FFG 48 | USS VANDEGRIFT
General Alexander A. Vandegrift, USMC
USS VANDEGRIFT, named for Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift, U.S. Marine Corps, was built at Todd Pacific Shipyards in Seattle, Washington, and was commissioned on 24 November 1984. The ship's inaugural cruise began on 5 January 1987. During the course of this around-the-world cruise, it sailed three oceans, seven seas and visited four continents. The plankowners also crossed the international dateline, equator, Greenwich meridian, and sailed through the straits of Gibraltar, and the Suez and Panama canals. VANDEGRIFT conducted operations with USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. These operations were highlighted by an air and sea power demonstration for the President of Pakistan. Port visits included Pearl Harbor; Subic Bay in the Republic of the Philippines; Karachi, Pakistan; Mombasa, Kenya; Maxime, France; Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico; and St. Croix and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. VANDEGRIFT returned home to Long Beach in June, 1987.
The ship's second deployment began in June, 1988, returning it to operations in the Arabian Gulf shortly after the cease-fire between Iran and Iraq. VANDEGRIFT's mission while on patrol in the northern Arabian Gulf focused on providing protection and logistic support for joint forces in the area. VANDEGRIFT also participated in numerous Earnest Will missions, escorting U.S. and reflagged Kuwaiti tankers. Port visits included Pearl Harbor; Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines; Bahrain; Pattaya Beach, Thailand and Hong Kong. VANDEGRIFT returned home in December, 1988.
The ship's third deployment to the Arabian Gulf began in March, 1990. VANDEGRIFT patrolled the Northern Arabian Gulf and conducted Earnest Will escort missions. As the senior ship on station in the Arabian Gulf during the invasion of Kuwait, VANDEGRIFT served as the Anti-Air Warfare Commander and Electronic Warfare Coordinator. VANDEGRIFT participated in Operation Desert Shield's Maritime Interception Operations with units from United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and France. Ports of call included Pearl Harbor; Subic Bay; Phuket, Thailand; Singapore and Hong Kong. VANDEGRIFT returned home after an extended deployment in October, 1990.
On April 22, 1992, VANDEGRIFT began its fourth deployment to the Arabian Gulf. VANDEGRIFT participated in exercises with India, Qatar and Pakistan, helping to strenghten U.S. relations in that area. Ports of call included Doha, Qatar; Dubai, Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Karachi, Pakistan; Phuket, Thailand; Goa, India; Bahrain; Hong Kong; Singapore and Guam, and earned the Chief of Naval Operations LAMPS Helicopter Safety Award. VANDEGRIFT returned home on 22 October 1992.
VANDEGRIFT changed homeport to San Diego in February, 1993, and earned the COMNAVSURFPAC Food Service Award in March, 1994.
The fifth deployment to the Arabian Gulf began on 25 October 1994. VANDEGRIFT's mission was the enforcement of U.N. sanctions against Iraq in the Northern Arabian Gulf. The most memorable event was conducting a non-permissive boarding of a sanctions violator on Christmas Day. During the return transit, VANDEGRIFT played host to a major diplomatic reception in Muscat, Oman, to better diplomatic relations. Ports of call included Sasebo, Japan; Manila, Republic of the Philippines; Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates; Bahrain; Singapore and Hong Kong. VANDEGRIFT returned home on 25 April 1995.
The ship's decorations include the Meritorious Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Southwest Asia Service Medal, and five Sea Service Ribbons.
On a field of gold and blue, the colors traditionally associated with
the Navy, a scarlet demi-lion symbolizing the Marine courage and
strength holds a blue lozenge, emblem of the 1st Marine Division, which
fought under General Vandegrift's command against the Japanese at
Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. The four gold sectors of the shield
represent the continents where General Vandegrift served during the
greater part of his outstanding career, North and South America, Asia
and Australia. The blue sectors represent the oceans and the Navy, also
alluded to by the wavy diagonals.