USS Ingraham Undergoes A Dignified Decommissioning at Naval Station Everett

November 13, 2014



Department heads give final reports to the executive officer during a decommissioning ceremony for the Oliver Hazard Perry-class Frigate USS Ingraham (FFG 61). Ingraham was decommissioned after 25 years of Naval service. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin A. Johndro

On Wednesday one of the first two ships to arrive at Naval Station Everett was decommissioned. Here’s the story on the events as written by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeffry Willadsen and shared with by Kristen Ching at Naval Station Everett.

Sailors and guests bade farewell to the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Ingraham (FFG 61) as the ship concluded 25 years of naval service during a decommissioning ceremony on Naval Station Everett (NSE) Nov. 12.

Former Secretary of Defense Dr. Robert D. Gates joined the crew in honoring Ingraham and her many years of service by acting as the guest speaker at the ceremony.

Several former crewmembers, plankowners, friends and family also attended.

Ingraham’s last commanding officer, Cmdr. Daniel Straub kicked off the ceremony and put into context the ship’s place in the history of the Navy during her time in service.

“During 25 years of service to the nation, Ingraham has answered America’s call; Ingraham has always been ready, willing and able to fulfill mission requirements,” said Straub.

The decommissioning ceremony, a time-honored naval tradition, retires a ship from service through a variety of ceremonial observances, including the department heads’ final reports, lowering of the ship’s commissioning pennant, and Sailors walking off the ship while a bugler plays “Taps”. The ceremony is meant to pay respect to the ship and the Sailors who have served in her over decades of honorable service.

According to Gates, the ship has seen a long and storied career, and deserves to be honored for the part she played in history. However, Ingraham’s Sailors, along with all servicemembers, also deserve to be honored for their great courage and sacrifice, he said.

“I think its important that people understand the sacrifices involved . not just by the men and women in uniform, but by their families,” said Gates. “We owe a huge debt of gratitude, all of us.”

Ingraham was assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9. In October, the ship returned from her last deployment to the 4th Fleet in support of Operation Martillo. During this deployment, Ingraham disrupted or intercepted 11,937 kilograms of cocaine valued at more than $560 million.

“Ingraham, as a crew, has proven time and again that they care about their ship and each other. They are the ones who forged all of Ingraham’s successes,” said Straub.

“All the incredible men and women who have served their country on this great warship have earned my deepest gratitude, and the gratitude of this nation.”

For Gates, the ceremony was a new experience, as it was the first decommissioning he has ever attended. He said that he has seen many commissioning ceremonies in his day, and a decommissioning brings forth a whole different set of emotions.

“It’s kind of sad, actually,” said Gates. “The last time I was at a commissioning, seeing the Sailors run on board and man the ship, it’s sort of the start of the whole long service for a ship. To see everybody come off is kind of sad.”

USS Ingraham was commissioned Aug. 5, 1989, at Naval Station Long Beach as the last Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate. She was the fourth ship named for Captain Duncan Nathaniel Ingraham.

“[Ingraham] has been in service for so long, and seen so many things. It’s got so much history . it’s huge,” said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class (SW/IDW) Steven Harte, an Ingraham crewmember. “It’s done a great job, it deserves a retirement.”

Ingraham is scheduled to be transferred for dismantlement Jan. 30.

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