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WATCH: US Navy sends own ship to watery grave during live-fire exercise at close of RIMPAC naval games

The amphibious cargo ship the USS Durham was blown to smithereens with a firestorm of ordinance from multiple ships in a striking conclusion to the Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020 naval event held recently off Hawaii.

The Charleston-class vessel entered US Navy service on January 1, 1969 and met its explosive end on Saturday, August 30. 

A barrage of Harpoon, Exocet, and Hellfire missiles, and rounds from five-inch guns from various ships from the US, Australia, Brunei and Canada concluded the naval exercise off the coast of Hawaii. The US Navy shared a video of the firestorm farewell. 

 

The Durham participated in the evacuation of Saigon during the Vietnam War and also played a role in the Persian Gulf War before it was decommissioned in February 1994.

The ship was cleaned to meet Environmental Protection Agency standards prior to being sunk in the Pacific Ocean after almost 25 years of service, and finally sank shortly after midnight on Sunday. 

The biennial RIMPAC is normally the world's largest naval exercise, lasting two months and involving participants from 20 countries, but was scaled back this year because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 session was restricted to just the final two weeks of August and only 10 countries participated, with an overall deployment of 22 surface ships, one submarine, and roughly 5,300 sailors in total.

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All simulated ship searches and on shore activities were canceled to limit any possible coronavirus exposure between participating crews. 

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