17 February 1968, BADGER (DE-1071) was laid down at San Pedro, California, by Todd Shipyards, Inc.; launched on 7 December 1968; sponsored by Mrs. Oscar C. Badger; and commissioned at Long Beach, California, on 1 December 1970, Comdr. William L. Britton in command.
January 1971, BADGER completed fitting out at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard in and then spent most of the spring engaged in tests and shakedown training. She completed final contract trials in May and, the following month, entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for post-shakedown availability. During that availability, she received extensive modifications including the addition of a basic point defense missile system (BPDMS) and of an independent variable depth sonar system. Because of those changes, BADGER underwent a post-shakedown availability that lasted until mid-November.
Click "here" to view USS Badger's Command Highlights for 1972 in PDF format!
03 January 1972, only a little more than one month after her first birthday, the BADGER steamed to San Diego to commence her first underway refresher training period. A one week Training and Readiness Evaluation (TRE) preceded a five week underway period of intensive exercises and drills in all aspects of shipboard operations. This training culminated in a Final Battle Problem on Friday, 11 February, after which BADGER returned to Long Beach (here home port at that time) with a weary but proficient crew. At that time no one envisioned how the intensity of the training would pale against the sustained high tempo of a six and one-half month combat deployment to the Western Pacific.
Upon return to Long Beach, BADGER commenced preparation for overseas movement (POM). While some individuals were able to take limited leave to handle personal affairs, the ship honed gunnery and HIFR skills in the Southern California oparseas. A complete ammunition loadout was accomplished Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station on 29 February, stores and consumables were stocked, and all preparations were completed for getting underway.
16 March 1972, BADGER took in all lines and smartly departed her homeport of Long Beach, California for the independent transit to Pearl Harbor, Hawaiian Islands. Arriving in Pearl Harbor on Thursday, 23 March, BADGER's layover was only long enough to permit refueling, offloading two ASW exercise weapons, and attendance at several CINCPACTFLT pre-deployment briefings.
25 March 1972, BADGER (CTU 15.8.6) departed Pearl Harbor in the company of the USS BENJAMIN STODDERT (DDG-22) en route to Midway Island where, following a five hour refueling stop on 28 March, both ships were underway for Guam and a second refueling on 4 April. On 2 APril the ships crossed the International Date Line, and the Commanding Officer of BADGER assumed CTU 70.0.6. The radio broadcasts were upgraded to Top Secret and the ship hummed with speculation about the days ahead. After a hurried refueling in Guam the ships were underway for Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. Prior to the necessity of the early arrival in Subic Bay, the days of transit had been replete with signal drills and OOD and station-keeping training with the guide of the formation changing every two hours. However, after refueling in Guam the ship's sole purpose was to arrive in Subic at the earliest opportunity.
06 April 1972, BADGER and STODDERT entered the San Bernardino Straits and moored in Subic on 7 April after utilizing the Grande Island ULM-4 range. Although the command anticipated a layover of several days to affect minor post-transit repairs, orders were received that evening for BADGER to load additional ammunition and depart Subic as soon as possible. The installation of a secure voice communication system (KY-8) and two .50 caliber machine gun mounts was expedited, and the next morning BADGER moved to an ammunition anchorage to load projectiles and powders to beyond what had been considered full capacity. That evening BADGER departed Subic en route to Da Nag Harbor, Republic of Vietnam, where ABS newsmen were embarked and crew members first tasted what was to become a familiar environment. Mine watches were armed with M1 rifles and stationed at commanding positions about the ships, as a commercial transport had only a few days earlier suffered and underwater explosion and the USS JOHN R. CRAIG (DD-885) was seen to be visibly damaged and listing from a similar experience. Four hours later the ship departed with dispatch for the area of the northern gun line, just off the Cua Viet River and south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ), and assignment with CTG 70.8.9.
11 April 1972 at 0008, BADGER fired the first of over 6,000 combat rounds from a single barrel 5"/54 MOD 9 rapid fire gunmount. This commenced many days of naval gunfire support operations, interspersed almost daily with replenishments of stores, fuel or ammunition.
Click "here" to view NARA (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) records reflecting Gunfire Support provided by USS Badger during the Vietnamese conflict between April and August of 1972.
13 April 1972, BADGER received her first counter-battery, resulting in the eventual receipt of the Combat Action Ribbon for all hands. Yet the counter-battery of greatest accuracy was received on 15 April and coincided with a foul bore, hot gun casualty. Air and surface bursts were taken close aboard, but negligible damage was sustained. Shrapnel was removed, however, from the ASROC launcher and about the decks and submitted for analysis. Later that day BADGER departed for Da Nang to debark media personnel and receive a new gun barrel from the USS HECTOR (AR-7). On 16 April the ship was directed to offload several ASROC weapons to the USS SAMUEL GOMPERS (AD-37), following which BADGER returned to the gun line.
19 April 1972, BADGER was detached from CTG 70.8.9 and proceeded to planeguard duties with the USS CONSTELLATION (CVA-64), CTG 77.4 This assignment commenced almost a full month of sustained two-boiler, high speed Yankee Station escort duties. Commanding Officer, USS BADGER (DE-1071) assumed duties as CTU 77.4.2. WHile the opportunity for weather-deck maintenance was minimal, the ship was able to embark upon a vigorous program of OOD/JOOD training. During this period CTG 7.4 was subject to the frequent surveillance of a Soviet AGI, something for which the intelligence team had been prepared by pre-deployment briefings and a similar encounter outside Guam.
"The NVN had a gun emplacement dug in at the southern side of the mouth of the Song Ca River. They could take radar bearings, confirmed visually sometimes, and cross them with bearings from a site in the vicinity of Tiger Island/Dong Hoi north of the DMZ: both were shined frequently and so didn't offer much warning. When they had a good plot (after all the ships on the gunline maintained a steady course & low speed for the fire control solution) they would stick their heads up and bang away.
As a matter of interest all the ships on the gunline in the vicinity were being harassed and VNAF & USN aircraft from several locations ran several strikes on the gun without any lasting effect. Finally the B-52s from Anderson on Guam were sent in one night: we didn't know they were coming and saw nothing on the radar, but the whole area just blew up again and again as the strings were walked across the emplacement area. I was on the wing of the bridge about 5000 yards from the target area, and my shirtsleeves flapped in the blasts. Don't know if the gunners were killed or scared into the next county, but nothing was heard from it thereafter." –Capt. Bill Britton (1970-1972)
"It was the mid-watch and I had the con on the bridge. We had a whole list of H&I targets to fire on that night. We were right up by the DMZ if I recall. And we were steaming at minimum speed so that the fire control solution would be right on. For that operation we would fire 3 rounds per target per hour. We were halfway through our list of targets when the gun fouled. Of course the gun was hot so we had to immediately get rid of the round or cool the gun down. Charlie had a gun battery somewhere over on the beach, and; I am sure [Charlie] knew exactly what we were doing. He would count 3 shells, then a small wait while we re-aimed, then fire 3 more rounds. When we stopped after one or two, even he could figure out that something must be wrong. On the bridge I was trying to ensure that we were going through the proper hot gun procedures. We could not clear the round so the damage control team was ordered onto the bow to cool down the gun. They no sooner got into position when I saw the flash of the shore battery. That's when I called down to main control and told them to "give me all you got" because we were being fired on. I swung the ship away from the beach and started to make a run for it. Thank God for your immediate response. I do believe that the old Badger jumped out of the water she took off so fast. I ran a zigzag course away from the beach while we were taking fire. Engine room personnel told me they heard shrapnel hitting the hull. In the morning they found an intact 5" base ring on the starboard wing of the bridge." –Ed Morgan, Chief Engineer (1970-1972)
"Keep in mind that the North Vietnamese Army didn't have base-detonating shells for their 133-MM guns. The base detonating shell is the best type to use against ships as it penetrates the hull before the fuse, mounted in the base of the shell, detonates and causes internal damage to the ship. The fuses the NVA had were point detonating, or mounted in the nose of the shell, and were best used as air-bursts by using a time fuse. If the shell actually hit the ship, the fuse in the nose would detonate before penetrating the hull and only cause superficial damage. By using the fuse timer, they could set the shell to explode above and around the ship, damaging all topside fixtures (radar, etc.) topside personnel (lookouts, etc.) and maybe knock out our gun.
Ed Morgan, Badger's Chief Engineer at the time and a Naval Academy graduate fresh from a one-year tour in Vietnam in river gunboats, saved our rear-ends that night. He knew exactly how to throw off the enemy fire; and, by the time Captain Britton got to the bridge it was over. The collateral damage was the loss of the wind speed gizmo on the starboard yards arm, the hole in the ASROC launcher and a large dent in Badger's aluminum superstructure on the starboard side of the 01 level beneath the bridge." –John Hudson, BTCS USN (Ret.) (1970-1974)
Another incident that occurred in early 1972 between the Badger and an NVA tank is summarized below.
"The Badger was on a Naval gunfire support mission up at the DMZ along with what seemed to be the entire Seventh Fleet. As the H&I (Harassment and Interdiction) missions occurred mostly at night the daylight hours often proved to be long and boring.
There were so many ships at the DMZ that operating areas or what I termed "parking spaces" had to be assigned. These were so small you had to constantly work to remain in your assigned area. Our "parking space" was close to the beach. It almost seemed like I could throw a rock and hit the sand. It was a beautiful beach with large sand dunes immediately behind the shoreline. It was a hot, clear morning and I had the deck and the con. The ship was on a modified alert status with the fire control radar manned, which as you know, was directly above the bridge. In order to keep your maneuvering down to a minimum, ODs would adjust their course and speed to mirror the set and drift of the current thereby making the ship appear to be stationary. On the bridge we were monitoring at least two Army frequencies in addition to our regular communications. Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw a movement. Turning toward the beach I saw nothing irregular. Shortly thereafter one of the Army frequencies began to talk about incoming fire. They were trying to determine where it was coming from. A few minutes later I again saw a movement coming from the same area. I contacted the fire control radar and asked if they saw anything on the beach in the dunes since they were higher than me. I was told that they believed that there was a tank on shore. Needless to say this prompted immediate action. I called the CO and he came to the bridge. After informing him of the situation we checked with friendlies in the area and went to GQ. Insuring that this was indeed an enemy tank we prepared to fire. Apparently the tank crew was alerted and began to make a run for it across the dunes. The Badger opened up with our 5" 54 and the rounds began to straddle the tank. Apparently an offset of some kind was set into the fire control computer of which we were unaware, and the tank looked like it would make a clean getaway. Then, after readjustment, and as the tank was reaching the last sand dune the Badger scored a direct hit. Scratch one NVA battle tank!
Later a helo flew over the site to verify the kill. I can't tell you how relieved I was to see the tank run instead of pull up on the sand dune and fire at the ship. I know how accurate and deadly a tank can be at those short distances." –Ed Morgan, Chief Engineer (1970-1972)
17 May 1972, BADGER relieved as CTU 77.4.2 by the USS ALBERT DAVID (DE-1050), and after refueling with the USS KANSAS CITY (AOR-3) proceeded independently to Sasebo, Japan -- BADGER's first liberty port in almost two months. On 22 May the ship moored alongside the USS LOCKWOOD (DE-1064) at Commander, Fleet Activities pier I-7, commencing an availability with the USS HECTOR (AR-7) and some genuinely outstanding liberty. The shopping spree began almost immediately!
29 May 1972, BADGER departed Sasebo for duties with the USS STERETT (DLG-31), CTU 77.0.4, on the Middle SAR Station in the Gulf of Tonkin. Her short lived escort duties provided an opportunity for ship-handling training as STERETT promulgated an ambitious schedule of leap-frog drills and flag hoist exercises.
BADGER was relieved by the USS DAVIDSON (DE-1045) on 6 June and detached to join the USS TICONDEROGA (CVS-14) and CTG 70.4, Commander, ASW Group Three. For approximately three weeks (8-26 June) the ship participated in anti-submarine sweeps of the South China Sea in company with the USS HEPBURN (DE-1055) with Commander, Destroyer Squadron 23 embarked as CTU 70.4.2, the USS MARVIN SHIELDS (DE-1066), and a succession of missile/planeguard units assigned to escort TICONDEROGA. During this period of extended ASW operations, TU 70.4.2 received outstanding air support from TICONDEROGA, and BADGER's HIFR detail and Supply Department eared special recognition from HC-8 for superior performance and service.
It was not until 26 June that BADGER was detached from TG 70.4 and again assigned duties with TG 70.8.9 in the vicinity of Point Allison. Four days later, on 30 June, during a rearming with the USS MT. KATMAI (AE-16), the prospective commanding officer, Commander Robert Stephen MALONE, USN, was high-lined aboard BADGER along with prospective supply officer, LT Harry W. BYRD, SC, USN.The arrival of these two officers inaugurated a substantial change in the BADGER wardroom which by the completion of the deployment resulted in the departure and replacement of six of the original officers and the addition of two officers. BADGER's first change of command was conducted on the gunline on 3 July, and later that same day CDR BRITTON departed the ship with LT KALBFLEISCH via helicopter.
07 July 1972, BADGER was relieved of the gunline duties by the USS DAVIDSON (DE-1045) and proceeded to planeguard duties with the USS MIDWAY (CVA-41) and CTG 77.3, COMCARDIV ONE, en route to Subic Bay, where BADGER moored alongside the USS GRAY (DE-1054) on 8 July. SUbic Bay upkeep periods such as these were exhausting. Transpiring during the monsoon season, topside work was often impossible and all hands were frequently employed in shirting berths. Two week's work was as a matter of necessity compressed into a single week.
Once again assigned duties with TG 70.8.9, BADGER was underway for the gunline on 17 July. Arriving on 19 July, the ship was detached just six days later to relieve the USS EVERSOLE (DD-798) at Point Diane. On 26 July the assignment was modified directing assignment to TU 70.8.2 in Military Region II, where the ship joined the USS EDWARDS (DD-950), USS PROVIDENCE (CLG-6), USS DAVIS (DD-937), USS BERKLEY (DDG-15) and USS STRAUSS (DDG-16). During this period BADGER provided gunfire support for the Twenty-Second Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam in a manner which resulted in a decoration of the Commanding OFficer with the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with the Silver Star.
08 August 1972, BADGER was detached to return to duties with CTG 70.8.9 in the vicinity of Point Angela. Arriving on 9 August the ship was assigned a water-borne logistics craft (WBLC) patrol station at the northern end of the gunline. These duties terminated with reassignment on 12 August to relieve the USS WORDEN (DLG-18) and resume planeguard duties with the USS MIDWAY (CVA-41) en route to Subic Bay. The ships moored in Subic Bay on 14 August and departed for Hong Kong the following day. On 17 August BADGER moored to buoy three in Hong Kong Harbor, British Crown Colony. While the ship proudly displayed her battle scars, the sides were soon repainted by local artisans. The one week respite in Hong Kong proved to be the highlight of the deployment. A handful of married men met their wives, and accumulate pay was spent in a flurry.
23 August 1972, TU 77.3 was gain underway for Subic Bay, although en route BADGER was relieved by the USS LANG (DE-1060_ in order to proceed into Subic independently. BADGER arrived in Subic on 24 August and moored alongside the USS GLENNON (DD-840). WHile only a modicum of work could be accomplished due to the ubiquitous rain, the in-port period did permit the crew to attend a presentation by Admiral ZUMWALT and afforded RADM Mark W. WOODS, having newly assumed command of the Cruiser-Destroyer Froze, United States Pacific FLeet, the opportunity to visit the ship.
30 August 1972, BADGER departed Subic Bay for Military Region I. On 31 August these orders were changed directing assignment to the middle SAR station and escort duties with the USS LONG BEACH (CGN-9) (CTU 77.0.4). BADGER relieved the USS HEPBRUN (DE-1055) on 1 September, and on 2 September all TF 77 unites assumed storm evasion stations to escape Typhoon Elsie. On 3 September the LONG BEACH was relieved by the USS GRIDLEY (DLG-21) and three days later BADGER was relieved by the USS RATHBRUNE (DE-1057) to proceed with surveillance of a Chinese Communist merchant ship. BADGER returned to GRIDLEY later that same day and continued a period of which lent itself to ship handling training and an opportunity for the ship's AIC to transfer to GRIDLEY for numerous intercepts. On 9 September BADGER was again tasked with shadowing a Chinese merchant ship, and on 10 September the ship was relieve by the USS HEPBRUN (DE-1055) and proceeded to escort duties with the USS HANCOCK (CVA-19), CUT 77., relieving the USS MEYERCORD (DE-1058_ on 11 September. TU 77.5 continued to operate on Yankee Station until 14 September, at which time the ships proceeded south and HANCOCK delivered her final air strikes of the war while exiting the Gulf of Tonkin en route to Subic Bay. During this time a very successful personnel exchange program was conducted. BADGER crew members found the brief period to be an eye opening experience, underlining the greatly improved habitability of newer ships and the spirit of comraderie that characterizes destroyers but is so difficult to generate in the larger combatants.
15 September 1972, BADGER heaved to at the Subic Bay ammunition anchorage, offloaded ammunition in scarce supply and accepted surplus odd-lot rounds for transport to CONUS. BADGER then proceeded into port, mooring outboard the HMS LINCOLN. On 19 September the ship got underway for Yokosuka, Japan, as escort for the HANCOCK. The ships arrived on 22 September and departed for home the following day as TU 70.0.7. While the original trip to Subic Bay was interrupted by refueling stops in PEarl Harbor, Midway, and Guam during the great-circle transit to CONUS, BADGER refueled once from the USS KAWISHIWI (AO-145) and once from the HANCOCK, thereby alleviating the necessity for any intermediate port stops. A customs inspection was accomplished by United States customs officials riding HANCOCK and transferred to BADGER by helicopter. The return home was gainfully employed in the daily exercise of sectional in-port emergency and security teams and a vigorous program of quarterdeck watch indoctrination.
26 September 1972, TU 70.0.7 outchopped from the auspices of Commander U.S. Seventh FLeet and was redesignated TU 17.4.
02 October 1972, HANCOCK aircraft commenced their flyoff to NAS Alameda, upon completion of which BADGER was detached to proceed independently to Long Beach. Channel fever struck BADGER in epidemic proportions.
BADGER's maiden deployment ended at 1004 on 4 October 1972, when with all hands at quarters the ship moored at Pier 15 on the Mole, Long Beach Naval Station. Upon arrival BADGER embarked upon a most welcome leave/upkeep period. Weather deck maintenance was doggedly pursued, and a detailed post-deployment work package was commenced in an availability with the USS HECTOR (AR-7). Planning also started for an extensive restricted availability, the location of which would not be known until two weeks into 1973. BADGER was scheduled for a Navy Distillate (ND) and LIght Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) conversions, the flagship berthing accommodation mod and a major post-deployment work package. This period was also used to plan/schedule formal school training for all rates. The extensive planning and coordination so essential to these endeavors was to bear fruit in the New Year.
18 May 1973, BADGER completed those modifications and put to sea for trials and single ship exercises in the southern California operating area. Normal west coast operations out of Long Beach occupied her time until 9 July, the day she got underway for her new home port, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She was the first ship of the squadron to shift homeport from Long Beach, California to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The warship made the voyage in six days, entering Pearl on 14 July. Training in the Hawaiian operating area occupied her until early September. On 11 September, BADGER put to sea to participate in the four-nation Exercise RIMPAC '73. However, a material casualty to her evaporators forced her to return to port for repairs on the 15th. She was back at sea the following afternoon; rejoined the exercise; and, following its conclusion, returned to Pearl on 21 September. Three days later, she set sail for Long Beach and arrived there on 1 October. The ship's crew then enjoyed a 16-day liberty call.
17 October 1973, BADGER departed for her second deployment. She rendezvoused with the attack carrier Oriskany (CVA-34) to form Task Group (TG) 37.4, and the two ships then shaped a course for the western Pacific. Augmented en route by the remainderof Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 35, TG 37.4 reached Subic on 5 November 1973. On the 9th, BADGER departed Subic --in company with destroyer escort Brewton (DE-1086) and ammunition ship Kiska (AE-35)--bound for the Persian Gulf and the CENTO Exercise MIDLINK '73 . On the way, the ships stopped at Singapore. They arrived at Bandar Abbas, Iran, on the 23d. From that port, she participated in MIDLINK '73 until its conclusion on 2 December. After a brief liberty call at Bandar Abbas, BADGER got underway on the 3d to return to the Philippines, again in company with Brewton and Kiska . The voyage included another visit to Singapore, and BADGER reentered Subic four days before Christmas of 1973. She immediately began a repair and upkeep period that lasted until 20 January 1974, when she headed for Guam. Four days later, the destroyer escort arrived at Guam whence she conducted special operations. BADGER remained in the Mariana Islands until 13 February when she departed Guam to return to Subic. The warship steamed into that port on 17 February and, for the next month, conducted training operations in local waters.
18 March 1974, BADGER put to sea from Subic Bay for a series of port calls beginning with a stop at Hong Kong from 21 March to 1 April. From there, she moved to Keelung, Taiwan, for a visit between 3 and 8 April. On the 9th, she moored in the harbor at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for an eight-day stay before returning to Subic on the 18th. From 22 to 27 April, she operated in the South China Sea shadowing two Soviet submarines. She returned to Subic on the 27th and remained there until 5 May when the destroyer escort began the voyage back home to Hawaii. After a stop at Guam, she reached Pearl Harbor on 18 May.
21 June 1974, following leave and upkeep, BADGER got underway for tests on her main propulsion plant and associated equipment. She returned to Pearl that night and remained in port until returning to sea on 11 July for final tests. During the full power run, the ship suffered a casualty to her low pressure turbine and was taken in tow by the large harbor tug Waxahachie (YTB-814). Later, Reclaimer (ARS-42) relieved Waxahachie and pulled the stricken destroyer escort into Pearl Harbor on the morning of the 12th. The warship underwent a restricted availability at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard lasting until late October and resumed normal operations in the Hawaiian Operating Area in November. That employment occupied her for the last two months of 1974 and for the first two months of 1975.
11 March 1975, BADGER put to sea to participate in Exercise RIMPAC '75 , the multifaceted combat readiness exercise that brought together units of the American, Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand navies. The exercise concluded on 21 March, and BADGER returned to Pearl Harbor to prepare for overseas movement.
17 April 1975, BADGER put to sea on to rendezvous with sistership Harold E. Holt (DE-1074) and guided missile destroyer escort Schofield (DEG-3), and Kiska for the voyage to the western Pacific. The task group stopped at Guam for fuel on 28 April but, immediately after completing the operation, continued on to Subic Bay where, after a short diversion to the South China Sea to assist in the evacuation of Vietnam, they arrived on 4 May. The next day, BADGER was back at sea escorting Midway to Guam with a load of American aircraft removed from Vietnam. The two warships arrived there on 11 May, unloaded the planes, and returned to sea on the 12th. En route back to Subic Bay, she received orders diverting her to assist in the recovery of the American containership SS Mayaguez that had been seized by the Cambodians. The merchantman, however, was freed before BADGER's arrival on the scene, and the escort resumed her original course and reentered Subic Bay on the 17th. She spent two days escorting Hancock in the local operating area before returning to port on 22 May. After a week of upkeep, she put to sea for Guam. Arriving in Apra Harbor on 2 June to begin another period of upkeep, she remained there until 13 June when she put to sea for special operations in company with Brewton .
22 June 1975, BADGER returned to Guam, spent three days there, and headed back to Subic Bay on the 25th. On the last day of the month, she put to sea as a unit of TG 75.1 to begin a 60-day training cruise to the Indian Ocean. One day out, on 1 July 1975, BADGER was reclassified a frigate and redesignated FF-1071. That extended voyage brought exercises of all types--refueling, replenishment, towing, communications, gunnery, and engineering. She also made port calls at Singapore, Port Louis in Mauritius, Mombasa in Kenya, Karachi in Pakistan, and Colombo in Sri Lanka. The ship concluded that voyage at Subic Bay on 11 September. Upkeep there, including a period in drydock, lasted until 29 September. On 1 October, BADGER headed to Hong Kong. She arrived there on 3 October and--but for two days at sea from 5 to 7 October to evade a typhoon--remained in port until the 9th when she shaped a course for Guam. The warship arrived there on 15 October for two weeks of upkeep and operations locally for sea trials. On 29 October.she set a course for Pearl Harbor and pulled into her home port on 8 November. Her post-deployment standdown period was followed, in turn, by a holiday leave and upkeep period.
During the first five months of 1976, BADGER alternated training operations at sea with periods in port at Pearl Harbor preparing for her first regular overhaul. Late in May, the crew moved off the ship to quarters ashore; and, on 7 June, the ship officially commenced overhaul at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. This work occupied her for the remainder of 1976 and through the first few days of 1977. She emerged from the yard on 11 January 1977 and conducted sea trials the following day. Further trials, inspections, and readiness ensued. In July, she began refresher training that lasted until the first week in August when she returned to Pearl Harbor.
22 August 1977, BADGER got underway for the west coast of the United States in company with DesRon 23. Throughout the passage across the eastern Pacific, she joined the ships of DesRon 23 in a number of exercises. She arrived in San Diego, California, on the last day of August and remained in port until 9 September at which time she put to sea to participate in local operations with San Diego-based units of the Fleet. BADGER returned to San Diego on the 15th and stayed until the 19th when she returned to sea for Exercise Varsity Spirit conducted along the California coast. At the conclusion of that exercise, she headed back to Pearl where she arrived on 1 October and began preparations for overseas movement.
02 November 1977, BADGER departed Pearl Harbor in company with Kitty Hawk and the other units of DesRon 25 bound for the western Pacific. The warships arrived in Yokosuka exactly three weeks later after an exercise-filled passage. Throughout that deployment, she conducted exercises with units of Allied navies as well as with 7th Fleet units. She also made goodwill visits to Singapore and various Japanese and Korean ports. The frigate also frequently called at Subic for upkeep and replenishment. She concluded the deployment at Pearl on 8 May 1978. Post-deployment standdown lasted until mid-June at which time she resumed local operations in the Hawaiian Islands. BADGER spent the next nine months engaged in exercises and drills conducted out of Pearl Harbor.
17 March 1979, BADGER departed her home port in company with Brewton , Rathburne (FF-1057), Ramsey (DDG-l), and Lynde McCormick (DDG-9), bound for another tour of duty with the 7th Fleet. After pausing at Guam for fuel on 29 March, the warships pulled into Subic Bay on 4 April and spent the rest of the month alternating exercises in the local operating area with periods of upkeep in port. During the first half of May, she joined Brewton and Rathburne in a round-trip voyage to Hong Kong for a goodwill and liberty call. Late in May and early in June, BADGER operated with a task group in the South China Sea before returning to Subic Bay on the 11th. With the exception of a three-day period at sea in the local operating area, she spent the remainder of June in upkeep and preparations for an extended cruise to the Indian Ocean.
01 July 1979, BADGER departed Subic Bay in company with Brewton, Rathburne, and USNS Mispillion (T-A0-105). The task group stopped at Singapore for a four-day port visit before transiting the Strait of Malacca on 8 July and entering the Indian Ocean, where intensive exercises and drills in all facets of ship's operations highlighted periods at sea punctuated by visits to Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Mombasa. The latter stages of the operation were conducted in the Gulf of Aden and in the Gulf of Oman. The task group exited the Indian Ocean via the Strait of Malacca on 29 August and headed for the Gulf of Siam where it joined units of the Thai Navy for Exercise Sea Siamex X .
07 September 1979, the ships concluded the exercise and made a four-day visit to Pattaya Beach, Thailand, before shaping a course for the Philippines. En route, BADGER was detached from the task group to proceed to Luzon independently. However, before reaching port, she was further diverted on a humanitarian mission--the rescue of 14 Vietnamese refugees adrift in a small boat. She finally arrived in Subic Bay on 15 September, all refugees safe.
21 September 1979, BADGER remained at Subic less than a week; she got underway, bound for Hawaii in company with Brewton and Rathburne. They stopped for fuel at Guam and Midway before arriving back in Pearl Harbor on 4 October. Following post-deployment standdown, the frigate resumed local operations out of Pearl late in December.
07 January 1980, BADGER began a seven-week availability at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. Her repairs were completed on 27 February, and she began sea trials in the local area. Over the next six months, BADGER went through the usual trials and certifications as well as all types of exercises and drills. In mid-August, she began pre-deployment training with a carrier task group formed around Ranger (CV-61). That training complete, the task group returned to Pearl Harbor on 23 September for a final liberty call before heading for the Far East.
26 September 1980, BADGER departed Pearl Harbor in company with the Ranger task group bound for an extended assignment with the 7th Fleet. The warships entered Subic Bay on 15 October, and BADGER began a 10-day availability. Late in the evening of the 26th, she put to sea to rendezvous with the rest of the Ranger task group. On 30 October, the ships began the transit of the Strait of Malacca and, the next day, entered the Indian Ocean, the appearance of this task group in the Indian Ocean reflecting the seizure of the American embassy in Tehran by Iranian militants almost a year before and the holding of embassy people as hostages. Though the task group never entered the Persian Gulf, its training evolutions kept it within rapid steaming time of that troubled area. BADGER and the task group remained in the Indian Ocean through the end of the year and into 1981 conducting intensive training of all types including multilateral exercises with Allied navies.
19 January 1981, Iran released American hostages, but BADGER and the task group to which she was assigned, continued training evolutions in the Indian Ocean for eight weeks thereafter. On 11 March, group retransited the Strait of Malacca and left the Indian Ocean behind. The warships reentered Subic Bay on 23 March, and BADGER began a 12-day upkeep. Just under a month later on 16 April, the Ranger task group put to sea to return to Hawaii. After 12 days at sea, the frigate reentered her home port on 28 April. During the month of May, the warship combined the customary post-deployment standdown period with preparations for the periodic visit by the inspection and survey team. After the team's visit early in June, BADGER resumed normal training duty in the Hawaiian operating area. That employment lasted through the summer and ended in September with her entry into the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for overhaul.
The period in the shipyard occupied BADGER for the remainder of 1981 and the first quarter of 1982. She did not put to sea again until late May when she began refresher training, inspections, examinations, and certifications. From then on, the frigate busied herself with the never-ending cycle of readiness exercises and drills punctuated by the usual material inspections and proficiency examinations. She continued so engaged for the rest of 1982 and the first five weeks of 1983. On 8 February 1983, BADGER embarked on a six-week cruise to the west coast in company with some other DesRon 25 units-- Cochrane (DDG-21), Gray (FF-1054), and Lang (FF-1060). After completing a COMPTUEX, a READIEX, and a naval gunfire support requalification, BADGER returned to Hawaii on 21 March and began a month of preparations for overseas movement. The frigate stood out of Pearl Harbor with Elliot (DD-967) and Brooke (FFG-1) on 24 April. The three warships then carried out several exercises near Kauai on the Pacific missile range before beginning their voyage to the Far East on the 26th.
16 May 1983, BADGER reached Manila after a passage that included a variety of drills and exercises and a five-day layover at Guam for a short availability. Underway again on short notice, leaving behind some 52 men who had been on leave and liberty at the time of her sailing, she carried out surprise ASW operations west of Subic Bay between the 18th and the 20th -- retrieving four of her men via the aircraft carrier Coral Sea (CV-43) on the latter date -- and then headed for a liberty call at Hong Kong, where the remainder of the men left behind at her hurried departure joined her via the command ship Blue Ridge (LCC-19). Back at sea on 27 May, the warship conducted further ASW work in the South China Sea until the end of the month. BADGER made a short stop at Subic Bay for fuel on 1 June and then set out for Japan. She took part in an amphibious exercise along the way near Okinawa before arriving in Yokosuka on 16 June. She spent eight days in repairs at Yokosuka and then set a course back to the South China Sea where she carried out surveillance missions until the latter part of July. BADGER then returned to Subic Bay where she made voyage repairs and requalified in naval gunfire support on the nearby Tabones range. On 27 July, she headed back to Yokosuka where she underwent still more repairs during the first 10 days of August.
11 August 1983, BADGER returned to sea, and took up surveillance duty again, this time in the Sea of Japan. She concluded that assignment on 2 September and shaped a course for Sasebo, but received orders the following day to proceed north in the wake of the tragic downing, by a Soviet fighter, of Korean Airlines (KAL) flight 007 over Sakhalin Island on 1 September. Rear Admiral William A. Cockell, Commander, Task Force 71, and a skeleton staff, embarked in BADGER on 9 September via LAMPS helo from Wakanai, Japan, for further transfer to the destroyer Elliot to assume duties as Officer in Tactical Command (OTC) of the Search and Rescue (SAR) effort. During the forenoon watch on 17 September, however, BADGER's embarked SH-2F helicopter from HSL-37 (Detachment 2) went down at sea; USCGC Munro (WHEC-724), however, promptly rescued the four-man crew from their rubber boat. BADGER ended her part in the KAL 007 SAR effort on the 20th and reached Yokosuka on the 21st to prepare for the voyage back to Hawaii. That journey began on 23 October and included participation in Exercise Battle Week 84-1 followed by a visit to nearby Apra, Guam, before BADGER finally managed to return home on Armistice Day 1983. Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command, visited the ship on 29 November and congratulated the ship's officers and men on their recent deployment, emphasizing their role during the KAL 007 SAR operation. Post-deployment leave and upkeep and holiday standdown, broken only by a brief period underway on 20 and 21 December to escort Swordfish (SSN-579) as she operated locally, kept BADGER in port at Pearl for the rest of 1983.
09 January 1984, BADGER put to sea for three days of tests and training with Omaha (SSN-692). Following an inspection and survey to gage her fitness for further service, she began a two-month restricted availability. On 21 March, she finished the repair work and launched into a succession of post-availability trials, inspections, examinations, and certifications that continued through the middle of June. After that came refresher training in the local operating area until late July. On the 20th, BADGER stood out of Pearl in company with Joseph Strauss (DDG-16) and Amphibious Squadron (PhibRon) 5 for six weeks of drills and exercises in the waters along the west coast. She returned to Hawaii at the end of August and then, except for 17 days in drydock between 28 September and 15 October, spent September and October engaged in normal operations in Hawaiian waters.
During the last week in October, BADGER took part in the first phase of a major fleet exercise with a pair of carrier task groups built around Constellation (CV-64) and Carl Vinson (CVN-70). After spending the period 2 to 6 November in port at Pearl Harbor, she returned to sea to conclude the exercise and then move on to the Far East for seven weeks of additional exercises. Travelling with the Carl Vinson task group, she participated in a series of training evolutions conducted in such diverse places as the Marianas, in the Philippine Sea, and in Japanese waters. BADGER completed her part in the exercises early in December and, after a visit to Yokosuka, Japan, set out on the voyage back to Hawaii on the 13th in company with Joseph Strauss . The two warships reentered Pearl Harbor on 22 December, and BADGER spent the rest of 1984 in port.
Early 1985, following an unusually brief standdown, BADGER resumed operations. She put to sea on 10 January for a two-week cruise to conduct operations in an area in the eastern Pacific about two-thirds of the way from Oahu to the northern California coast. She returned to Hawaii from that mission on 24 January and settled into more than two months of local operations out of Pearl Harbor. Then, after a special assignment in the vicinity of Midway Island early in April, BADGER completed a four-week restricted availability at Pearl Harbor. On 11 May, the frigate headed for the eastern Pacific once more. This time, however, she made it all the way to the west coast and took part in several exercises conducted in the southern California operating area. Concluding a four-week absence, BADGER returned to Oahu on 14 June and began preparations to deploy overseas.
02 August 1985, BADGER stood out of Pearl Harbor, after six weeks of getting ready, and joined the Orient-bound task group built around Kitty Hawk (CV-63) the next evening. The exercise-filled, 17-day passage to the Philippines ended on the 19th at Subic Bay where BADGER began five days of repairs and meetings before heading to duty in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea on the 24th August. Along the way, she and Horne (CG-30) parted company with the task group to transit the Malacca Strait and conduct Exercise MERLION 85 with units of the Singapore Navy on 29 and 30 August. The two warships rejoined the task group in the Bay of Bengal on 1 September and, after recovering debris from a helicopter crash, resumed the voyage to the Arabian Sea. BADGER reached the patrol area in the northern Arabian Sea on 10 September and began four weeks of duty on that station. Early in October, she made a five-day port visit at Mombasa and then sailed back to the Arabian Sea, where she completed a tender availability alongside Ajax (AR-6) at Al Masirah Island. Early in November, she called at Karachi, Pakistan, for a goodwill visit and carried out an ASW exercise with units of the Pakistani Navy. On 17 November, she rejoined the Kitty Hawk task group again south of Sri Lanka on its way back to Subic Bay. The task group remained at Subic for six days before setting out on the voyage back to Hawaii on 1 December.
12 December 1985, Reaching Pearl Harbor BADGER spent the rest of that year and the first weeks of 1986 in port engaged, at first, in post-deployment and holiday standdown and, later, carrying out a six-week availability. She put to sea for the first time after her return on 1 February to participate in readiness exercises near Kauai. Similar training activities in the local operating area kept her busy until the second week in April. At that time, BADGER stood out of Pearl Harbor for a six-week goodwill cruise to the South Pacific. During the voyage, she called at Pago Pago and Apia in the Samoan Islands, Nukualofa and Vavau in the Tonga Islands, and Funafuti in the Tuvalu Islands before returning to Hawaii by way of Apia. The warship arrived back in Pearl Harbor on 12 May and began a four-week period of relative inactivity in port. Early in June, she put to sea to participate in a phase of the multinational exercise RIMPAC 86 and then returned to Oahu on the 14th to prepare for an extended training cruise to the west coast. On 23 June, BADGER embarked on the seven-week round of exercises punctuated with visits to west coast ports that constituted EASTPAC 86. During that space of time, she visited Vancouver in British Columbia and the California ports of San Francisco and San Diego before returning to Hawaii on 9 August.
For the remainder of 1986, BADGER went to sea only rarely. She carried out some ASW exercises late in August and then spent five weeks in a maintenance availability. She returned to sea in mid-October for engineering drills and again early in November for more of the same and to complete a propulsion plant certification examination. When she reentered Pearl Harbor on 14 November, BADGER started preparing for a three-month drydocking that began on 8 December. Although refloated on 2 March 1987, she did not resume active service for almost two more months. The repair work continued through March and during the first two weeks of April; and, although she returned to sea on two occasions during the second part of April, it was only for brief sea trials. BADGER finally took up a more active schedule late in May with helicopter landing qualifications on the 20th and 21st and evolutions at sea during the last days of the month in connection with her material readiness inspection. In June, the frigate resumed a normal schedule of local training operations and continued so engaged for the rest of 1987.
BADGER continued to carry out training missions in the Hawaiian operating area well into 1988. Late in March, she embarked on a series of battle readiness exercises that carried out during a four-week cruise to the west coast. The warship returned to Pearl Harbor from that assignment at the end of April and then spent the following five weeks in port. She resumed local training missions on 9 June, but those lasted less than a fortnight. On 22 June, BADGER stood out of Pearl Harbor on her way to the Far East as part of a task group built around Carl Vinson . Though she made most of the crossing with the task group, BADGER did not remain a part of it throughout the deployment. She parted company with the unit on 4 July and headed for Japan, arriving in Yokosuka on the 16th. After five days of repairs and upkeep, the frigate set sail for the Philippines on 22 July. She reached Subic Bay on the 27th but remained only three days, putting to sea again on the 30th bound for Singapore. Her visit to Singapore, however, proved a brief one, shortened by orders on 6 August to rescue Vietnamese refugees in the vicinity of the Spratly Islands. On the 9th, BADGER took on board 57 survivors of a group that had originally numbered 104 and sailed for the Philippines.
10 August 1988, BADGER disembarked the refugees at Subic Bay and, after several days of upkeep, set out for Japan again. During the remainder of August and the first part of September, BADGER called at a succession of Japanese ports. On 12 September, she put to sea from Yokosuka for two weeks of operations in the East China Sea with a task group formed around Midway . She then visited Pusan, Korea, on 28 and 29 September, before returning to sea for two weeks of surveillance operations in the Sea of Japan. In mid-October, the frigate visited Chinhae Korea for five days during which time one of the crew achievements was repairing and cleaning up a children's home. Afterwards BADGER carried out four days of training with units of the South Korean Navy. Next came a call each at Pusan in late October and at Hong Kong early in November. BADGER returned to Subic Bay on 11 November and made preparations for the voyage back to Hawaii. The last 7th Fleet assignment of her Navy career came to an end on 22 November when she embarked on that final western Pacific passage.
06 December 1988 BADGER returned to Pearl Harbor and her post-deployment standdown lasted until 17 January 1989. She then resumed local operations in the Hawaiian Islands on a schedule that kept her moderately busy through the end of May. On 30 May, the frigate began an availability with a civilian contractor that lasted nearly four months. BADGER completed the repairs on 24 September, carried out the usual trials and examinations in October, and resumed normal training missions out of Pearl Harbor early in November. She remained so occupied for the rest of 1989 and well into 1990.
Late March 1990, however, BADGER undertook a new mission when she embarked a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment to carry out drug traffic interdiction operations. Her first taste of law enforcement duty lasted from 28 March to 12 April and then she resumed more familiar duty until mid-June. On 18 June, she embarked another Coast Guard detachment and set sail for the west coast to conduct another series of drug traffic interdiction missions in the eastern Pacific out of San Diego. That employment lasted until the beginning of September when she transferred her helicopter detachment to Ouellette (FF-1077) and disembarked the Coast Guardsmen at San Francisco. BADGER arrived back at Oahu on 11 September and began a restricted availability on the 20th that immobilized her for most of the months remaining in 1990.
December 1990, BADGER took up active training again; but that lasted only about two weeks. The relative inactivity of holiday leave and upkeep commenced in mid-December and continued for about a month. In mid-January 1991, the warship resumed local training operations and pursued them until early June. During June and early July, BADGER voyaged to the west coast one last time before being deactivated. She visited San Diego, Calif.; Portland, Oreg.; and Homer, Alaska; before returning to Oahu on 16 July. Once back in Pearl, the frigate did not get underway again except to shift berths.
20 December 1991, BADGER was decommissioned at Pearl Harbor, and her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register in January 1995.
22 July 1998, the former warship performed her last service for the Navy at which time she was sunk as a target during 3 rd Fleet exercise RIMPAC 98 at 22'51.1"N, 160'33"W.
Naval Historical Center
William Britton 70-72 (Captain)
Ed Morgan 70-72 (Chief Engineer)
John Hudson, BTCS USN (Ret.) (1970-1974)
77-78 & 80-81 BADGER WestPAC Cruise Books