MISSING THE SPRUCAN | Soldier of Fortune Magazine


Imagine, if you will, a vessel that could provide fire support, conduct anti-submarine warfare, launch Tomahawk cruise missiles at enemy targets, and could even fight a number of enemy surface vessels. It displaces about 9,100 tons, and could go 33 nautical miles per hour.

Sound like a useful asset? You’d probably say yes. Now, here is the part that will knock yoru socks off. The United States Navy actually had 31 of these vessels in service – and threw thirty of them away in the 2000s, some of which still had decades of life left.

Those vessels were the Spruance-class destroyers. The lead ship entered service in 1975, and would be less than forty years old. The youngest of these vessels, USS Hayler (DD 997), was only twenty years old when she was decommissioned, stricken, and sunk as a target.

via MISSING THE SPRUCAN | Soldier of Fortune Magazine.

I have a strong suspicion that the Navy deliberately let the SpruCans deteriorate in service, then quickly sank them (as opposed to selling them to friendly nations) to ensure that the DDG-51 Burke class would remain in high rate serial production. Having 31 capable destroyers would make it that much harder to buy 60+ Burkes.

4 thoughts on “MISSING THE SPRUCAN | Soldier of Fortune Magazine”

  1. I can’t comment on the reasons why they got to the point they were just before decom but I did a bilge inspection on the Spruance in one of the Aux spaces and found holes in the tank top. Instead of cutting out bad plate and welding in new plate we did patches with polysulphide. This was a year before she decom’d. Go figure.

  2. I remember reading comments about the early Spruances. “You could walk for an hour without seeing a weapon” or some such. They evolved nicely, tho still lacking some AAW.

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