Road to Reunion
Written by Kevin Uhrich, Chief Strategy Officer of Giesler LLC
In May 1980 I was enroute to my first Ship, USS Garcia, FF-1040 stationed out of Charleston, SC. Now some Forty-Three years later I will be on the Road to Reunion with my fellow Garcia Shipmates - some from the time when I was onboard (1980-1983) and others from before and after my time. Together, we all brought the ship alive for every day of its' Service to the Nation. USS Garcia (FF-1040) was the lead ship of her class of Destroyer Escort ships, later re-classified as Frigates in the United States Navy. She was named for U.S Marine Private First Class, Fernando Luis Garcia, the first Puerto Rican Medal of honor Recipient.
I have so many good memories of my first SWO Division Officer Tour onboard the Greasy-G as we fondly referred to the ship. From participating in OPSAIL 1980 Tall Ships Parade in Boston, a 7-month deployment to the Mediterranean; when were extended a month to escort the USS John F Kennedy back across the Atlantic through some of the highest seas (30 to 50 ft with crests over 60 feet) I ever experienced. We were assigned to a Plane Guard position, 500 yards astern of the Carrier for 2 or 3 continuous days which enabled us to avoid most of the heavy seas. We went through a Drydocking Overhaul in Boston Shipyards; living and working in Boston was the experience of a lifetime and returning to our homeport in Charleston getting the ship ready to deploy again.
Mostly it's the people - shipmates that we remember the most. I am still in touch with a few shipmates on a regular basis and I am looking forward to meeting some that I haven't seen in 40 plus years. It's the people that bring the ship alive and work together 24hrs a day on deployment to accomplish the mission. We pay tribute to those shipmates that have passed on and celebrate the many paths that the rest of us have taken over the last 43 years to get to Reunion Day in Charleston over this Memorial Day Weekend.