Built by Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, MS in 1973/4, USS Paul F. Foster (DD 964) was the 2nd ship of the Spruance-class and is the only one left that hasn’t either been destroyed by missiles, torpedos, gunfire, or acetylene torch.
Since her decommissioning in 2003, her maneuvering and propulsion controls have been replaced by computerized systems that allow her to be remotely controlled. Her new role as a Self Defense Test Ship requires that she be unmanned as it involves live-fire exercises at a barge towed 150-feet astern. At 563 feet in length and 8,000 tons, she may very well be the world’s largest remote control vehicle.
As a newly frocked Ensign assigned to her between 2000 and 2002, my shipmates and I deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2001 in support of UN Security Council Resolution 687. With the support of SEAL Team 2, we boarded over 100 ships bound for Iraqi waters.
This image was taken while she was sitting pierside at Naval Station Everett, WA in 2002. The USS Fife (DD 991) is moored in the background.