USS Arkansas (CGN 41) Cruiser

USS Arkansas (CGN-41)


Virginia- class Cruiser

Keel Laid:

January 17, 1977


October 18, 1980


9,473 tons


585 feet


63 feet


30+ Knots


473 Officers and Men


USS Arkansas (CGN-41), a Virginia-class nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser, was the most recent vessel to bear the name “Arkansas”. For the first few months after her commissioning, Arkansas had several deficiencies from construction corrected. Her shakedown cruise was postponed until February of 1981 with the rest of that year mostly taken up with other practice and test missions. It was not until mid-October in 1982 that Arkansas was assigned to the sixth fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. Her duties were in support of a multinational peacekeeping force off the coast of Lebanon. While there Arkansas also participated in maneuvers off the coast of Libya. Arkansas ended the tour on station near Lebanon in May 1983.

Afterwards, Arkansas was moved to Alameda, California, where she continued normal operation until 1984. In June of 1984, Arkansas went on a deployment that became a circumnavigation of the globe. Going from California, Arkansas went first to the Hawaiian Islands, then to the Philippines and Hong Kong and stopped in the Indian Ocean. The missile cruiser stayed in the area of the Arabian Sea for three months due to a conflict in the Middle East. From there, Arkansas entered the Red Sea and went through the Suez Canal and headed towards France. After stopping in France, Arkansas went through the Strait of Gibraltar and across the Atlantic Ocean. Proceeding through the Panama Canal in December, Arkansas returned to Alameda on December 17, 1984 ending the circumnavigation.

After the long voyage, Arkansas stayed in Alameda, getting upgrades and going through testing which took a little under a year. Arkansas received new orders for overseas movement; during which she nearly circumnavigated the earth once more; she made it as far as Italy before returning the way she came. Arkansas returned to port in August 1986, where it resumed local operation on the west coast.

In the 1990’s Arkansas served on the west coast for most of her duties. In 1991 Arkansas joined the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) carrier battle group bound for the Persian Gulf. In 1996, Arkansas was part of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) carrier battle group off the coast of Iraq. After her stint with the Vinson group, Arkansas returned to Alameda for the rest of her career.

Arkansas was decommissioned in July 1998 and entered the Navy’s Nuclear-Powered Ships Recycling Program. Her anchor, helm station, stern plate, captain’s chair, and bell are currently on display at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum along with other exhibits featuring various historical memorabilia related to Arkansas’ service.