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.