USS Lynde McCormick (DDG-8) was one of the 29-strong Charles F. Adams-class of guided missile cruisers utilized primarily for the United States Navy (USN) in the years following the Korean War (1950-1953). The Charles F. Adams-class became a relatively large post-war class of surface fighting ships, one that was also eventually adopted by the navies of Australia, Greece, and West Germany. McCormick was ordered on March 28th, 1957 and contracted out to the Defoe Shipbuilding Company which began her construction on April 4th, 1958. She was launched on July 28th, 1959 and commissioned on June 3rd, 1961. As the United States commitment in Southeast Asia grew during the years following, USS Lynde McCormick was eventually deployed to Vietnam during the Vietnam War (1955-1975).
During her career, USS Lynde McCormick fought under the motto of "Sine Timore", this appropriately translating to "Without Fear". She was named after USN Admiral Lynde Dupuy McCormick (1895-1956), a decorated veteran of both World War 1 (1914-1918) and World War 2 (1939-1945).
The Charles F. Adams-class marked the first USN destroyer-type vessels to be developed specifically for the guided missile destroyer role - prior to this, all were gun-laden vessels. Destroyers were historically developed as the "Torpedo Boat Destroyer" and posed a grave threat to capital ships at the turn of the 20th Century. Built on speed and good armament qualities with short endurance, the type evolved to become the "destroyer" classes of today. The USN evolved ships was fast surface-going warships with a multi-mission approach in both offensive and defensive departments - capable of handling a variety of mission types and targets, whether as part of the fleet or independently of it.
For the Adams-class, their design was influenced by the preceding Forrest Sherman-class ships with some 19 feet of hull length added amidships, more powerful boilers installed and anti-submarine rocket launchers fitted - as well as other potent missile armament ultimately reinforcing their "guided missile cruiser" name. The Adams-class became the last steam-turbine powered destroyers for the USN.
As built USS Lynde McCormick displaced 3,280 tons under standard load and 4,525 tons under full load. The profile included a raise bow with a deck gun aft followed by the primary superstructure featuring the bridge, main mast, and first of two smoke funnels. At center was the ASROC (Anti-Submarine ROCket) launcher which could traverse to either side of the ship as well as elevate as required. Its position amidships created a noticeable gap in the profile between the frontal superstructure and the aft one. The aft superstructure held a lower mast configuration as well as the second smoke funnel. Still aft of this superstructure was another deck gun emplacement followed by another missile launcher system. McCormick did not carry any aircraft on the stern deck. Dimensions included a length of 437 feet, a beam measuring 47 feet and a draught of 15 feet. Her total crew complement numbered 354 including 24 officers.
McCormick armament was consistent with the early vessels of the class, her suite led by the Mk 11 missile launching system. The weapon utilized twin "arms" (launchers) and initially supported the RIM-24 "Tartar" medium-range, Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM). Only the first thirteen Adams-class vessels were given this weapon, the launcher installed towards the stern end of the ship - later ships featured the M 13 single-arm launcher. When technology and the USN budget allowed it, the weapon was upgraded to support the new RIM-66 SAM and even newer RGM-84 "Harpoon" anti-ship missiles. Anti-submarine weaponry included a single RUR-5 ASROC launcher amidships. The vessel also carried 2 x 324mm torpedo launchers for engagement of enemy surface ships. The deck gun armament consisted of 2 x 5" (127mm) /54 caliber Mark 42 turrets, one mounted forward and the other aft.
Warring vessels like the McCormick were more than just their armament. Sensors and processing systems proved the other half of the equation and, as such, McCormick was outiftted with the AN/SPS-40 or AN/SPS-39 3D air-search radar system alongside the AN/SPS-10 surface-search radar. Missile fire control was handled by the AN/SPG-51 series suite utilizing a pulse-Doppler radar control system. This system was also taken on by the navies of France and the Netherlands. The deck guns were managed through the AN/SPG-53 control radar. The vessel was also equipped with its own sonar facilities that included the hull-mounted AN/SQS-23.
Her other key internal component became her propulsion system, this headed by 4 x Babcock and Wilcox boilers feeding 2 x General Electric steam turbines generating 70,000 horsepower to 2 x shafts. Maximum speed in ideal conditions was 33 knots with a range out to 4,500 nautical miles at 20 knots.
McCormick's official naval career began when she left Boston in mid-August of 1961 on a roundabout trip to the American West Coast - a journey undertaken by many warships of World War 2. Once there, she was assigned to the home port of San Diego and evaluated her missile systems in live-fire actions. She then left home waters in November of 1962, joining the 7th Fleet after arriving in Japan during early December of that year. Back home in June of 1963, McCormick was then kept stateside for several local USN-related functions including training. During the early part of 1964, several changes to her weapons suite were undertaken, broadening her defensive capabilities.
The situation in Vietnam was becoming ever more perilous both on the ground and on the water. The Gulf of Tonkin incident (August 2nd, 1964) exacerbated the situation in Southeast Asia to the point that McCormick was assigned to Vietnam waters to protect American interests and maintain the rocket peace between the North and the South. McCormick undertook a six-month long tour in these parts before being reassigned home for February of 1965. Additional testing of her weapons suite and training of personnel then followed into 1966.
In April of that year, MCormick took part in the offshore shelling of Viet Cong positions along the Mekong Delta waterway. During May, she was reassigned to support carrier airstrikes in the north. Following these actions, she made the journey back to San Diego and arrived there in October for a scheduled overhaul. The work went into March of 1967 to which then she was training crews again heading into the summer. McCormick managed to survive all of the Vietnam War before returning to most peace-time minded functions during the American drawdown in Southeast Asia and the "Vietnamization" for South Vietnam forces.
During the 1980s, McCormick was kept an active ship. She took part in training of several forces in Central America. During April of 1988, amid tensions between the United States and Iran in the Persian Gulf, McCormick was deployed to protect allied shipping in this crucial waterway of the world. After completing this deployment, USS Lynde McCormick (DDG-8) was decommissioned on October 1st, 1991. Her name was struck from the Naval Register on November 20th, 1992 and her stripped hulk sunk as a target on February 14th, 2001.