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DD 988 Thorn

The contract to build the USS Thorn was awarded on Jan 15, 1975. Her keel was laid on 08/29/1977 and she was launched less then two years later on 11/22/1978. Built by Ingalls, she was delivered on 01/21/1980 and commissioned on 02/16/1980.

The Portsmouth-based destroyer USS Thorn returned to Norfolk Naval Shipyard Portsmouth Sept. 26, 1997 after completing a six-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf.

During the deployment, as a unit of Operation Southern Watch, Thorn patrolled the Arabian Gulf, enforcing United Nations sanctions against Iraq. While on station, it participated in several bilateral and multinational exercises with the navies of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and England.

USS Thorn (DD 988) won all four Command Excellence Awards during 1998, including the Supply Blue "E". The year was filled with inspections and events that kept the Supply Department very busy including deployment with Enterprise Battle Group as Flagship for Commander Standing Naval Force Mediterranean. Since deploying last November Thorn's Supply Department has hosted receptions and luncheons for Senior NATO military officials and foreign dignitaries; conducted force breakfasts and parties for Standing Naval Force Mediterranean warships from Italy, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

USS Thorn (DD 988) is on the cutting edge when it comes to fixing things. The ship makes extensive use of digital imagery and its new 21st century capability to communicate with maintenance facilities concerning repair work needed aboard the ship. A computer system upgrade allows Thorn to redefine the process for sharing information between support activities and the fleet.

The computers were part of a pre-deployment installation, called IT-21 (Information Technology for the 21st century), which brought Thorn a complete local area network and satellite communications system. This system allows 24-hour e-mail and Internet access, and connects Thorn to shore facilities as never before.

In 1999 Thorn deployed as part of the USS Enterprise Battle Group, and was the Flagship for Commander, Standing Naval Forces Mediterranean.

On July 12, 2001 the USS Thorn helped untangle a sea turtle from a fishing net. The helicopter attached to Thorn spotted a group of turtles and radiod back to the Thorn alerting them that a group of turtles were caught in a net. Thorn, who's course fortunately happened to be right in line with the location of the turtles, arrived on scene quickly and prepared for action. Thorn launched its seven-crewmen RHIB, which is more routinely used on rescue missions of human life, on its way. The Thorn team arrived to find a total of four sea turtles entangled. Although three had already expired by the time they arrived, quick action with knives and a set of bolt cutters set the fourth free. After figuring out that at least one turtle was alive, they began to try to pull the net out of the water and into the boat to see if they could at least get it out of the way. The crew on the RHIB hauled the turtle on to the craft and removed a hook that was portruding from it. At that point the RHIB crew put the turtle back in the water and watched it until they were sure it was going to be alright. Thorn was in the third month of a six-month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea.

MED 2004

The USS Thorn departed Norfolk on November 29, 2003 along with the USS Cole (DDG 67) and USS Gonzalez (DDG 66). The ships deployed as a Surface Strike Group and conducted operations in the Mediterranean. Gonzalez and Thorn returned to Norfolk May 28, 2004 and the Cole returned on May 27.

Thorn is scheduled to decommission in August 2004 after 23 years of fleet service.




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