By Cmdr. Lance Lantier
As Rentz’ final commanding officer, I can tell you that this ship is going out with a bang. Like any ship, with age come unique challenges – and Rentz Sailors showed what a 30-year-old frigate with 30-year-old SH-60B helicopters are capable of.
But, the thing I want to stress is that this crew performed flawlessly, combining everyday troubleshooting with determination and grit to find out what the root problem was, to correct that deficiency, and to keep the ship on station in support of the nation’s tasking.
What most people don’t realize is that as our frigates reach their end of service, the parts needed to repair them are often times not on the supply storeroom shelves anymore, and in many instances, not available within the Navy Supply system writ large – which is where our Sailors earn their pay. These hard-working Sailors take on some of the most grueling, extremely dynamic mission sets. Most people may not realize what a deployment to the Fourth Fleet area of operations entails because what they see on the nightly news is primarily focused on operations in the Middle East, Mediterranean and Western Pacific regions – the proverbial “tip-of-the-spear.” However, the tempo of a South American deployment is non-stop, and for the majority of our deployment, we were the only U.S. Navy vessel in the entire U.S. Southern Command theater. The crew even adopted the mantra “We are Fourth Fleet.”
In the end, more than five tons of narcotics were kept from reaching American shores, and that is a testament to our Sailors’ “never say quit, never say die” attitude. I could not be more proud of each and every one of our Sailors for this.
As for Rentz, she has a phenomenal reputation and an outstanding legacy that we were cognizant of throughout this tour. Rentz has sailed in every ocean during her 30 years of service to this great nation. In my stateroom onboard, I have a collection of Rentz cruise books that highlight her proud history as one of the mightiest battle frigates on the waterfront, and I take great joy in quizzing our qualifying enlisted Surface Warfare specialists about not only her history, but that of many of our mighty frigates. To this day, there are Rentz plankowners who are involved in our command functions. These fine Sailors served on Rentz back in 1984, yet they are part of our active legacy, many of them heading to our decommissioning ceremony May 9. To bear witness to a continued sense of pride amongst a ship’s current and former crewmembers is an honor that every commanding officer should experience.
As the decommissioning commanding officer, I can confidently say we haven’t stopped, we never said die, we never quit—and no matter what the ship needed to keep going – we made repairs and kept Rentz on mission to complete the nation’s tasking. Her legacy will definitely live on through all the stories and significant events that have marked a distinguished and remarkable ship’s history. It has been an absolute honor to command this extraordinary ship and her remarkable crew during the final stages of her life. From June 1984 to May 2014, this ship has always stood ready, put warfighting first and got the job done in true Rentz fashion.