Guided Missile Frigate

FFG 31  -  USS Stark



FFG-31 USS Stark patch crest insignia

FFG-31 USS Stark Oliver Hazard Perry class guided missile frigate

Type, Class:


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

planned and built as FFG 31



Todd Pacific Shipyard, Seattle, Washington, USA



Awarded: January 23, 1978

Laid down: August 24, 1979

Launched: May 30, 1980

Commissioned: October 23, 1982

Decommissioned: May 7, 1999


Fate: stricken May 7, 1999

sold for scrap to Metro Machine Corp. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 7, 2005

scrapping completed on June 28, 2006






Named after and in honor of Admiral Harold Rainsford Stark (1880 - 1972)

> 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-31 USS Stark Oliver Hazard Perry class guided missile frigate


USS Stark FFG-31 Perry class frigate


FFG-31 USS Stark Oliver Hazard Perry class guided missile frigate



USS Stark FFG-31 Perry class frigate


FFG-31 USS Stark


FFG-31 USS Stark hit by Exocet missile


FFG-31 USS Stark damaged by Exocet missile



FFG-31 USS Stark   FFG-31 USS Stark


FFG-31 USS Stark


FFG-31 USS Stark   FFG-31 USS Stark


FFG-31 USS Stark


FFG-31 USS Stark


FFG-31 USS Stark


FFG-31 USS Stark


FFG-31 USS Stark


FFG-31 USS Stark   FFG-31 USS Stark


FFG-31 USS Stark


FFG-31 USS Stark construction



Harold Rainsford Stark


Harold Rainsford Stark, Lieutenant US Navy   Admiral Harold R. Stark, USN   Admiral Harold Rainsford Stark, Captain US Navy


Admiral Harold R. Stark, chief of naval operations - US Navy   Admiral Harold Rainsford Stark, US Navy   Admiral Harold Rainsford Stark, US Navy


Admiral Harold R. Stark and president Franklin D. Roosevelt   Admiral Harold Rainsford Stark, US Navy


  Admiral Harold Rainsford Stark, Chief of Naval Operations CNO   Admiral Harold Rainsford Stark - Chief of Naval Operations CNO



Namesake & History:

Admiral Harold Rainsford Stark (November 12, 1880 – August 21, 1972):


Harold Rainsford Stark was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on 12 November 1880. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1899 and graduated with the Class of 1903. In 1907-09, he served in the battleship Minnesota before and during the Atlantic Fleet's epic cruise around the World. Subsequently, Stark had extensive duty in torpedo boats and destroyers, including command of the Asiatic Fleet's Torpedo Flotilla in 1917, when these old and small destroyers steamed from the Philippines to the Mediterranean to join in World War I operations. Commander Stark served on the staff of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces operating in European Waters from November 1917 to January 1919.

Following the First World War, Stark was Executive Officer of the battleships North Dakota and West Virginia, attended the Naval War College, commanded the ammunition ship Nitro and served in Naval Ordance positions. During the later 1920s and into the mid-1930s, in the rank of Captain, he was successively Chief of Staff to Commander, Destroyer Squadrons Battle Fleet, Aide to the Secretary of the Navy, and Commanding Officer of USS West Virginia. From 1934 to 1937, Rear Admiral Stark was Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. He then served at sea as Commander Cruiser Division THREE and Commander, Cruisers, Battle Force.

In August 1939, Stark became Chief of Naval Operations, with the rank of Admiral. In that position, he oversaw the great expansion of the Navy during 1940-41, its involvement in an undeclared war against German submarines in the Atlantic during the latter part of 1941 and the combat operations against Japan and the European Axis Powers that began in December 1941. In March 1942, Stark was relieved as CNO by Admiral Ernest J. King. He went to England the next month to become Commander, U.S. Forces in Europe.

From his London Headquarters, Admiral Stark directed the Naval part of the great buildup in England and U.S. Naval operations and training activities on the European side of the Atlantic. He received the additional title of Commander, TWELFTH Fleet, in October 1943 and supervised U.S. Navy participation in the invasion of Normandy in June 1944. Admiral Stark's diplomatic talents were much in evidence as he built and maintained close relations with British civilian and Naval leaders, and with the leaders of other Allied powers. From August 1945 until he left active duty in April 1946, he served in Washington, D.C., and made his home there after retirement. Admiral Harold R. Stark died on 21 August 1972.


USS Stark (FFG 31):


May 17, 1987:
While on routine patrol in the central Persian Gulf, Stark was hit by two Exocet anti-ship cruise missiles. The missiles were fired by a single Iraqi F-1 Mirage fighter aircraft, apparently mistaking the frigate for an oil tanker enroute to a port of call in Iran. The attack was unprovoked and indiscriminate. Stark was in international waters, well outside the Iraqi and Iranian declared war zones. The frigate never fired a weapon nor employed any countermeasures, either in self-defense or in retaliation.

Stark had received operations rules of engagement (ROE) and intelligence threat briefs from Commander, Middle East Force (COMIDEASTFOR) in Djibouti on February 28, prior to arrival in the theatre of operations. The ROE brief counseled conservative action and the potential threat to U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf. The brief stated that the probability of a deliberate attack on a U.S. warship was low, but that an indiscriminate attack in the Persian Gulf was a significant danger. Stark entered the Gulf in early March, conducting patrol operations in both the northern and central Gulf for a period of approximately eight weeks. During this time, there were several visible missile attacks on foreign flag vessels, but Stark was never threatened. Stark was also preparing for an upcoming operational propulsion plant examination (OPPE) and had started to conduct drills and speed trials during periods of time the CO deemed safe to do so. The ship was a capable platform that had been extremely successful during its workups and eight months earlier had completed refresher training (REFTRA) with satisfactory grades in all areas. The crew was professional, well trained and confident.

At 2109 on the night of May 17, the port bridge wing lookout sighted a glow that appeared inbound from the horizon. The seaman called, "Missile inbound, missile inbound," on the sound powered circuit. This information was passed into the bridge and the JL phone talker in CIC, but not to the tactical action officer (TAO) in CIC. The junior officer of the deck (JOOD) also sighted the missile just before it struck the portside of Stark below the bridge at frame 110. General quarters was sounded almost simultaneously with the first hit. The JOOD then observed a second missile inbound, grabbed the 1MC and announced, "Inbound missile, port side." At 2110, the second Exocet missile hit Stark in the same location as the first. The first missile which did not detonate, instead disintegrated, parts of which passed through the starboard side of the ship at frame 172. The warhead was found later on the second deck at frame 171. The second missile exploded about three feet inside the skin of the ship. Smoke quickly filled the spaces from the bow aft to frame 212 and flames reached the port bridge wing. The ammunition topside at the bridge was jettisoned to prevent cook-off in the intense heat. All communications were lost; radios from aircrew survival vests were used to establish communications with USS Waddell (DDG 24), the onstation airborne warning and control system (AWACS) and the AWACS controller on military air distress (MAD). The CO positioned on the bridge, made the decision to treat the missile hit as a major conflagration.

The explosion, blast and fragmentation of the second warhead caused severe structural damage to the ship's hull, bulkheads and superstructure on the port side at frame 110. The shrapnel and blast also caused catastrophic damage inside Stark between frames 100 and 140, destroying watertight integrity, cracking arresting stakes, compromising fire boundaries and severing the port firemain which immediately started to flood the ship and create a list to port as shown in Figure 3-5. Each missile injected approximately 300 pounds of propellant into the berthing complex. The combustion of the burning propellant resulted in a near instantaneous heat release of 12 million BTUs, which caused a rapid thermal pulse seldom seen in normal fires. The fire reached "flashover" in less than one minute. (Flashover is a condition whereby overhead temperatures reach 1400-1500º F. When heat is this intense, all combustible materials burst into flames and fire engulfs the space.) The majority of the casualties (25) occurred in ship's control berthing. As the surviving crewmembers scrambled to escape the berthing spaces, several donned EEBDs and all proceeded to their practiced egress routes. Five men went through the hole in the skin of the ship on the port side and were later picked up. All had used EEBDs before going into the water. All other survivors used designated egress routes. Later inspection revealed five men were killed in combat systems berthing and three in chief quarters berthing.

Meanwhile, the fire started to spread vertically to the riser compartment, then CIC and the CO's cabin. Stark was struggling to maintain firemain pressure. At 2200 hours, pressure was restored to the ship aft of frame 180, enabling firefighters on the fantail to start pressing the fight forward. However, because of the ruptured firemain, there was no capability to fight fires forward or to flood the missile magazine. A 1.5-inch hose run forward from the starboard side of the 02 level eventually flooded the magazine. At 2300, the CO ordered all engines stopped so P-250 pumps on the forecastle could maintain suction and provide firefighting water to the forward bulkhead fire boundaries. Once this was achieved, crewmembers made a determined effort to set and advance fire boundaries and get the fire under control.

Casualties suffered as a result of the explosion significantly depleted the fire teams. In fact, both repair party leaders, number 1 hose operators and investigators for Repair 2 and 3 had been killed in the first moments of the conflagration. Strong leadership at the department head level and the solid professionalism of the crew drove the remaining crewmembers to continue battling the fires. At 0134, May 18, USS Waddell arrived on scene to provide medical and damage control supplies.

Shortly after this point, the CO became concerned when the angle of list reached 16 degrees. The executive officer (XO) organized a dewatering party, directing one group to enter the berthing area and secure the firemain piping. A second group was sent to cut holes in the bulkhead above the main deck to dewater spaces and recover the angle of list.

As morning dawned, it became very clear that Stark's exhausted crew, having mounted a determined and persistent fight, was now too worn out and depleted to continue without assistance. Teams from Waddell and Conyngham moved aboard. Firefighting and dewatering efforts were continued until late morning, when the fire was considered out and reflash watches set.

Survivability Principles Applied: Stark was a well-qualified and trained ship. All officers and chief petty officers were general damage control qualified. All personnel in each repair locker were qualified for their assigned positions. Repair party training was conducted on a regular basis and all hands understood the ship's main drainage and electrical systems. These factors contributed significantly to saving the ship after the initial damage, loss of 18 percent of the crew and a significant portion of its damage control leadership.

No serious injuries or loss of life occurred during Stark's damage control effort. Six additional skilled backups were assigned to each repair locker. This significantly helped minimize losses. Stark carried twice the OBA allowance and three times the canisters specified; these were all used in the 12-hour battle to save the ship.
Stark was part of the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic Fleet in 1990 before returning to the Middle East Force in 1991. She was attached to UNITAS in 1993 and took part in Operation Support Democracy and Operation Able Vigil in 1994. In 1995 she again returned to the Middle East Force before serving in the Atlantic again in 1997 and in 1998.




FFG-31 USS Stark patch crest insignia   FFG-31 USS Stark patch crest insignia   FFG-31 USS Stark patch crest insignia


FFG-31 USS Stark cruise patch   FFG-31 USS Stark cruise patch



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