The USS McCandless, (DE/FF-1084: frigate), was named for Commodore Byron McCandless and his son, Rear Admiral Bruce McCandless. McCandless was part of the United States Navy’s Knox class of frigates, the thirty-third boat in the class. Avondale Shipyards of New Orleans earned the contract in August of 1966 and laid down her keel on June 4, 1970. McCandless launched on March 20, 1971. She was commissioned on March 18, 1972, carrying two hundred eighty-seven enlisted men and eighteen officers.
McCandless’ first deployment started in August of 1973, a six-month cruise with the Middle East Force. She spent April 1974 as a member of the Sea Control Force (TG 27.2) in the Western Atlantic Operating Area with USS McDonnell (DE-1043) and USS Guam (LPH-9). Together, they tested the Interim Sea Control Ship concept by utilizing the SH-3H helicopters and AV-8A Harrier jet aircraft. After she finished the testing, McCandless sailed on an eight-week cruise to the North Atlantic where she took part in the “Northern Merger” exercise with the navies of other NATO nations. She sailed back to her homeport in Norfolk, Virginia in November 1974. McCandless joined up with the US Sixth Fleet for a six-month deployment in April of 1975. Two months later, her designation was changed from a destroyer escort (DE) to a frigate (FF).
After she finished her second deployment in late 1976, McCandless sailed back to Norfolk in order to install the new Integrated Bridge System (IBS). This new system included a totally automatic steering and navigational computer system. For the next eight months, McCandless continued examining and assessing the IBS prototype system near the Atlantic coast, as well as her involvement in a bilateral Canadian-US exercise, MARCOTCANUS 77.
McCandless moved her homeport from Norfolk to Philadelphia in September 1977 and started her first major overhaul. She spent ten months at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard until repairs and upgrades were completed in June 1978. These procedures included dismantling of the IBS and the installation of a new weapons system and an upgrade to the sonar dome. After spending two months undergoing a refresher course at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, McCandless sailed back to her original homeport of Norfolk and returned to the Second Fleet.
McCandless took part in fleet exercises early in 1979, and then came back to the Caribbean Sea near the coast of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, in April. While there, she carried out technical and operational tests of the first ship-ready AN/SLQ-32 (V1) electronic warfare systems. She sailed for the Mediterranean in June 1979 with the Sixth Fleet for six months of operations. After a stop in Alghero, Sardinia, she took part in fleet exercises in the eastern Mediterranean and a port visit to Haifa, Israel, along with the aircraft carrier USS Independence (CV-62).
McCandless took part in an exercise in the Aegean Sea known as DISPLAY DETERMINATION 79. She also received a commendation for being the best Naval Gunfire Support (NGFS) ship during that exercise. After a short stay in Athens, Greece, she transited the Suez Canal in August of 1979 to start an eight-week deployment supporting the Middle East Force. While on this deployment, she carried out operations during patrols in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
After making a return trip through the Suez Canal, McCandless rejoined the task group in early October, and was ordered to take part in special operations in the Black Sea. She transited the Bosporus and Dardanelles along with destroyer USS Caron (DD-970) later in October for this operation. Her activities during the rest of the deployment included several NATO and fleet exercises and stops in ports in Italy, France, and Spain. During a joint fleet exercise with the French Navy near the Balearic Islands, her group encountered a dangerous storm at sea. She answered a distress call from a sinking yacht and rescued three French citizens. She made port back in Norfolk at the end of 1979.
In May of 1984, McCandless was en route to Puerto Rico when a seaman called “Man Overboard”. This alert sailor enabled McCandless to rescue a man who had been adrift at sea for nearly two days. She spent much of 1987 undergoing repairs and overhaul at the Norfolk shipyards, then underwent sea trials in November. Prior to her eventual decommissioning, she spent time as a training frigate.
McCandless was decommissioned on May 6, 1994 and stricken from the Naval Register on January 11, 1995 as part of the phase-out of the Knox-class frigates. She was transferred the Turkish Navy and renamed Trakya.
Characteristics of the USS McCandless (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Displacement: 3202 tons (4,183 full load)
Length: 438 ft (133.5 m)
Beam: 46.75 ft (14.25 m)
Draft: 24.75 ft (7.6 m)
Propulsion: 2 × CE 1200psi boilers
1 Westinghouse geared turbine
1 shaft, 35,000 shp (26 MW)
Speed: 27 knots (50 kph)
Complement: 18 officers, 287 enlisted
Armament: one Mk-16 8 cell missile launcher for ASROC and Harpoon missiles
one Mk-42 5-inch/54 caliber gun
Mark 46 torpedoes from four single tube launchers)
one Mk-25 BPDMS launcher for Sea Sparrow missiles later replaced by one Phalanx CIWS
Namesake: Commodore Byron McCandless and his son, Rear Admiral Bruce McCandless
Ordered: 25 August 1966
Builder: Avondale Shipyards
Laid down: 4 June 1970
Launched: 20 March 1971
Commissioned: 18 March 1972
Struck: 11 January 1995
Fate: Transferred to Turkish Navy and renamed Trakya
June 1970 – USS McCandless keel laid down
March 1971 – USS McCandless launched
March 1972 – USS McCandless commissioned
August 1973 – USS McCandless started six-month cruise with Middle East Force
April 1974 – USS McCandless joined Sea Control Force
July 1974 – USS McCandless took part in NATO “Northern Merger” exercise
November 1974 – USS McCandless returned to Norfolk
April 1975 – USS McCandless joins US Sixth Fleet for Mediterranean deployment
June 1975 – USS McCandless redesignated from destroyer escort (DE) to frigate (FF)
September 1976 – USS McCandless has IBS system installed
September 1977 – USS McCandless underwent repairs and overhaul at Philadelphia
June 1978 – USS McCandless leaves Philadelphia after completion of overhaul
August 1978 – USS McCandless completed refresher training near Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
April 1979 – USS McCandless carried out testing of new AN/SLQ-32 (V1) electronic warfare systems
June 1979 – USS McCandless deployed with US Sixth Fleet for Mediterranean operations
October 1979 – USS McCandless took part in special operations in the Black Sea
December 1979 – USS McCandless returned to Norfolk
May 1984 – USS McCandless rescued man overboard en route to Puerto Rico
Mid-1987 – USS McCandless underwent repairs and overhaul at Norfolk
May 1994 – USS McCandless decommissioned
January 1995 – USS McCandless stricken from Naval Vessel Register
Crewmembers of the USS McCandless:
An unofficial list of crewmembers that served on the USS McCandless 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:
Doug Matatall Lavelle: (Served from November 1971 – December 1973) “Handed a broom upon reporting to Norfolk….PN1 Jiminez (Jimmy) advertised for someone who could type and I answered the call (typing more attractive than sweeping). Memories..Boston (Doc, Harry, Emily)..Norfolk (again and again)..GITMO…Seychelles”
Rick Landry: (Served from May 1975 – May 1976) “I was a soup sandwich but my memories of the crew and the med cruise are great. Too bad I was a screw up at the time. On the plus, the things I learned in the Navy and from the folks on the Mac ultimately changed my life for the better.”
Fred Macias: (Served from January 1979 – June 1981) “Had some good times, and of course some rough times. I valued the cameraderie and experience of being on a small ship.”
John Futfch: (Served from January 1984 – April 1989) “My first ship. I remember the battle group being sent to test Quaddafi’s “line of Death”, Palma, Ishcia, Capri, Agusta Bay, Naples, Genoa etc.etc. 60 foot seas for 3 days, and BM3 Christian announcing flight quarters to recover the whirly bird”
Michael Baker: (Served January 1990 – May 1994) “This was my first ship. A lot of good memories singing in the barbershop. I was tight with OS3 Johnson and OS2 Miller God Bless Bake “