Last mission for storied class of warships

Story highlights

  • The USS Kauffman's deployment is the last for Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates
  • Perry-class frigates have been in the U.S. Navy for almost 40 years
  • In the 1980s, attacks nearly sank two Perry-class frigates in the Persian Gulf
  • Navy secretary says littoral combat ships will be the new frigates

(CNN)When the USS Kauffman steamed out of Norfolk Naval Station earlier this month, it marked the beginning of the end for an entire class of vessels in the U.S. Navy.

The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate will be the last of more than four dozen such ships to put itself in harm's way.
"I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity to lead such a capable and proud group of sailors on this, the final deployment of an FFG-7 class ship, and to be the last in a great line of frigate commanding officers," the Kauffman's skipper, Cmdr. Michael Concannon, said in a Navy statement.
    The final mission for the Kauffman and its crew of 250 will be to combat drug trafficking in the U.S. Southern Command's area of responsibility, the waters of the Caribbean and off the coasts of Central and South America.
    "What a fitting mission for this great ship and crew to leave as its final legacy, keeping drugs off the streets of America by stopping them at the source," Concannon said.
    After it returns from the drug trafficking mission, the Kauffman will have spent more than 28 years in the U.S. Navy. It will be decommissioned in September and possibly put up for sale to an allied