BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Disposition Services will recycle five retired U.S. Navy ships as part of a new scrap sales contract to save taxpayer money and protect the environment, Jeff Landenberger, DLA Disposition Services, wrote in an Oct. 5 article on the DLA website.
The five ships are: the ex-USS Charles F. Adams (DDG-2), the ex-USS Barry (DD 933), -the ex-USS Stephen W. Groves (FFG-29), the ex-USS Hawes (FFG 53), and the ex-USS Ticonderoga (CG47).
The winning bid for recycling the ships was $240, according to DLA Disposition Services Public Sales Division Chief Carlos Torres. The important takeaway for taxpayers is that the contract allows the U.S. Navy to avoid per-ship disposal costs that can add up to millions of dollars.
Torres said DLA and the Navy partnered in writing the contract. Navy officials then reviewed technical proposals and ensured that companies bidding could meet the requirements.
The ships’ final destination will be Brownsville, Texas, where full dismantling will commence and 98% of all removed materials are expected to be recycled.
Thousands of sailors served on the five ships while they were part of the active fleet. Ron Tucker was new to the Navy in 1982 when he joined USS Ticonderoga’s crew. It was still under construction in the shipyards of Pascagoula, Mississippi, awaiting commissioning, designating him a “plank owner.”
“Looking back, we were the center of attention with regards to the Navy and DoD,” Tucker said. “The Washington Post carried some articles, they called the ‘Star Wars’ ship.”
Tucker said that, at the time, he did not understand the significance of his new ship being the first to deploy the Aegis weapons system. Today, that system is a standard in the fleet.
After ships are decommissioned, the Navy places them in reserve, or, what is often referred to as the “Mothball Fleet.” Some are retained in case they are needed in an emergency. But as newer ships are moved into the reserve fleet, the older ones are released to make room and reduce the Navy’s maintenance costs.
“It’s part of the Navy experience to have to say goodbye to a ship, they don’t last forever,” said Tucker.