USS Gary Retires After 31 Years of Service

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Past and current crew, plank owners, former and current commanding officers, namesake relatives and friends and family gathered at Naval Base San Diego July 23 to bid farewell to USS Gary (FFG 51), the last remaining Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate on the West coast after 31 years of service.

Gary’s keel was laid down Dec. 18, 1982, at Todd Pacific Shipyards, Los Angeles Division, San Pedro, California; it was launched Nov. 19, 1983, sponsored by Mrs. Donald A. Gary and Mrs. George D. Leamer; and it was then commissioned Nov. 17, 1984 at Naval Station Long Beach with Cmdr. Harlan R. Bankert Jr. in command.

The ship returned from its final deployment in April, following operations in the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility. Gary was part of the counter-transnational organized crime 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.

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Image: US Navy

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