View Full Version : USS John S McCain Docks in Port Melbourne
This is from today's Herald-Sun newspaper:
THE USS John S McCain powered into Port Melbourne today - 100 years since America's Great White Fleet sailed into Port Phillip Bay.
On August 29, 1908, the fleet of 16 battleships, all painted white, and 14,000 sailors captured the imagination of Victoria.
The fleet was part of the US making a statement that it was a superpower and helped Australia form an alliance with the Americans.
The John S McCain is named after the Republican presidential candidate's father and grandfather, both four star admirals.
The destroyer's commander John Banigan said it was more powerful than the entire Great White Fleet.
"We are honoured to be part of the 100 years as it (the cruise 100 years ago) put forward the US as a world power,'' he said.
"We established a coalition with Australia and its significance was causing the onset of a navy here.''
Commander Banigan said the 14 year-old destroyer had recently attended the coronation of the King of Tonga while the crew of about 300 sailors took part in centenary celebrations in Sydney last week and now Melbourne.
"I have told them not to get in trouble but to have fun because they've worked hard,'' he said.
Combat system officer Chris England said about 20 to 25 per cent of the ship's crew would stay in hotels around Melbourne over the next week to get a break from the ship.
"They go to hotels so they don't have to wear flip flops in the shower and shower or sleep around other people,'' he said.
"They will most definitely be going to bars too.''
The John S McCain served in the second Gulf War in 2003, is 154 metres long and 19.5 metres at its widest point and weighs 85,000 tonnes.
A further press release from the Melbourne Age:
EVEN the seemingly innocuous parts of the USS John S McCain can kill you.
Never mind the 125-millimetre, 54-calibre gun, pointed casually towards Port Phillip Bay, the 90 vertical-launch missile tubes, torpedoes, some with rockets, harpoons, close-in weapon system and guns of all sizes. What you really have to worry about is the radar.
The Aegis radar system is pretty boring to look at, frankly. There are four hexagonal plates with thin lines attached to the destroyer's superstructure, each with a warning not to paint the surface.
When working, Aegis emits fast and intense radar beams that can fry a human inside out in 30 seconds. The first thing you would feel is an intense headache, then nausea, and pretty soon your organs would cook and turn to mush.
"Not that I can say from personal experience, but it's like being in a microwave," a crewman smiles.
The USS John S McCain, named for the Republican presidential candidate's father and grandfather who were both four-star admirals, arrived in Port Melbourne yesterday.
With a complement of about 304, the 154-metre long, 85,000-tonne destroyer arrived on the centenary of the Great White Fleet, 16 battleships and 14,000 men who sailed the world in 1908 to assert the United States' status as a superpower.
Lieutenant junior grade Gus Bennett has called the USS John S McCain home for two years, and is as open and honest as he can be about the destroyer's weapons and tactical systems, providing access to the flight deck, ward room, bridge, engineering control and central combat.
"There's definitely a lot of classified information, there are spaces we won't take a foreign national or even allow some crew members into," he said. "My rule of thumb is, if you can find it on Wikipedia I will tell you."
So the up and coming officer with features reminiscent of a young Tom Cruise has no hesitation explaining which guns can be used against small boats or which torpedoes can be dropped on close-range enemy submarines.
And walking across the red paint clearly marked "danger zone" is apparently normal behaviour - an alarm will sound if the danger is real.
The USS John S McCain was commissioned in 1994 and is part of the US Navy's seventh fleet, calling Yokosuka, Japan, its home port. The destroyer was deployed to the Gulf War in 2003.
The ship is mostly at sea, where even refuelling is easier on the move with help from a tanker ship and a hose Lieutenant Bennett says would look at home in a Dr Seuss book.
The crew bunks in small spaces with limited storage room for personal belongings, and share a confined weights room and a slightly larger gym with treadmills.As much as Lieutenant Bennett enjoys Navy life, he and his shipmates are relishing the chance to explore Melbourne, and its bars.
"I love land, it's a great thing."
AEGIS is the follow on system to the combination AN/SPS-32 and AN/SPS-33 systems once found on the U.S.S. Long Beach CG(N)-9 and U.S.S. Enterprise CVA(N)-65.
She is not the first destroyer named the USS John S. McCain. Here is another.
CLASS - MITSCHER As Built.
Displacement 4855 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 490' (oa) x 47' 6" x 14' 8" (Max)
Armament 2 x 5"/54 RF (2x1), 4 x 3"/50 (2x2), 8 20mm (4x2) 2 Weapon Alfa ASW
Systems, 4 x 21" TT, 1 DC Track.
Machinery, 80,000 SHP; Geared Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 36.5 Knots, Range 4500 NM@ 20 Knots, Crew 360.
Operational and Building Data
Laid down by Bath Iron Works October 24 1949.
Launched July 12 1952.
Commissioned October 12 1953.
Decommissioned June 24 1966 and recommissioned September 6 1969.
Reclassified DDG-36 September 6 1969.
Decommissioned and stricken April 29 1978.
Fate Sold for scrap December 13 1979.
Here is a link to the operational history of the Mitscher Class.
I enjoyed reading about the visit but 85,000 tonnes for a destroyer? Is there one too many noughts?
Nooo...USN just believes BIGGER is BETTER!!! LOL! Move over Yamato! DFO :cool:;):D
The Wickes Class my Dad served on were called "Thousand Tonners." There was even a debate (pre0WWI) whether they were too big. Some thought destroyers should be only 850 tons.
Why are such large ships called destroyers?
You are correct about the talk's on limitations on tonnage early on in the development of the Torpedo Destroyers with the transition to the Destroyer. The aurgement was over tonnage had more to do with the high comsumpton fuel verses range. That whole discussion started with the early Torpedo Destroyers with a letter from the then Assistant Secretary to the Navy Theodore Roosevelt headed a special war plans board on 16 march 1898. Basically stating that the Torpedo destroyers of that time frame were a menace to the fleet and not the enemy because of the power plants.
The basic idea of the destroyer is as follows; A light speedy war-vessel designed for attacking submarines, for convoy escort duties, torpedo attacks in protecting a squadron of heavier ships.
Hope this helps.
Re. the sizes of destroyers.Navies are like everyone else.We create (cars, houses, hamburgers etc.) or develop a vessel type for a percieved purpose.
After the initial use of the vessel, everyone then thinks of all the other 'nice to haves'.
The type of vessel grows larger to suit the new demand.
We then have to create a new class of smaller vessel to fill the vacuum.
It's called progress I believe.
i have this little girl on favorite ships list! I'll put it up here if you guys went to see it..
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