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FFG 54 Ford

The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate USS Ford (FFG 54) was decommissioned on 31 October 2013, after more than 28 years of service during a decommissioning ceremony at Naval Station Everett, WA.

USS FORD (FFG-54) is the forty-eighth ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry Class of guided missile frigates. She has been constructed to provide in-depth defense against air, surface, and sub-surface threats for military and merchant shipping.

To support her mission, FORD has been designed from the keel up as a total warfare system, capable of operating independently or as an integral member of a surface group. Innovations in high-speed digital computer technology enable the on-board weapons system to instantly detect and evaluate contacts at greater ranges with minimum human interface, thus providing increased reaction time. To enhance the on-board anti-surface/anti-submarine capabilities, the LAMPS Mark III helicopter system has been added to extend the ship's sensor and weapons delivery range.

Additionally, gas turbine engines provide power for propulsion that enables FORD to reach speeds in excess of 30 knots. The propulsion plant as well as the electrical power plant is computer monitored to ensure a smooth running and efficient system. The gas turbine engines can be started and be ready to provide propulsion power in less than 5 minutes as compared to more than 4 hours for a conventional steam propulsion system.

The high technology systems aboard FORD allow the ship to meet the demanding challenges of modern naval warfare and to do so with minimum human interface. Regardless of technology, it is the human element that is the heart of the ship. Highly skilled technicians are required to operate, monitor, and maintain the systems aboard. Each member of the FORD has been carefully selected and thoroughly trained in his particular area of expertise prior to reporting aboard. The crew is the best that the Navy has to offer.

The coat of arms for USS FORD has much symbolism in its design. The predominant colors of dark blue and gold are traditionally associated with the Navy; blue to represent the sea and gold to signify excellence.

The various designs on the shield depict the heroic naval career of Second Class Gunner's Mate Patrick Osborne Ford, who gave his life for fellow sailors and country. The colors yellow and scarlet allude to the flag of South Vietnam. The wavy blue band symbolizes the My Tho River, site of the battle in which Petty Officer Ford gave his life to save several of his shipmates aboard Patrol River Boat 750. The Roman numerals 'V' identify the attachment of this vessel to River Squadron Five. The scarlet spearhead issuing from the left, or sinister, side of the shield is indicative of the ambush attack by Viet Cong forces on Patrol River Boat 750. The scarlet color of the central figure depicts the result of the attack where hostile rockets set the craft ablaze.

The scarlet lion's head is symbolic of the courage and self-sacrifice exhibited by Petty Officer Ford. The crossed naval cannons represent his rating as a Gunner's Mate. The inverted laurel signifies the tragic end of the story. The cross below center denotes the posthumous award of the Navy Cross.

At the bottom of the shield is the ship's motto, "TENACIOUS". It describes the manner in which Petty Officer Ford returned fire from his station aboard the patrol boat as well as the commitment of USS FORD to its assigned mission.



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