HISTORY of USS Bunker Hill (CG-52)
USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) is a Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser laid down by Litton-Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation at Pascagoula, Mississippi on January 11, 1984; launched on March 11, 1985; commissioned on September 20, 1986. The second United States warship to bear the name, CG 52 follows in the history of CV 17 during World War II.
Bunker Hill was the first Ticonderoga class cruiser to be equipped with the Mk. 41 VLS in place of the Mk. 26 twin-arm missile launchers, greatly improving the flexibility and firepower by allowing the class to fire BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles.
After commissioning, Bunker Hill entered the Pacific Fleet via the Panama Canal and began short notice work-ups to deploy to the U.S. Seventh Fleet. Bunker Hill made her first deployment in July 1987 (nearly one year ahead of schedule), during which she provided an anti-air warfare umbrella inside the Persian Gulf for Missouri and other US flagged ships transiting through the Strait of Hormuz.
In August 1988, Bunker Hill shifted homeports from San Diego to Yokosuka, Japan joining the Midway Carrier Battle Group for a four month deployment in the Seventh Fleet, for which she was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation. She was also awarded her first Battle Efficiency Award.
In November 1990, Bunker Hill sailed in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm and served as the multinational Air Warfare Commander (AAWC) and was one of the first ships to launch a Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missile against Iraqi targets. Following the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War, Bunker Hill participated in organizing and establishing Operation Southern Watch, the complex enforcement of the United Nations established no-fly zone over southern Iraq. Bunker Hill made a historical visit to the Russian city Vladivostok in 1993, and then one year later she made a port visit to Qingdao in the People's Republic of China.
In March 1996, she took station south of Taiwan to monitor missile tests by the People's Liberation Army.
In July 1998, Bunker Hill shifted homeports from Yokosuka, Japan back to San Diego. Following the shift, Bunker Hill deployed in late 2000 with the Abraham Lincoln Battle Group. Bunker Hill again participated in Operation Southern Watch and conducted boarding and inspections of more than 40 merchant vessels in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq. Bunker Hill also escorted Tarawa Amphibious Ready Group while conducting humanitarian operations off East Timor and training exercises in Kuwait. Bunker Hill acted as Air Defense Commander for the ARG where she designed and implemented innovative procedures for CG integration into an Amphibious Ready Group. Following the attack on USS Cole (DDG 67), Bunker Hill sortied from Bahrain to provide support and protection to seven USN and USNS ships based there and subsequently remained at sea for 67 consecutive days. Bunker Hill returned to San Diego in February 2001.
Announced in March of 2006, Lockheed Martin planned upgrades the Aegis defense system on 22 navy vessels; USS Bunker Hill being slated first for the upgrade. Deploying in 2006 Bunker Hill celebrated the new year near the Horn of Africa after being sent to the coast of Somalia to conduct antiterrorism operations as part of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower task force. Bunker Hill returned to San Diego in March of 2007. On 16 February 2007, Bunker Hill was awarded the 2006 Battle "E" award.
In August 2009 Bunker Hill returned to sea after the first ever Cruiser Modernization, which included installation of the landmark AEGIS 8.0 baseline upgrade to her combat suite. Bunker Hill’s first out of area deployment following the modernization was operation Southern Seas 2010, escorting USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) around South America. The deployment included participation in Unified Response – Haiti; the Crew of Bunker Hill provided first response critical care and aid to six Haitian villages. Upon return during the summer of 2010, Bunker Hill participated in multiple high profile events, including the Portland Rose Festival and activities with the Russian Federation Cruiser Varyag.
Soon after, Bunker Hill departed in November of 2010 on a Western Pacific deployment operating in the Fifth and Seventh Fleets as Air Defense Commander for Carrier Strike Group ONE (CSG-1). While operating in the Middle East, Bunker Hill provided direct support for operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn, advancing critical U.S. interests in the region. During the deployment, USS Bunker Hill along with the USS Momsen, subverted a pirate attack on a tanker while patrolling the Gulf of Oman. The ships encountered two skiffs, eventually sinking both after they had returned to their mothership.
Since her commissioning, Bunker Hill has deployed ten times to the Persian Gulf and has earned nine Battle "E" Awards, including the Golden Battle "E" in 1996 and 2006 which is given when a ship receives five such awards consecutively.