John Paul Jones (DD-932) was
laid down 18 January 1954 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, ME;
launched 7 May 1955; sponsored by Mrs. Robert B. Carney, wife of
Admiral Carney; and commissioned at Boston 5 April 1956, Comdr. R.
W. Hayler, Jr. in command.
John Paul Jones, second of the initial class destroyers of
post-war design, conducted exhaustive shakedown training out of
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after which she departed for a cruise to
Northern Europe and the British Isles. During this voyage
Commander Hayler and members of the crew visited the birthplace of
John Paul and presented the ship's emblem to the people of
Kirkcudbright. She returned to her home port, Newport, 8 October
The new destroyer departed for her first cruise with Sixth Fleet
25 March 1957. In May she took part in a graphic illustration of
the power of that naval force, swiftly projected where needed, as
leftist attempts to overthrow King Hussein of Jordan were foiled
by American warships offshore. After helping to avert this crisis
John Paul Jones sailed for Newport once more, arriving 6 June
1957. NATO maneuvers in the North Atlantic followed in October.
After another brief cruise to the Mediterranean, she arrived Fall
River 27 November and in January 1958 she took part in fleet
exercises in the Caribbean.
In the spring of 1958 John Paul Jones operated with Canadian ships
on training maneuvers in the Atlantic. After further training off
the East Coast and in the Caribbean, she sailed again for the
Mediterranean 17 March 1959. This tour with the vital 6th Fleet on
its peace-keeping mission ended 24 July when the ship arrived
The year 1960 began with 2nd Fleet operations out of Newport and
in June the destroyer embarked midshipmen for a training cruise.
She then departed 22 August for a cruise to South America. As part
of Operation Unitas, she circumnavigated the continent, visiting
many of America's southern allies and taking part in joint
exercises with their navies. After transiting the Straits of
Magellan and the Panama Canal, John Paul Jones returned to Newport
13 December 1960. During 1961 and 1962 the ship carried out
antisubmarine exercises in the Caribbean and out of Newport. In
April 1962 she took part in a fleet review and weapons
demonstration for President Kennedy and in July she again
embarked midshipmen for training. In October 1962 the ship was on
station with the Atlantic Recovery Forces during the orbital
flight of Commander Wally Schirra and soon afterward moved off the
coast of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. As American naval power in
the form of a quarantine forced the removal of offensive missiles
from the island, the decisive role of the country's modern navy
was again emphasized.
The following year saw the veteran ship embark on another
Mediterranean cruise 6 February to 1 July; the remainder of 1963
was spent on anti-submarine exercises in the Atlantic.
Operations along the Atlantic Coast continued until John Paul
Jones began another 6th Fleet deployment 20 June 1964. She
operated primarily in the western Mediterranean on ASW
assignments until returning home 3 September 1964. Early in 1965
she participated in Operation "Spring board" in the
Caribbean. In March the destroyer received a Gemini-recovery crane
and on the 19th sailed for her recovery station some 200 miles
south of Bermuda. She was to pick up astronauts Major Virgil
"Gus" Grissom and Lt. Cmdr. John Young and their space craft in the
event that they ended their flight after two rather than the three
scheduled orbits. However, all went well so she returned to
Norfolk 27 March without headlines.
John Paul Jones headed back to the Mediterranean 18 June for NATO
exercises with units of the French, Greek and British navies. She
returned to Norfolk 6 November, sailed to Philadelphia 2 December
and entered the Naval Shipyard and decommissioned 20 December for
conversion to a guided missile destroyer. Reclassified DDG-32, she was
re-commissioned in the fall of 1967.