SAN DIEGO – For the first time in 31 years, the original sponsor of the guided missile frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) returned to the ship for a tour and to meet with crew members in San Diego, Aug. 28.
Serina Vandegrift, the great-granddaughter of Marine Corps Gen. Alexander Archer Vandegrift and ship’s namesake, along with her mother, visited the ship for the first time since breaking a bottle of champagne across the ship’s stern in 1982.
At that time, Serina Vandegrift was only 11 years old, making her the youngest ship sponsor in naval history. Now 31 years later, she and her mother once again visited the ship and talked with crew members.
Commissioned in 1984, the ship has had several homeports including Long Beach, Calif., San Diego and Yokosuka, Japan.
Gen. Vandegrift, Serina’s great-grandfather and ship’s namesake, was awarded the Navy Cross and later the Medal of Honor following the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. Gen. Vandegrift went on to serve as the 18th Commandant of the Marine corps from 1944 to 1948.
Members of the ship’s crew said they were fortunate to have the opportunity to meet the ship’s sponsor and learn more about the ship’s namesake.
“I am proud to be on Vandegrift to meet the sponsor of our ship,” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Anthony J. Fischer, who served as tour guide for the ship’s combat information center. “Just knowing that I was part of the crew that the great-granddaughter of our namesake came to visit is such an honor.”
Fischer was also one of the Sailors who received a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his recent contributions to the command during an awards ceremony that was scheduled as the first event for the visit. Serina Vandegrift took part in the ceremony, pinning the medals on the Sailors who were being recognized.
Before departing, Serina Vandergrift and her mother were presented a plaque to commemorate their visit as well as an American flag that had flown on board the ship while underway.
Vandegrift is homeported at Naval Base San Diego. The ship and crew are participating the basic phase of the fleet's training cycle in preparation for future operations.