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NavSource Online: Cruiser Photo Archive



Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Tango - Sierra - Golf

Patch image contributed by Mike Smolinski
Displacement 9,589 (FL) Tons, Dimensions, 565' 10" (oa) x 55' x 31' 6" (Max)
Armament 2 x 5"/54RF, 2 Twin Missile Launchers, (88 Missiles) 8 Harpoon SSM 4x2,
2 x 20mm Phalanx CIWS, 2 x 25mm Bushmaster mg. 6 x12.75" TT. 2 LAMPS Helos.
Machinery, 80,000 SHP; G.E. Gas Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 30+ Knots, Crew 370.
Operational and Building Data
Keel laid on 31 AUG 1984 by Bath Iron Works, ME
Launched 14 DEC 1985
Commissioned 22 AUG 1987
Decommissioned 16 DEC 2005
Stricken 16 DEC 2005
Fate: DLA awarded 15 December 2014 to ESCO Marine.
Scrapping completed 23 NOV 2011

Patch image contributed by Mike Smolinski

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Second Row - Navy Unit Commendation - Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation - Navy Battle "E" Ribbon (2)
Third Row - National Defense Service Medal (2) - Southwest Asia Service Medal (2) - Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Fourth Row - Armed Forces Service Medal - Humanitarian Service Medal - Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (6)
Fifth Row - Coast Guard Special Operations Ribbon (2) - Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)- Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)

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Thomas S. Gates

USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) Namesake

Thomas Gates was secretary of defense under President Eisenhower from December 2, 1959, to January 20, 1961. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where his father later became president, and joined his father's investment firm, Drexel and Company, as an associate. He later became a partner in the company. Gates joined the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1935 and was called up in April 1942 and sent to Quonset Point Air Intelligence School before being assigned to staff of CINCLANT, the Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Theater. While aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger, Gates was involved in the landings of American troops at Casablanca. In 1943, while serving on the aircraft carrier USS Monterey in the Pacific, he participated in the landings at Tarawa and Kwajalein Island, and from 1944 to 1945, he assisted in Operation Dragoon, a planned Allied invasion of France. He was discharged in October 1945 with the rank of commander and, in 1946, began work as director of Beaver Coal Corporation, becoming its vice president in 1948. On October 2, 1953, Gates returned to national service as undersecretary of the Navy (1953-1957), secretary of the Navy (1957-1959), and assistant secretary of defense (1959) before becoming the new secretary. For a time, President-elect Kennedy considered him as a possible secretary of defense. Gates would become president and director of Morgan Guaranty Trust upon his retirement from government in 1961. In 1976, President Ford, with whom he had served in the Navy, appointed him U.S. Liaison to China, with the rank of ambassador. Gates retired from the position in 1977 and died in 1983. His legacy lives on in the form of a naval cruiser, the USS Thomas S. Gates.

Bill Gonyo
Thomas S. Gates
173k Keel Laying ceremony at Bath Iron Works, 31 August 1984. Ron Reeves
Thomas S. Gates
437k Launching Booklet, 14 DEC 1985. Robert M. Cieri
Thomas S. Gates
310k Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) before her launching at the Bath Iron Works. Dale Hargrave
Thomas S. Gates
94k Mrs. Anne Gates, widow of Thomas Gates, christening the Thomas S. Gates (CG 51). Dale Hargrave
Thomas S. Gates
223k High speed run during Sea Trials. USN
Thomas S. Gates

USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51), at sea off the Maine coast during sea trials, 9-12 February 1987. Photograph by the shipbuilder, Bath Iron Works Corporation.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. Photo #: NH 106521-KN (color).

Robert Hurst
Thomas S. Gates
469k Commissioning Booklet, 22 August 1987. Robert M. Cieri
Thomas S. Gates
39k Commissioning ceremony, Philadelphia, PA, 22 August 1987. Ed Zajkowski
Thomas S. Gates 27k Small, starboard bow overhead. USN
Thomas S. Gates

The Aegis guided missile cruiser USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) and the guided missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59) ride at anchor in the harbor. To their left is the Soviet guided missile cruiser Slava in 1989.

US Navy Photo

Tommy Trampp
Thomas S. Gates

A port bow view of the guided missile cruiser USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) as it waits in the Great Bitter Lake to complete its transit of the Suez Canal, 15 September 1990. The ship is heading for the Red Sea to support Operation Desert Shield.

US Navy Photo #DN-ST-91-01490 by PH 3 Falkenhainer.

BMCS Richard Miller, USNR (Ret.)
Thomas S. Gates

Task Force 155 in the Red Sea during Operation Desert Storm, 9 February 1991. The ships are:
Left, Top to Bottom: USS San Jacinto (CG 56), USS Saratoga (CV 60), USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51).
Center, Top to Bottom: USS America (CV 66), USS Mississippi (CGN 40), USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67).
Right, Top to Bottom: USS Preble (DDG 46), USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), USS Normandy (CG 60), and USS William V. Pratt (DDG 44).

Bob Haner
Thomas S. Gates

USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) returns to Norfolk after its deployment to the Red Sea for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Location: Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia, 28 March 1991.

US Navy photo #DN-SC-91-06849 taken by JO2 Oscar Sosa.

Robert Hurst
Thomas S. Gates
291k Firing an SM2 missile from the stern launcher in 1992. Robert M. Cieri
Thomas S. Gates
336k Welcome Aboard booklet, circa 1993. Robert M. Cieri
Thomas S. Gates

A port bow view of the guided missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) and the guided missile cruiser USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) moored at the destroyer and submarine piers Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, 2 October 1993. Both ships are equipped with the Aegis radar system. Note the floating derrick YD 252 alongside Thomas S. Gates.

Photo by Don S. Montgomery, USN (Ret.). Photo ID: VIRIN: DN-SC-94-00027.

Robert M. Cieri
Thomas S. Gates 310k

The U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) anchors in Augusta Bay, Sicily on 26 JUL 1997 after participating in exercise INVITEX 97. INVITEX was the largest joint exercise of the year bringing 13,000 U.S. Navy and Marine Corps troops together with more than 3,000 allied forces during a mock conflict in the Mediterranean Sea.

U.S. Navy photo #970726-N-3335M-005 by photographer's Mate Airman Apprentice Tara D. Mikesell.

Bill Gonyo
Thomas S. Gates 297k At sea with the Guided missile Cruiser USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) North Atlantic 16 October 2002. as her crew members conduct a Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO) This operation is performed by specially trained personnel who board and inspect vessels to ensure they are in accordance with U.N. resolutions and to prevent transportation of illegal cargo. Steven A. Cardali
Thomas S. Gates 203k

An F/A-18 belonging to the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s elite flight demonstration team, performs a fly-by of the guided missile cruiser USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) during a Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO) and Vessel Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) team training exercise in the Gulf of Mexico -7 May 2003.

U.S. Navy photo by Gary Nichols.

Thomas S. Gates 600k

10 March 2004 - Sailors of the guided-missile cruiser USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) “man the rails” as the ship gets underway from its homeport at Naval Station Pascagoula. While deployed, the ship will take part in a variety of missions, including a circumnavigation of the South American continent. Gates' deployment will include counter-drug operations; port visits along the Eastern Atlantic seaboard and international exercises with South American Navies. Gates will be the visiting ship for the U.S. Naval Academy graduation and will also be the escort ship for the nation's newest aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) as it heads for its new homeport in San Diego.

U.S. Navy photo #040310-N-4397B-002 by Stacey Byington.

Bill Gonyo
Thomas S. Gates

USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) gets underway from Naval Station Pascagoula, Mississippi, 10 June 2005, in order to evade approaching Tropical Storm Arlene. Note that there is no hole for the Towed Array sonar like later CG-47 cruisers would have. Naval ships typically get underway prior to approaching tropical storms and hurricanes to prevent damage to the ship and its personnel.

U.S. Navy photo #050610-N-0000D-001 by Journalist 1st Class Kimberly DeJong.

Robert Hurst
Thomas S. Gates

Pacific Ocean, 11 July 2005 - An aerial bow on view of the guided missile cruiser USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) underway in the Pacific Ocean.

U.S. Navy photo #050711-N-4374S-001 by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Michael Sandberg

Robert M. Cieri
Thomas S. Gates

Pacific Ocean, 11 July 2005 - The guided missile cruiser USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51), center, underway along side the Chilean frigate Williams (FF 19) and Peruvian frigate Carvajal (FM 51) in the Pacific Ocean. Thomas S. Gates is part of a multinational naval and coast guard force from six nations conducting UNITAS 46-05 Pacific Phase off the coasts of Colombia. The Colombian Navy in this year’s UNITAS Pacific Phase hosts Ecuador, Panama, Peru and the United States. During the two-week exercise, participating units have the opportunity to train as unified force in all aspects of naval operations, from maritime interdiction to anti-submarine and electronic warfare. U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command sponsors UNITAS exercises with the objective to foster cooperation and develop interoperability among the navies of the region.

U.S. Navy photo #050711-N-4374S-005 by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Michael Sandberg

Robert M. Cieri
Thomas S. Gates

Pacific Ocean 13 July 2005 - The guided missile cruiser USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) fires a training round from an MK-45 5-inch/54 caliber lightweight gun during a live fire exercise in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Colombia, during UNITAS 46-50.

U.S. Navy photo #050713-N-4374S-001 by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Michael Sandberg

Robert M. Cieri
Thomas S. Gates

Caribbean Sea, 18 July 2005 - The guided missile cruiser USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) joins a formation of naval and coast guard units from the United States, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Panama during UNITAS 46-05. U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command sponsored UNITAS with the objective of increasing interoperability and fostering cooperation among naval forces in the region. During the two-week exercise in July, participating forces had the opportunity test their skills in areas such as anti-submarine warfare, air defense, maritime interdiction operations and surface gunnery.

U.S. Navy photo #050718-N-1159B-085 by Journalist 1st Class Brian Brannon

Robert M. Cieri
Thomas S. Gates

Panama City, Panama, 9 August 2005 - The guided missile cruiser USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) sails under the Bridge of the Americas, as it departs the port of Vasco Nunez de Balboa to conduct the at-sea portion of the PANAMAX 2005 exercise.

U.S. Air Force #050809-F-3177P-185 photo by Airman 1st Class Veronica Pierce

Robert M. Cieri
Thomas S. Gates

Caribbean Sea, 10 August 2005 - The U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51) is one of the several vessels participating in PANAMAX 2005. PANAMAX is a training exercise in defense of the Panama Canal involving 15 countries. The Panama Canal is critical to the free flow of trade and goods in the Western Hemisphere and the entire world. The region's economy and stability largely depend on the safe transport of several hundred million tons of cargo that transit through the canal every year.

U.S. Air Force photo #050810-F-4883S-031 by Tech. Sgt. Rick Sforza

Robert M. Cieri
Thomas S. Gates
152k The Ex-Thomas S. Gates date and location unknown. Ron Reeves
205k Ex-Yorktown and Ex-Thomas S. Gates moored at Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard in December 2010. Ron Reeves
3m Ex-Yorktown, Ex-Ticonderoga, and Ex-Thomas S. Gates moored at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Philadelphia. John Hummel

Commanding Officers
Name/Rank Class Final Rank Dates
Sutton, Robert, CAPT 1964 RADM 08/22/1987 - 09/03/1989
Giffin III, Henry Collins, CAPT 1967 VADM 09/03/1989 - 06/26/1991
Boyd, William L., (Chip), CAPT     06/26/1991 - 04/02/1993
Lewis, Billy Laroy, CAPT 1969   04/02/1993 - 01/11/1995
Barry, John Michael, CAPT 1971   01/11/1995 - 11/30/1996
Rosbolt, Paul K., CDR     11/30/1996 - 04/30/1998
Allen, Patrick Eugene, CDR     04/30/1998 - 12/04/1999
Bradford, James D., CDR     12/04/1999 - 06/29/2001
Eyer, Kevin Stewart, CDR     06/29/2001 - 02/14/2003
Rainer Jr., Richard Allen, CDR     02/14/2003 - 10/02/2004
Leonard, Joseph Jude, CDR 1986   10/02/2004 - 12/16/2005

(Courtesy of Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves - Photos courtesy of Bill Gonyo)

View This Vessels DANFS History Entry on the U.S. Navy Historical Center website.

Supplemental History Page: Sevastopol, The Ukraine, USSR visit, 4 - 8 August 1989
Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name:
E-mail: None

Note About Contacts

The contact listed, Was the contact at the time for this ship when located. If another person now is the contact, E-mail me and I will update this entry. These contacts are compiled from various sources over a long period of time and may or may not be correct. Every effort has been made to list the newest contact if more than one contact was found.

Additional Resources
Hazegray & Underway Cruiser Pages By Andrew Toppan.

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