USS Floyd B. Parks DD-884
"The Fightin' Floyd B"

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The End of a Life!

     It was my great good fortune and misfortune to be the last Commanding Officer of Floyd B. Parks.I think of good fortune when I recall the fine crew that was my privilege to Command. From the last non-rated man through the Petty Officer and Chief Petty Officer rates and the Wardroom Officers, I cannot express enough respect and admiration for the way each and every one acquitted himself.

     You can all justly take pride in the way the last crew of Floyd B. represented you. Her final cruise culminated in action against North Vietnamese coastal installations. Her last action was to duel with a shore battery, achieving two secondary explosions and silencing the battery.

     Upon returning to San Diego, she was tired, there is no doubt of that. There is also no doubt that she could have been renewed to steam again, meeting and overcoming new challenges. But, it was not to be. Floyd B. Parks, along with many of her sisters, was scheduled for de-commissioning.

     These mass decommissionings were a move by the Navy in an attempt to modernize rapidly in the face of shrinking numbers of ships, replacing numbers with increased capability.

     Thus I come to the misfortune of this tale. I am sure many of you have been to de-commissioning ceremonies. When the Ensign and Jack are hauled down for the last time, the commission pennant is stricken and the crew marches off one final time, the ship seems literally to go "dead" in the water.

     When Floyd B. Parks came to the end of her long and valorous service, it was one of the saddest experiences of my life.I take comfort in my belief that Floyd B. Parks will never completely die. Many who served in the ship went on to duty in other ships and passed on the benefits of their knowledge and experience to others, thus perpetuating Floyd B. Parks, so to speak.Reunions, when shipmates who served at various times, in various wars and unstable peace get together to renew bonds, tell sea stories and memorialize Floyd B. Parks, further extend her life.

     And, who knows, perhaps at some future time there will be another Floyd B. Parks to proudly sail the seven seas preserving and defending our precious freedom and our great country and providing a new generation of sailors with a unique experience, nowhere else achievable.

Captain Gene Erner
U. S. Navy, Retired