The keel of the USS RICHMOND K. TURNER was laid
on January 9, 1961 by New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New
Jersey. One of nine Leahy-class "double-ended" guided missile
USS RICHMOND K. TURNER departed San Diego June 4, 1965 her first
deployment to the Western Pacific. She joined Task Force 77 in the South
China Sea area and served as missile support ship for the attack carriers
CORAL SEA (CVA 43), INDEPENDENCE (CV 62), and ORISKANY (CV 34).
She was reassigned to the Search and Rescue Destroyer Unit in the
Tonkin Gulf in September 1965. After participating in missions in which
eight aviators were rescued, she departed Subic Bay and arrived San Diego
She departed for her third tour off Vietnam June 10, 1968, and
contributed to Fleet readiness in Asian waters until returning to San
Diego in December 1968.
On March 22, 1971, she embarked for Bath, Maine and arrived at
the Bath Iron Works on April 27. She was decommissioned May 5, under a
Navy wide program to enhance the anti-air warfare capability of major
guided missile ships. TURNER was recommissioned at Bath Iron Works on
May 17, 1972.
RICHMOND K. TURNER was redesignated a CG-20 in July of 1975 and
participated in Operation 200 which included the International Naval Review
in New York City for the Nation's Bicentennial Celebration on July 4,
In September 1978 the TURNER reported to GTMO for REFTRAY. The
day after arrival Turner was directed to intercept and conduct surveillance
of Soviet Naval units operating in the West Indies. With that task completed
Turner was then directed to transit the Panama Canal and conduct surveillance
operations off the contiguous waters of western Nicaragua. The Turner
received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for these operations in March
1979. In July of 1979, While operating with the 6th Fleet, Turner successfully
launched a Harpoon missile in the Gulf of Sidra, destroying the target
at a range of 78 miles. This was the first firing of a Harpoon missile
from a deployed US Navy Ship.
TURNER also completed a 1988 deployment to the Persian Gulf and
was a participant of Operation Earnest Will.
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In response to the crisis in the Persian
Gulf caused by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, RICHMOND K. TURNER deployed
early as a primary AAW unit in the THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71) battle
group, which arrived in the theater just before hostilities broke out.
During 60 days in the Persian Gulf, TURNER provided protection to four
carriers and served as an advance picket ship in the mine infested waters
off Kuwait. Following the cease fire, TURNER relocated to the Red Sea
where she participated in the continuing maritime interception operations
in support of U.N. sanctions against Iraq.
Escorting USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT through
the Suez Canal in late April 1991, TURNER participated in Operation
Provide Comfort, a massive relief effort to help tens of thousands of
Kurdish refugees who fled the turmoil of Iraq following that country's
defeat in the war. During this time RICHMOND K. TURNER became the Anti-Air
Warfare Commander for the Aircraft Carrier Striking Force, U.S. Sixth
She made a final deployment to the Mediterranean
as a part of the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT battle group and served as an
anti-air warfare command during Operation Deny Flight over the Former
Republic of Yugoslavia and Bosnia.
On August 9, 1998, USS RICHMOND K. TURNER
was sunk as a target near Puerto Rico. The SINKEX was conducted by the
USS ENTERPRISE battle group including the USS PHILIPPINE SEA (CG 58),
USS THORN (DD 988), USS NICHOLSON (DD 982) and Carrier Air Wing 3.