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USS Harry E. Yarnell (CG-17)
USS Harry E. Yarnell
USS Harry E. Yarnell (CG-17)
Career (US)
Name: Harry E. Yarnell
Namesake: Harry E. Yarnell
Ordered: 11/07/1958
Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
Laid down: 31 May 1960
Launched: 9 December 1961
Acquired: 25 January 1963
Commissioned: 2 February 1963
Decommissioned: 20 October 1993
Struck: 29 October 1993
Fate: Disposed of by scrapping, dismantling, 17 April 2002
General characteristics
Class & type: Leahy class cruiser
Displacement: 7,800 tons full load
Length: 547 ft (167 m)
Beam: 55 ft (17 m)
Draft: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 4 1200 psi boilers, 85,000 hp, 2 shafts
Speed: 30+ knots
Complement: 395
Armament: 2 Mk 10 Missile Systems [Mod 5 fwd][Mod 6 aft] Terrier (80 missiles total),
2 dual 3in./50 guns,
6 12.75 in. torpedo tubes

USS Harry E. Yarnell (DLG/CG-17), a Leahy-class guided missile cruiser, was a ship of the United States Navy named in honor of Admiral Harry E. Yarnell (1875–1959). Originally called a "destroyer leader" or frigate, in 1975 she was redesignated a cruiser in the Navy's ship reclassification. She was the second of the "double-end" Leahy-class guided missile frigates to join the fleet.


Harry E. Yarnell was launched 9 December 1961 by the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. Philip Yarnell, widow of Admiral Yarnell; and commissioned 2 February 1963 at the Boston Naval Shipyard, Captain Charles E. Nelson in command.


Harry E. Yarnell was equipped with RIM-2 Terrier surface-to-air missile launching tubes both fore and aft and ASROC anti-submarine missiles, as well as more conventional torpedo tubes and guns. The new ship was fitted out at Boston and received a grim reminder that even in peacetime the sea can be a powerful enemy. While out on trials, Yarnell was diverted on 10 April 1963 to search for USS Thresher (SSN-593), the nuclear submarine later found on the bottom some 8,000 feet down. Quartering the area where the sub was last reported, the guided missile frigate found an oil slick and some debris but could not contact the lost submarine.

On her way to her new home base, Naval Station Norfolk, on 23 April, Harry E. Yarnell passed and photographed several Soviet "merchant" ships. The next few months were spent conducting training for shakedown and missile qualification. Designated to carry out standardization trials for her class as well as special acoustical tests, Yarnell spent 28 October–26 November in the Caribbean operating out of Guantanamo Bay and then returned to Norfolk.

Yarnell continued operating in the Virginia Capes area and the Caribbean until departing from Norfolk on 8 September 1964 for her first Atlantic crossing. NATO ASW exercises en route took the guided missile frigate far north, and she crossed the Arctic circle on 21 September. She visited Amsterdam en route to the Mediterranean, where she remained until returning to Norfolk in February 1965.

On her next Mediterranean deployment, which began 8 October, she transited the Dardanelles on 3 January 1966 and entered the Black Sea to operate close to the Soviet Union before returning to Norfolk in March. After NATO exercises in the North Atlantic, Harry E. Yarnell received the battle efficiency "E" for the preceding year. She also won the 1966 Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award for the Atlantic Fleet.

Operations in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean brought the fine ship and her crew to a high degree of readiness before she sailed for her 3rd Mediterranean deployment early in 1967. She cruised the Mediterranean ready to help snuff out trouble, should it occur in that troubled area, until returning to Norfolk in May. At mid-year she operated in the North Atlantic, honing her fighting edge to prepare for the challenges of the future.

The entire Leahy class was given an AAW upgrade during the late-1960s and early 1970s. The 3/50s were replaced by 8 RGM-84 Harpoon missiles, the Terrier launchers were upgraded to fire the Standard missile, and 2 Phalanx CIWS were added. All were upgraded under the late-1980s NTU program. This included new radars, a new combat system, new fire control systems, and upgraded missiles and missile launchers.

In late June 1990, Rear Admiral Thomas D. Paulson, Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Group Two, led the Yarnell and USS Kauffman (FFG-59) to visit Poland in conjunction with BALTOPS '90, a U.S. Naval Forces Europe-hosted international naval exercise in the Baltic Sea. Their port call at Gdynia represented the first visit by United States Navy vessels to Poland since 1927.[1]


Harry E. Yarnell was decommissioned 20 October 1993, and stricken 29 October 1993. She was sold 14 April 1995 for scrapping at Quonset Point, RI, but the scrap contract was terminated 1 December 1996 (scrapping 10% complete), and the hulk returned to Philadelphia for storage. Scrapping was ultimately completed in April 2002.[2]


External links

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