The Final Frigate Returns to Norfolk

By: Matt Gregory

A final homecoming for Norfolk’s last naval frigate; the USS-Kauffman sailed back to Norfolk Sunday after a six-month deployment. 10 On Your Side was there when family and friends welcomed back the sailors.

The signs, the smiles and anticipation of their loved ones return. The half-year wait, down to the final minutes.

“My daughter was just barely crawling whenever he left and now she’s walking and talking and eating regular food,” Kiley Ferenc said as she waited for her husband’s return. “So she’s definitely grown a lot since when he’s seen her last.”

“We’ve stayed busy with the kids and we’ve took some family vacations back to our hometown in Illinois,” Ferenc said of her husband’s first deployment.

The USS Kauffman spent six months patrolling the waters off the coast of Central America. Its final mission was to conduct counter-piracy and narcotics operations.

Now, the ship will be the last in its class to be decommissioned.

When the long wait ended, the embraces began; families and friends reunited. However, for Commander Michael Concannon, this day marks his final journey on the USS Kauffman.

“Well its bittersweet. It’s been an awesome experience,” Concannon said. “The last frigate to be decommissioned. it’s a great opportunity, We’ve got a lot of interested people, We’ve got a lot of sailors that relate to that. It’s been an awesome experience.”