|Posted by H5O 1.0 FOREVER on March 20, 2017 at 2:50 PM|
I’ve just watched the saddest episode of JAG (CBS, 1995-2005). Entitled “Cowboys and Cossacks” (aired April 11, 1997), it tells the story of a conflict between a Russian destroyer, the RNS Visiliev, and a brand new American guided missile destroyer, the USS Cayuga.
The captain of the Visiliev, Captain Grinkov (Morgan Hunter) served in the Soviet navy in the days when the Soviet navy was a powerful force in the world. Now, a mere five years after the fall of the Soviet Union, he is an embittered man.
He is sent to participate in an international exercise; however, it is not just a drill for him. It is one last chance for him to exert his power over the United States Navy. Even as the RNS Visiliev and the USS Cayuga enter the exercise field, he has the Visiliev ram the Cayuga.
He doesn’t stop there. He opens fire on the Cayuga to which the Cayuga returns fire with heat-seeking missiles to stop the Russian missiles before they hit their target. The attack being deemed an act of war, the captain of the Cayuga then orders a missile to be fired at the Visiliev. The aged Russian destroyer lacks the defensive capability to protect itself from the incoming missile, which hits its mark. The Russian sailors abandon ship and make their way by lifeboat to the Cayuga, which moves closer to receive them.
In the end, the American and Russian sailors watch as the Visiliev explodes and sinks with its captain still aboard, determined that to go down at sea is a far better fate for his ship than to be sent to a scrapyard. They salute ship and captain, understanding that the tormented captain simply was unable to watch the navy he had served for so long unravel in those post-Soviet years.
In real life, the USS Cayuga is the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51), the first of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers. These ships replaced the post-World War II guided missile destroyers that we saw on Hawaii Five-0; e.g., the USS Cochrane (DDG-21), to which McGarrett rode the high line from the fast frigate USS Knox (FF-1052) in “Murder – Eyes Only” (Season 8).
The USS Arleigh Burke and the Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers were named for Admiral Arleigh Albert Burke (1901-1996), who distinguished himself in both World War II and the Korean War and went on to serve as Chief of Naval Operations during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations.