Destroyer Squadron 15
The Navy's only forward deployed Destroyer Squadron, DESRON 15 is the US Navy's largest destroyer squadron, consisting of seven warships. It has administrative, tactical and readiness commander responsibilities for one TICONDEROGA Class guided missle cruiser, two SPRUANCE Class Destroyers, two ARLEIGH BURKE Class guided missile class destroyers and two PERRY Class guided missile frigates as a unit of Battle Force SEVENTH Fleet in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. These combatants conduct operations across the Western Pacific, from bilateral exercises with allies such as the Republic of Korea and Japan, to responding to short-notice operations is East Timor.
Destroyer Squadron FIFTEEN was established in 1920, as a unit of the reserve fleet based at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Although the squadron was disestablished in July 1922 when two of its divisions were transferred to the Asiatic Fleet in the Pacific, the Asiatic DESRON was redesignated Destroyer Squadron FIFTEEN in 1928. Following patrol and training operations in the Pacific, DESRON FIFTEEN was redesignated DESRON FIVE in 1931.
Destroyer Squadron FIFTEEN was again commissioned in 1942 and fought in the battles for North Africa and Sicily. In addition, the squadron participated in nineteen round trip convoy crossings of the Atlantic during the war. In 1945, the squadron converted to Destroyer Minesweepers (DMS), and was redesignated MINERON 21.
Activated again in 1946 for service with the Pacific Fleet through 1949, the squadron was briefly disestablished in 1950. The squadron was again commissioned for service in San Diego on 24 August 1950 following the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 and continues in commission today.
Destroyer Squadron FIFTEEN departed San Diego in 1971 for permanent forward deployment in Yokosuka, Japan, as the destroyer squadron component of the Navy's Overseas Family Residency Program. Squadron combatants at the time included the destroyers ROWAN, RICHARD B. ANDERSON, BAUSELL, GURKE and the guided missile destroyer PARSONS. Destroyer Squadron FIFTEEN ships quickly established an enviable record of service, ranging the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Squadron operations during the early to mid 1970's were highlighted by combat operations off Vietnam, as well as deployments to the Arabian Gulf.
In 1975, the older WWII era destroyers of DESRON FIFTEEN began to be replaced by the newer KNOX class frigates LOCKWOOD, FRANCIS HAMMOND, KNOX and KIRK. By 1978 this conversion was complete, and in 1980 the guided missile destroyer PARSONS was replaced by another guided missile destroyer, TOWERS. Squadron operations during the late 1970's and early 1980's were highlighted by intensive anti-submarine warfare operations, support of numerous contingency operations, and by a growing number of deployments to the Arabian Gulf during the Iranian Hostage Crises, and later, the Iran - Iraq war. Squadron combatants also participated in exercises with and port visits to numerous countries throughout the Pacific.
During the 1980's, the SPRUANCE-class destroyers FIFE, HEWITT and OLDENDORF as well as the PERRY-class guided missile frigates CURTS, MCCLUSKY, THACH and RODNEY M. DAVIS replaced the aging KNOX class frigates. The destroyer O'BRIEN, replaced OLDENDORF when the latter returned to the United States.
The 1990's saw the addition of the new ARLEIGH BURKE class guided destroyers CURTIS WILBUR and JOHN S. MCCAIN, and the TICONDEROGA class guided missle cruiser VINCENNES. In addition to these new classes of ships being assigned to the Forward Deployed Navel Force, the upgraded PERRY class frigate VANDEGRIFT replaced RODNEY M. DAVIS and the SPRUANCE class destroyer CUSHING replaced the FIFE.
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