NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- In a ceremony held April 4 at Naval Station Mayport, the crew of USS Estocin (FFG 15) lowered the stars and stripes one last time and decommissioned the ship in preparation for her transfer to the government of Turkey.
Estocin was named in honor of Capt. Michael J. Estocin, a fighter pilot during the Vietnam conflict. Attached to Attack Squadron 192, "The World Famous Golden Dragons," then Lt. Cmdr. Estocin gallantly flew over Haiphong, destroying fuel depots vital to the enemy.
Even after taking on heavy damage from a mirage of surface-to-air missiles, Estocin continued to fly into the target area. Estocin's aircraft, badly damaged, went down April 26, 1967. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by Congress. His award read: "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty."
For more than two decades, the various crews of Estocin have strived to uphold the dedication and vigilance that earned her namesake our armed forces' highest honor.
Cmdr. Scott Phillpott, Estocin's commanding officer, said he is enthusiastic about the transfer. "The Turkish Navy is getting a fine warship," he said. "My crew has Estocin in pristine condition, and it will serve the government of Turkey proudly."
"In this time of conflict, I take great pride in knowing that we are providing our allies with such a fine naval vessel," he added. "This event serves as yet another pinnacle of the relationship that our two nations share."
Cmdr. John Yildirim of the Turkish government assumed command of the former Estocin, which will now be known as TCG Gosku (F 497). "Commander Phillpott and his crew have prepared a very nice ship for transfer to Turkey," Yildirim said. "It is a great honor to receive a fine ship in such high condition. As Colin Powell stated just a couple of days ago, 'Turkey and the United States are great friends.'"
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