Big Joe, on the approach
In the following beautiful three-shot sequence, credited to PH1 Michael D. P. Flynn, who was likely aloft in a thumping helicopter, we see the U.S. Navy Belknap-class “destroyer leader” turned guided-missile cruiser USS Josephus Daniels (CG-27) in the Strait of Magellan on the transition to Punta Arenas, Chile, during Unitas XXXI joint fleet exercises between the U.S. and nine South American states, July 1990.
These photos are in the National Archives, 330-CFD-DN-SC-92-02912, 330-CFD-DN-SC-92-02913, and 330-CFD-DN-SC-92-02916, respectively.
Daniels is named for the notorious newspaper editor and publisher who, appointed SECNAV by President Wilson in 1913 (whose ASECNAV was a young FDR), instituted a bunch of “reforms” that included banning alcohol on naval vessels. This, of course, led to the “Cup of Joe” label for coffee.
Our destroyer/cruiser, originally DLG-27, was built at Bath in Maine, sponsored by two granddaughters of the late SECNAV, and commissioned 8 May 1965. Earning three Vietnam Service Medals and playing lots of near-miss “Cold War” games in the Med with Soviet surface ships, she was instantly converted to a cruiser in 1975 to close the “cruiser gap” with the Russkies.
The above shots were among Joe’s swan song, as she was decommissioned and struck on the same day cold January day in 1994– 28 years ago this week– then sold for scrapping before the decade was up.