Military


DD 977 Briscoe
"Efficiency and Valor"

As unique and colorful as its namesake, the ship's coat of arms is a proud reflection of the distinguished naval career of Admiral Robert P. Briscoe.

Standing boldly at the base of the shield is the Lion of St. Mark, which refers to the Admiral's leadership as Commander in Chief of Allied Southern Forces Europe. The fess and wavy bar, immediately above the Lion of St. Mark, suggest flowing water passing warships and small land areas. This is reminiscent of the Northern Solomon Islands where Admiral Briscoe commanded the USS DENVER in World War II. It was during this thirty six hour battle with enemy naval forces that the Admiral's skill and courage as a ship's Captain were most apparent. He fought his ship brilliantly, assisting in the sinking of five enemy warships, damaging four others and routing the enemy's surface forces. DENVER's guns had barely fired their last salvo when she was attacked by sixty-seven dive bombers. Under the Admiral's firm command, the ship reacted cooly and efficiently, downing seventeen enemy planes and thwarting the raid. In addition, his skill as a Destroyer Task Force and Cruiser Commander during the war prevented enemy reinforcements and supplies from reaching their destination.

The shield is completed by four stars, symbolic of Admiral Briscoe's leadership achievement and rank.

Atop the shield is a crest symbolic of further achievement in a long and successful career. The trident, symbol of Triton, ruler of the seas, refers to the U.S. Naval Academy where the Admiral served as a student, instructor and Department Head. The flash represents Prometheus' gift of science to mankind and alludes to Admiral Briscoe as one of the pioneers of modern electronics development in the Navy. The cross refers to the Navy Cross Admiral Briscoe received for his actions in the North Solomon Campaign. The crest is completed by the Taeguk which denotes the Admiral's Far East Naval Command.

The entire coat of arms is aptly summed up by the ship's motto EFFICIENCY AND VALOR, given to the ship by former Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Robert Carney, as a tribute to his close friend. The USS Briscoe's keel was laid on 21 July 1975. She was launched on 8 January 1977. The USS Briscoe was commissioned 3 June 1978 at the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She is the fifteenth destroyer in a series of 31 SPRUANCE CLASS destroyers. USS Briscoe bears the name of Admiral Robert P. Briscoe, U.S. Navy. Admiral Briscoe served with distinction during World War 1, World War 11, and the Korean Conflict. He retired in 1959 as a four star Admiral. Since commissioning, Briscoe has deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, served as a member of the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic, and sailed around South America during UNITAS XXX. In 1980 BRISCOE won the coveted Battenburg Cup as the top ship in the Atlantic Fleet.

Briscoe participated in Operation Urgent Fury, the liberation of Grenada, and in the Multi-National Peacekeeping Forces off the coast of Lebanon, and in Baltic Operations 1990. Briscoe also participated as a member of Middle East Forces deploying twice to the North Red Sea conducting Maritime Interception Operations in support of U.N. sanctions against Iraq. Briscoe established a U.S. record of 275 merchant vessel boardings in the North Red Sea during the first of her two deployments to the area.

In the second North Red Sea deployment in March 1994, Briscoe responded to a distress call from an Egyptian passenger ferry, the Al-Qamar Al-Saudi Al-Misri. Briscoe acted as the On-Scene Commander for the ensuing rescue efforts for the over 500 passengers, coordinating the actions of the numerous vessels in the area.

In 1996, Briscoe deployed to the Mediterranean and Black Sea for a six-month period. Deployed with Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light 44 (Detachment 5), the USS Briscoe in Exercise Atlas Hinge with the Tunisian navy and Exercise Shark Hunt and Jaws, an undersea warfare exercise against U.S. submarines in the Central and Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The USS Briscoe (DD 977) took part in Exercise Classica 96, from August 31 through September 9, in the spirit of Partnership for Peace. Ships from the U.S. Sixth Fleet, Black Sea and Mediterranean littoral nations (including Italy, Ukraine, Greece and Romania) trained together in the Black Sea promoting maritime peacekeeping operations. To help the exercise run smoothly, Briscoe assigned two officers to act as a liaison between Briscoe and other foreign vessels participating in the exercise. Briscoe conducted a vertical replenishment (vertrep) with the Ukrainian ship Chernighiv during the two-day, at sea phase of the exercise. While in Novorossyisk, Russia, Briscoe joined in the observation of the Russian navy's 300th anniversary and the anniversary of the liberation of the city of Novorossyisk from Germany.

In September, 1998, Briscoe completed a deployment to the Arabian Gulf. She sailed 33,000 miles and conducted 115 vessel boardings, 7 MEDEVACS, and 1,032 hours of mishap-free flight operations in support of U.N. sanctions.

The Briscoe took part in the 12th annual Fleet Week in New York in May 1999. Briscoe was again in the international headlines in June 1999 when she was tasked with conducting the solemn burial at sea of John F Kennedy, JR, his wife, and his sister-in-law after their tragic and untimely death.

On June 21, 2000, the USS Briscoe departed for a scheduled six-month deployment June to the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf with the George Washington battlegroup. Along with the rest of the battlegroup, it had trained for the previous eight months in preparation for this deployment through participation in a series of increasingly demanding exercises and operations.

While participating in Veritas VI exercises in the Western Mediterranean, the USS Briscoe conducted a rescue at sea of 12 passengers adrift on a small vessel, which had been adrift for three days with an inoperative engine, and had run out of food two days earlier and water the night before. It returned to Norfolk, VA, in December 2000.

The USS Briscoe took part in Exercise Strong Resolve '02, one of the largest NATO exercises since the end of the cold war, which began on March 1, 2002, in Poland, Norway and the Baltic Sea. More than 26,000 military personnel from NATO and Partnership for Peace (PfP) nations are participating in the exercise, which encompassed two simultaneous crises in separate geographical regions. Forces will encounter two types of NATO missions: an Article 5 collective defense operation and a crisis response operation (CRO). Strong Resolve exercises are held every four years and constitute the capstone in NATO's four-year training cycle.

The USS Briscoe was decommissioned on October 2, 2003.

Admiral Robert Pearce Briscoe

A native of Centerville, Mississippi, Admiral Briscoe was graduated from the Naval Academy in June 1918. During World War I he served in the battleship Alabama of the Atlantic Fleet and in the destroyer ROE, operating from Brest, France. At the end of hostilities, he made the first postwar Midshipmen cruise in the USS KEARSARGE and in 1919 returned to destroyer duty as Engineer Officer of the USS Humphreys, stationed in Near East waters at Constantinople. During the Turko-Greek fighting in 1920-1921, he commanded a Naval landing force at Derindge, Turkey.

After further destroyer duty in the USS Flusser and USS Henderson, and recruiting duty at Little Rock, AR, he served as Senior Assistant Engineer of the battleship West Virginia (1926-1929), then returned to the Naval Academy as an instructor in Mechanical Engineering. In 1931-1933 he was on China Station, assigned first as Executive Officer of the USS Edsall, on Yangtze Patrol during the Japanese occupation of Woosung and Manchuria, and later as Communication Officer of the USS Houston, flagship of the Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet. He again returned to the Naval Academy in June 1934, and for three years served as Head of the Department of Chemistry.

Sea duty as Navigator of the battleship Mississippi preceded a tour during the prewar period as Assistant Director of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and Navy Department Liaison Officer with the National Defense Research Committee. He has been identified as one of the pioneers of modern electronics development in the Navy. In May 1942 he assumed command of the USS Prometheus, a recommissioned World War I repair ship. Under his command she joined the THIRD Fleet at Noumea, Caledonia, where he was detached to command Destroyer Squadron 5 and operated as escort commander for Task Forces 67, 68 and 70. In the intervening periods when the battleships and cruisers were not at sea, Admiral Briscoe operated Commander Task Group 675 (Cactus Striking Force) in Guadalcanal waters. He was transferred to command of the USS DENVER in July 1943, and returned that cruiser to the United States after she suffered severe battle damage off Rabaul in November 1943.

In February 1944 he joined the Staff of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, in Washington, as Head of New Developments, and with his promotion to flag rank in April 1945, assumed command of Amphibious Group 14. V-J Day found him in Manila, working on plans for the invasion of the Japanese homeland. In September 1945 he took command of the Operational Development Force, Atlantic Fleet with headquarters at Norfolk, VA. After two years there, and a tour of duty as Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Readiness), he became Commander Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet, on November 1, 1950.

Ordered in January 1952 to command the SEVENTH Fleet in Korean waters, he retained this command until designated Commander Naval Forces, Far East, in June of that year. Two years later he reported as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, for Fleet Operations and Readiness, and on July 2, 1956, became Commander in Chief, Allied Forces, Southern Europe. "For exceptional meritorious service ... (in that capacity) from July 2, 1956 to December 31, 1958. .. " he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. On January 1, 1959 he was transferred to the Retired List of the U.S. Navy. He died on October 14, 1968 in Liberty, MS.




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