Fernando Luis Garcia -- born on 14 October 1929 at Utuado, P.R. -- was inducted into the U.S. Marine Corps on 19 September 1951. A member of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, Pvt. Garcia served valiantly in Korea, particularly on 5 September 1952 when he threw himself on an enemy grenade to save the life of a comrade. Garcia was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for heroism, the first native Puerto Rican to be so honored.
Garcia (DE-1040) was laid down on 16 October 1962 at San Francisco, Calif., by the Bethlehem Steel Co.; launched on 31 October 1963 sponsored by Mrs. Daisy Garcia de Alvarez, the sister of the late Pvt. Garcia; and commissioned on 21 December 1964, Cmdr. Donald A. Smith in command.
After trials and training off the Pacific Coast, the new destroyer escort departed San Diego on 22 March 1965; transited the Panama Canal; and arrived her homeport Newport, R.I., on 7 April. Following ship qualification tests, she sailed for the Caribbean on 7 May for shakedown. She returned to Newport on 16 July. For the remainder of 1965 and through 1966, Garcia operated out of Newport perfecting her ASW and sonar techniques.
Ultimately, Garcia was decommissioned on 31 January 1989 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register the same day. Transferred to the Maritime Administration, the ship remained in that agency's custody until being sold to Trusha Investments Pty., Ltd., of Singapore, on 9 March 1974.
Garcia was awarded two Navy Unit Commendations (5 May-5 September 1970 and 23-29 March 1983), one Navy "E" for Libyan service (20 January -29 March 1986), and two Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals, for Lebanon service (25-28 November 1983, and for 25 January-24 February 1984) during her active career.
More detailed history to be prepared.
Robert J. Cressman
10 August 2016