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USS Reuben James (FFG-57)
USS Reuben James (FFG-57)
Ordered: 22 March 1982
Builder: Todd Pacific Shipyards, San Pedro, California
Laid down: 19 November 1983
Launched: 8 February 1985
Commissioned: 22 March 1986
Decommissioned: 18 July 2013
Status: Decommissioned
Badge: USS Reuben James. FFG-57 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class & type: Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate
Displacement: 4,100 long tons (4,200 t), full load
Length: 453 feet (138 m), overall
Beam: 45 feet (14 m)
Draft: 22 feet (6.7 m)
  • 2 × General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines generating 41,000 shp (31 MW) through a single shaft and variable pitch propeller
  • 2 × Auxiliary Propulsion Units, 350 hp (260 kW) retractable electric azimuth thrusters for maneuvering and docking.
Speed: over 29 knots (54 km/h)
Range: 5,000 nautical miles at 18 knots (9,300 km at 33 km/h)
Complement: 15 officers and 190 enlisted, plus SH-60 LAMPS detachment of roughly six officer pilots and 15 enlisted maintainers
Sensors and
processing systems:
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Aircraft carried: 2 × SH-60 LAMPS III helicopters
Motto: "Back With A Vengeance"

USS Reuben James (FFG-57), an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate, was the third ship of the U.S. Navy named for Reuben James, a boatswain's mate who distinguished himself fighting the Barbary pirates. Her crew totaled 201 enlisted, 18 chief petty officers, and 26 officers.[1]

Ship history


The contract to build Reuben James was awarded on 22 March 1982 to Todd Shipyard of San Pedro, California. Her keel was laid on 19 November 1983, and she was launched on 8 February 1985. She was delivered to the Navy on 3 March 1986, and commissioned on 22 March. She was faster than 30 knots (30 mph; 60 km/h) and powered by two gas turbine engines. Armed with anti-air and anti-ship missiles, an automated three-inch (76 mm) gun, an anti-missile defense system, and two SH-60 Seahawk anti-submarine helicopters, Reuben James was tasked with hunting submarines as well as battle group escort and maritime interception. Reuben James joined the Red Stallions of Destroyer Squadron Thirty-One in June 1987.

Assigned to Mideast Force on her maiden deployment, Reuben James participated in twenty-two Operation Earnest Will convoy missions, serving as the convoy commander's flagship on ten of those missions.


On 10 September 1990 Reuben James visited Vladivostok in the Soviet Union[2]

In August 1991, Reuben James moved from Long Beach, California, to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On 1 October 1998, she joined the "Ke Koa O Ke Kai", Destroyer Squadron Thirty-One.

On a WestPac deployment in 1995–96, the ship's rudder fell off. The ship docked in Bahrain for repairs.[3]


Reuben James participated in the CARAT 2000 exercises, including phases in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore. The first phase of CARAT began in the Philippines on 14 June and the final phase, conducted in Singapore, ended on 22 September. CARAT 2000 demonstrated U.S. commitment to security and stability in Southeast Asia while increasing the operational readiness and capabilities of U.S. forces. The exercise also promoted interoperability and cooperation with U.S. regional friends and allies by offering a broad spectrum of mutually beneficial training opportunities.

In Malaysia, CARAT 2000 encompassed two weeks of extensive training to promote interoperability between U.S. naval forces and the Royal Malaysian Navy and Army. The Strait of Malacca was the setting for several exercises. These included anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, and gunnery exercises. One of the exercises was a final battle problem, or night encounter exercise. The two navies’ task groups steamed together in formation for more than 25 hours. The Malaysian-U.S. naval task group was divided into two opposing forces. The Blue Forces consisted of Reuben James, Germantown, Mount Vernon, and the Malaysian ships KD Sri Indera Sakti and KD Lekir. The Blue Forces were supported by U.S. helicopters from Helicopter Squadron Light 37, Detachment Four, from Hawaii. The Orange Forces consisted of the frigate Sides, the Malaysian ships KD Perkasa, KD Laksamana Tun Abdul Jamil, and a U.S. Navy P-3C Orion aircraft. USS Columbus, homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and USS Helena, homeported in San Diego, also joined the task group in individual phases.[4]

For nine months from 2 August 2002, to 27 April 2003, Reuben James deployed to the Persian Gulf and participated in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom[5] as part of Cruiser-Destroyer Group Three, the Abraham Lincoln Battle Group. After serving approximately six months in theater, Reuben James started to make its way back to Pearl Harbor. On New Year's Day 2003, while in port in Brisbane, Australia, the ship was ordered to turn around and go back to the Persian Gulf[6] and the deployment was extended indefinitely.[7] Finally, after an extended deployment of almost nine months, the Abraham Lincoln Battle Group was relieved by USS Nimitz.[8] This deployment was extremely long, breaking a number of records,[9] including the longest deployment ever for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.[6]

In July 2003, Reuben James hosted the Japanese destroyer JDS Shimakaze (DDG 172) for exercises in Pearl Harbor.[10] On 23 October 2003 the crew of the Reuben James dressed ship and manned the rails to render honors to President George W. Bush as he toured Pearl Harbor and visited the USS Arizona Memorial.[11]

From February to April 2004, she deployed to the Eastern Pacific with an embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment in support of counter-drug operations.[12][13]

Between July and December 2004, Reuben James went through an extensive modernization and maintenance program.[14] In October 2004, Reuben James participated in PASSEX exercises with the French frigate FS Prairial (F 371).

As part of Expeditionary Strike Group 3 (ESG 3), Reuben James deployed on 15 February 2006 on a WESTPAC mission to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.[15] The strike group also consisted of Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 3, the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), USS Peleliu, the guided-missile cruiser Port Royal, the guided-missile destroyer Gonzalez, the amphibious transport dock Ogden, the dock landing ship Germantown, Tactical Air Control Squadron(TACRON) 11, and the "Black Jacks" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21.[16]

En route to the Persian Gulf, Reuben James stopped in New Caledonia.[17] The strike group relieved USS Tarawa on station in early April 2006 and began its mission of conducting maritime security operations. During operations, Reuben James performed services such as providing medical assistance to Sri Lankan fishermen[18] and rescuing Kenyan sailors.[19] Expeditionary Strike Group 3 was relieved on 9 July 2006 and Reuben James returned to Pearl Harbor in August 2006.

Reuben James participated in a Passing Exercises (PASSEX) with the Philippine Navy frigate BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) off the coast of Hawaii on 30 July 2011.[20]

The frigate completed what is expected to be her final deployment on 3 May 2013. Reuben James is scheduled to be decommissioned during the northern summer of 2013.[21]

She was decommissioned on 18 July 2013.[22]

Cultural references

Reuben James played a significant role in Tom Clancy's 1986 novel Red Storm Rising. She appeared in the 1990 movie, The Hunt for Red October (although her appearance in the film was anachronistic, since she was commissioned about a year after the events in the film). In some scenes, Reuben James was portrayed in the film by another Oliver Hazard Perry frigate — USS Wadsworth (now ORP Generał Tadeusz Kościuszko).[23] The ship was later featured prominently in the 2010 novel by Don Brown entitled Malacca Conspiracy.[24]

See also


  1. "Ship's History". Archived from the original on 5 February 2007. Retrieved 21 February 2007. 
  2. "Still Asset Details for DNSC9102252". DefenseLink. Retrieved 22 April 2007. 
  4. "Destroyer Squadron Nine". 
  5. "Home From the War: Paul Hamilton, Reuben James, Cheyenne, VP-47, HSL-37 Return". 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "First Hawai'i troops heading home from war". Retrieved 21 February 2007. 
  7. "Pearl warships to join carrier groups in Gulf". Retrieved 21 February 2007. 
  8. "Last Pearl ship returns from Iraq duty". Retrieved 21 February 2007. 
  9. "Ships Returning to Pearl Harbor". Commander Navy Region Hawaii. Archived from the original on 26 March 2007. Retrieved 21 February 2007. 
  10. "Reuben James Crew Says ‘Sayonara’ to Friends". Retrieved 21 February 2007. 
  11. "Bush greets vets, pupils in whirlwind O'ahu visit". Retrieved 21 February 2007. 
  12. "Reuben James Heads to Central America". Retrieved 21 February 2007. 
  13. "Reuben James Returns to Pearl Harbor". Retrieved 21 February 2007. 
  14. "Reuben James Sails with Pride After Successful INSURV". Retrieved 21 February 2007. 
  15. "Peleliu ESG WESTPAC 06 Deployment". Retrieved 25 February 2007. 
  16. "ESG 3 Deploys in Support of Global War on Terrorism". Retrieved 25 February 2007. 
  17. "USS Reuben James Visits New Caledonia". Retrieved 25 February 2007. 
  18. "USS Reuben James Assists Fisherman in Arabian Sea". Retrieved 25 February 2007. 
  19. "USS Reuben James Rescues Kenyan Sailors". Retrieved 25 February 2007. 
  20. "Newest Philippine Navy Ship Gets Aloha Welcome". 28 July 2011.{55f78fbe-e988-4bac-ac1d-e22b1b5584ad}. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  21. Dickerson, Travis. "USS Reuben James Makes Final Return to Hawaii". United States Navy. Retrieved 6 July 2013. 
  23. "History". USS Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  24. "Author Donates Autographed Books to Reuben James Sailors". Retrieved 8 July 2011. 

This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain. The entry can be found here.

External links

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