USS Cowpens (CG-63)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Cowpens.
USS Cowpens pulls alongside USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63).
USS Cowpens (CG-63) pulls alongside USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63)
Career (USA)
Name: USS Cowpens
Namesake: The Battle of Cowpens
Operator:  United States Navy
Ordered: 8 January 1986
Builder: Bath Iron Works
Laid down: 23 December 1987
Launched: 11 March 1989
Commissioned: 9 March 1991
Homeport: Naval Base San Diego
Motto: Victoria Libertatis Vindex
(Victory Vindicates Liberty)
Status: in active service, as of 2014
Badge: USS Cowpens CG-63 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class & type: Ticonderoga-class cruiser
Displacement: Approx. 9,600 long tons (9,800 t) full load
Length: 567 feet (173 m)
Beam: 55 feet (16.8 meters)
Draft: 34 feet (10.2 meters)

4 × General Electric LM2500 gas turbine engines, 80,000 shaft horsepower (60,000 kW)
2 × controllable-reversible pitch propellers

2 × rudders
Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h)
Complement: 33 officers, 27 Chief Petty Officers, and approx. 340 enlisted
Sensors and
processing systems:

2 × 61 cell Mk 41 vertical launch systems containing

8 × RGM-84 Harpoon missiles
2 × Mk 45 Mod 2 5-in/54-cal lightweight gun
2 × 25 mm Mk 38 gun
2–4 × .50 cal (12.7 mm) gun
2 × Phalanx CIWS Block 1B

2 × Mk 32 12.75-in (324 mm) triple torpedo tubes for lightweight torpedoes
Aircraft carried: 2 × Sikorsky SH-60B or MH-60R Seahawk LAMPS III helicopters.

USS Cowpens (CG-63) is a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser in service with the United States Navy. The ship is named after the Battle of Cowpens, a major American victory near Cowpens, South Carolina, in the American Revolution. She was built at the Bath Iron Works in Maine. The USS Cowpens is stationed at Naval Base San Diego.

Cowpens in drydock in Yokosuka, 2004


In March 2003, the Cowpens, assigned to Carrier Group Five, became the first United States Navy ship to launch ordnance in the opening stages of the Iraq War, firing Tomahawk cruise missiles.1

On 13 January 2010, the ship's commanding officer, Captain Holly Graf, was relieved of command by Rear Admiral Kevin Donegan, Commander, Carrier Strike Group Five, following the imposition of non-judicial punishment. The punishment followed an investigation which verified allegations of cruelty and maltreatment toward her crew, and conduct unbecoming an officer — violations of articles 93 and 133 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, by Graf during her tenure as captain of the USS Cowpens. The investigation was initiated after multiple allegations and complaints of physical and verbal abuse were made to Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Navy Inspector General by several members of the crew. Captain Graf was subsequently replaced as the commanding officer by Captain Robert Marin.2345 A subsequent Time article revealed that Graf had a history of abusive treatment of subordinates in earlier assignments and that navy leaders had not acted on previous complaints about her behavior.6 The US Navy forced Graf into early retirement in 2012, but allowed her to do so at her current rank of Captain and under "honorable circumstances."7

This ship was one of several participating in disaster relief after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.8

On 10 February 2012, Cowpens' commanding officer, Captain Robert Marin, was relieved of command for inappropriate personal behavior after he had an adulterous affair with a fellow captain's wife.9

USS Cowpens was scheduled to be decommissioned on 31 March 2013.10 However, Cowpens was retained under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.1112

In February 2013, she was relieved by USS Antietam and was then homeported at Naval Base San Diego, California.

In November 2013, after Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines (especially the city of Tacloban and Leyte Province), she was sent there as part of the U.S. aid mission.13

On 5 December 2013, she was involved in a minor confrontation with a Chinese warship that was escorting the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning while conducting surveillance of Chinese ships in International waters in the South China Sea. After Cowpens refused a Chinese demand to leave the area, a Chinese amphibious transport dock crossed directly in front of the Cowpens and halted.1415 The two vessels were barely 500 yards away when the captain of Cowpens ordered "all stop".16 Chinese admiral Yin Zhuo said that the Chinese action was intentional and that American ships sent to observe PLAN maneuvers would be "blocked".17 Pentagon spokesman Steve Warren said that American procedures had not been changed in light of the incident, but defense analyst Tim Brown said that it reflected "a growing willingness by the Chinese to engage in potentially reckless behavior".18

On 10 June 2014, the commanding officer of the Cowpens, Captain Gregory Gombert, was relieved of command for poor performance in a number of inspections.19


  1. ^ Brown, Michael (20 March 2003). "USS Cowpens Launches First Missiles in Operation Iraqi Freedom". US Navy. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Carter, David, J., "Admiral relieves Cowpens captain", Stars and Stripes, 16 January 2010.
  3. ^ Ewing, Philip, "Cruiser CO relieved for ‘cruelty’", Navy Times, 16 January 2010.
  4. ^ "Whale-Plowing, Cup-Hurtling Capt Holly Graf Finally Fired After Choking Subordinate". Susan Katz Keating. 18 October 2010. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "Cruiser CO relieved for ‘cruelty’ - Navy News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq". Navy Times. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Thompson, Mark, "The Rise and Fall of a Female Captain Bligh", Time, 3 March 2010.
  7. ^ Slavin, Erik, "Navy to let ousted captain of Yokosuka-based ship to get 'honorable' retirement", Stars and Stripes, 8 January 2012.
  8. ^ Rabiroff, John. "U.S. military delivers 40 tons of supplies to hardest-hit areas," Stars and Stripes (US). 17 March 2011.
  9. ^ Wellman, Sam (7 June 2012). "Report details CO's affair with captain's wife". Navy Times. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  10. ^ "11 ships to be decommissioned in fiscal 2013 - Navy News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq". Navy Times. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "US Navy to retain four Ticonderoga-class cruisers in service". 28 September 2012, and National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, p. 5.
  12. ^ Navy decides not to scrap SD warshi p by Gary Robbins, U-T San Diego, April 15, 2013.
  13. ^ Smith, Harry (12 November 2013). "Typhoon Haiyan: Philippines president says death toll could be far lower than worst estimates". NBC News. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  14. ^ Thayer, Carl (17 December 2013). "USS Cowpens Incident Reveals Strategic Mistrust Between U.S. and China". The Diplomat. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  15. ^ Alexander, David (14 December 2013). "U.S., Chinese warships narrowly avoid collision in South China Sea". Reuters. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  16. ^ Starr, Barbara (13 December 2013). "U.S., Chinese warships come dangerously close". CNN. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  17. ^ Carter, Liz (16 December 2013). "Chinese Admiral to U.S. Navy: 'We Will Block You'". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  18. ^ Ramirez, Luis (16 December 2013). "Pentagon Downplays Near-Collision in South China Sea". Voice of America. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  19. ^ "Cruiser CO, CMC canned for poor performance". Navy Times. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 

This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain.

External links

On the lighter side: Is the Cowpens cursed? A psychic weighs in.