USS Gary (FFG-51) Decommissioned

Announced by the United States Navy:

The the last remaining Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate on the West coast was decommissioned today after 31 years of service. The USS Gary (FFG-51) had two hangar bays for helicoptors, and that’s where I served on a detachment from HSL-43. We had a couple of Sikorsky Seahawk SH-60B helos.

On my tour on the Gary, ports of call included Hawaii, where the new commander accidentally told the air detachment “see you in a week”, wherein we all took off for days enjoying the beaches and sunshine. I was able to visit the USS Arizona memorial, which I highly recommend.

Other ports of call included the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, and Phuket, Thailand. I enjoyed Thailand the most.

The USS Gary served under Operation Earnest Will, where we would escort tankers in the Persian Gulf, and we were in combat during Operation Praying Mantis (OPM).

OPM was an interesting conflict. The USS Gary was cruising in circles one evening when we received orders to steam north. The ship that relieved us was the USS Samuel B. Roberts, who hit a mine and almost sank. We had been zipping by it all night and kept missing it.

Eventually, the United States sank a couple of Iranian ships and blew up a bunch of oil platforms after the serial numbers of the rest of the recovered mines matched those on a captured Iranian ship.

To see if they still wanted to fight, they sent us north by some barges. They did. They fired a couple of Silkworm missiles at us. Needless to say, we survived.

The USS Gary will get sold for scrap or sent off to another country. I have to admit it fills me with a bit of melancholy feelings.


FFG-51 USS Gary

PEARL HARBOR (July 9, 2014) The guided-missile frigate USS Gary (FFG 51) departs to participate in the at-sea phase of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, about 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tiarra Fulgham/Released)

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