2004 to 2013
Klakring completed but failed her INSURV in 2004. The inspection team evaluated her programs as ineffective, especially noting the poor material condition of the engineering spaces. Klakring consequently began an aggressive continual improvement program that continued into 2005. Comdr. Aaron C. Jacobs meanwhile relieved Comdr. Genung as the commanding officer on 16 January 2004.
The ship deployed for NATO Standing Naval Forces Atlantic on 9 February 2004. During this deployment, Klakring participated in exercises Active Endeavor, Maritime Commitment ’04, and Ionian Sweep. She returned home on 20 July 2004. The ship sortied to avoid Hurricane Charley (13 August), and concluded the year at Mayport. The following spring and summer (2005), Klakring passed her assessments and evaluations with good marks.
The frigate deployed to the Mediterranean in July 2005, and assisted a stricken French sailing vessel (28 July). She visited NS Rota, Spain (28–29 July), and then entered the Mediterranean, where she participated in Active Endeavor (28 July–19 August and 24 November–5 December). Klakring queried more than 200 vessels, and covertly shadowed two merchantmen of special interest: Krios I and Peter. In addition, Cutlass 471, the frigate’s embarked Seahawk, photographed a Kilo class attack submarine carried on board Chinese merchant vessel Kang Cheng. Klakring returned home on 20 December 2005. Throughout the year, the ship conducted 18 burials at sea, including her commissioning commanding officer, Comdr. Leonard O. Wahlig.
Comdr. Randall L. Lovell relieved Comdr. Jacobs as the commanding officer on 10 March 2006. Klakring participated as an opposing force in COMPUTEX twice—against amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima (LHD-7) from 29 March to 4 April, and Dwight D. Eisenhower (12 April–12 May).
At 1802 on 5 April 2006, Klakring received a distress call over bridge-to-bridge radio concerning a USAF General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon, flown by Capt. Craig T. Schultz, USAF, of the 55th Fighter Squadron, that crashed into the sea. Five to six foot swells rolled in the area, which the original report placed about 40 nautical miles east of Winyah Bay, S.C. Klakring immediately increased her speed and reached the area within the hour. Comdr. Lovell ordered all available crewmembers topside to assist in the search, and Coast Guard D6553, an Aérospatiale HH-65A Dolphin flying from CGAS Charleston, dropped two flares to direct the lookouts.
Seaman Leland Powell spotted Schultz in the water off Klakring’s bow at 33°07'2"N, 078°16'9"W at 1920. Three minutes later, the ship lowered her RHIB, commanded by Lt. Comdr. Edward Gettins, the frigate’s executive officer, and provided the location of the pilot to the Coast Guard. D6553 dropped a SAR swimmer, who assessed Schultz’s condition. Three SAR swimmers from the RHIB, Internal Communications Electrician 1st Class Jeffery Clayton, Gas Turbine Systems Technician-Mechanical 3d Class Thomas Hobbs, and Seaman Joel Wells, dove into the sea and secured the pilot to a stretcher. During his ejection, Schultz suffered compound fractures to both legs, a broken right arm and wrist, multiple lacerations, and hypothermia—the injuries precluded the Dolphin from hosting him aloft. The RHIB therefore returned the man to Klakring, where the ship’s medical team stabilized him. A Coast Guard helo then transported Schultz to the Medical University of South Carolina at Charleston, where he recovered following emergency surgery.
|Klakring passes the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor to participate in the 19th Annual Fleet Week, 24 May 2006. (Journalist 2d Class David P. Coleman, U.S. Navy photograph 060524-N-4936C-002, Defense Visual Information Center)|
|Boatswains Mate Seaman Apprentice Jacob Starks salutes during a burial at sea ceremony on board the flight deck of Klakring while she deploys to the Caribbean, 7 April 2010. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Darryl Wood, U.S. Navy photograph 100407-N-9301W-364, Defense Visual Information Center)|
Klakring participated in fleet week in New York City (25–31 May 2006), trained, and then visited Philadelphia for the Army/Navy Game (30 October–4 November). The ship, with HSL-42 Detachment 1 and a Coast Guard LEDET embarked, detained 15 suspected smugglers and interdicted $358 million worth of cocaine during a counter-narcotics deployment (5 April–5 October 2007). Comdr. Ian R. Pollit relieved Comdr. Lovell as the commanding officer in Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Panama, on 20 August 2007.
She participated in COMPTUEX with amphibious assault ship Nassau (LHA-4), from 29 November–17 December 2007. Comdr. Scott M. Smith relieved Comdr. Pollit as the commanding officer in February 2008. On 11 July, Italian attack submarine Salvatore Todaro (S.526) visited NS Mayport. Klakring served as the submarine’s sister ship.
Klakring sailed to participate in NATO exercise Joint Warrior (19 September 2008) in Scottish waters. Klakring reached Faslane, Scotland (1 October), and Joint Warrior began in early October and lasted for two weeks. In 2009, Klakring deployed to the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. She initially visited Lisbon, Portugal (16 February 2009), and then operated with NATO Standing Maritime Group 1, which included German frigate Emden (F.210) and Portuguese frigate Álvares Cabral (F.331). Klakring visited Toulon France, and on 21 February sailed to train with French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R.91).
Klakring took part in NATO exercise Loyal Mariner 2009, which included a visit to Palermo, Sicily (27 February–1 March). She put into Soudha Bay for maintenance while en route to the Black Sea, and visited Varna, Bulgaria (20 March), Sevastopol, Ukraine (25–29 March), and Batumi, Georgia (1–3 April). Adm. Mark P. Fitzgerald, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Europe, visited the ship when she put into Bar, Montenegro (14–16 April). She stopped briefly at Soudha Bay (4–5 June), trained with the French in the Bay of Biscay during the latter part of June, and returned to Mayport on 29 July 2009.
The ship, with HSL-42 Detachment 10 embarked, deployed for a Southern Seas Partnership Station as part of DesRon 40 on 5 April 2010. Throughout the voyage, the ship trained with various Latin American air and naval forces. Klakring visited Port Castries, St. Lucia (10–14 April). She crossed the equator at 1930 on 16 April 2010. The frigate visited two Brazilian ports—Fortaleza (20–24 April) and Salvador (27 April–1 May). The ship put into Montevideo (7–10 May) and Puerto Belgrano (12–17 May). She then took part in UNITAS 51. During the final battle problem she encountered simulated threats from aircraft, ships, and submarines (21–23 May). Following the exercise, Klakring anchored at Rada La Plata overnight, and then visited Buenos Aires, Argentina (24–28 May).
Chilean pilots arrived by helicopter to assist with navigating into Punto Arenas, Chile, and through the Patagonia Passage (2 June 2010). The ship arrived in Punto Arenas that evening, and sailed the following afternoon and transited the Patagonia Passage. She put into two Chilean ports—Puerto Montt (7–9 June) and Coquimbo (11–15 June). Klakring took part in antisubmarine operations during Silent Forces Exercise 2010, and visited Callau, Peru, on five occasions in between her participation in the exercise (23 June–21 July). She then carried out five days of personnel exchanges, quick reaction procedures, and surface warfare gunnery (live-fire) exercises. Klakring patrolled against narcotics smugglers in the vicinity of Panama, reporting three suspected vessels to the Joint Inter Agency Task Force (22–31 July). In addition, she lowered her RHIB to search a buoy line deployed from a small fishing vessel, about 260 nautical miles west southwest of Panama City.
|Two of the four Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Take-Off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles embarked on board Klakring prepare for deployment, June 2012. (Photograph courtesy of Erik Hildebrandt, Naval Air Systems Command)|
Klakring visited Panama City (1–4 August 2010) and then passed through the Panama Canal. The ship put into Oranjestad, Aruba (9–13 August), and Willemstad, Curaçao (14–18 August). She visited Santa Marta, Colombia (19–22 August -- the ship briefly put to sea and held a swim call on 20 August). Klakring visited Cartagena, Colombia (28 August–1 September 2010). The following day she returned to counter-narcotics patrols. The ship reported suspicious air contacts to the Joint Inter Agency Task Force (South) in Miami for evaluation, and dispatched her Seahawk to investigate suspicious ships and boats on a daily basis. The absence of an embarked Coast Guard LEDET, however, prevented Klakring from intercepting suspect vessels. The frigate visited Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (13–17 September 2010), followed by additional training at Guantánamo Bay through 21 September. Klakring returned to NS Mayport at 1700 on 29 September 2010.
Klakring operated as an opposing force for Enterprise later in 2010. She completed maintenance in drydock at BAE Shipyard in Jacksonville (8 February–19 April 2011. Comdr. Darrell S. Canady relieved Comdr. Scott M. Smith as the commanding officer on 25 February. Klakring operated as an opposing force for Iwo Jima (7–22 December 2011). The ship took part in a COMPTUEX (late April–early May 2012).
Klakring, with HSL-42 Detachment 2 embarked, sailed from NS Mayport for her final deployment on 29 June 2012. The frigate embarked four Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Take-Off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to enhance her situational awareness and precision targeting during Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance missions. Klakring crossed the equator while en route to the Seychelles (8 September), and returned to Mayport on 1 December 2012.Klakring was decommissioned at Mayport on 22 March 2013.
Courtney Frey and Mark L. Evans