Launched in 2557, the UNSC Stamford Bridge is part of a second wave of Cavalier-Class Destroyers introduced as part of Project DAINSLIEF, a massive rearmament campaign by the UNSC Navy to increase and modernise its combat forces. Under Commander Lise Thorsdottir, the Stamford Bridge would conduct operations during the War of Vengeance and the Second Great War, eventually retired and converted into a museum ship.
The deployment of the reformed 30th Fleet at Unmoving Virtue may have been a tactical, strategic, military, diplomatic and political success for the UNSC, but it also showcased the capabilities of their new warships, especially the Cavalier-class destroyers, three of which took part. Emboldened by their success, a second wave of twenty was commissioned from the Alpha Centauri naval shipyards - one of these would eventually be commissioned as the UNSC Stamford Bridge, named after an important battle between Anglo-Saxon English and Norwegian Norse armies in England. Initially, the ship was launched under the command of Frederic Darby, but his transfer to the UNSC Ajax left a vacancy that was filled by Commander Lise Thorsdottir, a Norwegian naval officer. The irony of having a Norwegian commanding a ship named after a famous Norwegian defeat was enhanced by her executive officer, Lieutenant Commander Alfred Barclay, producing a running gag among the crew that would see volunteers reenact the battle in the ships starboard hangar deck every September 25th unless on operations. In its first year, the ship was assigned to the 5th Diplomatic Taskforce, a group that, despite it's name, was formed to respond to Blood Covenant incursions into Sangheili territory and coordinate with Sangheili forced.
War of Vengeance
The Stamford Bridge would see its first combat operations during Operation: HETAIROI, the UNSC's response to the invasion of Ketesh by a Blood Covenant fleet. Although unable to save the valuable Morhekan Orbital Shipyards, the taskforce coordinated its efforts with the Second Fleet of Enlightened Benevolence to draw the Blood Covenant fleet away from the planet, trapping it in a pincer movement and destroying most of it. The Stamford Bridge escorted the troop carrier Hyperborea as it deployed Marine ground forces onto the planet to assist in the retaking of key Kaaranese cities from the Blood Covenant ground troops deployed, and combined assaults from the 506th ODST Battalion and the Voltakran Legion retook Ultrethqe from two Jiralhanae legions, a resounding success. The recapture of Ketesh was lauded as a victory by both the UNSC and Sangheili Armed Forces, but in practice it was a harsh tactical blow - the loss of the shipyards denied the Sangheili one of its few remaining and intact shipyards, hampering its ability to repair and replace naval warships. The 5th Diplomatic Taskforce was recalled to Alpha Centauri for repair and rearmament, discovering the aftermath of the Battle of Alpha Centauri, and helping in the recovery of lifepods, neutralising of Blood Covenant stragglers, and generally providing assistance where needed.
In 2560, the 5th Diplomatic Taskforce was stationed over Middangeard as part of a ceremonial function between UNSC and SAF diplomatic officials, providing orbital support for the diplomatic event on the surface. During the change over period between 5th Taskforce and the 30th Fleet, a massive Blood Covenant fleet emerged from slipspace - taken by surprise, both fleets sustained significant damage, unable to prevent the descend of more than a dozen warships to the surface of the planet. Recovering from the arrival of the fleet, the Stamford Bridge engaged the enemy, bringing down three frigates and providing anti-fighter support for the 30th Fleet's Ajax, and escorted the frigates Forsythe, Alfred and Constantine as they descended to a low orbit, inserting ODST platoons to reinforce the surface forces. Regrouping with the destroyers Hastings and Waterloo, the three would jointly attack the Blood Covenant flagship, a carrier, obliterating its fighter support and leaving it open to multiple combined hits from their MAC's and DEW's.