The VINCENNES was the first of the United States Navy's AEGIS Cruisers of the TICONDEROGA Class to enter the Pacific Fleet. Upon commissioning in 1985, VINCENNES entered the Pacific Fleet via the Panama Canal and participated in the testing and development of the SM-2 Block II surface-to-air missile. In May 1986, VINCENNES participated in the multinational exercise RIMPAC 86, coordinating the AAW efforts of two aircraft carriers and over forty ships from five nations.
VINCENNES deployed in August 1986 to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. During the "first ever" Pacific Deployment of an Aegis cruiser, VINCENNES served as Anti-Air Warfare Commander with both USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) and USS NEW JERSEY (BB 62) Battle Groups. She also operated jointly with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Navy. VINCENNES steamed over 46,000 miles in waters from the Bering Sea to the Indian Ocean.
On 20 April 1988, during Fleet Exercise 88-1, VINCENNES was given unexpected orders to proceed back to San Diego and make preparations to leave on a six month deployment. One month later, the ship entered the Persian Gulf, to become part of the Joint Task Force in the Persian Gulf. During the course of this assignment it made fourteen transits of the Straits of Hormuz in support of Operation Earnest Will.
In February of 1990, VINCENNES deployed on her third six month tour of the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, In addition to covering the fleet with the "Aegis Shield" and coordination all Battle Group air events, VINCENNES served as the Command and Control Flagship during Harpoon-Ex-90. VINCENNES spent more time at sea during deployment than any other ship in the Battle Group. In July 1990. VINCENNES returned home after steaming nearly 100,000 miles. She deployed with SH-60S LAMPS MK III Anti-Submarine helicopters from HSL-45 Det 13. The embarked LAMPS detachment was a tremendous asset and performed superbly in its Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Submarine Underwater Warfare roles.
In August 1991, VINCENNES departed for her fourth Western Pacific Deployment. Transiting with the USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62), VINCENNES performed duties as the Anti-Air Warfare Commander for Battle Group Delta until detaching to participate as the United States representative in MERCUBEX 91, a joint United States and Singaporean exercise. Over the next three months, VINCENNES participated in the bilateral exercise VALIANT BLITZ with the South Korean Navy, the bilateral exercise ANNUALEX 03G with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, and ASWEX 92-1K with the South Korean Navy before reaching Hong Kong to act as the U.S. representative for the Navy Days ceremonies. VINCENNES returned from deployment on the 21st of December 1991.
In June 1994, VINCENNES departed on her fifth Western Pacific deployment Transiting with the USS K ITTY HAWK (CV 63) Battle Group, VINCENNES performed duties as Anti-Air Warfare Commander for the Battle Group. During deployment, VINCENNES conducted an Anti-Submarine exercise, PASSEX 94-2, with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, the bilateral exercise MERCUB 94-2, a joint U.S. and Singaporean Navy exercise of the Malaysian peninsula, he bilateral exercise KEEN EDGE, with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, and TANDEM THRUST, a larger scale joint exercise which VINCENNES participated as the Area Air Defense Coordinator for the entire joint operating area. VINCENNES returned from deployment on the 22nd of December 1994.
USS VINCENNES changed homeport in August 1997 from San Diego to Yokosuka, Japan.
USS VINCENNES, forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, took part in Exercise Valiant Usher 98-1 with USS BELLEAU WOOD (LHA 3) amphibious ready group and the Royal Australian Navy destroyer HMAS PERTH (DDG 38). The combined exercise took place near Townsend Island, Australia.
VINCENNES also took part in the U.S. Seventh Fleet's Fleet Battle Experiment Delta (FBE-D) from Oc tober 24 to November 2, 1998, in conjunction with exercise Foal Eagle, a regularly scheduled exercise that simulates the defense of the Republic of Korea. Sponsored by t he Navy Warfare Development Command, FBE-D is the fourth in a series of experiments that test newly emerging combat systems and procedures in an operational environment. Fleet Battle Experiments are designed as genuine experiments, not demonstrations or exercises. Each experiment has a hypothesis and specific, carefully considered measu res of effectiveness. Unlike a demonstration, failure is acceptable; in fact, just as much can be learned from failure as from success. The results of FBE-D will have a direct influence on future naval force structure and capabilities.
USS VINCENNES completed Sharem 134, a bilateral exercise conducted with several Japanese ships and other U.S. participants, on August 12, 2000. The exercise included a week of undersea warfare training and data collection in the South China Sea. The ships subma rine detection capabilities were tested during the five-day event, and new submarine prosecution procedures were developed. Events included sonar range testing, sonobuoy employment methods and submarine engagement tactics using VINCENNES' embarked LAMPs helo detachment, HSL 51 Det. 6. The final Sharem events included a freeplay, which a llowed the cruiser to detect and prosecute other submarines within the operations area, combining many of the tactics and systems tested during Sharem.
In mid-November 2000, the vessel took part in MISSILEX 01-1 during which it test fired various missile batteries at remote controlled aerial drones provided by Fleet Activities Okinawa.
On March 23, 2001, USS VINCENNES, as part of the USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) Battle Group, cruised into Changi Naval Base, marking the first time a U.S. carrier has moored pierside in Singapore. VINCENNES took part from August 23-27, 2001, in a military training exercise called Multi-Sail, featuring U.S. Navy ships and aircraft and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force units. Multi-Sail is designed to provide U.S. and Japanese forces interoperability training in multiple warfare areas. The training exercises the units' skill in surface, air defense and undersea warfare required to jointly defend Japan against external aggression.
USS VINCENNES departed Yokosuka on September 17, 2001, to conduct operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and returned on December 18, 2001 after more than three months at sea.
In addition to performing duties as the Battle Group Anti-Air Warfare Commander during her Western Pacific Deployments, VINCENNES has been awarded the Navy Meritorious Unit Citation, the Battle "E" three times, the Combat Action Ribbon, the National Defense Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with four stars.