SAN DIEGO - The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Thach (FFG 43) was decommissioned after more than 29 years of naval service during a ceremony on board Naval Base San Diego, Nov. 1.
The ship was named for Naval aviator Adm. John S. Thatch, the developer of the "Thach Weave" dogfighting tactic in World War II and former Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe from 1965-1967. He died in 1981 and the ship was commissioned into service March 17, 1984.
Several of the ship's plankowners and dozens of former crew members, as well as many members of the Thach family, attended the ceremony alongside current crew members.
"Congratulations to all the of current crew and the wardroom for the fine work and Thach's success; I understand you just got back from deployment," said retired Navy Capt. Dale H. Moses, Thach's first commanding officer who served as guest speaker for the ceremony. "I must say, lookingto my memory and the pictures I have from 30 years ago, the ship today looks as sparkly and new as it did then."
Moses honored the plankowners that took part in the commissioning ceremony more than 29 years ago by having them stand and be recognized during the decommissioning ceremony. He also spoke about the technology aboard Thach nearly 30 years ago, including the limited number and use of computers at the time.
"To all of you, fair winds and following seas," said Moses. "To Thach, wherever you may be, may you also have fair winds and following seas."
During Thach's final deployment earlier this year, the crew of 220 Sailors and Coast Guardsmen performed counter-illicit trafficking operations off the coasts of South and Central America. The ship disrupted shipments of more than 379 kilograms of cocaine and more than 1,100 pounds of marijuana totaling in excess of $10 million.
"From conducting counter-narcotics operations to maintaining freedom on the high seas, the ship has been through a lot in its 29 years of extraordinary service to our country's Navy," said Cmdr. Hans E. Lynch, Thach's commanding officer.
Lynch said his tour as commanding officer has been very rewarding, especially during the ship's final deployment conducting counter-narcotics operations in the U.S. 4th Fleet Area of Responsibility.
"I am grateful for the crew's dedication to the mission," said Lynch. "It is an honor to be the decommissioning commanding officer of a wonderful ship."
Thach participated in a number of maritime security exercises and operations both independently and as part of carrier strike groups in U.S. 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility during nearly three decades of service.
Thach is the seventh U.S. Navy frigate to be decommissioned in CY-2013 following USS Underwood (FFG 36), USS Curts (FFG 38), USS Carr (FFG 52), USS Klakring (FFG 42), USS Reuben James (FFG 57) and USS Ford (FFG 54).
The ship will be officially transferred to inactive reserve status Nov. 15.