USS Norfolk (DL-1)

The second USS Norfolk (DL-1) was the first destroyer leader of the United States Navy. Originally projected as a hunter-killer cruiser, she was in service until 1970.

USS Norfolk (DL-1)
Class Ship
Type Cruiser
Manufacturer New York Shipbuilding Corporation
Production Period 1949 - 1951
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1951
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
United States of America 1953 1970 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
New York Shipbuilding Corporation 1949 1951 1 View

As CLK-1 she was laid down 1 September 1949 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey, launched 29 December 1951, sponsored by Miss Betty King Duckworth, and commissioned 4 March 1953, Capt. Clarence Matheson Bowley in command.

The first major U.S. warship built after the construction boom of World War II, Norfolk was authorized in 1947 as an anti-submarine hunter killer ship which could operate under all weather conditions and would carry the latest radar, sonar, and other electronic devices. As a large destroyer leader designed on a light cruiser hull she could carry a greater variety of detection gear than a destroyer.

After her Caribbean shakedown cruise (February 1954), Norfolk was assigned to the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and between 1955 and 1957 served successively as flagship for Commander Destroyer Flotillas 2, 4, and 6. During 1956 and 1957 she acted as flagship for Commander Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet. In June 1957, Norfolk participated in the International Fleet Review as flagship for Admiral Jerauld Wright, Commander-in-Chief Atlantic Fleet and Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic.

A boiler on the ship blew up in later 1955.

By 1959 Norfolk?'?s eight 3 inch/50 caliber guns had been replaced by eight 3"/70 caliber guns and her 20 mm. battery had been removed. In 1960 the addition of an ASROC launcher enhanced her antisubmarine capabilities.

On 10 May 1960, an 83-foot Cuban vessel harassed Norfolk while she was patrolling the Florida Straits with The Sullivans in Cuban waters.

In Fall 1961 she took part in UNITAS II as flagship for Commander Cruiser Destroyer Flotilla 2. During the operation she performed ASW training exercises with the navies of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. Norfolk repeated this cruise over the next five years during which she served as flagship of Commander South Atlantic Forces except in 1962 when she was flagship for Commander Cruiser Destroyer Forces Atlantic Fleet.

Norfolk joined LANTFLEX 66 as flagship between 28 November and 16 December 1966. During this exercise she shadowed the Russian trawlers Repiter and Teodilit. She proved her antisubmarine capabilities again as flagship for Commander South Atlantic Forces during UNITAS VIII in Fall 1967.

Norfolk was assigned to Commander Middle East Force as flagship (17 April–15 October 1968). On this mission she visited Bahrain, French Somaliland, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia. Kenya, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Malagasy Republic, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Mexico, and Panama Canal Zone.

In October 1968 Norfolk returned to Norfolk where she decommissioned 15 January 1970 and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. By 1 September 1974, Norfolk was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register and sold for scrap.

Career (US)
Builder: New York Shipbuilding Corporation
Laid down: 1 September 1949
Launched: 29 December 1951
Commissioned: 4 March 1953
Decommissioned: 15 January 1970
Struck: 1 November 1973
Fate: Sold 22 August 1974 and scrapped
General characteristics
Displacement: 5,600 tons
Length: 540 ft (160 m)
Beam: 54 ft (16 m)
Draft: 26 ft (7.9 m)
Propulsion: steam turbines
Speed: 32 knots
Complement: 411
Sensors and
processing systems:
General characteristics 1951
Armament: 8 × 3 in / 50 caliber guns
16 × 20 mm AA guns
4 × Weapon Alpha ASW rocket launcher
8 × 21 in torpedo tubes
General characteristics 1960
Armament: 3 in / 50 guns replaced with 3 in / 70 guns
20 mm guns removed
ASROC launcher added

End notes