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Photographic History of the United States Navy


Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign - NDKP

Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign - IRON FIST

\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. March 6 1978.
Launched May 1 1979 and commissioned May 31 1980.
Decommissioned February 28 2003.
Stricken April 6, 2004.
Fate Sunk as a target (SINKEX) August 23 2005 off the coast of Washington State..

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Fife 48kJames Fife was an experienced submariner and former naval observer in London. He was assigned as chief of staff to Submarine Squadron 2 in the Philippines just before war broke out. Leaving Manila after the destruction of the naval base at Serves Cavite, Fife subsequently left Corregidor with other submarine personnel on Seawolf, eventually making his way to Bandung. When Java fell, Fife escaped on a patrol aircraft, arriving at Fremantle in southwest Australia on 3 March 1942 to begin setting up a new submarine base. At about this time, Fife and his squadron commander, John Wilkes, prepared a report on submarine operations in southeast Asia for Admiral King. This report was highly insightful, identifying most of the weaknesses in the submarine force. The Wilkes-Fife report noted that something was wrong with the Mark XIV torpedo, suggesting that the torpedoes were running too deep and that the magnetic exploders might not be reliable -- both of which turned out to be the case. The H.O.R. engines used on many boats were fingered as unreliable and in need of replacement. Submarine silhouettes needed to be reduced by cutting down their conning towers. Onboard equipment needed to be quieter. The submarines needed better distillers, radar, and air conditioning. It had been discovered that the performance of prospective submarine commanders was impossible to predict or test except through actual command of a boat on war patrol, and the recommendation was made that a skipper should be given two patrols to prove himself or be relieved. Fife would later become notorious for his ruthlessness in relieving skippers. When Wilkes was rotated back to the US in early 1942, he was replaced by Charles Lockwood. Fife and Lockwood got along well, and Fife was directed by Lockwood to get to the bottom of the torpedo problem. On 20 June 1942, at about the time that Fife was given command of Submarine Squadron 2, he conducted the first of a series of tests at his Albany headquarters that confirmed that the torpedoes were running too deep. At the start of the war, submarine commanders were typically about 40 years old. Fife began assigning submarine commands to younger officers, and by the end of the war the average submarine commander was closer to 30 years old. Transferred to eastern Australia in September 1942, Fife was later send as "special representative" of Arthur Carpender MacArthur's naval commander, to MacArthur's forward headquarters at Port Moresby, effectively giving up his squadron. His actual role was to protect the security of Navy Ultra. Fife relieved Christie as Commander, Task Force 42, Brisbane, in late December. Here he built up a magnificent submarine base, which included rest camps built around two resort hotels. Among the high-spirited and heavy-drinking submarine crews, he gained a reputation as nondrinker and a strict disciplinarian. Blair describes him as a "strange, solitary, almost lonely figure." Believed that his commanders were too cautious, Fife began micromanaging his boats. Instead of letting the commanders use their own initiative in patrolling their areas, he moved his units like "checkers on a board' with the guidance of Ultra intelligence. In effect, he repeated the mistake of Doenitz in the Atlantic. The loss on 10 Jan 1943 of Argonaut, which really had no business making a regular war patrol, followed by the rapid loss of three fleet boats, prompted an informal investigation by McCann that exonerated Fife. Nevertheless, the controversy prompted Fife to offer his resignation to Carpender, which was refused. Fife had become a protege of MacArthur, and in turn he became a loyal member of "MacArthur's Navy." At the beginning of 1944, Fife was rotated to Washington to become a war planner on King's staff. Fife remained in close touch with Lockwood and helped nudge along his proposals to the Washington brass. In late 1944 Fife, now a rear admiral, returned to the Pacific to take command of all submarines in 7 Fleet. He was much less prone this time around to micromanage his commanders. Apparently he had learned a lesson. However, he went on patrol with Hardhead on 20 March 1945, a rather reckless stunt for a senior commander. Postwar Fife served as an assistant to the General Board and Joint Chiefs of Staff before becoming Commander, Submarines, Atlantic in 1948. He retired a year later, and died in 1975.Robert M. Cieri
Fife 168kUndated, location unknown.-
Fife 112kUndated, location unknown. Photo from "Twenty-First Century Warships" by Steve Crawford.Robert Hurst
Fife 90kUndated, location unknown.Tom Armstrong
Fife 93kUndated, location unknown.Tom Armstrong
Fife 98kUndated, location unknown.Tom Armstrong
Fife 94kUndated, location unknown.Tom Armstrong
Fife 80kUndated, location unknown.Tom Armstrong
Fife 197kUndated, in Melbourne, Australia.Chris Howell
Fife 215kUndated, in Melbourne, Australia.Chris Howell
Fife 64kFitting out at Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi, on 20 July 1979. They were the final two of the original thirty Spruance class destroyers ordered by the U.S. Navy, and were to be formally christened on the following day, 21 July. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.Fred Weiss
Fife 62kOff Point Loma, San Diego, CA in 1981. Postcard Copyright © Marine Photos, San Diego, CA.Mike Smolinski
Fife 97kDN-ST-85-00254. Quartermaster 3rd Class (QM3) Ray B. Ortega and Lieutenant J. W. Sweet, ship's navigator, man the chart table on the bridge of the destroyer USS FIFE (DD 991) during operations near Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. Photo by PH1 Dave MacLean, March 12 1982.Bill Gonyo
Fife 93kPhotographed while Fife was attached to Battle Group Echo (USS Ranger CV 61) on deployment from 1983 to 1984.Jerry Hays
Fife 122kDN-SC-84-04677. April 14 1983, an aerial starboard bow view of the destroyer USS Fife (DD 991), left, and the battleship USS New Jersey (BB 62) underway. The crew of the Fife is involved in a wash down operation. U.S. Navy Photo by PH2 D. Smith.Robert M. Cieri
Fife 54kDN-SC-85-00409. An aerial port quarter view of the destroyer USS FIFE (DD 991) returning to San Diego from a Western Pacific (WESTPAC) cruise with the aircraft carrier USS RANGER (CV 61). Photo by PHC O`CONNOR dated March 29 1984.-
Fife 51kUSS Leftwich (DD-984), USS Worden (CG-18) and USS Fife (DD-991) at Vancouver's 1986 EXPO 86 Worlds Fair.David Freeburn
Fife 33kVancouver, BC July 3 1986.Marc Piché
Fife 42kVancouver, BC July 3 1986.Marc Piché
Fife 33kVancouver, BC July 3 1986.Marc Piché
Fife 41kVancouver, BC July 3 1986.Marc Piché
Fife 60kFremantle, Australia November 10 1989.Marc Piché
Fife 73kAugust 8 1991, Persian Gulf, the British destroyer HMS Gloucester (D-96), foreground, comes alongside the combat stores ship USS Niagara Falls (AFS-3) for an underway replenishment as the destroyer USS Fife (DD-991) steams nearby during Operation Desert Storm. DVI photo.Fred Weiss
Fife 93kThe destroyer USS Fife (DD 991) was on scene at the crash of Alaskan Air Flight 261 to assist in search and rescue operations Jan. 31 through Feb 2 2002. This image is from 24 Aug. 1999 and shows the ship underway in Puget Sound. U.S. Navy photo.Fred Weiss
Fife 102kEverett, WA September 1998.Marc Piché
Fife 132kAugust 24 1999, the Spruance class destroyer USS Fife (DD 991) returns home from a day-to-day exercise. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class William R. Stearmer.Bill Gonyo
Fife 112k020621-N-1056B-001. At sea aboard USS Fife (DD 991), June 21 2002, Ensign Jesse Alvarez marks the position of a Colombian frigate from USS Fife while the two ships are off the Eastern Coast of South America participating in the 43rd annual UNITAS exercise. UNITAS is the largest multinational naval exercise conducted with naval forces from the U.S., the Caribbean Sea, and South and Central America. The exercise focuses on building multinational coalitions while promoting hemispheric defense and mutual cooperation. U.S. Navy photo by Lieutenant Corey Barker.Bill Gonyo
Fife 52kThe Pacific Ocean, Jun. 25, 2002. The destroyer USS Fife (DD 991) is the U.S. Task Group flagship for the Pacific phase of the 43rd annual UNITAS exercise conducted between June 27 and July 11 with naval forces from five nations off the coast of Chile. Fife's five-month deployment to the eastern Pacific Ocean for Counter-Drug Operations and the UNITAS exercise is the final deployment for the Spruance-class destroyer. It is scheduled to be decommissioned in February 2003. Fife is homeported in Everett, Wa. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Corey Barker. [020625-N-1056B-004]Fred Weiss
Fife 70kOff the coast of Comquimbo, Chile (Jul. 3, 2002), the guided missile destroyer USS Fife (DD 991) leaves to begin the Pacific Phase of the annual UNITAS exercise held in the waters near South America. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Shane T. McCoy.Fred Weiss
Fife 130kSouthern Pacific Ocean, July 5 2002, the Guided missile destroyer USS Fife (DD 991) fires a RIM-7 NATO "Sea Sparrow" surface-to-air missile during a UNITAS live-fire exercise conducted off the coast of Chile. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Shane T. McCoy.Fred Weiss
Fife 111k020706-N-6067M-001. Southeastern Pacific Ocean, July 5 2002, Operations Specialist Seaman Ja'Ida Davis mans a radar console aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Fife (DD 991) during the Pacific Phase of UNITAS. UNITAS (Latin for Unity) is an exercise which involves warships from six countries participating in ten days of intense wargames designed to build multinational coalitions while promoting hemispheric defense and mutual cooperation. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Shane T. McCoy.Bill Gonyo
Fife 193k020707-N-6967M-006. Southern Pacific Ocean, July 7 2002, Seaman Matthew Johnston (left) and Boatswain's Mate Petty Officer 3rd Class Lody Quinola (right) free the “pelican hook” anchor chain locking mechanism aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Fife (DD 991) during exercise UNITAS 2002. UNITAS (Latin for “unity”) is an exercise which involves warships from six countries participating in ten days of intense wargames designed to build multinational coalitions while promoting hemispheric defense and mutual cooperation. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Shane T. McCoy.Robert M. Cieri
Fife 53kInvitation to the Decommissioning Ceremony.Tom Armstrong
Fife 61k030228-N-6477M-191. Naval Station Everett, WA, February 28 2003, Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Derrick L. Paulding stands ready to sound bells for distinguished visitors arriving aboard USS Fife (DD 991) during the ship’s decommissioning ceremony. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Eli Jody Medellin.Bill Gonyo
Fife 140kA series of seven photos taken by PH1 (AW/SW/NAC) Keith DeVinney taken during SINKEX August 23 2005 in the Pacific. This image displays a hit by a MK 48 Torpedo.Joe Gardella
Fife 111kAs above. This image displays the hit by a MK 48 Torpedo.Joe Gardella
Fife 155kAs above. This image displays the Fife with her bow gone.Joe Gardella
Fife 152kAs above. This image displays the Fife after taking countless 5" projectiles.Joe Gardella
Fife 86kAs above. This image displays the Fife after taking a practice round that went completely through the ship. Close inspection of this photo will reveal a rush of water coming out from where the round passed near her bottom end.Joe Gardella
Fife 86kAs above. This image displays more of the 5" damage.Joe Gardella
Fife 68kAs above. This image displays the Fife as she begins to slip beneath the waves.Joe Gardella
Fife 76kShip's patchMike Smolinski
Fife 32kShip's patchMike Smolinski

USS FIFE DD-991 History
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 John Yale Schrader Jr.    May 31 1980 - Sep 26 1981

CDR William Stanley Ulrich    Sep 26 1981 - Sep 19 1983

CDR Lloyd Phillip Amborn    Sep 19 1983 - Jan 8 1986

CDR William Joseph Keating Jr.    Jan 8 1986 - Feb 26 1988

CDR Louis William Bauer Jr.    Feb 26 1988 - Jan 29 1990

CDR Curtis Allen Kemp    Jan 29 1990 - Feb 20 1992 (Later RADM)

CDR Daniel Thomas Vilotti    Feb 20 1992 - Feb 12 1994

CDR Edmund Tyler Wooldridge III    Feb 12 1994 - Feb 7 1996

CDR Andrew Brian Tamayo    Feb 7 1996 - Dec 15 1996

LCDR Phillip Raymond Kessler    Dec 15 1996 - Jan 24 1997

CDR Carl Andrew Carpenter    Jan 24 1997 - Sep 18 1998

CDR Steven Howard Huber    Sep 18 1998 - Apr 5 2000

CDR John Edward Field II    Apr 5 2000 - Oct 1 2001

CDR Fernandez Lewis (Frank) Ponds    Oct 1 2001 - Feb 28 2003 (Later RADM)

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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