The USS Gray was the third member of the Knox class of destroyer escorts (and later, frigates). She was named in honor of Marine Sgt. Ross Franklin Gray, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Iwo Jima on Feb. 21, 1945.
The order to build the Gray was awarded to the Todd Shipyards Corp. of Seattle on July 22, 1964. Her keel was laid on Nov. 19, 1966; she was launched on Nov. 3, 1967. She was commissioned on April 4, 1970 and joined the ranks of the Pacific Fleet with the motto, “Seek, Engage, Destroy.”
In March 1971, the Gray made her first deployment to the Western Pacific. During that deployment, she made her first tour of duty off the coast of Vietnam, performing search and rescue operations. The Gray made a second deployment to the Western Pacific in late 1972, at which time she received her first Battle Efficiency “E.”
After completing a third Western Pacific deployment in January 1974, the Gray underwent a major overhaul at Todd Shipyard. The overhaul lasted until April 1975. On June 30, 1975, the Gray was re-classified as a frigate and saw its designation changed from DE-1054 to FF-1054.
In October of 1975, the Gray deployed for her fourth visit to the Western Pacific, which included exercises with foreign navies and a 70-day stay in the Indian Ocean. In September 1976, the Gray entered the Long Beach (Calif.) Naval Shipyard to have the new Harpoon anti-ship missile system installed.
The Gray would make many more Western Pacific deployments, the most memorable of which may have come in late 1980. Commanding a task force of one other frigate and a destroyer, the Gray met up with three Japanese destroyers. As the combined task force crossed the International Date Line, one day was lost—the date lost was Dec. 7, the 39th anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Due to the loss of the day, neither side observed it and continued normal operations.
The Gray would win two more Battle “E”s before her career ended in 1991.
The Gray was decommissioned on June 22, 1964, after 21 years of service. She was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on Jan. 11, 1995 and was scrapped on July 21, 2001.
Characteristics of the USS Gray (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Class and type: Knox-class frigate
Displacement: 3020 tons standard, 4163 tons full
Length: 415′ (126m) waterline
438′ (134m) overall
Beam: 47′ (14m)
Draft: 24.75′ (7.5m)
Propulsion: 2 × CE 1200psi boilers
1 Westinghouse geared turbine
1 shaft, 35,000 SHP (26 MW) Speed: 27+ knots Range: 4,500 miles (7,242 km) Complement: 13 officers, 211 men Sensors and
processing systems: •AN/SPS-10 surface search
•AN/SPS-40 air search
•AN/SQS-35 IVDS towed array sonar Electronic warfare
and decoys: AN/SLQ-32 Electronics Warfare System Armament: •1 × 5″/54 gun
•4 × 21″ torpedo tubes (4×1, fixed)
•1 × 8-tube ASROC + Harpoon launcher
•1 × 8-cell RIM-7 Sea Sparrow launcher Aircraft carried: 1 DASH drone helicopter, later 1 SH-2 LAMPS I helicopter
Ordered: July 22, 1964
Builder: Todd Pacific Shipyards, Seattle, Washington
Laid down: November 19, 1966
Launched: November 3, 1967
Acquired: March 27, 1970
Commissioned: April 4, 1970
Decommissioned: June 29, 1991
Reclassified: Reclassified as a Frigate June 30, 1975
Struck: January 11, 1995
Motto: Seek Engage Destroy Fate:
Scrapped July 21, 2001
July 1964: USS Gray ordered
November 1966: Keel of USS Gray laid
November 1967: USS Gray launched
April 1970: USS Gray commissioned
1971-1974: USS Gray serves three tours off the coast of Vietnam
June 1975: USS Gray re-classified as a frigate, changing designation from DE-1054 to FF-1054
June 1991: USS Gray decommissioned
Crewmembers of the USS Gray:
An unofficial list of crew members that served on the USS Gray can be found on the unofficial navy website at: http://navysite.de. This list is compiled by former crewmembers that voluntarily register. Some quoted comments from former crewmembers are listed below; many more are available on the source website at the following Web address:
John Portanova (served January 1976-August 1979): “Haze Gray and underway. 30 years later still working for the Navy. Gray was the best and so was her crew.”
Mark Rynearson (served November 1976-November 1978): “Great times aboard the Gray. I left when it first went into dry dock at the Todd shipyards.”
Steve Weeks (served January 1976-August 1976): “Was on the ship for about 7 months in 1976. Enjoyed the whole thing. Started in Subic in January the evening before we got underway for the Indian Ocean.”