USS Stethem (DDG-63)

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USS Stethem

Career USN Jack
Ordered: 22 February 1990
Laid down: 11 May 1993
Launched: 17 June 1994
Commissioned: 21 October 1995
Status: Template:Active in service
General Characteristics
Displacement: 8,315 tons
Length: 505 ft (154 m)
Beam: 66 ft (20.1 m)
Draught: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Propulsion: 4 × General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines, 100,000 shp (75 MW)
Speed: 30+ knots (56 km/h)
Complement: 337 officers and enlisted
Armament: 1 x 29 cell, 1 x 61 cell Mk 41 vertical launch systems, 90 x RIM-67 SM-2, BGM-109 Tomahawk or RUM-139 VL-Asroc, missiles
1 x 5 in, 2 x 25 mm, 4 x 12.7 mm guns, 2 x Phalanx CIWS
2 x Mk 46 triple torpedo tubes
Aircraft: 1 SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter can be embarked
Motto: Steadfast And Courageous

USS Stethem (DDG-63) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy.

Ship History

USS Stethem<i> (DDG 63) is the 13th Arleigh Burke-class Aegis Destroyer. Construction of the Stethem began on 18 May 1992 with the ship's keel being laid down at the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi on 11 May 1993. She was launched on 17 June 1994 and was christened Stethem on 16 July 1994 by Mrs. Patricia L. Stethem, the mother of the ship's namesake: Petty Officer Robert Dean Stethem. She then transited the Panama Canal and was officially commissioned on 21 October 1995 in Port Hueneme, California. She was moved to her new homeport of San Diego shortly there after.

On 15 February 1996 she successfully completed her Post Delivery Test and Trials and was thus cleared for combat operations. On the night of 23 November 1996 the ship was diverted for a Search and Rescue mission to recover survivors from a downed U.S. Air Force C-130 off the coast of northern California. In the company of two smaller boats Stethem patrolled the area around the crash for some twenty hours while engaged in recovery efforts, which earned the destroyer the U.S. Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal; additionally she was recognized for her spectacular achievements during her first year of service by winning the 1996 Destroyer Squadron Twenty-One Battle Efficiency Award. On 4 April 1997 Commander Steven Miller was relieved by Commander James O'Keefe III, and shortly there after Stethem set sail for the Persian Gulf on her maiden overseas deployment, reporting for duty in Bahrain on 3 July. During the next three months she served in a variety of roles including the primary Air Warfare Commander, Surface Warfare Commander, Ready Strike Platform, and LINK Coordinator. She also provided support to both the USS Constellation and the USS John F. Kennedy Battle Groups and several U.S. Air Force aircraft engaged in Operation Southern Watch. She also supported the United Nations Security Council resolutions against Iraq by conducting some 54 boardings and inspections of suspected sanctions violators.

Stethem's port visits during her deployment included Singapore, Malaysia, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Perth and Sydney. She finally returned to San Diego on 7 November 1997 to begin an inter-deployment training cycle, the second one undertaken by the ship.

Beginning with an outstanding Command Assessment of Readiness for Training (CART II) in May 1998, Stethem single handedly set the standard for tailored training by demonstrating exceptional proficiency in Combat Systems, Navigation, Engineering, Mobility, Damage Control, and Logistics Management. Her training teams' mission readiness commitment resulted in the validation of all the Final Evaluation Period objectives during the Tailored Shipboard Training Availability Phase III(TSTA III) - a first for any surface combatant. On 25 September 1998 Commander O'Keefe was relieved as the Commanding Officer by Commander Gerard Hueber.

Stethem began her second deployment to the Persian Gulf 16 April 1999, sailing as as part of the Middle East Force 99-2. After port visits to Guam, Saipan, Singapore, and Thailand, she reported for duty in the Persian Gulf and rapidly went to work conducting Freedom of Navigation Operations and Maritime Interception Operations, much as she had done on her first deployment. During her seventy-six days on station she served as an Air Warfare Commander, a Ready Strike Platform, and a Force Over-the-Horizon Track Coordinator. Stethem also had the opportunity to support the Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group as a Carrier Escort and a Plane Guard. After serving as command ship for Northern Persian Gulf Maritime Interception Operations for a second time, she transited the Strait of Hormuz on 13 August, and arrived home in San Diego 4 October 1999.

In January Stethem was honored for her achievements and was once more awarded with the 1999 Destroyer Squadron Twenty-One Battle Efficiency Award. She was the recipient of the Raytheon CIWS Award, the Pacific Force Retention Award, and the Safety Award.

In mid-September 2000, during a port visit in San Francisco, Stethem was called out to sea by the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (West) to escorted the fishing vessel Gran Tauro to San Diego. The Gran Tauro had been caught with over five metric tons of uncut cocaine aboard, with a total net worth of over $500 million. After completing this escort the ship returned to conducting final preparations for its next deployment. In January the ship was awarded with the 2000 Destroyer Squadron Twenty-One Battle Efficiency Award for the second consecutive year. On 13 January 2001 she departed on her third deployment to the Persian Gulf, this time as part of MEF 01-1. After port visits to Hawaii, Guam, Singapore, and Thailand, Stethem reported in with the Fifth Fleet on 28 February 2001. During her sixty-eight days on station in the Persian Gulf she conducted Maritime Interception Operations, served as the Air Warfare Commander, supported Operation Southern Watch, served as a ready strike platform, and participated in two international naval exercises, Exercise Arabian Gauntlet and Exercise Neon Falcon. During her Maritime Interception Operations the Stethem successfully intercepted the motor vessel Diamond, which resulted in the third largest arrest of an oil-smuggling sanctions violator since the Persian Gulf War. Stethem also escorted the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman through the Strait of Hormuz on 27 April before departing for the United States. The ship arrived home in San Diego on 28 June.

After enjoying a Post-Oversees Movement Stand-down, the Stethem supported the John C. Stennis and her Battle Group as an opposing force during their Final Battle Problem. In early September she went through INSURV inspections and set the standard once again. She was conducting her INSURV on 11 September 2001 when terrorist attacked New York City and Washington, D.C., and shortly there after Stethem was called into station in support of Operation Noble Eagle and tasked with conducting air surveillance of the approaches to San Diego and providing Air Defense coverage to vital shipping assets.

On 30 September Stethem entered into drydock for her third Selective Restricted Availability at the Southwest Marine and Continental Maritime Shipyards. The purpose of this nine-week availability was the installation of equipment enhancements and quality of life upgrades. Stethem was also tapped to be the lead ship for the testing of the Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TTWCS), which represents the next generation of STRIKE warfare capability. She departed drydock on 30 October, and was moved to the Continental Maritime Shipyard in San Diego. Her return to Naval Station San Diego on the 6 December marked the end of the 9.4 million dollar refurbishment and refitting period. The destoyer got underway the following week to begin the work up for her next deployment, and on 14 December, She began her holiday leave and standown period. The crew assembled in mid-January 2002 to continue efforts in support of her inter-deployment training cycle and Tactical Tomahawk testing. In early February, Stethem anchored off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; this was the first foreign port visit by any U.S. Combatant since the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001.


This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register.

Arleigh Burke-class destroyer
Flight I ships: Arleigh Burke | Barry | John Paul Jones | Curtis Wilbur | Stout | John S. McCain | Mitscher | Laboon | Russell | Paul Hamilton | Ramage | Fitzgerald | Stethem | Carney | Benfold | Gonzalez | Cole | The Sullivans | Milius | Hopper | Ross
Flight II ships: Mahan | Decatur | McFaul | Donald Cook | Higgins | O'Kane | Porter
Flight IIA ships: 5"/54 variant: Oscar Austin | Roosevelt | 5"/62 variant: Winston S. Churchill | Lassen | Howard | Bulkeley | McCampbell | Shoup | Mason | Preble | Mustin | Chafee | Pinckney | Momsen | Chung-Hoon | Nitze | James E. Williams | Bainbridge | Halsey | Forrest Sherman | Farragut | Kidd | Gridley | Sampson | Truxtun | Sterett | Dewey

List of destroyers of the United States Navy
List of destroyer classes of the United States Navy

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