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CG 57 Lake Champlain
"Ingenuity, Daring, Discipline"

The shield's dark blue and gold are the traditional colors associated with the Navy and symbolize the sea and excellence. The green and white border around the blue field represents the Lake Champlain and the surrounding terrain where two significant naval battles were fought. The first, the Revolutionary War Battle of Valcour Island, is symbolized by the white star on the crest. The second, the War of 1812 Battle of Lake Champlain, is represented by the anchor and cannon on the blue field. The partitions of the border suggest rotation or turning and allude to the American ships movements during the Battle of Lake Champlain. The vertical position of the naval gun exemplifies the vertical capabilities of the AEGIS CG class naval ship.

The crest's eagle bearing in its talons the Naval swords symbolizes martial strength and the American victory at Lake Champlain. The two swords also represent two previous ships named Lake Champlain. The aggressive action and flight capabilities of the eagle highlight the second ship, the aircraft carrier CV 39, active during the Korean War. The wavy bar represents the Lake Champlain itself. The gold four-pointed star indicates the four missions of a modern AEGIS cruiser, i.e., to offensively engage aircraft. missiles, submarines and surface ships.

The USS Lake Champlain's primary mission is to operate with aircraft carrier battle groups in extreme threat environments well into the 21st century. 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 air launched torpedoes and anti-submarine rockets, deck guns, surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles, rapid fire close in weapons, and electronic jammmers and decoys.

The Lake Champlain (CG 57) conducts prompt, sustained combat operations at sea in support of a carrier battle group or amphibious assault group. Lake Champlain has been designed to defend against coordinated saturation attacks involving enemy surface ships, submarines, aircraft and missiles. Additionally, Lake Champlain is able to engage in offensive actions against the enemy through employment of long-range anti-shipping missiles, land attack missiles and naval gunfire.

At the heart of Lake Champlain is the Aegis Weapon System, the most advanced integration of electronic detection, engagement and control equipment in the world today. The Aegis Weapon System, combined with the Vertical Launching System and the SPY radar, allows Lake Champlain to fire more missiles and guide them in flight with greater accuracy than any existing system.

The Vertical Launching System is capable of firing a mix of missiles against airborne and surface threats. These missiles include the Standard Missile and the Tomahawk cruise missile. The SPY-1A phased array radar sends out beams of electromagnetic energy in all directions continuously to provide a search and tracking capability for hundreds of targets out to and beyond 200 miles. Two 5" gun mounts, Phalanx rapid-fire guns and Harpoon anti-ship missiles supplement the firepower supplied by the Vertical Launching System. Lake Champlain also has an advanced underwater surveillance system available. Anti-submarine warfare equipment consists of a hull-mounted sonar, an acoustic towed array and two SH-60B Seahawk helicopters to provide a long-range detection and attack capability. Four powerful, quick-response gas turbine engines give Lake Champlain the ability to reach speeds in excess of 30 knots.

CG 57 is the third U.S. Navy ship to honor the name. The first was a cargo vessel that served in World War I. The USS Lake Champlain (CG 57)was Commissioned on 12 August 1988.

The USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) departed on a six-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean in 2000. Steaming with the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) battlegroup, Lake Champlain traveled from San Diego through the snowy seas of Korea, around balmy Thailand, and into the arid climate of the Arabian Gulf. Here the ship participated with international navies in Exercises Neon Falcon and Arabian Gauntlet, and conducted Maritime Interception Operations (MIO) in support of the ongoing United Nations sanctions to stop the flow of illegal oil out of Iraq. In Neon Falcon and Arabian Gauntlet, Lake Champlain improved interoperability and fostered good will with forces from Europe as well as Arabian Gulf coalition partners. It also conducted tactical maneuvering drills, communications exercises and simulated mine avoidance operations.

Additionally, Lake Champlain conducted MIO operations with Navy Seals in the North Arabian Gulf. Lake Champlain caught a number of illegal oil-smuggling vessels operating in conjunction with other allied units. MIO was a complex evolution consisting of tracking, querying and boarding of suspect vessels in addition to health and comfort inspections while waiting for them to be taken over by a coalition nation. During the deployment, the ship visited Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand, among others, as well as port calls in Townsville, and Mackay, Australia.

The USS Lake Camplain took part in June 2001 in Exercise Kernel Blitz (Experimentation), an Extending the Littoral Battlespace Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration.

The USS Lake Champlain deployed for a seven-month WESTPAC/Arabian Gulf deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom/Southern Watch, conducting Inspections under Maritime Interception Operations (MIO) in cooperation with coalition ships. Operations consisted of 135 Visit Board Search and Seizure boardings, 200 Gulf Sentry missions, 500 hours of flight operations, with coalition forces from all over the world.

A South Korean fishing vessel collided with USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) while the guided-missile cruiser was conducting routine operations in international waters. No one was injured when the fishing vessel collided with Lake Champlain's port side, amid ship, at approximately 11:50 a.m. (+9I), 09 May 2017. Both ships were able to navigate under their own power. The incident is under investigation by both U.S. Navy and South Korea Coast Guard. Damage assessments of both the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser and the 60-70 foot long fishing vessel are underway. Lake Champlain is part of the Carl Vinson Strike Group which is currently on a Western-Pacific Deployment.


The second Lake Champlain (CV-39) was laid down in drydock by the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth VA, 15 March 1943; launched by float 2 November 1944; sponsored 3 June 1945 by Mrs. Warren Austin, wife of Senator Austin of Vermont, and commissioned the same day, Capt. Logan C. Ramsey in command.

After shakedown and visits to New York and Philadelphia, Lake Champlain was assigned to "Magic Carpet" duty, departed Norfolk for England 14 October 1945, and arrived Southampton the 19th where she embarked veterans and returned them to New York.

She set a speed record for crossing the Atlantic 26 November 1945 when she arrived at Hampton Roads, VA, having completed a run from Cape Spartel, Africa, in 4 days, 8 hours, 51 minutes. This record stood until surpassed by SS United States in the summer of 1952.

Lake Champlain retired to the "Mothball Fleet" at Norfolk, VA, 17 February 1947. After the United States had allowed her active military strength to shrink to the danger point, the Communists struck in Korea. Fortunately, the U.S. had ships in reserve, though it took time to obtain and train crews and provide materiel. Lake Champlain was reactivated and modernized at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., and recommissioned 19 September 1952, Capt. G. T. Mundroff in command.

After shakedown in Cuban and Haitian waters, 25 November through 25 December 1952, the carrier departed Mayport, FL, for Korea 26 April 1953 via the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and China Sea, becoming the largest ship to transit the Suez Canal up to that time. She moored at Yokosuka, Japan, 9 June 1953.

As flagship of Carrier Task Force 77, she sailed from Yokosuka 11 June 1953 and arrived off western Korea 14 June. The carrier's air group immediately launched sorties cratering runways; assaulting enemy troops; attacking trenches, bunkers, gun positions; and giving close air support to hard pressed ground forces. Her planes also escorted B-29 bombers on their way to enemy targets. Lake Champlain continued to strike at the enemy until the truce was signed 27 July. Relieved by USS Kearsarge (CVA- 33) 11 October 1953, Lake Champlain headed toward the South China Sea arriving Singapore 24 October. Bidding farewell to the Pacific Ocean 27 October, she steamed toward home touching at Columbo, Port Said, Cannes, and Lisbon before arriving Mayport, FL, 4 December 1953.

In the years that followed, Lake Champlain made several cruises to the Mediterranean, participating with NATO forces. On 25 April 1957 she joined elements of the fleet in a high-speed run to the scene of tension in the Middle East, cruising in the vicinity of Lebanon and backing Jordan's stand against the threat of Communism. The swift and firm reaction averted a near catastrophe in the Middle East. Tension eased and Lake Champlain returned to Mayport 27 July.

Converted to an antisubmarine carrier and reclassified (CVS-39) on 1 August 1957, Lake Champlain trained off the eastern seaboard to master her new role. She departed Bayonne, N.J., 8 February 1958 for a Mediterranean cruise. While in the Mediterranean, she arrived 16 October 1957 at Valencia, Spain, and provided aid to thousands made homeless by a flood. Lake Champlain returned 30 October to Mayport, FL. After yard overhaul, she again departed for the Mediterranean 10 June 1958 and visited Spain, Denmark, and Scotland, before returning to Mayport 9 August.

The carrier operated off Florida and in the Caribbean until 15 June 1958 when she sailed on another Mediterranean cruise returning to her newly assigned home port, Quonset Point, R.I., 4 September.

The carrier operated out of Quonset Point, R.I., until 29 June 1960 when she made a midshipmen cruise to Halifax, returning 12 August. Beginning 7 February 1961, she made a cruise to the Caribbean, returning 2 March.

Lake Champlain was selected as the prime recovery ship for the first manned space flight. She sailed for the recovery area 1 May 1961, and was on station on 5 May when Cmdr. Alan Sheppard splashed down in spacecraft Freedom 7, some 300 miles down range from Cape Kennedy. Helicopters from the carrier visually followed the descent of the capsule and were over the astronaut two minutes after the impact. They skillfully recovered Astronaut Sheppard and Freedom 7 and carried them safely to Lake Champlain's flight deck.

For the next year the ship operated along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean. In June 1962, she embarked Naval Academy midshipmen for a summer cruise to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Kingston, Jamaica, where she represented the United States at the island's celebration of its independence, 3 August.

On 24 October 1962, Lake Champlain joined in a classic exercise of seapower - -the quarantine of Cuba, where the Soviet Union was constructing bases for offensive missiles. To block this grave threat, U.S. warships deployed throughout the western Atlantic, choking off the flow of military supplies to Cuba and enforcing American demands for the withdrawal of the Russian offensive missiles.

After the American demands were substantially complied with, Lake Champlain sailed for home 23 November, via St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and arrived Quonset Point, 4 December 1962. For the next few months the carrier was in New England waters for operations and overhaul. In mid-October 1963, four Navy ships, including Lake Champlain and the amphibious assault ship USS Thetis Bay (LPH 6), aided by Navy and Marine Corps cargo aircraft from east coast stations, delivered nearly 375 tons of food, clothing and medical supplies donated by relief agencies to the people of Haiti after that country was devestated by Hurricane Flora.

Lake Champlain returned to Quonset Point 9 November 1963 for operations in New England waters. She visited Bermuda briefly in spring of 1964 and steamed to Spain in the fall for landings near Huelva. She sailed 6 November from Barcelona for the United States, touched at Gibraltar and arrived at Quonset Point 25 November 1964..

On 19 January 1965, Lake Champlain recovered an unmanned Project Gemini space capsule launched from Cape Kennedy, FL, after a suborbital flight 1,879 miles down the Atlantic Missile Range and to within 16 miles of the carrier.

The last major duty of her career occurred on 5 August 1965 when she served as the primary recovery ship for Gemini 5. Gemini 5 spalshed down into the Atlantic 90 miles off target after a record-breaking eight-day space flight, and 45 minutes later, Navy frogmen helped astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles Conrad out of their space capsule and aboard a helicopter for the ride back to Lake Champlain. Soon after this duty was completed, she sailed to Philadelphia, where she commenced inactivation. She was decommissioned 2 May 1966.

The 24-year-old Lake Champlain was stricken from the Navy List on 1 December 1969, and sold by the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) for scrapping on 28 April 1972.

The Battle of Lake Champlain

During the War of 1812, the British launched a joint land and naval attack from Canada down Lake Champlain into New York State. Under the command of General Sir George Prevost, an army of 11,000 men left the Saint Lawrence frontier on August 31, 1814, to march down the west side of the lake. The American army consisted of 3,300 regulars and militia under the command of General Alexander Macomb. Rather than risk a battle against such overwhelming odds, Macomb fell back south of the Saranac River below Plattsburgh. Prevost occupied the village on September sixth and waited for his naval support to arrive. This was a fleet of four ships and twelve gunboats, mounting a total of 92 guns and carrying 800 men, commanded by Captain George Downie.

The American naval commander on the lake, Captain Thomas Macdonough, had long sensed that control of the lake was essential to the defense of New York. He had therefore built up a fleet of 4 ships and 10 gunboats that mounted a total of 86 guns and 850 men. When Downie's ships entered the lake, Macdonough deployed his vessels in a narrow channel across the bay from Plattsburgh and ordered anchors dropped. On September 11, the British ships rounded Cumberland Head to open the battle at a range of 500 yards. For two hours a gun duel raged with no marked advantage to either side. The British were forced to advance on Macdonough without bringing all their guns to bear. Macdonough then swung his ships about bringing fresh guns to bear on the British, forcing Downie to strike his colors. Within 30 minutes the battle was over, with the four British warships seized or destroyed, 168 of their crew killed and 220 wounded. American casualties were slightly less-104 killed, 116 wounded-but no ships were lost. With the loss of his naval arm, the British commander was forced to retreat back to Canada. Prevost was relieved, but to no avail-Lake Champlain proved to be the last battle of the war in the North. It was one of the few times in history that ships at anchor won a naval battle.

While this battle is not as well known as the battle on Lake Erie, commanded by Captain Oliver Hazard Perry, it proved to be most crucial. The outnumbered force, commanded by General Macomb, was all that stood between the British and New York City. Had the British succeeded in capturing their objective, the outcome of the war could have been altered drastically. Lieutenant Colonel John Murray of the attacking British force was heard to have said after the battle: "This is a proud day for America-the proudest day she ever saw."

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Page last modified: 24-08-2017 19:19:33 ZULU