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FFG 46 Rentz

The guided-missile frigate USS Rentz (FFG 46) was decommissioned during a ceremony at Naval Base San Diego, 09 May 2014, with friends, family and service members in attendance to celebrate the ship's 30 years of Naval service. Nearly 20 of Rentz's plankowners were in attendance at the ceremony along with Mayer, and helped serve as a reminder of the ship's great history.

USS RENTZ is the fortieth ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG-7) class guided missile frigates, the most numerous class of major combatants built for the Navy since World War II. RENTZ was built by Todd Pacific Shipyards Corp. of San Pedro, CA. The keel was laid September 18, 1982, launched July 16, 1983 and was commissioned at Naval Station Long Beach June 30, 1984. In December, 1985 RENTZ shifted to it's present homeport of Naval Station San Diego.

In 1986, RENTZ was the first American warship to conduct an official port visit to the People's Republic of China since 1949. In July 1987, RENTZ deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Earnest Will, and spent over three months escorting commercial tankers in the Gulf and through the Strait of Hormuz. Since 1987, RENTZ has deployed to the Arabian Gulf three additional times. In 1995, RENTZ participated in the inaugural Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training cruise (CARAT).

RENTZ operated throughout the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, and has conducted five major deployments to the Arabian Gulf. Its ports of call have included: Pearl Harbor, Guam, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Philippine Islands, Indonesia, Bali, Malaysia, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Mexico, and Canada.

Rentz conducted Counter-Transnational Organized Crime Operations in the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility during its final deployment, and was responsible for the interdiction or disruption of approximately 5,000 kilograms of narcotics worth $116 million through nine drug trafficking cases.

George Snavely Rentz

Commander George Snavely Rentz was born on July 25, 1882 in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary, was ordained by Presbytery of Northumberland in 1909, and pastored churches in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for eight years. Following the entry of the United States in World War I, he was appointed acting chaplain with the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade and was assigned to the 11th Regiment of Marines in France until 1919. He attained the rank of Commander in 1924. Among his sea duty assignments, he served in USS FLORIDA (BB-30); USS WRIGHT (AV-1); USS WEST VIRGINIA (BB-48); and USS AUGUSTA (CA-31). In 1940, when the USS HOUSTON relieved AUGUSTA as flagship of the Asiatic Fleet, Commander Rentz transferred to the new arrival. It was aboard this cruiser he served so devotedly and enthusiastically, providing the ship's crew and officers with great hope and promise. During an Allied attack on February 4, 1942, HOUSTON was under severe air attack.

Commander Rentz spurned cover and circulated among the crew of the anti-aircraft battery, encouraging them. It was noted by an officer that crew at the guns "... saw this man of God walking fearlessly among them, they no longer felt alone." In the Flores Sea, during this attack, HOUSTON took a direct hit that disabled turret III and killed 48 men. Less than a month later HOUSTON was in the Battle of Java Sea with the Australian light cruiser HMAS PERTH. Both ships were outnumbered by a Japanese troop convoy but they persisted in an ensuing melee of fire , causing such confusion as to have a Japanese destroyer fire a spread of torpedoes that passed the allied cruisers and caused four Japanese troopships close inshore to sink.

All in all, the involvement was no match for the wounded PERTH and HOUSTON; the Japanese attack on these two cruisers caused them to sink; but they went down fighting to the last second. It was during the abandonment of HOUSTON that Commander Rentz entered the water and attained partial safety along with other crew members on a spare main float of one HOUSTON's lost planes. Aware of the extreme overcrowding and dangerous overloading, he attempted to relinquish his space and his life jacket to wounded survivors nearby, declaring "You men are young, I have lived the major part and I am willing to go." No one would oblige the generous, fearless chaplain. After several attempts of leaving and being brought back by his shipmates, he uplifted them with prayers and song until, ultimately, he succeeded in placing his lifejacket near a wounded sailor who did not have one, and Commander Rentz courageously slipped away into the sea on the morning of March 1, 1942.

For his selfless bravery following the loss of HOUSTON in Sunda Strait that night, he was awarded posthumously, the Navy Cross -- the only Navy Chaplain to so honored during World War II.




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