On 1 February 1980, the Navy began a 90-day test of the Defense Enrollment/Eligibility Reporting
System (DEERS) which was designed to make health support facilities more available to
legitimate users. The Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) was initially
tested in the Norfolk, VA and North Carolina areas. The system was designed to aid
medical service providers to increase service and prevent fraudulent use of facilities. The
system was also designed to gather data that would help with the future planning of
services such as military housing, medical care, exchanges and commissaries.
Active Duty and retired Navy service members were initially enrolled in the computer data base.
Trident I Operational
“The USS Francis Scott Key…equipped with the Trident I missile…recently began her first operational
patrol.” With that announcement to the Senate Armed services Committee by Secretary
of Defense Harold Brown, it was disclosed that the 4,000-nautical-mile range Trident I
(C4) missile has joined America’s deterrent force of fleet ballistic missiles. USS Francis
Scott Key (SSBN 657) is the first of 12 Poseidon submarines to be backfitted to utilize
Trident I that has approximately twice the range of Poseidon (C3). The first Trident
submarine—USS Ohio—that will carry 24 Trident I (C 4) missiles instead of the 16 missiles carried by the
backfitted Poseidon submarines, was launched in April, and will enter active fleet service in late 1980.
The Navy’s fleet ballistic missiles program became operational in November 1950 when the first Polaris
(A 1) missiles went to sea aboard USS George Washington (SSBN 598). Since that time the sea launched
ballistic missile force has been progressively modernized by introduction of Polaris (A 2) (now retired),
Polaris (A 3) and Poseidon (C 3) missiles.
Fleet at 532 vessels
The fleet consisted of 532 vessels at the beginning of 1980. The two latest additions to the fleet were
the USS O’Bannon DD 987 and USS McInerney FFG 8. The total ship operating force consisted of 456
active; 52 Naval Reserve Force and 24 naval fleet auxiliaries.
McInerney was named for Vice Admiral Francis X. McInerney who distinguished himself in World War II
during the Battle of Coral Sea. O’Bannon was named after Marine First Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon
who led Marines in a successful attack on Barbary pirate positions in Tripoli in 1805.
USS Tang SS-563 the Last Atlantic Fleet Diesel Submarine Decommissioned
USS Tang SS 563 the oldest diesel-electric submarine in the Navy and last operational one in the Atlantic
Fleet was decommissioned on 8 February 1980. Tang was commissioned on 25 October 1951
Our Navy 1980
Women Eligible for Active Duty LDO Program
The Navy announced plans to open the active limited duty officer (LDO) program to women. The
program would open for women starting in FY81. The LDO program was
established in 1948 but was not open to female Sailors.
All enlisted applicants were required to have eight years of naval service and be
serving in paygrades E-6 through E-8. For FY 81, the Chief of Naval Personnel
approved a one-time waiver for female applicants who were E-9 or had more than
16 years of service.
DoD Issues New ID Card Regulations
The Department of Defense announced changes affecting the issue and renewal of dependent ID cards
and ID cards for retired personnel and reservists. Some highlights of the changes were new
requirements for more frequent renewal of dependents ID cards and a “new look” for retired and
reserve ID s. The new ID cards for retired personnel were changed from gray to blue. Reserve ID cards
would remain red but would have Geneva Convention information added. The new cards would no
longer show fingerprints.
Uniform Changes 1980
The Navy implemented several uniform changes in 1980. The biggest change was
authorizing jumper-style uniforms for all male E-5 and below personnel. Jumper
style uniforms were phased out in 1975 and replaced with a single dress blue coat
and tie uniform for E-1 through O-10. The coat and tie uniform was not well
received by Sailors and the decision was made to return to the jumper-style
uniforms for E-5 and below. Eventually E-6 and below were required to wear
Other uniform changes included:
- White, long sleeve, shirts with soft shoulder boards were made optional for male officers.
- The pullover-style enlisted blue working shirt was extended until 1 October 1980.
- New female-sized chambray shirts and dungarees were authorized for wear with the blue
working cap, command baseball-style cap and garrison cap.
- Medical personnel authorized to wear white uniforms year-round were authorized to wear
overcoats during the winter.
- The blue windbreaker authorized for summer blue, winter blue, and winter working blue was
authorized for wear with summer white.
- Safety shoes were required for all male e-1 through E-6 personnel.
- Black vinyl hand bags for females were introduced to replace costly leather handbags.
President Carter Signs Bill for Navy Memorial
President Carter signed a bill on 5 March 1980 authorizing the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation to erect a
memorial on public grounds in the Washington area in honor and in commemoration of the men and
women who have served in the Navy throughout its history.
USS Carl Vinson CVN 70 Commissioned
USS Carl Vinson CVN 70 was commissioned in Newport News, VA on 15 March. The launch took place at
Newport News Shipbuilding on the James River in Southern Virginia. 96-year old Georgia statesman, Carl
Vinson was present to watch sponsor Molly Snead smash the bottle of champagne against the hull of
the nuclear aircraft carrier bearing his name.
First Aegis Cruiser Named
The Navy announced that the lead ship of a new class of Aegis-equipped guided missile cruisers (CG-47)
will bear the name Ticonderoga. The name commemorates the capture of Fort Ticonderoga on Lake
Champlain during the Revolutionary War.
Ticonderoga has been the name of four previous naval ships. The first was a 17-gun schooner which
took part in battles on Lake Champlain during the War of 1812. The second was a steam sloop of war
which served with Union forces during the Civil War. A third Ticonderoga was a former German cargo
ship which served with the Naval Overseas Transportation Service during World War I.
The most recent ship to carry the proud name Ticonderoga was the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS
Ticonderoga CVS-41. This ship served from 1944 until 1973, earning 17 battle stars during World War II
The newest Ticonderoga, CG-47, will be fitted with the Aegis weapons system and several other
advanced sensor weapons systems which will make the ship a powerful multi-mission unit capable of
conducting anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare in high-threat environments.
Ticonderoga’s keel was laid January 21, 1980 in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
The commissioning of Spruance-class destroyers and Virginia-class cruisers in the late 1970s resulted in
the decommissioning of several veteran surface warships in 1980. Twelve warships which included
three converted conventional cruisers and nine Gearing-class destroyers ended their service in the fleet.
USS Chicago CG 11, USS Oklahoma City CG 5, USS Albany CG10, USS Agerholm DD 826, USS Hollister DD
788, USS Higbee DD 806, USS John R. Craig DD 885, USS Meredith DD 890, USS Hammer DD 718, USS
Myles C. Fox DD 829, USS Charles B. Cecil DD 835, and USS Hawkins DD 873 were all launched between
1943 and 1946 and served during World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam.
Naval Districts Disestablished
All naval districts, with the exception of Naval District Washington, DC were disestablished on 30
September. The change was made to streamline the Navy’s organizational structure. The functions and
resources of the naval districts were transferred to naval bases in the area as follows:
- Fourth Naval District functions and resources were assigned to Naval Base Philadelphia.
- Thirteenth Naval District functions were transferred to and used to build Naval Base Seattle.
- Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Eleventh Naval Districts that had no resources were also disestablished.
Groton’s Around-the-World Homecoming
USS Groton SSN 694 returned to Naval Submarine Base New London in October after a 188-day around-
the world cruise. The submarine left Groton, Connecticut on April 4. Groton circled the world and
operated as a unit with both the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets. Groton was the second Los Angeles-class
submarine to complete this type of exercise.
Trident East Coast Base to be located at Kings Bay
The Navy announced that it had reached a final decision to locate the Trident Atlantic Coast Strategic
Submarine Base in kings Bay, GA. The announcement ended studies and analyses of many locations. The
east coast strategic submarine base would be the compliment of the Trident Submarine Base at Bangor,
WA. The Bangor base was scheduled to become operational in 1981.
E8/E-9 Advancement Exam Eliminated
In December 1989 the Navy announced the elimination of the requirement of the annual E-8/E-9
advancement in rating exams. Effective immediately after the announcement all active and inactive E-
8/E-9 candidates who met the requirements of three years in rate and have satisfactorily completed
military requirements for senior and master chief petty officer were eligible for selection board
Enlisted Commissioning Program
The Enlisted commissioning Program was established that allowed enlisted personnel with previous
college credit to complete requirements for baccalaureate degrees in 24 months and subsequently earn
regular Navy commissions. Participants received full pay and allowances while enrolled in Naval Reserve
Officer Training Corps (NROTC) host universities but were required to finance their own education.