USS Virginia

Built in Virginia by Virginians, USS VIRGINIA was constructed at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. Her sponsor was Virginia Stuart Warner, daughter of then Secretary of the Navy and now senior US Senator from Virginia. The ship was commissioned on 11 September 1976 in a ceremony at Norfolk Naval Base. After the extensive trials and shakedown associated with the first ship of a new class, she entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for Post shakedown availability. This was the start of a lifetime association between ship and yard for depot level repairs and modifications. After normal workups, including a trip to Northern Europe as a part a major NATO exercise, she made the first of nine deployments. As part of an Indian Ocean deployment in 1980, she crossed the Indian Ocean to visit the Republic of the Philippines. During her third Mediterranean deployment in 1983, she fired nearly 300 five inch rounds into Beirut and assisted when the Marine barracks were bombed. She was honored as Sixth Fleet Top Hand for that deployment. In 1984, she entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for her single major overhaul and was converted to the Navy's first strike cruiser with the addition of the Tomahawk weapons system and the SM-2 extension of her surface to air capability.
On 28 December 1990, VIRGINIA deployed to support Operation Desert Shield and later Desert Storm. Just after arrival in the Eastern Mediterranean, she launched two Tomahawks into Iraq in support of the liberation of Kuwait. For the last two years of active service, VIRGINIA joined in the war against drugs. During her Caribbean deployment in the fall of 1992, she passed through the Panama Canal and operated in the Pacific for a short time. In the course of her last deployment in the fall of 1993, she directly detected or controlled other Navy assets during successful interdictions of 36,200 pounds of marijuana and 2,000 kilos of cocaine.
In the course of her lifetime, many flag officers called VIRGINIA home while embarked at sea. The first was Admiral H. G. Rickover, who embarked during sea trials in July 1976. The last was Admiral Donald Dyer, COMSTANAVFORLANT in March 1993. She won the Battle E competition four times during her lifetime as the best nuclear cruiser on the East Coast and has won countless department awards.

From Deactivation Ceremony booklet.

Commanding Officers
Captain George W. Davis, Jr*Sept 1976 to Aug 1978
Captain Robert H. Ailes*Aug 1978 to Oct 1981
Captain Joseph H. KingOct 1981 to Dec 1984
Captain Thomas R. SheridanDec 1984 to Jan 1988
Captain Gary M. VoorheisJan 1988 to May 1991
Captain Ralph H. LipfertMay 1991 to Nov 1994
* Captains Davis and Ailes achieved flag rank after commanding Virginia.

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