The frigate USS Reuben James is heading out on its last deployment today as the Navy prepares to decommission it and another frigate — the USS Crommelin — the last two in Pearl Harbor.
The Navy is replacing some of its 445-foot frigates, which have a crew of about 215, as well as some mine hunters, with littoral combat ships that can operate in near-shore waters off foreign countries.
Commissioned in 1986, the Reuben James will be taken out of service on Aug. 30, according to the Navy. The USS Crommelin is scheduled for inactivation on Oct. 31.
The Reuben James is heading out for an independent 7-month deployment to the Western Pacific.
“Reuben James has worked very hard to prepare to deploy. I’m very proud of the crew. Everything we’ve asked them to do, they have answered the call,” said Cmdr. Daniel Valascho, commanding officer of Reuben James. “And now, they will answer the call of their nation as we sail over the horizon and say farewell to our families and friends.”
Valascho added, “I’m proud of all of them and I know they are excited to participate in the ship’s final deployment before decommissioning.”
The Navy said the ship and crew will “strengthen partnerships and alliances in the Western Pacific and provide maritime security near vital sea lanes.”
In August 1991, Reuben James moved from Long Beach, Calif. to Pearl Harbor. The ship participated in operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom as well as counter-drug operations.
In 2004, Reuben James went through an extensive modernization and maintenance program. The ship also appeared in the movie “The Hunt For Red October,” with Reuben James sailors portraying Soviets.