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DD 982 Nicholson
"Fortune Favors the Brave"

Honoring the memory of the five family members who distinguished themselves in naval careers during the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War, Nicholson was constructed by Ingalls Shipbuilding Division, Litton Industries at Pascagoula, MS. Her keel was laid on February 20, 1976. Launched on November 29, 1977, she was christened on January 28, 1978 and commissioned on 12 May 1979. Nicholson is the twentieth of 31 SPRUANCE (DD-963) Class destroyers, and the fourth ship to bear the name. She first deployed on 18 November 1980.

Nicholson's original armament included the NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System, Close-In Weapon System, Anti-Submarine Rocket Launcher, two Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes, and two 5-inch main battery deck guns. The ship was later fitted with the Vertical Launching System and Rolling Airframe Missile System.

The USS Nicholson was deployed, in early 1994, with the USS Saratoga (CV-60), as part of Task Force 60, in the Arabian Gulf, Mediterranean and the Adriatic in support of operations "Deny Flight," "Provide Promise" and "Sharp Guard".

As part of a reorganization announced in July 1995 of the Atlantic Fleet's surface combatant ships into six core battle groups, nine destroyer squadrons and a new Western Hemisphere Group, the USS Nicholson was reassigned to Destroyer Squadron 18. The reorganization was to be phased in over the summer and take effect on August 31, with homeport shifts occurring through 1998.

The destroyer USS Nicholson (DD 982) departed the Charleston Naval Shipyard for sea trials, on September 29, 1995, following completion of an overhaul. Nicholson carried with it the distinction of being the last ship overhauled in the 94-year history of the shipyard as the Charleston Naval Shipyard was closing as a result of the base realignment and closure process of 1993. The ship did not return to the shipyard at the end of sea trials but proceeded to a new home port of Norfolk Naval Base, VA. The shipyard's official closing took place on April 1, 1996. The USS Nicholson (DD 982) arrived in its new home port of Norfolk on October 6 1995.

On December 10, 1996, the USS Nicholson (DD 982) departed Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a scheduled six-month deployment to the Middle East Force. It, along with the USS Halyburton (FFG 40), reliever Norfolk-based USS Stump (DD 978) and Pascagoula, MS,-based USS Steven W. Groves (FFG 29), then deployed in the Arabian Gulf.

The USS Nicholson took part, with the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Battle Group in a Sink Exercise (SINKEX) near Puerto Rico on August 9, 1998, resulting in the sinking of the former USS Richmond K. Turner (CG 20). The SINKEX developed the battle group's coordination of combined air and surface assaults, verified the performance of several weapons systems and enhanced the integration of joint units into naval battle scenarios. During the exercise, the USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), USS Thorn (DD 988), USS Nicholson (DD 982) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) THREE also sent a parade of high-altitude, anti-radiation missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and an assortment of laser-guided munitions to the decommissioned cruiser. The Air Force participated with a trio of 2,000-pound bombs.

The USS Nicholson deployed with the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Battle Group, with Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW 3) embarked, for a scheduled six-month deployment on November 6, 1998, and to relieve the USS Eisenhower Battle Group in Operation Southern Watch. With the USS Enterprise CVBG, the USS Nicholson took part in Operation Desert Fox, an operation designed to degrade Saddam Hussein's ability to deliver chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and wage war against his neighbors, from December 16-18, 1998. During the 70-hour assault, the USS Nicholson launched Tomahawk cruise missiles on Iraqi targets. Following this, and after departing the Arabian Gulf on January 2, 1999, and transiting through the Suez Canal, the USS Nicholson joined Sixth Fleet and took part in Operation Allied Force, launching Tomahawks at numerous sites in Yugoslavia. It returned home on May 6, 2000,

The destroyer USS Nicholson (DD 982) and the fast combat support ship USS Detroit (AOE 4) were involved in a minor collision on August 27, 2000 about 100 miles east of Cape Henry (east of Norfolk). The collision occurred at approximately 8:45 p.m. local time while the ships were conducting a night underway replenishment. Initial reports indicated minor damage to both ships. Two Nicholson Sailors also suffered minor injuries. Both ships were still seaworthy after the incident.

The USS Nicholson deployed with the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Aircraft Carrier Battle Group (CVBG) and USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) for a scheduled six-month deployment. This was the 17th overseas deployment for Enterprise since its maiden voyage on January 12, 1962. The Enterprise CVBG and Kearsarge ARG relieved the USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) CVBG and USS Nassau (LHA 4) ARG, which deployed in November 2000. Though the Enterprise Battle Group departed on 25 April 2001, the USS Nicholson (DD 982) and USS Thorn (DD 988), scheduled as late-deployers, McFaul and Nicholson joined the battle group after departing in June. Over the following six months, all these units conducted multi-national and joint operations with navies of various European countries, and visited ports in Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf nations. The ships and squadrons were scheduled to return home in October 2001.

The Spruance-Class destroyer USS Nicholson (DD 982) was decommissioned Dec. 18 at Naval Station Norfolk. Sailing on 11 deployments and wetting her keel in every ocean of the world, Nicholson had been awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy Battle Efficiency Ribbon (five awards), National Defense Service Medal (two awards), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (four awards), Southwest Asia Service Medal (two awards), Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (eleven awards), Navy Arctic Service Ribbon and the Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon (two awards).

The official crest of the Nicholson symbolizes the service of five prominent American Naval Officers from the Nicholson family who served in the United States Navy during the War of Independence, the War of 1812 and the Civil War. The dominant colors of the crest are blue and gold, traditional to the Navy.

The five spears and the five shields each represent the five members of the Nicholson family. The shields are red, signifying that each namesake distinguished himself in combat during his service to his country. The chevron, a symbol of strength and support, alludes to the prow of the ship. The three bomb bursts signify the threefold mission of a SPRUANCE Class destroyer. The lower bomb burst symbolizes a subsurface depth charge or torpedo, while the two upper represent surface and aerial fire power. The sea lion is an ancient symbol of the sea and naval powers.

The traditional Latin ship's motto, "FORTES FORTUNA ADJUVAT," translates to "Fortune Favors the Brave".

USS Nicholson (DD 52)

The Nicholson Family

USS Nicholson (DD 982) is the fourth Navy ship to be named for the five members of the Nicholson family renowned in American naval history. The original three brothers, James, Samuel and John, served with great distinction during the Revolutionary War. In the next generation, John's son, William, served during both the War of 1812 and the Civil War, and likewise in the third generation, Samuel's grandson, James, served during the Civil War.

Captain James Nicholson (1737 - 1804) was the senior Continental Navy Captain in the Revolutionary War. Prior to receiving his commission in the Continental Navy, he served in the Colonial Navy with the British and was present during the assault on Havana in 1762. During the Revolutionary War, he commanded three ships of the line: Defense, Turnbull and Virginia. Most notable, when his ship was blockaded at Baltimore, Captain Nicholson took his men to join Washington at Trenton, and aided in that victory.

Captain Samuel Nicholson (1732 - 1811) first served under John Paul Jones in the Bon Homme Richard. Later, while in command of Dean, he brilliantly captured three British sloops-of-war. He assumed duties of Superintendent of the construction of the Constitution ("OLD IRONSIDES") and served on board as her first Commanding Officer.

Captain John Nicholson (1756 - 1844) was commissioned a Lieutenant in the Continental Navy in October 1776, and the next month was promoted to Captain to command the sloop Hornet. After the war, he was active in public affairs in the State of Maryland.

Captain William C. Nicholson (1800 - 1872) entered the Navy as a Midshipman in 1812. He served under Stephen Decatur during the War of 1812, and later commanded the steam frigate Roanoke during the Civil War.

Admiral James W. C. Nicholson (1821 - 1887) participated in Commodore Mathew G. Perry's Japanese Expedition of 1853. During the Civil War, he commanded the Isaac Smith, Shamrock, Manhattan and Mohongo. As an Admiral, he commanded a European Station from 1881 to 1883. During the British bombardment of Alexandria, Egypt in 1882, he rescued the records of the American Consulate, and evacuated many American and European officials. He received numerous commendations and awards, both at home and abroad, for his operation.

The Nicholson name was carried to sea in the service of America by either a family member or ship named for the family in each major naval conflict up to, and including, World War II. It is most appropriate that this tradition by resumed by DD 982 in a class of ships, which, for the most part, carry the names of Americans of Distinguished Naval Service.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:54:11 ZULU