port on 8 September and heading for the Far East. Antietam arrived in the Far East later that fall and, by late November, began the only combat deployment of her career. During that tour, she made four cruises with Task Force (TF) 77, in the combat zone off the coast of Korea. In between fighting assignments, she returned to Yokosuka, Japan. During each of those periods, her air group carried out a variety of missions in support of United Nations forces combating North Korean aggression. Those missions included combat air patrol, logistics interdiction - particularly against railroad and highway traffic - reconnaissance antisubmarine patrols, and night heckler missions. Between late November 1951 and mid-March 1952, Antietam's air group flew nearly 6,000 sorties of all types. She returned to Yokosuka on 21 March 1952 at the conclusion of her fourth cruise with TF 77 to begin preparations for her voyage back to the United Sates.
The aircraft carrier returned home in April and rejoined the Pacific Reserve Fleet briefly. She was reactivated later that summer and, in August, transited the Panama Canal to join the Atlantic Fleet. In September, the warship entered the New York Naval Shipyard for major alterations. In October, she was redesignated an attack aircraft carrier, CVA-36. In December, Antietam emerged from the yard as America's first angled-deck aircraft carrier. She operated out of Quonset Point, R.I. until the beginning of 1955. In the intervening years, she participated in numerous fleet and independent ship's exercises. After August 1953 - at which time she was redesignated an antisubmarine warfare (ASW) carrier, CVW-35 - Antietam concentrated upon honing her hunter/killer skills. In January 1955, she embarked upon a voyage to the Mediterranean Sea where she served with the 6th Fleet until March. Resuming duty with the Atlantic Fleet ASW forces she operated along the eastern seaboard until the fall of 1956. In October of that year, she was cruised to the waters of the eastern Atlantic for NATO ASW exercises and goodwill visits to ports in Allied countries. While the carrier was in Rotterdam, the Suez crises broke out in the eastern Mediterranean. Antietam cut short her visit to the Netherlands and headed for the "middle sea" to bolster the 6th Fleet during the evacuation of American citizens from Alexandria, Egypt. At the end of that assignment, she conducted ASW training exercises with Italian naval officers embarked before returning to Quonset Point on 22 December.
After resuming operations along the eastern seaboard early in 1957, Antietam was assigned on 21 April 1957 to training duty with the Naval Air Training Station, Pensacola, FL. Mayport, however, served as her home port because ships of her draft could not then enter port at Pensacola. For almost two years, the aircraft carrier operated out of Mayport, training new Navy pilots and conducting tests on new aviation equipment - most noteworthy, on the Bell automatic landing system during August of 1957. She also participated in annual Naval Academy midshipmen cruises each summer.
In January 1959, after deepening the cannel into Pensacola had been completed, Antietam's homeport was changed from Mayport to Pensacola. For the remainder of her active career, the carrier operated out of Pensacola as an aviation training ship. On two occasions, she provided humanitarian services to victims of hurricane damage. The first came in September of 1961 when she was rushed to the Texas coast to provide supplies and medical assistance to the victims of hurricane Carla. The second came just over a month later when she carried medical supplies, doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel to British Honduras to help the victims of hurricane Hattie. Otherwise, she spent the final four years of her naval career in routine naval aviation training duty out of Pensacola. On 23 October 1962, Antietam was relieved by Lexington (CVS-16) as aviation training ship at Pensacola and was placed in commission, in reserve, on 7 January 1963. She remained in that status until she was decommissioned on 8 May 1963. Berthed at Philadelphia, Pa, she remained in reserve until May of 1973 when her name was struck from the Navy list. On 29 February 1974, she was sold to the Union Minerals & Alloys Corporation for scrapping.
Antietam (CV-36) earned two battle starts for service in the Korean conflict.
The Battle of Antietam
In naming this cruiser Antietam, the U. S. Navy commemorates a site along Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, at which a major Civil War battle was fought. Antietam is the third American warship named in remembrance of this battle.
The Battle of Antietam, on 17 September 1862, climaxed the first of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's two attempts to carry the war from the South into the North. Some 41,000 Southerners were pitted against the 87,000-man Federal Army of the Potomac under General George B. McClellan.
After his great victory at Manassas in August, Lee had marched his Army of Northern Virginia into western Maryland, hoping to find vitally needed men and supplies. McClellan moved his army westward to cut off Lee and protect Washington and Baltimore from being separated. McClellan followed Lee, first to Frederick, where through rare good fortune, a copy of Lee's battle plan fell into his hands, then westward twelve miles to the passes of South Mountain. There, on 14 September, Lee tried to block the Union troops. McClellan forced his way through the out-manned Southern ranks. Over the next two days, new battle lines were drawn west and east of Antietam Creek. The battle opened at dawn on the 17th and moved to three different locations throughout the day.
More Americans were killed or wounded in the Battle of Antietam than on any other single day in American history. Federal losses were 12,410 and Confederate losses were 10,700. Although neither side gained a decisive victory, Lee's failure to carry the war effort effectively into the North caused Great Britain to postpone recognition of the Confederate government. The battle also gave President Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
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