MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- After more than 30 years of honorable service to the fleet, USS McInerney (FFG 8), the longest-serving Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate in the U.S. fleet, officially decommissioned during a ceremony held at Naval Station Mayport Aug. 31.
The ship was then commissioned as PNS Alamgir (F-260) in the Pakistan navy.
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and Commander, U.S. 4th Fleet, Rear Adm. Victor G. Guillory served as the guest speaker.
"This was an opportunity to recognize the tremendous contributions of USS McInerney for the past 30 plus years to our Navy and to our nation, but we also get the opportunity to recognize and appreciate the tremendous strategic relationship that the U.S. has with Pakistan," said Guillory. "This transfer will allow them to participate to an even greater extent in maritime coalition efforts in the region."
As McInerney Sailors manned the rails, the order to secure the watch and haul down the colors was announced. Soon after, the U.S. Sailors departed the ship for the last time and Cmdr. Paul D. Young, McInerney's commanding officer, transferred command to Capt. Naveed Ashraf of the Pakistan navy.
"The relationship between our two countries is getting stronger and it's evident today. The United States has helped us in the past and most recently with the devastating floods," Ashraf said. "Even though the U.S. is losing a fine ship, they are gaining so much more by strengthening their relationship with Pakistan."
Alamgir then hoisted their country's flag and played the Pakistan national anthem. This was the first hot ship transfer between U.S. and Pakistan.
This transfer of vessel occurs right after a ship decommissions and is immediately commissioned under the new flag.
"McInerney has had a long line of firsts in its rich history and this is a very important one that will have lasting impact on our Navy as well as the Pakistan navy," said Young. "This occasion was heartfelt and I'm going to miss the crew, the ship and everything that came with it."
After Alamgir undergoes a dry dock and pier side refurbishment, the ship and crew will to leave the United States for Pakistan. The ship will improve the Pakistan navy's ability to safeguard territorial waters. Alamgir could also serve as part of the multinational task force conducting maritime security operations in and around the Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.
"I think this is an impressive ending and also a significant milestone for this ship," said Guillory. "McInerney has a great history with the United States Navy and she is going to have a great future with the Pakistan navy."
The Pakistani crew has been training with the U.S. Navy crew between May and August 2010. The crew will continue to receive specialized training on the ship's engineering, navigation and combat systems while the ship is being refurbished.
McInerney's advanced systems and technology combined with a highly skilled crew and professional leaders set her apart as one of the most capable ships in the fleet. McInerney was the second ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class of guided-missile frigates and was commissioned on Dec. 15, 1979.
"This crew has faced a lot of challenges since I've came aboard and they have met every one with great success," said McInerney Command Master Chief (SW/AW) John T. Lawry. "Tonight was a culmination of our final challenge which was to train the Pakistan Navy to man this vessel and also to say goodbye to our ship and shipmates. I want to thank all the Sailors who have served on McInerney throughout the years; they have done a great justice for our Navy and our nation."
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.