U.S. Navy Decommissions Mine Countermeasures Ship USS Ardent

 In Americas, COVID-19, Sea, USA, Forces & Capabilities

The U.S. Navy decom­mis­sioned its Avenger-class mine coun­ter­mea­sures ship USS Ardent (MCM 12) during a cer­e­mo­ny at Naval Base San Diego, Aug. 20.

Due to public health safety and restric­tions of large public events relat­ed to the novel coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) pan­dem­ic, plankown­ers and former crew mem­bers of the Avenger-class ship vir­tu­al­ly cel­e­brat­ed its dis­tin­guished his­to­ry. The Navy also decom­mis­sioned Ardent’s sister ships USS Champion (MCM 4) and USS Scout (MCM 8) during sim­i­lar cer­e­monies last wee.

Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Three, Rear Adm. Philip E. Sobek, Ardent’s guest speak­er, thanked the crews for their work.

“It was an honor to be with you today as we close this chap­ter in naval his­to­ry,” said Sobeck. It was a dis­tinct priv­i­lege to work along­side some of the finest mine-coun­ter­mea­sure Sailors in our Navy.”

Sobeck, who had pre­vi­ous­ly com­mand the Ardent remarked, “Those Sailors, and all who have manned these rails, truly lived up to the ship’s motto – “Igneus et Fervens” (fiery and fer­vent), which rep­re­sents the irre­press­ible char­ac­ter and fight­ing spirit of the crew.”

Commanded by Lt. Cmdr. Samuel Moffett, the ship main­tained a crew of eight offi­cers and 76 enlist­ed Sailors.

“Today is an end of an era, but also a happy day, for those Iron Men and Women that brought this Wooden Ship to life and proud­ly rep­re­sent­ed what it means to be a U.S. Navy Sailor,” said Moffett.

Ardent (MCM 12), the third ship* to bear the name, had her keel laid down on Oct. 22, 1990, launched on Nov. 16, 1991, and sub­se­quent­ly com­mis­sioned Feb. 18, 1994. Her maiden voyage from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin com­menced on Oct. 30, 1993, and includ­ed a unique tran­sit though the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. The trip was punc­tu­at­ed by the arrival of Ardent to her home­port of Ingleside, Texas on Dec. 15, 1993. From 1995 to 2014 Ardent was for­ward deployed to the Arabian Gulf, work­ing from Manama, Bahrain. She par­tic­i­pat­ed anti-mine, anti-sub­ma­rine and mar­itime secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions inde­pen­dent­ly and in coop­er­a­tion with multi-nation­al part­ners.

In 1998, while under­way in the North Arabian Gulf, she received emer­gent task­ing to assist USNS Catawba (T‑ATF 168) in locat­ing and recov­er­ing a downed F/A‑18C. Later that year she con­duct­ed oper­a­tions inside Iraqi ter­ri­to­r­i­al waters in Mine Danger Area (MDA) 10 in sup­port of Operation Desert Fox. Ardent depart­ed on an emer­gency sortie from Mina Salman Port, with all other ships, in the wake of USS Cole (DDG 67) bomb­ing in Port of Aden, Yemen in October 2000.

Ardent’s mis­sions includ­ed con­tin­u­ous­ly sur­vey­ing ship­ping lanes, ship’s safe pas­sage cor­ri­dors (Q‑routes) and pro­vid­ed a con­stant pres­ence to dis­cour­age any hos­tile actions in the area. Continuing in the spirit of her tenured career in the Gulf, once state­side again, Ardent con­tin­ued her anti-mine oper­a­tions while con­tin­u­ing to be ambas­sador of the Navy to neigh­bors Mexico and Canada.

The vessel will offi­cial­ly decom­mis­sion on Aug. 27th.

Avenger class ships are designed as mine sweep­er­s/hunter-killers capa­ble of find­ing, clas­si­fy­ing, and destroy­ing moored and bottom mines. Avenger (MCM 1) was decom­mis­sioned on Sept. 30, 2014. Defender (MCM 2) was decom­mis­sioned Oct. 1, 2014. Guardian (MCM 5) was strick­en from ser­vice in 2013.

These ships use sonar and video sys­tems, cable cut­ters, and a mine det­o­nat­ing device that can be released and det­o­nat­ed by remote con­trol. They are also capa­ble of con­ven­tion­al sweep­ing mea­sures. The ships are fiber­glass sheathed, wooden hull con­struc­tion.

Eight MCM remain in ser­vice to the fleet and are for­ward deployed to Sasebo, Japan and Manama, Bahrain.

* The first Ardent (SP-680) was built as a com­mer­cial fish­ing steam­er by the Greenport Basin and Construction Company at Greenport on Long Island, New York, in 1902. The U.S. Navy pur­chased her on June 11, 1917 to be used as a sec­tion patrol boat and minesweep­er during World War I. She was com­mis­sioned on Aug. 15, 1917 as USS Ardent with LT F. P. Betts in com­mand. Ardent was assigned to the Mining Force of the 2nd Naval District in south­ern New England and con­duct­ed patrol and minesweep­ing duties in the Newport and Block Island sec­tions through­out World War I. She was decom­mis­sioned in early 1921.

The second Ardent (AM-340) was an Auk-class minesweep­er in the United States Navy. Ardent was ini­tial­ly laid down as the HMS Buffalo (BAM‑8) for the Royal Navy on Feb. 20, 1943 at Alameda California by the General Engineering & Drydock Co. but was reas­signed to the United States Navy. Ardent was com­mis­sioned May 25, 1944 with LCDR Allan D. Curtis in com­mand. During the first seven months of her career, Ardent escort­ed con­voys and ships oper­at­ing between the west coast of the United States and the Hawaiian Islands. The high­light of her ser­vice occurred on Nov. 13, 1944 when she sunk the Japanese sub­ma­rine I‑12. During her second deploy­ment Ardent saw action in minesweep­ing oper­a­tions and downed sev­er­al Japanese air­craft. Ardent was decom­mis­sioned July 1, 1972 and was sub­se­quent­ly sold to the Mexican gov­ern­ment.

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