By Navy Public Affairs Support Element Northwest
EVERETT, Wash. (NNS) – The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Ingraham (FFG 61) returned to Naval Station Everett (NSE) Oct. 30, following its final deployment to the 4th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
Commissioned in 1989, the frigate is scheduled to be decommissioned Nov. 12.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to be back home,” said Ensign Adam Claudy, a native of Fort Worth, Texas and Ingraham’s Communications and Force Protection Officer. “It was a long, long time out at sea. [We] really had an excellent overall mission. We did really, really well.”
The ship played an integral part in the counter-transnational organized crime (C-TOC) mission Operation Martillo (Spanish for “hammer”) during the deployment. Operation Martillo, a U.S., European and Western Hemisphere partner-nation effort, targets illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters of Central America.
Ingraham’s crew participated in the operation alongside the “Dos Bravos” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 Detachment 2 and three U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDET).
The successful joint-service deployment resulted in 14 illegal drug disruptions for a total seizure of 11,937 kilograms of cocaine.
“I cannot be more proud of the professionalism and accomplishments of this integrated team,” said Ingraham’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Daniel Straub. “These Sailors and Coast Guardsmen have done an amazing job. The crew members have been tremendous ambassadors of the Navy and the United States. I cannot imagine a better final deployment with a finer crew. Ingraham has certainly lived up to her motto: ‘The Last and the Finest.'”
The 25 Sailors and two SH-60B Seahawk helicopters from HSL-49 returned to Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, from the deployment aboard Ingraham Oct. 20. During the deployment, the detachment conducted 900 flight hours.
“Our Sailors could not have been more proud to have served with USS Ingraham on her last deployment,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chuck Clark, HSL-49 Detachment 2’s officer in charge. “The ship and the crew are the finest I have had an opportunity to work with and the success that we shared during our 4th Fleet operations is a testament to the professionalism and dedication they exhibited day in and day out. While it is sad to see the mighty Ingraham decommissioned, everyone can be extremely proud of its service.”
The ship also participated in 10 community relations (COMREL) projects, including those at Helen Keller School for the Blind, San Jose de Malambo Orphanage and Corozal Cemetery where Sailors helped to restore facilities and to distribute school supplies and toys donated by Project Handclasp.
Upon its return, Ingraham’s crew began final preparations for the ship’s decommissioning.
“We knew for about half the deployment that this was going to be the final one. It definitely brought a lot more significance to it,” said Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class (SW) Paul Dammon, a native of Fort Worth, Texas and Leading Chief Petty Officer of Ingraham’s Combat Systems Department. “[This is] the last time this ship will return home from deployment … it’s a very special thing.”
Ingraham is the fourth ship to honor the name of Capt. Duncan Nathaniel Ingraham (1802-1891). The ship is part of Destroyer Squadron Nine (DESRON) 9, Naval Surface Forces and U.S. 3rd Fleet.
For more information on USS Ingraham, visit http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/FFG61/Pages/default.aspx