(Photo: US Navy)
In 1977, the United States Navy launched the Oliver Hazard Perry, the lead vessel in a class of frigates. American shipyards built 51 for the US Navy and 16 more for friendly nations, including Australia and Taiwan. These support vessels carried American will across the globe for nearly 40 years. The USS Stark, which was attacked by Iraq in 1987, was among the Perry-class frigates.
Now the last Perry-class frigate, the Kauffman, begins its final patrol from its homeport in Norfolk, Virginia. After a 6-month cruise off the coast of Central America, it will be decommissioned. There will be no more frigates in the US Navy inventory.