Friday, September 30, 2005

Navy's Last Spruance-class Destoyer Decommissioned

USS Cushing (DD 985), the last Spruance-class destroyer in service with the U.S. Navy, was decommissioned Sept. 21 on the 26th anniversary of the ship’s commissioning.
USS Cushing (DD 985)
Speakers for the decommissioning ceremony included Cushing’s first commanding officer, retired Rear Adm. William C. Miller and Cushing’s current commanding officer, Cmdr. Steven A. Mucklow. During the ship’s career, Cushing completed 10 deployments, four homeport changes and received multiple awards for excellence. The destroyer was also the last U.S. warship to transit the Panama Canal while under U.S. control, in September 1979. “This ship caused the fleet to reset the standards of excellence. I am thankful that I was a part of this ship’s 26-year history,” said Miller. “It is the crew that makes the difference, and it should be the crew, not the hull or the steel, that should be treasured.” As Mucklow accepted the ship's commissioning pennant and was relieved as the ship's final commanding officer, he praised the crew. “Sailors put the pride in the ship. Without them the past 26 years wouldn’t have happened,” said Mucklow. “We are now part of the legacy of all five ships to carry Cushing’s name, but I will always remember this crew with admiration and respect. It has been my honor to serve with them.” For Storekeeper 3rd Class (SW) Eric Browning, it will be his shipmates and friends he will miss most. “I have been on board for three years, and the crew has become my family,” said Browning. “I have had some good times and some bad times on board, but in the end I will miss it all. I could not have asked for a better command.” Cushing is named in honor of Cmdr. William Barker Cushing, a Naval hero of the Civil War. Cushing led many small boat raids up the rivers of North Carolina, ending with the attack on and destruction of the Confederate ironclad CSS Albemarle in October 1864. During the battle, Cushing’s boat was swamped. His crew was either killed or captured, but Cushing eluded capture and was promoted and officially thanked by Congress.

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