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USS VALDEZ was the 45th and last KNOX - class frigate.
was the first ship in the Navy named after Hospitalman Third
Class Valdez. Decommissioned on December 16, 1991, and
stricken from the Navy list on Januaty 11, 1995 after almost 30
years of duty.
Hospital man 3rdCL Phil I. Valdez
Hospitalman Phil Isadore Valdez was born on 13 April 1946 in Dixon, N.M. - graduated
from Espanola (N.M.) High School in May 1965 and enlisted in the Navy
on 1 November 1965. After completing basic training, he was trained at the
Naval Hospital Corps School at San Diego, Calif. and advanced to the rating
of hospitalman in May 1966.
Valdez served at the Naval Hospital, Key
West, Fla., until 19 December 1966 at which time he was transferred to the
1st Battalion, 1st Marines, Fleet Marine Force, serving ashore in Vietnam
On the morning of 29 January 1967, Valdez was assigned as corpsman with
the 3rd Platoon when that unit was flown in by helicopter to provide support
for the embattled Company "H," 2nd Battalion. Upon landing, Valdez' unit
came under heavy sniper fire, and several marines went down as a result.
The hospitalman sprang into action instantly. First, he ran about 70 meters
across open land being raked by enemy fire to aid a fallen marine. He helped
that man to a safer place and quickly dressed his wounds. After completing
that task, he dashed back out into the hail of fire to assist another wounded
marine some 50 meters away.
Upon reaching his new charge, he positioned himself so as to protect the
wounded man from the enemy fire and began to dress his wound. At that
point, the enemy got his range, and Valdez fell to their fire mortally
His "...heroic action and selfless devotion to duty..." saved the lives of two
wounded marines and, in recognition of his "...conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action," P.I. Valdez was advanced to the rate of hospitalman,
third class, and awarded the Navy Cross, both posthumously.
Awarded: August 25, 1966
Keel laid: June 30, 1972
Launched: March 24, 1973
Commissioned: July 27, 1974
Decommissioned: December 16, 1991
Builder: Avondale Shipyards, New Orleans, La.
Propulsion system: 2 - 1200 psi boilers; 1 geared turbine,
I 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
Amament: one Mk-16 missile launcher for ASROC and
Harpoon missiles, one Mk-42 5-incW54 caliber gun,
Mk-46 torpedoes from single tube launchers, one 20mm
Aircraft: one SH-2F (LAMPS 1) helicopter
Crew: 18 officers, 267 enlisted