Sailors Bid Farewell to USS Monterey as Navy Prepares to Decommission 3 More Cruisers This Month

September 19, 2022 6:59 PM
Sailors assigned to the USS Monterey (CG-61) depart the ship for the final time during its decommissioning ceremony Sept. 16 in Norfolk, Va. US Navy Photo

The Navy decommissioned the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG-61) in a ceremony on Friday as the service continues to take Ticonderoga-class cruisers out of inventory.
Monterey, built at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine, was commissioned on June 16, 1990, in Mayport, Fla., The ship served 32 years, according to a Navy news release from the decommissioning ceremony.

The cruiser is the third ship to be named after the Battle of Monterey, which was fought on Sept. 20, 1846. During its service in the Navy, Monterey went through 14 deployments, according to the statement.

“She has served her crews and her nation well and rightfully takes her place among the ships that, for well over 200 years, have played an indispensable role in protecting the United States of America and serving her strategic interests across the world,” Monterey commanding officer Cmdr. David Schaller said in the release. “This ship and her crews will forever share a legacy that will be felt across the fleet for years to come.”

Monterey is one of five Ticonderoga-class cruisers the Navy planned to decommission in Fiscal Year 2022. The first, USS Vella Gulf (CG-72), decommissioned in August. USS Anzio (CG-68) is slated for decommissioning on Sept. 22 with USS Port Royal (CG-73) following a week later. USS Hué City (CG-66) is also slated to leave active service in September, which marks the last month in the fiscal year.

Monterey and the other four Ticonderoga-class cruisers decommissioning this fiscal year are on the list of 22 cruisers the Navy proposed for decommissioning in the next five years, although the plan has caused ripples in Congress. The Navy originally planned to modernize 11 of the 22 ships, but now it is seeking to decommission them.

The Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, which are set to enter the fleet in 2023, will replace the cruisers, USNI News previously reported. However, the new destroyers will enter the fleet at a slower pace than the cruisers will leave.

On the inactivation list is USS Vicksburg (CG-69), which is undergoing a $200 million repair meant to modernize the ship in order to keep it in the service longer. Under the Navy’s proposal, Vicksburg would be decommissioned in 2023.

Vicksburg would be one of five guided-missile cruisers to leave the fleet in FY 2023 if the Navy had its way. The House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee each put provisions in their versions of the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act to save Vicksburg from decommissioning. HASC also includes language to limit cruiser decommissionings to four in FY 2023.

Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG-61) transits the Mediterranean Sea on March 24, 2021. US Navy Photo

In total, the Navy listed 39 ships for decommissioning in FY 2023, which includes the five cruisers.

The list also includes Whidbey Island-class landing dock ships and Littoral Combat Ships.

USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41) was decommissioned in July. Under the Senate Armed Services Committee version of the FY 2023 NDAA, none of the Whidbey Island-class ships can be decommissioned, but the NDAA has not yet passed and it’s unclear what SASC and House Armed Services Committee provisions will be included in the final conference bill.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
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