After more than 30 years of service to the United States Navy, many at Naval Station Mayport, the USS Underwood will be decommissioned today.
"I'm very honored to have been a captain aboard that ship for more than two years in the 90s," said Rear Admiral Victor Guillory.
He now serves as Jacksonville's Military Affairs Office. But, he recalls some fond memories from the Underwood's more than 30 years of service.
"Being able to take that ship from Jacksonville to South Africa...right after Apartheid ended." And as an African-American, Guillory said that meant a lot to him personally and professionally.
Now, its service men and women will be reassigned, some staying here in Jacksonville. This was a pre-planned decommissioning, but with the sequester also hitting our local Navy bases, he's anxious for more crews to call the First Coast home.
"There's some economic impact, but certainly I think it will be replaced by the newer ships that are coming to Mayport, and are scheduled to arrive here in the next few years," says Guillory.
Guillory hopes the reassigned crews all take a message with them for the new ships eventually coming to Mayport, that Jacksonville is a town that loves its military members.