The USS Richard L. Page was the fifth ship in the Brooke class of guided missile frigates. She was named in honor of Richard L. Page, who served as an officer in the navies of the United States and the Confederacy.
The order to build the Richard L. Page was awarded to the Bath Iron Works Corp. of Bath, Maine on May 24, 1963. Her keel was laid on Jan. 4, 1965; she was launched on April 4, 1966. She was commissioned on Aug. 5, 1967, with Commander Milton Schultz Jr. in command and served in the Atlantic Fleet.
The Richard L. Page was originally homeported in Newport, R.I. and conducted operations in the Western Atlantic until the fall of 1968, when she was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea for the first time. In 1970, she made her first cruise to the North Atlantic and received the Navy Unit Citation later that year.
She would spend all of 1971 and a large portion of the following year in drydock at Newport undergoing an overhaul, then was ordered to the Mediterranean to join the 6th Fleet on a prolonged deployment. For the better part of the next three years, the Richard L. Page’s homeport would be Athens, Greece.
In 1973, hostility in the Middle East reached high levels with the Yom Kippur War between Israel and several Arab states in October. The war nearly brought the United States and Soviet Union into armed confrontation, and the Richard L. Page was deployed in the Mediterranean in close proximity to ships of the Soviet Navy. Eventually, tempers cooled and no military action was required.
The Richard L. Page would receive two Battle Efficiency “E”s for outstanding combat preparedness during her career. They were awarded in 1977 and 1979, respectively.
The Richard L. Page was deployed to the Middle East in 1979 as part of a task force intended to pressure Iran after radicals stormed the U.S. Embassy and seized American hostages. She would spend most of March and April in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. In 1983-84, she would be sent several times to the coast of Lebanon as part of a multi-national peacekeeping force after the Israeli invasion of that nation added to sectarian violence. The peacekeepers, largely in the capital of Beirut, became targets themselves and the Richard L. Page took part in a number of ground support missions against enemy targets in the city and the surrounding hillside. She would win the Meritorious Unit Commendation during this period.
The Richard L. Page was decommissioned on Sept. 30, 1988 and was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on Jan. 12, 1994. She was later sold for scrap.
Characteristics of the USS Richard L. Page (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Class and type: Brooke class frigate
Displacement: 5,400 tons
Length: 390 feet
Beam: 44 feet
Draft: 14 ft 6 in (4.4 m)
Propulsion: 2 Foster-Wheeler boilers, 1 Westinghouse geared turbine
Speed: 27.2 knots (50.4 km/h)
Range: 4,000 nautical miles (7,000 km)
Complement: 14 officers, 214 crew
Sensors and processing systems:
AN/SPS-52 3D air search radar
AN/SPS-10 surface search radar
AN/SPG-51 missile fire control radar
AN/SQS-26 bow mounted sonar
Electronic warfare and decoys:
1×5″/38 caliber gun
1x Mk 22 RIM-24 Tartar/RIM-66 Standard missile launcher (16 missiles)
1×8 cell ASROC launcher
2×3 12.75 in (324mm) Mk 32 torpedo tubes, Mk 46 torpedoes
2 x MK 37 torpedo tubes (fixed, stern, removed later)
Aircraft carried: SH-2 Seasprite
Ordered: May 24, 1963
Builder: Bath Iron Works
Laid down: 4 January 1965
Launched: 4 April 1966
Acquired: July 27, 1967
Commissioned: 5 August 1967
Decommissioned: 30 September 1988
Struck: 12 January 1994
Fate: Disposed of by Navy title transfer to the Maritime Administration, March 28, 1994
May 1963: USS Richard L. Page ordered
January 1965: Keel of USS Richard L. Page laid
April 1966: USS Richard L. Page launched
August 1967: USS Richard L. Page commissioned
1972—1975: USS Richard L. Page homeported in Athens, Greece
1983—84: USS Richard L. Page serves off the coast of Lebanon and wins Meritorious Unit Commendation
September 1988: USS Richard L. Page decommissioned
Crewmembers of the USS Richard L. Page:
An unofficial list of crew members that served on the USS Richard L. Page can be found on the unofficial navy website at: http://navysite.de. This list is compiled by former crewmembers that voluntarily register. Some quoted comments from former crewmembers are listed below; many more are available on the source website at the following Web address:
Parke Manuel (served December 1973—June 1975): “The first of what would be 5 ships for me. One of the most memorable assignments of my life. Fantastic Crew, great Port Visits. Remember the “you just been single screwed” flag we would hoist as we broke away. We were the “Best DEG”
Phil Mininni (served December 1974—August 1977): “I loved it when home ported in Greece. Had a great time in Philly for overhaul. Absolutely dreaded 7.5 month Med cruise.”
Richard Horner (served August 1974—January 1978): “Forward deployed in Elefsis with Desron 12. Lots of long port visits in Med during fuel shortages of 74. Homeward bound cruise in 1975 from Las Palmas, Grand Canaries to San Juan without refueling.”