The US Navy has decommissioned its second Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser in two days with the retirement of USS Hué City (CG 66) at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, on September 23.
A day before, sister ship USS Anzio (CG 68) bowed out of service at the same pier.
USS Anzio and USS Hué City retired after 30 and 31 years of service, respectively, and will both be towed to the navy’s Inactive Ship’s facility in Philadelphia in the next two months, where they will be in a “logistical support asset” status.
Retired Capt. H. Wyman Howard, Jr., Anzio’s first commanding officer, fondly remembered how the ship was brought to life three decades ago.
“Four-hundred young men with the average age of 20 years old, 66 percent of whom had never been to sea before, ran onto Anzio and brought her alive,” said Howard during his remarks.
“At the commissioning, I wrote the following letter to Team Anzio: ‘This day marks the most significant milestone in the life of Anzio: she comes alive! …” continued Howard. “Whether you fought at the Anzio beachhead, welded a piece of her steel, supervised her construction, or gave your love and support to us during 20 months of hard work, you are a valued member of Team Anzio. Thank you for all the hours, hard work, and sacrifices you made to make this day a reality.’ ”
Anzio was built by Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., and commissioned in Norfolk, May 2, 1992.
Anzio completed her last deployed in 2017 and entered a modernization program. Despite of a lot work undertaken on the ship, the ships was now decommissioned.
Anzio and Hué City are among the five ships of their class the navy plans to decommission in fiscal year 2023, as part of a plan that would leave only 12 units in the fleet by FY 2023.
The current plan is to have all remaining cruisers leave the fleet by 2027. Prior to the decommissioning of Anzio and Hué City, the service retired USS Monterey (CG 61) earlier this month and USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) in August.
Anzio is the second ship to bear the name and honors the allied forces beachhead invasion at Anzio and Nettuno, Italy, during World War II. The strategic importance of the Battle of Anzio to the overall allied effort in Europe, however, is often underestimated. The two German corps engaged on the Anzio front were originally destined for Normandy. The success of the allied landings on the beaches in France in June 1944 were due largely to the tenacity of the Allied forces at Anzio.
The Ticonderoga-class, guided-missile cruiser deployed for the first time Oct. 20, 1994, as part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Battle Group. During that deployment the crew participated in operations conducted in the Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf, Adriatic Sea and Black Sea. It would be the first of many Anzio deployments.
Over the years, the Anzio team supported Operation Iraqi Freedom, firing more than a dozen Tomahawk missiles while on station and served as the flagship for Combined Task Force 151 supporting anti-piracy efforts off the horn of Africa. The crew also picked up 10 US Navy sailors for transport and medical evaluations after being held in Iranian custody having been captured after their two naval boats unintentionally entered Iranian waters.
Hué City was decommissioned a day after Anzio, just nine days after the ship’s 31st commissioning anniversary.
The ceremony’s presiding officer and a native of Hue, Vietnam, Rear Adm. Huan Nguyen, Naval Sea Systems Command Deputy Commander for Cyber Engineering, shared his 1968 Tet Offensive experiences and the important place USS Hué City holds in the navy.
“To me, the Hue City represents the very simple democracy and freedom and fighting spirit of all the heroes who defend and protect her,” said Nguyen. “Those values are what continue to inspire me to serve our great nation, to live a life of fidelity, courage and honor. It is the crew, former and present, that I would like to honor and thank.”
Hué City was built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., and commissioned there Sept. 14, 1991. The ship is named in commemoration of the Vietnam War battle which was fought in and around the city of Hué during the 1968 Tet Offensive from Jan. 31 to March 2, 1968. During the battle, three understrength U.S. Marine battalions, consisting of fewer than 2,500 men, attacked and soundly defeated more than 10,000 entrenched enemy troops, liberating the city of Hué and handing the enemy a costly defeat.
The cruiser is the only US Navy warship to be named in commemoration of a Vietnam War battle.