USS Conyingham (DDG-17)

She was my second sea assignment.  I served as CIC Officer

USS CONYNGHAM was the 16th CHARLES F. ADAMS - class guided missile destroyer. After a heavy fire aboard in May 1990, the ship was decommissioned in October 1990.   The fire occurred 90 miles off Cape Hateras, NC and was due to a major fuel oil leak and fire in the forward boiler room (Bravo 1). The fire started around 0445 a.m. and burned for 23 hours. The ship's Operations Officer LCDR A. Pope Gordon, Jr., was killed, and 18 other sailors were injured, some severely, putting out the uncontrollable fire. Later, more than 50 medals were given out for valor to CONYNGHAM sailors.

USS CONYNGHAM was heavily damaged by the fire and the Navy decided that it was not cost-effective to completely repair the ship. That's why the CONYNGHAM was decommissioned 6 months after the accident. She was stricken from the Navy list on May 30, 1991, and was sold for scrapping on April 15, 1994. USS CONYNGHAM was broken up for scrap by J+L Metals in Wilmington, N.C. in 1995.

The ship was last homeported in Norfolk, Va.

General Characteristics:       Awarded: July 21, 1959

                                            Keel laid: May 1, 1961

                                            Launched: May 19, 1962

                                            Commissioned: July 13, 1963

                                            Decommissioned: October 30, 1990

                                            Builder: New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J.

                                            Propulsion system:4 - 1200 psi boilers; 2 geared turbines

                                            Propellers: two

                                            Length: 437 feet (133.2 meters)

                                            Beam: 47 feet (14.3 meters)

                                            Draft: 20 feet (6.1 meters)

                                            Displacement: approx. 4,500 tons

                                            Speed: 31+ knots

                                            Aircraft: none

                                            Armament: two Mk 42 5-inch/54 caliber guns, Mk 46 torpedoes             

                                                    from two Mk-32 triple mounts, one Mk 16 ASROC Missile 

                                                    Launcher, one Mk 13 Mod.0 Missile Launcher for Standard             

                                                    (MR) and Harpoon Missiles

                                            Crew: 24 officers and 330 enlisted


The Conyngham sailed from Norfolk, Virginia to commence its Central American Operations.  First the ship participated in Surface Action Group Operations (SAG OPS) as an anti-submarine warfare screen for the battleship USS Iowa (BB 61).  Next, on August 5th, the Conyngham passed through the Panama Canal for the first time and from August 8th- 17th operated in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and Panama.  She returned to Norfolk and from there traveled to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for overhaul.


Born about 1744 in County Donegal, Ireland, Gustavus Conyngham commanded the merchant brig Charming Peggy in 1775. When his ship was interned in Europe, Conyngham sought and on 1 March 1777 obtained a captain's commission in the Continental Navy. As commanding officer, successively, of Surprise, and Revenge, he became a terror to British shipping, taking some 60 prizes in 18 months. As a privateer he was captured in 1779, escaped to Europe, and was recaptured while returning to America in 1780. Exchanged a year later, he was in France preparing to cruise against the British when the war ended.

He returned to the merchant service and commanded the armed brig Maria during the Quasi-War with France. As a member of the Common Council of Philadelphia, he assisted in the defense of that city during the War of 1812. Captain Conyngham died 27 November 1819 at Philadelphia, Pa.

Photo #: NH 84902-KN. Captain Gustavus Conyngham, Continental Navy painting by V. Zveg, 1976, based on a miniature by Louis Marie Sicardi. Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Salty LT abroad the USS Conyngham

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