PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Twenty-eight years following the attack on the guided-missile frigate USS Stark (FFG 31), the last of her kind carries out the final mission for the Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates.
Only commissioned for a few months prior to the Stark attack, the guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59) was one of the U.S. Navy's newest ships at the time of the attack.
"Even though the attack on Stark happened before most of our crew was born, we all serve in their memory," said Cmdr. Michael Concannon, commanding officer, Kauffman. "Our final deployment is serving as an ongoing legacy to everyone that has served on a Perry class frigate."
Kauffman's decommissioning marks the end of the legacy of Stark but not the memory. Every year since an Iraqi Exocet missile struck Stark during the Iran-Iraq War, Naval Station Mayport holds a memorial service on base, following the tradition that was established by President Ronald Reagan when he delivered the original eulogy in honor of the 37 Sailors killed and 21 wounded.
The way Kauffman carries on the memory of Stark's sacrifice isn't through vigils or wreaths. It's through service. In the final months of its life, Kauffman patrols South American and Caribbean waters every day to thwart the northern flow of illicit smuggling.
The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman is currently deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Martillo.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support USSOUTHCOM's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
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