MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Crew members, plankowners, family members and friends gathered Sept. 6 to bid farewell to USS Halyburton (FFG 40) during a decommissioning ceremony which capped more than 30 years of naval service.
Among the ceremony guests were retired Cmdr. Porter Halyburton, a Silver Star recipient who spent seven and a half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and is the nephew of the ship's namesake.
The keel of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate was laid Sept. 26, 1980, at the Todd Pacific Shipyards Co., Seattle Division, Seattle, Washington. She was launched Oct. 13, 1981, and commissioned on Jan. 7, 1984. The crew completed its final deployment June 4.
The ship was named for Pharmacist's Mate 2nd Class William David Halyburton, Jr. (Oct. 2, 1924 - May 10, 1945). He was a native of Canton, North Carolina and a graduate of New Hanover High School in Wilmington. His enrollment at Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina, where he planned to prepare himself for the ministry, was put aside to enter the United States Navy during World War II.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Halyburton was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism while serving with the Marine Rifle Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, during the Battle of Okinawa. He is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.
"It has been a tremendous privilege to be part of this incredible legacy and to honor her namesake," said Cmdr. David Fowler, Halyburton's commanding officer
For more news from commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/surflant/.