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USS David R. Ray (DD 971)

- decommissioned -
- sunk as a target -


USS DAVID R. RAY was the ninth SPRUANCE -class destroyer and the fifth ship in that class to join the Pacific Fleet. DAVID R. RAY was last homeported in Everett, Washington. Decommissioned on February 28, 2002, and stricken from the Navy list on November 6, 2002, the DAVID R. RAY spent the following years laid up at the Bremerton Naval Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility. On July 11, 2008, the destroyer was sunk as a target during RIMPAC 2008 off Kauai, Hawaii, by fire from eight US and Japanese ships along with three aircraft using naval artillery and Harpoon missiles.

General Characteristics:Awarded: January 15, 1971
Keel laid: September 23, 1974
Launched: August 23, 1975
Commissioned: November 19, 1977
Decommissioned: February 28, 2002
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding, West Bank, Pascagoula, Miss.
Propulsion system: four General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine engines
Propellers: two
Blades on each Propeller: five
Length: 564,3 feet (172 meters)
Beam: 55,1 feet (16.8 meters)
Draft: 28,9 feet (8.8 meters)
Displacement: approx. 9,200 tons full load
Speed: 30+ knots
Aircraft: two SH-60B Seahawk (LAMPS 3)
Armament: two Mk 45 5-inch/54 caliber lightweight guns, one MK 41 VLS for Tomahawk, ASROC and Standard missiles, Mk 46 torpedoes (two triple tube mounts), Harpoon missile launchers, one Sea Sparrow launcher, one Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) System, two 20mm Phalanx CIWS
Crew: approx. 340


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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS DAVID R. RAY. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.


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USS DAVID R. RAY Cruise Books:


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About the Destroyer’s Name, about Hospital Corpsman Second Class David R. Ray:

The son of Mr. and Mrs. David F. Ray, he was born on 14 February 1945 in McMinnville Tennessee. He graduated from City High School in McMinnville in 1963. David R. Ray was a 1963 University of Tennessee alumni scholarship winner and attended university's Knoxville campus from 1963 to 1966. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy at Nashville, Tennessee on 28 March 1966 and subsequently reported to Recruit Training Command Naval Training San Diego, after which he was assigned to the Naval Hospital in the USS HAVINN (AH 12). Following his tour in the hospital ship, David next served at Naval Hospital Long Beach, California.

In Mays 1968 he requested a tour of duty with the Marines. He reported for instruction at Field Medical Service School, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California in July he joined Second Battalion, Eleventh Marines , First Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force.

David R. Ray was serving as a corpsman with the battalion when he was mortally wounded on 19 March 1969, while treating wounded Marines "For conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty...near An Hoa, Quang Nam Province, in the Republic of Vietnam..." David Robert Ray was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. In addition to the Purple Heart Medal which was awarded for wounds received in action, he also had the Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with star, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

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History of USS DAVID R. RAY:

The ship was designed and built by Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries, Pascagoula, Mississippi. It was commissioned on 19 November 1977. The principal speaker was the Honorable James R. Sasser, U. S. Senator from Tennessee. Also in attendance was Mrs. Donnie M. Ray, the ship's sponsor and mother of the ship's namesake, Hospitalman Second Class David R. Ray.

DAVID R. RAY left Pascagoula for its new homeport of San Diego in November 1977. The ship passed the Panama Canal during its transit to San Diego.

DAVID R. RAY crossed the equator for the first time in May 1978. In February 1979, it became the first ship to intercept a supersonic drone with the NATO Sea Sparrow missile system. The ship began its first deployment in September 1979 to the western Pacific. In October 1983, the DAVID R. RAY began another major deployment to the western Pacific and Indian Oceans. The ship participated in a joint Thai-U. S. naval exercise. Later in the deployment the ship spent forty-five days continuously underway patrolling the Indian Ocean as a part of Battle Group ALFA. It also participated in TEAM SPIRIT 84 with the South Korean navy.

Late in 1984 DAVID R. RAY began its long association with the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) System. The ship would be the Navy's primary test platform for the missile for the next six years.

The ship made another Pacific deployment in 1986. Battle Group FOXTROT departed San Diego in January 1986. During this deployment, the ship made worldwide news when it prevented the boarding of the U. S. vessel PRESIDENT McKINLEY by an Iranian Saam class frigate on 12 May 1986. After the deployment, the RAM project and the EHF SATCOM CNO project dominated the ship's activities for the next several months.

DAVID R. RAY's second major overhaul began in June 1988. This coincided with the ship's changing homeports from San Diego to Long Beach. During this time, the ship received it Vertical Launch System in place of the ASROC launcher. After the overhaul, the ship spent ten months prior to deployment completing inspections and four CNO projects, including RAM, NATO Sea Sparrow RIM 7-P, Tomahawk Block 2, and Vertical Launch ASROC.

DAVID R. RAY departed Long Beach in April 1990 for deployment to the Persian Gulf. DAVID R. RAY was in the Persian Gulf at the onset of Iraq's invasion into Kuwait. The ship played a critical role in the early stages of OPERATION DESERT SHIELD before returning to the United States.

Deploying again to the Middle East Force in 1992, the ship served as flagship during Maritime Interception Force Operations before returning to Long Beach in October 1992.

In July 1996, DAVID R. RAY shifts homeports to Naval Station Everett in the Puget Sound region of Washington state.

In March 1999 DAVID R. RAY deployed to the Arabian Gulf as part of the KITTY HAWK Battle Group.

On March 11, 1999, USS DAVID R. RAY, along with the Pearl Harbor-based USS BREMERTON (SSN 698), was tasked by the Navy with sinking the commercial tanker NEW CARISSA at the request of a unified command made up of local, state and federal officials concerned about the environment. The NEW CARISSA had been spilling oil since it shipwrecked near Coos Bay, OR, on February 4. It was then towed for three days to the open ocean for sinking. This effort was the unified command's second attempt to dispose of the 6,000-ton hulk, which had broken free from another tow a week earlier, only to return ashore along the central Oregon coast. An estimated 130,000 gallons of thick crude oil remained in the ship's fuel tanks after Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11, from Whidbey Island, WA, torched more than half of the hazardous material February 10. DAVID R. RAY gunners prepared point-detonating 5-inch, 54-caliber projectiles for firing into NEW CARISSA to facilitate flooding. The destroyer's gunners then pumped 69 rounds into NEW CARISSA's bellowing hull. As intended, the resulting punctures allowed trapped air to ventilate. Strategically placed shots along the waterline caused the desired stern-first submersion that achieved the intended outcome. BREMERTON was then called upon to fire one Mk-48 advanced capability torpedo, sinking NEW CARISSA.

DAVID R. RAY's last deployment was a coounter-narcotic deployment to the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific in 2000.

On February 28, 2002, after more than 24 years of service, DAVID R. RAY was decommissioned at Naval Station Everett in Washington. Following decommissioning, the destroyer was towed to the Bremerton Naval Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility.

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About the Destroyer’s Coat of Arms:

The coat of arms of USS DAVID R. RAY serves as a heraldic reminder of the ship's namesake. Hospitalman Second Class David R. Ray was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty" while treating and protecting wounded Marines at a battle near An Hoa, Republic of Vietnam.

The light blue center section and white five-pointed star allude to the Medal of Honor ribbon; the star is inverted in reference to the silhouette of the Medal of Honor pendant. The light and dark blue stripes refer to the courage, perseverance and selfless devotion to duty of Petty Officer Ray.

Ray's unit -- Battery D, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Division -- is indicated by the scarlet and gold embattled border. Blue, gold, and scarlet are the colors of the Navy and Marine Corps.

The blue caduceus is the insignia worn on white uniforms by Hospital Corpsman, United States Navy. This insignia and the howitzer cartridges, in the colors of the Marine Corps, allude to the medical services customarily provided the Marine Corps by the Navy.

The ship's motto, "Determined, Ready, Resourceful", alludes to the initials of the ship's namesake, and epitomizes David R. Ray's legacy to the ship that bears his name.

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USS DAVID R. RAY Patch Gallery:

HSL Detachment Southpac 2001MEF '92 - HSL-47 Det. 3


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