JDS Shimakaze

USS Reuben James (FFG-57)

USS Reuben James (FFG-57), an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate, is the third ship of the U.S. Navy named for Reuben James, a boatswain's mate who distinguished himself fighting the Barbary pirates. Her crew totals 201 enlisted, 18 chief petty officers and 26 officers.

Ship history

1980s

The contract to build Reuben James was awarded on 22 March 1982 to Todd Shipyard of San Pedro, California. Her keel was laid on 19 November 1983, she was launched on 8 February 1985, she was delivered to the Navy on 3 March 1986 and commissioned a few days later on 22 March. She was faster than and powered by two gas turbine engines. Armed with anti-air and anti-ship missiles, an automated three-inch (76 mm) gun, an anti-missile defense system, and two SH-60 Seahawk anti-submarine helicopters, Reuben James was tasked with hunting submarines as well as battle group escort and maritime interception. Reuben James joined the Red Stallions of Destroyer Squadron Thirty-One in June 1987.

Assigned to Mideast Force on her maiden deployment, Reuben James participated in twenty-two Operation Earnest Will convoy missions, serving as the convoy commander's flagship on ten of those missions. As a unit of the Pacific Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Readiness Squadron, she was a key participant in the continuing research and development of anti-submarine tactics and equipment, a fitting role in tribute to the men of the first Reuben James.

1990s

On September 10, 1990 Reuben James was reported to be in Vladivostok, U.S.S.R.

In August 1991, Reuben James moved from Long Beach, California to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On October 1, 1998, she joined the "Ke Koa O Ke Kai", Destroyer Squadron Thirty-One.

On a WestPac deployment in 1997-1998, the ship's rudder fell off. The ship docked in Bahrain for repairs.

2000s

Reuben James participated in the CARAT 2000 exercises, including phases in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore. The first phase of CARAT began in the Philippines on June 14 and the final phase, conducted in Singapore, ended September 22. CARAT 2000 demonstrated U.S. commitment to security and stability in Southeast Asia while increasing the operational readiness and capabilities of U.S. forces. The exercise also promoted interoperability and cooperation with U.S. regional friends and allies by offering a broad spectrum of mutually beneficial training opportunities.

In Malaysia, CARAT 2000 encompassed two weeks of extensive training to promote interoperability between U.S. naval forces and the Royal Malaysian Navy and Army. The Strait of Malacca was the setting for several exercises. These included anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare and gunnery exercises. One of the exercises was a final battle problem, or night encounter exercise. The two navies’ task groups steamed together in formation for more than 25 hours. The Malaysian-U.S. naval task group was divided into two opposing forces. The Blue Forces consisted of Reuben James, , , and the Malaysian ships, KD Sri Indera Sakti and KD Lekir. The Blue Forces were supported by U.S. helicopters from Helicopter Squadron Light 37, Detachment Four, from Hawaii. The Orange Forces consisted of the frigate , the Malaysian ships, KD Perkasa, KD Laksamana Tun Abdul Jamil, and a U.S. Navy P-3C Orion aircraft. , homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and , homeported in San Diego, also joined the task group in individual phases.

For nine months from July 2002 to April 2003, Reuben James deployed to the Persian Gulf and participated in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of the Abraham Lincoln Battle Group. After serving approximately six months in theater, Reuben James started to make its way back to Pearl Harbor. At a stop in Brisbane, Australia the ship was turned around to go back to the Persian Gulf and the deployment was extended indefinitely. Finally, after an extended deployment of almost nine months, the Abraham Lincoln Battle Group was relieved by . This deployment was extremely long, breaking a number of records, including the longest deployment ever for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

In July 2003, Reuben James hosted the Japanese destroyer JDS Shimakaze (DDG 172) for exercises in Pearl Harbor. On October 23, 2003 the crew of the Reuben James dressed ship and manned the rails to render honors to President George W. Bush as he toured Pearl Harbor and visited the USS Arizona Memorial.

From February to April 2004, she deployed to the Eastern Pacific in support of counter-drug operations.

Between July and December 2004, Reuben James went through an extensive modernization and maintenance program, ensuring that she will always be ready to respond when the mission bell tolls. In October 2004, Reuben James participated in PASSEX exercises with the French frigate FS Prairial (F 371).

As part of Expeditionary Strike Group 3 (ESG 3), Reuben James deployed on February 15, 2006 on a WESTPAC mission to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The strike group also consisted of Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 3, the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), , the guided-missile cruiser , the guided-missile destroyer , the amphibious transport dock , the dock landing ship , Tactical Air Control Squadron(TACRON) 11, and the "Black Jacks" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21.

En route to the Persian Gulf, Reuben James stopped in New Caledonia. The strike group relieved on station in early April 2006 and began its mission of conducting maritime security operations. During operations, Reuben James performed services such as providing medical assistance to Sri Lankan fishermen and rescuing Kenyan sailors. Expeditionary Strike Group 3 was relieved on July 9,2006 and Reuben James returned to Pearl Harbor in August, 2006.

Cultural references

Reuben James appeared in the 1990 movie, The Hunt for Red October (although her appearance in the film was anachronistic, being commissioned about a year after the events in the film), and played a significant role in the book, Red Storm Rising, both by Tom Clancy. It is one of the few US Navy ships in film history to actually portray itself.

Woody Guthrie wrote the song "The Sinking of the Reuben James" about , the first U.S. warship lost to enemy action during World War II which was torpedoed by the German submarine U-552 while on convoy escort operations. He performed the song with Pete Seeger and the other Almanac Singers. The Guthrie song has an original tune for its chorus, but its verses are set to the tune of the song "Wildwood Flower".

See also

Notes

External links

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