USS Stark (FFG-31): Wikis

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USS Stark FFG-31
USS Stark (FFG-31)
Career (US)
Builder: Todd Pacific Shipyards, Seattle, Washington
Laid down: 24 August 1979
Launched: 30 May 1980
Commissioned: 23 October 1982
Decommissioned: 7 May 1999
Struck: 7 May 1999
Homeport: Mayport, Florida (former)
Motto: Strength for Freedom
Fate: Disposed of by scrapping - dismantled June 21, 2006
General characteristics
Class and type: Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate
Displacement: 4,100 long tons (4,200 t), full load
Length: 453 feet (138 m), overall
Beam: 45 feet (14 m)
Draught: 22 feet (6.7 m)
Propulsion: 2 × General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines generating 41,000 shp (31,000 kW) through a single shaft and variable pitch propeller
2 × Auxiliary Propulsion Units, 350 hp (260 kW) retractable electric azipods for maneuvering and docking.
Speed: over 29 knots (54 km/h)
Range: 5,000 nautical miles at 18 knots (9,300 km at 33 km/h)
Complement: 15 officers and 190 enlisted, plus SH-60 LAMPS detachment of roughly six officer pilots and 15 enlisted maintainers
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPS-49 air-search radar
AN/SPS-55 surface-search radar
CAS and STIR fire-control radar
AN/SQS-56 sonar.
Electronic warfare
and decoys:
AN/SLQ-32
Armament:

As built:
One OTO Melara Mk 75 76 mm/62 caliber naval gun
two Mk 32 triple-tube (324 mm) launchers for Mark 46 torpedoes
one Vulcan Phalanx CIWS; four .50-cal (12.7 mm) machine guns.
one Mk 13 Mod 4 single-arm launcher for Harpoon anti-ship missiles and SM-1MR Standard anti-ship/air missiles (40 round magazine)

Note: As of 2004, Mk13 systems removed from all active US vessels of this class.
Aircraft carried: 2 × SH-60 LAMPS III helicopters

USS Stark (FFG-31), twenty-third ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry class of guided-missile frigates, was named for Admiral Harold Rainsford Stark (1880–1972). In 1987, Iraqi jet fighters attacked the USS Stark under disputed circumstances. 37 American sailors died as a result. It is the only successful anti-ship missile attack on a U.S. Navy warship.

Ordered from Todd Pacific Shipyards, Seattle, Washington on 23 January 1978 as part of the FY78 program, Stark was laid down on 24 August 1979, launched on 30 May 1980, and commissioned on 23 October 1982, CDR Terence W. Costello commanding. Decommissioned on 7 May 1999, Stark was scrapped in 2006.

Contents

Missile attack

The USS Stark was deployed to the Middle East Force in 1984 and 1987. Captain Glenn R. Brindel was the commanding officer during the 1987 deployment. The ship was struck on May 17, 1987, by two Exocet antiship missiles fired from an Iraqi F-1 Mirage[1][2] plane during the Iran–Iraq War. The plane had taken off from Shaibah at 20:00 and had flown south into the Persian Gulf. The fighter fired the first Exocet missile from a range of 22.5 nautical miles, and the second from 15.5 nautical miles, at about the time the fighter was given a routine radio warning by the Stark.[3] The frigate did not detect the missiles with radar and warning was given by the lookout only moments before the missiles struck.[4] The first penetrated the port-side hull; it failed to detonate, but spewed flaming rocket fuel in its path. The second entered at almost the same point, and left a 3-by-4-meter gash—then exploded in crew quarters. Thirty-seven sailors were killed and twenty-one were injured.[4]

Stark listing following two hits by Exocet missiles

No weapons were fired in defense of Stark. The Phalanx CIWS remained in standby mode, Mark 36 SRBOC countermeasures were not armed, and the attacking Exocet missiles and Mirage aircraft were in a blindspot of the defensive STIR (Separate Target Illumination Radar) fire control system, preventing use of the ship's Standard missile defenses. The ship failed to maneuver to bring its weapons batteries to bear prior to the first missile impact.[4]

On fire and listing, the frigate was brought under control by its crew during the night. The ship made its way to Bahrain where, after temporary repairs by the tender USS Acadia (AD-42) to make her seaworthy, she returned to her home port of Mayport, Florida, under her own power. The ship was eventually repaired at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Mississippi for $142 million.

A view of external damage to the port side

The question of whether or not Iraqi leadership authorized the attack is still unanswered. Initial claims by the Iraqi government (that Stark was inside the Iran–Iraq War zone) were shown to be false, so the motives and orders of the pilot remain unanswered. Though American officials claimed he had been executed, an ex-Iraqi Air Force commander since stated that the pilot who attacked Stark was not punished, and was still alive at the time.[5]

Citing lapses in training requirements and lax procedures, the board of inquiry relieved Captain Brindel of command and recommended him for court-martial, along with Tactical Action Officer Lieutenant Basil E. Moncrief. Instead, Brindel and Mondrief received non-judicial punishment from Admiral Frank B. Kelso II and letters of reprimand. Both opted for early retirement, while Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Raymond Gajan Jr. was detached for cause and received a letter of admonition.[6]

1990s

Stark was part of the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic Fleet in 1990 before returning to the Middle East Force in 1991. She was attached to UNITAS in 1993 and took part in Operation Support Democracy and Operation Able Vigil in 1994. In 1995, she returned to the Middle East Force before serving in the Atlantic in 1997 and in 1998.

Stark was decommissioned on May 7, 1999. A scrapping contract was awarded to Metro Machine Corp. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 7 October 2005. The ship was reported scrapped on June 21, 2006.[7]

Casualties

USS Stark memorial in
Mayport, Florida
USS Stark casualties
SN Doran H. Bolduc,
Lacey, WA
RMSA Dexter D. Grissett,
Macon, GA
FCCS Robert L. Shippee,
Adams Center, NY
BM1 Braddi O. Brown,
Calera, AL
FC3 William R. Hansen,
Reading, MA
SMSA Jeffrey C. Sibley,
Metairie, LA
FC3 Jeffrey L. Calkins,
Richfield Springs, NY
GMG3 Daniel Homicki,
Elizabeth, NJ
OS3 Lee Stephens,
Pemberton, OH
SN Mark R. Caouette,
Fitchburg, MA
OSSN Kenneth D. Janusik, Jr.,
Clearwater, FL
BM2 James R. Stevens,
Visalia, CA
SN John A. Ciletta, Jr., †
Brigantine, NJ
OS3 Steven E. Kendall,
Honolulu, HI
ET3 Martin J. Supple,
Jacksonville, FL
SR Brian M. Clinefelter,
San Bernadino, CA
EMCS Stephen Kiser,
Elkhart, IN
FC1 Gregory L. Tweady,
Champaign, IL
OS3 Antonio A. Daniels,
Greeleyville, SC
SM1 Ronnie G. Lockett,
Bessemer, AL
ET3 Kelly R. Quick,
Linden, MI
ET3 Christopher DeAngelis, †
Dumont, NJ
GMM1 Thomas J. MacMullen,
Darby, PA
SN Vincent L. Ulmer,
Bay Minette, AL
IC3 James S. Dunlap,
Osceola Mills, PA
EW3 Charles T. Moller,
Columbus, GA
EW3 Joseph P. Watson,
Ferndale, MI
STGSN Steven T. Erwin, †
Troy, MI
DS1 Randy E. Pierce,
Choctaw, OK
ET3 Wayne R. Weaver, II,
New Bethlehem, PA
RM2 Jerry Boyd Farr,
Charleston, SC
SA Jeffrei L. Phelps,
Locust Grove, VA
OSSN Terrance Weldon,
Coram, NY
QMCS Vernon T. Foster,
Jacksonville, FL
GM3 James Plonsky,
Van Nuys, CA
IC2 Lloyd A. Wilson,
Summerville, SC
SMSN Earl P. Ryals, †
Boca Raton, FL
† Buried in Arlington National Cemetery

See also

Further reading

References

This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain. The entry can be found here.

External links

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