The USS Sterett (DDG 104) was named after Lieutenant Andrew Sterett - b. 1778 - d. 1807 Andrew Sterett was born 27 January 1778 in Baltimore, Maryland. Andrew’s father was a successful shipping merchant who had served as a captain during the Revolutionary War. Andrew was the fourth of ten children and despite his sizable inheritance, entered the Navy as a Lieutenant on 25 March 1798 at the age of twenty. He served as Third Lieutenant aboard the newly commissioned frigate Constellation. He was in command of a gun battery during the undeclared war with France in which the fledgling U. S. Navy scored its first victory on the high seas against the French frigate L’Insurgente.
By February 1800 Andrew Sterett had been promoted to First Lieutenant and participated in successful battles against French ships. Later that year he assumed his first command, the schooner Enterprise. This was the first US Navy ship to bear that name.
The Enterprise sailed to the Mediterranean with Commodore Richard Dale to quell the Barbary pirates. Andrew Sterett and the Enterprise went up against the pirate warship Tripoli in a furious engagement. He successfully fought off three attempts by the pirates to board his crippled ship. Enterprise beat back all attacks and defeated the pirates. He was presented with a sword by President Thomas Jefferson and his crew received an additional month’s pay for their heroism. Following several more dispatches to the coast of Tripoli, Sterett and the Enterprise witnessed the return of freedom of the seas in the Mediterranean for American ships. He returned home in March of 1803 and resigned from the Navy in 1805. He pursued a career in the merchant marine and died a premature death in Lima, Peru on 9 June 1807 at the age of thirty.
Andrew Sterett left the U.S. Navy with a rich tradition of determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. His bravery, gallantry and heroism live on in the ships that bear his name.
Current USS Sterett
USS Sterett (DDG 104) was laid down on 17 November 2005 at Bath, Me., by Bath Iron Works, launched on 19 May 2007, sponsored by Michelle Sterett Bernson and commissioned without ceremony on 26 June 2008 at her building yard and “ceremonially” commissioned on 9 August 2008 at the South Locust Point Marine Terminal, Baltimore, Md. with Comdr. Brian B. Eckerle as the commanding officer.
Sterett arrived in San Diego, Calif., on 23 September 2008. After undergoing various certifications and testing programs, on 2 July 2009, she became a member of Destroyer Squadron 9.
In September 2010 Sterett performed and independent deployment and touched at Saipan (9-12 November 2010), transited the Surigao, Balabac Straits, the Straits of Malacca and entered the Indian Ocean (21 November). She arrived at Phuket, Thailand, on 22 November. Sterett transited the Strait of Hormuz on 15 December 2010, then rendezvoused with the carrier Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72).
In January 2011, Sterett was assigned the role of Shotgun and Sector Air Defense Commander for the Abraham Lincoln Battle Group while the carrier’s embarked Air Wing conducted missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) returned to San Diego April 27, marking the end to its maiden deployment.
In 2012 the guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) deployed to the 7th and 5th Fleet areas of responsibility as part of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and returned to San Diego July 5. In November USS Sterett (DDG 104) conducted a successful operational test launch of a Tomahawk cruise missile while the ship was underway in the Southern California Naval Operating Area.
1st USS Sterett
The first USS Sterett (Destroyer No. 27) was laid down on 22 March 1909 at Quincy, Mass., by the Fore River Shipbuilding Co., launched on 12 May 1910 and commissioned on 15 December 1910 at Boston with Lt. Robert L. Berry as the commanding officer.
Destroyer No. 27’s high-forecastled silhouette is characteristic of most American destroyers built before World War I. The Roe class were made conspicuous by their three stacks in place of the more usual four.
Each year until 1913, she operated along the east coast out of Boston from April to December and, from January to April, participated in training and battle exercises out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Though placed in reserve on 5 November 1913, she continued duty with the torpedo fleet.
In January 1914, she sailed from Charleston, S.C. to New Orleans, La. to join the newly-created Reserve Torpedo Flotilla, Galveston, Tex. In June, she returned to the Atlantic seaboard, this time based at Norfolk, and resumed coastal patrols and Caribbean exercises.
Sterett's complement was reduced on 5 January 1916 and, throughout that spring, she operated almost exclusively in the Caribbean. In June 1916 she was a part of the fleet which landed and supported the marines at Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic. Soon thereafter, Sterett returned to Norfolk and resumed operations along the east coast.
On 1 January 1917, she entered the Mississippi, stopped at New Orleans, and steamed up river to Vicksburg. She reentered the gulf and patrolled the Texas coast until she was shifted to Key West on 18 March. From there, the destroyer ranged as far as the Cuban coast.
In April of 1917, the United States entered World War I; and, by 9 June, Sterett was in Queenstown, Ireland. Throughout the remainder of the war, she operated from Queenstown to meet convoys and conduct them to either Berehaven, Ireland, or to Devon-port, England. At these points, British and French destroyers assumed responsibility for the last leg of the voyage. A little less than a year after her arrival at Queenstown, on 31 May 1918, Sterett was guarding a convoy when she came upon a surfaced U-boat. As Sterett closed, the submarine rapidly submerged. Sterett dropped depth charges furiously and soon air bubbles and oil appeared, indicating damage to the German raider. Sterett exhausted her supply of depth charges and pursued the U-boat but it escaped.
In 1918 the German Navy increased its submarine operations. In response to this Sterett maintained a grueling schedule of convoy duty; a week or more at sea followed by a day or two in port. One of her techniques, the use of airborne surveillance, presaged modern antisubmarine warfare. The Armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, brought an end to Sterett's strenuous duty and, by 3 January 1919, she was back in the United States. The Sterett was decommissioned in Philadelphia on 9 December 1919.
For a more detailed history of the first USS Sterett see: http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/s18/sterett-i.htm
2nd USS Sterett
The second USS Sterett (DD-407) was laid down on 2 December 1936 at the Charleston Navy Yard, launched on 27 October 1938 and commissioned on 15 August 1939 with Lt. Comdr. Atherton Macondray as the commanding officer.
Sterett departed on 4 May 1940 with Destroyer Division 15 and arrived in San Diego on 23 May where Sterett divided her time between training and plane-guarding Enterprise (CV-6). On 24 June, she sailed for Hawaii with Enterprise and five other destroyers. She operated out of Pearl Harbor for the next 10 months, participating in a number of exercises and patrols. When Mississippi (BB-11) exited Pearl Harbor on 14 May 1941, Sterett was in her screen. Sterett next screened Long Island (CVE-1) during the escort carrier's Bermuda shakedown cruise. Sterett concluded 1941 engaged in neutrality patrols with Wasp (CV-7).
After the Japanese attacked the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Sterett sailed from Bermuda with Wasp and an assortment of cruisers and destroyers to counter possible action by Vichy French ships anchored at Martinique. Sterett spent the early months of the war patrolling off the eastern seaboard. In mid-January 1942 she met Task Force (TF) 15 and escorted a convoy to Iceland. Sterett meet the liner Queen Mary off the Boston breakwater on 15 February and escorted her into the harbor. Sterett joined Wasp for duty with the British Home Fleet. The destroyer was with Wasp on her action in Malta on 29 April to 15 May. On 5 June, Sterett put to sea bound for San Diego, where she arrived on 19 June. She steamed again on 1 July to the Fiji Islands as a part of TF 18. From there she was assimilated into Rear Adm. Richmond K. Turner's South Pacific Amphibious Expeditionary Force.
Sterett spent the rest of 1942 and all of 1943 supporting the Allied forces as they struggled up the island staircase formed by the Solomons Islands and the Bismarck Archipelago. This included action at locations including Guadalcanal, Gavutu, Tulagi, Rabaul. Tanambogo and Nauru Island in which the Sterett escorted convoys provided air cover, engaged Japanese warships and shelled enemy shore positions. Sterett shot down four torpedo bombers at Tulagi and engaged Vice Admiral Hiroaki Abe's raiding force near the Savo Island sinking a destroyer and damaging the battleship Hiei. Sterett took a brutal beating from Hiei and various other enemy ships but was able to get back in formation with the American fleet. Another notable action during this timeframe was at Vella Gulf where Sterett and five other American ships engaged four Japanese destroyers, sinking three enemy destroyers along with over 1,500 sailors and soldiers and a large portion of the 50 tons of supplies they were carrying.
From 29 January to 7 March 1944, Sterett operated in the Marianas and Marshalls. On the 29th, her carriers' planes struck Roi and Namur islands of Kwajalein Atoll. Next came the 12 February raid on Truk. Sterett covered the flattops during raids on Tinian and Saipan. Sterett steamed from the Majuro lagoon with TF 58 on 6 June to screen the support carriers during the invasion of the Marianas. Sterett cruised with the carriers from 11 to 25 June as they launched and recovered wave after wave of planes for strikes on Saipan, Iwo Jima, Guam, and Rota Islands, periodically fending off Japanese aerial retaliation. From 25 June until 7 July, she patrolled the waters around Guam and Rota and bombarded Guam. Then the destroyer covered the carriers during the sweeps over Yap, Palau, and Ulithi. Sterett sortied with TU 16.8.5 on 19 November and, two weeks before Christmas 1944, she entered Leyte Gulf in the Philippines for patrol and convoy duty.
On the day after Christmas, she started for Mindoro with a supply convoy. Two days later, the Japanese attacked. Early that morning, three kamikazis dove at Sterett's convoy. Antiaircraft fire splashed the first, but the second and third succeeded in crashing into merchantmen. Sterett endured the onslaught of the "Divine Wind" until the task unit was dissolved on New Year's Day 1945.
During the next three months, Sterett plied the waters of the South and Central Pacific, primarily engaged in patrol and convoy duty in the Solomons. In April 1945, she was off Okinawa, taking part in the conquest of the Ryukyus as a radar picket ship. On 9 April five enemy planes swooped on Sterett, LCS-36, and LCS-24. One of them smashed into Sterett's starboard side at her waterline. She lost all electrical power, but her 20 millimeter and 40 millimeter guns still managed to bring down one of the attackers. Eventually the destroyer lost steering and power to all guns and directors; her communications were out; and her forward fuel tanks were ruptured. However, once the fires were under control, steering control reestablished aft, and emergency communication lines rigged, she moved off to Kerama Retto. Following emergency repairs she screened TU 53.7.1 to Ulithi.
Sterett arrived in New York on 17 October and was decommissioned there on 2 November 1945. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 25 February 1947, and she was sold on 10 August to Northern Metal Co. of Philadelphia for scrapping. Sterett (DD-407) earned 12 battle stars and the Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation for World War II service.
For a more detailed history of the second USS Sterett see: http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/s18/sterett-ii.htm
3rd USS Sterett
The third USS Sterett (DLG-31), a guided missile frigate, was laid down on 25 September 1962 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash., launched on 30 June 1964 and commissoned on 8 April 1967 with Capt. Edward A. Christofferson, Jr., as the commanding officer.
On 29 March 1968 Sterett participated in FAST exercises. On 23 April she steamed from her home port at Long Beach, Calif. for FLEETEX 2-68, returning on 1 May. On 19 June Sterett departed for her first WestPac tour. On 5 July she began preparations for her first line period in the Tonkin Gulf.
In July 1968 Sterett put in at Danang, South Vietnam. On 31 July USS Sterett relieved USS Home (DLG-30) as the PIRAZ unit. In September she assumed duty as sea air rescue (SAR) ship and strike support ship (SSS). During her first crack at SAR, Sterett directed two successful rescues of pilots. The guided missile frigate continued alternating between PIRAZ, SAR, SSS and in-port periods until mid-March 1969.
On 17 March 1969 Sterett joined Carrier Division 3 in the Sea of Japan for six days of special operations then to the coasts of Korea providing protection for Peacetime Aerial Reconnaissance Program (PARPRO) flights. Staring in May she alternated between PIRAZ and PARPRO picket duty. Then after some time in Yokosuka for modifications Sterett made another PARPRO cruise and conducted exercises from October through December.
The guided missile frigate continued to shuttle back and forth between Yokosuka and the Tonkin Gulf for the first seven months of 1970. In August, she began a period of leave, upkeep and modifications foe all of 1971.
In January 1972 Sterett pointed her bow westward for her second tour of duty off the Vietnamese coast. From 10 February to 22 May, Sterett remained on PIRAZ station until she returned to San Diego on 8 August and operated off the west coast for the rest of 1972.
Sterett set off on her third WestPac cruise on 9 March 1973 with task unit TU 37.1.2. By the time Sterett got underway for line duty, the Vietnam cease-fire had already been negotiated. Thus, the ensuing line period was relatively uneventful, consisting of exercises, plane-guard duty, PIRAZ, and antiaircraft warfare responsibility. She completed 1973 in the San Diego area, preparing for her regular overhaul.
Sterett was reclassified as a guided missile cruiser (CG-31) on 30 June 1975. October of that year Sterett was deployed to the Western Pacific. Sterett completed the WESTPAC tour in May of 1976. The remainder of 1976 and the first part of 1977 were spent on operations in the SOCAL area.
In March 1977 Sterett departed San Diego for Yokosuka, Japan and from there was dispatched to Iran for operations with the Naval units of the Shah of Iran. Sterett returned to San Diego in October 1977 where she spent the remainder of 1977 on upkeep and operations in the SOCAL area.
From May to June 1978 Midshipmen embarked on Sterett for annual training. In July, Sterett participated in the Portland Rose Festival and the Seattle SeaFair celebration. In September 1978, Sterett departed San Diego for operations in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. On 7 December, Sterett was dispatched to the Gulf of Oman. Sterett was stationed off the coast of Iran during the revolution that ultimately unseated the Shah of Iran and placed Ayatollah Khomeini in power. Sterett remained on station until relieved on 14 Jan 1979.
In April 1979 Sterett departed for San Diego where she got a regular overhaul. The overhaul was completed in October 1980 and followed by sea trials, qualification trials and combat systems training.
Sterett was involved in the search for the wreckage of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 in late 1983. The Sterett became Flagship of the US Search and Rescue/Salvage Task Force 71 which operated until the beginning of November.
In the winter of 1985 Sterett departed her homeport and transited to the North Pacific ocean to conduct surveillance on the newest soviet aircraft carrier upon its departure from Vladivostok, Russia. In February 1986 Sterett set sail for Manila Harbor for the possible evacuation of the Philippine presidential family during the People Power Revolution. Sterett's homeport became Subic Bay Naval Station in the Philippines.
In 1991, Sterett received a comprehensive overhaul including New Threat Upgrade (NTU), a major anti-aircraft warfare systems improvement.
After 27 years of service, Sterett was decommissioned on 24 March 1994. She was struck from the register the same day to be scrapped.
Sterett earned nine battle stars for her service along the coast of Vietnam.
For a more detailed history of the third USS Sterett during the Vietnam Conflict see: http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/s18/sterett-iii.htm.