Guided Missile Frigate

FFG 15  -  USS Estocin



FFG-15 USS Estocin patch crest insignia

FFG-15 USS Estocin Oliver Hazard Perry class guided missile frigate

Type, Class:


Guided Missile Frigate; Oliver Hazard Perry - class (short hull)

planned and built as FFG 15



Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, USA



Awarded: February 27, 1976

Laid down: April 2, 1979

Launched: November 3, 1979

Commissioned: January 10, 1981

Decommissioned: April 3, 2003


Fate: stricken April 3, 2003

transferred to Turkey on April 3, 2003

renamed TCG Goksu (F-497); in service in Turkish Navy






Named after and in honor of LCDR Michael John Estocin (1931 - 1967)

> see history, below;

Ship's Motto:



Technical Data:

(Measures, Propulsion,

Armament, Aviation, etc.)


see: INFO > Oliver Hazard Perry - class Guided Missile Frigate


ship images


FFG-15 USS Estocin Oliver Hazard Perry class guided missile frigate


FFG-15 USS Estocin Oliver Hazard Perry class guided missile frigate


FFG-15 USS Estocin guided missile frigate Oliver Hazard Perry class


USS Estocin FFG-15 Perry class frigate


FFG-15 USS Estocin


FFG-15 USS Estocin


FFG-15 USS Estocin


FFG-15 USS Estocin


FFG-15 USS Estocin


FFG-15 USS Estocin


FFG-15 USS Estocin


FFG-15 USS Estocin


FFG-15 USS Estocin



Michael John Estocin


Michael John Estocin, US Navy  LCDR Michael John Estocin, US Navy


Michael John Estocin, US Navy  Michael John Estocin, LCDR US Navy



Namesake & History:

LCDR Michael John Estocin (April 27, 1931 – April 26, 1967):


Estocin was from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and joined the Navy from Akron, Ohio, in 1954. By April 20, 1967, he had reached the rank of lieutenant commander and was an A-4 Skyhawk pilot in Attack Squadron 192, operating off of the USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) in the Gulf of Tonkin. On that day, he supported a bombing mission over Haiphong, North Vietnam.

Six days later, on April 26, he supported another strike aimed at Haiphong's thermal power station, with John B. Nichols acting as his escort in an F-8 Crusader. Estocin and Nichols flew ahead of the main attack and were charged with suppressing any surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) in the area. The strike on the power plant went off without incident, and the two pilots were about to head back to the Ticonderoga when Estocin detected an active SAM site. A single missile was launched from the site and exploded near his A-4, knocking it into a barrel roll. Estocin was able to regain control and pulled the aircraft, burning at the belly and wing roots, into a 30 degree dive.

Estocin's wingman, John Nichols, immediately called for a helicopter rescue. He flew beside the stricken plane, getting close enough to see Estocin in the cockpit with his head bent forward slightly, not moving. He tried to contact Estocin by radio but received no response. As the A-4 lost altitude and entered a cloud bank, Nichols continued to follow it, even as a second SAM exploded nearby. After reaching 600 feet (180 m), he leveled off and watched as Estocin's plane impacted with the ground. He circled the area, looking for a parachute, but saw nothing. Nichols called off the rescue mission and returned to the Ticonderoga.

Although Nichols was certain Estocin had been killed in the crash, intelligence from Hanoi indicated that he had ejected and been captured. The U.S. military declared him a prisoner of war, causing Nichols to feel deep guilt for having called off the rescue mission. When the prisoners were released in 1973 and Estocin was not among them, it was presumed that he had died in captivity.

For his actions during the missions over Haiphong on April 20, and April 26, 1967, Estocin was promoted to captain in absentia and awarded the Medal of Honor. In 1976, his parents ran him as a write-in candidate for President of the United States to bring attention to prisoner of war/missing in action issues. The U.S. Navy named the guided missile frigate USS Estocin (FFG-15), launched in 1979, in his honor.

In 1993, a committee investigating the cases of missing U.S. military personnel determined that Estocin was never captured and had indeed died in the crash of his plane. Estocin's disappearance and presumed death occurred one day before his 36th birthday. A marker in his memory was placed in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, California.

The Michael J. Estocin Award was created by the U.S. Navy to recognize meritorious achievement by a strike fighter squadron. The award, originally sponsored by the McDonnell Douglas corporation, is a trophy with a polished black stone base and an 18 inch (46 cm) stainless steel ribbon topped with a stylized model of a strike fighter aircraft. It is awarded annually to the strike fighter squadron with the greatest professional reputation, aggressiveness, and operational performance.

Congressional Medal of Honor:

Rank and organization: Captain (then Lt. Cmdr.), U.S. Navy, Attack Squadron 192, USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14);
Place and date: Haiphong, North Vietnam, 20 and 26 April 1967
Entered service at: Akron, Ohio, 20 July 1954
Born: 27 April 1931, Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 20 and 26 April 1967 as a pilot in Attack Squadron 192, embarked in USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14). Leading a 3-plane group of aircraft in support of a coordinated stake against 2 thermal power plants in Haiphong, North Vietnam, on 20 April 1967, Capt. Estocin provided continuous warnings to the strike group leaders of the surface-to air missile (SAM) threats, and personally neutralized 3 SAM sites. Although his aircraft was severely damaged by an exploding missile, he re-entered the target area and relentlessly prosecuted a SHRIKE attack in the face of intense antiaircraft fire. With less than 5 minutes of fuel remaining he departed the target area and commenced inflight refueling which continued for over 100 miles. 3 miles aft of Ticonderoga, and without enough fuel for a second approach, he disengaged from the tanker and executed a precise approach to a fiery arrested landing. On 26 April 1967, in support of a coordinated strike against the vital fuel facilities in Haiphong, he led an attack on a threatening SAM site, during which his aircraft was seriously damaged by an exploding SAM, nevertheless, he regained control of his bunting aircraft and courageously launched his SHRIKE missiles before departing the area. By his inspiring courage and unswerving devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Captain Estocin upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.


USS Estocin (FFG 15):


After her commissioning, ESTOCIN was assigned to Destroyer Squadron Eight, homeported in Mayport, FL. While there, she made deployments to the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, and participated in Special Operations off the Central American coast.

Throughout 1986, ESTOCIN served as the Navy's testbed for the Mk-92 Fire Control System improvement project (CORT). The Mk-92 "CORT" program was a CNO Priority-1 Project, one of the only four in the entire Navy at that time. These tests had ESTOCIN tracking and engaging a variety of surface and air targets. Fifteen SM-1MR missiles and nearly 1000 rounds of 76mm ammunition were fired in the course of the test cycle. By the end of 1986, ESTOCIN had logged nearly 15,000 underway miles in support of this project.

On October 1, 1986, ESTOCIN officially became part of the Naval Reserve Force (NRF) reported to Naval Surface Warfare Group Four, homeported in Philadelphia, PA. Upon joining the NRF, ESTOCIN operated primarily in the western Atlantic in support of Naval Reserve Training (NRT) and active fleet commitments. She logged frequent underway weekends devoted entirely to Selected Reserve crew training, as well as periodic underway periods of 2 week duration to enable reservists to complete their active duty training requirements. These operations took ESTOCIN as far north as Nova Scotia and south to the Caribbean. ESTOCIN was chosen to conduct a Great Lakes Cruise in 1991 in support of U.S. Navy recruiting efforts and to promote public awareness in America's heartland, through port calls to U.S. and Canadian cities on the Great Lakes. In the fall of 1991 and the spring of 1992, ESTOCIN participated in Canadian Fleet Operations conducted with U.S. Navy and Canadian Maritime Command units in the area south of Nova Scotia.

On August 17, 1992, ESTOCIN changed homeport to Newport, RI. ESTOCIN completed Maritime Interdiction Operations in the Caribbean and in December of 1993 operated off the coast of Haiti during Operation Support Democracy. In January of 1994, ESTOCIN again changed her homeport moving to Naval Base, Norfolk, VA. ESTOCIN was again selected for a Great Lakes Cruise in the summer of 1994. Upon completion of this cruise, she underwent a four month drydock period to inspect and overhaul numerous shipboard systems. After completion of this drydocking, ESTOCIN was sent in the fall of 1995 to the Caribbean in support of Counter Drug Operations. During this cruise, ESTOCIN transited the Panama Canal to conduct Counter Drug Operations in the eastern Pacific as well.

In 1996, after completing a work-up cycle, which included recertification of her propulsion plant and cruise missile tactical qualification, ESTOCIN deployed with Destroyer Squadron Eighteen in support of Operation Northern Light-Bright Horizon 96. During this fast paced month and a half commitment, ESTOCIN participated in a variety of maneuvering and training exercises with over 53 ships and submarines from 13 European nations. Upon her return to Norfolk, ESTOCIN entered an availability period to prepare ship's systems for her next commitment, Joint Task Force Exercise 97-1 (JTFEX 97-1). During this exercise ESTOCIN was the flagship for the Opposing Forces (OPFOR), whose mission was to train the deploying carrier battle group. Although composed of U.S. ships, the OPFOR simulated a variety of patrol boats found throughout the world. Successfully training the battle group, ESTOCIN prepared for her next deployment.

Assigned to Cruiser Destroyer Group Eight, ESTOCIN deployed for Baltic Operations 97 (BALTOPS 97) in May of 1997. The deployment entailed at-sea operations with ships from NATO countries as well as non-NATO countries such as Russia, Poland and Lithuania. BALTOPS 97 also included goodwill visits to former Eastern-Bloc nations. During this deployment, ESTOCIN had the unique opportunity to become the first U.S. warship to visit two Russian ports in the same deployment, with stops in Baltiysk and Severomorsk, Russia. In addition, ESTOCIN had the distinct privilege of hosting the Admirals of the Russian Baltic and Northern Fleets during her port calls.
January of 1999 found ESTOCIN deploying for the Caribbean. Once again in support of Counter Drug Operations, ESTOCIN set the standard in curbing the flow of drugs into the United States. After four and a half months in the Caribbean, including a cocaine seizure of over 400 kgs, ESTOCIN returned home on May 15.

ESTOCIN was underway once again at the end of June 1999 to participate in INDEX 99-2 with the John F Kennedy Battle Group. During this exercise, ESTOCIN simulated Opposing Forces during Harpoon, Anti Air Warfare, and Anti Submarine Warfare exercises. ESTOCIN proved her battle readiness in all areas as she conducted multiple PACFIRES with her 76mm gun, launched two Mk 46 Torpedoes and fired three successful SM-1 engagements. After achieving her best battle readiness condition in over four years, ESTOCIN returned to Norfolk in July to conduct a nine week Restricted Availability (RAV).

After this maintenance period and successful training cycle workups, ESTOCIN sailed late November 1999 to support preparing the EISENHOWER Battle Group for deployment as an Opposition Force in JTFEX 00-1. She also participated in INDEX 99-3, which allowed training in all warfare areas for the crew. At the completion of the JTFEX, ESTOCIN was chosen by Commander, Second Fleet to perform a bilateral exercise with two French Navy ships, the FS JEANNE D’ARC and FS GEORGES LEYGUES. This exercise provided valuable training for the midshipmen embarked on JEANNE D’ARC and helped to further strengthen the strong Naval ties with this NATO ally.

2000, ESTOCIN is in homeport, Norfolk VA, preparing for upcoming exercises including: a group sail under the command of Commander, Destroyer Squadron Fourteen; a UNITAS exercise with ships from the U.S., Venezuelan and Colombian Navies; and participation with Brazilian and other nation naval units in honor of the 500th anniversary of the founding of Brazil in April 2000.

The USS Estocin was decommissioned on April 3, 2002 and began preparations for its transfer to the government of Turkey. The ship has been renamed to TCG Goksu (F 497).




FFG-15 USS Estocin patch crest insignia   FFG-15 USS Estocin patch crest insignia



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