By Cmdr. Michael Concannon, Commanding Officer, USS Kauffman (FFG 59)
While is it too early to look forward to the end of the life of this great ship and the end of the FFG class, it is hard to ignore the last anniversary of the commissioning of Kauffman. It is my goal to keep my ship and crew focused on the task at hand; curbing the flow of illicit materials into North America. The amount of work required to achieve our mission is more than enough to keep our crew, Law Enforcement Detachment and Aviation Department busy. From weekly brief stops for fuel and logistical requirements, to the six or more hours of flight operations per day, to constant maintenance to keep us in the fight, our Sailors demonstrate the espirit de corps that would make our namesakes proud.
This ship bears the name of a father and son who dedicated their lives in service of their country, whose freedom our Sailors continue to cherish and defend as they did so selflessly many years ago. It is my goal to keep the legacy of Kauffman alive in the crew; that breathes life into the ship.
It is an incredible honor to be here now, underway onboard the last in a long line of accomplished warships, sharing in the string of “lasts” that we are honored to experience, including today. I will refrain from looking back in retrospect on all that this ship and this class of ship has achieved. Our mission is not done and our watch is not over, and the lions share of the work that is left will be shouldered by my remarkable crew. Instead of nostalgia, I would like to give you some insight on what these great Perry-class Sailors, who view themselves like the Destroyer-men of old, are doing to defend our freedom and to further the strategic goals of this great nation.
This mission is one that will produce tangible results that can be seen by both the crew and the American public at once. More than 80 percent of cocaine starts its journey out of South America into Central America, through the very waters we are patrolling, eventually making its way into North American markets. Our Navy and Coast Guard team are working hard to hunt down these illicit traffickers, using all assets available, and confiscate their illicit cargo, using the law enforcement capabilities of our USCG Detachment to bring them to justice. It is not easy work, and it requires an extraordinary amount of patience and constant vigilance by the entire crew.
This last mission is a fitting one for the type of Sailors that FFG’s have always bred. It is an around the clock mission, where most of our work is done in the middle of the night after a full days work. It requires a “jack of all trades” type of Sailor, one that can shift from administrative duties to manning a boat team ready to board and search a ship at a moments notice. These Sailors take an unequaled amount of pride in their work, and each day challenge one another to be their very best.
I hope that this blog helps to remind Americans of what their men and women who have volunteered to wear the cloth of our nation are doing to keep the streets of America a little safer and the futures of its citizens a little brighter. For the thousands and thousands of prior FFG-7 class Sailors, I hope this brings back fond memories of your service on these warships, and that you feel the pride we do to have served our nation on this class of ship. This commissioning anniversary is important for us on Kauffman as it represents the celebration of the birth of a warship; its significance is not lost on me. However, my focus right now is exactly where it needs to be; getting this ship and its crew through this deployment successfully. Please follow along with us on our last journey, and continue to support this last crew to join the fraternity of tin-can Sailors.