USS Bunker Hill (CG 52)
USS BUNKER HILL (CG-52) was built by Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries, Pascagoula, Mississippi. The second ship to bear the name, she was commissioned on 20 September 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts, within sight of the historic monument commemorating her namesake battle. The first BUNKER HILL was the aircraft carrier CV-17, nicknamed the "Holiday Express," a battle veteran in World War II. Today's name bearer was built as a state-of-the-art, Aegis combatant with many expectations to carry the Navy into the 21st Century. BUNKER HILL joined the fleet as the Navy's first warship to be configured with the vertical launch system (VLS), from which all missiles -- surface-to-air and Tomahawks -- are launched straight upward in rapid-fire mode vice on slower, conventional, rail launchers. As a result, BUNKER HILL became known as the "Vertical Swordsman" and VLS became the Navy's launcher system of choice on all subsequent combatants.
After commissioning, BUNKER HILL entered the Pacific Fleet via the Panama Canal and, following a series of Combat Systems Ships' Qualification Trials (CSSQT) near Hawaii in early 1987, she began short notice work-ups to deploy to the U.S. SEVENTH Fleet. BUNKER HILL made her first deployment in July 1987, nearly one year ahead of schedule. During that deployment, she provided an anti-air warfare umbrella inside the Arabian Gulf for USS MISSOURI (BB-63), USS RANGER (CV-61), and innumerable U.S. flagged tankers and ships transiting through the Straits of Hormuz. In early 1988 BUNKER HILL was awarded her first Battle Efficiency "E" Award.
In August 1988 BUNKER HILL shifted homeports to Yokosuka, Japan, joining the USS MIDWAY (CV-41) Carrier Battlegroup for a four-month deployment in the U.S. SEVENTH Fleet area of responsibility, and was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation.
From November 1990 through March 1991 BUNKER HILL deployed again to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. Serving as Anti-Air Warfare Commander (AAWC) for the entire Arabian Gulf Battleforce, BUNKER HILL directed the tactical employment in AAW of 26 ships and over 300 combat aircraft from six nations. BUNKER HILL identified and tracked over 65,000 aircraft without a single safety incident. BUNKER HILL also launched 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles against targets in Iraq. The ship was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Kuwait Liberation Medal for its exceptional performance.
After returning to Yokosuka, BUNKER HILL underwent the first overseas Dry-dock Selected Restricted Availability for a ship of her class. In July 1991, she escorted USS MIDWAY to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for MIDWAY's turnover to USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-62). INDY became the new centerpiece of the Yokosuka battlegroup and serves as the flagship of the Commander, Battle Force SEVENTH Fleet and Commander, Carrier Group FIVE.
In March of 1992, BUNKER HILL was part of the last battlegroup to visit the U.S. Naval Base at Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. In April 1992 BUNKER HILL departed Yokosuka for a seven-month Arabian Gulf deployment -- its third. Again serving as the Arabian Gulf Battle Force AAWC, the ship was instrumental in the planning and execution of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, the enforcement of the United Nations "no-fly zone" over Southern Iraq. BUNKER HILL was awarded its second Battle Efficiency "E" Award for 1992.
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