USS Curts returning to San Diego

The frigate USS Curts is scheduled to return to San
Diego Tuesday from its last deployment before being decommissioned.

The 30-year-old Curts and its crew of 252 worked to disrupt organized
crime in areas under the U.S. Southern Command's watch, which covers the
Caribbean and southern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, according to the U.S. Navy.

Sailors arrested three suspected drug traffickers in Operation Martillo –
– Spanish for hammer — and kept 2,200 pounds of illegal narcotics with an
estimated street value of $25 million from entering the United States,
according to the Navy.

“It has been a great honor to participate in Operation Martillo, which
is important to not only regional security and stability, but to the safety and
security of our own local communities,” said Cmdr. Fermin Espinoza, the ship's
commanding officer.

“The last crew of `38 Special' stepped up to the plate in all assigned
missions with tenacity and confidence and hit a home run,” Espinoza said. The
453-foot vessel, which left San Diego on its final operational voyage on June 1
and is scheduled to be decommissioned Jan. 25, is designated FFG 38, hence the
`38 Special' nickname.

The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate, which was built in
San Pedro, is named after Adm. Maurice E. Curts, who became a hero when U.S.
forces returned to the Philippines in World War II. He was awarded the Navy
Cross for his actions during the amphibious landings on Leyte and during the
Battle for Leyte Gulf from Oct. 17-29, 1944.

At the time, Curts was captain of the light cruiser USS Columbia.
According to his Navy Cross citation, he maneuvered his ship through enemy-
infested waters, defending U.S. forces against air attacks and assisting in the
sinking of at least one Japanese battleship, a cruiser and six destroyers.

The Michigan-born Curts, who rose to become commander of the Pacific
Fleet before he retired from the Navy in 1960, died in 1976 at the age of 77
and is buried alongside his first wife at Arlington National Cemetery.

Categories: KUSI