U.S. Navy hold decommissioning ceremony for USS Fort McHenry

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The U.S. Navy performed a proper decommissioning ceremony for the Whidbey Island-class dock touchdown ship USS Fort McHenry at Naval Station Mayport, Florida on March 27 earlier than its inactivation which is able to happen in April.

According to a latest service information launch, USS Fort McHenry has spent the previous 33 years as an amphibious warfare ship with a properly dock to move and launch touchdown craft and amphibious automobiles.

Rear Adm. Robert Katz, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2 presided over the ceremony, which included the remaining ship’s crew and a number of other of its earlier commanding officer, together with the ship’s commissioning commanding officer, Capt. George “Dusty” Rhodes, who retired in 1999 and featured prominently within the ceremony.

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“I am humbled to be with you on this bittersweet day as we gather here at Naval Station Mayport to commemorate this ship’s 33 years of commissioned service,” mentioned Katz. “The history of Fort McHenry lies within each of the ship’s Sailors, and it is my hope this pride in their namesake guided all who crossed its quarterdeck and reported for duty.”

Cmdr. Michael Fabrizio, left, the commanding officer of the Whidbey Island-class dock touchdown ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), and retired Capt. George Rhodes, the commissioning commanding officer for Fort McHenry, pose for a photograph after the decommissioning ceremony. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Aaron Lau

Fort McHenry was commissioned on Aug. 8, 1987 at Lockheed Shipyard in Seattle.

“During my 17 years of sea duty and four commands at sea, I have no doubt that the Fort McHenry crew was the best with whom I ever served,” mentioned Rhodes. “They were always more than willing to do whatever it took to fulfill the mission. It is remarkable how closely they have stuck together over the past 34 years. I am proud to be among them.”

After arriving in San Diego on Sept. 30, 1987 the ship remained homeported there till 1995 when it changed the USS San Bernardino (LST 1189) as a forward-deployed ship based mostly in Sasebo, Japan.

Fort McHenry’s maiden deployment to the Western Pacific befell between June 16 and Dec. 16, 1988 as a part of an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) together with embarked Marines from the fifteenth Marine Expeditionary Unit. The different ships of the ARG had been USS New Orleans (LPH 11), USS Mobile (LKA 115), USS Ogden (LPD 5) and USS Fresno (LST 1182). During the deployment Fort McHenry participated in workout routines Cobra Gold-88, Valiant Usher 88-6 and Valiant Blitz 89-1 and the Sailors and Marines bought some well-earned liberty throughout port visits to Okinawa, the Philippines, Thailand, Australia, South Korea and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Over the following few a long time, Fort McHenry would homeport shift, and deploy a number of extra instances, supporting Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Vigilant Warrior and Enduring Freedom. Its crews would help with humanitarian help efforts domestically, akin to oil spill cleanup within the Prince William Sound and internationally, supporting catastrophe reduction efforts in East Timor in 2001, the Philippines and Indonesia in 2004,

In Nov. 1994, the ship obtained the primary girls to be completely assigned to the crew—two lieutenants who reported aboard because the Supply Officer and Electrical Officer.

The ship’s remaining deployment was as a part of the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Amphibious Ready Group and concluded in July 2019. While deployed to the Europe, Africa and the Middle East space of operations, Fort McHenry, together with embarked Marines from the twenty second Marine Expeditionary Unit, performed maritime safety operations and supplied a ahead naval presence in these vital areas.

During the deployment, Fort McHenry Sailors performed a burial at sea for the stays of 34 veterans and two navy spouses, a passing train with Egyptian navy ships within the Northern Arabian Sea and performed greater than 15 strait transits and port visits to Romania, the United Arab Emirates, Germany and Latvia. The ship capped off their deployment by collaborating in train Baltic Operations 2019.

“The last crew of Fort McHenry has performed with toughness and resiliency,” mentioned Fabrizio, the ship’s remaining commanding officer. “Like their predecessors onboard, their efforts during the last phase of the ship’s active service and the inactivation process have been nothing short of amazing.”

The ship might be inactivated on April 16, 2021 and might be designated as Out of Commission in Reserve (OCIR). That identical day, it’s scheduled to be towed by a seagoing tug to the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Philadelphia.

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