A Final Walk Down The Brow: USS Crommelin Decommissions

Brandon Bosworth

Staff Writer

After three decades of service, USS Crommelin (FFG 37) was decommissioned at a ceremony held Oct. 26. More than 250 people attended the event at Pier M-2 at Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Crommelin, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate, was commissioned June 18, 1983 in Seattle, Wash. The ship is named after three brothers: Henry, Charles and Richard Crommelin. All were graduates of the United States Naval Academy and were known for their heroic service in the Pacific during World War II.

Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Smith, Crommelin executive officer, recounted the exploits of the three brothers. One eventually became promoted to vice admiral but the two others, both Navy pilots, did not survive the war. The story of the brothers served as inspiration to the ship bearing their name.

“For 29 years, this ship has strived to live up to the ideals of those men,” said Smith.

Capt. James Orvis (Navy ret.), the commissioning commanding officer of Crommelin, was the guest speaker at the ceremony. He also spoke of the ship’s connection with the Crommelin family.

“There are Crommelins everywhere,” he said. “We once ported in Australia, and there were Crommelins waiting for us on the pier. They were there at the commissioning ceremony. They are a big, warm, good-natured and loving family, and we are proud to be associated with them.”

There are Crommelins close to home as well. John Crommelin V flew in from Hilo to attend the decommissioning ceremony. It was his first time actually seeing the ship bearing his family name.

“It’s pretty amazing,” he said. “I’m happy how the Navy has honored my family.”

Crommelin was an advanced ship from the very start. Capt. Orvis recalled the challenges of dealing with such a new vessel.

“The combat systems were new,” he said. “The gas turbines were new. Everything required new operating procedures. The ship was different. It was more powerful and more seaworthy. But it’s the Sailors that make a ship work.”

After Crommelin’s first commanding officer finished speaking, the ship’s final commanding officer, Cmdr. Michael Johns, took the podium.

“It is an honor to decommission here at Pearl Harbor in the shadow of the Arizona Memorial and the Battleship Missouri,” he said. “And it was a pleasure and an honor to serve aboard the Crommelin.”

After the ship’s company filed ashore for the last time, eight bells were struck terminating the final watch. The colors, pennants, jack and ensign were hauled down. The final command of “secure the watch” was given and Crommelin ceased to be a commissioned U.S. Navy warship.

The next destination for Crommelin is the Navy’s mothball fleet at Middle Loch.

Photo illustration | U.S. Navy photos by Tina Mahina

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