NAVAL STATION NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- After nearly 28 years of Naval service, friends, family members, former and present crewmembers will gather at Naval Station Norfolk to decommission USS Kauffman (FFG 59), Norfolk's last Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, Sept. 18.
The ship was commissioned Feb. 28, 1987, and was named for Vice Adm. James L. Kauffman, a veteran of World War I and World War II, and his son, Rear Adm. Draper Kauffman, a veteran of World War II. The elder Kauffman had the distinction of having served the longest time in command and the longest time at sea than any other officer of his time; both were renowned for their focus on anti-submarine warfare.
Draper Kauffman organized U.S. Navy Bomb Disposal School at the Washington Navy Yard, a precursor to Explosive Ordnance Disposal School. He was also the first commanding officer for Navy demolition teams, the forerunner to the Navy's Special Operations Force known as the SEALs.
"It has been an honor to be part of such a remarkable legacy as a Kauffman Sailor and to have led such an impressive and capable group of professionals during the final deployment of a Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate," said Cmdr. Michael E. Concannon, the frigate's last commanding officer. "These Sailors are tough, they are tenacious and they were overwhelmingly successful during our last counter drug mission. They made a difference; they mattered."
Kauffman's final deployment to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility, in support of Operation Martillo, brought a suiting end to the ship's Navy career when the crew seized nearly 20,000 pounds of illicit narcotics.
Operation Martillo is a joint U.S., European and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in Central and South American waters.
In the 28 years of service, USS Kauffman gave its nation, the ship and its crews more than 20 deployments in the Middle East, Africa, Mediterranean Sea and Caribbean Sea, with notable contributions to counter-narcotics and counter-piracy missions.
Kauffman also played a diplomatic role as one of only a handful of American warships to visit the Soviet Union.
Frigates were designed to provide anti-submarine warfare support and protection of shipping missions for amphibious expeditionary forces, underway replenishment groups and merchant convoys. Known for being a tough and robust platform, a total of 54 frigates were built from 1976 to 1988, at both Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, and Todd Shipyards, Seattle.
With the Kauffman decommissioning, USS Simpson (FFG 56) becomes the last Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate in the Navy. The Mayport, Florida-based ship is slated for decommissioning, Sept. 29.
For more news from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/surflant/.