USS Kirk (FF-1087)
USS Kirk (FF-1087)
|Career (United States)|
|Ordered:||25 August 1966|
|Builder:||Avondale Shipyard, Westwego, Louisiana|
|Laid down:||4 December 1970|
|Launched:||25 September 1971|
|Acquired:||27 August 1972|
|Commissioned:||9 September 1972|
|Decommissioned:||6 August 1993|
|Struck:||11 January 1995|
|Fate:||Transferred to Taiwan, as Fen Yang|
|Name:||Fen Yang (Chinese: 汾陽)|
|Acquired:||loaned 6 August 1993
purchased 29 September 1999
|Commissioned:||6 August 1993|
|Class and type:||Knox-class frigate|
|Displacement:||3,221 tons (4,202 full load)|
|Length:||438 ft (134 m)|
|Beam:||46 ft 9 in (14.25 m)|
|Draught:||24 ft 9 in (7.54 m)|
|Propulsion:||2 × CE 1200psi boilers
1 Westinghouse geared turbine
1 shaft, 35,000 shp (26,000 kW)
|Speed:||over 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph)|
|Complement:||18 officers, 267 enlisted|
|AN/SPS-40 Air Search Radar
AN/SPS-67 Surface Search Radar
AN/SQR-18 Towed array sonar system
Mk68 Gun Fire Control System
|AN/SLQ-32 Electronics Warfare System|
|Armament:||1 × Mk-16 8 cell missile launcher for ASROC and Harpoon missiles
1 × Mk-42 5-inch/54 caliber gun
Mark 46 torpedoes from four single tube launchers)
1 × Phalanx CIWS
|Aircraft carried:||1 × SH-2 Seasprite (LAMPS I) helicopter|
USS Kirk (FF-1087) was a Knox-class destroyer escort, originally designated as DE-1087 and reclassified as a frigate (1975) in the United States Navy. Her primary mission of ASW remained unchanged. She was named for Admiral Alan Goodrich Kirk.
Her contract awarded to Avondale Marine on August 25, 1966. Kirk was laid down on December 4, 1970, launched on September 25, 1971 and commissioned on September 9, 1972.
As part of the U.S. fleet sent to facilitate the evacuation of Americans from South Vietnam, USS Kirk carried out one of the most significant humanitarian missions in U.S. military history. Under the direction of a civilian, Richard Armitage, Kirk rescued the South Vietnamese Navy, and along with it, tens of thousands of Vietnamese refugees, and led them to the Philippines. From there, most of the refugees ultimately emigrated to the United States.
During the evacuation, it became a makeshift landing zone for a stream of helicopters flown by South Vietnamese airmen fleeing for their lives with their families and friends on board. Having only a small helipad, Kirk had nowhere to store the helicopters so the crew pushed each one overboard into the China Sea. The final refugees it received were literally tossed out of a hovering Boeing CH-47 Chinook that was too heavy to land on Kirk. Once the passengers were safely aboard, the pilot steered the craft a few hundred yards off Kirk 's bow and landed in the water. He successfully emerged and joined his family on board the American destroyer.
In 2010, under the direction of VADM Adam Robinson, former Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Navy created a documentary entitled The Lucky Few. It has since been translated into Vietnamese as well.
Decommissioning and Taiwanese service
She served in the U.S. Navy up until August 6, 1993, when the ship was decommissioned and leased to Republic of China Navy in Taiwan. In Taiwanese service she was renamed Fen Yang (Chinese: 汾陽) with the hull number changed to 934. On September 29, 1999, the ship was finally purchased by Taiwan.
- This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain. The entry can be found here.
- Reunion organization site
- Maritimequest USS Kirk DE-1087/FF-1087 Photo Gallery
- USS Kirk (FF1087) Operation Frequent Wind gallery
- Forgotten Ship: A Lifesaving Mission As Saigon Fell - slideshow by NPR
- "Last Days in Vietnam" NPR broadcast April, 29, 2015