Guided-missile frigate USS Curts (FFG 38) concluded 29 years of service to the Navy during a decommissioning ceremony Jan. 25 at Naval Base San Diego.
The ceremony was attended by nine former Curts commanding officers, several former crewmembers as well as grandchildren of the ship’s namesake, Adm. Maurice Curts.
“I have daily affirmation that Curts was the best command I could have ever dreamed of inheriting,” said Curts’ final commanding officer, Cmdr. Fermin Espinoza. “I’m proud to be able to say that this ship will leave the fleet the same way it came into the fleet – ready to fight.”
Espinoza recently returned with Curts from its final deployment, where the Sailors seized contraband worth an estimated 26 million dollars.
Curts and other Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates joined the fleet as replacements for World War II-era destroyers and 1960s-era frigates.
“The ship was brought on to be an inexpensive replacement for ships that had served their useful lifespan,” said Curts’ commissioning commanding officer, retired Capt. James R. Tinsley III. “I think if you look at the accomplishments of the ships and Curts, you can see that they went maybe over and above what their critics expected.”
Over the years, Curts played integral roles during Operation Desert Storm, the Global War on Terror and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Curts also conducted anti-piracy and counter-narcotics operations, including a mission that led to the largest maritime seizure of cocaine (12 tons) in history.
“Curts will forever hold a special place in my heart,” said Espinoza just prior to reading the decommissioning orders. “If my ship could speak today she would utter the words that now capture my thoughts; I suppose I must go, but I wish I could stay.”
Curts will be transferred to the inactive reserves Feb. 27.