US Navy Decommissions USS Elrod

The USS Elrod was the latest in a line of United States Navy frigates to be decommissioned, as the crew paid their last tributes to the ship this past Friday.

With the decommissioning of the USS Elrod, there are only six frigates left in the US Navy—all of which will be out of commission by autumn of this year.

It was a bittersweet day for the crew and everyone else who had been involved with Elrod. During its almost thirty active years, it served in operations such as Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, and Active Endeavor. "I'm proud of this ship and its legacy of service, especially her performance in the last year of her life. It's a somber occasion to decommission her, but an honor to be part of her final crew," said commanding officer Brad Stallings.

The USS Elrod was known colloquially as “Hammerin Hank” for its namesake, Major Henry T. Elrod. Elrod was a US Marine Corps aviator who received the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for his defense of Wake Island on Dec 11, 1941.

The USS “Hellrod”, as it was also know, was commended for its longevity and durability. Thirty years of service is not often heard of from a frigate like this, but Elrod remained reliable through and through.

"Up until her last day, 'Hammerin' Hank' and her crew accomplished the mission and did so with pride," said Command Senior Chief Nathaniel Griffin. "That sort of consistent performance is generally not seen on a 30-year-old ship. Frigate sailors set the standard by working hard and making things work when the odds are against them. I'm not speaking alone when I say I'm proud to have served on Elrod."

The USS Elrod was an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, designed as an escort vessel. Some of the specifications include:
      • Displacement: 4,100 long tons (4,200 t)
      • Length: 453 ft (138 m)
      • Beam: 45 ft (14 m)
      • Draft: 22 ft (6.7 m)
      • Speed: 29 knots (33 mph; 54 km/h
      • Range: 5,000 nmi (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 18 knots (21 mph; 33 km/h)

The USS Elrod was first commissioned on May 18th, 1985 and homeported in Charleston, SC before being moved to Norfolk, VA. Its motto is “War Ready to Preserve Peace.” With the decommission ceremony this past week, the legacy of Elrod was preserved for good.

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