|Below is our attempt to put the history of the USS WS SIMS in chronological order. Special thanks to the many former shipmates who responded and contributed to this section. Understandable, as we grow and more shipmates are found, our history will be updated and become more accurate.
April Keel was laid by Avondale Shipyards, Westwego, LA.
January Launched at Avondale Shipyards, Westwego, LA.
Summer Crew begins assembling at Algiers Naval Station, New Orleans LA, and Rhode Island.
Sims is the first to have an operational AN/SQS-26CX Sonar platform on the East coast.
Due to anticipated engineering problems, SIMS homeport was changed from New Port News VA to Mayport, FL.
January 3rd USS W. S. SIMS DE-1059 commissioned in Charleston SC. Taking command: Commander Charles M. Plumly (see Commissioning Brochure section this site for details).
Spring Sims moves from Mayport, FL to Jacksonville Shipyards. SIMS’ screw and shaft are removed to correct misalignment.
Summer SIMS heads to GITMO for her first Shakedown Cruise. The infamous tug boat “sinking” incident involving the USS Papago ATF-160 (see Sea Stories section of this site for details).
September Sent back to Charleston SC shipyards for additional repairs and outfitting. SIMS spent more time in drydock, during 1970, then she did underway working on numerous design problems.
November SIMS puts to sea to evaluate feasibility of installing LAMPS (Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System). She was the first ship in the Knox Class to have a manned helicopter land on her deck.
January SIMS left Mayport with personnel from the Key West Testing and Evaluation Detachment. This period consisted of six cruises, numbered 0 to 5, where SIMS operated with various types of submarines in order to determine the capabilities and limitations of the installed long range underwater sound detection equipment.
The tests continued throughout the year and took the escort to such ports as New Orleans; Fredriksted, St. Croix; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Nassau, New Providence, and the Bahaman Islands. Spent the vast majority of the year involved in Sonar trials and calibration.
November SIMS returned to Mayport in time for Thanksgiving and, between 22 November and 31 December 1971 , was involved in a fleet standdown period during which officials representing the squadron, flotilla, and type commanders conducted a series of inspections.
January SIMS completes final cruise for the Key West testing project. She returned to Mayport and spent the next month preparing for operations with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.
February SIMS departs for first Mediterranean (MED) Cruise. Easter Sunday crew played “chicken” with three Russian guided missile frigates during SIMS’ first bystander ops along with USS Pratt (DLG13). This activity prompted President Nixon’s Moscow summit conference concerning the use of sea lanes and the rights of naval vessels in open waters (see Sea Stories section for more details).
Spring She took part in various antisubmarine exercises and visited Barcelona, Spain, and Naples, Italy.
Summer SIMS joined in a combined naval exercise, Operation “Dawn Patrol,” with British, French, and Italian warships. After visiting Sfax, Tunisia, she conducted special surveillance operations on Soviet submarines. The ship then participated in Operation “Good Friendship” with the Turkish Navy and a second Operation “Quick Draw” with the Italian Navy. The crew then enjoyed leave at San Remo, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; Theoule, France; Pyrea, Greece; and several Greek out islands, including Mykonos, and Thia. The USS Vreeland (DE-1068) relieved the SIMS late in August and she headed home.
September Returned from MED Cruise for an extended availability at the Jacksonville Shipyards well into the first quarter of 1973.
March SIMS carried out post-availability sea trials to find additional discrepancies and correction.
April Steamed south to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, and joined the surface missile fleet in gunfire support exercises conducted at the Atlantic Fleet weapons range, Culebra Island .
May Returned to GITMO for REFTRA refresher training, covering all shipboard operations and tactical skills. An engineering casualty soon forced her to return to Mayport for repairs. When the corrections had been made, she returned to Cuba and completed refresher training
June Upon returning to Mayport, the SIMS executed a LAMPS workup.
July SIMS participated in “LantRedEx 1-74” in the Caribbean . As her next assignment, the ship evaluated the basic point defense missile.
August Returned to home port allowing the crew to enjoy a period of leave and liberty.
September Departed for her second MED cruise, which included a stop in Amsterdam to show off the new LAMPS system and helicopter for the Royal Netherlands Navy.
November During MED cruise, SIMS was ordered to escort the yacht of King Hussein to and from the OPEC conference in Algiers, Algeria. The King, as a gesture of gratitude, sent the officers and men a gift of three tons of oranges, tangerines, sardines, and orange juice.
December After visiting Naples, Italy; and Rota, Spain; the SIMS spent the 1973 holiday season at Valencia, Spain .
January SIMS departs Valencia to operate with the USS Independence (CVA-42). After a visit to Rota , Spain and exercises with the USS America (CVA-66), she participated in a search for survivors of a small British trawler; and four of six missing sailors were recovered.. She then proceeded via Gibraltar to Casablanca, Morocco .
February SIMS is first U.S. naval ship to visit Casablanca, Morocco in twenty years. This was by special invitation of King Hussein as a “thank you” for the personal escort. While there, the Soviet military attache came on board for a special tour of the ship. After brief stop at Rota, she returns to Mayport via Bermuda. She endures seven days of hurricane winds and over 40-foot swells in the mid-Atlantic where the storm snaps off part of mast on top of MACK (see Sea Stories section for details).
March-April SIMS took part in interim-sea-control ship-evaluation operations in waters between Jacksonville and Charleston. She returned to her home port and underwent various inspections and tender availability.
June Participated in local ops off Florida coast with squadron.
August SIMS sails for the Portsmouth (NH) Naval Shipyard for repairs in drydock.
September She returns to Mayport and spends the rest of the year and the first part of 1975 in training and in improving the physical condition of the ship.
April SIMS participated in fleet exercise, known as “Agate Punch” which involved naval air, surface, subsurface, and land forces. She then proceeded to the naval weapons station where she offloaded weapons in preparation for going into the shipyard. SIMS suffered an engineering casualty and was towed to Charleston for repairs.
May Upon her arrival back at Mayport, SIMS commenced a month-long tender availability.
June SIMS sailed for Philadelphia for a nine-month overhaul. The ship went into drydock on until December. After she was refloated, work renewing the ship continued into the spring of 1976.
July 1st SIMS is reclassified as a frigate and redesignated FF-1059.
July While in the Philadelphia Shipyard for routine overhaul, testing new silent screw and Sonar dome, the SIMS crew witnessed the USS Belknap being towed in after a collision with USS John F Kennedy, hence the JFK was given the nickname the ”Can Opener”.
March Completed routine overhaul in Philadelphia and returned to homeport by way of Charleston Naval Station for ammunition reloading. SIMS experienced the famous “51 degree roll”, off the coast of Cape Hatteras SC, while underway between Philadelphia and Charleston. (see Sea Stories section for details).
April After returning to Mayport, SIMS conducted weapons systems accuracy trials for Basic Point Defense Surface Missile System (BPDSMS) qualifications.
May Returned to GITMO for REFTRA refresher training, during which the auxiliary generator failed causing the SIMS some embarrassment of nearly having to be being towed while passing a Russian destroyer. Fortunately, AUX II Emergency Generator was brought back online and sailed back under her own power (only 100 yards from the beach).
June Participated in Naval Gunfire Support exercises (NGFS) off Vieques, Puerto Rico and visits Roosevelt Roads Naval Station.
July SIMS’ change of command (see Command History section for for information). Relieved of command: CDR J R Williams. Taking command: CDR Thomas P Jones.
July Mayport Florida’s Bicentennial celebration. Tender availability occupied the month of July and August.
September Departed for Operation “Joint Effort”, a North Atlantic cruise, including NATO exercises, tiled: “Teamwork 76” involving Britain, Belgium, Denmark, West Germany, Netherlands, and Norway. USS John F Kennedy (CV-67) loses an F-14 overboard during exercises. There was great concern the Russians might salvage the jet and thus obtain secrets of US fire control systems. Then again the JFK collides with a naval vessel. This time it’s the USS Bordelon (DD-881), which suffers extreme damage.
September Three Russian submarines surface near the SIMS and are followed back to Murmansk Russia at the Arctic Circle. The SIMS held “Blue Nose” initiations for the un-indoctrinated. SIMS crossed the Arctic Circle at 7 degrees, 37 minutes East longitude. Port of visits included Tromso, Norway and Edinburgh, Scotland.
November SIMS departed Edinburgh, Scotland; and headed for home port. She spent the remainder of 1976 and January 1977 in tender availability and sea trials preparing for April 1977 MED cruise.
March A propulsion examining board embarked; and the ship passed in all respects. During the remainder of the month, SIMS prepared for upcoming deployment.
April SIMS departed for MED cruise. Encountered a severe storm with 20- to 30-foot seas that damaged the MACK to the point where it had to be supported by riggings of mooring lines, while crossing the Atlantic. Damage also caused a flooded paint locker. SIMS spent the first five weeks of cruise in the Bazan Shipyards in Cartagena, Spain. Port visits included Bizerte, Tunisia; Alexandria, Egypt; and Volos, Greece. She conducted operations in the areas of Crete , Greece , Tunisia , and Sicily .
August SIMS sailed to Alexandria, Egypt, and during her visit there was visited by the American consul general, the Governor of Alexandria, and the Commander in Chief of the Egyptian Navy. She then departed for Augusta Bay, Sicily.”National Week XXIII” which consisted of intensive war games involving both 6th Fleet task groups, elements of the Italian Navy, and American Air Force planes. At the conclusion of the exercise, the fleet anchored off Taranto, Italy, for debriefing. The crew enjoyed a port visit to Palma de Mallorca, Spain, before going to sea for “Bystander” operations near Gibraltar .
September After a tender availability at Naples, the SIMS joined the NATO Exercise “Display Determination”, already in progress. When the exercise ended, she acted as the sole escort for USS Independence (CV-62) as they visited Malaga and Rota, Spain . Other ports visited included: Tromso, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; and Edinburgh, Scotland.
October Returned to Mayport from the MED cruise in the company of the USS Independence (CV-62).
November SIMS began a three month stand down, which included tender availability, and local operations including participation in Operation “Marcot,” a joint operation with the Canadian Navy.
December While operating near Bermuda, the SIMS lost all power due to an engineering failure and had no power to any equipment except those powered by batteries. An aircraft responded to distress flares and contacted surface ships in the area. The USS Ainsworth (FF-1090) responded and came alongside, “skin to skin” on the high seas, with all lines tripled. In the midst of six-foot swells, there began heavy movement between the two ships causing frequent contact, buckling several frames in the midships section, which caused considerable superficial damage to the starboard side. After temporary repairs were made, all lines were cleared she returned to home port for repairs. The year 1977 ended with the SIMS in restricted availability, conducting repairs on both diesels and structural repairs to the starboard side.
March Ended restricted availability period and extensive repairs. SIMS headed out for two months of fleet exercises and local operations. she joined units of the 2d Fleet in the Caribbean for Exercise “Safepass “78.” The ship then proceeded north to provide services for Hammerhead (SSN-663).
April After refueling at New London , Conn. , SIMS returns to Mayport and begins an upkeep period. After successfully undergoing an operational propulsion plant exam, the frigate got underway for the Caribbean and Exercise “Comptuex;” then headed up the Cooper River to moor at the Charleston Naval Station. After onloading weapons, she returned to home port for availability and upkeep.
June SIMS conducted tests and inspections at sea, followed by an inport during which she completed preparations for the upcoming Mediterranean cruise. She participates in NGFS qualifications at Bloodsworth Island in the Cheasapeake Bay VA.
June SIMS’ change of command (see Command History section for for information). Relieved of command: CDR Thomas P Jones. Taking command: CDR Ralph D Reeves.
July SIMS began her fourth and longest MED Cruise. Following her Atlantic crossing, the ship arrived in Malaga . After a brief run to Naples , she received on board Admiral H. E. Shear, Commander in Chief, Allied Forces, Southern Europe .
August SIMS sails for Augusta Bay, Sicily, operations in the Ionian Sea, and “National Week XXV” After visiting ports in Greece , she participated in “Anti-Aircraft Warfare Week” and returned to Naples . During the last week of August, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Thomas B. Hayward, paid a visit to tour the ship.
September SIMS takes part in Operation “Ocean Missilex” in the eastern Mediterranean ; Operation “Display Determination-78,” a combined NATO operation; and conducted antisubmarine warfare exercises with a Greek destroyer squadron and an opposing Greek submarine.
October SIMS conducted tests with the French submarine SS Daphne and NATO’s oceanographic research ship, the Maria Paola Gee.
November SIMS returns to La Spezia , Italy , and takes part in “Antisubmarine Warfare Week”. Then underwent intermediate maintenance availability at Cartagena , Spain .
December SIMS arrives at Toulon , France , for a 10-day visit. After which she spends the holiday season at Alicante , Spain .
January SIMS has a port visit at Malaga and heads home from her lengthy MED cruise.
February Returns to Mayport and makes preparations for an extended shipyard period.
May SIMS is sent to Bath Iron Works (BIW) for an extensive overhaul, after a brief visit to Portland, Maine.
March SIMS returns from her overhaul at Bath Iron Works, Maine.
May SIMS heads for GITMO for REFTRA refresher training.
October SIMS departs for MED cruise.
April SIMS returns from MED cruise.
??? Participates in East coast operations.
??? SIMS stands down.
??? SIMS departs for a Persian Gulf
Nov Return from Pursian
Jan SRA first half of year
June Gitmo around time of Grenada invasion
Oct depart for Eastern Med—-“Bierut/Lebanon” interesting side note: 194 days deployed, 94 days on gun line, 156 days at sea, 38 days in port, 6 ports, and 44,457 miles traveled.
??? SIMS returns from MED cruise.
??? SIMS stands down for a month after the MED cruise.
Spring SIMS ventures through the Panama Canal . For two months, SIMS operated out of the naval base in El Salvador.
July Began a one year stay at the Brooklyn Naval Shipyards for extensive overhaul. Civilian contractors managed to set her afire twice during that period.
September SIMS leaves the Brooklyn Naval Shipyards and returns to homeport in Mayport FL.
November SIMS departs for GITMO and REFTRA refresher training. While there has a collision with the USS Moosbruger (DD-980).
January The Challenger Space Shuttle explosion. SIMS participates with the SAR Team in salvage and retrieval operations (see Sea Stories for more details)
July SIMS deploys for a “Tiger” cruise — a part of the four-month Northern wedding/North Atlantic cruise. Encountered Hurricane Charlie and endured 36 days without an underway replenishment (UNREP).
January SIMS departed for MED cruise. She shadowed the Russian fleet for the first month, and was assigned stand-by off Lebanon for the third month. USS Stark was hit by an Iraqi missile in late June.
August Completes a weapons offload in Bath, Maine. Vice President George H.W. Bush makes a brief visit.
Fall SIMS participated in Law Enforcement Operations (LEO). Assigned to work with US Drug Enforcement in intercepting small craft transporting illegal substances. SIMS’s LAMPS helicopter was very useful during these operations.
??? Participated in additional LEO assignments..
??? SIMS deployed for South American UNITAS cruise. Crew held a Shell Back Ceremony and Ditch Digger Ceremony at the equator.
January SIMS returns from UNITAS cruise.
??? Participated in additional LEO assignments. One operation led to the apprehension of the “Jurango Kiss” (see Sea Stories section for details). LAMPS was the communications relay for another helicopter doing a MEDIVAC operation. SIMS’ LAMPShelo spots a suspicious vessel and goes in for a closer look. Suddenly bales of marijuana is seen being tossed over the side. SIMS is credited with “The Bust”.
May SIMS participates in FLEET WEEK in New York City.
??? SIMS sent to drydock at the Jacksonville (JAX) Shipyards FL for overhaul.
January SIMS released from JAX drydock stay.
??? SIMS deploys to GITMO for REFTRA refresher training
??? SIMS visits New Orleans LA for the opening of the ”Aquarium of the Americas”.
??? SIMS participated in additional LEO assignments.
??? SIMS visits Annapolis Naval Academy to let the midshipmen see what “a real ship looks like”.
April SIMS has a major boiler room explosion (see Sea Stories section for details).
September 6th The “Mighty Fine” 1059, is decommissioned. She is the first KNOX class frigate to be decommissioned. (see Decommissioning Brochure section of for details).
updated on 28 March 2005