- 4 * General Electric LM2500 gas turbines
- 2 * shafts, 80,000 shp (60 MW)
- AN/SPS-40 air search radar
- AN/SPG-60 fire control radar
- AN/SPS-55 surface search radar
- AN/SPQ-9 gun fire control radar
- Mark 23 TAS automatic detection and tracking radar
- AN/SPS-65 Missile fire control radar
- AN/SQS-53 bow mounted Active sonar
- AN/SQR-19 TACTAS towed array Passive sonar
- Naval Tactical Data System
- AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System
- AN/SLQ-25 Nixie Torpedo Countermeasures
- Mark 36 SRBOC Decoy Launching System
- AN/SLQ-49 Inflatable Decoys
- 2 * 5 in (127 mm) 54 calibre Mark 45 dual purpose guns
- 2 * 20 mm Phalanx CIWS Mark 15 guns
- 1 * 8 cell ASROC launcher (removed)
- 1 * 8 cell NATO Sea Sparrow Mark 29 missile launcher
- 2 * quadruple Harpoon missile canisters
- 2 * Mark 32 triple 12.75 in (324 mm) torpedo tubes (Mk 46 torpedoes)
- 1 * 61 cell Mk 41 VLS launcher for Tomahawk missiles
- 2 * Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk LAMPS III helicopters
The USS Caron (DD-970), a destroyer from the Spruance-class, was named in honor of Hospital Corpsman Third Class Wayne M. Caron (1946–1968), who bravely lost his life during the Vietnam War and was posthumously granted the Medal of Honor.
Construction of the Caron began on 1 July 1974 at the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She officially joined the fleet on 1 October 1977.
In August 1979, simulated missile maneuvers were carried out by Soviet aircraft against the Caron while she was navigating in the Black Sea.
During late October 1983, the Caron engaged in Operation Urgent Fury near Grenada. On D-Day, 25 October 1983, the Caron rescued a Navy SEAL/Air Force reconnaissance team of 20 from the waters off the island's southwest coast. This team, originating from the USS Clifton Sprague, aimed to assess a 9,000-foot runway being built by Cuban workers at Point Salines. Despite heavy swells disabling their small boats, the Caron spotted and recovered the team at daybreak. Later that day, the Caron also retrieved 10 additional SEALs from northwest waters after a Grenadian counter-attack disrupted their mission. The following day, the Caron executed a third rescue, picking up 11 Army Rangers on a raft from Grand Anse Beach following a successful helicopter evacuation of 233 individuals from St. George's University School of Medicine.
From November 1983 to March 1984, the Caron was part of the Multi-National Peacekeeping Force in Beirut, Lebanon.
On 10 March 1986, the Caron set off from Norfolk, Virginia with the America carrier battle group for a deployment in the Mediterranean. This deployment witnessed the Action in the Gulf of Sidra, an incident where U.S. Navy aircraft downed two Libyan Air Force fighters during a freedom of navigation exercise. Later, on 23 March 1986, in collaboration with Ticonderoga and Scott, the Caron moved south of Libya's «Line of Death,» inciting a low-intensity conflict response from Libya without the Caron firing any weapons.
On 12 February 1988, the Caron encountered a minor collision with a Soviet Mirka II class light frigate (FFL 824) in the Black Sea.
The Caron underwent a standard overhaul and modernization, completing it on 15 February 1990.
Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the Caron was deployed to the Middle East and participated in Operation Desert Storm starting from 14 January 1991.
From 14 October 1993, the Caron was involved in United Nations-directed sanctions enforcement operations against Haiti, being among the six US Navy ships positioned off Haiti as per President Bill Clinton's order to enforce UN sanctions.
In April 1995, the Caron engaged in a NATO mine countermeasures exercise off Denmark.
From January to July 1996, the Caron enforced United Nations sanctions against Iraq in the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Southern Watch.
Between February and 3 July 1998, she deployed to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf with John C. Stennis and Carrier Group Seven, accompanied by Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light 46 (HSL-46) Detachment 3 operating 2 SH-60B Seahawks on board. This deployment initiated with Exercise Shark Hunt 98 off the coast of Spain in April 1998.
From January to 4 June 1999, the Caron underwent a routine overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding, incorporating adjustments for accommodating female crew. Subsequently, from June to December 2000, she was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf alongside the George Washington battle group.
The Caron was decommissioned on 15 October 2001. On 4 December 2002, it was prematurely sunk off the coast of Puerto Rico due to explosives tests.
Incidents in Soviet waters
On 13 March 1986, Caron and Yorktown undertook an unparalleled action by entering Soviet territorial waters situated to the south of the Crimean Peninsula, sparking a diplomatic protest from the Soviet side. Despite claims by administration officials that it was merely an exercise of innocent passage rights, Pentagon officials openly acknowledged that one aim of the maneuver was intelligence gathering.
In February 1988, Caron, in conjunction with Yorktown, once again breached the 12-mile territorial limit in the Black Sea near the Crimean Peninsula. According to international law, this action could be justified if the ship was moving from one point in international waters to another via the shortest route possible. However, the Soviet Union contended that it had the authority to authorize or prohibit travel in specific areas within the 12-mile limit. The United States, however, disputed the Soviet assertion. To prevent this claim from becoming established precedent, the US Navy insisted that it had navigated warships through such zones regularly, adhering to established international law.
In response, the Soviets dispatched the frigate «Bezzavetnyy» (rus.: «Беззаветный», Burevestnik M-class frigate), the SKR-6 (rus.: CКР-6) Mirka II class light frigate, along with numerous other Soviet Navy, Coast Guard, KGB, and ostensibly «civilian» vessels to intercept the American ships. Soviet aircraft repeatedly buzzed around the Caron and Yorktown as smaller craft maneuvered in front of the American vessels. On multiple occasions, Soviet vessels and aircraft locked radar onto the Caron and Yorktown. Both American ships maintained consistent course and speed throughout the incident. Ultimately, the Soviets lightly collided with both ships. Following the collision and amidst the looming threat of weapon and aircraft use by both parties, the American ships exited Soviet territorial waters. No significant damage occurred to any of the involved vessels. Yorktown underwent repairs for three months.
The design of the shield and crest of the coat of arms is inspired by Wayne Maurice Caron's service as Hospital Corpsman Third Class in the United States Navy, who valiantly sacrificed his life on 28 July 1968 while aiding wounded Marines in Vietnam, posthumously earning the Medal of Honor. Caron was named in his honor.
The central light blue section and the white five-pointed star signify the Medal of Honor ribbon, with the inverted star mirroring the silhouette of the Medal of Honor pendant. The single light blue and the two Navy blue sections symbolize Petty Officer Caron's courage, resolute determination, and selfless dedication while serving as Platoon Corpsman with Company K, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, 1st Marine Division. The sweep of his unit through an open rice field in Quảng Nam Province is depicted by the scarlet base and the embattled gold chevron. Navy blue, gold, and scarlet are the Navy and Marine Corps colors.
The Navy-blue caduceus represents the insignia worn on white uniforms by Hospital Corpsmen, United States Navy. This emblem, along with the crossed bayonets (in Marine Corps colors), allude to the medical services routinely provided to the Marine Corps by the Navy. Specifically, the caduceus and bayonets symbolize the combat operation in which Petty Officer Caron, despite severe wounds, lost his life while administering medical aid to his injured comrades.