Say goodbye to the Keystone Squadron.
The Navy is shuttering Destroyer Squadron 24 on Sept. 30 after 55 years of service, as part of a larger reorganization to cut the overhead costs of operational staffs. DESRON 24 has had a memorable history, dating back to the days of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. The squadron, which was stood up in 1956 and homeported in Newport, R.I., dispatched four ships to support the naval quarantine around Cuba. They secured boarding clearances for five Soviet merchant ships and helped to surface a Soviet submarine.
The squadron has also served in many overseas operations in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea, according to the squadron’s official history. DESRON 24 also contributed to Vietnam War and Operations Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom. In 1973, the squadron headquarters shifted to Mayport, Fla.
All four ships in DESRON 24 — destroyers Carney, Farragut, Roosevelt and The Sullivans — have transferred to DESRON 14, another Mayport, Fla.-based squadron that now has 16 ships assigned, according to Naval Surface Force Atlantic spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Bill Urban.
The squadron was nicknamed the Keystone Squadron because, at one point, the commodore and all the ship commanding officers hailed from Pennsylvania, the Keystone state. In keeping with this tradition, the decommissioning commodore, Capt. Aaron Jacobs, attended college at two universities in Pennsylvania.
After the closing of DESRON 24, the Navy will have 15 destroyer squadrons remaining, including three forward-deployed units that don’t have ships permanently assigned.