The 3rd ship of the fleet to bear the name – guided missile cruiser

Guided Missile Cruiser CG-31 Characteristics

  • Displacement: 7930 tons
  • Length: 547 feet
  • Beam: 55 feet
  • Draught: 28 feet 10 inches
  • Speed: 30 knots (35 mph; 56 km/h)
  • Range: 7,100 n. miles at 20 knots
  • Ordered: 20 September 1961
  • Builder: Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
  • Laid down: 25 September 1962
  • Launched: 30 June 1964
  • Acquired: 16 June 1967
  • Commissioned: 8 April 1967
  • Reclassified as CG-31 on 30 Jun 1975.
  • Decommissioned: 24 March 1994

Commanding Officers

  • CAPT P.K. Collins(*)           01 Jul 75 – 09 Oct 75
  • CAPT C.G. Farnham           09 Oct 75 – 03 Feb 78
  • CAPT J.S. Donnell III(*)      03 Feb 78 – 06 Feb 80
  • CAPT D.C. Richardson       06 Feb 80 – 13 Feb 82
  • CAPT G.S. Sullivan III(*)     13 Feb 82 – 15 Feb 84
  • CAPT J.H. McCoy               15 Feb 84 – 10 Oct 85
  • CAPT J.L. Lockett III(*)       10 Oct 85 – 06 Aug 86
  • CAPT F.W. Bailey               06 Aug 86 – 27 Sep 86
  • CAPT R.P. Genet                27 Sep 86 – 19 Aug 88
  • CAPT B.M. Plott                19 Aug 88 – 10 Sep 90
  • CAPT T.E. Blount, Jr.(*)       10 Sep 90 – 16 Dec 92
  • CDR G.O. Dorsey               16 Dec 92 – 24 Mar 94

(*) – deceased.


  • 31 officers
  • 387 enlisted


  • One LAMPS (Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System) Kaman SH-2


  • One Dual railed Mk 10 Mod 7 launcher for Terrier/Standard-ER SAM
  • Magazine capacity = 60 combined Terrier and ASROC)
  • Eight Harpoon SSM (Surface – surface missile)(2 quad canisters Mk 141)


  • One 5-inch 54-caliber Dual purpose Mk 42
  • Two 20-mm Phalanx CIWS (Close In WeaponsSystem) Mk 15 (2-multibarrel)
  • Two 3-inch 50-caliber single barreled (replaced by Harpoon – 1976)

ASW Weapons

  • ASROC launched from Mk 10 missile launcher
  • Two triple tube Mk 32 torpedo mounts (removed in mid 70’s)


  • SPS-10F Surface search (replaced by SPS-67 in 1991)
  • SPS-40 Air seach (replaced by SPS-49 in 1991)
  • SPS-48 3-D search


  • SQS-26BX bow mounted sonar

Fire Control

  • One MK 14 Weapons Direction System
  • One Mk 114 ASW Fire Control System
  • One Mk 76 Mod 9 missile fire control system using 2 SPG-55B radars
  • One Mk 68 Gun Fire Control System with SPG-53F radar (5″ gun)
  • Two Manual visual directors for 3″ 50 caliber guns

EW System

  • One SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare Suite
  • SLQ-25 Nixie towed torpedo decoy
  • Chaffroc – rocket deployed chaff dispensers

USS STERETT (CG 31) leaving port in 1989 by L. Burdek.  Watch video here.

USS STERETT (CG 31) PACEX ’89 by L. Burdek.  Watch video here.

Going on liberty in Olongapo City, R.P. in 1989.  Watch video here (See minute 11:55).

USS STERETT (CG 31) in the Persian Gulf January 1988.  Watch video here.

Read about CG-31 Search & Rescue Operations

September 1, 1983, Korean Airlines Flight 007 was shot down by Soviet interceptors.  The U.S. SEVENTH Fleet’s USS STERETT (CG 31) became the flagship of the US search and rescue/salvage Task Force 71.

On 30 June 1975, STERETT was reclassified as a guided missile cruiser—CG-31.  In October of that year STERETT was deployed to the Western Pacific serving in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin.  During this 8 month deployment STERETT visited the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Okinawa, Korea and Japan.  STERETT completed the WESTPAC tour in May or 1976 and returned to San Diego.  The remainder of 1976 and the first part of 1977 were spent on operations in the SOCAL area.

In March of 1977, following embarkation of Helicopter Anti-submarine Light Squadron (HSL-31), STERETT departed San Diego for Yokosuka, Japan.  On 11 March 1977 during transit, HSL-31’s Seasprite helicopter crashed at sea and LCDR Jeffrey Smith was lost at sea.  The rest of the crew were rescued.  Following visits to the Philippines, Indonesia and the Australia, STERETT was dispatched to Iran for operations with the Naval units of the Shah of Iran.  After returning to operations in the Indian Ocean, STERETT returned to San Diego in October of 1977.  The rest of 1977 was spent on upkeep and operations in the SOCAL area.

STERETT underwent a long maintenance availability from January through March of 1978 followed by refresher training (REFTRA).

From May 1978 to June Midshipmen embarked on STERETT for annual training.  In July, STERETT traveled up the west coast to Portland during the Rose Festival and Seattle for the SeaFair celebration.  In September of 1978, STERETT departed San Diego for operations in The Western Pacific and Indian Ocean.  On 7 December, STERETT was dispatched to the Gulf of Oman.  STERETT was stationed off the coast of Iran during the revolution that ultimately unseated the Shah of Iran and placed Ayatollah Khomeini in power.  STERETT remained on station until relieved on 14 Jan 1979.

In April of 1979, STERETT departed Subic Bay enroute to San Diego.  STERETT’s Tactical Data System equipment was removed in June and in July 1979, STERETT began a regular overhaul at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard.  The overhaul was completed in October of 1980, followed by sea trials, qualification trials and combat systems training.

In 1981 while home ported in San Diego, STERETT underwent refresher training in preparation for a homeport shift to Subic Bay in the Republic of the Philippines.  On 27 July 1981 STERETT departed for the Philippines.  This move would result in STERETT being forward deployed for 10 years before returning to San Diego in June of 1991.  This was the most time any US Navy ship had spent being forward deployed away from U.S. soil.  For those 10 years, STERETT served as flagship and conducted “Show the Flag” visits to ports throughout the Western Pacific as well as operation with friendly nations such as Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia.  Subic Bay and Japanese bases provided shipyard services for the ship and crew.

STERETT earned three Humanitarian awards for rescuing Vietnamese boat people escaping communist ruled Vietnam.  On June 10. 1982, STERETT rescued a boatload of 20 refugees who had been beset upon by pirates and left to drift.  Then on 20 July 1983, STERETT rescued a boatload of 127 refugees. The next day, 21 July, STERETT picked up a second boat with 92 people aboard.  All refugees were transported to Thailand for processing and medical care. Again in July of 1989 STERETT picked up 48 refugees at sea.

On 8 Sept 1983, STERETT served as flagship for CTF-71 during the search and salvage operations following the downing of Korean Airline flight KAL007 by Soviet forces.  STERETT spent 55 days on the scene and was confronted repeatedly by Soviet combatants.  STERETT was awarded the Korean Presidential Unit Citation for this action.

In June 1985, as part of the MIDWAY Battle Group, STERETT was dispatched to the North Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in support of the USS Midway Battle Group during unrest between Iran and Iraq.  She returned back to Subic Bay on 22 September and began SRA-3, which included the installation of two Phalanx 20mm Close-In Weapons Systems (CIWS) for protection from anti-ship missiles and high-speed, low level aircraft (reference b).

STERETT ran aground near Yeongil-Man Bay, Korea 21 June 1986 resulting in extensive damage to her sonar dome.  STERETT extracted herself without assist and returned under her own power to Subic Bay for repairs.  STERETT was in dry dock until mid-August of 1986.

STERETT returned to the North Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in November of 1987 operating with Battle Group Alpha, protecting shipping being threatened due to the Iran – Iraq war.  STERETT spent Christmas in Oman and was visited by Senator Edward Kennedy who was carrying a message of support from President Reagan.  STERETT remained in the Persian Gulf area until the middle of February of 1988.

In May of 1989 STERETT in accompaniment of USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) with Commander of U.S. Seventh Fleet embarked and USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) bound for an historic visit to Shanghai, China.  The three-day port visit, the first of its kind by U. S. warships in forty years, included a picnic held at the American Consulate, receptions held aboard USS Blue Ridge and STERETT and reciprocal ship visits.  Against the background of burgeoning pro-democracy demonstrations, the crew took advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the Chinese people and explore the city of Shanghai.

STERETT joined Battle Group Romeo in November of 1989 to escort the USS New Jersey (BB 62) in transit to the North Arabian Sea.  During Operation Desert Storm in 1991, STERETT remained in the Western Pacific conducting training and joint military exercises with U.S. and Korean units.

On 10 May 1991, STERETT set sail from Subic Bay for a home port change back to San Diego. Upon entering San Diego on 4 June 1991, STERETT was trailing a 400-foot homecoming pennant.

STERETT entered dry dock on 13 September at the Southwest Marine facility in San Diego. Engineering and habitability spaces received special attention but the major upgrade was Combat System upgrades and installation of the New Threat Upgrade (NTU) suite.  This was a major enhancement that replaced and/or upgraded all electronic systems, weapons systems and radars aboard the ship.  It was during this overhaul that crewmembers were notified that the CNO had authorized STERETT the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for recognition of STERETT’s participation in earthquake and typhoon disaster aid and for other acts of humanitarian aid to the Filipino population while home ported in Subic Bay.  STERETT completed post overhaul sea trials in October of 1992 and immediately commenced training and qualification trials.

In July of 1992, STERETT began a four and a half month deployment to the Caribbean in support of CENTAM/CARIB counter narcotics operations.  STERETT passed through the Panama Canal on 28 Sept 1993.  In October, STERETT was redirected to the waters off Haiti is support of “Operation Support Democracy.” During CENTAM/CARIB operations, STERETT was instrumental in the disruption of delivery of over 28,000 kilograms of cocaine.  STERETT ended the deployment with 58 friends and dependents on a “Tiger Cruise” from Mazatlan, Mexico, to San Diego.

STERETT’s last cruise before decommissioning was a dependents cruise in the SOCAL area on 8 January 1994.  STERETT was decommissioned and stricken from the Navy Register on 24 March 1994 at San Diego.  Transferred to the Maritime Administration 12 May of the same year, she was laid up at the Suisun Bay, CA, reserve pending disposal.  On 31 July 2005, ex-STERETT was sold to International Shipbreaking of Brownsville, Texas for dismantling and recycling.


(a) Transcribed by Michael Hansen from the DANFS and amended by Elden Miller (Date unknown).