USS THE SULLIVANS DDG 68
USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) is the U.S. Navy's 18th Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and is named after the five Sullivan brothers; George, Francis, Joseph, Madison and Albert who were killed in action aboard the USS Juneau (CL 52) during the battle of Guadalcanal. The keel was laid down on June 14, 1993, at Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works Co.; The ship was christened and launched on August 12, 1995; sponsored by Kelly Sullivan Loughren, granddaughter of Albert Leo Sullivan; and commissioned at Staten Island, N.Y., on April 19, 1997; Cmdr. Gerard D. Roncolato is the first commanding officer.
On April 26, The Sullivans departed New York for Norfolk where, after arriving on the 27th, the crew completed underway replenishment qualifications with Platte (AO 186). The guided-missile destroyer then sailed for Naval Station Mayport on April 29th and arrived in its new homeport on May 2.
After completing two days of gunnery trials in mid-May, DDG 68 embarked upon her shakedown deployment to the West Indies on May 27. That cruise took it to the waters off Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, where the ship conducted numerous sonar, gunnery, and torpedo exercises. USS The Sullivans also twice entered Roosevelt Roads and stopped once at St. Thomas for port visits. On June 29, she conducted test firings of Standard SM-2 ER missiles from its vertical launch system (VLS). After a brief stop at Mayport for the 4th of July weekend, she joined other U.S. Navy ships off the Virginia Capes for a multiple-ship missile firing exercise. The Sullivans returned to Mayport on July 12 for upkeep.
Following three days of damage control exercises in mid-August, the crew began preparations for a post shakedown availability. She sailed for Maine on September 3rd, arriving at Bath Iron Works on the 5th. The shipyard repainted the hull, altered the superstructure, and installed equipment upgrades in the engineering plant and combat systems suite. When the yard work was completed the destroyer got underway for Mayport, arriving there on Nov. 23.
On Dec. 8, USS The sullivans joined USS Enterprise off the coast of Georgia for a week of underway training. While providing plane guard services on the 11th, a McDonnell Douglas T-45A trainer ("Goshawk") splashed following take-off. The Sullivans made a high-speed dash to the site. While the carrier's rescue helicopter safely rescued the pilot, boats launched by the destroyer picked up considerable pieces of wreckage which were helpful in determining the cause of the crash. The crew also completed helicopter deck landing qualifications before returning to port for the holidays on the 12th.
In January 1998, the crew of USS The Sullivans began a series of exercises designed "to build the capability for long-term self-sustained training onboard." They included engineering, combat, seamanship, and battle scenario training exercises. These local operations lasted until May 18, when the warship got underway for New York and the annual "Fleet Week" celebrations.
Following a week long port visit, DDG 68 got underway on May 26 for Halifax, Nova Scotia, to conduct training workups for the upcoming Exercise Unified Spirit '98. During the exercise it joined an amphibious task force formed around Nassau (LHA 4), two LPDs, and two LSDs. The warship screened the "Gator" ships during an exercise focusing on multi-national peace enforcement operations. Ships from Canada, Great Britain, Germany, France, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, and Portugal also participated in the exercise. After this exercise, the ship visited Boston and then sailed with relatives and family for Mayport, arriving on July 1.
September 4, 1998 Cmdr. Scott E. Hebner relieved Cmdr. Roncolato as commanding officer of USS The Sullivans.
In 1999, the guided-missile destroyer participated in a various training exercises to prepare for its maiden deployment in October to the Mediterranean Sea and then in 2000 continued into the Arabian Sea and participated in exercises and boarding operations until late March.
February 9, 2000 Cmdr. Daniel Paul Keller relieved Cmdr. Scott Heber as CO of DDG 68 during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship in the Arabian Gulf.
After port visits in the Arabian Gulf, the ship returned through the Mediterranean to its homeport in April 2000, successfully completing its first six-month deployment. After participating in Beach Fest at Port Canaveral, Fla, The Sullivans underwent a major maintenance overhaul to prepare for future operations.
February 16, 2002 USS The Sullivans departed homeport, as part of USS John F. Kennedy Battle Group, to the Arabian Sea in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She returned to Mayport August 17.
August 20, 2004 USS The Sullivans, commanded by Cmdr. Richard Brown, departed Naval Station Mayport for a deployment in support of the global war on terrorism.
September 21, DDG 68 arrived in Valletta, Malta, for a scheduled port visit.
October 6, The Sullivans is currently participating in a multilateral naval exercise in the Adriatic Sea with forces from Albania, Croatia and Macedonia Oct. 3-15. Named Adriatic PHIBLEX (Amphibious Landing Exercise), the exercise will include amphibious landings in Croatia, maritime interception operations, basic seamanship and coastal maneuvering, surface gunnery exercises, helicopter operations, and search and rescue scenarios.
November 17, USS The Sullivans provided assistance to damaged dhow Al Suleman in the Gulf of Oman, when the vessel was seen adrift. The 17-member crew of the dhow vessel from Karachi, Pakistan, had been under way for 21 days and adrift for 13 of them.
December 11, Cmdr. Wade Wilkenson relieved Cmdr. Rich Brown as commanding officer of USS The Sullivans.
December 13, DDG 68 departed Muscat, Oman, after a six-day port visit. Since transiting the Suez Canal on Nov. 3, the ship has conducted 17 MIO boardings. The guided-missile destroyer is currently assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 150.
February 13, 2005 USS The Sullivans returned to Naval Station Mayport after a six-month deployment.
March 15, The Sullivans departed Savannah, Ga., after participating in St. Patrick's Day ceremonies.
December 1, The guided-missile destroyer pulled into Philadelphia, Pa., for a Fleet Week.
June 7, 2006 USS The Sullivans is currently underway in support of exercise Neptune Warrior, in the North Atlantic Ocean, a course designed to enhance coordination between North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies through June 30.
July 8, USS The Sullivans recently moored at Cobh Naval Base, Ireland, for a brief port call.
October 12, DDG 68 is currently anchored in the Chesapeake Bay for a port visit to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
November 27, USS The Sullivans departed homeport, as part of Surface Strike Group (SSG) 07-1, for a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet AoR.
Febryary 2, 2007 The guided-missile destroyer is currently in the Aegean Sea conducting maritime safety and security operations with the Turkey Navy.
February 5, USS The Sullivans arrived in Varna, Bulgaria, for a scheduled port call.
April 13, DDG 68 is currently participating in a National Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led exercise Noble Manta from April 12-22. The largest joint anti-submarine warfare exercise held annually in the Mediterranean Sea, Noble Manta 2007 involves 10 NATO countries which provide maritime patrol aircraft, surface and subsurface assets.
May 3, The Sullivans recently departed Batumi, Georgia, after a brief port visit.
May 29, USS The Sullivans returned to Mayport after a six-month deployment. The ship participated in seven multi-lateral exercises including Noble Dina.
June 14, USS The Sullivans, commanded by Cmdr. Anthony Parisi, arrived in New York City to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the ship’s commissioning at Staten Island.
July 1, DDG 68 pulled into Gloucester, Mass., to participate in Navy Week.
March 29, 2008 The guided-missile destroyer is currently off the coast of Florida, conducting a group sail operations, as part of USS Theodore Roodevelt Carrier Strike Group.
September 12, USS The Sullivans departed Naval Station Mayport for a scheduled deployment.
In late September, The Sullivans' had the honor of participating in the first Navy monument dedication in Normandy, France.
October 19, Seven NATO warships from Standing Naval Maritime Group (SNMG) Two, including The Sullivans, arrived off the coast of Somalia to help in the battle against pirates in the region.
January 7, 2009 USS The Sullivans recently pulled into Yokosuka, Japan, for a rare port visit in the U.S. 7th Fleet AoR.
February 16, The Sullivans arrived in Cochin, India, for a goodwill port visit. The guided-missile destroyer recently participated in undersea warfare exercise with the Stennis (CVN 74) Carrier Strike Group and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. The ship also visited Chinhae, Republic of Korea; and Singapore during deployment.
April 8, The Sullivans departed Portsmouth, England, after a four-day port visit.
April 18, USS The Sullivans returned to homeport after a seven-month deployment in the U.S. 5th, 6th and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility.
August 28, Cmdr. Neil E. Funtanilla relieved Cmdr. Ryan C. Tillotson as CO of the USS The Sullivans.
February 19, 2010 USS The Sullivans departed Mayport for a scheduled deployment, the first as Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) capable ship.
April 7, DDG 68 damaged one of its two propellers after striking a buoy chain March 20 in the Arabian Gulf. The incident was initially reported as a Class A mishap, but was downgraded to a Class B on April 2, meaning there was at least $200,000 in damage, permanent partial disability or three or more personnel hospitalized as inpatients.
May 18, Rear Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of Combined Task Force 50, fired Cmdr. Neil Funtanila in Manama, Bahrain, after a non-judicial hearing found he was "derelict in the performance of his duties." Cmdr. Robert Cepek assumed temporary command.
September 19, USS The Sullivans returned home after a seven-month deployment in the U.S. 5th and 6th AoR. The guided-missile destroyer traveled more than 35,000 n.m. and visited several ports, including Malaga, Spain, recently.
April 15, 2011 DDG 68 departed Naval Station Mayport for a Friends and Family Day Cruise.
September 7, Vice Adm. Daniel P. Holloway, Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet, fired Cmdr. Mark Olson due to "a loss of confidence in his ability to command." He was in command on Aug. 17 when the ship was conducting a gunnery exercise at the Cherry Point Operating Range Area, off the North Carolina coast. During the exercise, The Sullivans mistook a fishing vessel for a towed gunnery target and began firing inert rounds at the vessel. They landed close but did not strike the boat. None of the fishermen was harmed. USS The Sullivans was scheduled to deploy Wednesday but was delayed since the ship will now have to complete predeployment certifications, including some exercises, under a new CO Cmdr. Sylvester Steele.
October 7, USS The Sullivans departed Mayport for an independent Mediterranean deployment with a primary focus on Ballistic Missile Defense.
October 27, The guided-missile destroyer pulled into Souda Bay, Greece, for a routine port call. The ship recently departed Gaeta, Italy, after a brief port visit.
November 8, Cmdr. Derick Armstrong relieved Cmdr. Sylvester Steele as CO of the DDG 68 during a change-of-coomand ceremony on board the ship at Rota, Spain.
November 24, USS The Sullivans arrived in Lisbon, Portugal, for a scheduled port call. The ship participated in a multi-national exercise Grampus, hosted by the French Navy, from Nov. 8-21.
November 30, The guided-missile destroyer arrived in Split, Croatia, for a three-day port visit.
December 26, USS The Sullivans recently departed Haifa, Israel, after a scheduled port visit.
January 24, 2012 DDG 68 arrived at Naval Support Activity Souda Bay for a routine port call.
February 14, USS The Sullivans departed Augusta Bay, Italy, to participate in a NATO's largest Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercise Proud Manta 2012, from Feb. 14-26.
March 2, USS The Sullivans pulled into Bodrum, Turkey, for a four-day port visit.
March 23, The guided-missile destroyer recently pulled into Haifa for another visit to Israel.
April 1, DDG 68 is currently participating in a joint exercise Noble Dina, with the navies of Israel and Greece, in the eastern Mediterranean.
April 19, USS The Sullivans recently arrived in Limassol, Cyprus, for a scheduled port visit.
May 8, Vice Adm. Frank C. Pandolfe, Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, relieved CO Cmdr. Derick Armstrong due to "a loss of confidence in his ability to command as a result of an unprofessional command climate that was contrary to good order and discipline." Capt. John M. Esposito, Deputy Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 60, assumed temporary command of the USS The Sullivans.
May 22, USS The Sullivans returned to Naval Station Mayport after seven-and-a-half month deployment.
April 17, 2013 Cmdr. Samuel F. de Castro relieved Capt. Wesley A. Smith as the 13th CO of DDG 68 during a pierside ceremony at Naval Station Mayport. Capt. Smith was the commanding officer since June 5, 2012.
June 24, USS The Sullivans departed homeport for a scheduled independent deployment.
July 6, The guided-missile destroyer departed Reykjavik, Iceland, after a brief port call. Inport Rota, Spain, in mid-July; Transited Suez Canal on July 18; Entered the Arabian Gulf for Maritime Interception Operations (MIO) on July 2?.
September 10, DDG 68 recently pulled into Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, for a port visit to Dubai.
December 8, The Sullivans recently anchored off the coast of Saint Raphael for a liberty visit to France; Inport Funchal, Portugal, from Dec. 13-14.
December 23, USS The Sullivans returned to Mayport after a six-month Middle East deployment.
February ?, 2014 The Sullivans entered the dry-dock at BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards for a nine-month Extended Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability (E-DSRA).
October 10, Cmdr. Jennifer M. Blakeslee relieved Cmdr. Samuel F. de Castro as CO of the USS The Sullivans during a pierside ceremony at Naval Station Mayport.
March 16, 2015 USS The Sullivans recently departed homeport for routine training in the Jacksonville Op. Area.
July 1?, USS The Sullivans departed Naval Station Mayport for an Independent Deployer Certification Exercise (IDCERTEX) and in support of the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) ARG's COMPTUEX.
July 18, The guided-missile destroyer moored at Berth 5, Pier 11 on Naval Station Norfolk for damage assessment after an SM-2 Block IIIA missile malfunctioned and exploded shortly after launch, around 9 a.m. EDT on Saturday, causing minor damage to the port side of the ship; Underway again on July 19.
July 23, USS The Sullivans moored at Delta 1 Wharf on Naval Station Mayport and commenced Continuous Maintenance Availability (CMAV); Brief underway off the coast of Jacksonville on Aug. 19.
September 5, USS The Sullivans departed homeport for IDCERTEX and in support of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) CSG's COMPTUEX.
October 1, DDG 68 moored at HMNB Clyde in Faslane, Scotland, for the in-port phase of a multinational exercise Joint Warrior 15-2, after a 10-day transit from Norfolk; Underway for at-sea phase from Oct. 4-15; Inport Faslane again from Oct. 15-18; Underway for At Sea Demonstration (ASD) 2015, off the coast of Scotland, on Oct. 18.
October 21, USS The Sullivans, along with the USS Ross (DDG 71) and USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12), transited the Irish Sea southbound; Transited northbound on Oct. 22; Underway off the west coast of Scotland from Oct. 23-26.
October 28, USS The Sullivans moored at Carrier Pier 4 in Arsenal de Brest, France, for a five-day port visit; Returned to Mayport on Nov. 13.?
January 6, 2016 The guided-missile destroyer is currently moored at Delta 2 Wharf, Naval Station Mayport.
January 26, USS The Sullivans departed Berth C1 for a scheduled Arabian Gulf deployment in support of Maritime Interception Operations (MIO).
February 4, DDG 68 moored at Pontinha Pier in Port of Funchal, Portugal, for a brief stop at Madeira Island to refuel; Transited the Strait of Gibraltar on Feb. 6; Transited the Strait of Sicily on Feb. 8.
February 12, USS The Sullivans moored at Pier 2 in Port of Bar, Montenegro, for a four-day port visit.
February 21, USS The Sullivans recently entered the Red Sea after transiting Suez Canal; Transited the Strait of Hormuz on Feb. 29.?
March 20, The Sullivans moored at Mina Zayed Port, United Arab Emirates, for a four-day liberty visit to Abu Dhabi.
May 1, Cmdr. Gilbert E. Clark, Jr., relieved Cmdr. Jennifer M. Blakeslee as the 15th CO of DDG 68 during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship in the Arabian Gulf.
May 22, USS The Sullivans participated in a bilateral training exercise with the USS Tempest (PC 2), USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332) and Kuwait armed forces, while underway in the NAG.
July 11, The guided-missile destroyer recently moored at Berth 5, Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) in Hidd, Bahrain, for outchop brief; Transited the Suez Canal northbound on July 2?.
July 28, USS The Sullivans pulled into Palma de Mallorca, Spain, for a five-day liberty port visit.
July 29, BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Mayport LLC, Jacksonville, Florida, was awarded a $9,7 million contract for the USS The Sullivans' Selected Restricted Availability (SRA). Work is expected to be completed by March 2017.
August 29, DDG 68 moored at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Va., for a three-day ammo offload and to embark friends and family members for a Tiger Cruise.
September 4, USS The Sullivans moored at Wharf B1 on Naval Station Mayport after more than a seven-month deployment.