USS Reeves (DLG/CG-24), a United States Navy ship named for Admiral Joseph Mason Reeves (Commander-in-Chief of the US Fleet, 1934-1936), was a Leahy-class cruiser built by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, in Bremerton, Washington.
Reeves began her history as a Leahy-class destroyer leader (DLG-24) when her keel was laid down on 1 July 1960. She was launched on 12 May 1962 and commissioned on 15 May 1964. Mrs. Joseph M. Reeves, Jr., daughter-in-law of Vice Adm. Reeves, was the ship's sponsor.
Reeves was later reclassified as a guided missile cruiser (CG-24) on 30 June 1975. On 12 November 1993, Reeves was decommissioned and stricken from the Navy Register at Pearl Harbor Naval Base. Reeves remained in mothballs until she was sunk as a target ship on 31 May 2001.
Reeves rotated back to the United States in August 1968 and operated out of Long Beach for the remainder of the year, participating in local operations, as well testing and evaluating radar systems. In early 1969, Reeves was ordered to Maine for overhaul and modernization at Bath Iron Works. Arriving on 31 March, she was placed out of commission (special) on 10 April and the extensive modification work began.
June 1971 found Reeves steaming westward for another deployment in the Gulf of Tonkin. Reeves returned to Pearl Harbor on 20 December 1971 and remained in the Hawaii and west coast areas until September 1972 where she participated in various operations and exercises, notably a Midshipman cruise in July. She departed Hawaii on 18 September, headed for her second WESTPAC deployment since recommissioning, arriving at Subic Bay Naval Base, Philippine Islands 14 days later. After six months in the western Pacific, stationed off the coast of Vietnam, Reeves sailed into port at Pearl Harbor on 17 March 1973. She remained in the Hawaiian Islands into 1974. She was reclassified a guided missile cruiser (CG-24), on 30 June 1975.
Reeves earned three battle stars for Vietnam service.
In March 1986, she participated in a Team Spirit exercise off the coast of the Republic of Korea. Later that year, Reeves conducted REFTRA in the Philippines which was quickly followed her involvement in special operations (SPECOPS). SPECOPS consisted of conducting surveillance operations on the Soviet aircraft carrier Minsk off the coast of Vladivostok, which was home to the Soviet Pacific Fleet. During this operation, Reeves blasted either the Bruce Springsteen song "Born in the U.S.A." or Jefferson Starship's "Layin' It On The Line" over the ship's 1MC when in the proximity of Soviet naval vessels.
On 5 November 1986, Reeves led the USS Rentz (FFG-46) and [[USS Oldendorf (DD-972)|USS Olendorf]]] (DD-972) into the harbor of Qingdao (Tsing Tao), the People's Republic of China (PRC) for a historic six-day port visit. This would be the first time that U.S. Navy vessels had moored in China since the repair ship USS Dixie (AD-14) departed in 1949 in the face of the communist advance which forced the evacuation of Americans from China. The visit was hosted by soldiers and sailors of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
During the port call hundreds of Navy men took advantage of several tours, arranged by their Chinese hosts, that included stops at Qingdao’s carpet, embroidery, jade and shell factories. Others made it a point to sample the beer at the city’s world-renowned Tsingtao brewery. A fortunate few were able to leave the port city on tours to Qufu, birthplace of Confucius, the capital city of Beijing, the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall of China.
The port visit was important because it provided visible evidence of growing Sino-American cooperation. Adm. James Lyons, commander of the United States Pacific Fleet, was embarked in Reeves during the visit. Shortly after arriving in Qingdao, he said there are "three pillars" in the US.-China military relationship-high level visits, military exchanges and a limited amount of military technology cooperation. "I see this port visit as strengthening all three pillars," he said.
Throughout their stay, the crews of the visiting ships held lectures and discussion sessions on Navy shipboard organization, management, training, propulsion, logistics and weapons systems for their Chinese hosts. At the time such navy-to-navy orientations were conducted with many countries. However, this was the Navy’s first opportunity for such an exchange with China.
During May 1987, Reeves found herself involved with yet another Team Spirit exercise. Reeves was deployed to the Persian Gulf from July to December 1987 where she participated in the first of nine Operation Earnest Will tanker reflagging operations beginning on 23 July. Her primary duty was to escort commercial vessels through the Strait of Hormuz. In March 1988 she was involved again with the Team Spirit exercises.
On 26 June 1989, Reeves and USS Fife (DD-991) rescued 92 Vietnamese refugees in the South China Sea, about southwest of the Philippines. The refugees were pulled from their sinking vessel and provided with medical assistance and other care before being delivered to a United Nations refugee organization in Thailand a week later.
On 30 October 1989 an F/A-18 Hornet aircraft from Midway mistakenly dropped a 500 pound general-purpose bomb on the deck of Reeves during training exercises in the Indian Ocean, creating a five-foot hole in the bow, sparking small fires, and injuring five sailors. Reeves was south of Diego Garcia at the time of the incident.
Reeves was decommissioned on 12 November 1993, stored at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility (NISMF), Pearl Harbor. She was ultimately used as a target ship on 31 May 2001 during a sink exercise (SINKEX) off the coast of Queensland, Australia during a joint U.S. and Australian naval exercise. Her final resting place is where she lies at a depth of 2,541 fathoms. Following are two press releases issued in conjunction with the sinking of Reeves.
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