Three United States Ships (USS) have been named Whipple, all of them during the 20th century.
The first USS Whipple was the DD15, a torpedo boat destroyer, commissioned 17 February 1903 at Norfolk, Virginia. She saw peacetime service in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, participating in numerous exercises and in patrols off the Mexican coast for which she received the Mexican Service Medal.
The onset of the First World War found Whipple guarding the approaches to the Panama Canal. The latter part of 1917 was spent escorting convoys in the vicinity of the Azores. This was followed by escort duty and Anti-Submarine Warefare (ASW) patrols off the coast of France. Whipple was decommissioned 7 July 1919.
The DD-217, one of the "four piper" destroyers, was commissioned the following year, on 23 April 1920 at Philadelphia. She saw active service with the Atlantic Fleet and in the Mediterranean before setting course for the Far East. The years from 1921-1925 were spent "showing the flag" as a unit of the Asiatic Fleet.
Upon return to the United States, the second USS Whipple saw service in the Second Nicaraguan Campaign while serving with the Atlantic Fleet. She then visited the Mediterranean before departing for the West Coast and a twelve year tour with the Asiatic Fleet.
Whipple saw wartime service in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets as a convoy escort and member of ASW Hunter Killer Groups, receiving two battle stars for operations in the Philippine Islands and the Mediterranean, On 6 June 1945 Whipple was converted to a high speed submarine target ship (AG-117), after which she served with 'the Pacific Submarine Training Command. Whipple was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 9 November 1945.
On 24 April 1967 the keel for the third USS Whipple (DE 1062) was laid at the Todd Shipyard in Seattle, Washington. She was one of 46 Knox class ships honoring naval historian D.W. Knox. Whipple was christened in the memory of Commodore Abraham Whipple of the Continental Navy and commissioned on 22 August 1970.
She arrived at her homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 22 October 1970. Shortly following her arrival to Hawaii, Whipple was assigned to support the at-sea phase filming of a Hawaii Five-O television episode with Jack Lord.
In July, 1975 the designation for Whipple was changed from ocean escort (DE) to Frigate (FF), in order to bring United States Navy size classes into conformity with those of other navies of the world.
Whipple had long range air search radar (AN/SPS-40, for use above water), the smaller AN/SPS-10 radar (for surface contacts), and AN/SPG-53 fire control radar (over the bridge, for aiming the 5 inch .54 caliber gun). The MK-115 fire control system (atop of the "helo hanger") guided Whipple's anti-air and anti-ship missile system. (This system used the sea sparrow missile in an eight cell "pepper box" launcher located on the ship's fantail.)
Whipple was an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) vessel. Her AN/SQS-26CX Sonar--able to operate actively (pinging) and passively (listening)--was at the heart of her anti-submarine systems. On-board helicopters and long-range anti-submarine rockets (ASROCs) added to her capabilities.
Whipple was awarded the U.S. Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Vietnam Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Battle Efficiency Ribbon (three awards), and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. Whipple earned her Combat Action Ribbon during the Vietnam conflict, providing Naval Gunfire (and other) Support to the U.S. and South Vietnamese armed forces.
In April, 1984, Whipple completed a seven month Western Pacific/Indian Ocean deployment. Nearly four months were spent conducting routine operations in the Persian Gulf while attached to Commander Middle East Force. She was decommissioned on Valentine's Day, 14 Feb 1992 and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 11 Jan 1995.
She was sold to Mexico 14 Dec 2001 and renamed Almirante Francisco Javier Mina (F-140). Mina is now stationed in Manzanillo, on the west coast of Mexico.
Whipple's motto, "Resources Beyond Calculation," aptly describes the strength and broad presence of today's United States Navy. It also correctly describes Whipple's crewmembers, who have proven that there is no adequate measure of determining the amount of hard work. dedication, and valor that is required to sustain Whipple in either peacetime or war.
Content © 1999 George Carroll Whipple, III. All rights reserved.