1960 - 1993

DLG-11 International call sign NZOC

The third MAHAN (DLG-11) was laid down 31 July 1957 by the San Francisco Naval Shipyard; launched 7 October 1959; sponsored by Mrs. H. P. Smith, wife of Vice Adm. H. Page Smith; and commissioned 25 August 1960, Comdr. Wm. S. Busik in command.

During the first year and a half of her commissioned service, MAHANís primary assignment was the testing and evaluation of her weapons systems, ASROC and Terrier missiles. A unit of the Pacific Fleetís Cruiser-Destroyer Force, she operated out of San Diego, participating in local and fleet exercises off the West Coast and in Hawaiian waters. Leaving San Diego 6 June 1962, she commenced her first western pacific deployment. For the next 6 months she cruised with other units of the 7th Fleet, taking part in antisubmarine, antiaircraft, and amphibious exercises as well as making good will calls on ports in the Far East. Included in these latter visits was a stop at Saigon 24 to 28 October for the Republic of Vietnamís Independence anniversary celebrations.

1963 brought MAHANís entrance into the standard schedule of the Pacific Fleet, beginning with a shipyard overhaul at Long Beach Naval Shipyard. Following her yard period, she conducted training exercises off the Wes t Coast. She then departed San Diego 6 August for deployment in the western Pacific. In addition to assignments in Japanese and Philippine waters, she spent, on this tour, a total of 4 weeks cruising off South Vietnam before returning to California 10 March 1964.

Remaining on the West Coast until late 1965, the guided missile destroyer underwent a 5 1/2 month overhaul. 1 May to 20 October, followed by test and training exercises and a demonstration of her antisubmarine warfare capabilities before members of the United States-Canadian Military Cooperation Committee 9 December. During the summer of 1965, she embarked midshipmen from the Naval Academy and various NROTC units for summer training. Departing San Diego 19 October, she sailed to Pearl Harbor for antisubmarine training operations and then continued on to the western Pacific, arriving at Subic Bay 22 November. MAHAN operated with the 7th Fleet, spending alternate monthly periods on patrol off Vietnam, until returning to California in April 1964.

Upon arrival at San Diego 28 April, MAHAN continued her previous west coast activities, local and fleet training operations, missile firing exercises at the Pacific Missile Range, and, as during the summer of 1965, the training of midshipmen during June and July. August brought the installation of a helicopter flight deck.

The period 1 December 1966 through 4 June 1967 again saw MAHAN in the western Pacific where, as before, she operated off Vietnam, patrolling and providing gunfire support in the fight to prevent the aggressive spread of communism. Arriving back at San Diego 17 June. MAHAN sailed on 31 July to represent the Navy at Seattleís Annual Sea Fair. Following further coastal operations, she entered Long Beach Naval Shipyard 1 November for overhaul. This was completed late in April 1968 and MAHAN remained off the West Coast until departing for the western Pacific in August. She was homeported in Yokosuka, Japan from September 1968 to September 1970.  During that time Mahan engaged in countless challenging and often dangerous operations in the Gulf of Tonkin and the Sea of Japan, operating continuously in close proximity to North Vietnam, Communist China, North Korea and the Soviet Union.

During this time the men of Mahan built a reputation for professional ability and dedication unexcelled by any other guided missile frigate in the Pacific Fleet.

Together they spent 584 days at sea during those two years.  Duty as PIRAZ in the Tonkin Gulf and PARPRO in the Sea of Japan as a picket station accounted for 347 of those days.  She was also home to a rescue helicopter ready to pick up downed pilots.

After 2 years home ported in Japan, she returned to the Naval Yard in Long Beach.  After workup she went back to Vietnam in January 72 for another tour and was the Gun Fire Support ship of choice. She burnt the paint off of the barrel of the 5" more than once.  When she  returned to San Diego she was the first ship to undergo the new engineering inspection,  and the first to require PQS and ESW Quals.


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In 1973, after 13 years of almost continuous operations in Southeast Asia, she returned to the U.S. for a much needed overhaul at Bath Iron Works, ME. On April 1, 1975, DLG-11 was recommissioned at Bath. She then joined her new squadron DESRON 4, homeported at Charleston, SC. On July 1 1975, the ship was redesignated from DLG-11 to DDG-42 as part of a Navy-wide reclassification program.


      In August 1975, MAHAN completed underway training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Weapons Systems Final Contract Trials in Roosevelt  Roads, Puerto      Rico.  After a successful Post Shakedown Availability and PEB, MAHAN deployed 21 January 1976 for the Mediterranean Sea on her first major deployment as a unit of the Atlantic Fleet. This deployment was highlighted by a historic port visit to Haifa, Israel, the first by a U.S. warship in over 13 years.  

     MAHAN participated in several Western Atlantic operations prior to her deployment on UNITAS XVIII, July Ė December 1977.  MAHAN conducted naval exercises with several South American navies and made over 20 port visits in eight countries.


MAHAN served as the test platform for the development of the CG/SM-2 (ER) missile program project; a new missile, designed to greatly increase the operational capability of presently installed TERRIER systems.

Following a regular overhaul in Philadelphia from April 1980-May 1981, MAHAN was selected to install and test the Terrier New Threat Upgrade (NTU) Combat System with the improved Standard Missile Two Block II (Extended Range). Testing lasted from October 1981- March 1985. This New Threat Upgrade system made USS MAHAN the most capable AAW ship afloat.

From April to November 1983, MAHAN was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea, serving most of the deployment as a member of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force off Beirut, Lebanon.

MAHAN achieved another first in July 1985, as she successfully conducted the first Remote Track Launch on Search missile firing.

MAHAN celebrated her 25th birthday on August 28, 1985 and departed again to the Mediterranean. During the deployment, MAHAN participated in Exercise Ocean Safari 85: a joint U.S. French missile exercise. She also represented Commander Sixth Fleet, serving as official starter for the inaugural Monaco-New York Yacht race, (hosting Monacoís Crown Prince and the Deputy Under-Secretary of the Navy). MAHAN also served as East Mediterranean Ready Ship off of Israel and Lebanon and was involved in the Gulf of Sidra Freedom of Navigation operations off the coast of Libya.

After returning from deployment in April 1986, MAHAN began a 10-month regular overhaul lasting from September 1986 until August 1987.

In January 1988, MAHAN successfully completed refresher training in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In the spring of 1988, MAHAN participated in a joint missile exercise with U.S. and ships of the German Navy.

MAHAN deployed with Standing Naval Forces Atlantic, from 17 June to 16 December 1989. While acting as the U.S. representative of this NATO force, MAHAN visited eight different countries and worked with fourteen ships from nine NATO nations. The crowning achievement of the cruise occurred in November 1989, when MAHAN added another first to her long list of accomplishments by firing the first SM-2 Block II (ER) in Northern Europe.

MAHANís last major deployment was in support of Operation Desert Storm from 26 September 1991 through 2 April 1992. During the deployment MAHAN slipped quietly through the mouth of the Suez Canal in the early morning of October 13, a sense of uncertainty and anticipation enveloped the ship. After five months in the heat of the Persian Gulf, MAHAN headed north, where she even crossed the Arctic Circle. The largest NATO exercise in over a decade, TEAMWORK 92 pitted the seamanship and war-fighting skills against a multi-faceted threat.

After 33 years of faithful service she was retired from the active roll on 15 June 1993, Naval Station Charleston, South Carolina. 

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