The namesake of the USS Cape St. George is a battle fought in the South Pacific off the island of New Ireland in the Bismarck Archipelago on 25 November 1943. Naval intelligence suspected that the Japanese would attempt to resupply or evacuate their forces on Bougainville and Buka Islands to their base at Rabaul. Anticipating their move, Admiral William "Bull" Halsey gave Captain (later Admiral) Arleigh Burke, the Commander of DESRON 23, the following orders: "Thirty-One Knot Burke, get athwart the Buka-Rabaul evacuation line...if enemy contacted, you know what to do." During this early morning action, five destroyers of DESRON 23, the Little Beavers, sank three of five Japanese destroyers involved in the engagement, and severely damaged a fourth, without damage to any of Burke's ships. It was the last engagement of surface ships in the Solomon Islands campaign.
USS Cape St. George (CG-71), the first ship in the United States Navy to bear the name, is the twenty-fifth Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser. USS Cape St. George was commissioned on 12 June 1993. Ticonderoga class guided missile cruisers are multi-mission [Air Warfare (AW), Undersea Warfare (USW), Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) and Surface Warfare (SUW)] surface combatants capable of supporting carrier battle groups, amphibious forces, or of operating independently and as flagships of surface action groups. Cruisers are equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles giving them additional long range Strike Warfare (STRW) capability. Some Aegis Cruisers have been outfitted with a Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) capability.
Cape St. George has served the US Navy in a variety of exercises, missions and roles over the years. In May 2005, Cape St. George was the first surface warship certified to use only digital nautical charts (DNC), instead of paper charts. In July 2007, the Cape St. George shifted her homeport from Norfolk, VA, to San Diego, CA. In 2010 the Cape St. George, while supporting the coalition troop surge in Afghanistan, rescued a group of Iranian fishermen when their Dhow sunk. In 2012 Cape St. George circumnavigated the globe while on a nine month deployment.