Like the ex-USS Davd R. Ray (DD-971) reported on yesterday, The Horne is also slated to be used as a target for the upcoming RIMPAC ’08 exercise. Fifth ship of the Belknap-class and named for the VCNO during most of WWII, ADM Fredrick J. Horne, she was commissioned 15 April 1967 with then-CAPT Stansfield Turner as her first CO. Initially designated as DLG-30, her hull number would be changed to CG-30 in 1975.
It wouldn’t take long for Horne to get into action. On her maiden deployment, a combat cruise in the Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam, while acting as “Red Crown,” her AIC’s directed a pair of F-8’s to an intercept of a MiG-21:
On 1 August 1968, two Crusaders, piloted by Lieutenant George Hise (VF-111) and Lieutenant Norm McCoy (VF-51), were vectored against a bandit picked up on radar by a Navy vessel offshore (ed. USS Horne – SJS) . It turned out to be a MiG-21 that fired on them with an Atoll. The missile went wide, and Hise got into position to retaliate with his own missile. He believed he scored a hit, but the MiG disappeared into a cloud. McCoy spotted the MiG-21 again a minute later and hit it with another Sidewinder. He chased it down to the ground to confirm the kill even though he was dangerously low on fuel. He managed to link up with a tanker out at sea. McCoy was credited with the kill.
Recent information indicates that the pilot of the downed MiG was an eight-kill North Vietnamese ace who survived the ejection, only to be killed in a later engagement with a VF-92 F-4J flown by the crew of flown by LT Curt Dose and LCDR Jim McDevitt, the morning of 10 May 1972. Listen to the audiohere. Horne would repeat in 1970 and her embarked SH-2F was central in the rescue of a downed US pilot in North Vietnam.
Action would come Horne’s way again in the latter stages of her career when she deployed in the northern end of the Arabian Gulf in support of Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. It was while on station that the USS Princeton and USS Tripoli, located within 10 nm of Horne, each struck mines. Despite the danger of the presumed minefield, Horne remained on station providing AAW support to the damaged ships. After the war, it was determined that Horne herself was well inside the minfield and had been operating as such for over 12 days.
With the standardization of the Navy’s AAW program on the Aegis weapons system, it was decided to place the Belknap-class in reserve and so, on 6 Nov 1993, twenty-six years agfter her commissioning, USS Horne was de-commissiond and placed with the Reserve Fleet at Mare Island. There she remained until her preparation and departure for use as a target during RIMPAC ’08. Perhaps a more fitting end as a true warship, than to die the death of a thousand cuts at the hands of the ship-breakers.
For more on the Horne, be sure to visit the very excellent website put up by former members of her crew here.