Paying Tribute to Guardian

By Vice Adm. Tom Copeman, Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

130108-N-VD190-012

A significant moment during a ship commissioning ceremony occurs when there is a call to “bring this ship to life,” and the crew sprints from their positions pierside, across the brow and into the ship itself, effectively adding life to what was once cold iron.

Equally momentous for a ship is when she is decommissioned, stricken from the fleet and returned to cold iron; the crew and former crewmembers left with their memories and reminders of serving our nation and multiple missions on an endless sea. It is the shared memories and experiences of these Sailors who served on Guardian which are the legacy of her service.

Twenty-three years ago, USS Guardian (MCM 5) was commissioned as part of the new Avenger-class ship created to detect and destroy mines that might threaten our Sailors and ships or close vital shipping lanes.

From detecting her first mine and neutralizing it with the Mine Neutralization System vehicle in June 1991, during times of war and while operating in international exercises for nearly a quarter of a century, the crew and ship remained at the highest levels of readiness, serving our nation well.

On March 6, the Navy will conduct a formal decommissioning ceremony in Japan for Guardian, honoring her service and achievements.

Following her decommissioning, her crew will continue their mission in Sasebo, Japan, aboard USS Warrior (MCM 10).