California Class DLGN
Tons, Dimensions, 596' (oa) x 61' x 31' 6" (Max)
Armament 2 Standard SAM 1x2, (80 Missiles) 2 x
5"/54RF, ASROC (24 Missiles) 4 x12.75" TT.
Machinery, 60,000 shaft horsepower; 2 G.E.
Reactors (D2G), Geared Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 30+ Knots
Keel laid on
Jun 13, 1968 at Newport News Shipyard, Newport News, VA
Launched Sep 22, 1971
Commissioned Feb 16, 1974
Decommissioned Jul 09, 1999
at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, 12 May 2000
with USS California
1988 - Jun 1993
USS California (CGN-36) was nuclear powered cruiser
home ported and berthed at Alameda, NAS. I assumed
duties as Leading Petty Officer. Our QM gang was a QMC and 5
I was annoyed to find that the CO and
most officers were nuclear engineers. They seemed to have
forgotten (or ignored) the real function of a surface
combatant ship, which is "Ordinance on Target."
Instead, the nuclear power plant became the tail that wagged
the dog. The joke on board was "What is the primary
function of a nuclear cruiser?" Answer - "Transport
two navy nuclear reactors from point A to Point B."
(That's just one of the reasons
why, other than aircraft carriers, which are commanded by
aviators, there are no more nuclear surface combatant ships.)
In July '88, California joined a huge task group on
what was called a "MiniPac." We transited via great
circle through the Aleutian Islands and then joined Japanese
and Korean units for joint exercises in the Sea of
Japan. In Aug we spent a long weekend in Chinhae, Korea,
arriving back in Alameda, CA in Sept.
Feb '89 California entered overhaul and refueling at Puget
Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA.
I was assigned as LPO of the fire watch division. The
system for assigning and tracking fire watch personnel seemed
inefficient to me, so I devised and set up my own
system. When I was transferred TAD to another ship, I
taught my system to my relief who was later awarded a
Navy/Marine corps Achievement medal for following through on
In July'90 to Dec '90 I was transferred TAD to USS Reasoner