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DDG 71 Ross

USS ROSS (DDG 71), the twenty-first Arleigh Burke class destroyer, is named in honor of Captain Donald Kirby Ross, who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic actions aboard USS NEVADA (BB-36) on December 7, 1941.

ROSS' keel was laid on April 10, 1995 in Pascagoula, Mississippi and her christening was held one year later. ROSS' plankowning crew moved aboard in April 1997 and sailed her to Galveston, Texas for the Commissioning on June 28, 1997.

After commissioning, ROSS sailed on a six-week Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trial and then traveled back to Pascagoula for a three-month Post Shakedown Availability (PSA). ROSS then returned to her homeport of Portsmouth, Virginia and completed the Basic Training Phase including Engineering Certification, CART II, TSTA I, II, and III, Cruise Missile Tactical Qualification, Final Evaluation Period (FEP), and Logisitics Management Assessment (LMA).

Following completion of the Intermediate Training Phase, ROSS participated in a Joint Task Force Exercise with the Theodore Roosevelt Battlegroup, the last event in preparation for a six-month deployment which began on March 26, 1999.

ROSS's maiden deployment included combat Operations ALLIED FORCE and NOBLE ANVIL, the effort to restore peace in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. Her superior technology and training were evident in the flawless execution of scores of Tomahawk Cruise Missile launches, as well as in her critical function of airspace defense and control. As flagship of the Commander, Destroyer Squadron TWO-EIGHT, she served as the centerpiece of the sea control and waterspace management efforts so crucial to the success of the prolonged operations.

ROSS returned to her new homeport of Norfolk, Virginia in late September 1999 to the cheers of hundreds of family and friends. Following some well-deserved rest and relaxation, she underwent a period of minor repairs and major equipment upgrades and installations.

From May through July 2000, ROSS served as flagship for the Commander, Carrier Group Eight during the BaltOps 2000 exercise. BaltOps is an annual naval exercise conducted in the Baltic Sea with dozens of countries from northern Europe and North America. In addition to her arduous duties at sea, the ship made port visits to Le Havre, France, Stockholm, Sweden, and Kiel, Germany before returning to Norfolk in early July.

The USS Ross deployed as part of a Surface Strike Group on April 30, 2004 in support of the global war on terrorism.

Shield and Crest

The gold and dark blue on the shield of the coat of arms represent the Navy. The anchor stands for the anchorage at Pearl Harbor, attacked December 7, 1941, by Japanese aircraft, bringing the United States into World War II. The lightning flashes symbolize the unexpected assault and resulting bloodshed. The ship's propeller represents Warrant Officer Ross and the badge of a Navy machinist, a post he held at the time of the action. His heroism during the attack is recalled by the inverted silver star which stands for the Medal of Honor he won for valor on board the battleship USS NEVADA. The shape of the shield refers to the Aegis armament and capabilities of DDG 71. Gold stands for excellence, red for courage.

The griffin on the crest, noted for vigilance, intelligence and valor, reflects the versatility of the DDG 7l's operating capabilities. It holds a trident denoting the range of USS ROSS's offensive equipment and outstanding firepower.

Donald K. Ross

Donald Kirby Ross was born in Beverly, Kansas, on December 8, 1910, and enlisted in the United States Navy in June 1929. He rose through the enlisted ranks, was warranted Machinist in 1940, and joined the crew of the battleship USS NEVADA (BB 36) in november 1940.

As a junior Warrant Officer onboard USS NEVADA, Ross earned the Medal of Honor for "extraordinary courage and disregard of his own life during the attack on the Fleet at Pearl Harbor" on December 7, 1941, according to the citation accompanying his award.

"When his station in the forward dynamo room became almost untenable due to smoke, steam and heat," the citation continues, "he forced his men to leave that station and preformed all the duties himself until blinded and unconscious. Upon being rescued and resuscitated, he returned and secured the forward dynamo room and proceeded to the after dynamo room, where he was later again rendered unconscious by exhaustion. Upon recovering consciousness, he returned to his station, where he remained until directed to abandon it."

Ross was presented the Medal of Honor by Admiral Chester Nimitz on April 18, 1942, and was commissioned Ensign in June 1942. Later in the war, he also participated in the landing at Normandy and Southern France.

Ross retired in July 1956 as a Captain after 27 years of consecutive active duty aboard every type of surface ship then afloat.

DD 563

The first USS Ross was a Fletcher Class Destroyer.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:54:51 ZULU