In 1984, crew members from the USS Coontz were invited to attend Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at the Vatican.  The crew boarded a bus in Gaeta for Rome and Vatican City, and stopped for dinner and wine along the way.  Once at the Vatican, those attending the mass had to go through a security check and metal detectors, as there had been an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul just a few years before.  Pictured above is the ticket the crew was given for entry to the Vatican.  If you have any photos from your time aboard the USS Coontz you would like to share, please email them to 

Photo of the Day: Refueling at Sea

Posted by Terry Cordingley | 1:09 PM | , , | 0 comments »

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New USS Coontz Message Board

Posted by Terry Cordingley | 3:09 PM | , | 0 comments »

I'm happy to announce the creation of the new USS Coontz Message Board!  Please feel free to use the message board as a resource for sharing memories and sea stories from the USS Coontz, locating shipmates and posting messages to others on the board. 

I think you will find this message board very user-friendly, accessible, and over time, a valuable resource for sharing information and memories with other USS Coontz crew members. 

You can find the message board on this page under "Links of Interest," or you can get their directly through THIS LINK.

If you have any suggested forums for the new USS Coontz message board, please feel free to suggest them to 

Thanksgiving Day 1960
Shrimp Cocktail Cocktail Sauce Lemon Wedges
Roast Tom Turkey Baked Ham
Apple and Raisin Dressing
Snowflake Potatoes
Candied Sweet Potatoes Giblet Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Buttered Cut Corn
Garden Fresh Peas
Salad Bar Selection
Green Onions Radish Rosettes Stuffed Celery
Sliced Tomatoes Tossed Salad
Piquante Dressing Blue Cheese Dressing
Assorted Olives Assorted Pickles
Hot Clover Leaf Rolls Butter Bread
Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream
Apple Pie
Assorted Ice Cream
Fruit Cake
Assorted Mixed Nuts Hard Candy
Hot Coffee Chilled Fresh Milk Grapeade

H.H. Ries, CDR, USN
Commanding Officer

C.J. Boyd, LCDR, USN
Executive Officer

R.G. Nicol, LCDR, USN
Supply Officer

K.G. Norby, ENS, SC, USN
Commissary Officer

E. Gonzales, CSC, USN
Chief Commissaryman

Thanksgiving Prayer
We give thanks, our Father, for the many blessings we have
received throughout our lives. Forgive us for being so blind that we
often miss the great joys of companionship, freedom and comfort. Keep
us strong in the defense of the ideals which were born of Thee and
for which our country stands. Amen.

USS Coontz in dry dock in Portsmouth, VA.  If you have any photos of the USS Coontz you would like to share, please send them to 

USS Coontz ship's bell currently located at Naval Hospital, Charleston, S.C.  If you have any photos from the USS Coontz you would like to share, please email them to

(r to l) SM1 Clancy, Smsn Harman, Smsn Fish, and Sm3 McCaulley.  If you have any photos from the USS Coontz you would like to share, please email them to

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If you would like to submit a photo of the USS Coontz, please send it to 

Notice how much of the main deck is underwater!  Thanks to Don R. Dodson.  If you have a photo of the USS Coontz you would like to share, please send it to

Thanks to Brian Kroenung.  If you have photos from the USS Coontz you would like to share, please email them to

Port call in Djibouti, Africa during the MEF 2-87 Cruise.  We delivered supplies to the U.S. embassy and each crew member received a ration of two beers on the pier!  We also took on water, which was so contaminated it had to be chlorinated for two days before it was drinkable.  It tasted like water from a swimming pool.

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If you have a photo of the USS Coontz or your time aboard the Coontz, please send it to

CDR Herbert Hamilton Ries    Jul 15 1960 - Jul 14 1962
CDR James Richard Collier    Jul 14 1962 - Mar 7 1964
CDR Eugene C. Kenyon Jr.    Mar 7 1964 - Aug 14 1965
CDR Charles Ward Cummings    Aug 14 1965 - Jul 27 1967 (Later RADM)
CDR Eugene Dale Geiger    Jul 27 1967 - Feb 7 1969
CDR Donald Patterson Roane    Feb 7 1969 - Jul 8 1970 (Later RADM)
CDR Thomas Joseph Bowen    Jul 8 1970 - Feb 23 1971
(Decommissioned Feb 23 1971 - Mar 18 1972)
CDR Thomas Rogers M. Emery    Mar 18 1972 - Dec 20 1973 (Later RADM)
CDR Frederic Northey Howe Jr.    Dec 20 1973 - Mar 6 1976
CDR Silas Oscar (Sy) Nunn III    Mar 6 1976 - Apr 8 1978
CDR Walter Potts Martin    Apr 8 1978 - Sep 28 1979
CDR Clifford P. Willoz Jr.    Sep 28 1979 - Sep 6 1981
CDR Joseph Paul Reason    Sep 6 1981 - Dec 17 1982 (Later ADM)
CDR Leon Preston Brooks Jr.    Dec 17 1982 - Feb 25 1985
CDR Charles Henry Gnerlich    Feb 25 1985 - Apr 11 1987
CDR William Wilson Cobb Jr.    Apr 11 1987 - Jul 21 1989 (Later RADM)
LCDR William Elwood Cox    Jul 21 1989 - Oct 4 1989

The American Legion awarded the Distinguished Service Medal to U.S. Navy Adm. Robert Coontz and and visiting Polish Gen. Josef Haller in 1923.
After growing up in Hannibal, Mo., where Mark Twain was a family friend, Coontz attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, followed by duty on numerous ships.
Coontz served as governor of Guam from 1912 to 1914, then returned to the Navy as commanding officer of the battleship Georgia and commandant of the Navy Yard Puget Sound until the end of World War I. He was assigned to the Pacific Fleet in late 1919 when he became chief of naval operations, serving until 1923. Later, Coontz was commandant of the Fifth Naval District.
The celebrated naval commander had two ships named in his honor. He also was an author. His autobiography, "From the Mississippi to the Sea," covers his boyhood through the end of his career. He suffered a heart attack in 1934 and died a year later, at 70.

Original article:   American Legion

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Of the Courier-Post

Ken Coontz II joked Saturday that Hannibal might be one of the few places on earth where most people might be able to spell his name correctly. Anyone with a question on the proper spelling of that name need go no further than Nipper Park, where the nameplate of the USS Coontz was dedicated Saturday during a special ceremony.

Among the speakers addressing the crowd of approximately 125 people was Rear Adm. Nathan Jones, deputy chief of information for the U.S. Navy. According to Jones, Hannibal native Robert E. Coontz, who eventually rose to the rank of admiral, was worthy of the honor paid his memory during the ceremony.

"He was our second CNO - chief of naval operations. He came from Hannibal, Mo., so he's in the heartland, went to the Naval Academy and provided 43 years of service to this nation, really filling a lot of key places including commander and chief of the U.S. fleet," he said.

Jones also paid homage to the guided-missile destroyer and her crew, a number of whom were on hand Saturday.

"This ship was able to provide 29 years of great service around the world for this nation," said Jones. "The crew members that were on board, which was nearly 400, manned it for those 29 years. This nation owes them a lot of 'thank yous' and many of the sailors that served on board were able to come here today for this dedication."

Among the ship's former crew members in attendance was Terry Cordingley, secretary of the USS Coontz Association. He was pleased with the strong turnout of association members, many of whom contributed money to save the ship's transom.

"We just started holding annual reunions in 2005 and this is really our first event here as an official association," said Cordingley, who makes his home in Oklahoma. "It's great that everyone came together. Without them and without their donations, and the time and effort everybody has put in on this, it never would have become a reality."

Ken Coontz, the great-grandson of Admiral Coontz, was not surprised by the association's representation at the dedication.

"I think that anything like this deserves a strong turnout," he said. "The guys in the association really do back this project and really are sincere about who they are and what they believe in."

Chris Atkinson, director of the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department, was hopeful the veterans would enjoy the dedication program.

"It was a perfect culmination to the 12 months of hard work that we put into this project. The memorial service was real simple, real nice," he said. "Everything went really, really well. The gentlemen who served on the USS Coontz appreciated and liked what we did, and that's the main thing. As long as they're happy, I'm happy."

A high point of the program was the unveiling of the transom. The restoration work of Central Stone on the 3-foot by 14-foot piece of steel drew praise.

"They (association members) are really appreciative of all the work the two gentlemen who worked on the transom for us actually did," said Atkinson. "They can't believe how it actually turned out. They remember when it was on the back of the ship."

"It looks brand new. It looks perfect. I couldn't be happier with how it turned out," said Cordingley. "When we first donated it to the city, it was looking pretty rough. It was rusty, dented and bent. I was really concerned about how the finished product would look and it's beautiful."

Both Coontz and Cordingley expressed their satisfaction with the transom's riverside location.

"I think it's a wonderful place," said Coontz. "It's in a very well decorated environment and it couldn't be better to have the flags there."

"Nipper Park is the perfect location, overlooking the Mississippi River," said Cordingley. "I think Admiral Coontz would be proud. I know I'm proud. All the shipmates here are proud. I hope that the residents of Hannibal are proud of it and it will become an attraction here in the city for them as well."

Admiral painting to hang in Columbia Veterans Hospital

Of the Courier-Post

One of Hannibal's most famous sons will soon have a permanent home thanks to a local artist.

"I started the painting last fall and it took about four weeks," said Brosi. "It was exhibited at the Hannibal Arts Gallery first. I had a choice of donating it to the state capitol or the VA hospital and decided more veterans would be seeing it at the hospital."

Robert Coontz was born in Hannibal in 1864 and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1885. He was an admiral in the United States Navy, who sailed the Great White Fleet and served as the second Chief of Naval Operations. From 1912 to 1914, he was the governor of Guam and maintained many prestigious positions after that.

From October 1925, until his retirement in June 1928, Coontz served as commandant of the fifth Naval District, reverting to the rank of rear admiral. He remained active after retirement until he suffered a series of heart attacks, dying in 1935.

In 1930, Coontz wrote his memoirs in a book, "From the Mississippi to the Sea." He covered his naval service in the Spanish-American war, the Philippine Insurrection, Vera Cruz incident, World War I and the great cruise of the fleet to New Zealand and Australia. The book also featured some rare photographs of Coontz and his colleagues.

"This book is one of my inspirations to do the painting," said Brosi. "I'm not too much of a historian, but I really enjoyed this book - it being so close to home. I could hardly lay it down after I started reading it. I got the feeling I almost knew him (Coontz) personally and that he was a very honest and outright person who never did anything wrong. He is pictured in the book with two presidents and General Pershing." The portrait is painted from one of the pictures in the book, capturing a distinct and unique likeness of Coontz with a flag added in the background.

Another inspiration, Brosi said, came from a Hannibal man, Gene Yarbrough, who was a sextant at Mount Olivet Cemetery where Coontz is buried. Yarbrough died in 2002.

"Gene was a 30-year veteran himself and thought Admiral Coontz needed a new monument in his memory to replace the old stone that was in bad shape," said Brosi. Before Gene bought the new monument in 1989, I went out and refurbished the old stone a couple of times. Admiral Coontz could have been buried at Arlington National Cemetery with the highest honors, but preferred to be buried at Mount Olivet with his family and his love for Hannibal."

Brosi is a stone carver whose family traces its roots to 1840 in Germany. The family business, Hannibal Monument Company, has been in stone masonry for five generations passing the art from one to the next. Brosi retired in 2002, leaving the business to his son and starting taking more advantage of his many hobbies and talents.

"I've been painting off and on ever since I got home from World War II," he said. "I've never taken any lessons. My sister took me to an exhibit in Quincy where I looked at it and liked it. I thought I could do it, so I painted the River Queen. That was the first painting I exhibited and it won the People's Choice Award." He has since won numerous prizes.

A painting of Mark Twain by Brosi is on display at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City. Another famous person portrait is of Charles Lindbergh which is portrayed in Lindbergh's home town at Little Falls, Minn. He painted the Wabash Cannonball and presented it to country music legend Roy Acuff on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn.

"He (Acuff) told me he wanted to hang it in his home instead of a museum," said Brosi. "I sell most of my paintings, but these are some that I have donated."

Serving in the Air Force from 1941 to 1945, Brosi was a flight engineer on a B-17. During a mission over Schweinfurt, Germany, his plane was shot down and he was captured. He was a prisoner of war for the next 10 1/2 months.

"When I bailed out of the plane, I looked up and saw it with two engines on fire and two other parachutes coming out after me," he said. "We ended up as POW's for the better part of the year. They (Germans) kept us marching out of camp for about four months to keep the Russians from deliverance. It's something I wouldn't want to go through again. After returning from the war I bought half-interest in the monument company."

Oil painting and stone carving are only two of Brosi's talents. He is a musician, playing the steel guitar and Dobro with a local band that entertains nursing home residents, and performs at senior events and country music shows. He touches and inspires members with gospel music at churches. An accomplished ventriloquist, he, along with his dummy, Hector, perform for audiences in many places, including the incarcerated at prisons.

"I want to keep painting and doing my hobbies as long as I can," said Brosi. "I don't know if I will ever do another portrait of Admiral Coontz again. Maybe, if the need arises."

All contents Copyright 2006 The Hannibal Courier-Post and Morris Digital Works.

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On May 17, 1987, at approximately 9 pm, the USS Stark was attacked by an Iraqi F-1 Mirage fighter jet at an operating are known as RPS-South, just 50 miles from the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain, where the USS Coontz was moored.  Little was known about the attack at the time, only that USS Stark had suffered two missile hits on her port side.  That same night, USS Conyngham and USS Waddell steamed through intense fog to aid the crew of USS Stark in fighting the flooding and several fires which had broken out on the guided-missile frigate.  When they arrived, the fire parties from USS Conyngham and USS Waddell found melted bulkheads, warped decks and ruptured fire mains.  The Stark had a 15-degree list to port.  The next morning, USS LaSalle departed from Bahrain to assist the exhausted fire parties of Stark, Conyngham and Waddell, and to lend medical support.  A 43-man team from USS Coontz was flown to the scene on the Desert Duck helicopter.  The combined fire parties fought the fires and flooding aboard Stark for more than 18 hours.  Some of the men of USS Coontz were also tasked with removing the remains of deceased Stark crewmembers from various berthing and work compartments.  After the blaze was out, and the flooding was contained, the USS Conyngham towed USS Stark to Bahrain for extensive repairs.  On May 20, 1987, selected crewmembers from USS Coontz conducted a memorial service for fallen crewmembers of the USS Stark at the Bahrain International Airport.  The Coontz crewmembers served as crowd control and honor guard, and loaded the 37 flag-draped caskets of the deceased Stark sailors onto a cargo jet, which took the remains to West Germany for further identification.  

USS Stark Casualties

Doran Bolduc Lacy Washington
Bradley Brown Calera Alabama
Jeffrey Calkins Rickfield Springs, N.Y.
Mark M. Caouette Fitchburg, Mass.
John Ciletta * Brigantine, N.J.
Brian Clinefelter San Bernadino, Calif.
Antonio Daniels Greenville, S.C.
Christopher DeAngelis * Dumont, N.J.
James Dunlap Osceola Mills, Pa.
Steven Erwin * Troy, Mich.
Jerry Farr Charleston, S.C.
Vernon Foster Jacksonville, Fla.
Dexter Grissett Macon, Ga.
William Hansen Reading, Mass.
Daniel Homicki Elizabeth, N.J.
Kenneth Janusik Clearwater, Fla.
Steven Kendall Honolulu, Hawaii
Stephen Kiser Elkhart, Ind.
Ronnie Lockett Bessemer, Ala.
Thomas MacMullen Darby, Pa.
Charles Moller Columbus, Ga.
Jeffrey Phelps Locust Grove, Va.
Randy Pierce Choctaw, Okla.
James Plonsky Van Nuys, Calif.
Kelly Quick Linden, Mich.
Earl Ryals * Boca Raton, Fla.
Robert Shippee Adams Center, N.Y.
Jeffrey Sibley Metairie, La.
Lee Stephens Pemberton, Ohio
James Stevens Visalia, Calif.
Martin Supple Jacksonville, Fla.
Gregory Tweady  Champaign, Ill.
Joseph Watson Ferndale, Mich.
Wayne Weaver New Bethlehem, Pa.
Terrance Weldon Coram, N.Y.
Lloyd Wilson Summerville, S.C.
Vincent Ulmer  Bay Minette, Ala
*Buried in Arlington National Cemetery


Where is the USS Coontz?

Posted by Terry Cordingley | 6:01 PM | , | 0 comments »

From time to time we are contacted by former shipmates asking where they can see the USS Coontz today.  Unfortunately, the ship was scrapped following decommissioning.  Although a few bits and pieces of her remain in private collections, the bulk of the ship was cannabilized and dismantled by Metro Machine (coincidentally, former Coontz commanding officer J.P. Reason works for the company).  Metro Machine completed the scrapping of the USS Coontz on March 26, 2003 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The scrap metal was then sold to Camden Iron and Metal in Camden, New Jersey.  

Photo of the Day: June 1980

Posted by Terry Cordingley | 5:55 PM | , | 0 comments »

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Welcome Aboard!

Posted by Terry Cordingley | 5:38 PM | , , , | 0 comments »

This site is dedicated to the officers and crew who served aboard the USS Coontz DDG-40.  

The keel of the USS Coontz was laid at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in March 1957, just 39 years after Admiral Robert E. Coontz left his post as the shipyard’s commander.  The first guided-missile frigate to be built on the West Coast, and the second ship to bear the name of the Navy’s first chief of naval operations, Coontz was christened by Mrs. Robert J. Coontz, wife of the admiral’s grandson, on December 6, 1958.

Commanded by Commander H.H. Reis, USS Coontz was commissioned on July 15, 1960 and completed post-shakedown training in April 1961.  USS Coontz then reported for duty as a unit of the Cruiser-Destroyer Force U.S. Pacific Fleet and joined the First Fleet as flagship of Destroyer Division 152, home ported in San Diego, California.  Commander, Destroyer Squadron 15 flew his flag on USS Coontz from May 4 to July 12, 1961.

USS Coontz departed from San Diego on August 10, 1961 and joined the U.S. Seventh Fleet as a unit of the fast carrier task force.  Remaining with the Seventh Fleet for more than seven months, USS Coontz steamed 55,000 miles and visited ports in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, B.C.C, Australia and American Samoa.  While conducting training exercises to maintain full combat readiness, USS Coontz received the coveted “E” award for excellence in missilery.

USS Coontz returned to the United States on March 23, 1962 to rejoin the U.S. First Fleet and became the flagship of the Commander, Destroyer Squadron 17 in April 1962.  On the second anniversary of her awards for excellence in Operations, Engineering and Gunnery, USS Coontz flew the flag of the Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla 11 from August 1 to November 11, 1962, when she again became the flagship for Commander, Destroyer Squadron 17.

Commander James R. Collier relieved Captain Ries in July 1962.  The USS Coontz sailed with the Seventh Fleet in Asiatic waters, visiting Yokosuka, Kobe, Kure and Beppu in Japan and Hong Kong, B.C.C in China.  During this time the USS Coontz was also designated a stand-by recovery ship for NASA’s Mercury-Atlas 8 space mission.  During the space flight on October 3, 1962, Wally Schirra orbited the Earth at an altitude of 100 miles.  Although USS Coontz was listed as a stand-by ship for recovery operations, it was not activated.  The USS Coontz returned to the U.S. in May 1963.  In June 1963, the USS Coontz demonstrated the kill capability of the Terrier surface-to-air missile in a sea power demonstration for President John F. Kennedy.

USS Coontz was overhauled and her missile weapons systems extensively modernized from October 1963 to April 1964 at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard.  Commander Eugene C. Kenyon, Jr. relieved Commander Collier on March 7, 1964.

Upon rejoining the Pacific Fleet in April 1964, USS Coontz successfully completed comprehensive weapons systems qualification trials and refresher training.  Prior to departure for the Western Pacific on August 5, 1964, USS Coontz was awarded the Missile, Gunnery and engineering “E” award for combat excellence in these areas.  On August 3, 1964, USS Coontz again became the flagship for Commander, Destroyer Squadron 17.

USS Coontz joined the U.S. Seventh Fleet on August 16, 1964 as a unit of the fast carrier task force for six months.  It steamed 41,000 miles and visited Subic Bay, Philippines, Hong Kong, B.C.C., Sasebo and Yokosuka, Japan.  In December 1964, USS Coontz was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for support of Vietnam operations in the South China Sea.  Her third Western Pacific tour completed, USS Coontz returned to the operational control of the Commander, First Fleet and returned to the United States on February 6, 1965.

Operations in the First Fleet included participation in the 1965 summer midshipmen training cruise.  USS Coontz visited Bellingham, Washington; San Francisco, California; and Hilo and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii during this cruise.  The “E”, “C” and “A” awards were received during this period for excellence in engineering, communications and anti-submarine warfare.  On August 14, 1965, Commander W. Cummings relieved Commander Kenyon as commanding officer.

From December 1965 to January 1966, the USS Coontz received a Helicopter Landing and Handling Capability in San Diego.  This conversion included relocation of deck vents, clearing all fantail obstructions, installation of a JP-5 fuel handling and purification system, and the introduction of equipment to provide Helicopter Starting and Service power.  USS Coontz was the first of her class to receive the conversion and proudly boasted the addition of a helicopter to her many-faceted capabilities.

USS Coontz departed San Diego in January 1966 for a regular deployment as a unit of the U.S. Seventh Fleet for a total of six months.  USS Coontz visited Shimoda and Yokosuka, Japan; Subic Bay, Philippines, and Kaohsiung, Formosa.  In March 1966, USS Coontz was awarded the Unit Commendation Ribbon for her WESTPAC performance.  After completing her fourth Western Pacific route, USS Coontz changed operational control of Commander, First Fleet and returned to the United States August 1, 1966.

After departing Long Beach Naval Shipyard, USS Coontz returned to San Diego and commenced a training and upkeep period.  While deployed in the Western Pacific, USS Coontz was again attached to the U.S. Seventh Fleet and spent two 30-day periods on search-and-rescue duty as well as carrier operations and special assignments.  Brief visits were made to Hong Kong, B.C.C; Yokosuka, Japan, and Subic Bay, Phillipines.

Commander E. Dale Geiger relieved Commander Cummings as Commanding Officer on July 28, 1967 while USS Coontz was en route to WESTPAC on her fifth tour with the U.S. Seventh Fleet.

In August 1967, USS Coontz made an operational visit to Djakarta, Indonesia; the first U.S. Naval warship to visit the nation since early 1963. 

USS Coontz then spent two 30-day periods in the Northern Search and Rescue Station in the Tonkin Gulf and participated in the rescue of nine aviators.  After a brief visit to Hong Kong, B.C.C., USS Coontz headed for her homeport, San Diego, via Sydney, Australia and Wellington, New Zealand and arrived home February 8, 1968.

During the leave and upkeep period a Test and Evaluation Monitoring System (TEAMS) was installed for evaluation during operations with the First Fleet.  This was the first automatic test system to be installed in the surface fleet.  The operations included participation in the summer midshipmen cruise.  Ports visited during this cruise were San Francisco, Seattle, and Pearl Harbor.  USS Coontz then took part in First Fleet operations; including exercise Beat Cadence until Deploying on November 15, 1968.

USS Coontz arrived on Yankee Station one month later and spent Christmas on the line.  On February 8, 1969, Commander Donald P. Roane relieved Commander Geiger as Commanding Officer before USS Coontz made a visit to Hong Kong, B.C.C.

USS Coontz returned to the Gulf of Tonkin for another Search and Rescue mission before going north for upkeep in Yokosuka, Japan.  After an EC-121 aircraft was shot down by North Korean jets, USS Coontz was rushed into the Sea of Japan.  From that assignment, USS Coontz returned to San Diego via Subic Bay on May 18.

Leave and upkeep followed.  In September 1969, USS Coontz participated in a HUKASWEX operation at sea as a unit of the First Fleet.  After several more sea periods, USS Coontz went into an extensive upkeep period.  During the year of 1969, USS Coontz won awards for excellence in Supply, Operations and ASW.  The upkeep continued until deployment on March 3, 1970.  On July 8, 1970, Commander Roane was relieved as Commanding Officer by Commander T.J. Bowen.

In January of 1971, shortly after her last Seventh Fleet tour, USS Coontz departed San Diego via the Panama Canal for Atlantic waters and a major overhaul and modernization at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. In conjunction with this work, USS Coontz DLG-9 was decommissioned on 23 February 1971. After extensive Anti Air Warfare modification, USS Coontz was recommissioned on 18 March 1972 and transferred to her new homeport of Newport, Rhode Island.  Commander T.R.M.Emery is assigned to the Coontz as its Commanding Officer on March 8, 1972.

After a six month test period in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and other operations in the Caribbean, USS Coontz sailed on a "show the flag" cruise to South America and Africa. Subsequently she entered Boston Naval Shipyard for a three month Post Shakedown Availability. Following extensive training and preparation, USS Coontz departed on 6 July 1973 for her first deployment with the US Sixth Fleet, operating in the Eastern and Western Mediterranean Sea.  Commander Emery is relieved as Commanding Officer by Commander F.N. Howe on December 20, 1973.

In January 1974 USS Coontz changed homeport from Newport to Norfolk VA. She departed 15 November 1974 for a Mediterranean deployment, participating in numerous US and NATO exercises.

As part of a major re-designation of several classes of ships, USS Coontz was designated guided missile destroyer 40 (DDG 40) on 1 July 1975.  The ship’s next deployment was on 17 January 1976 as part of the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT). The force operated in Caribbean, US and Canadian waters with ships from 4 NATO navies prior to a transit to Northern Europe where USS Coontz visited 8 countries and participated in numerous NATO exercises.  Commander Howie is relieved as Commanding Officer by Commander S.O. Nunn III on March 6, 1976.  Nunn was later relieved as Commanding Officer by Commander W. P. Martin on April 8, 1978.

After a one year regular overhaul in Norfolk Naval Shipyard, USS Coontz departed on 21 July 1978 for comprehensive gunnery, missile and Harpoon system qualifications and refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

After returning home, USS Coontz participated in six months of local operations including GULFEX 78 in November 1978.  In 1979 she served again with STANAVFORLANT, as flag ship, hosting more than 35,000 visitors in 8 NATO countries and participating in various exercises with over 30 NATO ships. STANAVFORLANT operations included areas above the Arctic Circle, in the Baltic Sea, North Sea and the Norwegian Sea. Commander Martin was relieved as Commanding Officer by Commander C.P. Willoz on September 28, 1979.

In the fall of 1981, USS Coontz deployed again. This cruise included port visits in western Africa as part of the West African Training Cruise, operations in the Mediterranean Sea and a transit into the Black Sea followed by a port visit to Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia.  Commander Willoz was relieved as Commanding Officer by Commander J.P. Reason on September 6, 1981.

USS Coontz participated in operations around the Eastern coast of Central America in mid 1982 making the first visit to Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles by a US Navy ship in more then 13 years. In July of that year USS Coontz entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for a one year regular overhaul, undergoing various configuration changes and equipment additions. During this yard period, Commander Reason was relieved as Commanding Officer by Commander L.P. Brooks, Jr on December 17, 1982.  USS Coontz completed overhaul on time in July of 1983.

Three months out of overhaul in October 1983, USS Coontz steamed to the Caribbean Sea for weapons systems testing. While undergoing tests, USS Coontz received immediate tasking and altered course to join Operation Urgent Fury, the liberation of Grenada. The ship provided gunfire support and small boat interdiction for ten consecutive days in support of the amphibious assault. For this action, USS Coontz was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary medal and the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

In 1984 Coontz under went pre-deployment work up including refresher training and a major fleet exercise. Upon completion, USS Coontz deployed to the Mediterranean Sea in October conducting operations in the Eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon and in the Black Sea. Commander Brooks was relieved as Commanding Officer by Commander Charles H. Gnerlich on February 25, 1985.  USS Coontz returned to Norfolk in May 1985.

From August to October of 1985, USS Coontz under went her first Phased Maintenance Availability, a new concept involving short periods of intense industrial work designed to maximize operational availability rather then placing ships in prolonged overhauls.

In November 1985 USS Coontz participated in Operation Bold Eagle, a joint exercise conducted with the US army and US Air Force in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. COONTZ was a vital link in maintaining air defense, coordinating with airborne Air Force AWACS aircraft and Army ground units.

USS Coontz’s next joint exercise was Ocean Venture '86. Coontz, along with Navy ships and Coast Guard cutters conducted quarantine operations exercises in the Caribbean operating areas. During this time Coontz requalified her Naval Gunfire Support Team at the Vieques Island Range near Puerto Rico.

In November 1986 USS Coontz was awarded her first and only Battle Efficiency award.
In addition she earned all eight line department awards in the areas of Navigation/Deck Seamanship, Main Propulsion, Damage Control, Anti-Air Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Surface Warfare, Electronic Warfare, and Communications.

In late 1986 and early 1987, Coontz under went a work up period in preparation for deployment to the Persian Gulf on 5 February 1987.   During her deployment, she served under the Commander, Middle East Forces. USS Coontz was tasked with ensuring the safe passage of all U.S. vessels as well as maintaining US presence in the Gulf during the escalation of the Iran-Iraq war. Commander Gnerlich was relieved as Commanding Officer by Commander William W. Cobb, Jr. on April 11, 1987.  During deployment in the Persian Gulf, USS Coontz provided firefighting teams which aided in the rescue of the USS Stark and her crew after she was struck by Iraqi Exocet missiles.

USS Coontz returned to her homeport of Norfolk, Virginia on 5 August 1987. Following a three month maintenance availability (SRA) she operated as part of the US Second Fleet.  Commander Cobb was relieved as Commanding Officer by Commander W.E. Cox on July 21, 1989.  Commander Cox oversaw the decommissioning of the USS Coontz in Philadelphia, PA on October 2, 1989.