The first US Navy vessel that I had the pleasure of serving aboard; the USS Valdez FF 1096
Keel laid June: 30, 1972 Avondale Shipyards, New Orleans, LA
Launched March: 24, 1973
Commissioned: July 27, 1974
Decommissioned: December 16, 1991, Newport, RI
I was aboard her from April of ’91 till she was decommissioned that following December.
About the ship’s name from http://navysite.de/ff/ff1096.htm
(yes I know it’s a German site)
Phil Isadore Valdez - born on 13 April 1946 in Dixon, N.M. - graduated from Espanola (N.M.) High School in May 1965 and enlisted in the Navy on 1 November 1965. After completing basic training, he was trained at the Naval Hospital Corps School at San Diego, Calif. Advanced to the rating of hospitalman in May 1966, Valdez served at the Naval Hospital, Key West, Fla., until 19 December 1966 at which time he was transferred to the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, Fleet Marine Force, serving ashore in Vietnam near Danang.
On the morning of 29 January 1967, Valdez was assigned as corpsman with the 3rd Platoon when that unit was flown in by helicopter to provide support for the embattled Company "H," 2nd Battalion. Upon landing, Valdez' unit came under heavy sniper fire, and several marines went down as a result. The hospitalman sprang into action instantly. First, he ran about 70 meters across open land being raked by enemy fire to aid a fallen marine. He helped that man to a safer place and quickly dressed his wounds. After completing that task, he dashed back out into the hail of fire to assist another wounded marine some 50 meters away. Upon reaching his new charge, he positioned himself so as to protect the wounded man from the enemy fire and began to dress his wound. At that point, the enemy got his range, and Valdez fell to their fire mortally wounded. His "...heroic action and selfless devotion to duty..." saved the lives of two wounded marines and, in recognition of his "...conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action," HN Valdez was advanced to the rate of hospitalman, third class, and awarded the Navy Cross, both posthumously.
Which is correct from my memory of the plaque that was on the Valdez.
Edit to fix pics
...And it's still f*cked up to this day.