Group Seeks to Bring ex-USS Charles F Adams to Jacksonville

Philadelphia Navy Yard

Destroyer ex-USS CHARLES F ADAMS at the Philadelphia Naval Business Center in April 2012, alongside ex-USS FORREST SHERMAN and ex-USS EDSON

A few weeks ago, we shared the story of our trip to Philadelphia to scavenge parts off a Cold War destroyer, ex-USS Forrest Sherman. Moored alongside Forrest Sherman is another decommissioned destroyer, ex-USS Charles F. Adams (DDG 2). Coincidentally, just days prior to our trip to Philadelphia, we had the opportunity to meet with John O’Neil in our offices at the Washington Navy Yard. O’Neil is the Executive Director of the Adams Class Museum, a group working to bring the destroyer to Jacksonville as an attraction on the city’s Riverwalk.

USS Charles F. Adams was the lead ship of a class of guided missile destroyers built during the heart of the Cold War. Named for a Secretary of the Navy who served from 1929 to 1933, Adams was commissioned in 1960. She was the first ship designed as an anti-aircraft missile platform. The destroyer was one of the ships involved in quarantine operations in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and also served as a recovery ship for NASA’s Mercury space program. She had a long career, and was not decommissioned until 1990.

In the 1990’s, a group attempted to acquire Adams as a museum ship on the Great Lakes, in Michigan, but that group never overcame the many obstacles that are inherent in acquiring and preparing a ship for public display. The Jacksonville group, however, has made significant strides and are confident they will acquire the ship and turn her into a successful waterfront attraction The Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association (JHNSA) and the Adams Class Veterans Association (ACVA) have been working together, making good progress, and are in the seed money campaign part of the project. They have raised almost $500,000 to date, and have funded many of the necessary studies and advance work to demonstrate to the Navy their resolve in meeting the many requirements to safely obtain and tow the ship to its final berth. In late 2011, the Navy determined that Adams is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, as an historic vessel.

JHNSA have inspected the ship many times, and they believe it can be made ready for towing to Jacksonville in a relatively short time. The BAE shipyard in Jacksonville will dry dock Adams and perform refurbishments such as removal of both screws and both SONAR domes, repair hull plating as needed before sandblasting, preserving and painting the hull and the above decks to the top of the masts, along with various other fixes. These fixes could cost over $2 million. A 100 year weather event protected mooring system has been designed for a permanent berth in downtown Jacksonville, on the east side of the Acosta Bridge on the south bank of the St. John’s River – projected cost could be $6 million (see rendering below). The ship will not be returned to service or to operation other than utilizing the ship’s 110 V electric systems and possibly some 440 V.

RADM Vic Guillory, USN (Ret.), Military Department Head for Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, and a former JO on USS Towers (DDG 9), has been briefed in detail. VADM Jim Amerault, USN (Ret.), formerly OPNAV as the N4, is also on the JHNSA Board. The Governor of Florida Rick Scott, as well as Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll, are both Navy Veterans and are in support of the project. The group has former mayoral candidate and noted business leader Jim Bailey on board. The JHNSA looks forward to working with any one who can help “Bring Home the USS Adams.”

Please visit them on the web at for more information.

Adams Rendering

A rendering of the proposed location of the destroyer ex-USS CHARLES F ADAMS on the Jacksonville waterfront (image courtesy of the ADAMS Class Museum)

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  1. Blue Lawless


    Lets hope this all comes off. I served in HMAS Brisbane DDG 41 , 1970-1973. The three
    CF Adams DDGs in the Australian navy are all gone, sunk as dive wrecks/fish habitat. A terrible shame.All did several tours on the gunline in Vietnam, and served for over 30 years. On a recent visit to the US, I visited USS Midway in San Diego. This fabulously presented museum is how these historic ships should be preserved.

    • Mat Holzl


      Go,day blue..
      Nice to hear from u.
      I am in Vienna for 5 months. A Quite H D. Hope u and y f are well.
      K R Mat and Ria my better half.
      Keep in touch. shall be back in oz in october.
      Have to get together.

    • Michael Deveau GMG USN


      I served Onboard Charles F. Adams DDG-2 in 1989 and I would like to get in touch with some of the Weapons Dept personnel that were onboard her then spicifically GMG1 WAY and GMGCS Dave Clark. If you can help I would appricate it.

      • admin


        Have you tried the Adams Class Veterans Association, Michael? Unfortunately we (the Naval Historical Foundation) don’t have any method or database to connect veterans of ships with each other.

  2. vern pasfield


    Served on Brisbane and was my best sea posting in 20 years in the RAN, DDGs were the best looking war ships ever built in my opinion, to save one for future generations to see is very worth while, I will try to go have a look.

  3. Chips Fry


    Well done guys best of luck in completing this project, they truely were the best platform i served on in the Australian Navy. HMAS Perth DDG 38 1990 – 1996

  4. Rod Steedman


    I served on HMAS Perth and did the 3rd deployment to Vietnam in 1970/1971, I also served on HMAS Hobart in 1971/1972. The Adams class were a mighty warship in their time and served their countries proud for many years.

  5. Bob Thomas


    Severd in all 3 several times each over my career from AB on the gunline in Hobart in 1970 to CPO on North West Indian Ocean deployments in Perth and Brisbane in the 80’s. Love ’em. And hi to Blue Lawless who I joined up with and Vern Pasfield who was in Melbourne with me in 77.

  6. Peter "PJ" Davey


    Also served on Perth on the gunline. Good luck with your endeavours.
    About a year ago there was much ado about a Charles F Adams Class reunion in Florida. I was and still am keen to attend if it happens. Has it all blown over or is it still on the cards?

  7. Nev Phillips


    i served Hobart DDG39, 69/70. third deployment Vietnam, and on Brisbane DDG41 73,
    beautiful ships great and proud ships company, pitty one wasnt saved for the Australian station

  8. Reply

    G’Day to our RAN friends. I served in USS Lynde McCormick (DDG-8) 7/’73 to 7/’75. She was homeported in San Diego but I saw little of it because the McCormick deployed to WESTPAC, Indian Ocean, Red Sea to Ethiopia no less, the first trip; back to WESTPAC again and did a few swings to Taiwan, the Gulf of Tonkin, Singapore, etc. We even shot the first HARPOON missiles from our MK 11 missile launcher! I was Operations Officer and loved every minute of the tour and stayed in till I had tours on 5 more ships and retired to Jacksonville, Florida. I serve as the Executive Director of the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ships Association (JHNSA) and have had the honor of hosting Richard Marek, CPO, RAN (Ret.) for Easter dinner when he was over in the States checking out our city two years ago and seeing what our organization was doing with the project. He even returned last October for our third Annual Gala! I and many others plus Richard have actually walked the decks and toured the internal spaces of the Charlie Deuce herself up in Philadelphia – she is riding in perfect trim, has no liquids on board, and her HY-80 steel hull and main deck are intact. John

  9. Neil (Dev) Devene


    They were great ships. Commissioned HMAS Perth in Boston , served the first deployment to Vienam and paid off her as POME in 1968. She was the best ship I served on in the Australian Navy. Pity she wasn’t saved.

    • Jim Flegg


      Hi nev fleggy here.great to see your still around.last saw you at Perth 3commisioning

  10. John "Sam" Sutton


    I served on two of the DDG’s, Hobart ’73-’79 and Perth ’80-’82. My son served on Brisbane during the ’90s. We have DDG steam running through our blood in my family, a continuous friendly banter about which ship was best, drives my wife mad (that’s why we do it).
    DDG’s were a special class of ship, great to ride in, a pleasure to serve and a real eye catcher. There’s no better sight than a DDG plowing through the waves at speed, or coming down Sydney Harbour to Garden Island. The best ships I ever served in and they hold a place in my heart and soul.

  11. David Reid


    Served on all three in my time in the RAN and lucky to do two stints on Perth & Hobart. No arguement that they were the best looking warship built and there was just something with the crew that made it BZ also. I beleive Brissy was earmarked for the National Maritime Museum in Sydney when she paid off but unfortunately was too big. She would have been a great attraction. Yes they were special. Good luck to you guys in Jacksonville.

  12. John Cavanagh


    Commissioned Perth in Boston. Did two deployments Vietnam 66-67.
    Proud to have served in her. If there is a reunion of DDG sailors in Florida—count me in. What a power plant these ships had.

    • Melissa-Rose


      Hello Mr. Cavanagh,

      I am currently doing the family tree of a family friend and I have been informed that you may be related. But as she has fallen very ill she is not able to do it at the moment.
      Please if you could email me it would be great.

      Kind Regards,
      Sydney, Australia

  13. Bill Collidge


    tremendous ships – all of them and probably the best NGFS system ever invented,
    Bill Collidge
    Mounts 51 and 52
    HMAS Perth

  14. Barry Fidock


    Served on Perth 67-69, and Hobart 71-72. Easily the best fighting ships we Ausies have ever had, and bloody good looking too.
    Barry FIDO Fidock

  15. Mat Holzl


    I loved the Brisbane but have a soft spot for for Vampire where I also served for 3 y.
    Love to hear from you guys.
    Mat Holzl.
    Ex HMAS, Quiberon, Duchess,Derwent,Parramatta,Brisbane,Vampire,Had enaugh.

  16. Michael Reilly


    Commissioned Brisbane, served on Perth and Hobart as a Greenie PO when I get the chance will come down and check the ship out. Sorry that I have too much to do otherwise would attend your reunion. Please keep me informed of the progress and the reunions. Live in Santa Cruz.Ca

  17. Dave Myerly


    Wanted to say thanks to all our DDG Aussie friends who have contiunued your support for the ACVA and JHNSA on this journey to attain the Charlie Deuce (DDG-2).I was Plankowner on DDG-2 in 1960-62 as Radar/Tech2 and loved every minute of it. I have been back aboard several times over the years and she is holding up well. We have gotten many items afrom other ships during strip ship events in Philly and stored them onboard DDG-2 for use to refurbish and make her look presentable in the future. I hope NAVSEA views our progress as a positive sign and in 2013 will release the ship to us so we can get the ship to Jacksonville. They need to know we can handle this ship and make it happen.
    I invite you all to join the ACVA. Go to our web site and fill out the Member Application.
    May you have Calm Winds and Following Seas
    Dave Myerly
    ACVA Executive and Membership Secretary and Ship Laision
    Plankowner USS Charles F. Adams DDG-2 (1960-62)

  18. Vince Patten


    Hi to Bob Thomas,Vern & Sam Sutton,
    Hope your all well. Served on Perth 80-83 on the NWIO deployments. I will set my sites on visiting DDG -2 when over State – side. I still have a DDG-2 ball cap in my collection which I scored when we were lucky enough to be with her in Subic.

  19. Reply

    Sad to report that a ‘plank owner’ of DDG41 HMAS BRISBANE passed away on June 29th.
    Peter Maher always said that the Charles F Adams class were the best ships that Australia ever purchased & I agree with him.
    We will miss the former Secretary of the HMAS BRISBANE Association.

    • admin


      Thank so much for informing us of the sad news of Peter Maher’s passing. Our condolences go out to his family and all his shipmates.

  20. jim flegg


    hi shipmates,comissioned perth and loved my time with perth a fantastic experience and will never forget it

  21. blue saunders


    The best looking gun ships ever spent 3 years and 10 days on Hobart 67-70 had highs and lows but the highs win in the end Good luck in your venture hope you win battle with the b/cats If i make it there i want to see it and walk in heaven once more

  22. Ed Metka


    I served onboard the Adams 7/72 thru 8/76. Best ship in the fleet. I was a fire control tech for the AN/SPG-51C/D radar. Always hit our targets with our tartar missiles. See you in Jax Charlie Deuce.

  23. Jeff Golay


    Served proudly onboard the incredible awesome USS Charles F Adams from 1983 to 1986, 3 1/2 years she was home, a great crew,and great Captain in R.J Branco,I served as an OS in CIC and what a great bunch of operational Intelligent folks we all were! Ha . A ship and crew I have never forgotten, hope very much the ship can return to JAX.

  24. Don Stunes


    Served on Adams and Tattnall in the 60s and70s. Loved them both, great ships.

  25. Michael H. Avant


    I served on Adams from 6/65 to 6/67 in supply. I would like to hear from any of my ship mates

  26. Steven M Roads


    Gentleman, the deal with the Navy and JHNSA has fallen through. it is my understanding that SecNav/NAVSEA or some other entity has renigged the arrangement for the preservation of the “Charlie Deuce”. I see this as a huge tragedy as Adams is the first and last of it’s class. Reading the comments above I believe I am not alone. We have recently started a petition to save the Adams, in the first 2 days we’ve had 1500 signatures. I know more must be done to save this historical Destroyer and return the Adams to her homeport in Jacksonville. So many Tin Can Vets have been looking forward to the Adams arrival in Jax which was to be in late 2018. Does anyone have any suggestions on how we can save the Charles F Adams. We can’t let her go!
    Steve Roads FTM2 (retired) USS Claude V Ricketts DDG 5

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