Hundreds Bid Farewell to Retired Ship at Mayport; Navy Decommissions USS De Wert after 30 Years of Service

By Davis, Clifford | The Florida Times Union, April 5, 2014 | Go to article overview

Hundreds Bid Farewell to Retired Ship at Mayport; Navy Decommissions USS De Wert after 30 Years of Service


Davis, Clifford, The Florida Times Union


Byline: Clifford Davis

The old lady looked good on her final day, though almost completely gray.

The chaplain quoted from Ecclesiastes Chapter 3.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven," he said.

Hundreds of people attended the occasion, dressed in their best attire to bid her farewell.

She had shaped their lives, kept them safe and would forever remain a part of them.

Many walked by her solemnly, taking time to carefully examine the unique features of her earthly remains.

According to the men attending to her, the body will be taken north to Philadelphia to meet an uncertain future.

Friday, she lay beside the Mayport pier. Daring. Dauntless. Defiant.

Born decades before in Bath, Maine, her family name was known for heroism and selflessness.

She herself went on to serve the United States for all of a distinguished, 30-year career.

Though a somber occasion it was, the youthful silhouettes of those who will follow in her footsteps gave comfort to those who came to pay their respects.

But Friday, they were there to honor her.

In front of politicians, military brass and those who shared her name, the U.S. Navy decommissioned the frigate USS De Wert.

The old frigate was christened the USS De Wert in honor of Navy Corpsman Richard De Wert, who died saving Marines in Korea in 1951 while under attack from Chinese Communist forces. …

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