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Underwood (FFG-36)


Named in honor of the distinguished World War II submarine commander Capt. Gordon Waite Underwood (1910–1978). Early in the war, Capt. Underwood served as the executive officer on board the submarine Tunny (SS-282). From 23 July 1944 to 13 February 1945, Underwood commanded Spadefish (SS-411) during the boat’s first three war patrols, in the course of which, the submarine was credited with sinking thousands of tons of Japanese shipping including the escort aircraft carrier Shin'yō, ex-German liner Scharnhorst. Underwood received a Navy Cross for each of the three war patrols and “his record of success as a submarine commander remains one of the most notable in the history of the U.S. Navy submarine service.” Capt. Underwood relinquished his command of Spadefish on 26 February 1945 and took up a post with the Bureau of Ships. He later served as the Force Engineer of Submarines, Pacific; Repair Superintendent, San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Calif.; and Director of Contracts, Bureau of Ships. He retired from the naval service in 1962.

Captain Gordon Waite Underwod

Photograph of Capt. Gordon W. Underwood, 16 July 1954. (U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-642720, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Division, College Park, Md.)

(FFG-36: displacement 3,800 tons; length 453'; beam 45'; draft 24'5''; speed 28 knots; complement 204; armament 1 Oto Melara Mk 75 76-millimeter, 1 Mk 13 Guided Missile Launcher for RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles and SM-1MR Standard anti-ship/surface-to-air missiles, 6 Mk 32 torpedo tubes, 2 Kaman SH-2F Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System Seasprites; class Oliver Hazard Perry

Underwood was laid down on 30 July 1981, at Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works Corp.; launched on 6 February 1982; sponsored by Mrs. Elizabeth T. Underwood, widow of the late Capt. Underwood; and commissioned on 29 January 1983, Cmdr. Andrew C. Beck, in command.

The 27th ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry class guided missile frigates built for the U.S. Navy, Underwood was built to provide protection for military and mercantile convoys. Her weapons systems made her ideal for detecting and attacking submarines, neutralizing anti-ship missiles, and destroying hostile surface ships. Additionally, her design included an innovative electronic combat system that reduced the number of people required to operate her. 

Underwood conducted her shakedown training in the Caribbean Sea, operating out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, between April and May 1983. Homeported at Naval Station (NS) Mayport, Fla., Underwood’s first several years of service consisted primarily of training and exercise operations. 

On 1 January 1986, Underwood got underway to participate in law enforcement operations in the Caribbean during which she worked closely with the Coast Guard and was subsequently awarded the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation. She returned to Mayport on 28 January, but almost immediately returned to sea in order to support salvage operations following the space shuttle Challenger disaster. During the competitive cycle that year, Underwood won the Battenberg Cup for “Best ship in the Atlantic Fleet,” and received the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation. 

Departing her homeport on 20 June 1987, Underwood voyaged to the North Sea where she represented the U.S. Navy as part of the Standing Naval Force Atlantic. Operating with other North Atlantic Treaty Organization warships, Underwood conducted numerous exercises in the North Atlantic, North Sea, and Baltic Sea. That year the frigate also received the Atlantic Fleet Golden Anchor Award for her outstanding retention program. 

From 22 March to 20 September 1989, Underwood accomplished a major deployment as a member of Joint Task Force Middle East operating in the Persian Gulf. 

With the onset of hostilities between Iraq and Kuwait in 1990, and the subsequent U.S. led, United Nations military intervention that followed, Underwood deployed on 26 April 1991, in company with Middle East Force 2-91, to support Operation Desert Storm. During her participation in the conflict, Underwood’s primary mission was to provide anti-surface and anti-air support for minesweeper and merchant vessels bound to and from Kuwait. In the course of her duties, Underwood’s crew rescued 14 Iranians trapped amid mine-infested waters and consequently received a Letter of Commendation from the Secretary of the Navy. After spending five months in theater, the warship arrived back in Mayport on 26 October. 

On 11 April 1992, Underwood stood out of Mayport to participate in counter narcotics operations in the Caribbean Sea. On 5 May, she transited the Panama Canal and began a narcotics patrol in the Pacific Ocean. As a part of Operation Iberian Lance, a large multi-national counter narcotics effort, Underwood assisted in the capture of a drug boat. She later returned to her homeport on 26 May.

USS Underwood (FFG-36)

Underwood (FFG-36) steams in the Atlantic Ocean during her sea trials on 5 May 1983. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 107549)

Following the completion of a major overhaul in early January 1993, Underwood participated in the multi-national Exercise Mayfly 1993, which included ships from Germany, Denmark and Belgium. On 13 December, in company with the destroyer John Hancock (DD-981), Underwood stood out to sea for Middle East Force Deployment, 1-94. While deployed she participated in Exercise Indigo Serpent 1-94, operating with the Royal Saudi Navy. She also conducted numerous maritime interdiction operations. Underwood arrived back in Mayport on 4 June, however, only a few months later, she sailed for Operation Support Democracy in Haiti. 

Between 4 April and 3 May 1995, Underwood carried out counter narcotics operations in the Pacific. Later that summer from 1 to 4 August, she was forced to emergency sortie out of Mayport, due to the arrival of Hurricane Erin

On 10 January 1996, Underwood departed American waters for another deployment to the Middle East, voyaging by way of Cape Town, South Africa. During the first week of February, she participated in Danielle 96, and then upon arriving in the northern part of the Arabian Gulf she began conducting daily maritime interdiction operations. She returned to Mayport on 8 July. 

Getting underway on 3 October 1997, Underwood joined the battle group assigned to the aircraft carrier George Washington (CVN-73) for a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea. While steaming in Mediterranean waters she participated in Bright Star ’97, as well as the multi-national surface action Sharem 123. She returned to Florida on 3 April 1998. 

Underwood deployed to the Mediterranean Sea again the following year, heading to sea on 21 September 1999, as a member of the John F. Kennedy (CV-67) Battle Group. While entering the port at Alexandria, Egypt, in support of Bright Star ’99, Underwood ran aground. With no serious damage done, she completed the deployment without further incident. Toward the end of the deployment, she joined naval forces from Turkey and Israel for Reliant Mermaid. The warship arrived back at Mayport on 17 March 2000. 

In the fall of 2000, Underwood entered the Atlantic Dry Dock Company, Jacksonville, Fla., for dry-docking and a selected restricted availability. The ship followed the work by a lengthy period of intermediate maintenance availability. 

From 30 April to 30 October 2002, Underwood deployed to the Arabian Gulf and between 14 and 29 September 2003, she participated in Northern Lights. She later got underway for another Arabian Gulf deployment on 20 August 2004, eventually returning to Mayport on 13 February 2005. The ship sailed on both deployments in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom

In early 2006, Underwood went on a three-month cruise to the Southern Command’s area of operations in support of Partners of the Americas. The following year she deployed with the Bataan (LHD-5) Expeditionary Strike Group, which operated with the Sixth and Fifth Fleets. 

Underwood voyaged to the Eastern Pacific in the fall of 2008, and assisted in interdicting over eight tons of contraband. She returned to Mayport on 5 October. 

Following a massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti on 12 January 2010, Underwood was dispatched to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in company with numerous other U.S. military and civilian assets to provide humanitarian aid to the devastated population. Underwood remained in the area for a full month providing logistical support for the aid operation, known as Operation Unified Response. True to the spirit of the U.S. Navy’s mission to be “a global force for good,” Cmdr. Craig T. Bowden, Underwood’s commanding officer, made the following statement regarding the ship’s participation in the operation: “We are warfighters first and foremost… but we are also very compassionate people, everyone on board our ship and in the Navy as a whole wants to make sure that the people of Haiti and whoever else needs help around the world, gets it.” 

For continuing to demonstrate outstanding performance and consistent readiness, Underwood received the Battle Efficiency Award in 2007, 2009, and 2010. 

On 30 April 2012, Underwood set out on her final voyage, deploying to Southern Seas 2012, which included “theater security cooperation and maritime security operations as part of the Partners of the Americas.” While deployed the warship participated in three major multi-national naval exercises and six bi-lateral force exercises. These included Unitas Pacific, Silent Forces, and Unitas Atlantic. Underwood then returned to Mayport on 30 October, and promptly began the decommissioning process. 

Underwood was decommissioned on 8 March 2013, at NS Mayport. Ex-Underwood was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on the same day, and then taken under tow to the Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Philadelphia, Pa., where she will remain in the inactive ship inventory to be offered up for foreign military sale.

Commanding Officers

Date Assumed Command

Cmdr. Andrew C. Beck II

29 January 1983

Cmdr. Mark A. Rogers

1 October 1985

Cmdr. William F. H. Berthiaume

7 October 1987

Cmdr. Robert H. Rankin

6 September 1989

Cmdr. Michael P. Campbell

2 September 1991

Cmdr. Johnie F. Nemec

3 August 1992

Cmdr. Archibald C. Halsall

22 October 1992

Cmdr. Victor G. Guillory

6 June 1994

Cmdr. Daniel M. Smith

16 March 1996

Cmdr. Francis J. Niner

26 November 1997

Cmdr. Erich T. Cochran

28 May 1999

Cmdr. Peter F. Grause

27 October 1999

Cmdr. Brian W. Daugherty

4 April 2001

Cmdr. Matthew S. Beaver

13 December 2002

Cmdr. Roderick J. Fraser Jr.

13 November 2004

Cmdr. Thomas L. Dearborn

11 July 2006

Cmdr. Wesley A. Smith

18 January 2008

Cmdr. Craig T. Bowden

30 October 2009

Cmdr. Peter T. Mirisola

30 April 2011


Jeremiah D. Foster

24 January 2020

Published: Thu Feb 04 13:17:24 EST 2021