Islander participates in de-commissioning of third oldest ship in Navyâ€™s fleet
Islander participates in de-commissioning of third oldest ship in Navy’s fleetretired Navy Captain Franklin Julian of Jamestown participated in the de-commis-sioning of the USS LaSalle (AGF 3) in Norfolk, Va.
The two oldest commissioned ships are the sailing frigate Constituion with about 207 years of commissioned time and moored in Boston, and the air-craft carrier Kitty Hawk in com-mission for 44 years and home-ported in Japan.
LaSalle had seen 41 years of at sea.
Captain Julian was in com-mand of the LaSalle from January 1984 until February 1985. The ship then operated in the Persian Gulf.
During its 41 years of service, the LaSalle saw assignments that took it from the Dominican Republic in 1965, to clearing mines in the Red Sea in 1984, to the Persian Gulf as the nation’s flagship during Desert Storm operations.
LaSalle also served as the flag-ship for the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.
The LaSalle was also assigned to the Middle East and operated out of Bahrain, a small island in the Persian Gulf.
While in the Persian Gulf, LaSalle was painted white to reflect the hot temperatures of the region. During most of the sum-mer days, Gulf temperatures are in the range of 117 to 125 degrees.
In the Middle East, the LaSalle was the flagship of the force com-mander and was known as “the Great White Ghost of the Arabian Coast.”
The LaSalle has been replaced by a more modern command ship, more specifically designed to bet-ter support the complex and demanding command and control operations of a new era of war fighting.
Within the near term the LaSalle will be towed to Philadelphia and placed in among retired ships of days gone by. If no requirements are placed upon the Navy to put her back to sea, the ship is likely to be cut up or retired to a grave at sea in about two years.
Captain Julian spent nearly 38 years in the Navy. During his service, he also commanded the helicopter carrier Nassau, which saw duty in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
He also served in Vietnam.