A story in the Nov. 27, 2012 U-T San Diego (formerly the San Diego Union-Tribune) reports the frigate USS Vandegrift is returning to San Diego, and will be decommissioned in January.
The reporter also wrote: “The ship has been deployed to the western Pacific, where it seized roughly $25 million in illicit drugs in recent months as part of Operation Martillo.”
That’s very nice, only it’s the wrong ship, and in the wrong part of the ocean.
The Vandegrift will not be decommissioned in January, that’s not slated until 2015.
The Vandegrift was deployed to the 7th Fleet’s area of responsibility in the western Pacific (WESTPAC in Navy terms) from San Diego in May, 2012. During that time, The vessel and its crew of 184 took part in five exercises along with the forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand during its voyage, according to the Navy.
The ship’s captain, the executive officer, chief engineer and operations officer also managed to get themselves relieved from duty after the ship’s crew was cited for misconduct, aggravated by alcohol, during a visit to Russia’s port of Vladivostok in late September.
So while the ship’s crew was having a grand old time in the western Pacific, it did not participate in Operation Martillo, a binational anti-drug interdiction operation off the eastern Pacific coastal waters of Central America. The Vandegrift was two days from pulling into Guam, where the officers were relieved of duty on Nov. 2.
The ship that made the $25 million seizure was another frigate, USS Carr. According to the Navy, on Oct. 25 the Norfolk-based Carr coordinated with a Navy maritime patrol aircraft to find and intercept a small vessel, referred to as a “go-fast”, that was suspected of smuggling narcotics in international waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
I’m still wondering about the cutline’s credit “USS Navy.” UT-San Diego needs better copy editors — if indeed they have them working the website.