USS Francis Hammond (DE/FF 1067) is the ninth Knox-class frigate, named in honor of Hospitalman Francis Colton Hammond, a Medal of Honor recipient.
Francis Hammond was laid down on 15 July 1967 at San Pedro, Calif., by Todd Shipyards, Los Angeles Division; launched on 11 May 1968; sponsored by Mrs. Phyllis Hammond Smith, widow of HM3 Francis C. Hammond; and commissioned on 25 July 1970, Cmdr. John E. Elmore in command.
The 16th of 46 Knox-class destroyer escorts, Francis Hammond was designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Armed with ASROC and torpedoes, her primary mission would be to patrol the Pacific Ocean, locate and identify Soviet submarines, and, in the event of armed conflict, destroy them. As Rear Adm. Douglas C. Plate exhorted Cmdr. Elmore, “Hospitalman Hammond made a tradition of being ‘in harm’s way.’ Far in advance of main friendly lines with the First Marine Division Francis Hammond laid down a gauntlet that is yours to pick up.” Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt concurred with this, but also reminded the crew that in addition to exhibiting the “resolution so well exemplified by Francis Hammond,” they also needed to demonstrate “the compassion and sense of humanity that helped to set him apart.” On the day of her commissioning, the Bakersfield, Calif., Council of the Navy League of the United States officially adopted the ship.