Mayport Welcomes Frigate Halyburton Makes New Home Port

By Deringer, Kate | The Florida Times Union, July 18, 2000 | Go to article overview

Mayport Welcomes Frigate Halyburton Makes New Home Port


Deringer, Kate, The Florida Times Union


Mayport Naval Station's fleet of ships grew by one yesterday with the arrival of the USS Halyburton, a guided missile frigate.

Formerly stationed in Norfolk, Va., and carrying a crew of more than 200, the ship docked at its new home port to the tune of patriotic music and the welcoming cries of sailors' family members.

Lt. Cmdr. Dennis Moynihan, spokesman for the Atlantic Surface Fleet, said the Halyburton was shifted to Mayport as part of "a routine destroyer squadron realignment," which configures the Navy's surface forces to best meet its commitments. This home port change is the second in six years for the Halyburton.

"We're always happy to see a new ship come," said Lt. Cmdr. Kelly Merrell, public affairs officer for Mayport. "It's good news for Mayport and Jacksonville."

Cmdr. Warren Rhoades III, the ship's captain, said the arrival of the vessel and its crew should make a big impact on the Jacksonville area -- a region with a strong reputation throughout the Navy. The ship brings an estimated annual payroll of $8.4 million to the First Coast.

One of 51 Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates, the 453-foot Halyburton has both anti-submarine and anti-aircraft warfare capabilities. During peacetime, however, the vessel will engage in a variety of missions, including patrolling for ships carrying illegal drugs or embargoed goods, according to Lt. j.g. Jon Spiers, assistant public affairs officer for the base.

Especially eager to witness the ship's arrival were Penny and Bobbi Halyburton, nieces of the ship's namesake. William David Halyburton Jr., a Navy pharmacist's mate second class, was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his service with a Marine rifle company on Okinawa during World War II.

The Halyburtons, both of St. Augustine, said while they have had a chance to visit and sail on the frigate in the past, having the ship stationed so close to home is particularly special.

"When you see our name proudly displayed on the shoulders of these young men and women, it's a feeling that's hard to explain," Penny Halyburton said. …

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