Navy Week: USS De Wert

8/16/2012
BLADE STAFF
The USS De Wert has been on several missions during its 19 years of service, including a drug-interdiction campaign in 2000 during which a drug smuggler's speedboat rammed the frigate.
The USS De Wert has been on several missions during its 19 years of service, including a drug-interdiction campaign in 2000 during which a drug smuggler's speedboat rammed the frigate.

The USS De Wert is among the vessels scheduled to visit Toledo during Navy week.

Public tours: Noon-7 p.m.: Friday, Aug. 24; Saturday, Aug. 25; and Sunday, Aug. 26.

Built: 1982, Bath, Maine

Commissioned: 1983

Type of ship: Guided-missile frigate, a member of the Navy's Oliver Hazard Perry class of ships.

Primary Engines: Two GE gas turbines

Home port: Mayport, Fla.

Normal operating area: Various

Crew: 17 officers, 198 enlisted

Mission: The De Wert provides air, submarine, and surface protection for carrier battle groups, convoys, amphibious groups, and other support operations.

Capabilities and equipment: Its equipment features a combination of modern sensors and advanced weapons systems designed "to fight and survive in the highly complex threat environment of today," according to the ship's Web page. These advanced systems promote rapid threat evaluation and weapons selection "with minimum human interface" to provide "near instantaneous response to any postulated attack." Along with its 3-inch guns, close-in weapons system, and anti-submarine torpedoes, the De Wert is equipped to carry and deploy a Lamps MK III multipurpose helicopter that provides the ability to strike hostile forces before the vessel itself is detected by those forces.

Origins of name: The ship's name honors Richard De Wert, a Marine hospitalman who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his selfless assistance to four combat-wounded Marines during a battle against Chinese forces in 1951 during the Korean War. Hospitalman De Wert was twice wounded while aiding fallen Marines but continued to expose himself to enemy fire before he was killed assisting a fourth man after carrying two to safety and finding a third already had died.

Other information: The De Wert has had numerous overseas missions during its 19 years of service. In 2000, the vessel made national headlines when, during a drug-interdiction campaign, it pursued a smugglers' speedboat off the Pacific Coast of Colombia -- a speedboat that turned after several hours and rammed the frigate in a suspected attempt to sink itself and what remained of its cocaine cargo that hadn't already been tossed overboard. The six smugglers had stripped and doused themselves in gasoline before ramming the De Wert. All were arrested.