UPDATE: USS Kauffman (FFG-59) began its final deployment, three days later than planned and left Naval Station Norfolk, Va. on Sunday, according to a statement from the Navy.
The final deployment for the Oliver Hazard Perry class of frigates begins today.
USS Kauffman (FFG-59) will depart Naval Station Norfolk, Va. for a six-month deployment to U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). When it returns, the ship will be decommissioned and put up for foreign military sale (FMS).
The 3,000-ton ship will be assigned to support SOUTHCOM’s counter trafficking effort. — Operation Martillo.
When the ship returns and is decommissioned in September, it will mark the end of more than 30-years of frigate operations.
“A lot of sailors have served on this platform, so it’s very (humbling) to be the last sitting CO of the last frigate that’s going to be in commission. The crew’s very proud,” said ship commander Cmdr. Michael Concannon to the Associated Press.
“We’re excited to go down and do our mission, to do our deployment. We’re equally excited to be the last frigate in commission and to honor the memories of all the sailors that have served on this class of ship in the past.”
During the November decommissioning ceremony for USS Ingraham (FFG-61), former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke highly of the class
“These frigates may be small, but they are able to take a hit and keep on going,” Gates said.
Some of the frigates will have a life beyond the Navy. Taiwan could buy up to four of the ships.
The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) will partially fill the roles of the frigates.