USS VALDEZ (FF-1096)
Valdez (DE-1096) was laid down on 30 June 1972 at Oswego, La., by the Avondale Shipyard; launched on
24 March 1973; sponsored by Mrs.
Manuelita Valdez, the mother of
Hospitalman Third Class Valdez; and commissioned
on 27 July 1974 at Charleston, S.C., Comdr. Joe D. Peden in command.
Valdez spent the following three months in Charleston fitting out and completing final trials. She
departed Charleston on 27 October,
bound for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
whence she operated for the next seven weeks. Upon completion of her shakedown cruise, she returned to Charleston for
a month of leave and upkeep followed by
inspections and preparations for post-shakedown availability. That availability began on 25 February 1975 and ended on 11 April. At that juncture, she
began normal operations out of
Charleston and, later, participated
in Exercise "Solid Shield," an amphibious landing and convoy protection exercise conducted
during the last week in May and the
first week in June near Morehead
City, N.C. On 6 June, the ocean escort returned to Charleston and resumed the normal routine until 18 August.
During that period, she was reclassified
a frigate and redesignated FF-1096 on 30 June 1975.
On 18 August, the frigate steamed out of Charleston for her first overseas deployment. She changed
operational control to the 6th Fleet
upon arrival at Rota, Spain, on the
29th. From there, the frigate moved into and across the Mediterranean Sea to
Egypt. She transited the Suez Canal
on 5 September and the next day reported
for duty with the Middle East Force at Djibouti
in the French Territory of the Afars and Issas. During her tour of duty with the Middle East Force, Valdez participated in bilateral
exercises with units of the naval
forces of France, Iran, Abu Dhabi, and
Pakistan as well as of the Air Force of Kuwait. She also embarked
officers of the Saudi Arabian Navy for
training and participated in the multinational CENTO exercise codenamed
MidLink-75. Ports of call included Bandar
Abbas, Iran; Bahrain; Kuwait; Shar-jah
and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates; Karachi, Pakistan; Assab, Ethiopia; Victoria in the Seychelles; and Jidda, Saudi Arabia.
On 31 January 1976, Valdez
retransited the Suez Canal on her
way home. She recrossed the Mediterranean Sea and arrived back in Rota
on 5 February where she remained until the
8th. Between 11 and 14 February, she
visited Brest, France, where she participated in a gun salute symbolic of the first salute ever fired to the flag of the independent United States. From
there, she set course-via the Azores
and Bermuda- to return to Charleston.
Valdez reentered her home port on 25 February.
After leave and upkeep,
she resumed normal 2d Fleet
operations out of Charleston. That duty lasted until September when she began preparations for another 6th Fleet deployment.
On 4 October, she stood
out of Charleston and arrived in Rota
10 days later. On the 16th, Valdez reentered the Mediterranean. The ship spent the remainder of
the year and the initial months of
1977 engaged in operations with the
6th Fleet. Valdez returned to Charleston
on 21 April and commenced 30 days of leave and upkeep.
Following a summer devoted
to operations off the east coast, the
fleet frigate began preparations for another overseas period, this time
a deployment to the North Atlantic. She
departed Charleston on 27 September to join a NATO task group for
Exercise "Combined Effort." During
the next two months, Valdez engaged
in other NATO exercises at sea interspersed with port visits. Her ports of call included Lisbon, Portugal; Portsmouth, England; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Bremerhaven, Germany; and Cherbourg, France. Valdez returned to Charleston on 2
December and remained there into the
The ship got underway on
16 January 1978 for a three-month
good will cruise to West Africa and South America. Countries on her agenda consisted of Morocco, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Togo, Ivory Coast,
Nigeria, Senegal, and Brazil. Valdez
returned to Charleston on 18
April. A month of repairs and leave followed. The summer was spent conducting operations out of her home
port. On 12 September, Valdez departed Charleston for Boston where she commenced a regular overhaul on 15 September at the Bethlehem Steel shipyard.
The ship remained there into 1979.
[Note: The above USS VALDEZ (FF-1096) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS VALDEZ (FF-1096), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]