USS STEPHEN W. GROVES FFG 29
USS Stephen W. Groves (FFG 29) was built at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine and was commissioned April 17, 1982, in Portland, Maine.
In 1996 the guided-missile frigate departed for the Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf as part of a Middle East Force deployment.
September 25, 2003 USS Stephen W. Groves, commanded by Cmdr. Rudy Laco, departed Pascagoula, Miss., for a six-month scheduled deployment, in support of counter drug operations, in the Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific Ocean.
November 15, A 12-hour, 305-mile chase resulted in the seizure of 1.5 tons of cocaine, with a street value of almost $30 million, and the detention of six suspects during USS Stephen W. Groves’ first drug bust in the eastern Pacific. She captured a go-fast vessel (GFV), a high-speed boat specifically built for smuggling drugs.
December 2, FFG 29 pulled to Panama City, Panama, for a scheduled port visit.
December 12, After a short chase starting in the pre-dawn hours, USS Stephen W. Groves captured another high-speed boat specifically built for smuggling drugs. It was her second such bust in recent weeks in the eastern Pacific, which resulted in the detention of five suspects and the disruption of 1.5 tons of cocaine, $25 million worth, from reaching its final destination.
March 22, 2004 USS Stephen W. Groves returned to Naval Station Pascagoula after a six-month deployment in support of counter-drug operations. The crew seized 740 kilos of illegal drugs. They also rescued 104 Ecuadorian migrants in the eastern Pacific. The ship made 15 port visits, and conducted community relations projects in Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Panama, and Manta, Ecuador, refurbishing schoolhouses and medical clinics.
April 28, The guided-missile frigate pulled to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to participate in Fleet Week 2004.
June 10, 2005 FFG 29, currently operating in the Gulf of Mexico, will maneuver to safely avoid the approaching Tropical Storm Arlene.
August 26, USS Stephen W. Groves and USS John L. Hall (FFG 32) got underway from Naval Station Pascagoula, Miss., in order to evade approaching Hurricane Katrina.
September 2, FFG 29 returned to homeport after avoiding Hurricane Katrina. The ship is currently in preparation to deploy to the U.S. Southern Command in support of monitoring, detection and counter drug activities.
June 23, 2006 Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command continued efforts at Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) by hosting a sunset reception for the Colombian navy aboard USS Stephen W. Groves, commanded by Cmdr. Jon Kreitz, in Cartagena, Colombia, June 15. The Colombian navy will participate, along with many other regional partners, in a variety of upcoming maritime exercises, such as the Pacific phase of UNITAS, hosted by Chile, and PANAMAX 2006, led by the government of Panama.
July 14, USS Stephen W. Groves departed Mayport Naval Station for the second half of a counter-narco terrorism operations (CNT OPS) deployment for U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command. The ship completed a two-week maintenance period following the first three months of her CNT OPS deployment.
July 26, The guided-missile frigate recently completed a three-day port visit in Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, and expects to operate in the Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific, interdicting narco-terrorism vessels throughout the summer.
September 1, FFG 29 recently departed Callao, Peru, after a scheduled port call.
September 15, The Stephen W. Groves recently scored its third successful take down of narcotics trafficking vessels in less than two weeks, and assisted in the take down of a fourth, interdicting an estimated 8.1 metric tons of cocaine during a counter-narco terrorism operations.
October 4, USS Stephen W. Groves returned to Mayport after a six-month underway period. She conducted two joint Coast Guard and Navy interdiction operations resulting in the interdiction of 2.8 metric tons of cocaine. In total, it interdicted 10.8 metric tons while on deployment.
November 10, The guided-missile frigate is currently conducting exercises and operations at Atlantic Ocean, along with port visits and other events ashore, to foster military-to-military contact with regional maritime forces in support of Theater Security Cooperation.
November 21, FFG 29 visited the Caribbean island of Sint Eustatius in mid-November to honor and recognize the 230th anniversary of a gun salute between the Continental Navy ship Andrew Doria and the Dutch Governor of the island, Johannes de Graaff.
May 23, 2007 The Groves arrived in New York City to participate in Fleet Week 2007.
July 2, USS Stephen W. Groves pulled to Bristol, R.I., to participate in New England Navy Week.
May 2, 2008 FFG 29 returned to homeport after a six-month counter-illicit trafficking (CNT) deployment in the eastern Pacific. The guided-missile frigate detained 17 narco-traffickers, interrupting the shipment of 5 metric tons of cocaine at estimated in-port market value of $350,000,000. The deployment began last October with Cmdr. Jon Kreitz commanding the ship. Kreitz's 18-month tour as CO ended midway through the deployment, when Cmdr. Dan SThe Stephen W. Grovtarling assumed command before the ship made its way through the Panama Canal and into the eastern Pacific. The Groves also visited Roatan, Honduras; Panama City, Panama; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and Cartagena, Columbia.
June 12, The guided-missile frigate arrived in Boston, Mass., for a weekend port visit.
July 13, USS Stephen W. Groves is currently in the Atlantic Ocean participating in the Iwo Jima ESG Composite Unit Training Exercise, but will not deploy with them.
October 10, The Stephen W. Groves departed for a Friends and Family Day Cruise to downtown Jacksonville, to partcipate in a U.S. Navy birthday celebrations.
August 10, 2009 USS Stephen W. Groves arrived in Lisbon, Portugal, to join the Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG-1). The ship recently departed Mayport for a surge Mediterranean deployment.
September 4, FFG 29 departed Cadiz, Spain, after a four-day port visit.
September 15, USS Stephen W. Groves, along with NRP Alvares Cabral (F 331) and FGS Rhoen (A 1443), departed Marseille, France, after a four-day port call. SNMG-1 ships will join the French Navy in Loyal Midas 09 exercise later this month.
December 15, The guided-missile frigate pulled to Rota, Spain, for a routine port call. The Groves recently participated in Counter-piracy Operation Ocean Shield, in the Gulf of Aden, as the final mission of her 2009 Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG-1) deployment and also visited Muscat, Oman.
December 27, USS Stephen W. Groves returned to Mayport Naval Station after a five-month underway period.
May 30, 2010 The guided-missile frigate arrived in Portsmouth, England, for a brief port call.
June 18, USS Stephen W. Groves and USS Simpson (FFG 56) pulled into Kiel, Germany, for the 128th Kiel Week, after participating in exercise BALTOPS 2010.
October 4, Cmdr. Matthew S. Rick relieved Cmdr. Edward S. Gettins as CO of the FFG 29 during a change-of-command ceremony on board the ship at Mayport Naval Station.
January 14, 2011 USS Stephen W. Groves departed Mayport for a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet AoR.
February 8, The Groves arrived in Simon's Town, South Africa, for a scheduled port visit. The ship also made a brief stop at Cape Town on Feb. 7.
February 22, USS Stephen W. Groves arrived in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, for its first port call as part of Africa Partnership Station (APS) East.
March 10, The guided-missile frigate recently pulled into Victoria, Seychelles, for a port visit.
March 21, FFG 29 arrived in Port Louis, Mauritius, for a scheduled port visit as part of APS-East.
April 18, The Stephen W. Groves departed Mombasa, Kenya, after its last port visit as part of Africa Partnership Station.
May 10, During an attempt to rescue the Taiwan fishing vessel Jih Chun Tsai 68 (JCT 68), that was held by Somali pirates since March 30, 2010, the ordnance from USS Stephen W. Groves inadvertently killed ship's master Wu Lai-yu. Three pirates were also found dead after boarding. On May 11, four U.S. sailors conducted a burial-at-sea ceremony for Wu, who was laid to rest in his ship, which was then sunk to "prevent it from becoming a hazard to navigation."
May 23, USS Stephen W. Groves recently pulled into Souda Bay, Crete, Greece, for a scheduled port visit before participating in exercise Phoenix Express '11, May 23- June 15.
July 16, USS Stephen W. Groves returned home after a six-month deployment.
October 7, The guided-missile frigate arrived at Charlestown Navy Yard for a scheduled visit to Boston, Mass., to participate in Columbus Day weekend.
February 24, 2012 USS Stephen W. Groves (FFG 29) is decommissioned, after a 30 years of servise, during a ceremony at Naval Station Mayport. The ship will be towed to Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Office Philadelphia, to continue to serve the Fleet as a logistics asset.