USS OUELLET was the 26th KNOX - class frigate and the first ship in the Navy to bear the name. Decommissioned on August 6, 1993, and stricken from the Navy list on January 11, 1995, the OUELLET was transfered to the Royal Navy of Thailand on November 27, 1996, and was recommissioned as PHUTTALOETLA NAPHALAI.
|General Characteristics:||Awarded: July 22, 1964|
|Keel laid: January 15, 1969|
|Launched: January 17, 1970|
|Commissioned: December 12, 1970|
|Decommissioned: August 6, 1993|
|Builder: Avondale Shipyards, New Orleans, La.|
|Propulsion system: 2 - 1200 psi boilers; 1 geared turbine, 1 shaft; 35,000 shaft horsepower|
|Length: 438 feet (133.5 meters)|
|Beam: 47 feet (14.4 meters)|
|Draft: 25 feet (7.6 meters)|
|Displacement: approx. 4,200 tons full load|
|Speed: 27 knots|
|Armament: one Mk-16 missile launcher for ASROC and Harpoon missiles, one Mk-42 5-inch/54 caliber gun, Mk-46 torpedoes from single tube launchers, one 20mm Phalanx CIWS|
|Aircraft: one SH-2F (LAMPS I) helicopter|
|Crew: 18 officers, 267 enlisted|
This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS OUELLET. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.
Accidents aboard USS OUELLET:
|October 26, 1984||off Hawaii||USS JOHN A. MOORE (FFG 19) collides with USS OUELLET during FleetEx 85-1 exercises in the Pacific, causing minor damage.|
History of USS OUELLET:
USS OUELLET's keel was laid at Avondale Shipyard Incorporated in Westwego, Louisiana on January 15, 1969. She was christened at Charleston Naval Shipyard, South Carolina on December 12, 1970.
OUELLET arrived at her homeport in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on April 15, 1971, with her first deployment to the Western Pacific commencing on January 27, 1972. OUELLET twice came under hostile fire during this deployment, however no causalities were sustained.
During ceremonies re-establishing the U.S. Third Fleet on February 1, 1973, USS OUELLET became the first Third Fleet flagship since World War II.
USS OUELLET made her second deployment to the Western Pacific from May through September 1973. She began her first regular overhaul on September 14, 1974, with completion on June 3, 1975. OUELLET was selected as the CINCPACFLT flagship for the U.S. Navy's 200th birthday ceremonies. OUELLET completed two more Western Pacific deployments prior to overhaul in late 1978. Regular overhaul was completed mid-1979 with three Western Pacific deployments to follow commencing September 1980, April 1982, and October 1983 respectively.
OUELLET began her third major overhaul in February 1985. She received extensive upgrades to her gun mount, received CIWS, and SNAP II computers. In 1986 OUELLET was again preparing for a Western Pacific deployment. OUELLET deployed for her eighth time in April 1987. This deployment took her with Battle Group Delta to the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman for the Iran crisis. She returned to Pearl Harbor on October 6, 1987.
OUELLET started out 1988 with a special operation coordinated by the Coast guard to capture the CHRISTINA M, a cargo vessel laden with over 12 tons of marijuana. Instead of regular overhaul, OUELLET spent most of 1988 in a Ship's Restricted Availability repairing and upgrading most of her systems. Following extensive training, OUELLET made her ninth deployment in mid December 1988. She returned on 26 May 1989 to turn around and prepare to get underway again in September 1989 for "Pacific Exercises 89" (PACEX 89).
Upon return to Pearl Harbor in November 1989 she went into dry dock, refloating in February of 1990. After extensive preparations and an exhaustive inspection cycle, OUELLET departed on August 1990 to Central America in support of law enforcement operations.
These operations, called "Legal OPS '90" for short, included amongst the crew, a detachment of Coast Guard personnel to act as a legal "policing force" aboard the OUELLET. This was the first time that a Coast Guard flag flew from a U.S.Navy warship in operations such as these. In search for drug smugglers, the OUELLET recovered close to 1 ton of pure, unprocessed cocaine, which was jettisoned from an unknown vessel trying to elude authorities. While on "Legal OPS '90" OUELLET transited through the Panama Canal with follow-on ports-of-call in Panama and Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. After returning in to Pearl Harbor in November of 1990 OUELLET was awarded the "Battle E" for overall excellence and the "Joint Meritorious Unit Citation" (JMUC).
In June of 1991, OUELLET participated in three phases of shipboard training for midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy, and "Anti-Submarine Operations 91". Port calls made during this training period included visits to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and Kodiak Island, Alaska. OUELLET crewmembers took advantage of this "in-port" time to celebrate the "4th of July".
OUELLET's final deployment was from March 25th to July 24th, 1992. This Western Pacific Rim journey was her 10th major deployment, and took the OUELLET to the Continent of Australia . While enroute, she participated in "Pacific ASW Exercise 92", and operated with elements of the Australian Navy in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the "Battle of the Coral Sea".
This was her final voyage as a United States Naval Ship, after serving her country proudly for over 20 years. USS OUELLET was decommissioned in August 3, 1993.
About the Ship's Name:
David George Ouellet was born in Newton, Massachusetts, on June 13, 1944, son of Chester J. and Elizabeth E. Ouellet. He graduated from Hardy School, Wellesley, Massachusetts, in 1958; attended Wellesley Junior High School; and subsequently was employed by the Alfred Fisher Trucking Company in Wellesley. On July 28, 1964 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy at Boston, Massachusetts, and had recruit training at the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois. Completing his training in October 1964, he joined Assault Craft Division TWELVE, and while attached to that division served for five months in 1965 in the Vietnam era.
Between June and August 1966 he had river patrol boat training at the Naval Schools Command, Vallejo, California, after which he had trining at the Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, California. On September 21, 1966 he reported for duty with River Squadron FIVE and was attached to My Tho Detachment 532 of that squadron and at the time of his death on March 6, 1967. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and cited as follows:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with river Section 532, in combat against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. As the forward machine gunner on River Patrol Boat (PBR) 124, which was on patrol on the Mekong River during the early evening hours on March 6, 1967, Seaman Ouellet observed suspicious activity near the river bank, alerted his Boat Captain, and recommended movement of the boat to the area to investigate. While the PBR was making a high-speed run along the river bank, Seaman Ouellet spotted an incoming enemy grenade falling toward the boat. He immediately left the protected position of his gun mount and ran aft for the full length of the speeding boat, shouting to his fellow crew members to take cover. Observing the Boat Captain standing unprotected on the boat, Seaman Ouellet bounded onto the engine compartment cover, and pushed the Boat Captain down to safety. In the split second that followed the grenade's landing and in the face of certain death, Seaman Ouellet fearlessly placed himself between the deadly missile and his shipmates, courageously absorbing most of the blast fragments with his own body in order to protect his shipmates from injury and death. His extraordinary heroism and his selfless and courageous actions on behalf of his comrades at the expense of his own life were in the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
Seaman Ouellet was also awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in enemy action.