Former US Navy frigate sunk by missile fire

U.S. ships and aircraft used live fire munition to sink a decommissioned U.S. Navy guided missile frigate in waters 30,000 feet deep and 117 nautical miles northeast of Guam on September 13.

The boat sank in five hours after sustaining 22 missile hits, finally succumbing to hellfire missiles shots by the “Golden Falcons” of HSC 12.

The units that participated in the sinking of USS Rentz included destroyers USS Benfold and USS John S. McCain, aircraft from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan (CVN 76), a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft and U.S. Marine Corps aircraft.

“The SINKEX was the first Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW -5) led event in Valiant Shield, and it was a major success,” said Lt. Cmdr. Alfred Del Vecchio, CVW-5 SINKEX lead planner.

This event marked the first time that the “Eagles” from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115 successfully fired a JSOW C-1 guided gliding munition, a weapon that has not previously been used in an exercise of this nature.

Decommissioned USS Rentz was the 40th ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigates, named after Chaplain George Snavely Rentz, who selflessly gave his life at the Battle of Coral Sea. Rentz gave his life jacket to a fellow Sailor after his ship, USS Houston (CA 30), was hit by enemy topedoes and sunk. Rentz was commissioned June 30, 1984 and originally homeported in San Diego, California, December 1985.

During her more than 30 year career, the ship was part of a historic port visit in November 1986 to Qingdao, China, the first U.S. Naval visit to China since 1949. Rentz was sent to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Earnest Will and deployed with the Nimitz carrier strike group. Rentz also conducted counter narcotics operations, among other missions.

Valiant Shield 2016 is a biennial, U.S.-only, field training exercise (FTX) with a focus on integration of joint training among U.S. forces in relation to current operational plans. This training enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land, and in cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas.