USS Ford Ready for Decommissioning
USS Ford (FFG 54), slated to be decommissioned during a ceremony Oct. 31, reached a major milestone Oct. 22 here with the final acceptance of the ship to Naval Sea Systems Command’s Inactive Ships Management Office.
Over the past two-and-a-half months, Ford Sailors worked hard to remove gear and equipment, securing and placing systems into long-term layup, and prepping the ship to be towed to Bremerton, Wash., to join the Inactive Ship Facility.
Willie Taylor, one of the inspectors for the inactive ships program stated “I have been doing this job since 1992, and this is the best decommissioning I have seen in those 20 years.”
Chief Sonar Technician (Surface) (SW/IUSS) Phil Nesbitt praised his tiger teams by saying “they performed flawlessly while facing limited resources and a shortened decommissioning schedule and the greatest accomplishment was turning the ship over ahead of schedule with true Ford tenacity.”
Ford is scheduled to host nearly 320 friends, family, alumni, and honored guests during a ceremony at her homeport of Naval Station Everett.
Among those expected to attend are 126 former crew members and their families, including 14 “plank-owners” (crew members who were assigned to the ship when it was commissioned) and seven former commanding officers.
The ship and her crew will also be joined by 13 members of ship’s namesake Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Patrick Ford’s family.
Guest speaker at the decommissioning next Thursday will be retired Capt. David F. Matawitz, former commanding officer of Ford from 2001 to 2003.
Ford was commissioned June 29, 1985, in Long Beach, Calif., and served the Navy and the nation for more than 28 years.
Press Release, October 24, 2013; Image: Navy