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NavSource Naval History
Photographic History of the United States Navy


Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign - NICK

Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign - BARE KNUCKLES

Displacement 7800 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 563' (oa) x 55' x 20' 6" (Max)
Armament 2 x 5"/54 RF (2x1), 1 Sea Sparrow SAM (1x8) ASROC ASW (1x8),
6 x 12.75" Mk 32 ASW TT (2x3). 1 Helicopter.
Machinery, 80,000 SHP; 4 LM 2500 Gas Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 30 Knots, Range 6000 NM@ 20 Knots, Crew 296.
Operational and Building Data
Laid down by Litton Ingalls, Pascagoula Miss. February 20 1976.
Launched November 29 1977 and commissioned May 12 1979.
Decommissioned December 18 2002.
Stricken April 6, 2004.
Fate Sunk as a target July 30, 2004.

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Size Image Description Contributed
James Nicholson

Samuel Nicholson

James William Augustus Nicholson


A family renowned in American naval history, five of whose members gave especially distinguished service in the Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. The first three, all sons of Joseph and Hannah Scott Nicholson, were born in Chestertown, Md.: James in 1737, Samuel in 1743, and John in 1756. James Nicholson served in the colonial Navy with the British in the assault on Havana in 1762, and was commissioned Captain in the Continental Navy 10 October 1776. He commanded Defense, Trumbull, and Virginia, and when blockaded at Baltimore, took his men to join Washington at Trenton to aid in that key victory. He died 2 September 1804 at his home in New York City. Samuel Nicholson was a Lieutenant in Bon Homme Richard under John Paul Jones; then, in command of Deane, captured three British sloops-of-war. Appointed Captain upon the reorganization of the Navy in 1794, he superintended the construction of frigate Constitution and commanded her during her first commission. He died at Charlestown, Mass., 29 December 1811. John Nicholson entered the Continental Navy as Lieutenant in October 1776 and the next month was promoted to Captain to command sloop Hornet. After the war he was active in public affairs in Maryland, where he died in the summer of 1844. In the next generation, John’s son William Carmichael Nicholson, born 1800 in Maryland, entered as a midshipman in 1812 and served in President under Stephen Decatur during the War of 1812. Commissioned Captain in 1855, he commanded steam frigate Roanoake from May 1861. Appointed Commodore on the Retired List in July 1862, he served a year on the Retiring Board. He died 25 July 1872 at the Naval Asylum, Philadelphia. In the third generation, Samuel’s grandson James William Augustus Nicholson, born 10 March 1821 in Dedham, Mass., carried on the family tradition, entering the Navy as a midshipman in February 1838. As a Lieutenant, he served in Vandalia in Commodore Matthew G. Perry’s Japanese Expedition (1853–55). During the Civil War he served in Pocahontas and Pensacola, and commanded Isaac Smith, Shamrock, Manhattan, and Mohongo. Commodore from August 1873 and Rear Admiral from October 1881, he commanded the European Station 16 September 1881 to February 1883. When the British bombarded Alexandria, Egypt, in 1882, he rescued the records of the American Consulate and took American and other refugees aboard his flagship, Lancaster. Commendation from the Navy Department and awards of gratitude from European governments followed. He retired 10 March 1883 and died at his home in New York 28 October 1887.Bill Gonyo
Nicholson 67kUndated, location unknown.Wendell Royce McLaughlin Jr
Nicholson 86kUndated, location unknown. Successful IUSW-21 VDS handling system sea trials aboard USN destroyer. The Spectrum designed and built LBVDS handling system completed two successful trials aboard US Navy vessels as part of NAVSEA/NUWC IUSW-21 sonar development program. Shown at right is the system installed aboard a DD-963 destroyer.Bill Gonyo
Nicholson 114kUndated, Ponta Delgada, Azores.Carlos Manuel Estrela
Nicholson 37kOff the coast of Mississippi just prior to her commissioning, probably April 1979. It was her "Acceptance Trials" and the photo shows the comissioning bunting on her upper deck rails.Dale Paul
Nicholson 179kAn Kaman SH-2F SeaSprite of Helicopter Light Anti-submarine Squadron 30 (HSL-30) preparing to land on the helicopter pad of the destroyer USS Nicholson (DD-982), on 1 Aug 1983. U.S. Navy photo by PH2 Wiggin. Photo # ID: DN-SC-87-08838.Robert Hurst
Nicholson 284kDN-SC-87-05128. Atlantic Ocean, April 4 1987, an aerial view of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), underway. Ike's escorts are, clockwise from upper left, the destroyer USS Comte De Grasse (DD 974), the frigate USS Garcia (FF 1040), and the destroyers USS John Hancock (DD 981) and USS Nicholson (DD 982).Robert M. Cieri
Nicholson 20kWalsoorden, The Netherlands May 5 1992.Marc Piché
Nicholson 54kAntwerp, Belgium May 5 1992.Marc Piché
Nicholson 32kAntwerp, Belgium May 5 1992.Marc Piché
Nicholson 114kThe USS Nicholson (DD 982) maneuvers across the bow of three Canadian destroyers as they steam in formation off the coast of Florida on March 23, 1996. The ships are part of an armada from seven NATO nations participating in Exercise Unified Spirit '96. The combined exercise is designed to improve the readiness and effectiveness of NATO forces in the areas of command communication, embargo enforcement, freedom of navigation and protection and coordination with mine warfare forces. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Rosser, U.S. Navy. 960323-N-6240R-004.Bill Gonyo
Nicholson 52kNorfolk July 24 1998.Marc Piché
Nicholson 66kPortsmouth, VA July 24 1998.Marc Piché
Nicholson 61kPortsmouth, VA July 24 1998.Marc Piché
Nicholson 58kAs the sun goes down, the destroyer USS Nicholson (DD 982) prepares to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles on Iraqi targets. Nicholson is currently on a scheduled six-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Fox. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Todd Cichonowicz. [981218-N-8492C-501] Dec. 18, 1998.Fred Weiss
Nicholson 99kDN-SC-02-10107, 000513-N-4912M-013. A port bow view of the USS NICHOLSON (DD 982) docked at its pier shortly after her decommissioning in Norfolk. Photo by Don Montgomery, May 13 2000.Bill Gonyo
Nicholson 86kThe Atlantic Ocean, Jan. 20, 2001, the Spruance-class destroyer USS Nicholson (DD 982) makes her approach to USS Enterprise (CVN 65) in preparation for an underway replenishment. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Apprentice Robert A. Wood. [010120-N-5469W-006] Jan. 20, 2001.Fred Weiss
Nicholson 117kThe Atlantic Ocean, Jan. 20, 2001, a Gunner's Mate aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65) prepares to fire a shotline over to USS Nicholson (DD 982) at the beginning of a replenishment at sea (RAS) operation. From a small nylon line, larger and larger lines are hauled across between the two ships until the line can support the refueling rigs. The two ships maintain course and speed, separated by less than 150 feet. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Martin Maddock. [010120-N-0872M-503] Jan. 20, 2001.Fred Weiss
Nicholson 85kAt sea with the Enterprise battle group, Sept. 24, 2001, USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) leads a formation of ships in a series of close ship maneuvers. With John Paul Jones are USS Nicholson (DD 982), USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and USS O'Brien (DD 975). U. S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Joshua J. Pina. [010924-N-6562P-001] Sept. 24, 2001.Fabio Peña
McFaul 79kUSS Nicholson DD 982 and USS McFaul DDG 74 in Gibraltar on 29th November 2001. © Daniel Ferro
Nicholson 71kUSS Nicholson DD 982 leaving Gibraltar on 30th November 2001.© Daniel Ferro
Nicholson 106kUSS Nicholson shortly after her decommissioning.Bill Gonyo
Nicholson 87kShip's patch.Mike Smolinski
Nicholson 200kShip's flag of the destroyer USS Nicholson (DD-982). This was probably an unofficial flag flown only at sea. Collection of Curator Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command photo # 2002-88-32.Robert Hurst

Note: History is unavailable at this time
This ship was built too late to be covered by the DANFS project

Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves

CDR Wesley Earl Jordan Jr.    May 12 1979 - Jun 18 1981 (Later RADM)

CDR Miles Augustus Libbey III    Jun 18 1981 - Dec 26 1982

CDR Michael Howard Loy    Dec 26 1982 - Jan 24 1983

CDR Robert Drake Jones    Jan 24 1983 - May 17 1984

CDR James Michael Lopacinski    May 17 1984 - Jul 24 1986

CDR John Prescott Morse    Jul 24 1986 - Dec 16 1988

CDR James Elliott Booth    Dec 16 1988 - Jan 18 1991

CDR Steven Kenneth Johnson    Jan 18 1991 - Sep 6 1992

CDR Lawrence Meriwether Jones Jr.    Sep 6 1992 - Jun 9 1994

CDR Paul Eugene Stanton    Jun 9 1994 - Mar 16 1996

CDR Craig Ellis Langman    Mar 16 1996 - Nov 22 1997

CDR Alexander Lewis Urrutia    Nov 22 1997 - Jun 19 1999

CDR James Buchanan Brinkman    Jun 19 1999 - Nov 20 2000

CDR Kenneth Joseph Harvey    Nov 20 2000 - Dec 18 2002

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
Tin Can Sailors Website
Destroyer History Foundation
Destroyers Online Website
Official U.S.Navy Destroyer Website

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