MAYPORT, Fla. -- Today marks the end of an era for NAS Mayport. The Navy said goodbye to the USS Underwood, a ship that called Jacksonville home for 30 years.
The guided-missile frigate played a key role in the search and recovery effort following the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.
It also helped bring aid to Haiti after a massive earthquake hit the country in January 2010 and it even rescued six Peruvian fishermen stranded at sea for ten days.
Jimmy Hamilton was there when the USS Underwood first docked in Mayport in 1983.
"It was really cold in fact she wasn't even built yet, she wasn't even a ship yet," said Jimmy Hamilton, former seaman.
After 30 years of service, today the USS Underwood's final watch, a moment Hamilton just couldn't miss.
"We brought this ship to life and now we're putting her to sleep," said Hamilton.
Ryan Tallman served on the ship for four years. He and his family traveled all the way from Oregon for a chance to see the ship he once called home, one last time.
"I'm glad so many felt it was important to be here," said Ryan Tallman, former seaman.
More than 200 current crew members will now be assigned to different fleets. According to Navy officials 75 percent of them will get to stay in Mayport.
While it may be the end for USS Underwood, her memory will live on through the sailors who are proudly called the "fighting devils".
"It comes down to the men and women that come out of the high schools and the colleges, they can do anything but they decide to serve our country that's the real power of Naval Station Mayport," said Commander Doug Cochrane, Naval Station Mayport.
The USS Underwood will now go to Philadelphia where it will be offered for sale to a United States ally.
Three more ships are set to arrive in Mayport. The USS New York will be the first to dock later this year.