The Navy this week celebrated the USS Fort McHenry’s 33 years of service at a decommissioning ceremony in Florida, just weeks before the ship is set to be placed in out of commission/reserve status.
“During my 17 years of sea duty and four commands at sea, I have no doubt that the Fort McHenry crew was the best with whom I ever served,” said Capt. George “Dusty” Rhodes, the ship’s former commanding officer who retired in 1999.
“They were always more than willing to do whatever it took to fulfill the mission,” Rhodes said. “It is remarkable how closely they have stuck together over the past 34 years. I am proud to be among them.”
Watch clips from the March 27 decommissioning ceremony here:
The USS Fort McHenry made San Diego its home port in 1987, and in 1995 it was forward deployed in Japan. Over its more than three decades of service, it supported Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Vigilant Warrior and Enduring Freedom, and also took on humanitarian missions off the coast of Alaska, in East Timor, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The ship will be inactivated on April 16.
Many decommissioned Navy ships end up finding their way back into service, either as a reserve vessel or in the fleet of an overseas ally – just as the Sailors who manned them often find new ways to serve their citizens even after being discharged. AUSN salutes all the men and women who spent time on the USS Fort McHenry in service to this country.