PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - USS Reuben James (FFG 57), the last remaining guided-missile frigate homeported in Hawaii, will be decommissioned July 18 after nearly thirty years of distinguished naval service.
The officers and crew of USS Reuben James will host nearly 100 friends, family, alumni and honored guests during a ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Among those expected to attend are 30 former crew members and their families, including five "plank-owners" (crew members who were assigned to the ship when it was commissioned) and six former commanding officers of the ship.
"This ceremony is an opportunity for us to say fair winds, farewell, and "a job well done‟ -- not only to the crew today but also to the thousands of Sailors who served aboard Reuben James over the years," said Capt. Chris Bushnell, Deputy Commodore of Destroyer Squadron 31. "It was my pleasure to thank "Fightin' 57‟ and her crew for their fine service and hard work and also to present Reuben James the Ney Award last Thursday."
Guest speaker at the decommissioning this Thursday will be retired Navy Captain Faris T. Farwell, former commanding officer of the ship, 1997-1999. CAPT Brent Smith, chief of staff for Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, will officiate.
The ship returned from deployment in early May after participating in a series of bilateral maritime exercises for Cooperative Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) in the Seventh Fleet area of responsibility.
Capt. Dan Valascho said, "It was a privilege to have taken Reuben James on her last deployment forward this year. This proud warship has served the Navy for 27 years. I am grateful for this opportunity to thank all the Sailors and family members who have been part of the Reuben James ohana."
With the departure of the Reuben James as the last remaining frigate homeported here, all of Navy‟s surface ships homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will be guided-missile destroyers and cruisers.
Guided-missile frigates are multi-mission surface combatants, capable of Under-Sea Warfare (USW) and Surface Warfare (SW) missions. Reuben James has been assigned to Commander, Destroyer Squadron 31 under Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, in Hawaii.