As a Navy tradition, we celebrate a ship’s achievements and history with decommissioning or inactivation ceremonies. Today, we reflect on three Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates that concluded service to the nation this month: USS Underwood (FFG 36), USS Carr (FFG 52), and USS Klakring (FFG 42), which decommissioned today in Mayport, Fla.
This class of ships honors Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry who was named the “Hero of Lake Erie” during the War of 1812. The Navy originally built 51 of these guided missile warships, replacing the Knox class frigates of the 1960s and various classes of destroyers that were in service during World War II. Designed to provide local area protection to battle groups, underway replenishment groups, amphibious forces, and military and merchant shipping from submarines, their mission evolved over time to include enhanced-maritime interdiction operations, mine warfare, and counter narcotics operations both as a member of battle groups and as independent deployers.
After more than 30 years of active service, USS Underwood (FFG 36) was decommissioned March 8, 2013, in Mayport, Fla. She was commissioned Jan. 29, 1983, as the 29th ship in the class. Her namesake, Capt. Gordon Waite Underwood, received the Navy Cross for his achievements while in command of USS Spadefish (SS 411) during World War II. Following her maiden deployment to the Sixth Fleet area of responsibility, Underwood received tasking in January 1986 to spearhead search and rescue efforts after the tragic space shuttle Challenger disaster over the Atlantic Ocean. A truly “Just Friend and Brave Enemy,” she deployed in support of operations Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom in the Arabian Gulf. Following the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Underwood participated in Operation Unified Response humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.
USS Carr (FFG 52), the 42nd ship in the class, was commissioned July 27, 1985, at Todd Pacific Shipyards in Seattle, Wash., and decommissioned March 13, 2013 in Norfolk, Va. Named for Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Paul Henry Carr, the ship honors the gunners mate’s display of outstanding skill and courage while serving aboard USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413) during the battle off Samar in World War II. GM3 Carr was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. During the 1980s, Carr deployed as a convoy commander and a tanker escort in the Arabian Gulf as well as a law enforcement and counter-narcotics platform in the Caribbean Sea. She aided USS Bonefish (SS 582) after the conventionally-powered submarine suffered a fire in 1988, resulting in the rescue of nearly 90 submariners. As a key asset in maritime intercept operations, Carr’s deployments during the 1990s and 2000s included missions in the Arabian Gulf, and Caribbean and Mediterranean seas. The ship deployed 13 times during her 27 years of service.
USS Klakring (FFG 42) honors Rear Adm. Thomas Klakring, submarine commander of USS Guardfish (SS 217) during World War II. His daring service earned him three Navy Crosses and a posthumous promotion. The 33rd in class, Klakring was commissioned August 20, 1983 in Bath, Maine. Her initial mid-1980s deployments were to the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean, as well as to the Arabian Gulf where she participated in escort operations of Kuwaiti owned oil tankers during Operation Earnest Will. In 1993, she participated in Operation Support Democracy off Haiti’s coast, countering drug operations. In 2002, she participated in UNITAS and, during recent years, she conducted several counter-narcotic deployments to U.S. Southern Command.
Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates have performed brilliantly for more than 30 years. A force in numbers, they protected vital shipping against foreign aggression and forcefully contributed in our strategic shift to the Arabian Gulf. However, we built these ships with a different threat in mind than exists today and the cost to upgrade the ships’ combat systems to pace the current threat became prohibitive.
Today, we are building ships that are modular, adaptable and flexible, allowing us to quickly and affordably upgrade our fighting batteries without taking the ship off line for years at a time.
We salute these three frigates as they have superbly served our nation and Navy.
Fair winds and following seas, and thank you for your honored and highly dedicated service.