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USS Gary Returns From Final Deployment; Also Last for SH-60B Seahawks

The guided-missile frigate USS Gary (FFG-51), top, and the littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS-2) conduct a photo exercise off the coast of Central America in January. US Navy photo.

The guided-missile frigate USS Gary (FFG-51), top, and the littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS-2) conduct a photo exercise off the coast of Central America in January. US Navy photo.

The frigate USS Gary (FFG-51) returned to its San Diego homeport on Friday for the last time, after completing a seven-month deployment to the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command area of operations.

Gary had been participating in the anti-drug Operation Martillo with the embarked Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) 49 Detachment 4 and a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment. The ship will now begin preparations for decommissioning later this year.

Gary is one of the last frigates in service and was the last West Coast frigate to remain on deployment. They will all be decommissioned this year, with eight of the nine set to be sold to foreign militaries.

“This has been a very successful deployment in many regards, a deployment I would refer to as a ‘strong finish’ for the last remaining west coast frigate in the fleet,” Gary commanding officer Cmdr. Steven McDowell said in a Navy statement.
“When we departed for this deployment our intent was to make a difference, and we did.”

During its deployment, the frigate participated in more than 70 small boat operations and coordinated with U.S. Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA), U.S. and Canadian warships and Coast Guard ships from the United States, Panama, Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador. Gary’s crew interdicted 13,921 kilograms of cocaine and 18 pounds of marijuana.

The deployment was also the last active-duty one for the SH-60B Seahawk, the helicopter used by HSM 49 to help find and stop drug runners. The detachment returned to Naval Air Station North Island after flying more than 700 hours during the deployment, and the Navy will host a sundown ceremony for the platform on May 11.

  • Ctrot

    Shame that you had to use a picture with that piece of crap LCS in it.

    • 2IDSGT

      Ya know… despite all the rap LCS takes for not being an FFG, it’ll actually be a lot more practical for what USS GARY actually did on its last deployment.

      • Ctrot

        Maybe, but in the case of SHTF which would better serve?

        • RRBunn

          Given that the FFG-7’s have NO air to air missile system and only the 3″ automalara gun (maybe harpoon) the LCS seems as well armed or better. Not sure how the 57mm (2.5″) compares to the 3″ gun on the FFG-7s. Lots fewer crew and lot faster ship.

          • Michael Rich

            Of course it doesn’t have air-to-air missiles…it’s not a fighter.

            Seriously though doesn’t the FFG have the SM-2?

          • Steve Skubinna

            Not any more. All FFG-7s had the Mk13 launchers removed by the early oughts. So no missiles at all, no Standard, no ASROC, no Harpoon.

          • Michael Rich

            Well that’s pretty stupid.

          • Rob C.

            They stop making parts for the Mk13 a while ago. It bad that the a ship designated as a FFG is barely a gunboat. They do have the torpedoes and sonar with Mk 49 radar, but that’s it.

            LCS Can be armed similarly to Oliver Hazard Perry Class ships are, but no true anti-aircraft system is bothersome to say the least. Refit for both designs should have been enlarged instead of reworking the weapons systems.

          • old guy

            We had a 3K SES designed with all of the FFG-7 systems, and more, and it could do 125 knots. When Zumwalt left Hollowhead killed the program.

          • old guy

            BUT, they have roooom; put ’em on.

          • Steve Skubinna

            I never liked the three inch gun. Too small to be a big gun, too big to be a small one. The Bofors 57mm actually will put more explosive on target in a given time.

          • Ctrot

            You’ve forgotten the FFG-7’s radar, sonar and anti- sub torpedoes. As for LCS’s speed, it can’t outrun an anti-ship missile so I question its real purpose.

          • old guy

            PURPOSE:
            Shipyard Welfare Incentive Program Enterprise (SWIPE).

      • PolicyWonk

        LCS, in having a fast sea-frame, and not being designed for engaging naval adversaries, makes a workable platform for performing drug interdiction.

        However, given the ultra-high-price of LCS (well in excess cost-wise of our allies high-end frigates), we could get an equally capable boat to perform the same mission at a much lower price.

        • old guy

          A great yacht. Nice V-22 landing field on the trimaran and nice space on the pointy/square version.

      • old guy

        I could do that, better, with a PG-84 or two. The FFG-7s have lots more capability than that. Take a peak at what the Spanish have done with theirs. They never should have been retired.
        All have modern propulsion, flexibility potential for equipment upgrade which has been denigrated to serve the Shipyard Welfare Incentive Program Enterprise (SWIPE).