From the “Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships,” (1976) Vol. 6, p.106.


DLG-20 Displacement: 7,630 t. (full load) Length: 533’ Beam: 54’10” Draft: 26’ Speed: 30+ k. Complement: 377 Armament: 4 3"; Terrier SAM launchers; ASROC; 6 torpedo tubes Class: LEAHY

RICHMOND K. TURNER, a "double ender" guided-missile frigate, was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Corp. Camden, N.J., 9 January 1961; launched 6 April 1963; sponsored by Mrs. Claude V. Ricketts; and commissioned 13 June 1964, Capt. Douglas C. Plate in command.

Departing the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 10 August 1964 for her homeport of San Diego, Calif., she touched briefly at Yorktown and Norfolk, Va., and then at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Entering the Pacific via the Panama Canal, she steamed northward toward her homeport, with a call at Acapulco, Mexico. She arrived San Diego 11 September.

Following shakedown out of San Diego 19 March-7 May 1965, RICHMOND K. TURNER prepared for her first deployment to the western Pacific. Departing San Diego 4 June, she joined Task Force 77 in the Tonkin Gulf-South China Sea area and served as missile support ship for the attack carriers CORAL SEA (CVA-43), INDEPENDENCE (CVA-62), and ORISKANY (CVA-34), while they conducted air strike operations in Southeast Asia.

In September, she was relieved of duties as missile support ship and reassigned to the Search and Rescue Destroyer Unit in the Tonkin Gulf. After participating in missions in which eight aviators were rescued through 8 October, she departed Subic Bay 30 November and arrived San Diego 18 December.

RICHMOND K. TURNER's subsequent deployments have followed in the wake of her first WestPac voyage, with leave, upkeep, overhaul, and type training rounding out her periods in homeport. She stood out of San Diego 15 October 1966, bound a second time for Southeast Asian waters. Returning to her homeport 28 March 1967, she punctuated her coastal operations with a midshipman training cruise to Pearl Harbor. Departing for her third tour off Vietnam 10 June 1968, she contributed to Fleet readiness in Asian waters until her 19 December return to San Diego.

Leave and upkeep extended through 20 January 1969. She then assumed duty as ASW Schoolship in the southern California operating areas. In February, she conducted a SecNav guest cruise, and 1 March she commenced an extensive updating of her shipboard missile systems at the Naval Station San Diego. She then underwent training and further preparations for her fourth WestPac deployment, which commenced in January 1970. She arrived in Yokosuka, Japan, 4 March and spent the next two months operating in the Sea of Japan. June found her off the coast of Vietnam, where she remained until late July. Stopping off at Guam and Pearl Harbor, she returned to San Diego in August, arriving on the 12th.

RICHMOND K. TURNER continued operations out of San Diego until 22 March 1971, when she embarked for Bath, Maine and antiaircraft warfare modernization. She arrived at the Bath Iron Works 27 April and was decommissioned 5 May. After more than a year at Bath, she was recommissioned 27 April 1972.

For the next seven months, RICHMOND K. TURNER engaged in various post modernization trials, exercises, and refresher training along the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean. She returned to Newport, R.I., 22 November and remained there until 9 January 1973, when she entered Boston Naval Shipyard for a two-month yard period. Leaving Boston in March, she continued normal operations out of Newport along the Atlantic seaboard and in the Caribbean until mid-December. At that time she returned to Newport and remained in port at Newport into 1974.

RICHMOND K. TURNER has earned eight battle stars for Vietnam service.

Reclassified a guided missile cruiser, CG-20, on 30 June 1975, RICHMOND K. Turner was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Register on 31 March 1995. There were reports of plans to use the ship in experiments conducted by the Naval Surface Warfare Center. K. Jack Bauer and Stephen S. Roberts, “Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775-1990,” p.214. Naval Institute “Proceedings,” May 1996, p.185,187.

Transcribed by Michael Hansen mhansen2@attbi.com