|Vreeland (DE-1068) was laid down on 20 March 1968 by the Avondale Shipyard at Westwego, La.; launched on 14 June 1969; sponsored by Mrs. Jamie L. Whitten, wife of the Congressman representing Mississippi's 2d Congressional District, and commissioned at Charleston, S.C., on 13 June 1970, Comdr. David R. Stefferud in command.
After fitting out at Charleston and shakedown training in the West Indies, Vreeland returned to Charleston to join Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 4. She completed repairs in February 1971 and final contract trials in March and then began preparations for her first deployment to the Mediterranean area. The warship departed Charleston on 15 April and arrived in Rota, Spain, on the 25th. During the next six months she steamed the length and breadth of the "middle sea' as a unit of the 6th Fleet. She visited numerous ports and participated in a host of exercises with American and Allied naval forces. She concluded that tour of duty at Gibraltar on 8 October when she changed operational control back to the 2d Fleet and headed home. The warship arrived in Charleston on the 16th and resumed 2d Fleet operations out of Charleston.
The Greek Years
In the summer of 1972, the ship began preparations for another cruise in the Mediterranean Sea. That deployment, however, proved different than the previous one. Rather than deploying for six months and then returning home to Charleston, Vreeland received orders changing her home port to Athens, Greece. That assignment lasted for the next three years rather than the normal six months and included the relocation of Vreeland dependents to Athens-all as a part of the Navy's forward deployment program. During those three years, she performed the normal duties of a unit of the 6th Fleet, visiting ports, conducting exercises, and performing surveillance of Soviet ships operating in the Mediterranean.
On 1 July 1976, Vreeland was reclassified a frigate and redesignated FF-1068. Three days later, she departed Greece to begin her voyage back to the United States. The warship concluded that voyage and her three-year deployment at Philadelphia on 30 July. After post-deployment standdown, she moved south to Norfolk in September for repairs but returned to Philadelphia in October in time to participate in the Navy's 200th birthday celebration on the 13th. Duty as a surface warfare school ship and more repairs at Norfolk followed.
On 6 December, the frigate entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard where she spent the following year undergoing a major overhaul. Her refurbishing completed on 2 December 1976, the warship resumed duty as an active unit of the Fleet early in 1977. Refresher training and various qualification exercises out of her new home port, Mayport, Fla., occupied her during the first six months of 1977. On 25 July, she departed Mayport for a cruise to South America to participate in UNITAS XVIII, the annual series of exercises in which units of various South American navies join the United States Navy in practicing the skills of hemispheric defense. In November, she concluded her UNITAS cruise and reentered Mayport on the 26th. Leave and upkeep in port took up her time for the remainder of the year.
A part of January and February 1978 was devoted to a restricted availability for Vreeland. The frigate devoted the ensuing months to preparations for her forthcoming deployment to the Middle East. Vreeland departed from Mayport on 23 July in company with Mullinix (DD-944). Following fuel stops at Bermuda, the Azores, and Rota, Spain, the ships transited the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal and arrived at Port Sudan, Sudan, on 9 August. A turnover from Glover (AGFF-1) and Barney (DDG-6) was effected, and Vreeland joined the Middle East Force. The remainder of the year was spent in operations with that group. On 31 December, Vreeland and Mullinix retransited the Suez Canal on their return to the United States.
On March 10th of 1980 the Vreeland deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and participated as the U.S. representative to the Belgian Naval Review and celebrated the 105th Anniversary of the Belgium Independence. Vreeland returned in mid August and prepared for a regular overhaul at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. Cortesy of DANFS Online
In June of 1982 the Vreeland deployed for the Mediterranean/ Indian Ocean With the USS Forrestal Battle Group. On the first day out an SH-3H helicopter from the USS Forrestal experienced mechanical difficulties after lifting off the deck. The helo could not gain altitude and attempted to "water taxi". While in doing so the tail rotor struck the water disabling its ability to get airborne. The SH-3H is designed to float for a time to make recovery possible. The Vreeland was tasked with the rescue of the pilots and crew and then attaching a towing hawser to it and towing it to the Forrestal some 10 miles away. Vreelands motor whaleboat crew and two (SAR) swimmers from the ship's company sped to the scene. The pilots and crew were rescued but the hawser could not be attached due to the fact that the salt water activated smoke float had ignited. The motor whaleboat remained on scene but at some distance incase the helicopters fuel ignited. The helo sunk further and the smoke floats burned themselves out. The USS Forrestal maneuvered to recover the helo with the deck crane successfully.
January, 17, 1983 Vreeland transits Panama Canal and conducts special operations in Eastern Pacific Ocean.
November, 1983 Vreeland is awarded the Battle "E"
In April of 1984 the Vreeland departed Mayport for six month Mediterranean deployment. During this cruise Vreeland visited Bermuda, the Azores, Naples Italy, Catania Sicily, Siracusa Sicily, Monaco, Athens Greece, Catania Sicily, Taormina Sicily, Marseille France, Benidorm Spain, Palma Mallorca Spain, Torremolinos Spain, Gijon Spain & Rota Spain. Vreeland spent several weeks monitoring Soviet submarine and floating drydock activities in and around the Gulf of Sidra.
December, 1984 Vreeland escorts Soviet flotilla off the waters of Cuba.
May, 1985 Deployed to Honduras
Mediterranean Deployment 1986
Operation El Dorado Canyon-Libya 12-17 April 1986
Mediterranean Deployment 1988?
Operation Just Cause (Panama) December 20, 1989 - January 31, 1990
December 1990 Vreeland departs Mayport, FL. to take part in Operation DESERT STORM, January 17, 1991 - February 28, 1991
Decommissioned: June 30, 1992
Leased to Greece under the Foreign Assistance Act June 30, 1992 Renamed Makedonia (F458) On July, 25th 1992 under the command of Commander E. Korovesis H.N. she departed Mayport Fl. While crossing the North Atlantic on her maiden Hellenic Navy voyage she caught fire in the engineering spaces. The crew flooded the main engineering spaces and abandon ship. Later noting that the fire was subsiding some of the crew reboarded her and began trying to save her from sinking. Finally she was saved but was severly damaged; she was towed to safety and arrived in Greece on August, 25th.
January 11, 1995 The USS Vreeland is stricken from the US Navy ship registry
Hellenic Navy renewed lease - June 30, 1996
Decommissioned from the Hellenic Navy- January of 1999
Sold February 9, 2001
Common fate of the Knox class fleet.
The Vreeland is currently resting in Souda Bay, Crete
It may be some time before I have a complete history of the
Vreeland. Any bits of history you may have are welcome.
|USS Vreeland History|
|"It is the function of the Navy to carry the war to the enemy so that it will not be fought on US soil."
Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz