DECATUR is designed to operate with Expeditionary Strike Groups and Carrier Strike Groups in high-threat environments. She can also provide essential escort capabilities to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces, combat logistics ships and convoys. DDG 73's Aegis Combat System includes the AN/SPY-1D phased array radar which scans in all directions simultaneously to detect, track and engage hundreds of aircraft and missiles while continuously watching the sky for new targets from wavetop to the stratosphere.
The ship is equipped with the MK41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) which fires a combination of up to 90 Standard surface-to-air missiles, Tomahawk surface-to-land missiles, and Vertically Launched Antisubmarine rockets(ASROC) (VLA); the AN/SQQ-89 Antisubmarine Warfare System with bow-mounted AN/SQS-53C sonar and AN/SQR-19 towed array; and the AN/SQQ-28 LAMPS MK III. DECATUR also has deck-mounted Harpoon antiship missile launchers and MK 32 torpedo tubes as well as two MK 15 Phalanx Close-in Weapons Systems and a 5-inch 54-cal Mk 45 rapid-firing deck gun. Aegis destroyers match maximum survivability with a potent offensive capability. Extensive topside armor placed around vital combat systems and machinery spaces, and a large waterplane area hull significantly improve seakeeping ability. Acoustic, infrared and radar signatures have been reduced and vital shipboard systems are hardened against electromagnetic pulse and over-pressure.
A comprehensive Collective Protection System guards against nuclear, chemical and biological agents. State-of-the-art propulsion and damage control systems are managed by a complex data multiplexing system. Truly multi-mission surface combatants, Aegis destroyers are the most balanced surface warships ever built, possessing the weapons, electronics, helicopter support facilities, propulsion, auxiliary, and survivability systems to carry out the U. S. Navy's missions today and into the next century.
Stephen Decatur resides in the halls of American naval heroes on a level shared with few others. He is to the U.S. Sailing Navy what John Paul Jones was to the Continental Navy, David Farragut was to the Navy of the Civil War, and what Chester Nimitz was to the Navy of World War II. Each man achieved fame in a war that was crucial to America’s future and each man epitomized the qualities of a great naval leader.
Stephen Decatur, born on January 5, 1779 in Sinepuxent, Maryland, grew to be one of the greatest warfighters to have served in the United States Navy. He is most noted for his heroism during the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812. Decatur was also the youngest man to be promoted to the rank of Captain in the US Navy at the age of Twenty Five. He obtained his commission onboard the USS United States where he served as a midshipman during the "Quasi War" against France. On the February 16, 1804, while commanding the USS Enterprise, he led a night raid into Tripoli harbor where he destroyed the US frigate Philadelphia which had been captured after being run aground. Admiral Lord Nelson claimed it as "the most bold and daring act of the age". During the War of 1812, while in command of the USS United States, he captured both the HMS Mandarin and Macedonian, but was subsequently blockaded in New London, Connecticut for the rest of the war. In May of 1815, Commodore Decatur was sent back to the Mediterranean to deter pirate ships forcing tribute from other vessels. He commanded a nine-ship squadron dictating peace at “the mouths of cannon” against the resurgent Barbary Corsairs. While conducting this Second Barbary War, Decatur not only put a stop to the practice of tribute in the area, he also received reimbursement from the local governments for the first Barbary War. After these accomplishments he was known as the "Conqueror of the Barbary Pirates." From 1816 until 1820, he served as a Navy Commissioner, and became a prominent figure in Washington DC’s social scene where at a reception held in his honor, his response to a toast became one of his legacies: “Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.”
Stephen Decatur died on March 22, 1820 from a wound sustain in a duel against Commodore James Baron which was fought mostly due to the comments Decatur made during Baron’s court martial 13 years earlier. An excellent shot, Stephen Decatur shot Baron in the hip intending only to wound him, but he was in turn struck fatally in the abdomen. He was buried temporarily in Washington, where many notable figures including President James Monroe and 10,000 citizens attended his funeral. His body was finally interred at St. Peters Church in Philadelphia.
The Ships of Stephen Decatur
The first ship named after Stephen Decatur was a sloop-of-war commissioned in 1839 to protect US interests in the south Atlantic. She served in the Mexican-American War and briefly in the American Civil War. Primarily serving to control the operations of the African slave trade, she was also used to protect American fishing and commercial vehicles. During the Mexican-American War, although she was too large to navigate the Tuxpan River, her crew traveled up the river and mounted an attack that captured the city of Tobasco. She was decommissioned in June 1859, but served in the Civil War off the coast of San Francisco as a defensive battery.
The second ship to bear Decatur’s name was DD-5 commissioned on 19 May 1902. As a Bainbridge class destroyer, she served in the Caribbean and Western Pacific as the lead vessel of the 1st Torpedo flotilla until February of 1909 when she was decommissioned. However, she was brought back into commission in 1810 where she served again in the torpedo flotilla until being decommissioned for the last time on 06 February 1919.
The next ship named after Decatur was DD-341, a Clemson class destroyer commissioned on 09 August 1922. Home ported in San Diego she served as the flagship of Destroyer Squadron 11. She conducted various cruises ranging from Alaska, New Zealand, and the Caribbean. During World War II, the Decatur served as an escort and patrol craft based out of Newfoundland. In March of 1944, while on convoy, her group successfully repelled a German submarine and air attack. She was decommissioned 28 July 1945 in a Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
The fourth ship named after Decatur was DD-936 a Forrest-Sherman class destroyer. In her early career she served both in the Mediterranean Sea and took part in the Cuban Quarantine Operations. On 6 May 1964, she collided with CVS-39, the Lake Champlain, doing extensive damage to her superstructure. During her repairs she was outfitted as a guided missile destroyer and re-commissioned as DDG-31 in April 1967. In 1983, she was decommissioned and served as a Self Defense Test platform until 2004.
The most recent warship named after Steven Decatur is DDG-73, an Arleigh Burke class destroyer commissioned on 29 August 1998. Her home port is San Diego, California. With a vast array of weapons and support capabilities she is an extremely versatile and powerful craft. Her ability to carry the Tomahawk Cruise Missile gives her the capability to strike with pinpoint accuracy from hundreds of miles away. She can also support in-land operations by using her 5 inch-54 caliber gun mount. Defending herself and other friendly ships is made significantly easier thanks to her advanced Aegis weapons system. The ability to detect targets far beyond the horizon with the SPY 1-D radar and engage multiple enemies with the SM-2 missile makes the Decatur an unparalleled air defense ship. To deal with the dangers of an underwater attack the Decatur comes equipped with the latest in sonar detection, torpedoes, and torpedo countermeasures. The latest addition to Decatur’s arsenal is the capability to carry the SM-3 missile which is used in the defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles. Decatur was the first destroyer to successfully engage an exo-atmospheric ballistic missile and she was crucial to the destruction of a satellite in a decaying orbit during OPERATION BURNT FROST in February of 2008.
SHIELD: Azure, an officer's sword and a seax points down saltirewise Proper enfiled by a celestial crown Gules garnished Or.
CREST: From a wreath Or and Azure a ship's mast with the sails furled and a burgee command pennant flying Proper.
MOTTO: A scroll Argent edge and doubled Azure inscribed "IN PURSUIT OF PEACE" Gules.
SUPPORTERS: A sprig of oak and alive saltirewise, entwining the scroll. SEAL
The coat of arms as blazoned upon a white field enclosed by a dark blue oval border edged on the outside with gold rope and inscribed "USS DECATUR" above and "DDG 73" below in gold letters.
SHIELD: Dark Blue represents the Navy and the oceans, it's realm. The seax recalls a series of victories by Stephen Decatur over sea forces of North African terrorist nations including his daring destruction of the captured frigate, Philadelphia. The English officer's sword symbolizes Decatur's brilliant victory over HMS Macedonian during the War of 1812 in one of the greatest single-ship actions of naval history. The celestial crown represents anti-air warfare capabilities and bears five mullets, one for each of the ships named Decatur up to and including the newest ship. It also recalls Stephen Decatur's engagements against the British during the war of 1812. Scarlet denotes courage, gold symbolizes excellence.
CREST: The heritage of the name Decatur is recalled by the ship's mast and sail, recalling the Navy of Stephen Decatur's time and the first vessel to bear his name, a sloop-of-war buil in 1838. The mast also refers to the traditional pine construction of the vessels of Decatur's navy. The pennant symbolizes the senior naval authority earned by the ship's namesake, Commodore Stephen Decatur.
SUPPORTERS: The sprigs of oak and olive intertwining the scroll signify respectively the new ship's mastery of modern naval warfare and the peace Stephen Decatur fought so hard to achieve.
COMMISSIONED: 29 AUG 1998
LOCATION: Portland, OR