1991 to 1994
Klakring visited Port Everglades, Fla. (13–17 January 1990). The ship joined Mississippi, guided missile destroyer William V. Pratt (DDG-44), frigate Truett (FF-1095), and attack submarine San Juan (SSN-751) for Type Commander’s Core Training 2-90 in Puerto Rican waters (22 February–3 March). Klakring next completed an OPPE. Comdr. Larry J. Carter whom relieved Comdr. Van Buskirk as the commanding officer on 23 March. The frigate accomplished a Drydocking Selective Restricted Availability (DSRA) at Atlantic Dry Dock Facility, Jacksonville, Fla. (5 April–17 September). The ship offloaded some of her ammunition and weapons at Naval Weapons Station Charleston on 5 April, and the remaining ordnance to guided missile frigate Fahrion (FFG-22) on 17 April. The crew stayed at the Jacksonville Airport Days Inn Motel for 74 days. Klakring sailed from NS Mayport on 25 October, and the following day returned to Charleston. Additional examination of the ship’s hull, however, indicated the requirement for repainting, which she completed in drydock at Charleston Naval Shipyard (7–21 November).
She conducted training exercises into the New Year, including evaluations of the Mk 50 advanced lightweight torpedo in the Boston Operating Area (7–19 December 1990). Harsh weather prevented the ship from firing her torpedoes, and only the embarked Seahawk from HSL-48 Detachment 5 launched a weapon.
Klakring completed refresher training and an Overall Readiness Evaluation (ORE) at the Fleet Training Center, Guantánamo Bay (13 January–14 February 1991). The frigate conducted Deck Landing Qualifications for helos from HSLs 44, 46, and 48 off Jacksonville on 19 and 20 March. She served as host ship for the Annual Seafood Festival at Port Canaveral, Fla. (22–24 March). Klakring participated in MIDRON 1-91, a surface warfare exercise, in Puerto Rican waters with destroyer Thorn (DD-988), frigates Blakely (FF-1072) and Carr, and ammunition ship Mt. Baker (AE-34) from 7 to 13 June. She followed the exercise with a visit to NS Roosevelt Roads (14–17 June). Klakring then supported Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) for the aircraft carrier’s Advanced Phase Training Exercise, including antisubmarine training with attack submarines Bluefish (SSN-675) and Oklahoma City (SSN-723). The ship returned to Charleston on 2 July.
During the summer, she received a number of upgrades including the installation of the Global Positioning Navigation System, new Halon Firefighting System piping, and a mess decks reconstruction project. Klakring visited Freeport, Bahamas (28–30 July 1991). The frigate then completed additional antisubmarine training with guided missile frigate Samuel Eliot Morison (FFG-13) and attack submarine Cincinnati (SSN-693) at AUTEC. Klakring returned to Charleston on 5 August.
A Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) embarked on board Klakring, and she sailed for CDOPs in the Caribbean on 14 August 1991. Only a few hours after departing from Charleston, Klakring responded to a request for help from 31-foot sport fishing vessel Horsefly. The vessel suffered an engine lube oil leak 45-miles off the coast of Charleston. The frigate corrected the leak and replenished the oil, provided Horsefly with directions to Charleston Harbor, and notified Coast Guard Station Charleston of the fishing boat’s distress. Klakring shifted to the operational control of Commander TG 4.1 while in the Caribbean.
The frigate refueled from fleet oiler Neosho (T-AO-143) on 21 August, and medically evacuated one of Neosho’s sailors via small boat. Klakring steamed at 30 knots for eight hours, and then transferred the patient to a Coast Guard helo for further transfer to Naval Hospital, Guantánamo Bay. Klakring’s efforts resulted in the U.S. and Bahamian detection, reporting, and tracking of a drug smuggling aircraft and a vessel from Venezuela on 27 August. The interception resulted in the apprehension of 13 bales of marijuana and cocaine, one fast speedboat, and four smugglers.
The ship trained with Dutch guided missile frigate Banckert (F.810) on 3 and 4 September, and visited Willemstad, Curacao (5 and 6 September). Klakring put into La Guaria/Caracas, Venezuela (9–11 September), and refueled at NS Roosevelt Roads (13–14 September). She accomplished a Combat Systems Assessment (CSA) while en route from Mayport to Charleston, and returned to her home port on 26 September flying a broomstick from the yardarm in celebration of a clean sweep of the assessment. Destroyer Nicholson (DD-982), Carr, and Klakring carried out multipurpose exercise MEFEX 1-92 off Puerto Rico (21 October–1 November).
Thorn (en route to the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean), Carr, Klakring, and destroyer tender Sierra (AD-18) deployed as MEF 1-92 on 2 December 1991. The following day, they rendezvoused with guided missile frigate Boone (FFG-28), and on 7 December, joined aircraft carrier America (CV-66). Klakring changed operational control to the Sixth Fleet upon her arrival in the Mediterranean on 12 December, and the following day detached from America and assumed tactical control of guided missile destroyer Scott (DDG-995) and Boone. Klakring carried out a maintenance availability at Haifa (18–26 December), and on 27 December passed southbound through the Suez Canal. She relieved guided missile frigate Stark (FFG-31) for Maritime Interception Operations (MIOs) in support of UN embargoes against the Iraqis.
Comdr. Paul D. Danks relieved Comdr. Carter as the commanding officer in Hurghada, Egypt, on 4 January 1992. Immediately following the ceremony, Klakring received a distress call from a civilian dive boat. The ship dispatched her motor whaleboat, which returned with the diver to the frigate, but despite attempts to revive him, he died. Klakring intercepted—and her boarding team boarded—31 ships (6–17 January). On 9 January, the ship’s team boarded eight vessels, and on the same day, one of her Seahawks conducted an emergency medical evacuation of two injured sailors from Scott in Hurghada to a military hospital in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. Carr relieved Klakring on 17 January.
Klakring passed through the Strait of Hormuz into the Arabian Gulf on 24 January 1992, and the following day moored at Mina Sulman, Bahrain. The ship took part in GULFEX VIII with the British and French (28–31 January). The exercise included cross-deck training with guided missile destroyer Chandler (DDG-996) and British destroyer Sheffield (D.80). Eager Sentry 1-92 with the Kuwaitis followed (2–4 February). In between exercises and patrols, Klakring anchored at Sitrah (5 and 6 February), moored at Abu Dhabi (8–10 February), Mina Sulman (15–20 February), and Jubail, Saudi Arabia (1 and 2 March). She trained with the Saudis in Nautical Swimmer (3 and 4 March), and returned to Mina Sulman (7–10 March).
The ship took part in GULFEX IX with British destroyer York (D.98) from 10 to 13 March 1992. Klakring visited Mina Rashid, Dubai (14–23 March), and participated in group exercise MULTIPLEX 92-1 (25 and 26 March). She carried out tasking for an escort mission in the North Arabian Gulf, and conducted surveillance of the Iraqi island of Mina Al Bahr (27 March–12 April). Klakring completed an availability with destroyer tender Prairie (AD-15) at Mina Sulman (14–22 April). Guided missile frigate Robert G. Bradley (FFG-49) relieved Klakring on 26 April at Bahrain. The ship passed outbound through the Strait of Hormuz on 28 April, on 3 May refueled at Djibouti, and sailed northbound through the Suez Canal on 7 May. She visited Palma (13–15 May). The frigate took part in NATO exercise Dragon Hammer 92 in the Western Mediterranean (16–20 May), and returned to Charleston on 1 June.
Klakring loaded ordnance at Naval Weapons Station Charleston on 30 July 1992, and refueled at NS Roosevelt Roads on 2 August. The ship completed a missile firing exercise on 6 August, and the following day began a three-day visit to St. Thomas. Klakring returned to Charleston on 14 August. At 0500 on 4 September, an off watch engineer detected a fire in after steering. The in-port fire party responded quickly and contained the blaze. Investigators deduced that a spontaneous combustion set two bags of oily rags on fire.
The frigate completed an SRA (21 August 1992–January 1993), and carried out her sea trials on 19 January. Toward the end of January, a fire erupted among leaking batteries on board a barge moored alongside Klakring. Sailors and workers extinguished the blaze without casualties.
She sailed for CDOPS, with HSL-42 Detachment 2 embarked, on 8 February 1993. Two days later, the ship reached NS Guantánamo Bay and embarked a Coast Guard LEDET. Klakring commenced CDOPS on 12 February, and intercepted and dispatched her boarders to the first of four ships intercepted (12 to 16 February), followed by two more ships on 20 February.
Klakring passed through the Panama Canal on 21 February 1993, and crossed the equator on 24 February. The following day, she intercepted two more ships, sending her boarding team to both vessels. Klakring spent the first week of March patrolling the Eastern Pacific, intercepting a ship—which she dispatched her boarders to—and medically evacuating a sailor from guided missile frigate Duncan (FFG-10). The ship sailed eastbound through the Panama Canal and on 10 March returned to Charleston.
She sailed for Caribbean waters with HSL-42 Detachment 2 and a LEDET embarked on 13 April 1993. While en route, the crew buried at sea Ship’s Serviceman 1st Class Lawrence A. Calkins. Klakring resumed CDOPS on 17 April. Three days later, Klakring’s Seahawk spotted Venezuelan fishing vessel Ariel and vectored Klakring toward the suspected smuggler. When the smugglers spotted Klakring they began to throw bales of marijuana into the water. Klakring pursued and stopped Ariel about 20 miles from the Columbian coast. Two days later, Venezuelan Coast Guardsmen boarded and seized Ariel, her crew, and the evidence.
Klakring transited westbound through the canal and moored at NS Panama Canal (24–26 April 1993). On 2 May, Klakring intercepted a ship—and dispatched her boarders to inspect the vessel—in the Eastern Pacific. She visited NS Panama Canal (6–10 June), steamed in the Eastern Pacific, and returned through the canal to the Caribbean. The ship put into Aruba (28–30 June). While Klakring returned to Charleston, she received a vector to intercept a small but fast suspected narcotics smuggling vessel. British frigate Cumberland (F-85) joined the seven hour chase, but the suspect vessel entered Columbian waters and Klakring and Cumberland came about. Klakring returned to Charleston on 3 June.
A leaking pipe caused a fire that severely damaged the No. 2 Switchboard on the evening of 21 June 1993. The accident required the replacement of most of the switchboard. The ship accomplished a Limited Team Trainer (LTT) off NS Guantánamo Bay (28 June–9 July). Klakring sailed for the Caribbean, with HSL-42 Detachment 2 and a LEDET embarked, on 6 August. She resumed CDOPS on 9 August, intercepted and sent her boarders to two vessels, and visited Barbados (18–23 August). The Seahawk patrolling from Klakring then spotted what appeared to be a sailboat adrift, and the frigate requested assistance from a passing merchant ship. St. Vincent Coast Guardsmen towed the sailboat into port. During the next three weeks, Klakring intercepted six vessels—sending her boarding team to investigate each one. The frigate visited St. Kitts, where she disembarked her LEDET and embarked a new team (17–21 September).
The ship intercepted and dispatched her boarding team to five vessels during the following two weeks. Ongoing violence in Haiti among disparate army renegades and roving gangs compelled the UN to increase economic sanctions, and to authorize force to remove the military regime and restore order and freedom to the troubled land. To carry out the UN’s mandate, the U.S. initiated Operations Support and Uphold/Restore Democracy—Uphold Democracy for a peaceful entry into Haiti and Restore Democracy in the event of resistance.
Klakring patrolled the harbor of Port-au-Prince three times from 16 to 19 October 1993, at one point closing to within three miles of the coast. A UN embargo on all military goods and petroleum products began at midnight on 18 October. Klakring thus intercepted three ships—and dispatched her boarding party in each instance (19–21 October). On the evening of 20 October, Klakring escorted one of these ships southbound. The ship periodically attempted to pass into Haitian waters, and at one point attempted to divert Klakring. Samuel E. Morison relieved Klakring on 22 October. Klakring visited St. Vincent, carried out Submarine Prospective Commanding Officer operations while moored at NS Roosevelt Roads (4–6 November), and returned to Charleston on 9 November. Comdr. Steve A. Hill relieved Comdr. Danks as the commanding officer on 12 November.
The ship sailed for Support Democracy on 29 November 1993. During the first week of December, Klakring intercepted and dispatched her boarders to two vessels, followed by an additional six ships during her final four days with Support Democracy (12–16 December). The frigate offloaded a Seahawk requiring maintenance at Mayport, and arrived home in Charleston on 20 December.
While Klakring proceeded south to participate in a CSA (1 and 2 March 1994) off Mayport, she encountered a storm that produced 20 foot waves. Klakring received an 18 foot Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) to replace her 26 foot motor whaleboat (7–11 March). The ship christened her RHIB as Klak Attack. The frigate passed on OPPE the following month.
Klakring sailed to take part in Support Democracy (11–14 April). Within 30 minutes of her arrival at Guantánamo Bay, the No. 22 main reduction gear bearing suffered a loss of lube oil flow. The repair required the aerial transport of a replacement bearing, and Klakring completed her repairs (15–20 April). She reached the Northeast Cuba Station, located three miles off Cap-Haïtien, Haiti, on 20 April. The UN informed Klakring of the evolution of the embargo to include surveillance of sailboats smuggling oil from Great Inagua Island, situated northwest of Cap-Haïtien. Sailboats proved ideal at this smuggling because of the difficulties in locating and tracking them by radar.
The frigate often closed the shore for intelligence photography and queried ships (20–29 April 1994). She sent her boarding team to ensure that the fuel and oil soundings fell within the values indicated, and chased down small Haitian sailboats. Klakring diverted merchant vessels Thank you Jesus, Trust in God, and St. Maria for inaccessible cargo when they attempted to escape toward Haiti—and claimed that they were sinking. Guided missile frigate Dewert (FFG-45) joined Klakring for a joint interception and boarding and then relieved her, on 29 April. Klakring buried Lt. Comdr. David Lawson at sea on 30 April, and returned to Charleston on 1 May. The ship conducted a variety of training exercises through the summer, and hosted a visit by Uruguayan naval sail-training vessel Captain Miranda during the first week of July.
Klakring participated in Operations Support Democracy and Able Vigil—a supporting operation (29 July–19 August 1994). On 1 August, the ship relieved Mississippi and steamed near Jacmel, Haiti, until 10 August. The frigate queried 30 merchant vessels and stopped—and dispatched her boarding team to—three of the suspects. In addition, she conducted antisubmarine exercises with fleet ballistic missile submarines Mariano C. Vallejo (SSBN-658) and Simon Bolivar (SSBN-641), and with attack submarine Hammerhead (SSN-663). The ship detached from her Cape Haïtien sector to patrol the Florida Straits on 15 August 1994, and that evening her helo medically evacuated a heart attack patient from Fahrion.
She rescued Cuban migrants from 35 small boats, makeshift rafts, inner tubes, and a Styrofoam block packed with people and two dogs (21–23 August 1994). Crewmen hauled the migrants from the water and then used M-14 selective fire automatic rifles, shotguns, and .45 caliber pistols to shoot holes into the makeshift vessels in order to sink the derelicts and eliminate them as navigational hazards, and to ensure that other U.S. ships did not needlessly recheck them. The crewmen provided medical care to the Cubans, many of whom suffered from exhaustion and dehydration.
The ship received orders to return the migrants to Cuba, however, and fears of violent reactions among the passengers prompted a rendezvous with Coast Guard patrol boat Nantucket (WPB-1316), which transferred a supplemental contingent security force of 16 marines and refugee supplies to Klakring on 22 August 1994. While en route to NS Guantánamo Bay, Klakring recovered two additional rafts, and the ship disembarked 597 Cuban refugees at the naval station on 24 August. Armed busses and trucks then transported the people to refugee camps. Klakring loaded supplies for transfer to NAS Key West, Fla., but while en route shifted the cargo to guided missile frigate Clifton Sprague (FFG-16), and returned to Charleston on 27 August. She subsequently received a Coast Guard Unit Commendation with Distinguishing Honors Award for Able Vigil.
Klakring took part in JTF-EX 95-1 off Cape Hatteras, Cape Henry, and Cape Fear (8–23 September 1994). The training included attacks against the amphibious ships by fast attack craft simulating the swift Swedish aluminum RL-120-2A Boghammars used by the Iranian Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enqelab-e Islami (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps). On the night of 13 September, Klakring performed night plane guard operations for Dwight D. Eisenhower. Two days later, she detached from the exercise and participated in an unsuccessful 12 hour search and rescue for a downed Grumman F-14 Tomcat.
Klakring sailed for Mediterranean Deployment JTG 95.1 on 20 October 1994. That same day, she rendezvoused with Robert G. Bradley and both ships made for the waters southeast of NOB Norfolk, Va., where they joined Dwight D. Eisenhower on 21 October. Dwight D. Eisenhower and guided missile cruiser Anzio (CG-68) detached from the balance of the group because of ongoing tension in the Middle East. Klakring participated in a joint exercise with the French and Spaniards (1 and 2 November). On 3 November, Klakring relieved guided missile frigate Doyle (FFG-39) off NS Rota, and then transited the Strait of Gibraltar. Klakring held a two-day port visit to La Goullette, Tunisia, and then trained with Tunisian patrol boats Carthage (P.503) and Tunis (P.502).
Klakring visited Limassol, Cyprus (17–21 November 1994), and then spent Thanksgiving at Haifa. Shereceived word that she was to sail on 25 November to take part with Nassau in the search and rescue of a lost UN aircraft in the Adriatic Sea during a flight over Bosnia-Herzegovina. Klakring detached from the unsuccessful search because of high winds on 13 December, and completed maintenance in Palma (17–27 December). The ship celebrated the New Year at Civitavecchia, Italy (29 December 1994–3 January 1995).
Courtney Frey and Mark L. Evans