NORFOLK (NNS) -- Placed into commission nearly 30 years ago, the guided-missile frigate USS Elrod (FFG 55) was decommissioned today during a Naval Station Norfolk ceremony, led by Cmdr. Brad Stallings, commanding officer.
Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Raymond Descheneaux, delivered remarks as the guest speaker while Capt. John Wade, Destroyer Squadron 28 commodore, presided over the event. Three members of namesake Maj. Henry T. Elrod's family were also in attendance: William, Kelly, and Mark Elrod.
"I'm proud of this ship and its legacy of service, especially her performance in the last year of her life," said Stallings. "It's a somber occasion to decommission her, but an honor to be part of her final crew."
Elrod last deployed in 2014, to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations to advance national security interests in Europe and Africa, conduct maritime and theater security operations and participate in partner-building exercises. The ship and her crew patrolled the central Mediterranean in support of Operation Active Endeavor, provided support for the safe passage of M/V Morning Glory, and assisted the amphibious assult ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) in the rescue of 282 persons in distress.
"Up until her last day, 'Hammerin' Hank' and her crew accomplished the mission and did so with pride," said Command Senior Chief Nathaniel Griffin. "That sort of consistent performance is generally not seen on a 30 year-old ship. Frigate Sailors set the standard by working hard and making things work when the odds are against them. I'm not speaking alone when I say I'm proud to have served on Elrod."
The ship was christened and launched on May 12, 1984 in Bath, Maine, the 45th Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate. Elrod was commissioned on May 18, 1985 and originally homeported in Charleston, South Carolina before shifting to Norfolk in 1995. The ship completed five deployments to the Arabian Gulf, the third one following Operation Desert Storm.
In the 1990's, Elrod participated in numerous exercises with NATO allies and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2004, the crew conducted maritime interdiction operations as part of Operation Active Endeavor. Elrod deployed again in 2008, 2010, and 2012. Her 2012 Caribbean deployment resulted in the confiscation of record amounts of illegal narcotics. Her final deployment was in 2014, and it took her back to the Mediterranean to conduct maritime security operations with the MQ-8B Fire Scout.
Elrod was named after U.S. Marine Corps aviator, Maj. Henry T. Elrod. He was the first aviator to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor in World War II, awarded posthumously for his heroism in the defense of Wake Island on Dec. 11, 1941.
The ship is slated to be offered in foreign military sales. Her decommissioning leaves six active frigates in the Navy, the last of which is scheduled to be decommissioned this fall.
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