FFG 56 | USS SIMPSON
Rear Admiral Rodger Whitten Simpson
USS SIMPSON is an OLIVER HAZARD PERRY - class guided missile frigate originally designed as a multi-role open-ocean escort ship for merchant vessel convoys and amphibious task groups. The ship is named for Rear Admiral Rodger W. Simpson, who distinguished himself during World War II as a Destroyer Commanding Officer and Flotilla Commander. SIMPSON was built by Bath Iron Works, Maine, and commissioned on 9 November 1985. In January 1986, SIMPSON participated in the search and rescue efforts for the space shuttle CHALLENGER, receiving the U.S. Coast Guard Unit Commendation with Operational "O."
On SIMPSON's first overseas deployment in January 1988, the ship was assigned as an escort to U.S.-flagged merchant vessels in the Arabian Gulf. On 18 April 1988, SIMPSON was a principle unit of Operation Praying Mantis responding to the Iranian mine attack on USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (FFG 58). Operating in conjunction with two other Navy ships, SIMPSON was responsible for the destruction of an Iranian oil platform and sinking the Iranian Navy missile patrol combatant, JOSHAN. The ship was awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award and the Combat Action Ribbon for this operation. SIMPSON was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for the deployment.
SIMPSON's second overseas deployment in October 1990 saw her again operating in the Arabian Gulf, escorting U.S.-flagged and other neutral shipping in the Arabian Gulf.
SIMPSON departed on her third deployment to the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and a third visit to the Arabian Gulf in December 1991. In the Mediterranean Sea, SIMPSON rendezvoused with two CIS warships and conducted ship maneuvering exercises, the first such between U.S. and CIS forces. SIMPSON then proceeded to the Red Sea to participate in the United Nations embargo against Iraq. Assigned as an escort to USS AMERICA (CV 66) in the Arabian Gulf, SIMPSON participated in two major joint exercises and qualified for the Southwest Asia Service Medal and the Kuwait Liberation Medals issued by the governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
In the spring of 1993, SIMPSON again prepared for a major overseas deployment. During a three day port visit and Independence Day Celebration, SIMPSON was adopted by the City of Stamford, CT.
In August 1993, SIMPSON sailed with USS AMERICA on her fourth overseas deployment. While assigned to Joint Task Group AMERICA, SIMPSON participated in Operations Deny Flight and Provide Promise in the Adriatic Sea and U.N. Operation Continue Hope off the coast of Somalia. After a brief assignment in the Red Sea supporting U.N. sanctions against Iraq, SIMPSON returned home in February 1994.
Shortly after her return home, SIMPSON was called upon to participate in Operations Support Democracy and Able Manner off the coast of Haiti in support of the U.N. embargo against HAITI. After returning to Newport, RI for three weeks, SIMPSON shifted homeports to Norfolk, VA in May 1994. Enroute, SIMPSON was tasked to return to the Caribbean to participate in Operation Restore Democracy, finally arriving in Norfolk in June 1994.
Upon completion of post-deployment maintenance, SIMPSON returned to the Caribbean to participate in Counter Drug Operations with the Coast Guard. SIMPSON returned to Norfolk in December and deployed again to the Caribbean in February 1995 to continue Counter Drug Operations.
After a summer at home, SIMPSON deployed for the fifth time in November 1995. This trip was to the Mediterranean as part of NATO's Standing Naval Forces Atlantic. During this deployment, SIMPSON primarily operated in the Adriatic Sea in support of NATO Operation Sharp Guard, enforcing the U.N. Security Council's arms embargo against Bosnia-Herzegovina. The ship earned the Armed Forces Service Medal and the NATO Medal for the deployment.
USS SIMPSON celebrated the arrival of 1996 while inport Barcelona, Spain as part of the Standing Naval Forces, Atlantic (SNFL). SIMPSON operated with the forces of OPERATION SHARP GUARD enforcing the arms embargo against Croatia, throughout the 1996 deployment. SIMPSON also enjoyed port visits in Augusta Bay Sicily, Valencia Spain, Palma de Mallorca Spain, Trieste Italy, Corfu Greece, Napels Italy, Toulon France, Genoa Italy, and Gibraltar United Kingdom.
SIMPSON conducted turn over with the USS MCINERNEY (FFG 8) as the United States Representative SNFL. SIMPSON arrived in Bermuda on May 5th, where she picked up family members for the remainder of SIMPSON's transit home. SIMPSON returned to Norfolk, Virginia on May 8th to an enthusiastic crowd of friends and family and immediately began post deployment stand down.
In 1996, SIMPSON conducted a training availability for Surface Warfare Officer's School Division Officer's Course, and proceeded to Maine, where she conducted a series of port visits in Castine and Booth Bay Harbor in support of Castine's 200th anniversary and the Booth Bay Harbor Windjammer Festival.
SIMPSON's served as the surface support unit for CNO Project Emerald II and Operation Global Yankee, and visited Rockland, Maine where she anchored in support of the Maine Lobster Festival. After a three day visit, during which the crew was pampered with lobster dinners and lunches, SIMPSON returned to sea and transited to Annapolis, Maryland where she hosted Midshipmen and their parents for three days in support of Plebe Parent's Weekend at the United States Naval Academy.
SIMPSON returned to sea in October as Opposing Force for the THEODORE ROOSEVELT Battle Group Joint Task Force Exercise, followed by a trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Navy League.
In November 1996, SIMPSON moved up the Elizabeth River to Marine Hydraulics International (MHI), Incorporated. SIMPSON remained at MHI through the remainder of the year, where she began work on habitability projects in the Combined Office Complex (COC) and Operations Berthing, and installation of a Passive Countermeasure System (PCMS).
USS SIMPSON began 1997 in the middle of an Extended Selected Restricted Availability (ESRA) at MHI, Incorporated.
After much work, refurbishment, completion of a successful Light-Off Assessment and sea trials, SIMPSON returned to Norfolk in February 1997. In February 1997, SIMPSON completed the first FFG to FFG weapons transfer at Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Yorktown with USS ROBERT G. BRADLEY (FFG 49).
USS SIMPSON started 1998 enroute to the Puerto Rican Oparea for JTFEX 1-98 with the JOHN C. STENNIS BATTLE GROUP. After completion of a successful exercise, the ship was ready for deployment. 26 February, SIMPSON deployed to the Mediterranean to participate in STANDING NAVAL FORCE MEDITERRANEAN 98-1. Conducting a group sail with USS CARON, USS LABOON, and USNS SANTA BARBARA, she arrived at the Strait of Gibraltar ready to rendezvous with USS UNDERWOOD for turnover and inchop to STANDING NAVAL FORCE MEDITERRANEAN.
Joining NATO ships from Germany, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Britain, and the Netherlands, SIMPSON became the United States representative for STANAVFORMED. After participating in EXERCISE STRONG RESOLVE 98, all STANAVFORMED ships sailed to Portsmouth, UK for some well deserved R&R.
SIMPSON was then underway with STANAVFORMED ships enroute Amsterdam, NL. After two days of maintenance, SIMPSON was underway for Hamburg, Germany. This continuous, fast paced, cycle of underway exercises and inport maintenance continued during SIMPSON's entire stay with STANAVFORMED including visits to Antwerp, Belgium, Malaga and Cadiz Spain, Taranto, Italy, and Koper, Slovenia.
SIMPSON completed her highly successful operation with STANAVFORMED, turned over with USS KAUFFMAN, and proceeded to Rhodes, Greece. On the 16th of June, with less than twenty four hours notice, SIMPSON was tasked to go to the Adriatic Sea to assume duties as Undersea and Surface Warfare Commander for the WASP Amphibious Ready Group. She conducted a twenty-two hour full power run arriving in the Adriatic the next morning. Upon completion of that assignment, SIMPSON had to play some "catch-up". On single engine operations, SIMPSON was ordered to make best speed to rendezvous with Destroyer Squadron Twenty-Two ships that left a couple of days earlier. She ran at flank speed for six days straight travelling 3,360 nautical miles meeting the LABOON and CARON just in time for a Engineering Mid-Cycle Assessment in the Atlantic enroute to Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.
On 2 July, SIMPSON arrived in Norfolk, Virginia and began her post deployment stand down. Less than a week after completing stand down, SIMPSON was underway again, this time for Midshipman training. In the Vacapes OpArea, she conducted multiple ship-handling evolutions, BECCE's, and weapons familiarization, CIWS and 76mm gun shoots.
In late August, Hurricane Bonnie threatened the coast of Virginia, and SIMPSON joined the Sortie to the Atlantic. She conducted various ship-handling evolutions, General Quarters drills, and BECCE's prior to returning to port.
On 4 September, Commander Roland J. Mulligan was relieved as Commanding Officer, USS SIMPSON by Commander Gerald F. DeConto. Two weeks later, SIMPSON was underway again, in the Vacapes OpArea for OPFOR JTFEX 98-2 in support of the ENTERPRISE BATTLE GROUP. Setting new standards in harassment operations, SIMPSON returned to port.
A short upkeep period was next in line for SIMPSON followed by a highly successful Logistics Management Assessment. SIMPSON then commenced a Restricted Availability period where she completed work on the Gas Turbine Engines, SSDG's, various decking jobs, non skid work, flight deck maintenance, RAST maintenance, and gun maintenance. In addition, habitability work in the Chief Petty Officer berthing, Operations head, Officers head and ventilation, and the Engineering Berthing made the RAV a success.
SIMPSON conducted PLOT III, and completed her Light Off Assessment. She then completed an ammunition onload, enjoyed a children's and adult Christmas party, and stood down for the holidays.
The lightning bolt
breaking the metal prison bar symbolizes Admiral Simpson's quick attack
to rescue Prisoners of War from Japanese concentration camps. This
standard will guide the USS SIMPSON in striking for justice and against
threats to our precious freedom. The Green Navy Cross with two stars
against a rose red background symbolizes the decorations and awards
presented to Admiral Simpson. The Navy Cross with gold star (in lieu of
second award) for extraordinary actions taken against Japanese forces
south of the Gilbert Islands while Commanding Officer of the USS MAHAN.
The second award was for heroism during an engagement with enemy forces
in Vella Gulf, Solomon Islands. The other star on the cross represents
the Silver Star awarded for "Gallantry and intrepidity during
operations in the Bismark Archipelago," while serving as Commander,
Destroyer Squadron TWELVE and Destroyer Division TWENTY THREE. The rose
red background symbolizes the Legion of Merit Medal presented to
Admiral Simpson for his daring rescue of over 7,500 Allied Prisoners of
War and civilians interned in Japanese concentration camps. He earned
this while serving as Commander, Task Flotilla SIX.