The nuclear-powered guided missile frigate USS BAINBRIDGE (DLGN 25) commissioned on 6 October 1962. Her first Mediterranean deployment began in February 1963, and included demonstrations of her long-range high speed dash capabilities and operations with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier ENTERPRISE (CVAN 65). BAINBRIDGE returned to the Mediterranean in May 1964, this time joining ENTERPRISE and the guided missile cruiser LONG BEACH (CGN 9) to form the first all-nuclear-powered task group. At the end of July the three ships began Operation Sea Orbit, a two-month unrefueled cruise around the world.
In October 1965 BAINBRIDGE again rounded the Cape of Good Hope, en route to the Western Pacific for the first of eleven Seventh Fleet cruises. Operating for much of this deployment off Vietnam, she screened aircraft carriers, served as a radar-picket ship, and performed search and rescue missions. In June the frigate crossed the Pacific to her new home port, Long Beach, California. Between 1966 and 1973 she conducted five additional Far Eastern tours, which involved additional Vietnam War combat operations as well as voyages to Australia and, beginning in 1970, the Indian Ocean. In 1967-1968 BAINBRIDGE underwent shipyard overhaul and her first nuclear refueling. The ship’s seventh trip to the Far East, beginning in November 1973, included a lengthy visit to the Arabian Sea, a locale that would become very familiar in the coming decades.
BAINBRIDGE received an extensive modernization and refueling between June 1974 and September 1976, with post-overhaul work lasting until April 1977. While in the shipyard, at the end of June 1975, she was reclassified from frigate to cruiser, receiving the new designation CGN 25. Her next Seventh Fleet deployment ran from January to August 1978 and included visits throughout the region, from Japan and Korea to Thailand and Singapore, with her homeward-bound voyage taking her to Australia and through the South Pacific. BAINBRIDGE made three more WestPac tours from 1979 to 1983, each of which involved extensive operations in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.
After receiving her final nuclear refueling overhaul in 1983-1985, BAINBRIDGE left the Pacific after two decades, transited the Panama Canal and rejoined the Atlantic Fleet. Her operations thereafter comprised counter-drug smuggling patrols in the Caribbean; several deployments to northern European waters; and four Mediterranean cruises, including combat operations off Libya in 1991-1992, a Red Sea and Arabian Gulf tour, and service as the flagship of the Standing Naval Forces, Atlantic, in 1994. Inactivated in October 1995, BAINBRIDGE decommissioned in September 1996.