Saying Farewell to Thach
By Cmdr. Hans Lynch, commanding officer of USS Thach (FFG 43)
Tomorrow morning, the flag will come down for the last time aboard USS Thach (FFG 43) after nearly 30 years of service. She has accomplished a lot over the years since her first commanding officer, Captain (Ret.) Dale H. Moses took command, and I’m honored to be her last CO. It will be a somber moment for the U.S. Navy, and this country will never forget her contributions.
Thach, a guided-missile frigate, will be decommissioned during a ceremony tomorrow after almost 30 years of naval service. The ceremony’s guests will include seven former commanding officers, nine plankowners, six relatives of namesake Admiral John S. Thach, and former crewmembers.
USS Thach’s mission is to provide anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine protection for carrier strike groups, expeditionary strike groups, and merchant shipping. She is a very capable asset that operated in support of counter-narcotic operations during her last deployment in the U.S. 4th Fleet Area of Responsibility, which ended in April 2013. In a multi-national effort, we deterred drug traffickers from using the high seas as an avenue for trafficking illicit drugs. It was a great opportunity for our Sailors to work with the U.S. Coast Guard and other foreign navies.
Built by Todd Shipyards in San Pedro, Calif. and commissioned on March 17, 1984 at Naval Station Long Beach; USS Thach is the 37th Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate and is currently homeported in San Diego.
Her namesake is the two-time Navy Cross recipient Admiral John Smith Thach (1905-1981). A native of Pine Bluffs, Ark., Adm. Thach was a naval aviator during World War II who participated in 12 major engagements and invented the tactical dogfighting maneuver known as the “Thach Weave” that’s still used today.
Like other frigates in her class, she is equipped with two General Electric LM2500 gas turbine engines totaling 41,500 shaft horsepower and capable of speeds in excess of 25 knots. She is 453 feet long and has a displacement of 4,100 tons. Her armament includes one Mk 75 76mm naval gun, two Mk 32 triple tube torpedo launchers, one Close-in Weapon System (CIWS), and multiple machine guns stationed throughout the weather decks.
The ship has been successful throughout its service because of the Sailors onboard. It’s through their hard work and professionalism on a daily basis that upholds our motto of “Ready and Able” for any mission. The skills and experiences they have gained onboard are invaluable and will make a positive impact in the fleet as they transfer to their new commands. I wish them all the best in their naval careers.