Ultimately the U.S. Navy commissioned 51 FFG-7 class frigates between 1977 and 1989, built by Bath Iron Works and Todd Shipyards. From the inception of the FFG-7 program, the Navy recognized a need for a large number of these frigates to replace World War II destroyers that were due to retire. In order to meet this numerical requirement, stringent design controls were placed on the size and, in particular, the costs, of the FFG-7.
During protracted periods of austerity, the ships and their crews suffered from spare parts shortages and reduced maintenance support. As a result the men assigned to the ships became known for their determination, ingenuity and grit to meet mission - with whatever was available. It became, for the community of OHP frigate Sailors, a badge of honor.
Sailors have traditionally been a superstitious lot, and the lead ship in the class, the USS Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG 7), provided literally an auspicious launch. At her launch ceremony on 25 September 1976, the crowd watched anxiously as the ship failed to roll down the slip-way when the ceremony called for it. As if scripted, movie star actor John Wayne (the "Duke") jogged up to the ceremonial platform from his seat in the gallery and gave the bow of the frigate a shove with one hand, and famously appeared to have 'pushed' the 445-foot, 4,100-ton warship down the ramp.
Not unlike that magic moment, the ships and men who crewed them have always managed to demonstrate surprising timely guile - despite the odds. Their relatively limited firepower and size never seemed to disqualify them from most tasks, and time and again the ships proved suited for most any assigned mission.
On routine patrol in the Arabian Gulf when Iraq invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, the USS Taylor (FFG 50)
and USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49)
were part of a small flotilla of ships that served as the original participants of Operation Desert Shield, which helped dissuade further Iraqi offensive action until the coalition assembled and transitioned to offensive action under Operation Desert Storm. While the coalition force amassed, the two FFGs served to implement the United Nations authorized blockade of Iraq.