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USS Curts (FFG 38)

- decommissioned -
- sunk as target -

USS CURTS was one of the long hull frigates in the OLIVER HAZARD PERRY - class of guided missile frigates and the first ship in the Navy named after Admiral Maurice E. Curts. Since September 30, 1998, the CURTS was part of the Naval Reserve Force which means that a part of her crew was comprised of naval reservists. The ship was last homeported in San Diego, Calif. CURTS held a decommissioning ceremony on January 25, 2013. Officially decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on February 27, 2013, CURTS spent the following years laid up at Pearl Harbor, Hi., until she was sunk as a target during Exercise Valiant Shield 2020 on September 19, 2020.

General Characteristics:Awarded: April 27, 1979
Keel laid: July 1, 1981
Launched: March 6, 1982
Commissioned: October 8, 1983
Decommissioned: February 27, 2013
Builder: Todd Pacific Shipyards Co., Los Angeles Division, San Pedro, Ca.
Propulsion system: two General Electric LM 2500 gas turbines, two 350 Horsepower Electric Drive Auxiliary Propulsion Units
Propellers: one
Blades on each Propeller: five
Length: 453 feet (135.9 meters)
Beam: 45 feet (13.5 meters)
Draft: 24,6 feet (7.5 meters)
Displacement: 4,100 tons
Speed: 28+ knots
Aircraft: two SH-60 Sea Hawk (LAMPS 3)
Armament: one Mk 75 76mm/62 caliber rapid firing gun, MK 32 ASW torpedo tubes (two triple mounts), one Phalanx CIWS
Crew: 17 Officers and 198 Enlisted

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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS CURTS. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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About the Ship's Coat of Arms:

The Shield:

The wavy division of the shield alludes to the oceans of the world. The flaunches suggest radar waves, in reference to the outstanding contributions to the development of radar made by the ship's namesake Admiral Maurice E. Curts. The four stars in chief denote his highest rank achieved while on active duty. The flaming bomb in base refers to Admiral Curts' combat service during the Philippine Islands battles of World War II. The cross pattee signifies the Navy Cross awarded to him for heroic conduct while commanding the USS COLUMBIA during those battles.

The Crest:

The ship's wheel symbolizes the authority entrusted to Admiral Curts at the fleet command level, and his leadership of the U. S. Naval Forces both during and after the World War II. The heraldic symbolizes two awards of the Distinguished Service Medal for "exceptionally meritorious service" in numerous high commands.

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USS CURTS Cruise Books:

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History of USS CURTS:

USS CURTS was commissioned 8 October 1983 after construction at the Todd Pacific Shipyards, San Pedro, California. The first years in commission were focused on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations as CURTS was the first Pacific Fleet unit with the complete SQQ-89 ASW Suite. CURTS served in Destroyer Squadron 31 -- the ASW squadron -- from 1985 until mid-1987. CURTS was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for brilliant performance in the tracking of Soviet submarines.

Increased tensions in the Middle East as a result of the STARK incident in 1987 resulted in CURTS assignment to the USS MISSOURI battle group. For their 1987-88 deployment, the battle group was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for efforts in support of Operation Earnest Will in the northern Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman.

A new era for CURTS began 1 June 1988 with departure from Long Beach, California for a new homeport in Yokosuka, Japan. CURTS and a sister ship brought the first LAMPS MK III helicopters to Naval Air Facility, Atsugi. A busy first year was culminated by a deployment to the Middle East Force in support of Operation Earnest Will.

In 1990, CURTS joined the battle group of aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY and deployed to support Operation Desert Shield. While crossing the South China Sea on 17 October 1990, CURTS rescued 50 Vietnamese refugees from a disabled fishing boat that had been drifting for ten days. The last two months of 1990 were spent conducting Maritime Interception Force Operations in the Gulf of Oman.

An incredible year began as CURTS entered the Persian Gulf in 1991. Assignment to the northernmost group of ships in the Persian gulf at the outbreak of Operation Desert Storm resulted in CURTS being in the middle of virtually all naval combat operations during the war. On 24 January 1991, CURTS with her embarked Navy and Army helicopters captured the Iraqi garrison on Qaruh Island. The net result was one island liberated, fifty-one Iraqi prisoners captured, two mines destroyed, one minelayer sunk, and a wealth of intelligence materials seized. Support of combat helicopter operations during Battle of Bubiyan Island and escort for the battleships USS MISSOURI and USS WISCONSIN during Naval Gunfire Support missions were equally demanding. Assignment to the mine countermeasures escort force for the amphibious feint off Faylakah Island kept every crewmember on edge until the cease-fire was declared. Rejoining the MIDWAY battle group, CURTS returned to homeport on 17 April. A Navy Unit Commendation was received for membership in the Arabian Gulf Battle Force. While assigned in support of Operation Desert Storm, CURTS was announced as the winner of the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy as the most improved command in the entire Pacific Fleet for fiscal year 1990.

In June 1991, CURTS once again found themselves in the midst of another calamity as the eruption of Mount Pinatubo occurred while inport Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. After digging out from under about a foot of grit, rocks, and ask CURTS was underway the same day to transport 298 evacuees to the island of Cebu during Operation Fiery Vigil. Another round trip brought 249 additional evacuees to safety.

In the latter half of 1992, CURTS completed extensive joint Navy exercises with Korean, Australian, and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) navies. During these exercises, CURTS had the opportunity to make port calls in Korea and Australia.

In 1993, while in dry-dock, CURTS received the 4100-ton class modification, extending her stern another eight feet and enhancing her combat capabilities immensely. In October 1993, she joined the USS INDEPENDENCE battle group to participate with the JMSDF in the joint anti-submarine warfare exercise MAREX. On 17 November, CURTS steamed out of Yokosuka with the INDEPENDENCE battle group for a Middle East deployment. CURTS was assigned to the Red Sea where she conducted 89 boardings as part of the Maritime Interdiction Force supporting United Nations sanctions against Iraq. CURTS rejoined the battle group in the Arabian Gulf were she continued the enforcement of U. N. sanctions. While transiting the Gulf of Oman, CURTS discovered an adrift livestock vessel. Assistance was rendered and the vessel along with its 23 crew members was towed to Oman.

A few months later, she participated in RIMPAC 94, one of the largest naval exercises in the world. CURTS received the Seventh Fleet Battle Efficiency Award for 1994.

In 1995, CURTS participated in major joint exercises with units of the US Navy and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), and later with the navies of Singapore and Subic Bay. She also drew national and international media attention when she rescued 10 sea turtles entangled in an abandoned fishing net. She later worked with Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore for 1996 Cooperation Afloat for Readiness and Training (CARAT 96).

In 1997, CURTS participated in Operation Tandem Thrust, a US/Australian multi-service exercise held within Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Finally, on 11 July 1997, after nine years of forward presence as part of Seventh Fleet, CURTS departed Yokosuka, Japan for a homeport change to San Diego, California.

In 1998, CURTS conducted exercises with the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Navies, and participated in Teamwork South 98, which involved the Chilean military and the British and Canadian Navies. She later participated in RIMPAC 98 and in October 1998, CURTS joined the Naval Reserve Force (NRF).

CURTS’ next assignment was a six-month Counter-drug Operations deployment in the Easter Pacific and Caribbean Sea ending in February 2000. CURTS’ aggressive pursuit of drug traffickers led to the interception of over 5 tons of Cocaine.

CURTS participated in her second CARAT cruise which ended in August 2001. During CARAT 01, CURTS conducted multi-lateral exercises with the navies of Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, and the Philippines in order to promote international training amongst navies.

CURTS’ next assignment was her third CARAT cruise, ending in August 2003. During CARAT 2003, CURTS conducted multi-lateral exercises with the navies of Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia in order to promote international training amongst navies. CURTS subsequently deployed on another Counter-drug Operation cruise commencing in August 2003.

In 2004, CURTS again deployed to Southern Command on a six–month counter-narcotics deployment and received national notoriety for the largest maritime seizure of cocaine (12 tons) in history. The ship received the US Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Citation for her outstanding performance during deployment.

In 2006, CURTS took part in a third counter-narcotics deployment. Over the course of six months, CURTS conducted 3 boardings, transferred over 50 suspected drug traffickers, recovered 3 tons of cocaine, and was awarded the Coast Guard Special Operations Ribbon. CURTS won the 2006 Battle Efficiency Award.

In 2008, CURTS deployed to US Fifth Fleet area of operation supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism.

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USS CURTS Patch Gallery:

Operation Desert Storm
contributed by Ian Johnson
CARAT 2001HSL-49 Det. 2

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About the frigate’s name, about Admiral Maurice E. Curts:

USS CURTS (FFG 38) is named for the late Admiral Maurice E. Curts, United States Navy (1898-1976), former Commander in Chief, U. S. Pacific Fleet, and heroic cruiser commander of World War II. He was awarded the Navy Cross and Silver Star Medal for extraordinary heroism while commanding cruiser COLUMBIA during the Leyte landings, the Battle of Surigao Strait, the Lingayen Gulf landings, and the liberation of Borneo. During the initial Lingayen Gulf landings, he continued to lead his cruiser in action despite the severe damage inflicted by two suicide planes which had left nearly 100 of his men dead or wounded. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he had earned the Bronze Star Medal as Communications Officer, U.S. Pacific Fleet and the Distinguished Service Medal as Communications Officer, United States Fleet. Following the close of World War II, he was Force Commander, Operational Development Force, U. S. Atlantic Fleet; Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Readiness); and Deputy Commander in Chief, U. S. Pacific Fleet, serving with great distinction until 13 January 1956. On that date, he was designated by the President as the Commander in Chief, U. S. Pacific Fleet, serving until the arrival of his relief on 1 February 1958. A month later, he became Commander Western Sea Frontier, remaining until his retirement on 1 April 1960. Early naval service included duty as Officer in Charge, Radio and Sound, Naval Research Laboratory (June 1936-May 1938) where he earned a commendation from the Secretary of the Navy for outstanding service in the development of radar.

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The photos below were taken by William Chiu when USS CURTS visited Hong Kong in April 1991.

The photo below was taken by me and shows the CURTS at Naval Base San Diego, Calif, on March 10, 2008.

The photos below were taken by me and show the CURTS at Naval Base San Diego, Calif, on September 29, 2011.

The photos below were taken by me and show the CURTS at Naval Base San Diego, Calif, on March 15, 2012.

The photos below were taken by me and show the CURTS at Naval Base San Diego, Calif, on May 8 and 9, 2012.

The photos below were taken by Michael Jenning and show the CURTS laid up at Pearl Harbor, Hi., on October 15, 2017.

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