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USS Nicholson Decommissioned

Navy Newsstand


From Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Spruance-Class destroyer USS Nicholson (DD 982) was decommissioned Dec. 18 at Naval Station Norfolk.

Retired Navy Rear Adm. Wesley E. Jordan, Jr., the first commanding officer of Nicholson, spoke at the ceremony of the many missions Nicholson has been through, specifically strikes against Kosovo.

"It was a spectacular accomplishment, and we were proud and elated," said Jordan. "You had demonstrated what the modern surface combatant was all about. Long endurance, self sufficiency and a lethal punch, and we could say that was our ship."

Jordan continued to speak about the ship's role on the most recent and final deployment.

"The Nicholson swung into action in Operation Enduring Freedom," said Jordan. "It was one of the first units to strike back in what will be a long and one of our country's most challenging wars - the war against terrorism."

Cmdr. Kenneth J. Harvey, Nicholson's commanding officer, and Capt. Daniel P. Holloway, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 18, also spoke at the ceremony.

Nicholson was constructed by Ingalls Shipbuilding Division, Litton Industries in Pascagoula, Miss., and commissioned May 12, 1979. Originally homeported in Charleston, S.C., as part of Destroyer Squadron 6, the ship was later transferred to Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va., as part of Destroyer Squadron 18, and finally to Naval Station Norfolk.

Nicholson was named in honor of five family members who distinguished themselves in naval careers during the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. The ship was the 21st of 31 Spruance-class destroyers, and the fourth ship to bear the Nicholson name.

One of the world's largest and most modern destroyers, Nicholson was designed and built with the ability to strike both above and below the surface of the ocean.

The ship's primary missions were land attack warfare and under sea warfare, tasks for which it was particularly well suited.

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.

During its 22-year career, Nicholson sailed throughout the world, completing operations with numerous foreign navies, including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.

Sailing on 11 deployments and wetting her keel in every ocean of the world, Nicholson has 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 last observance of colors, the ship's bell no longer to be struck, the chronometers allowed to run down," said Harvey. "It is with great reluctance that I need to say time is drawing near."

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