This is the USS Ready (PG-87), while pierside in Souda Bay, Crete. Mr. Ed McLean from the Environmental Protection Agency informed me that Ready was scrapped after suffering a major electrical fire. This photograph was provided by Captain David Spriggs via E-Mail in gif file format. The ship alongside the Ready is the USS Antelope (PG-86). Antelope is now the Ocean Survey Vessel, Peter W. Anderson, operated by MAR, INC under contract to the EPA.
USS Ready (PG-87) was built by Tacoma Boatbuilding Company, Tacoma, Washington, and commissioned on 6 January 1968. It was the fourth ship of the Asheville Class of Patrol Gunboats and second ship of the line to be named in honor of a city in Kentucky. Ready, along with Antelope (PG-86) was fitted with the MK87 Fire Control System, a highly sophisticated, track-while-scan, digital fire control radar which controlled both the 3 inch gun mount and later, the RIM-66B STANDARD surface-to-surface missile system.
Initially homeported in Guam, Ready participated in operations in South Viet Nam, subsequently changing homeport to Long Beach CA in 1971. Assigned to Commander, Coastal Division Thirty Two, headquartered in San Diego, Ready began a major conversion and overhaul in Long Beach Naval Shipyard, which included the installation of two box launchers, each containing two STANDARD RIM-66B surface-to-surface missiles, and integration into the MK87 Fire Control System. Following successful system testing on the Pacific Missile Range, Ready departed Long Beach in July 1972 for Little Creek VA and, ultimately, her new homeport of Naples, Italy.
Ready departed Little Creek in company with USS Graham County (AGP-1176), a bow-door LST which had recently been converted to service as a PG tender and support ship. She arrived in Naples in September 1972, joining USS Surprise (PG-97) and USS Defiance(PG-95) which were already homeported in Naples, but were not fitted with surface-to-surface missiles.
Ready became an element of Sixth Fleet and Patrol Division Twenty One and conducted numerous operations, usually serving as Orange Forces simulating Soviet anti-ship missile platforms during Sixth Fleet exercises. Other notable operations included joint operations with Greek fast patrol boats, an initial "show the flag" visits to La Maddalena, Sardinia in advance of the homeporting of a submarine tender and nuclear submarines, and a port visit to Split, Yugoslavia while it was still a Communist country. Ready joined other Sixth Fleet forces in extended real world operations, patrolling Eastern Mediterranean waters during the Jordanian Crisis in October 1973.
Ready and her sister ship Antelope returned to Little Creek in July 1977 and were decommissioned on 01 October 1977. Former Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr., who had been instrumental in the missile conversion and forward deployment of the PGs, was the guest speaker. Ready was subsequently transferred to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy as a training vessel.
A special Thank-you and "BRAVO ZULU" to Captain David A. Spriggs, USNR, for providing this information on the USS Ready. Captain Spriggs was assigned to the USS Ready as Engineering Officer from September, 1971 until June, 1972. At that time, he assumed duties as Executive Officer / Operations Officer until October, 1973. Following his tour on Ready, Captain Spriggs was assigned as the Commissioning Operations Officer onboard USS Spruance (DD-963).
Narrative and photos provided by Dave Donaldson, updated by Terry W. McManuels.
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