The guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59), departed Naval Station Norfolk on Sunday, January 11 for the ship's final deployment and will operate in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility.
Kauffman's final deployment also marks the last scheduled deployment by any Oliver Hazard Perry-Class frigate and in September the ship will be the last operationally-active frigate to decommission. At that time, the only remaining frigate in the U.S. Navy will be USS Constitution, Navy's ambassador that was launched in 1797 and remains the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world.
During Kauffman's final deployment, the crew will support the United States Southern Command and the Joint Interagency Task Force South's Operation Martillo. The operation's goal is to suppress the illegal drug trade in the Caribbean, Central America and South America by conducting drug trafficking interdiction operations.
Cmdr. Michael Concannon, Kauffman commanding officer, will lead the crew through their final deployment. He understands the historical significance and impact this deployment will have on many Sailors past and present, who have served in frigates during their Navy careers.
"I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity to lead such a capable and proud group of Sailors on this, the final deployment of an FFG-7 class ship, and to be the last in a great line of frigate commanding officers," said Concannon. "What a fitting mission for this great ship and crew to leave as its final legacy, keeping drugs off the streets of America by stopping them at the source. We are up for the task. We are ready."
The ship was commissioned Feb. 28, 1987, and is named after famed U.S. Navy admirals Vice Adm. James L. Kauffman and his son, Rear Adm. Draper L. Kauffman. Vice Adm. Kauffman served during World War I, commanded multiple ship and shore commands, and was renowned for spending more time at sea than any other officer of his time. Rear Adm. Kauffman served in both the British Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve and the U.S. Navy Reserve until establishing the first Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) for the Navy and Army in 1943. Both men were awarded the Navy Cross during their service.