SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The mine countermeasure ship USS Defender (MCM 2), was decommissioned after 25 years of naval service at Naval Base San Diego, Oct. 1.
Defender was launched on April 4, 1987 and commissioned on Sept. 30, 1989.
Several of the ship's plankowners and former crew members, attended the ceremony alongside the current crew members.
Retired Capt. Charles Johnson, the commissioning commanding officer of Defender described the decommissioning ceremony as a bittersweet moment.
"She was a very good ship and I'm proud to have been there for both ends of her," said Johnson. "We'll be sad to see her go."
Lt. Cmdr. James Sordi, commanding officer of Defender, honored the plank owners that took part in the commissioning ceremony 25 years ago by having them stand and be recognized during the decommissioning ceremony.
"Today is a proud and somber day. When you decommission a ship, you think about all the hard work that Sailors have put in to this platform over the past 25 years and it fills you with great pride to have the plankowner crew here to help celebrate today," said Sordi. "It also makes you feel a little sad to know that a piece of history is going away."
Over the years, Defender has deployed to the U.S. 3rd, 6th and 7th Fleet and has earned four Battle 'E' awards and two Secretary of the Navy Letters of Commendation.
Commodore of Mine Countermeasures Squadron Three, Capt. Edmund Hernandez, described how Defender truly embodied her name.
"The Avenger class mine countermeasure ships are all named for impressive qualities we want our warships to embody. To 'defend' means to fight in order to not allow a person or thing to hurt damage or destroy someone or something," said Hernandez. "It is an apt name for a ship that performed that precise task and did it so superbly for a quarter of a century, in true sustained, superior performance."