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CG 55 Leyte Gulf

USS Leyte Gulf is an TICONDEROGA class AEGIS Guided Missile Cruiser home-ported in Norfolk VA. She was commissioned in Fort Lauderdale, FL in 1987. She served in the Persian Gulf for operation DESERT STORM.

As part of New York City's "Fleet Week'93", a celebration honoring the U.S. sea services, the guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) 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.

The AEGIS cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) returned to Mayport, FL, on January 9, 1995, after a successful deployment to the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf conducting Maritime Interception Operations in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq. There, the Leyte Gulf steamed independently, providing ready strike capabilities to the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. The ship also performed duties as anti-air warfare commander and strike coordinator for aircraft carriers USS George Washington (CVN 73) and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) when 80,000 Iraqi troops moved toward the Kuwait border in an act of aggression. During the deployment, Leyte Gulf's efforts resulted in the capture of more than 25,000 tons of contraband Iraqi oil.

In 1996, the USS Leyte Gulf deployed for six months as part of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Carrier Battle Group (CVBG). During that deployment, On October 14, the carrier Theodore Roosevelt, without warning, reversed its engines while the Leyte Gulf was behind it and slammed into the cruiser's bow approximately 100 miles off the coast of Cape Hattaras, NC, while conducting routine operations in the western Atlantic. The collision caused $9 million in damages to the cruiser and $7 million to the carrier. The Leyte Gulf's captain at that time was relieved of command as a result of the incident.

The USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) 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.

The 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.

The USS Leyte Gulf sustained a 6-foot-by-8-foot paint scratch on its sonar dome but caused no significant damage when it briefly hit bottom off the Virginia Beach coast in January 2001. The incident took place while the Leyte Gulf was conducting electronic calibration trials in the vicinity of Navy buoy "B" near the Chesapeake Light on January 18. During such Shipboard Electronic Systems Evaluation trials, a ship circles the buoy repeatedly to test the accuracy of naval electronic sensors, such as those used to jam incoming missiles while technicians ashore at nearby Fort Story monitor the activities. The ship's captain was relieved of his command as a result of the mishap.

As part of the USS George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Battle Group (CVBG), and in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the USS Leyte Gulf set sail in support of defense and humanitarian efforts off the coast of New York.

The Leyte Gulf 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 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.

Ship's Shield

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

The red and white rays allude to the WWII Japanese Naval Ensign descending into the wavy blue bar of the sea as the Battle of Leyte Gulf destroyed the Japanese Navy as a coherent fighting force. The tropical location of the battle is symbolized by the palm wreath, which is also symbolic of victory. The blue, white and gold colors on the shield are traditionally associated with the Navy and are symbolic of the sea and excellence.

The anchors combined with the sword represent naval sea power, plus the sword crossing the taut anchor line alludes to the classic naval battle maneuver called "crossing the 'T' " last used in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The upright position of the sword also refers to the vertical launching missile system in CG-55. The red wavy bar is in memory of the gallant men who went down in a blood red sea at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The three stars represent the three component Battles of Leyte Gulf: Surigao Straits, Samar, and Cape Engano.

The motto "Arrayed for Victory" refers to the full array of sea power that fought the Battle of Leyte Gulf. It also alludes to the phased array radar in the AEGIS system and the towed sonar system Leyte Gulf deploys against submarines.

The Battle of Leyte Gulf

Leyte Gulf commemorates the largest naval battle in modern history, fought 23-26 October 1944 in the Philippines, this battle virtually ended the Japanese Navy's capacity to fight as an organized force.

The battle marked the end of centuries of naval warfare tradition in that it was the last sea battle between forces employing battleships. It also marked the last time surface ships employed the classic maneuver of "crossing the T," when the Japanese ships attempted to enter the Gulf through Surigao Strait early on 23 October.

The battle was showcased by three separate primary engagements: The Battle of Surigao Straits, the Battle off Samar Island, and the Battle of Cape Engano. Called the last of the great sea battles, the Battle of Leyte Gulf used every known weapon of naval war, except mines, and in shear destruction the battle has no rival in naval history.

The battle was noteworthy in another sense in that it saw the first attacks by Kamikaze planes, when on 25 October, five planes swooped down upon escort carriers on the U.S. Seventh Fleet. The Kamikazes might justifiably be considered the forerunners of modern cruise missiles and, therefore, form the historic rationale for anti-air missile systems. Thus, the genesis of the AEGIS Weapon System has its root in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

No previous U.S. Navy ship has borne this name although three prior Navy ships carried the name LEYTE to sea.




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