USS Robert G. Bradley Ends US Navy Service
Nearly 30 years after she was commissioned in 1984, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Pete Ehlers, commanding officer of USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49), decommissioned the ship on March 28, at a Naval Station Mayport ceremony.
Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Votel, commander, Joint Special Operations Command, was the guest speaker; Commodore, Destroyer Squadron 14, Capt. Ryan Tillotson, presided over the decommissioning event. Also in attendance were previous commanding officers, as well as three survivors of USS Princeton (CVL 23).
FFG 49 was the first U.S. Navy ship to be named for a Washington D.C. native. Lt. Robert Graham Bradley served as assistant first lieutenant aboard Princeton, where he led a repair party in efforts to save the ship after it was attacked by a Japanese dive bomber during the battle of Leyte Gulf. Bradley and his repair team lost their lives when the flames spread to an aft torpedo magazine and detonated four, 100-pound bombs. For his actions, Bradley was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
“For nearly 30 years this ship has carried Lt. Robert G. Bradley’s name and spirit in defense of our nation,” said Ehlers. “It has been a privilege and an honor to be the commanding officer of the last crew of ‘Bradleymen.’ I could not be more proud of them.”
After participating in UNITAS in the Western Caribbean Sea in September 2012, and completing a Board of Inspection and Survey, the ship departed in late October for a seven-month deployment to the 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility.
Initially assigned an Africa Partnership mission, the crew quickly reconfigured the ship with four MQ-8B Fire Scouts to support Africa Command, Counter-Terrorism Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance tasking. They completed more than 900 flight hours with the MQ-8B Fire Scouts while on station and conducted the first concurrent Dual-Air-Vehicle mission with another Fire Scout-equipped frigate.
The end of 2013 found the crew assisting in deployment preparations and certifications for USS West Virginia (SSBN 123), George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, and the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group.
The ship is slated to be offered for foreign military sales.
Press Release, April 1, 2014, Image: US Navy