Decommissioning ceremony for USS Curts Thursday - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Decommissioning ceremony for USS Curts Thursday

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The guided-missile frigate USS Curts is scheduled to be decommissioned in a ceremony Thursday at Naval Base San Diego.

The vessel, dubbed ".38 Special" by its first crew, served in Operation Desert Storm and deployed on anti-smuggling missions. The nickname is derived from its hull number, FFG 38.

"After 29 years of faithful service, .38 Special leaves the fleet the same way she entered, ready to fight," said Cmdr. Fermin Espinoza, the commanding officer. "That readiness to fight is due to the efforts of all the fine sailors that served aboard during Curts' storied history."

In the Persian Gulf War, crew members captured an Iraqi garrison on Qaruh Island, taking 51 Iraqi prisoners. The Curts crew also destroyed mines, sank an Iraqi minelayer and supported combat helicopter operations during the Battle of Bubiyan Island.

While the frigate was based in Japan in the 1990s, it rescued hundreds of people when Mt. Pinatubo exploded in the Philippines. It was later stationed in San Diego.

In 2004, Curts received national attention for seizing 12 tons of cocaine in the largest maritime cocaine interdiction in history. In its recently completed final deployment to the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Sea, the crew seized more than $26 million in cocaine and marijuana, detained more than 30 alleged traffickers and scuttled seven vessels.

The Navy is gradually paring down the numbers of Oliver Perry-class frigates in favor of destroyers and the versatile new littoral combat ships, which are designed for fighting in coastal waters. According to U-T San Diego, the Curts will be towed to Hawaii and offered for sale to foreign navies. It will be scrapped if there are no takers.

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