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USS Vandegrift (FFG 48)

- decommissioned -
- sunk as target -

USS VANDEGRIFT was the 38th PERRY class guided missile frigate and the first ship in the Navy named after Marine Corps General Alexander A. Vandegrift. In March 1998, the VANDEGRIFT shifted homeport from San Diego, Calif., to Yokosuka, Japan, becoming a forward deployed naval unit of the US Seventh Fleet. VANDEGRIFT served in this role for more than 8 years and on August 14, 2006, she left Yokosuka en-route to her new old homeport of San Diego, Calif. USS VANDEGRIFT was deactivated during a decommissioning ceremony at her homeport of San Diego, Calif., on February 19, 2015, and was officially decommissioned on March 31, 2015. The ship spent the following years laid up at Pearl Harbor, Hi., until sunk as a target in June 2022 during exercise Valiant Shield 2022 in the Marianas.

General Characteristics:Keel Laid: October 13, 1981
Launched: October 15, 1982
Commissioned: November 24, 1984
Decommissioned: March 31, 2015
Builder: Todd Pacific Shipyards Co., Seattle Division, Seattle, Wash.
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 (138 meters)
Beam: 47 feet (14.32 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 160 Enlisted

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Crew List:

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

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About the Ship’s Name, about Marine Corps General Alexander A. Vandegrift:

Marine Corps General Alexander A. Vandegrift was born on 13 March 1887, in Charlottesville, Virginia. He attended the University of Virginia and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1909. In 1912, Vandegrift participated in the capture of Coyotepe, Nicaragua, and two years later in the occupation of Veracruz, Mexico. He also served aboard the USS MINNESOTA, USS VIRGINIA, USS DELAWARE and USS CHESTER until ordered to Haiti in 1915 for action against the Cacos Bandits. For service in Haiti, where he continued to serve in various capacities until 1923, the President of the Republic of Haiti awarded him their Distinguished Service Medal and the Haitian Medaille Militaire with one Silver Star. The following 18 years were spent in various posts and stations in the United States, with the exception of two tours in China.

In 1942, Vandegrift sailed to the South Pacific as Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division and led his men in the initial landing of the U.S. forces against the Japanese at Guadalcanal. For his actions, he was awarded the Navy Cross and the Medal of Honor.

With the successful conclusion of the Solomon Islands campaign, Vandegrift assumed command of the 1st Marine Amphibious Corps in July, 1943, and directed the initial landing at Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville.

On 1 January 1945, Vandegrift was appointed to the rank of General, the first active-duty Marine officer to reach four-star rank. He then served as Commandant of the Marine Corps, and in this position guided the Corps' post-war reorganization and demobilization.

General Vandegrift retired from active duty in April 1949.

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Accidents aboard USS VANDEGRIFT:

February 25, 1996San Diego, Calif.
USNS YANO (T-AKR 297) breaks mooring lines and colliding with the USS VANDEGRIFT. The frigate suffers hull damage to its AMR3, CCS, and COC areas.

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USS VANDEGRIFT, named for Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift, U.S. Marine Corps, was built at Todd Pacific Shipyards in Seattle, Washington, and was commissioned on 24 November 1984. The ship's inaugural cruise began on 5 January 1987. During the course of this around-the-world cruise, it sailed three oceans, seven seas and visited four continents. The plankowners also crossed the international dateline, equator, Greenwich meridian, and sailed through the straits of Gibraltar, and the Suez and Panama canals. VANDEGRIFT conducted operations with USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. These operations were highlighted by an air and sea power demonstration for the President of Pakistan. Port visits included Pearl Harbor; Subic Bay in the Republic of the Philippines; Karachi, Pakistan; Mombasa, Kenya; Maxime, France; Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico; and St. Croix and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. VANDEGRIFT returned home to Long Beach in June, 1987.

The ship's second deployment began in June, 1988, returning it to operations in the Arabian Gulf shortly after the cease-fire between Iran and Iraq. VANDEGRIFT's mission while on patrol in the northern Arabian Gulf focused on providing protection and logistic support for joint forces in the area. VANDEGRIFT also participated in numerous Earnest Will missions, escorting U.S. and reflagged Kuwaiti tankers. Port visits included Pearl Harbor; Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines; Bahrain; Pattaya Beach, Thailand and Hong Kong. VANDEGRIFT returned home in December, 1988.

The ship's third deployment to the Arabian Gulf began in March, 1990. VANDEGRIFT patrolled the Northern Arabian Gulf and conducted Earnest Will escort missions. As the senior ship on station in the Arabian Gulf during the invasion of Kuwait, VANDEGRIFT served as the Anti-Air Warfare Commander and Electronic Warfare Coordinator. VANDEGRIFT participated in Operation Desert Shield's Maritime Interception Operations with units from United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and France. Ports of call included Pearl Harbor; Subic Bay; Phuket, Thailand; Singapore and Hong Kong. VANDEGRIFT returned home after an extended deployment in October, 1990.

On April 22, 1992, VANDEGRIFT began its fourth deployment to the Arabian Gulf. VANDEGRIFT participated in exercises with India, Qatar and Pakistan, helping to strenghten U.S. relations in that area. Ports of call included Doha, Qatar; Dubai, Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Karachi, Pakistan; Phuket, Thailand; Goa, India; Bahrain; Hong Kong; Singapore and Guam, and earned the Chief of Naval Operations LAMPS Helicopter Safety Award. VANDEGRIFT returned home on 22 October 1992.

VANDEGRIFT changed homeport to San Diego in February, 1993, and earned the COMNAVSURFPAC Food Service Award in March, 1994.

The fifth deployment to the Arabian Gulf began on 25 October 1994. VANDEGRIFT's mission was the enforcement of U.N. sanctions against Iraq in the Northern Arabian Gulf. The most memorable event was conducting a non-permissive boarding of a sanctions violator on Christmas Day. During the return transit, VANDEGRIFT played host to a major diplomatic reception in Muscat, Oman, to better diplomatic relations. Ports of call included Sasebo, Japan; Manila, Republic of the Philippines; Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates; Bahrain; Singapore and Hong Kong. VANDEGRIFT returned home on 25 April 1995.

As early as January, VANDEGRIFT had been preparing for an INSURV inspection. The actual INSURV went from 5 to 9 June and included a brief underway period to demonstrate those operational areas for the INSURV inspectors. The necessary preparations had taken place and the desired result of a very successful INSUEPV was achieved.

VANDEGRIFT embarked midshipman in mid June for training. Somewhat unexpectedly VANDEGRIFT was selected to make a port visit to Kodiak, Alaska, in early August to commemorate the 50th anniversary of World War II with local veterans. VANDEGRIFT rose to the occasion and hosted the people of Kodiak to tours onboard for the five days of the port visit. The trip to Kodiak included a week of transiting each way.

VANDEGRIFT returned from Alaska to resume her workups, this time in the first part of the Tailored Ship Training Availability (TSTA I). The rigors of TSTA I included one week inport and three weeks of underway demonstrating proficiency in all required areas of engineering, operations, and combat systems. TSTA I was completed successfully with high marks from the Afloat Training Group inspectors.

VANDEGRIFT spent most of the month of September preparing for the Operational Propulsion Plant Examination (OPPE). The OPPE was originally scheduled from 03-05 October but VANDEGRIFT experienced problems with the Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) system. Because of the immaculate material condition of the engineering spaces, the senior OPPE inspector decided to give VANDEGRIFT time to correct the problem with UPS and complete the examination on the 11th of October. After satisfying the rigorous requirements of the OPPE, VANDEGRIFT completed the exam with an overall grade of satisfactory.

In preparation for entering the yards on 15 October, VANDEGRIFT had to conduct an offload of all her weapons at the Seal Beach, CA, Naval weapons station. VANDEGRIFT returned to San Diego to offload fuel and be moved to the NASSCO pier for the two month Selected Restricted Availability.

From 13-15 December VANDEGRIFT put to sea in order to verify the proper operation of the ship after two months in the yards. The ship performed satisfactorily and returned to Naval Station San Diego. From 18-22 December VANDEGRIFT proved she was capable of safely conducting flight operations with the successful completion of the Aviation Readiness Evaluation and the Aviation Certification Inspection.

On the morning of Monday, 13 May 1996, VANDEGRIFT took in all lines and began her sixth six-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf. On the first legs of this trip, the crew was constantly training. On the way to Hawaii, USS ANTIETAM (CG 54) and USS REID (FFG 30) were in company and the schedule of events was full. In Pearl Harbor, VANDEGRIFT met with another ship of her SAG, USS RUSSELL (DDG 59), and continued on after a brief stop for fuel, stores, and a barrel far the 76 mm gun.

The first week of June VANDEGRIFT and RUSSELL pulled in to Hong Kong. The crews were given a few days of rest at their first liberty port. Following this brief stop the ships headed toward the Straits of Malacca where they split up with; VANDEGRIFT visiting Lumut, Malaysia and RUSSELL pulling in to Phuket, Thailand. While in Lumut the crew experienced the hospitality of the Malaysians while the ship received some minor voyage repairs from the local shipyard. On the morning VANDEGRIFT got underway and once underway the mood started getting a bit more serious as, prior to pulling in to Karachi, VANDEGRIFT crossed in to the Fifth Fleet area and an increased defense posture. This did not, however, adversely affect the highly successful exercise Inspired Siren.

Upon entering the Arabian Gulf VANDEGRIFT continually proved her ability to get the job done. Starting with getting underway early to relieve another ship that was non-mission capable, and continuing until exiting the Gulf in September. On several occasions the crew was given as little as thirty minutes notice of tasking changes to conduct Maritime Interception Operations in the North Arabian Gulf, MPS protection in the Southern Arabian Gulf, Amphibious Readiness Group Escort, or plane guard with USS CARL VINSON. VANDEGRIFT also participated in exercises Red Reef and Neon Falcon with the Saudi Arabian and Bahraini navies, respectively.

After port visits to Australia, Fiji, and Pearl Harbor, Hi, the VANDEGRIFT returned home to San Diego, Calif., on 13 November 1996.

The year 1997 was mainly spend with local operations off the US west coast and on 23 February 1998, the VANDEGRIFT left San Diego, Calif., en route to her new homeport of Yokosuka, Japan, arriving there 13 March.

In June, VANDEGRIFT deployed to Pearl Harbor to participate in RIMPAC 1998. For the exercise VANDEGRIFT was assigned to a Maritime Action Group with ships of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF). VANDEGRIFT conducted torpedo firings, MK 15 Close-in-weapons-firings and MK-75 76mm firings. VANDEGRIFT also conducted Maritime Interception Operations and provided the first ever VBSS training to JMSDF units. For engaging and destroying more simulated hostile air (2), surface (3), and subsurface (1) units than any other ship of the Bilateral Force, VANDEGRIFT was called the 'Number One Killing Machine" by COMCORTFLOT ONE. VANDEGRIFT also completed Weapons System Accuracy Test (WSAT) in July 1998. Upon USS KITTY HAWK's (CV 63) turnover with USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62), VANDEGRIFT sailed back to Yokosuka with the USS KITTY HAWK.

The ship was scheduled to be inport in Hong Kong in October but was turned back by two typhoons. Instead VANDEGRIFT participated in FOAL EAGLE 98, a joint naval exercise with the Republic of Korea. As part of exercise FOAL EAGLE 98, VANDEGRIFT successfully launched and inserted a platoon of SEALS from SEAL TEAM FIVE. VANDEGRIFT then participated in ANNUALEX 10G, a joint exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force. In December 1999, VANDEGRIFT visited the port of Shanghai, China, becoming one of a handful of ships to visit Mainland China in the 1990's. A number of the crew went to see the Great Wall, Tianamen Square and other sites in Beijing on a trip sponsored by the People's Liberation Army.

The ship's decorations include the Meritorious Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Southwest Asia Service Medal, and five Sea Service Ribbons.

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HSL-51 Det.1 - Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom 2003

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The photo below was taken by me and shows the VANDEGRIFT at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., on March 23, 2010. On April 12, 2010, the VANDEGRIFT left San Diego for an independent WestPac deployment.

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

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

The photos below were taken by Michael Jenning and show the VANDEGRIFT at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., on December 27, 2014. The ship is still wearing its homecoming garland on the bow. The VANDEGRIFT returned from her final deployment on December 12, 2014.

The photos below were taken by Sebastian Thoma and show the ex-VANDEGRIFT laid up in Middle Loch at Pearl Harbor, Hi., on March 18, 2022.

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