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FFG 38 Curts

USS Curts (FFG 38) concluded 29 years of service to the Navy during a 25 January 2013 decommissioning ceremony held at Naval Base San Diego, CA. During the ship's final deployement, Curts seized contraband worth an estimated 26 million dollars.

USS CURTS' mission is to escort and protect convoys, underway replenishment groups, amphibious landing groups, and carrier battle groups. CURTS' missile, gun, and anti-submarine warfare systems, combined with its quick reaction and high speed capability, make the warship a valuable asset in today's multi-threat environment.

USS CURTS was commissioned 8 October 1983 after construction at the Todd Pacific Shipyards, San Pedro, California. The first years in commission were focused on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations as CURTS was the first Pacific Fleet unit with the complete SQQ-89 ASW Suite. CURTS served in Destroyer Squadron 31 -- the ASW squadron -- from 1985 until mid-1987. CURTS was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for brilliant performance in the tracking of Soviet submarines.

Increased tensions in the Middle East as a result of the STARK incident in 1987 resulted in CURTS assignment to the USS MISSOURI battle group. For their 1987-88 deployment, the battle group was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for efforts in support of Operation Earnest Will in the northern Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman.

A new era for CURTS began 1 June 1988 with departure from Long Beach, California for a new homeport in Yokosuka, Japan. CURTS and a sister ship brought the first LAMPS MK III helicopters to Naval Air Facility, Atsugi. A busy first year was culminated by a deployment to the Middle East Force in support of Operation Earnest Will.

In 1990, CURTS joined the battle group of aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY and deployed to support Operation Desert Shield. While crossing the South China Sea on 17 October 1990, CURTS rescued 50 Vietnamese refugees from a disabled fishing boat that had been drifting for ten days. The last two months of 1990 were spent conducting Maritime Interception Force Operations in the Gulf of Oman.

An incredible year began as CURTS entered the Persian Gulf in 1991. Assignment to the northernmost group of ships in the Persian gulf at the outbreak of Operation Desert Storm resulted in CURTS being in the middle of virtually all naval combat operations during the war. On 24 January 1991, CURTS with her embarked Navy and Army helicopters captured the Iraqi garrison on Qaruh Island. The net result was one island liberated, fifty-one Iraqi prisoners captured, two mines destroyed, one minelayer sunk, and a wealth of intelligence materials seized. Support of combat helicopter operations during Battle of Bubiyan Island and escort for the battleships USS MISSOURI and USS WISCONSIN during Naval Gunfire Support missions were equally demanding. Assignment to the mine countermeasures escort force for the amphibious feint off Faylakah Island kept every crewmember on edge until the cease-fire was declared. Rejoining the Midway battle group, CURTS returned to homeport on 17 April. A Navy Unit Commendation was received for membership in the Arabian Gulf Battle Force. While assigned in support of Operation Desert Storm, CURTS was announced as the winner of the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy as the most improved command in the entire Pacific Fleet for fiscal year 1990.

In June 1991, CURTS once again found themselves in the midst of another calamity as the eruption of Mount Pinatubo occurred while inport Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. After digging out from under about a foot of grit, rocks, and ask CURTS was underway the same day to transport 298 evacuees to the island of Cebu during Operation Fiery Vigil. Another round trip brought 249 additional evacuees to safety.

In the latter half of 1992, CURTS completed extensive joint Navy exercises with Korean, Australian, and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) navies. During these exercises, CURTS had the opportunity to make port calls in Korea and Australia.

In October 1993, CURTS joined the USS INDEPENDENCE battle group to participate with the JMSDF in the joint anti-submarine warfare exercise MAREX. On 17 November, CURTS steamed out of Yokosuka with the INDEPENDENCE battle group for a Middle East deployment. CURTS was assigned to the Red Sea where she conducted 89 boardings as part of the Maritime Interdiction Force supporting United Nations sanctions against Iraq. CURTS rejoined the battle group in the Arabian Gulf were she continued the enforcement of U. N. sanctions. While transiting the Gulf of Oman, CURTS discovered an adrift livestock vessel. Assistance was rendered and the vessel along with its 23 crew members was towed to Oman.

In early August 2004, Curts embarked its SH-60B helicopter detachment, Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron (Light) (HSL) 45 Det. 6, homeported at Naval Air Station North Island, and a U.S. Coast Guard detachment from Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Detachment (PACTACLET) in San Diego, for a six-month deployment in support of law enforcement operations against the illegal smuggling of narcotics.

On November 5, 2004, USS Curts (FFG 38) offloaded and turned over to authorities 75,000 pounds of cocaine in Key West, FL. The multi-ton shipment, valued at more than $2.3 billion, was the result of five drug interdiction operations conducted in the Eastern Pacific between Aug. 31 and Sept. 26, 2004. Curts directly supported three of the interdictions, totaling more than 44,000 pounds. One of Curts' interdictions, conducted Sept. 17, yielded 30,000 pounds, the largest seizure in the history of counter-drug operations. The remaining 31,000 pounds of narcotics included in the offload were seized in two different operations: one conducted by USS Crommelin (FFG 37) with a LEDET (Law Enforcement Detachment), and another by USCGC Jarvis (WHEC 725).

USS Curts (FFG 38) returned to its homeport of San Diego on Feb. 2, 2005 from to the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command area of responsibility (AOR). During her six-month deployment, Curts directly supported three drug interdiction operations, totaling more than 44,000 pounds of cocaine. One of the interdiction operations, conducted Sept. 17, yielded 30,000 pounds, the largest seizure in the history of counter-drug operations. In addition, Curts' operations and intelligence specialists worked with other agencies in putting together a common operational picture to interdict the smuggling operations. Curts' weapons detail and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) personnel provided support for the Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) when boarding suspect vessels. The final and crucial element of the team was the helicopter detachment, HSL-45, Det. 6, which assisted Curts in intercepting over-the-horizon targets of interest. While deployed, Curts also operated in the Atlantic Ocean, transiting through the Panama Canal Oct. 31 and visiting Key West and Mayport, Fla., for a mid-deployment maintenance availability. Curts returned to the Pacific Ocean Dec. 9, visiting the ports of Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Panama; Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, en route to San Diego.


The navy division of the shield of the coat of arms alludes to the oceans of the world. The flaunches suggest radar waves, in reference to the outstanding contributions to the development of radar made by the ship's namesake Admiral Maurice E. Curts. The four stars in chief denote his highest rank achieved while on active duty. The flaming bomb in base refers to Admiral Curts' combat service during the Philippine Islands battles of World War II. The cross pattee signifies the Navy Cross awarded to him for heroic conduct while commanding the USS COLUMBIA during those battles.

The ship's wheel on the crest symbolizes the authority entrusted to Admiral Curts at the fleet command level, and his leadership of the U. S. Naval Forces both during and after the World War II. The heraldic symbolizes two awards of the Distinguished Service Medal for "exceptionally meritorious service" in numerous high commands.

Maurice E. Curts

USS CURTS (FFG 38) is named for the late Admiral Maurice E. Curts, United States Navy (1898-1976), former Commander in Chief, U. S. Pacific Fleet, and heroic cruiser commander of World War II. He was awarded the Navy Cross and Silver Star Medal for extraordinary heroism while commanding cruiser COLUMBIA during the Leyte landings, the Battle of Surigao Strait, the Lingayen Gulf landings, and the liberation of Borneo. During the initial Lingayen Gulf landings, he continued to lead his cruiser in action despite the severe damage inflicted by two suicide planes which had left nearly 100 of his men dead or wounded. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he had earned the Bronze Star Medal as Communications Officer, U.S. Pacific Fleet and the Distinguished Service Medal as Communications Officer, United States Fleet.

Following the close of World War II, he was Force Commander, Operational Development Force, U. S. Atlantic Fleet; Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Readiness); and Deputy Commander in Chief, U. S. Pacific Fleet, serving with great distinction until 13 January 1956. On that date, he was designated by the President as the Commander in Chief, U. S. Pacific Fleet, serving until the arrival of his relief on 1 February 1958. A month later, he became Commander Western Sea Frontier, remaining until his retirement on 1 April 1960. Early naval service included duty as Officer in Charge, Radio and Sound, Naval Research Laboratory (June 1936-May 1938) where he earned a commendation from the Secretary of the Navy for outstanding service in the development of radar.

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Page last modified: 30-03-2013 22:53:13 ZULU