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DD 997 Hayler
"Courageous in Conflict"

USS Hayler's crest is representative of Vice Admiral Hayler's inspiring leadership, dedication to his country and proficiency as a naval officer, as well as the history and tradition of the United States Naval Service. The gold stars on the blue background in the upper area of the shield symbolize the many Pacific Island campaigns Vice Admiral Hayler participated in as Commanding Officer and as a Commander of Cruiser Division Twelve during World War II. The stars also represent the numerous awards he received, some repeated two and three times. The chevron is a symbol of strength and support, and the blue crosses represent Admiral Hayler's three Navy Crosses, an award for valor only exceeded by the Medal of Honor.

The crossed red battle-axes are symbols of strength and resourcefulness under fire, and represent Vice Admiral Hayler's wartime service. The two stars they bear are in recognition of the Silver and Bronze Star Medals awarded to him for valor. The bomb represents naval firepower, gunfire support and anti-aircraft fire, and symbolizes Vice Admiral Hayler's contributions to the development of naval ordnance at the outbreak of World War II. The anchor refers to the fleet and Vice Admiral Hayler's contributions toward its strength and safety. The predominant colors (red, white, and blue) are representative of the National Flag and Vice Admiral Hayler's patriotism and loyalty to it and the nation it represents.

The ship's motto "Courageous in Conflict" exemplifies the ardent professionalism and steadfast leadership that characterized Vice Admiral Hayler's career and now serves as the watchword to guide Hayler sailors.

Hayler was built in Pascagoula, MS, at Ingalls Shipbuilding Incorporated. Her keel was laid on 20 October 1980. She was launched on 02 March 1982, and was commissioned March 5, 1983. She is is the thirty-first and final ship of the SPRUANCE class destroyers.

Following an inaugural cruise in the Caribbean, Hayler participated in her first deployment in the fall of 1984, spending six months patrolling the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. Hayler was awarded the "Golden Anchor" Award in 1985 for excellence in retaining and reenlisting crewmembers.

In 1986, Hayler departed Norfolk on UNITAS XXVII, her second major deployment and first cruise to Central and South America. In 1987, Hayler participated in a three month long deployment to the Baltic and North Sea. In 1988, Hayler was again in Northern Europe, serving as flagship for Commander, Standing Naval Forces Atlantic. In 1989, Hayler traveled to Norway and England as part of Exercise NORTHSTAR 89 and to New York City for "Fleet Week 89." In June of 1990, Hayler departed Norfolk on her third major deployment, UNITAS XXXI, to Central and South America.

In 1991, Hayler entered Bath Iron Works Shipyard in Portland, Maine for a major overhaul, including installation of the Mk41 Vertical Launch System, enabling Hayler to carry 61 Tomahawk cruise missiles. In September of 1993, Hayler departed Norfolk on her fourth major deployment, to the Red Sea, where the ship conducted a record-setting 327 boardings in support of Operations DESERT STORM/SHIELD and the United Nations sanctions against Iraq.

Hayler was again enforcing United Nations sanctions in April 1994, boarding ships during Operation SUPPORT DEMOCRACY off Haiti. Back in Norfolk for only nine days in May 1994, Hayler was underway again for BALTIC OPERATIONS 94, operating with 52 ships from 12 nations and making one of the first U.S. Navy recoveries of a Russian Navy helicopter. Hayler also made several historic port visits to former Eastern Bloc nations as well as a Fourth of July port visit to Portsmouth, England.

Hayler entered Metro Machine Corporation Shipyard in Norfolk, VA, in November 1994 for six months of maintenance. Upon leaving the shipyard in May 1995, Hayler commenced work-ups, which extended through most of 1996. On 25 November 1996, Hayler deployed with the Theodore Roosevelt Battlegroup to the Mediterranean. During which Hayler, flagship for COMDESRON 32, participated in seven major exercises and made eighteen port visits.

Hayler returned to the shipyard in 1997 for three months then commenced work-ups. On 13 July 1998, Hayler deployed with the frigate USS CARR for a six month Middle East Force (MEF-98) deployment. During this busy deployment Hayler participated in four major exercises. The most notable exercise was Operation "DESERT FOX," which saw Hayler fire several Tomahawk Cruise Missiles deep into Iraqi territory.

Before entering MHI, Norfolk, VA, Shipyards in the summer of 1999, Hayler made brief port visits to Boston, MA (St. Patricks Day!), Newport, RI, (Surface Warfare Officer School visit ship) and Annapolis, MD (Midshipmen Graduation).

The last few months in the year 2000 found the USS Hayler participating in UNITAS XXXXI, a three and a half month journey navigating around the continent of South America. The 41st annual UNITAS involved naval forces from the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, along with Marine Corps, Special Operations and U.S. Coast Guard Forces, with a total of about 3,500 U.S. personnel participating. The crew from the USS Hayler proved instrumental in coming to the aid of USS La Moure County (LST 1194), lending both manpower and damage control equipment to that ship after its grounding on September 12. Unitas 41-00 featured a complete circumnavigation of South America for exercise participants. This was accomplished in three phases. The Pacific phase occurred from August 18 to September 5; the Chilean phase ran from September 6-29; and the Atlantic phase wrapped up from September 30-October 21. A fourth phase was conducted in the Caribbean earlier that year and was possibly to be added as a regular feature of future Unitas deployments. In addition, Hayler's crew made brief port visits in over 8 countries. The trip took Hayler through the Panama Canal rounding the tip of South America and returning home to the US just in time for Thanksgiving.

The USS Hayler (DD 997) departed Norfolk, VA, on September 19, 2001, with the USS Theodore Roosevelt CVBG for a scheduled six-month deployment and to provide support to Operation Enduring Freedom. With the CVBG and ARG, the USS Hayler had trained during the previous eight months in preparation for this deployment through a series of increasingly demanding exercises and operations. These pre-deployment exercises culminated last month with the successful completion of Joint Task Force Exercise 01-3.

In mid-March 2002, an SH-60B Seahawk from Helicopter Squadron Light (HSL) 46 embarked aboard USS Hayler (DD 997), crashed approximately 80 nautical miles west of Greece while conducting a routine flight. Three crew members were lost as a result of the incident.

Hayler deployed April 4, 2003 as part of the U.S Naval Forces, Southern Command for counter-drug detection and monitoring operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean. While deployed, Hayler disrupted the transfer of 600 kg of cocaine after a high-speed chase with a suspect vessel. In mid-May, Hayler rescued 75 passengers of a distressed vessel and transferred them to safety. After visiting ports such as Ecuador, Panama and Mexico, Hayler returned to her final homecoming June 6.

On August 19, 2003 the Navy announced that the Hayler would be decommissioned during a ceremony, 10 a.m., Aug. 25, 2003 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va.

Vice Admiral Robert W. Hayler

Admiral Hayler was born in Sandusky, Ohio in 1891, and graduated from Muncie, Indiana High School in 1909. He subsequently graduated from the Naval Academy in 1914 where he also served as manager of the football team.

His first ship was the battleship Georgia which he joined during the campaign at Vera Cruz, Mexico. During World War I, he was aboard the battleship OKLAHOMA based in ScapaFlow with the British Grand Fleet. He was then ordered to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston as a student in ordnance engineering.

Following M.I.T., he commanded the San Diego-based destroyers HOWARD and MELVIN, and served three tours at the Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island.

At the outbreak of World War II, then Captain Hayler was in command of the newly reopened Torpedo Station at Alexandria, Virginia, which had been idle since the end of World War I.

In June 1942, he was ordered to sea in command of the cruiser Honolulu that participated in some of the heaviest fighting in the Pacific around Guadalcanal. On the night of November 30, 1942, Honolulu was credited with helping turn back the Japanese forces at Savo Island and was one of the few heavy U. S. ships not damaged. Captain Hayler received a Navy Cross for his action. On July 5-6, 1943, Honolulu supported the landings at New Georgia Island and became engaged with numerically superior hostile forces. Captain Hayler led a column of ships into this action that became known as the Battle of Kula Gulf. For this he received his second Navy Cross. A week later at the Battle of Kolombangar, Honolulu again led the battle and helped in the destruction of at least four Japanese ships. This time, though, Honolulu was severely damaged. Her bow was blown off as far back as the forward turret, and the ship received a torpedo hit in the stern. No one was killed and Honolulu returned safely to port. Captain Hayler received a Silver Star for this action.

In March 1944, Captain Hayler was promoted to Rear Admiral, and given command of Cruiser Division TWELVE (Montpelier, Denver, Columbia, and Cleveland). By this time the war had moved to the Central Pacific where the Division participated in the assaults of Saipan, Tinian and Palau.

Cruiser Division TWELVE provided bombardment and fire support for the landings at Leyte Gulf on October 20, 1944. This was the largest amphibious operation in the Southeast Pacific Area. For this Admiral Hayler received a Gold Star in place of a second Legion of Merit, his first Legion of Merit having been awarded for his actions in the southern Marianas. On October 25, 1944, Rear Admiral Hayler was in command of the left flank of the U.S. Forces of Surgao Strait, an action which resulted in the annihilation of a large portion of the Japanese Fleet. For this action Rear Admiral Hayler received a Gold Star in lieu of a third Navy Cross. In December 1944, he was transferred to the Navy Department in Washington where he was a member of the General Board.

In 1948 Admiral Hayler was ordered to Charleston, SC, as Commandant, SIXTH Naval District. He was retired in 1951, but remained on active duty as President, Permanent General Court-Martial, Great Lakes, IL, until 1953. He was permanently retired with the rank of Vice Admiral by virtue of his combat decorations. He then moved to Carmel, CA, where he made his home.



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