The United States Navy has recently decommissioned its very last Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate, the USS Simpson (FFG56). This marks a new age of naval warfare, where it is becoming less likely for ships to go to battle in the open sea. Before lowering its flags, the USS Simpson covered its windows and removed its weapons. The ship will now travel to Philadelphia, where it will wait until it is sold off to a foreign nation. The USS Simpson’s service came to an end after 30 years of service, concluding with a ceremony at Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Florida. During these three decades of active duty, the USS Simpson was capable of firing missiles at and sinking an Iranian oil platform as well as an Iranian Navy vessel during a battle in April of 1988. Now, the only remaining Navy ship to have sunk an enemy is the USS Constitution, which did so over a couple of centuries ago during the War of 1812.
According to the vessel’s final commanding officer, Commander Casey Roskelly, around 90 percent of the USS Simpson’s final crew will be facing new assignments in Jacksonville.
“I love being out at sea,” said Commander Casey Roskelly. "You get into the rhythm, the routine. There's just something peaceful, you know, going up on the bridge wing at 2 o'clock in the morning, and it's your own planetarium. You can just see forever. The stars are just everywhere, and then watching the sunrise and sunset. There's peace. It's a time for self-reflection."
The USS Simpson was commissioned and built during the waning years of the Cold War. The vessel escorted and searched for submarines, as it fought off pirates and narcotics traffickers. The Navy is now shifting its focus towards close-to-shore littoral combat ships.
“There is really no deep-water threat now,” said Roskelly. “It’s now in closer.”
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