USS Sterett (CG 31).
USS Sterett USS Sterett USS Sterett USS Sterett
The first US Navy ship to shoot down an enemy plane with a guided missile was the third USS Sterett, DLG 31 (later CG 31).

Laid down at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard 25 September 1962, she launched 30 June 1964, commissioned 8 April 1967 as DLG 31 and, after shakedown, operated from Yokosuka, Japan until 1970. For the duration of the Vietnam War thereafter, she served as an air traffic control ship and engaged in rescuing downed aviators off North Vietnam.

  • There on 19 April 1972, she was attacked by multiple enemy MiG aircraft and missile patrol boats. Engaging with Terrier missiles, she shot down one MiG in an action for which she received a Navy Unit Citation.
  • Later that year, Sterett also served as blockade ship during the mining of Haiphong Harbor.

On 30 June 1975, with all her sister DLGs, Sterett was redesignated as a guided missile cruiser (CG 31).

From 1981 to 1991, she made her home port at Subic Bay, Philippine Islands. During this period:

  • She served as flagship of a destroyer squadron and received the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.
  • In 1982 and 1983 she rescued 239 Vietnamese refugees stranded at sea, for which she received three humanitarian awards.
  • In 1983, she served as flagship for the salvage/search operations after Korean Airlines flight 007 was shot down, for which she received a Korean Presidential Unit Citation.
  • In 1987 and 1988, she protected oil tankers in the Arabian Sea.

Transferred to the Atlantic in 1993, Sterett supported “Operation Support Democracy” off Haiti and performed counter-drug operations in the Caribbean.

Sterett decommissioned 24 March 1994 and was sold for scrapping on 31 July 2005.

Sources: Bauer & Roberts, Friedman, Silverstone; Global Security.
Reference: Last Voyage.