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DD 969 Peterson
"Proud Tradition"

The Coat of Arms of the USS Peterson serves as a heraldic reminder of the ship's namesake, Lieutenant Commander Carl Jerrold Peterson. The lighted torch on the azure shield is symbolic of Lieutenant Commander Peterson's leadership and guidance, suggests "passing the torch from one generation to another," and also symbolizes tradition.

The torch is further symbolic of Lieutenant Commander Peterson's recognized contributions to the success of several amphibious assault operations, such as "Beacon Torch" conducted during his service in USS Ogden (LPD 5) from 6 March to 19 August 1967. The techniques successfully employed in these operations for debarking assault troops simultaneously by air and sea from amphibious transports are credited to the efforts of Lieutenant Commander Peterson. Placing the torch "in-board" the shield symbolized the leadership and command epitomized by Carl Peterson's service.

The star, five-pointed with one point to base, as worn by Line Officer of the United States Navy, is symbolic of authority, direction, achievement and merit. It also symbolizes knowledge of past, present, and future, and thus signifies tradition and continuity.

The curving lines represent water, and the oceans and waterways of the world. The lion crest is symbolic of courage, tenacity, and magnanimity. A "lion's head erased" also appeard on the Coat of Arms of USS Harnett County (LST 82), which served as Lieutenant Commander Peterson's base of operations while he commanded Patrol River Boat Squadron 57 from 29 December 1968 to April 1969.

The ship's motto, "Proud Tradition," is symbolic of Lieutenant Commander Peterson's legacy to the ship that bears his name, and of the heritage that is shared by all members of the naval service. Carl Peterson's devotion to duty, courage under fire, exemplary leadership, and outstanding professionalism characterized the proud tradition he passed to this ship. The motto serves as a guide and inspiration for the men who will serve in Peterson throughout her commissioned life.

The USS Peterson's keel was laid on April 29, 1974. She was launched on June 21, 1975 and christened on July 12, 1975. The USS Peterson (DD 969) was commissioned on 9 July 1977 in Pascagoula, MS. She was the seventh SPRUANCE Class destroyer built and the third to join the Atlantic Fleet. In 1978, the ship was named "runner-up" for Destroyer Squadron Ten's Battle Efficiency, and had been awarded DESRON TEN's 1979 Battle "E."

Peterson spent her second deployment, beginning in September 1980, in the Persian Gulf. She returned home in March 1981, only to head back to the Mediterranean on 1 December for her third deployment in three years. During a nine-month overhaul starting in July 1982, Peterson's weapon systems were upgraded to include the Target Acquisition System (TAS), two 20MM Vulcan Phalanx Close-In Weapons Systems (CIWS) mounts, and an enhanced communication and electronics suite.

"Proud Pete" was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for her role as Naval Gunfire Support Ship off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon as part of the USS Saratoga (CV 60) Battle Group in April 1984. In the Fall of 1985, she participated in the NATO Exercise OCEAN SAFARI in the North Atlantic, earning the title of "Blue Nose" for crossing the Arctic Circle, and also the Meritorious Unit Commendation for exceptional performance.

In 1986, Peterson deployed to the Mediterranean with the USS America (CV 66) Battle Group, and performed Search and Rescue duties during combat operations in the vicinity of Libya, and was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for her efforts.

During Peterson's 1988 deployment, she served as the flagship for Commander, Destroyer Squadron 26, and operated with the British, French, German, Spanish, and Tunisian Navies. She visited Constanta, Romania, and was praised for her extensive surveillance of the USSR's new "Kiev" Class carrier BAKU.

Peterson's 1990 deployment began in the Mediterranean with the Eisenhower Battle Group, visiting Naples, St. Maxime, Palma, and Tunis. When civil war broke out in the Western African nation of Liberia, Peterson was called upon to make a high-speed transit to the site with embarked Marines to stand by to evacuate American citizens trapped in the fighting. For the rest of the deployment, "Proud Pete" maintained a vigil on "Mamba Station," assisting in the evacuation of more than 1,600 refugees with USS Saipan (LHA 2) and her Marine Amphibious Readiness Group, before returning home in September.

On 15 March 1991, Peterson commenced a fourteen-month overhaul at Ingalls Shipbuilding Company, Pascagoula, MS. Modifications included installation of the Vertical Launching System (VLS), SQQ-89 Towed Array SONAR System and double Recovery, Assist, Secure and Traverse (RAST) tracks to support two SH-60B Helicopters. Ship's weapons systems now included two MK 45 lightweight 5-inch guns, a vertical launch missile system capable of launching Tomahawk cruise missiles and vertical launch anti-submarine rockets, a Harpoon anti- ship cruise missile launcher, a NATO Sea Sparrow point defense missile system, two triple-barrel MK 32 torpedo tubes, two 20MM Close-In Weapons Systems (CIWS) and facilities for the embarkation of two SH-60B LAMPS MK III Helicopters.

On 16 February 1993, after seven months of post-overhaul sea trials, refresher training and workups, Peterson deployed for six months to the Red Sea in support of United Nations' sanctions against Iraq. While on station in the Red Sea, Peterson intercepted, boarded and inspected 247 merchant warships, preventing the flow of goods bound for Iraq. The highlight of the deployment was when Peterson was selected by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to launch a highly successful 14 missile Tomahawk strike on the Iraq Intelligence Service on 26 June 1993, in retaliation for the attempted assassination of President George Bush. On deployment, "Proud Pete" made several visits to Hurghada, Egypt, while on station, Palma, Spain and Cyprus while transiting to and from the Red Sea. Peterson returned to Norfolk, Va, on 6 August 1993. Peterson earned Destroyer Squadron Two's Battle Efficiency award for the period 1 January - 31 December 1993.

Following great success during Combat Systems Assessment (CSA) and Operations Propulsion Plant Evaluation (OPPE) in Mach and April of 1994, Peterson embarked for Puerto Rico and COMPTUEX. There she attained excellent results in weapons firing for all warfare areas. July and August of 1994 saw Peterson off the coast of Haiti, where she provided support for Operation SUPPORT DEMOCRACY (OSD).

On 14 April 1995, Peterson returned to Norfolk, VA, culminating a highly successful Mediterranean Sea deployment as a member of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower battle group. While on deployment, Peterson played an active role in several community service projects including the highly visible "Project Handclasp" program.

On 22 October, Peterson commenced a three and a half month SRA which included the installation of the state of the art Advanced Tomahawk Weapons Control System (ATWCS). Peterson earned Destroyer Squadron Twenty-Eight's Battle Efficiency award for 1995.

June and July of 1996 saw PETERSON off the coasts of Central and South America in the Eastern Pacific Ocean for Counter-Drug operations. During this employment, the PETERSON crew enjoyed a "Crossing the Line" ceremony, in sight of the Galapagos Islands. After returning home, she began the training cycle in preparation for the next deployment.

On July 7, 1997, Peterson deployed with the NATO Standing Naval Force, Atlantic for a six month deployment, operating in the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, and Eastern Atlantic Ocean.

She conducted numerous exercises with British, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Canadian, and Italian ships. The SNFL force traveled to ports all over the Caribbean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Western Europe in support of NATO.

PETERSON's next deployment, in the summer of 1999, again saw her representing the United States in a NATO force. This time she was the flagship for the Commander Standing Naval Force Mediterranean (SNFM) and spent the initial two months of her deployment in the Adriatic off the coast of Kosovo in support of Operation "Allied Force" for which PETERSON was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation. Once the peace process in Kosovo unfolded, PETERSON along with SNFM ships from England, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Netherlands, and Germany visited many Mediterranean ports.

The turn of the millenium saw PETERSON in an extensive shipyard availability. From January through April she completed the maintenance and repairs needed for her main engine spaces along with her flight decks and anchor chains.

PETERSON's first underway obligation during the year 2000 was May 15 for Baltic Sea Operation (BALTOPS), where she continued her NATO tradition by steaming with the USS ROSS (DDG 71) and warships from various European countries. Before returning to Norfolk in late June 2000, PETERSON conducted port visits to Le Havre, France; Stockholm, Sweden, and Kiel, Germany.

The USS Peterson took part in Exercise Unified Spirit 2000 and Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 01-1 in October 2000. The combined exercise, which took place in the waters off the U.S. East Coast and in the Caribbean, began October 9 and concluded on October 26. It included the USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) Battle Group, USS Nassau (LHA 4) Amphibious Ready Group and 14 NATO ships from Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The USS Peterson departed Norfolk, VA, on September 19, 2001, as part of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Aircraft Carrier Battle Group (CVBG) for a scheduled six-month deployment, and in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. For the previous eight months, the Peterson had trained with the CVBG in preparation for this deployment through a series of increasingly demanding exercises and operations. These pre-deployment exercises had culminated the previous month with the successful completion of Joint Task Force Exercise 01-3. The aim of Unified Spirit, which is held every four years, was to train forces and the Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) headquarters staff in the planning and conducting of a NATO-led out-of-area United Nations Charter Chapter VII Peace Support Operation. It was a key element in the NATO four-year CJTF headquarters training cycle. During the exercise, forces were faced with two quickly developing scenarios in two different regions. One was a peace support operation between two fictional former warring nations, and the other involved open hostilities in the fictional states of "Kartuna" and "Korona." Both scenarios stressed the ability to react to high-threat environments requiring air, naval and ground operations. They incorporated surveillance, reconnaissance and other missions, including humanitarian assistance, maritime interdiction, embassy support and a non-combatant evacuation.

In November 2001, while conducting Maritime Interception Operations in the Persian Gulf in support of U.N. Council resolutions, sailors from the USS Peterson intercepted and boarded a vessel, the Motor Vessel Samra (also known as M/V Navigator I) which was suspected of smuggling Iraqi oil. The vessel accidentaly sank on November 18, and Six Peterson security team members and 10 M/V Samra crewmembers were recovered safely by Navy ships operating in the region. Two Sailors were missing, as well as three M/V Samra crewmembers, while one M/V Samra crewmember was found dead during the rescue and the body was recovered.

On 4 October 2002 the USS Peterson was decommissioned.

Lt Cmdr Carl Jerrold Peterson

USS Peterson (DD 969), seventh of thirty ships in the SPRUANCE Class, is named in honor of the late Lieutenant Commander Carl Jerrold Peterson, the son of Captain and Mrs. Carl A. Peterson, USN, Ret., of Texedo Park, NY, born on 31 October 1936. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy and was commissioned an Ensign in June 1958.

Lieutenant Commander Peterson then served successive tours at sea in USS McCaffery (DD 860) and USS Arneb (AKA 56). In 1962, he was assigned to the office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and in 1964 to the staff of Commander Middle East Force. From 1966 to 1968 Lieutenant Commander Peterson served with distinction as Operations Officer in USS Ogden (LPD 5) and participated in eight major amphibious assaults against enemy forces in Vietnam. Lieutenant Commander Peterson was credited with developing the command and control techniques for debarking troops simultaneously by air and sea amphibious transports successfully employed in these assaults.

In December 1968, Lieutenant Commander Peterson volunteered for duties in Vietnam and subsequently commanded Patrol River Boat Squadron 57 operating in the waterways of the Mekong Delta. Carl Peterson was singularly responsible for the success of many joint quick reaction operations designed to draw out and destroy enemy forces. On 2 April 1969, while embarked in an assault support patrol boat transiting the Vam Co Gong River to his command center in USS Harnett County (LST 821), Lieutenant Commander Peterson was mortally wounded when an enemy rocket detonated against his vessel.

His awards include the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device and Bronze Star Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device (awarded posthumously).

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:54:02 ZULU