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Vandegrift (FFG-48)


Alexander Archer Vandegrift (13 March 1887-8 May 1973). See Gen. Alexander Archer Vandegrift for additional information.

The first U.S. Navy ship named Vandegrift.

(FFG-48: displacement 4,100; length 453'; beam 47'; draft 26'; speed 29+ knots; complement 219; armament 1 Mk 13 Guided Missile Launcher with RGM-84 Harpoon surface to surface missiles and RIM-66 Standard surface to air missiles, 1 76 millimeter Mk 75 rapid fire gun, 6 Mk 32 torpedo tubes, 1 Mk 15 Phalanx Close-in Weapon System, up to 4 .50 caliber M2 machine guns, and aircraft 2 Sikorsky SH-60B Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) Mk III Seahawks; class Oliver Hazard Perry)

Vandegrift (FFG-48) was laid down on 13 October 1981 at Todd Pacific Shipyards Corp., Seattle Division, Wash.; launched on 15 October 1982; cosponsored by Ms. Courtney A. Vandegrift, Ms. Stephanie S. Vandegrift, and Ms. Daphne L. Vandegrift, three of the late Gen. Vandegrift’s granddaughters, and Ms. Serina N. V. Stylianoudis, his great granddaughter; and commissioned on 24 November 1984, Cmdr. Clinton J. Coneway in command.

In March 2014, Eric and Charlotte Kauffman, and their daughters, three-year-old Cora and one-year-old Lyra, set sail from San Diego, Calif., to circumnavigate the globe in their 36-foot sailboat, Rebel Heart. Lyra fell sick, however, and on 3 April the family sent a distress call, from a position hundreds of miles off the Mexican coast. A Lockheed MC-130P Combat Shadow of the California Air National Guard’s 130th Rescue Squadron, 129th Rescue Wing, flew out to the area and four pararescuemen jumped into the water, climbed on board the sailboat and medically treated and stabilized Lyra. Vandegrift reached the area on 5 April, and at about 0800 the following morning, she lowered a team in a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB), and the sailors brought the family and the pararescuemen on board the frigate. The rescuers provided the Kauffmans with food, water, and medical assistance, but instructed the castaways that because of the limited room on board the RHIB and ship, they could only retrieve three bags of their personal belongings in a single trip before Vandegrift sank Rebel Heart as a hazard to navigation. Some of the Kauffman’s neighbors in the San Diego area therefore raised funds and donated goods to help the family recover from their ordeal when they returned ashore.

In November 2014, Vandegrift patrolled international waters in the Eastern Pacific off Central America with Joint Interagency Task Force South and the Fourth Fleet, taking part in Operation Martillo (Spanish for “Hammer”), an operation involving 15 member nations that targeted narcotics smuggling. At one point, she detected a small suspect craft on her radar, and closed the vessel, her embarked SH-60B Seahawk, of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (Light) (HSL) 49 Detachment 3, tracking and visually identifying a fishing boat operating suspiciously. Vandegrift dispatched her embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) in a RHIB, and the boarders discovered approximately 400 individually wrapped packages of cocaine -- weighing about 875 pounds -- hidden within the boat. “The quick response, professional conduct, and dedicated efforts of team Vandegrift and our embarked Coast Guard LEDET is exceptional,” Cmdr. Luis Alva, the ship’s commanding officer, summarized. “I remain extremely proud and humble to serve with such a remarkable team.”

The ship intercepted another small vessel on 20 November. Determining the probable course of the suspected boat, she launched a Seahawk, which located and identified the vessel. Vandegrift made speed and intercepted the boat, and her LEDET boarded and confiscated 14 bales of cocaine, weighing nearly 2,000 pounds in total. This interception marked Vandegrift’s ninth successful smuggling interdiction during the voyage, disrupting the distribution of approximately 19,883 pounds of narcotics off the Central American coast.

Detailed history under construction.

Mark L. Evans

26 February 2015

Published: Wed Aug 19 09:11:02 EDT 2015