The Navy decommissioned guided-missile cruiser Lake Champlain Sept. 1 at Naval Base San Diego, marking more than 35 years of service.
The ship, which was originally commissioned in 1988, supported Operations Enduring Freedom and Southern Watch, the Global War on Terrorism, maritime security operations in the North Arabian Gulf, and counter-piracy operations during its service.
“Behind me is a machine of wonderous complexity and capability. It is truly a marvel of modern technology dedicated to decisive combat operations at sea,” said retired Vice Adm. Thomas Copeman III during the ceremony, according to a Navy news release.
“The fact that she is sitting here, still mission capable, is a tribute to the surface Navy and all the people tasked to support the surface fleet. It is those sailors who have literally given the primes of their lives to the United States Navy keeping this machine in fighting shape that we are really here to pay tribute to,” said Copeman, who previously served as the ship’s executive officer.
The vessel, which was always based in San Diego, recently participated in Exercise Northern Edge near Alaska, involving forces from the Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force, to develop and improve joint force relationships.
In 2017, the ship collided with a South Korean fishing vessel. A review on the incident attributed the mishap to poor seamanship and claimed the “bridge watchteam was slow to react and executed improper and untimely maneuvers in an attempt to avoid collision.”
The ship‘s name honors American success defending waters of Lake Champlain and the lakeside town of Plattsburg, New York, during the War of 1812 against the British forces. It was the third Navy ship to bear the name.