From September 1943 to November 1944 Captain McCampbell was Commander of Air Group 15, in charge of all fighters, bombers, and torpedo bombers aboard the aircraft carrier USS ESSEX (CV-9). His air group saw six months of continuous combat and more than 20,000 hours of combat air operations. During this period, Air Group 15 destroyed more enemy planes (315 airborne and 348 on the ground) and sank more enemy shipping than any other air group in the Pacific War.
In addition to his successes as commander of the “Fabled Fifteen,” Captain McCampbell set a single mission aerial combat record - shooting down nine enemy planes in one mission in October 1944. For this action, Captain McCampbell received the Medal of Honor. He was also awarded the Navy Cross, the Legion of Merit with Combat “V,” the Silver Star Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Gold Stars, and the Air Medal. After the war, Captain McCampbell went on to command the aircraft carrier USS BON HOMME RICHARD (CV 31). Captain David McCampbell died on June 30, 1996, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Current USS McCampbell
USS McCampbell (DDG 85), the U.S. Navy's 35th Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, was laid down on 16July 1999, at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, was launched and christened on 2 July 2000 with Secretary of State, the Honorable Madeleine Albright as the sponsor of the ship and was commissioned 17 August 2002 in a ceremony at Pier 30 in San Francisco, Calif. with Cmdr. Mark C. Montgomery as the commanding officer.
From January 24-31, 2003, USS McCampbell was underway for USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Battle Group's COMPTUEX, as part of opposition forces. In May McCampbell, while conducting counter-narcotics operations, boarded the "Sin Rumbo", a Canadian flagged sailing vessel and discovered 1.36 metric tons of cocaine. During the deployment DDG 85, with embarked Helicopter Squadron Light (HSL) 43 Det. 5, completed eight boardings, 34 Right Of Approaches, and 108 sightings and identifications of various vessels. In November, USS McCampbell deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet AoR for counter-narcotics operations. On December 19, Cmdr. Russell E. Hass relieved Cmdr. Mark C. Montgomery as the commanding officer of DDG 85.
May 5, 2004 USS McCampbell departed San Diego for its maiden western Pacific deployment in support of a Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT). In May USS McCampbell participated in Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism (SEACAT) exercise. In June McCampbell participated in the second phase of CARAT. In Aug DDG 85 participated in exercise Palah 05-01. In September USS McCampbell participated in exercise Sabre Hawk/Javeling Strike 2004.
In January 2006 USS McCampbell joined the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Carrier Strike Group for a scheduled deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism. In June the McCampbell, as part of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 participated in Valiant Shield 2006. In July USS McCampbell arrived in its new forward-deployed homeport of Fleet Activities Yokosuka (FAY), Japan.
In August 2007, DDG 85 participated in Exercise Valiant Shield 2007, as part of USS Kitty Hawk CSG. In November the McCampbell participated in ANNUALEX 19G, the maritime component of the U.S.-Japan exercise Keen Sword 08. In December McCampbell successfully completed the Ship Anti-submarine Warfare Readiness and Evaluation Measurement (SHAREM) 155 exercise. The McCampbell served as the command ship for the exercise.
In June 2008 The guided-missile destroyer participated in the third phase of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2008 exercise. In August USS McCampbell participated in a multilateral exercise FRUKUS 2008, in the Sea of Japan.
In October DDG 85 participated in exercises with regional naval partners, for the first time as part of USS George Washington (CVN 73) CSG.
In March 2009 The McCampbell participated in a Multi-Sail '09 exercise, off the coast of Okinawa. In July the guided-missile destroyer supported bilateral training exercise Talisman Sabre 2009, with the Washington Carrier Strike Group. In October USS McCampbell joined USS Denver (LPD 9) off the coast of Padang, Indonesia, to assist in humanitarian efforts in West Sumatra following two earthquakes.
In April 2010 McCampbell participated in Multi-Sail 2010 exercise, off the coast of Okinawa. In May the McCampbell conducted Combat System Ship Qualification Trials (CSSQT) with the GW CSG. In July DDG 85 participated in "Invincible Spirit," a combined alliance maritime and air readiness exercise involving the Republic of Korea and the United States in the East Sea.
March 12, 2011 USS McCampbell moved into position off Miyagi Prefecture to assist Japanese authorities with providing at-sea search and rescue and recovery operations in the wake of the catastrophic magnitude 9.0 earthquake and the tsunami. In July the McCampbell participated in the biennial joint exercise Talisman Sabre. In October USS McCampbell participated in a joint anti-terorism exercise Pacific Eagle 2011 with Russian Federation Navy (RFN) forces.
In June 2012, The McCampbell participating in a multinational exercise Pacific Bond 2012. In August USS McCampbell deployed for a Fall Patrol as part of the George Washington CSG. In September the guided-missile destroyer participated in exercise Valiant Shield 2012. From Nov. 28 through Dec. 1, the McCampbell was underway for local operations.