USS Bunker Hill retires after 37 years of service
USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), the 11th ship of the Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser, has been decommissioned after more than 37 years of naval service.
According to the US Navy, the ship was decommissioned in a ceremony held on 22 September. During the ceremony guest speaker, Bunker Hill’s second commanding officer, Vice Adm. Rodney Rempt, USN, Ret., wished the current crew fair winds and following seas as they bid farewell to their ship.
Bunker Hill’s final commanding officer, Capt. Jason Rogers reflected on the service of his crew and those who came before, addressing the decommissioning of this distinguished vessel.
“With great pride, I acknowledge the dedication and valor of the sailors who served aboard this ship for the past 37 years,” said Rogers.
“The USS Bunker Hill’s legacy is a testament to our commitment to national security. As we lower the flag one final time, we honor the past while embracing the Navy’s future. Our sailors’ unwavering dedication and the ship’s service will never be forgotten.”
Capt. Rogers also retired from active service during the ceremony.
The ship was built in Pascagoula, Mississippi, by Ingalls Shipyard Company and commissioned Sept. 20, 1986, at Charlestown in Boston. It was the first U.S. surface warship to be equipped with the below-deck, advanced MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS), a multi-warfare missile-launching system capable of striking targets in the air, on and under the ocean surface, and on land.
Bunker Hill operated in the North Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman, supporting 10 Earnest Will convoys in 1987.
The ship arrived in its new homeport of Naval Base Yokosuka, Japan the following year. At the end of January 1991 the ship launched its first Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs), a total of 28, against targets in Iraq from its station in the North Arabian Gulf, in support of Operation Desert Storm.
In 2008, it was one of the Coalition ships from the British-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 maintaining a presence off the east coast of Africa in response to the recent events in Somalia. The following year it was the first guided-missile cruiser to receive a complete set of upgrades as part of the Navy’s Cruiser Modernization program including a new Aegis Weapons System, the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), and SPQ-9B Radar.
The decommissioning of CG 52 supports department-wide business process reform initiatives to free up time, resources, and manpower in support of increased lethality.