Briscoe Decommissioned After 25 Years

Story Number: NNS031002-13Release Date: 10/2/2003 3:15:00 PM
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By Journalist 2nd Class Heather Hines, Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Spruance-class destroyer USS Briscoe (DD 977) decommissioned Oct. 2 during a ceremony in her homeport at Naval Station, Norfolk, Va. Commander, Destroyer Squadron 22, Capt. Thomas Abernathy, was the guest speaker.

"Today's ceremony honors the ship, her service, and her soul," said Abernethy. "Briscoe's soul is embodied in the men and the women who served in her over the years. They made Briscoe a warship, and we are grateful for their selfless devotion."

The 25-year old ship returned from its last deployment in May, as part of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Battle Group, after participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom and firing 25 Tomahawk cruise missiles on targets in Iraq.

"This ceremony is a celebration of a warship's short, but exciting life," said Briscoe's commanding officer Cmdr. Scott Sundt. "Briscoe has been an elite member of the greatest Navy the world has ever seen. She has stood tall when her country called and has given 110 percent effort every time."

Briscoe bears the name of Adm. Robert P. Briscoe. Before retiring as a four-star admiral in 1959, Adm. Briscoe served with distinction in World War I, World War II and the Korean Conflict.

Since commissioning, Briscoe has deployed to the Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean, Baltic and Black Seas. During these deployments, Briscoe participated in Operation Urgent Fury for the liberation of Grenada. Briscoe established a U.S. record of 275 merchant vessel boardings in the North Red Sea, during the first of her two deployments to the area. While responding to a distress call from an Egyptian passenger ferry in 1994, Briscoe acted as the on-scene commander for the ensuing rescue efforts of more than 500 passengers and coordinated the assistance of numerous vessels in the area.

Routine deployment workups were interrupted in 2001, as Briscoe responded to help provide aerial defense of the U.S. East Coast after the terrorist attacks, Sept. 11, 2001. In December 2002, Briscoe deployed as part of the Harry S. Truman Battle Group in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Briscoe was one of the first ships to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles on targets in Iraq.

Briscoe was built by Ingalls Shipbuilding Inc., Pascagoula, Miss., and was commissioned June 3, 1978. As a Spruance-class destroyer, Briscoe provided multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities, and operated independently or as part of carrier battle groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups.

For related news, visit the Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Navy NewsStand page at

The Spruance class destroyer USS Briscoe (DD 977) underway.
Official U.S. Navy file photo of the Spruance-class destroyer USS Briscoe (DD 977).
March 22, 2003
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