USS Elrod decommissioned after 30 years in service

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The guided-missile frigate USS Elrod was decommissioned Friday after nearly 30 years in service.

Cmdr. Brad Stallings, the commanding officer, led the ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk.

“I’m proud of this ship and its legacy of service, especially her performance in the last year of her life,” said Stallings. “It’s a somber occasion to decommission her, but an honor to be part of her final crew.”

Elrod last deployed in 2014, to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations to advance national security interests in Europe and Africa, conduct maritime and theater security operations and participate in partner-building exercises. The ship and her crew patrolled the central Mediterranean in support of Operation Active Endeavor and assisted USS Bataan (LHD 5) in the rescue of 282 persons in distress.

“Up until her last day, ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ and her crew accomplished the mission and did so with pride,” said Command Senior Chief Nathaniel Griffin. “That sort of consistent performance is generally not seen on a 30 year-old ship. I’m not speaking alone when I say I’m proud to have served on Elrod.”

The ship was christened and launched on May 12, 1984, in Bath, Maine. Elrod was commissioned on May 18, 1985, and originally homeported in Charleston, S.C., before shifting to Norfolk in 1995. It completed five deployments to the Persian Gulf – the third one following Operation Desert Storm.

Her 2012 Caribbean deployment resulted in the confiscation of record amounts of illegal narcotics. Her final deployment was in 2014, and it took her back to the Mediterranean to conduct Maritime Security Operations with the MQ-8B Fire Scout.

Elrod was named after U.S. Marine Corps aviator, Maj. Henry T. Elrod. He was the first aviator to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor in World War II, awarded posthumously for his heroism in the defense of Wake Island on Dec. 11, 1941.

The ship is slated to be offered in foreign military sales. Her decommissioning leaves six active frigates in the Navy, the last of which is scheduled to be decommissioned this fall.

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