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USS Norfolk (DL-1)
USS Norfolk (DL-1)
USS Norfolk (DL-1) underway in the mid-1960s
Builder: New York Shipbuilding Corporation
Laid down: 1 September 1949
Launched: 29 December 1951
Commissioned: 4 March 1953
Decommissioned: 15 January 1970
Struck: 1 November 1973
Fate: Sold 22 August 1974 and scrapped
General characteristics
Displacement: 5,600 tons
Length: 540 ft (160 m)
Beam: 54 ft (16 m)
Draft: 26 ft (7.9 m)
Propulsion: steam turbines
Speed: 32 knots
Complement: 411
Sensors and
processing systems:
General characteristics 1951
General characteristics 1960

The second USS Norfolk (DL-1) was the first destroyer leader of the United States Navy. Originally projected as a hunter-killer cruiser, she was in service until 1970.


As CLK-1 she was laid down 1 September 1949 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey, launched 29 December 1951, sponsored by Miss Betty King Duckworth, and commissioned 4 March 1953, Capt. Clarence Matheson Bowley in command.

The first major U.S. warship built after the construction boom of World War II, Norfolk was authorized in 1947 as an anti-submarine hunter killer ship which could operate under all weather conditions and would carry the latest radar, sonar, and other electronic devices. As a large destroyer leader designed on a light cruiser hull she could carry a greater variety of detection gear than a destroyer.

After her Caribbean shakedown cruise (February 1954), Norfolk was assigned to the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and between 1955 and 1957 served successively as flagship for Commander Destroyer Flotillas 2, 4, and 6. During 1956 and 1957 she acted as flagship for Commander Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet. In June 1957, Norfolk participated in the International Fleet Review as flagship for Admiral Jerauld Wright, Commander-in-Chief Atlantic Fleet and Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic for NATO.

A boiler on the ship blew up in later 1955.

By 1959 Norfolk's eight 3 inch/50 caliber guns had been replaced by eight 3"/70 caliber guns and her 20 mm. battery had been removed. In 1960 the addition of an ASROC launcher enhanced her antisubmarine capabilities.

On 10 May 1960, an 83-foot Cuban vessel harassed Norfolk while she was patrolling the Florida Straits with The Sullivans in Cuban waters.

In Fall 1961 she took part in UNITAS II as flagship for Commander Cruiser Destroyer Flotilla 2. During the operation she performed ASW training exercises with the navies of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. Norfolk repeated this cruise over the next five years during which she served as flagship of Commander South Atlantic Forces except in 1962 when she was flagship for Commander Cruiser Destroyer Forces Atlantic Fleet.

Norfolk joined LANTFLEX 66 as flagship between 28 November and 16 December 1966. During this exercise she shadowed the Russian trawlers Repiter and Teodilit. She proved her antisubmarine capabilities again as flagship for Commander South Atlantic Forces during UNITAS VIII in Fall 1967.

Norfolk was assigned to Commander Middle East Force as flagship (17 April–15 October 1968). On this mission she visited Bahrain, French Somaliland, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia. Kenya, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Malagasy Republic, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Mexico, and Panama Canal Zone.

In October 1968 Norfolk returned to Norfolk where she decommissioned 15 January 1970 and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. By 1 September 1974, Norfolk was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register and sold for scrap.[2]


Two of Norfolk's 3″/70 anti-aircraft mounts were saved from the scrap heap and were on display at the Naval Training Center in Orlando, Florida. When NTC-Orlando closed, the Boca Raton Community High School's NJROTC requested custodianship of the mounts. The guns now stand near the east end zone of the football field in Boca Raton, Florida.[3]

Norfolk's bell is preserved in Norfolk, Virginia. From 1975 to 1987 the bell was located at the foot of St. Paul's Boulevard along the Elizabeth River waterfront.[4] The bell was moved to Town Point Park and then eventually relocated to Wisconsin Square, Norfolk, just north of the museum ship berth of USS Wisconsin, where it remained as of 2004.36°50′56.3″N 76°17′39.7″W / 36.848972°N 76.294361°W / 36.848972; -76.294361


  1. ^ Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships (1970/71) p.434
  2. ^ "Naval Vessel Register DL1". Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  3. ^ "Flickr photos of the gun mounts in Boca Raton, Florida". Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  4. ^ "USS Norfolk bell". Retrieved 2008-02-23. 

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