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bobliocatt

USS Spruance to be decommissioned at Mayport

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The USS Spruance, a destroyer that was part of the U.S. Navy fleet for nearly 30 years, will be decommissioned at a ceremony Wednesday at Naval Station Mayport.

The Spruance, which was commissioned in September 1975, is the lead ship of 31 Spruance-class destroyers. During its service the Spruance was deployed to the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean and Mediterranean seas, the Arabian Gulf and European waters. Most recently the ship returned in December from a USS John F. Kennedy Carrier Strike Group Deployment as part of the war on terrorism.

After the decommissioning, there will be 20 ships stationed at Mayport -- 11 frigates, four destroyers, four cruisers and the JFK.

Lt. Whit DeLoach, a spokesman for Naval Station Mayport, said the 382-member crew of the Spruance will move on to other assignments.

"Most of them have already transferred," he said.

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The USS Spruance, the lead ship of Spruance-class destroyers would be great for a potential floating museum in downtown. At 563 feet long, its much smaller than the Kennedy would easily fit somewhere near the shipyards or metropolitan park. Potential uses could include a local Naval and/or Maritime Museum. Something like this would greatly benefit downtown, as well as attract visitors on the weekend.

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