USS Cowpens (CG-63)
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USS Cowpens CG-63

US Navy 031015-N-5821P-001 USS Cowpens (CG 63) pulls alongside USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) for replenishment-at-sea evolutions.jpg
USS Cowpens (CG-63) pulls alongside USS Kitty Hawk 
United States
Name: Cowpens
Namesake: Battle of Cowpens
Ordered: 8 January 1986
Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
Laid down: 23 December 1987
Launched: 11 March 1989
Sponsored by: Lucy Mustin
Commissioned: 9 March 1991
Homeport: Naval Base San Diego
  • Victoria Libertatis Vindex
  • (Victory Vindicates Liberty)
Nickname(s): "The Mighty Moo"[1]
Status: in active service
Badge: USS Cowpens CG-63 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class and type: Ticonderoga-class cruiser
Displacement: Approx. 9,600 long tons (9,800 t) full load
Length: 567 feet (173 m)
Beam: 55 feet (16.8 meters)
Draft: 34 feet (10.2 meters)
Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h; 37.4 mph)
Complement: 30 officers and 300 enlisted
Sensors and
processing systems:
Aircraft carried: 2 × Sikorsky SH-60B or MH-60R Seahawk LAMPS III helicopters.

USS Cowpens (CG-63) is a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser in service with the United States Navy. The ship is named after the Battle of Cowpens, a major American victory near Cowpens, South Carolina, in the American Revolution. She was built at the Bath Iron Works in Maine. Cowpens is stationed at Naval Base San Diego.


Cowpens' keel was laid 23 December 1987, at Bath Iron Works; she was launched 11 March 1989, and sponsored by Lucy Mustin, wife of Vice Admiral Henry C. Mustin.[2]Cowpens was commissioned 9 March 1991 in Charleston, South Carolina,[1] Captain Edward Moore Jr. in command.[3]

In January 1993, Cowpens was one of four ships to launch Tomahawk missiles against a nuclear production facility in Iraq.[3][4]

Cowpens in drydock in Yokosuka, 2004

In August 2000, an Aegis fire controlman died when he fell from the main mast of Cowpens.[5] In June 2010, a quartermaster fell to his death from the bridge wing of Cowpens while the ship was in dry dock.[6]

In March 2003, Cowpens, assigned to Carrier Group Five, became the first United States Navy ship to launch ordnance in the opening stages of the Iraq War, firing Tomahawk cruise missiles.[7]

This ship was one of several participating in disaster relief after the 2011 T?hoku earthquake and tsunami.[8]

Cowpens was scheduled to be decommissioned on 31 March 2013.[9] However, Cowpens was retained under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.[10][11]

Cowpens arrives in San Diego, April 2013. Note the longhorns under the bridge windows and the white on black longhorn flag.

In February 2013, Cowpens was relieved by Antietam in a "hull-swap" at Yokosuka, Japan, in which the two crews swapped ships. Cowpens, previously deployed to Yokosuka, was then homeported at Naval Base San Diego, California.[12]

On 5 December 2013, Cowpens was involved in a minor confrontation with a Chinese warship that was escorting the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning while conducting surveillance of Chinese ships in International waters in the South China Sea. After Cowpens refused a Chinese demand to leave the area, a Chinese amphibious transport dock crossed directly in front of Cowpens and halted.[13][14] The two vessels were barely 500 yards (460 m) away when the captain of Cowpens ordered "all stop".[15] Chinese admiral Yin Zhuo said that the Chinese action was intentional and that American ships sent to observe PLAN maneuvers would be "blocked".[16] Pentagon spokesman Steve Warren said that American procedures had not been changed in light of the incident, but defense analyst Tim Brown said that it reflected "a growing willingness by the Chinese to engage in potentially reckless behavior".[17]

In September 2015, Cowpens transferred from Naval Surface Forces Command to Naval Sea Systems Command, where she will undergo a "modernization period", extending the serviceable life of the ship into the 2040s.[18]

Command history

The officers and crew of the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63) pose for a group photo under the ship, July 2010.

Captain Edward Moore Jr. was the first commanding officer of Cowpens. Vice Admiral Moore was Commander of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, from August 1998 to May 2001.[3]

On 13 January 2010, the ship's commanding officer, Captain Holly Graf, was relieved of command by Rear Admiral Kevin Donegan, Commander, Carrier Strike Group Five, following the imposition of non-judicial punishment. The punishment followed an investigation which verified allegations of cruelty and maltreatment toward her crew, and conduct unbecoming an officer -- violations of articles 93 and 133 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, by Graf during her tenure as captain of Cowpens. The investigation was initiated after multiple allegations and complaints of physical and verbal abuse were made to Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Navy Inspector General by several members of the crew. Captain Graf was subsequently replaced as the commanding officer by Captain Robert Marin.[19][20][21] A subsequent Time article revealed that Graf had a history of abusive treatment of subordinates in earlier command and non-command assignments and that naval leaders had not acted on previous complaints about her behavior.[22] The US Navy forced Graf into early retirement in 2012, but allowed her to do so at her current rank of Captain and under "honorable circumstances."[23]

On 10 February 2012, Cowpens' commanding officer, Captain Robert G. Marin, was relieved of command for inappropriate personal behavior after he had an adulterous affair with a fellow captain's wife.[24] Captain Paul Lyons, deputy commander Destroyer Squadron 15, temporarily assumed command.[25]

On 10 June 2014, the commanding officer of Cowpens, Captain Gregory Gombert, was relieved of command for poor performance in a number of inspections. Capt. Robert B. Chadwick II, temporarily assumed command on that date.[26] Based on an official report, the Navy Times reported that Gombert took ill midway through the deployment and rarely left his quarters for nearly three months of the cruise. The report concluded Gombert had exaggerated the extent of his illness. It also noted accusations of an unduly familiar relationship between Gombert and a female Lieutenant Commander who was Chief Engineer, acting Executive Officer and filling in for Gombert during his illness. The Command Master Chief was also relieved at that time since he did not report the problems to higher authorities. At Admiral's non-judicial punishment in July 2014, Gombert was found guilty of five counts failure to obey lawful orders and one count conduct unbecoming an officer. The Chief Engineer was found guilty of two counts failure to obey lawful orders and one of conduct unbecoming an officer. The Command Master Chief was found guilty of two counts failure to obey lawful orders.[27] Gombert was the third commanding officer of Cowpens to be fired since 2010.[28]

In September 2014, Cowpens second-in-command, executive officer, was fired after he was found guilty at Admiral's non-judicial punishment of drunken or reckless operation of a vehicle and conduct unbecoming an officer. He was the fourth member of Cowpens leadership team to be removed in 2014.[29]


According to the US Navy unit awards web site, Cowpens and her crew received the following awards:


This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain. The entry can be found here.

  1. ^ a b "Our Ship". USS Cowpens (CG-63). Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ "USS Cowpens Launched At BIW for U.S. Navy". Maritime Reporter. June 1989.
  3. ^ a b c "Biography of Vice Admiral Edward Moore, Jr". US Navy. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ "U.S. Tomahawks Smash into Iraq" (PDF). Seattle Post-intelligencer. 18 January 1993. Retrieved 2014.
  5. ^ "Cowpens Ship History, year 2000" (PDF). 2000.
  6. ^ "Navy IDs Cowpens sailor who died". Navy Times. 30 June 2010.
  7. ^ Brown, Michael (20 March 2003). "USS Cowpens Launches First Missiles in Operation Iraqi Freedom". US Navy. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ Rabiroff, John. "U.S. military delivers 40 tons of supplies to hardest-hit areas," Stars and Stripes (US). 17 March 2011.
  9. ^ "11 ships to be decommissioned in fiscal 2013 - Navy News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq". Navy Times. Retrieved 2012.
  10. ^ "US Navy to retain four Ticonderoga-class cruisers in service". 28 September 2012, and National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, p. 5.
  11. ^ Navy decides not to scrap SD warship by Gary Robbins, U-T San Diego, 15 April 2013.
  12. ^ Kelly, Paul (6 February 2013). "USS Antietam and USS Cowpens Complete Hull Swap In Japan". US Navy. Retrieved 2014.
  13. ^ Thayer, Carl (17 December 2013). "USS Cowpens Incident Reveals Strategic Mistrust Between U.S. and China". The Diplomat. Retrieved 2013.
  14. ^ Alexander, David (14 December 2013). "U.S., Chinese warships narrowly avoid collision in South China Sea". Reuters. Retrieved 2014.
  15. ^ Starr, Barbara (13 December 2013). "U.S., Chinese warships come dangerously close". CNN. Retrieved 2014.
  16. ^ Carter, Liz (16 December 2013). "Chinese Admiral to U.S. Navy: 'We Will Block You'". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2013.
  17. ^ Ramirez, Luis (16 December 2013). "Pentagon Downplays Near-Collision in South China Sea". Voice of America. Retrieved 2013.
  18. ^ LaGrone, Sam (28 September 2015). "Guided Missile Cruiser USS Cowpens Ceremonially Enters Modernization Period, USS Gettysburg to Follow This Week". U.S.Naval Institute. Retrieved 2015.
  19. ^ Carter, David, J., "Admiral relieves Cowpens captain", Stars and Stripes, 16 January 2010.
  20. ^ Ewing, Philip, "Cruiser CO relieved for 'cruelty'", Navy Times, 16 January 2010.
  21. ^ "Cruiser CO relieved for 'cruelty' - Navy News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq". Navy Times. Retrieved 2012.
  22. ^ Thompson, Mark, "The Rise and Fall of a Female Captain Bligh", Time, 3 March 2010.
  23. ^ Slavin, Erik, "Navy to let ousted captain of Yokosuka-based ship to get 'honorable' retirement", Stars and Stripes, 8 January 2012.
  24. ^ Wellman, Sam (7 June 2012). "Report details CO's affair with captain's wife". Navy Times. Retrieved 2014.
  25. ^ Slavin, Erik (10 February 2012). "Commanding officer of Yokosuka-based USS Cowpens fired". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 2014.
  26. ^ "Cruiser CO, CMC canned for poor performance". Navy Times. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  27. ^ Larter, David (4 August 2014). "Cowpens' bizarre cruise". Navy Times.
  28. ^ Robson, Seth (10 June 2014). "3rd Cowpens commander fired since 2010; CMC relieved". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 2014.
  29. ^ Larter, David (19 September 2014). "Cowpens XO canned for drunken driving". Navy Times. Retrieved 2014.
  30. ^ a b c d e f g "The official U.S. Navy awards site". US Navy. Retrieved 2014.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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