Goodbye USS Vandegrift

The guided-missile frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) is scheduled to be decommissioned after more than 30 years of service in a ceremony on Naval Base San Diego, Feb. 19.

Commissioned on Nov. 24, 1984, Vandegrift was named after Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift, the 18th commandant of the Marine Corps.

Maj. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, commander of the 1st Marine Division based at Camp Pendleton, is scheduled to deliver the principal address. The 1st Marine Division had been under command of Vandegrift during World War II, where he led them to victory during the Battle of Guadalcanal.

The ship returned from its final deployment in December, following operations in the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility. Vandegrift was part of the counter-transnational organized crime (C-TOC) mission Operation Martillo, a joint, combined operation involving the U.S. and 14 European and Western Hemisphere partner nations which targets illicit trafficking routes in the waters off Central America.

While participating in Operation Martillo, Vandegrift intercepted approximately 19,833 pounds of cocaine and disrupted numerous other illegal drug shipments. The ship also participated in three community relations (COMREL) projects in Panama City during which 36 Sailors helped build a workshop for the blind, assist an outreach group in refurbishing their building and spent time with children in the Aid for AIDS community.

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Image: US Navy