U.S.S. Charles R. Ware (DD-865) was launched April 12, 1945, by Bethlehem Steel Co., Staten Island, NY, sponsored by Mrs. Arva Zena Ware of Athens,TN and was commissioned July 21, 1945, Commander H. R. Wier in command.
Lieutenant Charles Rollins Ware, U.S. Navy, for who the ship is named, was a naval aviator who, as a pilot of a scout Bomber, gave his life in the Battle of Midway, June 4, 1942. He was awarded the Navy Cross, the nation's second highest military honor, for his courage and devotion to duty in actions against enemy forces. From her home ports at Norfolk, Va., and after December 1950, Newport, RI, the Ware operated through 1960 on the demanding schedule of the Atlantic Fleet. Along with many deployments to the Mediterranean and northern Europe, she carried out the intensive training and overhaul necessary to keep her ready for any emergency as well as her usual activities.
Her first major cruise, from March 1 to April 9, 1946, was to northern waters, where she aided in developing techniques for cold weather operations, crossing the Arctic Circle. Shortly thereafter she carried out the first of several operations through which she aided in maintaining the readiness of other forces, serving as target ship for submarines training off New London, Conn. She was under way on November 10, 1947 for the Mediterranean and her first tour of duty with the 6th Fleet. After exercising with this force, and calling at ports of northern Europe, she returned to Norfolk March 11, 1948. The Ware was back in the Med in 1949 on a cruise during which she patrolled off the Levant Coast for two weeks under the direction of the United Nations Palestine Truce Commission. Through two cruises to the Caribbean in the summer of 1949, Charles R. Ware aided in the training of members of the Naval Reserve, then took part in a large-scale Arctic operation before preparing for a 1950 tour with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean.
Her 1951 tour was highlighted by operations with ships of the Royal Hellenic Navy. After her 1953 tour, she conducted antisubmarine warfare exercises with British ships off Northern Ireland, calling then at ports in Ireland, Germany, Norway, Denmark, and Belgium. Later that year, she took part in exercises with the carrier HMCS Magnificent, off Narragansett Bay. It was back to the Mediterranean again in early 1954, for a tour of duty which included participation in a North Atlantic Treaty Organization operation. Her 1955 deployment began with antisubmarine warfare exercises with the Royal Navy off Northern Ireland and was followed by her 6th Fleet duty. In summer 1956, she carried midshipmen on a summer training cruise to Northern Europe. The year 1957 was marked by assignment to escort the ship carrying King Saud of Saudi Arabia, into New York harbor, for his state visit and a European cruise during which she exercised with Spanish destroyers. That fall she put to sea for North Atlantic Treaty Organization exercises and on January 20, 1958, she rescued a downed pilot from Essex (CVA-9) while conducting air operations off the East Coast. Shortly thereafter she cleared for the Mediterranean once more. During the summer of 1959, Charles R. Ware took part in the historic Operation "Inland Sea," the first passage of a naval force through the Saint Lawrence Seaway into the Great Lakes. She took part in the Naval Review in Lake Saint Louis on June 26, which was taken by Queen Elizabeth II of England and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and sailed on to call at a number of United States and Canadian ports.
During her 1960 Mediterranean tour, she carried German naval observers on exercises in the Ionian Sea. Ware underwent FRAM 1 overhaul at the New York Naval shipyard from January 1961 through March 1962. During FRAM 1, Ware's anti-submarine capabilities, air detection equipment and crew living spaces were modernized. After the completion of Fram 1, Ware was home ported in Mayport, FL. In 1962, Ware joined other U.S. Second Fleet units in the blockade of Cuba, during the "missile crisis". In 1967 the Ware left Mayport on February 21 for Vietnam. Passing through the Panama Canal, Ware was for the first time in its lifetime in the Pacific Ocean. The ship was a member of Task Force 77.1 on "Operation Sea Dragon" to destroy North Vietnamese radar complexes. In nearly twenty missions, 1080 rounds of ammunition were fired at enemy targets. On five occasions, the enemy returned fire, but no hits or casualties were sustained, although shrapnel sprinkled the deck. Ware spent 90 days in the combat zone. In March of 1968,Ware was deployed to U.S. Middle East Force and crossed the Equator six times. In 1970, Ware sailed for the Mediterranean, for the first time, since 1965.
In September of 1972, Ware departed Mayport for another deployment with the Middle East Force. The cruise would take her around the globe for the first time in her 28-year history. Enroute to Bahrain, the Ware was on the scene of a collision of two super-tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Ware assisted in the search, taking aboard 31 survivors on board and providing medical treatment. Ware returned to Mayport, in April 1973 after completing a 207 day trip around the world.
[Charles R. Ware was struck from the Navy list on July 1, 1974, and sunk as a target in the Caribbean on November 13, 1981.]
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