Special Report

US Navy Ships Being Decommissioned This Year, and When

usnavy / Flickr

To maintain the U.S. military’s position as the most powerful on the planet means keeping it up to date with the latest technology. And as newer versions of vehicles, vessels, and aircraft are deployed, out of date ones have to be retired. For the current fiscal year, the U.S. Navy is planning on retiring over 30 vessels, but not all of these will be sent to the junkyard. (Here are the 19 ships and submarines in U.S. naval fleet.)

To determine the ships the U.S. Navy plans to decommission in fiscal 2023, 24/7 Wall St. referenced the article, “Navy Wants to Decommission 39 Ships in 2023,” published by nonprofit military research publication the U.S. Naval Institute. We excluded five Freedom class littoral combat ships from the USNI list that Congress decided to preserve in the National Defense Authorization Act. Ships are ranked in order that the Navy plans to decommission them. 

The retirement process for naval vessels is simply removing them from the service. After their removal, these vessels are either sold off, transferred, or dismantled. Despite Congress preserving five Freedom class littoral combat ships, a handful of these ships, which only entered service within the last decade, are still being retired.

The U.S. Navy is mostly made up of the destroyer fleet, which accounts for roughly one-third of all naval vessels. The submarine fleet comes in a close second, accounting for roughly another quarter of the total number of vessels in the force. An aging fleet of cruisers, littoral combat ships, and amphibious assault support ships accounts for the rest of the naval vessels. (Here are the oldest ships and submarines still operating in the U.S. Navy.)

Some of the oldest ships in the Navy have yet to be retired, but the horizon is quickly approaching for them as well. Some of the famed Nimitz class carriers are planned to be slowly phased out over the next decade and replaced with Ford class carriers.

In the meantime, here is a look at the vessels the U.S. Navy is planning on phasing out in fiscal 2023.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

1. USNS Bob Hope
> Decommission date: October 31, 2022
> Launch date: March 27, 1997
> Disposition: Transfer to MARAD
> Class: Bob Hope class

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Source: viper-zero / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

2. USNS Fisher
> Decommission date: October 31, 2022
> Launch date: October 21, 1997
> Disposition: Transfer to MARAD
> Class: Bob Hope class

Source: usnavy / Flickr

3. USNS Walter S. Diehl
> Decommission date: October 31, 2022
> Launch date: October 2, 1987
> Disposition: Dismantle
> Class: Henry J. Kaiser class

4. USS San Jacinto
> Decommission date: January 30, 2023
> Launch date: January 23, 1988
> Disposition: Legislative Consideration
> Class: Ticonderoga class

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

5. USNS Shugart
> Decommission date: January 31, 2023
> Launch date: N/A
> Disposition: Transfer to MARAD
> Class: Commercial container ship

6. USNS Yano
> Decommission date: January 31, 2023
> Launch date: N/A
> Disposition: Transfer to MARAD
> Class: Commercial container ship

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

7. USNS Brittin
> Decommission date: January 31, 2023
> Launch date: November 11, 2000
> Disposition: Transfer to MARAD
> Class: Bob Hope class

8. USS Chicago
> Decommission date: February 8, 2023
> Launch date: October 13, 1984
> Disposition: Recycle
> Class: Los Angeles class

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

9. USS Thunderbolt
> Decommission date: February 21, 2023
> Launch date: December 2, 1984
> Disposition: Foreign Military Sale
> Class: Cyclone class

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10. USS Key West
> Decommission date: February 28, 2023
> Launch date: July 20, 1985
> Disposition: Recycle
> Class: Los Angeles class

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

11. USS Hurricane
> Decommission date: February 28, 2023
> Launch date: June 6, 1992
> Disposition: Foreign Military Sale
> Class: Cyclone class

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12. USS Sirocco
> Decommission date: March 7, 2023
> Launch date: May 29, 1992
> Disposition: Foreign Military Sale
> Class: Cyclone class

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

13. USS Chinook
> Decommission date: March 14, 2023
> Launch date: February 26, 1994
> Disposition: Foreign Military Sale
> Class: Cyclone class

14. USS Monsoon
> Decommission date: March 21, 2023
> Launch date: October 10, 1992
> Disposition: Foreign Military Sale
> Class: Cyclone class

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15. USS Tortuga
> Decommission date: March 27, 2023
> Launch date: September 15, 1988
> Disposition: Legislative Consideration
> Class: Whidbey Island class

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

16. USS Lake Champlain
> Decommission date: March 31, 2023
> Launch date: April 3, 1987
> Disposition: Legislative Consideration
> Class: Ticonderoga class

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Source: Public Domain via the United States Navy / Wikimedia Commons

17. USS Bunker Hill
> Decommission date: March 31, 2023
> Launch date: March 11, 1985
> Disposition: Legislative Consideration
> Class: Ticonderoga class

18. USS Mobile Bay
> Decommission date: March 31, 2023
> Launch date: August 22, 1985
> Disposition: Legislative Consideration
> Class: Ticonderoga class

19. USS Milwaukee
> Decommission date: March 31, 2023
> Launch date: December 18, 2013
> Disposition: Legislative Consideration
> Class: Freedom class

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20. USS Detroit
> Decommission date: March 31, 2023
> Launch date: October 18, 2014
> Disposition: Legislative Consideration
> Class: Freedom class

Source: my_public_domain_photos / Flickr

21. USS Little Rock
> Decommission date: March 31, 2023
> Launch date: July 18, 2015
> Disposition: Legislative Consideration
> Class: Freedom class

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Source: Public Domain via the United States Navy / Wikimedia Commons

22. USS Germantown
> Decommission date: March 31, 2023
> Launch date: June 29, 1984
> Disposition: Legislative Consideration
> Class: Whidbey Island class

23. USS Ashland
> Decommission date: March 31, 2023
> Launch date: November 11, 1989
> Disposition: Legislative Consideration
> Class: Whidbey Island class

Source: usnavy / Flickr

24. USNS Montford Point
> Decommission date: March 31, 2023
> Launch date: November 13, 2012
> Disposition: Legislative Consideration
> Class: Montford Point class

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25. USNS John Glenn
> Decommission date: March 31, 2023
> Launch date: September 15, 2013
> Disposition: Legislative Consideration
> Class: Montford Point class

26. USNS Gordon
> Decommission date: March 31, 2023
> Launch date: N/A
> Disposition: Transfer to MARAD
> Class: Commercial container ship

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27. USNS Gilliland
> Decommission date: March 31, 2023
> Launch date: N/A
> Disposition: Transfer to MARAD
> Class: Commercial container ship

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

28. USNS Sgt. Matej Kocak
> Decommission date: April 30, 2023
> Launch date: N/A
> Disposition: Transfer to MARAD
> Class: Commercial container ship

29. USNS Maj. Stephen W. Pless
> Decommission date: April 30, 2023
> Launch date: N/A
> Disposition: Transfer to MARAD
> Class: Commercial container ship

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30. USS Sioux City
> Decommission date: June 30, 2023
> Launch date: January 30, 2016
> Disposition: Legislative Consideration
> Class: Freedom class

31. USS Vicksburg
> Decommission date: June 30, 2023
> Launch date: September 7, 1991
> Disposition: Legislative Consideration
> Class: Ticonderoga class

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32. USNS John Lenthall
> Decommission date: July 31, 2023
> Launch date: August 9, 1986
> Disposition: OSIR
> Class: Henry J. Kaiser class

33. USNS PFC Eugene A. Obregon
> Decommission date: July 31, 2023
> Launch date: N/A
> Disposition: Transfer to MARAD
> Class: Commercial container ship

Source: usnavy / Flickr

34. USS Gunston Hall
> Decommission date: September 29, 2023
> Launch date: June 27, 1987
> Disposition: Legislative Consideration
> Class: Whidbey Island class

Methodology

To determine the ships the U.S. Navy plans to decommission in fiscal 2023, 24/7 Wall St. referenced the article, “Navy Wants to Decommission 39 Ships in 2023,” published by nonprofit military research publication the U.S. Naval Institute. We excluded five Freedom class littoral combat ships from the USNI list that Congress decided to preserve in the National Defense Authorization Act. Ships are ranked in order that the Navy plans to decommission them.

Information on what will happen to each decommissioned ship also came from the USNI. It should be noted that the planned decommission date is based on the original fiscal year 2023 budget, and the final decommission dates for the remaining Freedom-class ships and others may change. Data on the class of each ship and the launch date are from a number of online resources.

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