USS NICHOLAS was the thirty-seventh ship in the OLIVER HAZARD PERRY class of frigates and the third ship in the Navy named for Major of the Marines Samuel V. Nicholas. Last homeported at Naval Base Norfolk, Va., the NICHOLAS held a decommissioning ceremony there on March 10, 2014. On March 17, she was officially decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list.
|General Characteristics:||Awarded: April 28, 1980|
|Keel laid: September 27, 1982|
|Launched: April 23, 1983|
|Commissioned: March 10, 1984|
|Decommissioned: March 17, 2014|
|Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine|
|Propulsion system: two General Electric LM 2500 gas turbines, two 350 Horsepower Electric Drive Auxiliary Propulsion Units|
|Blades on each Propeller: five|
|Length: 453 feet (138 meters)|
|Beam: 47 feet (14.32 meters)|
|Draft: 24,6 feet (7.5 meters)|
|Displacement: 4,100 tons|
|Speed: 28+ knots|
|Aircraft: two |
|Armament: one |
|Crew: 17 Officers and 198 Enlisted|
This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS NICHOLAS. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.
USS NICHOLAS Cruise Books:
Commanding Officers of USS NICHOLAS:
|March 10, 1984 - June 1986||Commander James F. Amerault, USN|
|June 1986 - May 1988||Commander Richard W. Mayo, USN|
|May 1988 - June 1990||Commander Edward R. Hebert, USN|
|June 1990 - March 1992||Commander Dennis G. Morral, USN|
|March 1992 - January 1994||Commander Paul T. Serfass, Jr., USN|
|January 1994 - September 1995||Commander Neil C. Burlingame, USN|
|September 1995 - June 1996||Commander James H. McKinney, Jr., USN|
|June 1996 - January 1998||Commander Timothy P. Sprague, USN|
|January 1998 - August 6, 1999||Commander John R. Reichl, USN|
|August 6, 1999 - July 2001||Commander Tilghman D. Payne, USN|
|July 2001 - February 2003||Commander Joseph D. Creed, USN|
|March 2003 - September 2004||Commander Robert C. Swallow, USN|
|September 2004 - October 2006||Commander William R. Silkman, USN|
|October 2006 - February 2008||Commander Robert C. Sparrock, USN|
|February 2008 - August 2009||Commander Matthew G. Fleming, USN|
|August 2009 - June 2011||Commander Mark D. Kesselring, USN|
|June 2011 - August 2012||Commander Stephen F. Fuller, USN|
|August 2012 - March 2014||Commander Cory J. Blaser, USN|
History of USS NICHOLAS:
Since commissioning in March of 1984, she has deployed to the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea, as well as participation in maritime interception operations and various fleet exercises. When Gulf War hostilities broke out on 17 January 1991, NICHOLAS was serving in the extreme Northern Persian Gulf as advance Combat Search and Rescue platform over 70 miles forward of the nearest allied warship. During the first weeks of the war, she distinguished herself in action by attacking Iraqi positions off the coast of Kuwait, capturing the first 23 Iraqi prisoners of war, sinking or damaging 7 Iraqi patrol boats, destroying 8 drifting mines, and successfully rescuing a downed USAF F-16 pilot from the waters off the Kuwait coast. NICHOLAS also escorted the battleships USS MISSOURI and USS WISCONSIN during naval gunfire support operations near Khafji off the coast of the Saudi Arabia/Kuwaiti border.
In her 1993 six month deployment, NICHOLAS conducted operations in the Red, Mediterranean, Ionian, and Adriatic Seas. This was in support of United Nations sanctions against the governments of Iraq and the former Republic of Yugoslavia. During these operations, NICHOLAS safely conducted over 174 boardings of merchant vessels to inspect for illegal cargo shipments.
During her 1995 deployment in the Adriatic, NICHOLAS was assigned to the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic, again operating in support United Nations resolutions in Operation SHARP GUARD. NICHOLAS intercepted over 1200 vessels in enforcing sanctions against the former Republic of Yugoslavia. Additionally NICHOLAS located and rescued 16 Albanian citizens from a capsized lifeboat.
NICHOLAS has earned the Combat Action Ribbon, Southwest Asia Service Medal (with three bronze stars), Armed Forces Service Medal, NATO Medal, Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Sea Service Ribbon (with five bronze stars), a Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation (with "O" for Law Enforcement), and six Battle Efficiency Awards as the top ship in her squadron.
About the Ship's Name:
The USS NICHOLAS is named for Major of Marines Samuel V. Nicholas (1774-1790), the first officer commissioned in the Continental Naval Service, 28 November 1775 as Captain of the Marines. On 3 March 1776, as Senior Marine Officer in the Continental Navy, Nicholas led a small expeditionary force of some 234 Marines and 50 Sailors in the capture of forts Montague and Nassau in the Bahamas. This was the first amphibious operation carried out by the Navy-Marine Corps team.
Subsequently promoted to Major of the Marines on 25 June 1776, Nicholas recruited and also trained four companies of Marines for several new frigates then under construction in the boatyards near Philadelphia. Nicholas led three of those four companies to form a battalion which later joined George Washington's Army for the later battles in New Jersey, taking part in the second Battle of Trenton and in the Battle of Princeton.
For the remainder of the Revolutionary War, Nicholas exercised general supervision over the Continental Marines, fulfilling duties closely approximating the duties of today's Commandant of the Marine Corps.
About the Ship's Coat of Arms:
The Scarlet and Gold colors throughout the shield are the traditional colors of the United States Marine Corps. The center blue stripe in the shield represents the United States Navy, and together, they symbolize the defensive strength of the Navy/Marine Corps team. The anchor alludes to the first amphibious operation conducted by American fighting men, led by then-Captain Samuel Nicholas. The drum with the rattlesnake, a well known symbol used during the Revolutionary War, represents Nicholas' effort in recruiting and training Marines for duty in the Continental Navy. The bayonets represent the participation of the Marines with General George Washington at the Second Battle of Trenton and the Battle of Princeton. Three gold oak leaves symbolize Major Nicholas' steadfastness and courage, and also allude to his rank. The number three is significant for FFG 47 as the third United States warship to bear the name NICHOLAS.
"Carrying On A Proud Tradition" is enscribed surrounding the shield reminding NICHOLAS to continue to serve with distinction as her forebearers did.
Accidents aboard USS NICHOLAS:
|June 2, 2005||USS NICHOLAS' crew was in the process of moving a helicopter from the flight deck into the hangar, while the ship was steaming in heavy seas. Suddenly, a large wave hit the NICHOLAS and pushed her to starboard, causing the helicopter to tip over. No injuries were reported.|
USS NICHOLAS Patch Gallery:
USS NICHOLAS Image Gallery:
The photo below was taken by Brian Barton when USS NICHOLAS was at Naval Base Norfolk on July 23, 2002. The ship in the background is the guided missile destroyer USS OSCAR AUSTIN (DDG 79).
Close-up of the USS NICHOLAS at Naval Base Norfolk, Va. on November 9, 2008. The photo was taken by me.
The photos below were taken by me and show the USS NICHOLAS at Naval Base Norfolk, Va. on October 29, 2010.
The photos below were taken by Michael Jenning and show the NICHOLAS laid up among her sisterships at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on October 21, 2014. NICHOLAS is the ship moored outboard with the hullnumber painted over.
The photos below were taken by Michael Jenning and show the NICHOLAS laid up at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on October 17, 2016.