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US minehunter Champion retiring after 30 years of service

Avenger-class minehunter USS Champion
Photo: US Navy

The US Navy held a decommissioning at ceremony at Naval Base San Diego on August 18 to honor nearly three decades of naval service for minehunter USS Champion (MCM 4).

USS Scout and USS Scout, the other two San Diego-based Avenger-class mine countermeasure ships, are also being decommissioned this week.

Due to public health safety and restrictions of large public events related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, plankowners and former crew members of the Avenger-class ship virtually celebrated its distinguished history.

Champion was built by Marinette Marine Corporation in Marinette, Wisconsin and commissioned Feb. 8, 1991.

The ship’s operational history includes a five-month deployment in 1999, during which Champion assisted in the evacuation of refugees from Kosovo. Since then, Champion also participated in several mine countermeasures and bi-lateral exercises.

The minehunter will officially decommission on August 25, according to the navy.

was the guest speaker, with Capt. Hank Kim, Commander, Mine Division TWELVE, presiding.

The Avenger class ships and specifically the USS Champion, have provided robust MCM capability over the past three decades to ensure that freedom of navigation is maintained and enabled the U.S. Navy to conduct maritime operations globally,” Commander, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center, Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, said.

“The Champion has served her crews, Navy and nation well, but now we are approaching the sundown for these MCM ships and the dawn of Littoral Combat Ship Mine Countermeasures systems.”

Photo: US Navy