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DD 964 Paul F. Foster
"Honor, Valor, Service"

The design of the Paul F. Foster Coat of Arms is a composite of emblems representing the many outstanding honors and achievements of Vice Admiral Foster during his long and vigorous service to his country and the Navy.

Within the shield of the Coat of Arms is a chevron also appearing in the blazon of the Foster family. A traditional symbol of support and achievement, the chevron has been divided into three sections. These sections represent the Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross, and the Distinguished Service Medal, all awarded to Admiral Foster during his brilliant career. The three five-pointed stars within the chevron represent his final rank of Vice Admiral.

A triple towered castle forms the crest of the ship's emblem. The same castle appears as part of the Coat of Arms from the port of Vera Cruz, representing where, then Ensign Foster, distinguished himself and earned the Medal of Honor. The tower's red color alludes to the turret explosion on the USS Trenton and extraordinary heroism in that crisis for which he was awarded the Navy Cross. The navy blue border represents the service during World War I and the sinking of a German submarine, for which he received the Distinguished Service Medal.

Below the shield, on a scroll of navy blue, is the ship's motto: "Honor, Valor, Service," each word having come from the citations accompanying the decorations awarded to Admiral Foster.

A highly versatile multi-mission destroyer, USS Paul F. Foster is capable of operating independently or with amphibious assault and aircraft carrier task forces. Paul F. Foster's primary missions include the prosecution of both surface and subsurface threats. The ship's offensive assets include Harpoon anti-ship missiles, five-inch guns, and ship- and helicopter-launched torpedoes. Paul F. Foster is also equipped with long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles to attack land targets.

USS Paul F. Foster was designed and built by Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and was commissioned on February 21, 1976. As the initial DD-963 class destroyer assigned to the Pacific Fleet, Paul F. Foster had many milestone firsts, including successfully firing a NATO Sea Sparrow missile, demonstrating the feasibility of landing H-46 helicopters, and determining the operational limits of the SH-3 helicopter.

Operating out of San Diego, CA, Paul F. Foster became the first SPRUANCE class destroyer to deploy to the Western Pacific in March 1978. The ship deployed again in 1979 and 1982, serving in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific.

Paul F. Foster joined Destroyer Squadron NINE and moved to its new home port of Long Beach, CA, in August 1983. Paul F. Foster became the Navy's first "all electric destroyer" after major modifications at Long Beach Naval Shipyard, which included the addition of a fourth ship's service gas turbine generator.

On August 29, 1987, Paul F. Foster began its fourth Western Pacific deployment as Destroyer Squadron NINE's flagship, leading a five ship Surface Action Group and participating in several major allied fleet exercises.

During a fifth deployment in August 1986 with the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Battle Group, Paul F. Foster was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation for its performance in OPERATION KERNAL POTLATCH in the North Pacific and Bering Sea.

From July 1987 through July 1988, Paul F. Foster completed a regular overhaul at Northwest Marine Iron Works in Portland, Oregon. During the overhaul the ship received over 55 major ship alterations, including installation of the MK 41 Vertical Launch System for TOMAHAWK cruise missiles, the AN/SQQ-89 Anti-Submarine Warfare Detection System, and facilities to employ the Navy's most sophisticated submarine helicopter, the LAMPS MKIII.

Paul F. Foster departed on its sixth Western Pacific/Indian Ocean deployment on 24 February 1989 in company with the USS Ranger (CV-61) Battle Group. Conducting North Arabian Sea operations, the ship was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

On December 8, 1990, Paul F. Foster departed Long Beach on its seventh overseas deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The first ship to fire TOMAHAWK missiles against Iraqi targets, Paul F. Foster was instrumental in the liberation of Kuwait and in winning the Gulf War. Deploying for the eighth time on July 20, 1992, Paul F. Foster returned to the Arabian Gulf sea, it operated in support of OPERATION DESERT STORM-SOUTHERN-WATCH while participating in numerous bilateral exercises with Arabian Gulf Nations.

During the ship's ninth deployment, Paul F. Foster again served with USS Carl Vinson Battle Group and was the first ship on the scene to provide assistance to a burning ocean going tug, Glorious City, putting out the fire and saving it's crew of seven.

Upon returning from deployment on October 20, 1994, Paul F. Foster entered into a regular overhaul at Long Beach Naval Shipyard where several of the latest technological weapons, sensors and engineering systems were added. After completion of overhaul, Paul F. Foster moved to its new home port of Everett, Washington arriving in November 1995.

During the ship's tenth deployment which began February 21, 1997, Paul F. Foster was a part of the multinational force in the Arabian Gulf, enforcing United Nations sanctions against Iraq.

Paul F. Foster departed for its eleventh deployment on January 27, 1999. While serving as part of the Pacific Middle East Force, Paul F. Foster participated in OPERATION IRON SIREN, EAGER SENTRY, and ARABIAN GAUNTLET. In addition, the ship conducted boarding's in support of United Nations Sanctions against Iraq.

On January 12, 2001 USS Paul F Foster (DD 964) departed Naval Station Everett, WA, for a six-month Middle East Force deployment on time and ready to carry out any mission tasking.

The U.S. Navy Surface Force was scheduled to begin, in the summer of 2002, an initiative to test the effectiveness of deploying a single ship for 18-months while swapping out crews at six-month intervals. Called Sea Swap, this initial two-phased initiative would involve three Spruance-class destroyers (DDs) -- USS Fletcher (DD 992), USS Kinkaid (DD 965) and USS Oldendorf (DD 972), and three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (DDGs) -- USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) and USS Benfold (DDG 65). For the DD phase, Fletcher and her crew would deploy with their battle group this summer, but after six months, only the crew would return. The ship would remain deployed and be manned by the crew from Kinkaid. After completing their training cycle and decommissioning Kinkaid, these Sailors would fly to a port in either Australia or Singapore to assume ownership of Fletcher and steam her back on-station. After six months, they would be replaced by the crew from Oldendorf who would have completed the same training and decommissioning schedule with their ship before flying out to relieve the Kinkaid crew. After four more months on station, the Oldendorf crew would then bring the ship (Fletcher) back to the United States where it too would be decommissioned. Additionally, by executing this plan, the Navy would be able to eliminate the deployment of USS Paul F. Foster (DD 964) because the additional on-station time generated by swapping out the crews meant a ship would already be in theater meeting that requirement.

The Paul F Foster was decommissioned on the 14th of March 2003.

Following decommissioning and a four month standby period the Foster will become a naval laboratory outfitted with new weapons systems.

In a wharf-side ceremony on March 27, the decommissioned USS Paul F. Foster (DD 964) was turned over to Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Division as the Navy's new Self Defense Test Ship (SDTS). Foster will be outfitted with up-to-date technological and weapons systems, and numerous remote capabilities. The ship will begin service as the SDTS by fiscal year 2005, at Port Hueneme and on the waters of the Pacific Sea Test Range.

Paul F. Foster, in becoming the Navy's new SDTS, will play a significant role in the Navy's future. It becomes part of a program that has proven its efficiency by providing the most realistic combat scenarios for test events, while leaving ships and their Sailors available to the Fleet to perform their normal duties. The remote-controlled ship provides a flexible test platform, free from the safety constraints and in-port problems associated with manned ships, and alleviates the impact that scheduling difficulties have on Fleet assets.

Because Foster was turned over to Port Hueneme Division directly, conversion costs will be greatly reduced. Many combat systems elements are already installed, including the MK 41 VLS. It also has a uniquely robust all-electric plant configuration, a sizeable superstructure to support possible future Multi-Function Radar and SPS-48E installations, and a logistical support infrastructure.

Paul F. Foster will replace ex-USS Decatur (DDG 31), which Port Hueneme Division acquired in 1994 and refurbished as a remote-controlled vessel to support self-defense engineering, and test and evaluation. The current SDTS will continue testing operations through the end of fiscal year 2003.

Vice Admiral Paul F. Foster

Paul Frederick Foster was born in Wichita, KS, on 25 March 1889, and he attended the University of Idaho and then entered the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating with the class of 1911.

Following graduation, he joined the USS Washington (CA 11) in which he served until December of that year, when he was transferred to the newly commissioned USS Utah (BB 31). While serving in Utah, he participated in the Mexican Campaign, and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for "Distinguished conduct in battle engagements of Vera Cruz, 21, 22 April 1914. In both days, fighting at the head of his company, Ensign Foster was eminent and conspicuous in his conduct, leading his men with skill and courage".

In December 1914, Admiral Foster began submarine instruction and in February 1916, he assumed command of G-4. He was then assigned to command of the USS AL-2 (SS 41), which, while operating off Bantry Bay, was credited with sinking the German submarine (UB-65), one of the three officially listed as sunk by the U.S. Navy. While in command, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for "Exceptionally Meritorious Service in a duty of great responsibility as the Commanding Officer of the USS AL-2 in an encounter during which an enemy submarine was sunk".

In January 1924, he was ordered to Philadelphia to assist in fitting out the USS Trenton (CL 11) and he served aboard as Engineering Officer upon Commissioning in April of that year. In January 1927, he was awarded the Navy Cross for "Extraordinary heroism on the occasion of the turret explosion on board the USS Trenton".

In March 1927, he resigned his regular commission, and was active in various civilian organizations, some directly involved with U.S. military functions. In 1941, he was recalled to active duty where he served on the Navy Inspector General's Staff and during World War II, conducted three major inspections at the personal direction of President Roosevelt.

In June 1954, Admiral Foster joined the Staff of Atomic Energy Commission as special assistant to the General Manger for International Activities, and, on July 1, 1957, he was appointed General Manager of the AEC, where he served until June 1958. In 1959, President Eisenhower appointed him to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria with the rank of Ambassador. He served in this position until 1961.

Admiral Foster died in 1972, in Virginia Beach, VA, at 83.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:53:58 ZULU