US Navy Light Cruisers 1941-45, Mark Stille .Covers the five classes of US Navy light cruisers that saw service during the Second World War, with sections on their design, weaponry, radar, combat experience. Nicely organised, with the wartime service records separated out from the main text, so that the design history of the light cruisers flows nicely. Interesting to see how new roles had to be found for them, after other technology replaced them as reconnaissance aircraft [read full review]
Named for the right of self-government, the fifth USS Independence was commissioned on Jan. 10, 1959. In 1960, she saw her first cruise to the Mediterranean. The year 1962 saw the ship helping with the Berlin crisis during that summer. The fall saw her go to the Caribbean to help with quarantining Cuba during the Russian missile crisis.
The ship continued cruising various Atlantic runs through 1965. In that year, she went on a run to the South China Sea. While there, her aircrews conducted thousands of sorties against the North Vietnamese troops. Upon her return to the east coast, the ship resumed her normal operations in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.
The 1970’s saw USS Independence carrying out more operations in the Mediterranean. She was the site of the first female US pilot to gain carrier qualification in 1979. In 1980, the ship was waiting when the American hostages were freed from Iran. During the next few years, she saw action in Lebanon and Grenada.
In 1990, the ship became the first carrier to enter the Persian Gulf in over 15 years. She helped with air support during and after Operation Desert Storm. The rest of the 1990’s saw her flying missions over southern Iraq and making visits to various Pacific ports. She was decommissioned on Sept. 30, 1998.
USS Concord (CL-10) in Gulf of Panama, 1944 - History
A Tin Can Sailors
By Lt. Cdr. B. A. Habich, USNR, Lt. William M. Dabney, USNR
and John B. Poland, GMCS, USN, Ret.
Special Thanks to Tony DeMarco
The USS TATTNALL (DD-125) arrived on the scene too late to participate actively in World War I. Her keel had been laid down in the yards of the New York Shipbuilding & Drydock Company in Camden, New Jersey on 1 December 1917. The launching took place on 5 September 1918, her sponsor was Miss Campbell Kellock (sic), cousin of the ship’s Namesake Captain Josiah Tattnall. Captain Tattnall had served in both the U.S. Navy and the Confederate States Navy. The ship became an active member of the Fleet upon being Commissioned on 26 June 1919.
The new four-stacker's first assignment was to Destroyer Division Sixteen. She operated with this force until being decommissioned on 15 June 1922 at San Diego, California. On New Year's Day 1930 she returned to active status and joined the Destroyer Scouting Force. Lieutenant Commander Lewis M. Markham, Jr., USN relieved Lieutenant Commander James Pahl, in 1940 as Captain, soon thereafter TATTNALL became a member of Destroyer Division 67, stationed in the Panama Canal Zone. The ships of the division consisted of USS BARRY (DD-248), USS BORIE (DD-215), USS GOFF (DD-247) and USS J. FRED TALBOT (DD-156). BARRY and GOFF had recently seen service in Squadron 40 "T", under the Squadron Commander in USS OMAHA (CL-4) based in Lisbon, Portugal. The Squadron disbanded in 1940, shortly after the outbreak of war in Europe, in September 1939.
Cruising with the "Banana Fleet," Panama
The division operated, for the most part, in the Bay of Panama with the Submarines of Squadron 3 from Coco Solo, during the week-days. They returned to Balboa on the weekends, this continued until hostilities began, on 7 December. However, this routine was temporarily interrupted on Monday 3 March 1941. Destroyer Division 67, with Lieutenant Commander William J. Marshall, USN Division Commander in USS GOFF (DD-247), transited the Canal. Going through the canal was a most interesting evolution and one that never ceased to be an extraordinary experience. Sometimes, with the heavy load of merchant traffic, the destroyers, having a low priority, would anchor in Gatun Lake and wait for the higher priority merchant traffic to proceed through. We would use this time for swimming call which was greatly appreciated by those crew members not going on watch. Another advantage of going through the canal was that the fresh water of Gaillard cut, as well as that of the Lake, killed much of the marine growth. By increasing speed to 25 knots the barnacles would be effectively cleaned from the bottom, at least temporarily. Upon transiting the canal the ships proceeded to San Joan, Puerto Rico for temporary duty under the Commandant 10th Naval district. The passage through the Caribbean was quite rough, as it usually is during the "winter" months, the Division arrived in San Juan on 7 March. The duties, of the ships, consisted of patrolling the seaward approaches to Fort de France. Martinique, generally with a stop over for fuel oil at Charlotte Amalie in the Virgin Islands.
Anchored in the harbor were several French Naval Vessels, among them, the
Aircraft Carrier BEARNE, the light Cruiser JEAN D'ARC, and several Destroyers. Our job, as I recall, was to make certain that these ships remained in port and to prevent their falling into the hands of the Germans, and using these ships against the British. It's interesting to consider in retrospect, fifty years later, what we could have done, with our 4"/50's and torpedoes, had any of the German Naval units made their appearance, to confiscate these vessels. Almost daily a seaplane with French markings would fly out, from Fort de France, circle our ship at a distance to look us over and to possibly check out our intentions. They would then make a 180-degree turn and return to the island.
From time to time the ships would proceed to the Island of Santa Lucia in the British West Indies. The anchorage at Gros Ilet had a picture postcard beach, and was ideal for some welcomed recreation. Santa Lucia is one of the island bases that the United States received in the "Bases for Destroyer Deal" with Great Britain, in 1940. The base was manned by a detachment of U.S. Marines it was one of many which formed a defense perimeter around the seaward approaches to the Panama Canal. On 25 April the Division was detached from this duty and returned to the Coco Solo Submarine Base in the Canal Zone, arriving there on Sunday 27 April resuming Operations under the commandment of the 15 th Naval District. The torpedoes were off-loaded and sent to the Submarine Torpedo Shop for updating with the latest Ordalts and overhaul. The Division transited the Canal and laid alongside Pier 18 Balboa, for two weeks of upkeep and maintenance. After the torpedoes were overhauled they were transported across the Isthmus of Panama via the Panama Railroad. They were then returned to their normal storage place in the launcher tubes.
During the Summer of 1941 TATNALL, along with the other ships of Division 67, underwent refitting at the Mechanical Division Panama Canal, Ship Yard in Balboa, Canal Zone. The Main Mast was removed and the Fore Mast shortened. The portholes were plated over, and degaussing equipment had been installed. The Four stacks were shortened, with the fore stack tapered. This gave the ship a lower profile, and a much sleeker look. To offset this loss of weight topside several ton of pig lead were placed beneath the Boilers in the fireroom bilges to compensate for the weight reduction.
Operating independently during the summer and fall of 1941 the ships made several voyages to the Galapagos Islands, by way of Cocos Island. This island is reportedly the site of the hiding place for the treasure plundered by the infamous Pirate Henry Morgan, when he roamed the Caribbean. The Galapagos are a group of 13 volcanic islands in the Eastern Pacific Ocean about 600 miles west of the South American coast. They are a province of Ecuador, and are officially known as The Archipelago de Colon.
Charles Darwin the distinguished naturalist visited these islands in 1835 and made them famous in his writings and used his observations there to prove the theory of evolution. It was a unique experience to approach the animals and birds nesting places that were observed and not scare the creatures away. The Galapagos Islands served as a sanctuary for all wildlife and they showed little or no fear of human trespassers that they might encounter.
The temperature of the islands, although being situated on the Equator is generally cool and dry because of the effects of the Peru Current. The islands are renowned for their unique animal life, with a diversity of distinctive varieties of animals that have developed by adaptation, according to Darwin. The better known species are the land tortoises, the flightless cormorants, and the marine iguanas.
While I was serving in USS GOFF (DD247), in the summer of 1941, the ship made a cruise to these islands. The ship crossed the Equator at the 90th Meridian on 21 August 1941. Interestingly enough although the ship was approximately six hundred miles due west of the coast of Ecuador the 90th Meridian passes through the United States in the vicinity of the city of New Orleans.
King Neptune with his retinue arrived on board in all their outlandish splendor and the festivities began. All of we lowly Pollywogs were summoned to the Royal Court and initiated into the ancient order and mysteries of the deep, thus becoming Shellbacks. The initiation was, to say the least a memorable experience. The pollywogs, lowly wretches that were, were charged with the offense of having dared to enter, unbidden, the domain of Neptunus Rex and had to pay dearly for the transgression. We were treated to some of the most bizarre treatment that one could imagine. Upon weathering the storm of "abuse" heaped on us by our "saltier shipmates" we were proclaimed to be fellow Shellbacks and were entitled to all of the rights and privileges thereto appertaining.
America Enters World War II
Sunday 7 December 1941 found TATTNALL peacefully moored with her four sister ships, at Pier 18 in Balboa. Because of the time differential between Panama and Hawaii word of the surprise attack came through a little after 1330 plus five Time Zone. Other ships present were two light Cruisers of the Omaha class USS CONCORD (CL-10), USS TRENTON (CL-11) and the Gunboat USS ERIE (PG-50), to protect the canal. There were also some small District Craft. Converted luxury yachts classified as PG’s and PYC’s. The ships were a beehive of activity, as they prepared for the unanticipated. Ammunition was brought from the magazines and stowed in the ready service racks near the 4"/50 caliber guns, the war heads were brought up from below and attached to the torpedoes. Many hands turned to, lending assistance where there was a need. The Ordnance Equipment was aligned and made ready for action.
The storerooms were replenished and filled to capacity. The ships shifted berths to the fueling pier and the oil tanks were "topped off." By nightfall the ships, of the division were ready for sea and stood out into Panama Bay for patrol, the Canal was completely blacked out. One could hear a steady stream of aircraft taking off from the Army Air Base at Albrook Field, as the P-39's and P-40's flew out on patrol. BORIE was the only ship, of the division, equipped with sonar gear. The ships patrolled an arc, keeping position so that visual contact could be maintained with each other. During the night TATTNALL collided with a buoy, damaging a propeller requiring a return to port for repairs.
Upon completion of the repairs TATTNALL transited the canal and commenced patrolling in the Caribbean off the northern approaches to the canal. In March of 1942 she received orders to proceed to Old Providence Island, where she spent two weeks acting as sea-plane tender relieving the USS CLEMSON (AVD-4). After two weeks of this duty she was relieved and returned to patrol duty in the Caribbean. Shortly after the New Year began TATTNALL had Sonar equipment installed, which, needless to say, helped considerably in attempting to track down the elusive submarines.
In April, with the U-Boat campaign enjoying a great deal of success, the ships of Destroyer Division 67 had their armament up-graded. It appeared, expedient to improve the Anti-Submarine capabilities of these destroyers. The six after torpedo tubes were removed to make room for six depth charge projectors, commonly referred to as "K" guns, because of their shape. The changes would enable the ships to lay down a more effective depth charge pattern. The After 36 inch searchlight tower was removed to make way for an elevated 20 MM AA gun platform with enough room for two mounts, as well as a ready service locker for the 20MM Magazines. Additional 20 MM mounts were installed on the main deck, just abaft the remaining torpedo tubes and forward of the newly placed "K" guns.
In June of 1942 Lieutenant Commander Leo G. May relieved Lieutenant Commander Markham. About this time the Escorted Convoy system was inaugurated by the Panama Sea Frontier Command and the destroyers of Division 67 began escorting convoys in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. When German Submarines were at the peak of their effectiveness. The convoy route extended from Cristobal, Canal Zone to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba through the hottest spot in the area, between Jamaica and Haiti into Windward Passage. Although she made several attacks on sonar contacts none of which resulted in any confirmed sinking.
To illustrate the myriad chores performed by these "Tin Cans". Early in 1943 while TATTNALL was moored to Pier 6 in Cristobal, awaiting the formation of a convoy, she received orders from ComFifteen to get underway as soon as possible. The four boilers were "lit off" in record time and the ship cleared the breakwater of Margarita Bay heading into the Caribbean, and was soon making turns for 30 Knots. That day a PBM Martin Mariner had departed the Naval Air Station, Upham, Canal Zone with cargo and a group of passengers. Among the passengers were a contingent of experienced submariners from the older "S" Boats of Squadron 3 bound for New London, Connecticut for new construction duty. The plane developed engine trouble in flight and made a landing at sea. Expecting the worst TATTNALL arrived on the scene of the "disaster" only to find the plane floating on the surface with both engines inoperative. The passengers were transferred to the ship by the motor whaleboat, lines were attached to the plane, and it was taken in tow and hauled back to Panama. The process took several hours and at about 0400 the PBM was back at the Naval Air Station from the point its journey had begun.
On the stormy night of 30 March 1943 TATTNALL was patrolling on station at the head of a convoy west bound from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Panama, making certain that the seas, in the convoy's path, were clear of any U-Boats. As the night wore on, the weather worsened becoming darker and stormier. About midnight as the Officer-of-the-Deck and the lookouts, swept the seascape with their binoculars, the ship had not been equipped with radar as yet. There appeared the bow of a smaller escort bearing down on them out of the inky blackness, heading straight for TATTNALL. The ODD ordered "hard left rudder" but the helm, sluggish as it was, failed to answer in time. The bow of the on-coming escort, on the crest of a wave, rammed into the starboard quarter of the After Deck House adjacent to the watertight door leading to the after crew's berthing compartment. It cut through the starboard main deck passageway leading to the fantail, demolished the life raft nested in its rack, and opened a hole into the crew's quarters.
The steering cables from the bridge to the steering engine room were severed eliminating the ability to control the rudder from the bridge. The sonar operator reported that the ship was closing the convoy. Skillfully using the main engines to steer, the ODD maneuvered TATTNALL between two columns of ships safely clearing the convoy. Steering with the engines was maintained until the after steering station, on the after deckhouse, could be manned. In this damaged state TATTNALL continued with the convoy to its destination. The repairs were effected at the Mount Hope Yard of the Mechanical Division, Panama Canal, near Cristobal, after which the ship returned to her assigned duties.
Conversion, From Destroyer To APD
In July 1943 she escorted her last northbound Caribbean Convoy, after fuel and provisions were loaded at Guantanamo Bay she continued north the Charleston, South Carolina to undergo conversion to a high speed transport. She arrived at the Navy Yard on 10 July 1943. Work began immediately. TATTNALL was, at this time, redesignated (APD-19). The Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Wiliams Stewart, USNR, a graduate of the Naval Academy, became the Commanding Officer.
The work consisted of the removal of Boilers Numbers one and two. The forward fireroom then underwent conversion into a double decked troop berthing space, to accommodate about one hundred and forty four men, with their equipment. The main battery 4"/50 caliber single purpose guns were replaced by 3"/50 caliber dual-purpose weapons. The magazines had to be altered to accommodate the ammunition containers for these newer type guns.
The maindeck area underwent a major change, along with the loss of the two forward smokestacks, the remaining six torpedo tubes were removed. They were replaced by four sets of Wellin Gravity Boat Davits to accommodate the LCPR landing craft, which would serve to ferry the troops from ship to shore during amphibious operations. The elevated AA gun platform had to be removed to accommodate the boat davits. The 20-MM guns that were mounted there were used to replace two .50 caliber port and starboard machine guns on the forward edge of the galley deckhouse. Thus changing the ships profile markedly. All work was completed on 6 September 1943, and upon the completion of sea trials the ship left Charleston, and headed for Norfolk, Virginia to report to ComPhiblant, (Commander of Amphibious Forces Atlantic Fleet).
TATTNALL's next assignment was, with USS ROPER (APD-20), to a stint of amphibious training with various Army and Navy Units at Cove Pint, Maryland on Chesapeake Bay, off Little Creek, Virginia and at Fort Pierce, Florida from September 1943 until April 1944. Practicing all phases of landing operations, firing simulated shore bombardment, and performing logistical support of troops ashore. While operating out of Fort Pierce, TATTNALL visited Miami to replenish the fuel supply at the Submarine Chaser School Pier. On one of these excursions, while awaiting the harbor pilot, having nothing better to do some of the crew occupied themselves trolling for fish. This resulted in attracting and catching an eight or ten foot shark, which was hauled aboard using one of the depth charge hoisting davits, many of the crew members availed themselves of souvenirs in the form of shark's teeth. The training experience gained by these ships resulted in two of the most efficient APD crews in the Atlantic Fleet.
Shortly before the training began in earnest TATTNALL was called upon to escort a group of amphibious ships south. This convoy consisted of LST'S, LCI's and other amphibious craft of various types. Soon after leaving port the convoy encountered a hurricane for which Cape Hatteras is quite well renowned, a reputation certainly not unjustified.
As the ships steamed steadily Southward the storm increased in intensity. It became so rough that the gripes on Number 4 Higgins Boat loosened and the resulting battering stove in the boat's side causing extensive damage. Exemplary seamanship by John McInerney Chief Boatswain Mate and the deckforce secured the boat and kept the damage to that one boat. Meanwhile on the fantail havoc reigned, the ship was tossed about, with gigantic waves crashing over the stern, resulting in three depth charges breaking loose and rolling a bout the fantail, endangering everything in their path.
General Quarters sounded, soon after daybreak, sending the crew to their battle stations, with the exception of the forward 3"/50 caliber gun crew. As Gun Captain of that gun my orders were not to venture onto the fo'c'sle but to muster the crew on the Well Deck in the lee of the Bridge Deckhouse, and await further orders. They were not long in coming, Lieutenant Norman Whitehead the Gunnery Officer dispatched the Assistant Gunnery Officer, Lieutenant (jg) Williams Dabney, and under his leadership we went aft to see what could be done to ease the situation. An attempt was made to secure these 425 pound "ash cans" to the Depth Charge Release Rack. The futility of this soon became evident, with the waves crashing over the fantail, the way they did, that just maintaining one’s footing was a feat worthy of mention. We were, at times, waist deep in sea water and the next moment the screws could be heard flailing free of the ocean.
The bridge was notified of the plight of the gun crew, back came the word to set the depth charges on safe and jettison them over the side, when the ship healed over. To set the charges on safe was a real challenge, the way that they were rolling. In desperation I straddled a charge and lying on top of it I spread my legs to keep the "monster" still with the help of the rest of the party. I fitted the depth setting spanner wrench over the index, and finally managed to move the index to the safe position.
In carrying out these orders one man suffered a broken leg. The Officer in charge was nearly swept over the side by a wave, when the garbage rack uprights carried away. The Pharmacist Mate severely strained his back when he grabbed the struggling Officer and helped him regain his footing on the heaving deck. One charge was eventually lashed to the release rack, and two others were set on safe and rolled over the side as the ship leaned in a roll.
Arthur Davison, who was a Radioman 3/C at the time, recalls that the clinometer registered a reading of about 51 degrees or so. He remembers further the convoy being badly scattered along the east coast with many of the ships seeking shelter in whatever harbor they could enter. He goes on to state that to the best of his recollection the cause of the problem was a huge wave overtaking the ship, broke over the stern inundating the steering engine room, and dislodging the depth charges from the forward end of the release -racks. The crewmember attempting to man the "trick wheel" in the after steering station had great difficulty because of the flooded condition of the compartment. When the storm abated somewhat TATTNALL put into Port in New River, N.C. to transfer the injured crew members to the Naval Hospital located at the Marine Base. When this was completed, the ship returned to Norfolk to resume her training role.
Transport Division 13 Formed
Upon the completion of the training period Lieutenant Commander Frank H. Lennox, USNR assumed command, relieving Lieutenant Commander Stewart. TATTNALL became the flagship of Transport Division 13. Commander John Nelson Hughes, USN who in 1942, as Commanding Officer of USS PARROTT (DD-218), won a Navy Cross for action against the Japanese Fleet in the Battle of Makassar Straight near Borneo, became the Division Commander. This was the only APD Division operating with the Atlantic Fleet during the War. The Division consisted of, besides TATTNALL and ROPER, USS BARRY (APD-29), USS GREENE (APD-36), and USS OSMOND INGRAHAM (APD-35).
On 13 April 1944 the Division formed up with a convoy bound for North Africa from Hampton Roads, being convoyed rather than acting as escorts. A few days later the APD's were passed into service as escorts, to assist the newer Destroyer Escorts. They left the confines of the convoy and took up stations on the perimeter where they put to use the Anti Submarine expertise they had gained in the early months of the war. With the convoy's speed of advance only six or seven knots, the trip took a little over two weeks. It was during this trans-Atlantic voyage that TATTNALL had the nerve-wracking experience of fueling at sea from one of the Fleet Oilers which accompanied the convoy. After performing the feat a couple of times, the crew became quite proficient at this rather complex evolution.
On the evening of 29 April the Rock of Gibralter was abeam to Port and the convoy entered the Mediterranean Sea. The convoy received supplementary escort services from the Gibraltar Naval Base of an AA Cruiser and a couple of British corvettes. The next day the ships of the Division left the convoy and proceeded to the sanctuary of the breakwater at Mers-El-Kebir, Algeria, reporting to the Area Commander for duty. The remainder of the convoy continued on to Algiers, Bizerte, and points further east.
Increasing The Ship’s Firepower
Shortly after arriving in North Africa, one of the gunner’s Mates, a member of the Scouts and Raider Crew, was dispatched to the Ammunition supply depot in Oran to see if there were any machine guns that were available. He returned with six air cooled Browning .50 caliber models complete with field mounted tripods. The mounts were welded to the deck just adjacent to the water way, on the port and starboard waist by the ship's Shipfitter's under the leadership of "Abe" Hurwits Ship Fitter First class, USN. These weapons were to be manned by the Damage Control Party, provided they were not busily engaged in their primary duties of repairing any battle damage. This also gave the ship some much needed extra fire power.
I vividly recall that soon after the installation was complete and the next time we were underway Lieutenant Norman Whitehead the Gunner Officer decided that it might be a good idea to test fire the guns. One of the mounts had a recalcitrant pivot pin retaining device and failed to lock the gun to the cradle. When Chief Machinist Mate Marsh, who was manning the gun opened fire, the pivot pin escaped from its recess and recoil knocked him to the deck. In retrospect its an entertaining tale but at the time there was Chief Marsh with a bewildered look on his face, sitting on deck, with a Browning Machine Gun nestled in his lap. The incident could have had more serious consequences, but fortunately did not. Needless to say the Gunnery Department took steps to see that this problem would not recur.
Amphibious Operations in Earnest
The first Amphibious Operation TATTNALL and ROPER were to participate in was the capture of the islands of Elba and Pianosa. This operation code named "Brassard" was a part of Force "N" under the Command of Rear Admiral Thomas Troubridge, RN. To prepare for this operation they steamed to Ajaccio, Corsica, while the rest of the Division remained behind in North Africa for other duties. Upon arrival in Corsica they conducted a series of practice landings with members of the Battalion de Choc, under General Henry Martin of the Free French African, and Senegalese Troops who were chosen to liberate these two islands, located between the islands of Corsica and Italy, in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Operation "Spam" Dry Run On Rome
Before the invasion the two APD's participated in the brief but significant operation code named "SPAM", on the night of 30 May 1944. The Allied Forces were checked at Anzio, Italy, but were preparing for a push toward Rome. The success of this push was threatened by German troops who were reported to be coming down to engage them. On the night in question, this small force of transports sailed eastward from Porto Vecchio, Corsica without any troops aboard and headed out to sea as though an amphibious operation was eminent. Their course was aimed in the general direction of Civitavecchia, Italy, north of Rome. This mock invasion force, which turned back after being "discovered" by German "snooper" aircraft when they were about twenty miles from the Italian Coast apparently fooled the German High Command. The expected reinforcements failed to arrive to threaten Anzio. On the following day the German radio broadcasts, and "Berlin Sally" were heard proclaiming that an invading Allied Force had been repulsed the preceding night, in the area to the north of Rome.
Operation "Brassard" Elba and Pianosa
The invasion of Elba commenced on the night of 17 June 1944. As Samuel Elliot Morrison reported in his book, "The Two Ocean War," this little island, about 30 miles long was defended by about 3,000 Germans that were so well provided with coastal and mobile batteries that the ships entering the Golfo di Campo were met by murderous fire. Several LCI's were sunk and for a time it looked as though nobody would get out alive. Captain Errol Turner, RN, the landing officer, on the beach, directed the troop laden landing craft to put their men ashore on other beaches, by noon all the beaches were joined and that only one battery was still giving trouble. By 19 June the islands were in "French hands."
The first employment of APD's in the Mediterranean area was carried out by TATTNALL and ROPER during the early hours of 17 June 1944, in company with Chasseurs #51 and #52 of the French Navy. Prior to leaving Ajaccio, Robert Sweeney, Signal Man 2/C USN was temporarily transferred to #52 to serve as communication liaison, between the American and French Forces, during the landing operation. The operation against Pianosa was carried out in conjunction with the French naval assault, Groupe Naval D'Assaut, under the command of Capitaine Fregate R. Seriot, French Navy, embarked in #52.
TATTNALL's four landing craft were to put ashore 140 Officers and men of the 9th Zuares, of the Free French Army under the command of Major F. Dupre, with an approximate like number of troops by the boats of ROPER. At about 2300 the boats were lowered into the water and the troops were loaded aboard. The boats, directed by Ensign W. B. Hultquist, USNR, in boat #1 and Lt. (jg) H. N. Moore, USNR, in #4, took up station on the quarter of the two chasseurs. Communication between ComTransDiv. 13, Commander Hughes, and Captain Seriot was accomplished through the use of under water sound transmission in order to maintain radio silence. Upon the completion of the landings Signalman Sweeney was returned to TATTNALL having completed his liaison duties, in an exemplary manner.
In speaking to Willard Hertlein, Motor Machinist Mate Second Class, USNR, at the reunion of the "Four Stack Destroyer APD" held in St. Paul, Minnesota 19 - 21 September 1991. He reported that his position, during this operation, was that of an engineer on one of the landing craft. He recalled very clearly that the German artillery was extremely intense and accurate. When the boats ran up on the beach, the men of the landing force were a little reluctant to leave the confines of the boat. The boat crews, wishing to clear the beach as quickly as possible, got behind the troops and more or less "persuaded" them to accelerate their departure from the boats. Thus enabling the coxswains to back off the shoreline and maneuver the landing craft out into open water and await further orders.
Following these landings the ships reverted to "Destroyer" type activities, escorting convoys around the Mediterranean. They visited such ports as: Arzew and Bizerte, in North Africa, Naples and Salerno, in Italy that afforded the crews some welcomed liberty and recreation.
Southern France Operation "Anvil"
The Division was together again to prepare for the next Amphibious Operation. They proceeded to an area of the Golfo di Salerno, just to the south of the town of Salerno. The rumors were that the location of the next landing, would be somewhere on the coast of Southern France. Soon rumors gave way to fact and word spread that the proposed target area was east of the mouth of the Rhone River, between the towns of Toulon and Nice.
Embarked on board were the men of the First Special Service Force, nicknamed "Frederick's Freighters" after their Commanding Officer. This was a hand picked group of American and Canadian Troops formed at Helena, Montana in the summer of 1942. The summer of 1943 had found them storming the shores of the Aleutian Islands to unseat the Japanese from American Soil. They had spent 106 days of the winter months, of 1944, "slugging it out" with German Troops on the Anzio Beachhead. The APD's appearance signaled that their rest period had terminated, and that they figured to take a prominent part in the next operation plans.
TATTNALL very nearly missed the Invasion of Southern France because of a freak accident. A week or so prior to the scheduled operation while anchored in the Harbor of Naples, one of the plates in the After Engine Room suddenly sprung a leak and began filling with sea water. Anthony "Tony" DeMarco Machinist Mate 1/c, USNR clearly recalls looking into the bilges and being able to see daylight where no such light should have been seen. Quickly manning a P500 "Handybilly" Pump, which supplemented the bilge pump, and placing a temporary plug in the hole, flooding was controlled. The ship was towed to the Dry-dock facility where emergency repairs were accomplished, by Italian shipfitters. A new plate was welded over the weakened damaged area in record time and after suitable tests at sea the TATTNALL took her place in the Invasion Force.
Aerial reconnaissance, of the landing area revealed strong German Garrisons on the three Islands of the Hyeres group, just to the east of Toulon. These pictures showed what appeared to be heavy coastal batteries commanding the approaches to the beaches for about twenty miles. A decision was made that these installations would be the target for the TATTNALL's task group. The troops were to put ashore several hours before "H" hour, and the element of surprise was of the utmost importance. This, together with the island's terrain warranted the use of rubber landing craft, towed in by the ship's LCPR'S. On the morning of 14 August 1944 the invasion force left the anchorage in Corsica, and steamed toward the "Cote d'Azur" of Southern France.
About 0130 on the 15th, almost six hours before the main attack, set for 0700, these "Rangers" went to the rocky shores of the Ile de Levant, and Port Cros. We members of the Gunnery Department were detailed to stand near the debarkation nets. As the troopers of the First Special Service Force prepared to climb down the nets to enter the landing craft it was our job to issue each man going over the side two fragmentation hand grenades. The soldiers took a very dim view of carrying the extra weight. We assured them that it wasn't our idea, but that of their Commanding Officer who ordered that they be issued these weapons. Thus being assured the men placed the hand grenades conveniently on their cartridge belts "hooking" them by the handles. As they clambered down the cargo nets we noticed that they extended their mid-section so that the hand grenades got caught on the net and became dislodged and fell into the water and sank to the bottom of the sea, thus "accidentally" relieving themselves of the required "ammunition". I questioned the men still remaining on deck about the rationale of such behavior, their answer made a lot of sense to me. They said that the grenades got in the way while they were crawling up on the enemy. The ring on the "pin" could easily become entangled on a-bush or something become dislodged thereby allowing the grenade to detonate and be more hazardous to themselves than to the Germans.
The Rafts, for that is all they were, were towed in to about 1000 yards from the beach by the LCPR'S, and the troopers would paddle themselves the rest of the way. The enemy emplacements were neutralized as the "Raiders" overwhelmed them in the rapid silent manner that was their forte. The five destroyer transports, between them landed about 1600 soldiers on the two islands. Levant fell the second day after the landing, while Port Cros flew the white flag of surrender a day later.
The next two weeks found TATTNALL, and her sisters, faced with all manner of support activities. They brought supplies and reinforcements to the landing areas, cared for and evacuated the wounded, transported a large number of German POWs to their place of internment, in Cavalaire Bay. When Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestall, who had been observing the invasion activities from the deck of USS AUGUSTA (CA 31), decided that a closer look at the situation ashore was in order, his mode of transport was one of TATTNALL's landing craft. Leaving her boats behind in the landing area TATTNALL carried four BMS's to the Golfe de Fos, west of Marseilles. These BMS's were converted LCVP's that had been equipped to perform mine sweeping operations. TATTNALL even underwent the heart-wrenching task of removing the remains of the soldiers who had fallen in battle, to their final resting place. When there was nothing else to do they engaged in some off-shore antisubmarine patrolling on the off chance that any U-boats made their appearance known by torpedoing unwary defenseless ships.
TATTNALL's age manifested itself once more. While engaged in this operation trouble developed in the evaporators. This problem greatly reduced their ability to convert seawater to potable drinking water. They were barely able to produce enough fresh water to keep the boilers supplied, as well as provide enough so that the cooks could prepare the food for the crew. There was not enough fresh water for the crew to enjoy the luxury of an occasional shower. Because of this every time the ship anchored, swimming call was sounded and the crewmembers not on watch enjoyed the opportunity of a dip in the Mediterranean to maintain cleanliness. The crew would dive over the side come up the "Jacobs Ladder" grab a piece of Saltwater soap "lather down" then quickly return over the side to rinse off. While this procedure leaves something to be desired it is effective in an emergency.
From the beginning of September until her duties in the Mediterranean were completed, TATTNALL's time was taken up escorting convoys from port to port, and other utilitarian tasks. About 12 December the welcomed orders came to provision ship and sail for home with stops for fuel in the Azores and Bermuda. They arrived in Hampton Roads a couple of days before Christmas, 1944. After off-loading the ammunition the ship proceeded to the Norfolk Navy Yard, in Portsmouth for some much needed repairs. There were also alterations to be accomplished like the placement of two single Bofors 40 MM AA weapons, to replace the 3"/50 on the after deckhouse, before reporting to the Pacific Theater of Operations. During the Yard availability Lieutenant Commander Lennox was relieved by Lieutenant B. A. Habich, USNR as Captain, a veteran of the Pearl Harbor attack while serving in USS SCHLEY (DD-103).
On 31 January 1945, all work having been completed and with a fresh coat of "Pacific Camouflaging" TATTNALL cleared Chesapeake Bay. She headed south to the Panama Canal and the Pacific Ocean, by way of San Diego and Pearl Harbor on her last wartime assignment. The ship
Paused at Pearl Harbor for some refresher training in Amphibious Warfare and other underway evolutions, TATTNALL ultimately arrived off Okinawa on 19 April 1945.
Okinawa, Ordeal of the "Kamikaze"
The invasion of this Bastion, code named "Love Day" had taken place on Easter, 1 April 1945. After success in the initial stages, the Campaign turned into one of the toughest fights in the annals of American History. The logistic needs of an Operation of this magnitude required a large fleet of surface ships to support the troops ashore. Among these demands were the landing of reinforcements and supplies, large scale and constant shore bombardment, as well as prevention of Japanese counter landings. This left the Empire of Japan no alternative but to knockout, what came to be known as the "Fleet That Came to Stay," and thus began the largest air-sea battle of the war.
The Japanese instrument of this all-out attack was the insidious "Divine Wind," also known as the Kamikaze Corps. The ships on the picket lines protecting and screening the anchorage area received the brunt of the blow from these instruments of death. It was for this duty that TATTNALL reported.
She patrolled several of the screen stations prior to the night of 29 April, and had successfully fired on several enemy planes.
This night there had been three "red alerts" before 0200 with no targets of opportunity. At 0215 general quarters again summoned the crew to battle stations, almost immediately "bogies" began closing from the west.
One twin-engined plane crossed about 3000 yards astern, and the 40-mm gun on the After Deckhouse opened fire scoring several hits. The plane drew off to the starboard quarter with one engine ablaze. Tenaciously it wheeled around and headed for the ship, only to give the starboard batteries some target practice and they shot the aerial intruder from the sky.
A few moments later a single engine fighter decided to avenge the loss of his companion. Approaching from starboard he went into a fatal dive aiming for TATTNALL. With the old four-stacker's ancient engines striving for full speed, Lieutenant Commander Habich coolly ordered "right full rudder." The "kamikaze" crashed in the sea a scant few feet off the starboard bow, puncturing a small hole in the hull just above the water line, and dented the "paper thin" plates below the waterline.
The main deck was drenched with debris. Elden "Al" Mantey, GM I/C USNR, the gun captain of the forward 3"/50 recalls that the rail around the forward search light platform was carried away by either the force of the explosion, or a flying piece of shrapnel. He also remembers, that by sheer luck, the Electricians Mate manning this station had, moments before, been summoned below undoubtedly saving his life.
About ten minutes later a medium bomber crossed the bow approximately a hundred yards ahead. TATTNALL was unable to fire her batteries because of the gasoline still remaining on the decks, forward of the Galley Deckhouse. The muzzle flash of the guns could have ignited the heavy concentration of fumes.
The next day she sailed to Saipan on escort duty and returned to Okinawa with another convoy carrying oil for the smoke screen generators. She then resumed her duties on the picket station, where air raids continued almost without let-up.
On 25 May the crew were at their battle stations continuously for eighteen hours. During this day's attack, two of her sister ships, BARRY and ROPER each were struck by Kamikaze planes. Because of extensive damage, BARRY had to be sunk while ROPER returned to the rear area.
About 3 June 1945 word came that a typhoon was approaching Okinawa and the resulting bad weather curtailed enemy air activity. The typhoon did not approach as close as anticipated and TATTNALL departed for Leyte Gulf by way of Saipan on 6 June, arriving at Leyte on 18 June after nearly a month in the forward area. She remained at Leyte for 8 days where repairs were effected, not to mention some much-needed good old-fashioned rest and relaxation that was enjoyed by all hands.
After the repairs were completed TATTNALL reported to the Commander Philippine Sea Frontier for duty on 26 June. The first assignment was to proceed to Subic Bay via Manila to escort a convoy back to Okinawa. The convoy was formed and departed Subic 4 July en route to the forward area once more.
The ships, of the convoy, celebrated Independence Day the good old-fashioned way by engaging in some antiaircraft firing exercises. This group of 21 LST's with 4 escorts was one of the first convoys to swing around to the west side of Luzon and approach within 200 miles of Formosa before turning northeast toward Okinawa.
The trip was made without incident nor were any enemy aircraft encountered. Upon arriving at their destination on 8 July proceeded to the transport anchorage and moored there. After about 5 days of little or no activity, except for refueling and taking on provisions, TATTNALL bid a fond adieu to this beleaguered island and sailed for Leyte with the same ships that they had escorted North, arriving on 17 July.
TATTNALL's final assignment while attached to the Philippine Sea Frontier, was to proceed to Hollandia, New Guinea to meet and escort several troop ships back to Leyte.
This would mean that the ship would cross the Equator, because the island of New Guinea is situated south of the Philippines. The last time TATTNALL had performed the initiation ceremony had been during the summer of 1941 when on a cruise to the Galapagos Islands, as previously reported in this article.
By this time most of those Shellbacks had long since gone to other assignments. This meant that there was a wealth of Pollywogs and a dearth of Shellbacks. Nevertheless tradition dictates that all vessels entering the domain of King Neptune are to initiate those members of the crew not previously inducted into the "Ancient Mysteries of the Deep" to appear before the "Royal Court" and be tried. The Shellbacks held a meeting and chose the members of the "Royal Party."
Although badly outnumbered, by the Pollywogs, the initiation went along and all those wishing to be were inducted into this select group of "Salty Mariners." TATTNALL crossed the Equator at 1317, 18 August 1945 with both Whistle and siren going full blast. This proved to be a welcomed relief from the rigors of the "Picket Lines" of the previous couple of months.
The ship arrived in Hollandia, New Guinea at 0700 the next morning and remained there for the next 12 days, where some much needed rest and recreation was enjoyed by the crew.
On the evening of 29August, TATTNALL departed Hollandia with a convoy of two troop carriers and cargo ships, for Leyte. The trip was uneventful until the night before arriving back in the Philippines, when a casualty occurred to the starboard high-pressure turbine, which left that engine useless.
Further inspection after arriving in Leyte proved that the engine was beyond repair. The decision was made to remove the starboard propeller and to return to the United States on one engine.
At 1945 local time 13 September 1945 TATTNALL set sail for home, with 102 passengers aboard, Two nights later the outer edge of a typhoon's effects were felt, with rolls showing on the clinometer in excess of 47 degrees.
Pausing only at Eniwetok for fuel, the ship entered Pearl Harbor on 27 September. During the final leg of the journey the Pacific Ocean did not live up to its name, which resulted in a rather rough crossing. TATTNALL arrived in San Francisco 3 October where she was ordered to Seattle, Washington for final inspection and disposal.
The Board of Inspection and Survey looked her over and on 19 November all of the usable equipment was removed, and the 24-year-old "Fourstacker" was reduced to a sad looking hulk. At 1300, 17 December 1945, TATTNALL was placed officially out of commission, and stricken from the list. The remainder of the crew was transferred to the 13th Naval District for reassignment or separation, whichever was appropriate.
TATTNALL's ultimate fate? Lyle Kelly, a Sonarman in 1942, recalled an article he had read in a Seattle newspaper while he was attending the University of Washington in 1946.
The paper reported that she was towed out to sea and sunk as part of a breakwater, then being constructed, somewhere off the coast of Washington State. Burial at sea seems to be a fitting tribute to a vessel that served far beyond her original life expectancy.
There she lies in peace some three thousand miles from the place of her origin on the 26th day of June 1919 at Camden, New Jersey, approximately twenty-seven years earlier.
The USS TATTNALL (DD-125/APD-19) earned three stars on her Area Campaign Ribbons for the following operations:
European-African-Middle Eastern Medal
1 Star/West Coast of Italy Operations
Elba and Pianosa Landing - 17 June 1944
1 Star/invasion of Southern France
14 August - 1 September 1944
1 Star/Okinawa Gunto Operation
Assault and Occupation of Okinawa Gunto
19 April -- 11 June 1945
From The Tin Can Sailor, January 2004
Copyright 2004 Tin Can Sailors.
All rights reserved.
This article may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from
Tin Can Sailors.
USS Concord (CL-10) in Gulf of Panama, 1944 - History
(ATA-179: dp. 800 (f.), 1. 143'0" b. 33'0" dr. 14' (max.)
cpl. 48 a. 1 3", 2 20mm. cl. ATA-121)
The unnamed single-screw ocean-going tug ATA-179 (originally projected as the rescue tug, ATR-106) was Iaid down on 22 May 1944 at Orange, Tex., by the Levingston Shipbuilding Co.
Launched on 30 June 1944 and commissioned on 22 September 1944, Lt. (jg.) Thomas C. McLaren, USNR, in command.
After fitting out, ATA-179 conducted shakedown training out of Galveston, Tex. before undergoing post-shakedown availabil- at that port untie 24 October. Two days later, the tug departed Galveston for Tampa, Fla., with a covered lighter, YF-614, in tow, and reached her destination on the 28th. Taking the barracks ship APL-l 19 in tow, the tug sailed for the Panama Canal Zone on 4 November 1944, reaching her destination with her two tows on the 13th. Transiting the Panama Canal three days later she sailed for Bora Bora in the Society Islands, on 30 November 1944, and reached her destination on 22 December. On the day after Christmas, ATA-179 got underway for Finschhafen, New Guinea, towing YF-614. She then towed the lighter to Hollandia New Guinea, arriving on 12 January 1945, before proceeding on to Leyte with APL-l9 and YF-614 in tow, arriving there on 5 February 1945.
Assigned to Service Sauadron Three Service Force, Seventh Fleet, ATA-179 cleared Leyte on 18 February 1945 for the Carolines and reached Ulithi the following day. There, she took two floating workshops, YRD(H) - and YRD(M)-6, in tow and departed Ulithi on 24 February for the Philippines. Proceeding via Kossol Roads, in the Palaus, ATA-179 arrived at Leyte on 12 March 1945 and delivered her tows. Departing San Pedro Bav on 24 March, the tug reached Cebu on the 26th and picked up LCT-1296, towing her to Leyte
Proceeding thence to Hollandia, New Guinea, having left the tank craft at Leyte, ATA-179 picked up the tow of a dredge and four pontoon barges on 18 April and delivered them to Leyte on 1 May 1945. Returning to Hollandia, the tug then picked up four ammunition barges and towed them to Leyte as well reaching the Philippines on 7 June. ATA-179 proceeded thence to Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides, reaching that port on 26 June 1945. On iJuly, the tug cleared the New Hebrides with Section B of the advanced base sectional dock, ABSD-1, and the open lighter, YC-324, and headed for the Philippines. Proceeding via Hollandia, the tug and her two charges reached their destination on 2 August 1945.
Departing Leyte on 7 August, ATA-179 sailed for the Padaido Islands, and there took David B. Henderson in tow on 12 August. She proceeded thence to Biak, New Guinea, and arrived on the following day. During the week that followed, ATA-179 towed a 400-ton pontoon drydock to Morotai and the covered lighter
YF-621, to Leyte. Proceeding thence to Morotai, the tug towed a 400-ton floatmg drydock and the motor minesweeper YMS-47 to Samar, and a 100-ton pontoon drydock from there to Subic Bay. For the balance of October 1945, the tug operated in the Phillippine Islands between Samar and Leyte. She towed seven pontoon barges from Samar to Subic Bay (24 to 28 October) and spent the remainder of 1945 and the first few months of the following year, 1946, based at Leyte.
ATA-179 departed Leyte on 30 March 1946. She reached Manus, in the Admiralties, on 6 April and departed there eight days later with a section of ABSD-4 in tow. Touching briefly at Eniwetok and Johnston Island en route, the tug reached Pearl Harbor on 24 May and proceeded thence to the west coast of the United States soon thereafter, towing AFD-2 to San Pedro. She then took LCS -66 6 to San Diego and arrived there on 12 September. Moving to San Pedro the same day, ATA-179 took APL-43 in tow and sailed for the Canal Zone on 12 October. She reached her destination on the 18th, and departed 11 days later bound for Jacksonville with APL-43 and APL 34 in her wake to deliver her tows to the Florida group of the reserve fleet. With new orders to deliver the barracks ships elsewhere, however, for preservation work, ATA-179 proceeded to Charleston, S.C., which she reached on 8 November 1946.
Over the next several months, ATA-179 participated in the demobilization process of many fleet units assigned temporarily to the Commandant, 8th Naval District, and performed tug and tow operations on the Gulf and Florida coasts ranging from Key West and Mayport to New Orleans, Mobile, and Galveston until
she herself was inactivated and placed out of commission, in reserve, at Orange, Tex., on 10 October 1947. On 16 July 1948, she was named Allegheny (ATA-179).
She was recommissioned on 25 July 1949. Alleaheny then sailed for the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, arriving on 8 August. She remained there until 26 September, when she sailed for New York. Departing New York on 1 October, Alleaheny sailed for the Mediterranean, in company with Stallion( (ATA-193) and the survey ship Maury (AGS-16), reaching Gibraltar on 13 October. Pushing on across the Mediterranean, the survey group put in at Naples, Italy, on the 19th, and at Argostolion, Greece, on the 21st. Sailing for Port Said, Egypt, that same day, the ships reached the northern terminus of the Suez Canal on 24 October and transited that waterway on the 25th, reaching Aden on the 30th.
Allepheny commenced her hydrographic work in that region soon thereafter. Over the next several weeks, she supported Maury as that ship operated in the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf conducting surveys of the uncharted waters of the Arabian coast. She touched at ports in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait Bahrain, and Pakistan. The survey ships transited the Suez Canal on 4 May. Allegheny rounded out the deployment with visits to Algiers and Gibraltar before she sailed for the United States, reaching Norfolk on 27 May. She moved to New York soon thereafter, and underwent postdeployment availability at the New York Naval Shipyard from 3 June to 8 September.
Allegheny conducted survey operations at Newport, R.I., following her overhaul at New York from 9 to 29 September. She then returned to the naval shipyard following that work, to prepare for another deployment to the Persian Gulf, and sailed for the Mediterranean on 6 October. Reaching Gibraltar on 19 October, Allegheny visited Golfe Juan from 22 to 25 October and touched briefly at Port Said from 30 to 31 October before transiting the Suez Canal and proceeding down the Red Sea. Reaching Bahrain on 11 November, she remained there until the 13th when she got underway for Ras Tanura, making port there later the same day. She spent the remainder of the year 1950 and the first three and one-half months of 1951 operating from that Saudi oil port, ultimately sailing for Suez on 18 April 1951. She wound up the deployment with calls at Port Said, Naples, Algiers, and Gibraltar before she got underway to return to the United States on 18 May.
Arriving at the New York Naval Shipyard on the last day of May 1951, Allegheny remained there through the summer and into September, leaving New York on 17 September for Hampton Roads. Reaching Norfolk the next day, she did not get underway again until 10 October when she sailed for her third deployment to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern waters. She visited Athens from 30 October to 2 November, and onerated briefly in the Mediterranean before transiting the Suez Canal on 5 November. A port call at Aden on 10 November preceded her arrival at Bahrain on the 17th. As in the previous deployment, she conducted survey work in the Bahrain-Ras Tanura area into the following sprmg, winding up her work at the latter port on 12 April. Transiting the Suez Canal on 24 and 25 April 1952, Allegheny visited Naples and Monaco en route home, ultimately reaching Norfolk on 29 May 1952.
Shifting soon thereafter to the New York Naval Shipyard where she arrived on 14 June, Allegheny underwent a major conversion for her new role as research vessel. During the summer of 1952, all armament and towing accessories were removed and her towing winch rotated 90° and mod)fied to perform the functions of a heavy trawling winch. Various hydrographic and bathythermograph winches and booms were installed, as was sonar, dead reckoning, and various electronic equipment. Shipboard spaces were converted to a machine shop, motor generator, and photographic laboratory. A new deckhouse was constructed aft to house underwater sound and electronic equipment.
Assigned to the Commandant, 3d Naval District, for duty and based at the Naval Supply Center, Bayonne, N.J., Allegheny spent the next 17 years engaged in hydrographic and research functions through the Office of Naval Research, with various research teams from the Hudson Laboratories Bell Telephone Co., Woods Hole Institute, and Columbia University embarked as the mission required. Generally, her operations consisted of spending months from January through April in the BermudaCaribbean area, and the rest of the year in the Long IslandHudson Canyon region, off New York, and occasionally involved in operations off Cape Hatteras. Ports of call included St. Thomas, Virgin Islands San Juan, Puerto Rico Willemstadt, Curagao Miami and Port Everglades, Fla., and Bermuda. In the spring of 1963 she was assigned to Task Group 89.7 from 24 April to 15 May, an operational commitment occasioned by the disappear- of the nuclear submarine Thresher (SSN-593).
Highlighting the latter part of her long tour of research support work was a towing operation—something she had not been configured for in many, many years. Underway from Bayonne on 31 January 1967, Allegheny sailed for Bermuda, arriving on 3 February. No longer possessing a towing engine or fittings, the research vessel had to jury-rig a towing arrangement to the "Monster Buoy" (General Dynamics Buoy "Bravo"). Setting out for the west coast of the United States on 11 February, Allegheny and the "Monster Buoy" headed for the Pactfic. Touching briefly at Guantanamo Bay for provisions from 17 to 19 February, Allegheny and her charge transited the Panama Canal on 23 February, and set out for Acapuleo on the 25th. En route, the tug and her tow ran into 40-knot winds and 15-foot seas in the Gulf of Tehuantepee, but reached their destination on 4 March. Underway on the 7th, Allegheny delivered her tow one week later, on the 14th, having successfully completed a 32-day, 4,642-mile journey. Retracing her course, the tug returned to Bermuda on 16 April, via Acapulco, the Panama Canal, and Kingston, Jamaica.
Allegheny conducted oceanographic research missions off Bermuda with USNS Mission Capistrano (T-A0-112) from 22 April to 5 May before sailing for Bayonne. Further oceanographic work—off Port Everglades, Fla.—began in June, followed by a visit on 4 July to Washington D.C. That September, the ship was reassigned from commandant, 3d Naval District, to Service Squadron 8 on 1 July 1969, and conducted coring operations on the Continental Shelf, off the New York-New Jersey coast from 5 to 11 September. From 18 to 28 September, Allegheny conducted operations with Bang (SS-365) in the Gulf of Maine and Boston area and, from 9 to 20 November with Cutlass (SS-478), in the Virginia capes area, each time under the auspices of Commander, Operational Development Force.
Ultimately declared excess to the needs of the Navy, Allegheny was decommissioned and struec from the Naval Vessel Register on 14 December 1968. Towed to Philadelphia and the Inactive Ship Facility there, the ship was turned over to Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, Mich., for use as a training ship to prepare young men for merchant service on the Great Lakes. Berthed at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, the ship served as a training vessel and floating laboratory for a little under a decade. On 27 Januarv 1978 "burdened by frozen spray flung on her superstructure by strong north winds," the ship rolled over at her Maritime Academy dock.
USS Concord (CL-10) in Gulf of Panama, 1944 - History
(AE-15: dp. 5,604 1. 459', b. 63', dr. 29', s. 16 k.
cpl. 255 a. 1 5", 4 3", 2 40mm., cl. Wrangell)
The fourth Vesuvius (AE-15) was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1381) by the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, N C., launched on 26 May 1944, acquired by the United States Navy on 4 July 1944 and commissioned on 16 January 1945, Comdr. Flavius J. George in command.
The ship underwent builder's trials out of Brooklyn N.Y., and then began shakedown out of Hampton Roads, Va., in the Chesapeake Bay. On 17 February, she sailed to Earle, N.J., to onload ammunition. She then headed for the island of Ulithi, via the Panama Canal, on 5 March. She reached her destination on 5 April and promptly unloaded and took on more cargo. Vesuvius departed for Okinawa on 10 April where she became part of Service Squadron 6. In this role, she replenished ammunition to the Fleet in the waters around Okinawa. In July 1945, Vesuvius joined a rearming group off Honshu, Japan to support raids on Japan by the 3d Fleet. She detached on 2 August and set sail for Leyte Gulf, Philippines. While there, word of the Japanese capitulation was received on 15 August 1945. The ship remained in the Philippines until 28 October, when she left for the United States. After transiting the Panama Canal, Vesuvius joined the Service Force, Atlantic Fleet. The ship arrived at Yorktown, Va., on 14 December 1945.
Vesuvius departed Yorktown on 10 January 1946, bound for Leonardo, N.J., to discharge her cargo and ship's ammunition to the Naval Ammunition Depot. On 7 February, she headed for Orange, Tex., arriving there on 13 February to commence her pre-inactivation overhaul. Vesuvius was placed out of commission, in reserve at Orange on 20 August 1946.
In response to the needs imposed by the Korean conflict Vesuvius was recommissioned on 15 November 195i. She remained at Orange and Beaumont, Tex., for outfitting and readying for sea until 7 January 1962, when she departed for San Diego. Having arrived on 14 February, the ship conducted exercises and loaded ammunition at Port Chicago, Calif., before sailing on 22 March for Sasebo, Japan.
She arrived at Sasebo on 3 May 1952 and, after voyage repairs, began supplying ammunition to the ships of Task Force (TF) 77 on patrol off the east coast of Korea. On 1 December, Vesuvius headed for the United States, arriving at San Francisco on 18 December for overhaul.
Over the next decade, Vesuvius was to make 11 more extended deployments to the western Pacific where she serviced units of the 7th Fleet. These operations were interspersed with port visits to Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Hong Kong. Periods on the west coast of the United States were spent in overhaul and in the conduct of underway training
On 24 June 1963, Vesuvius commenced her 13th postWorld War II deployment to the western Pacific, making stops at Pearl Harbor and at Guam for repairs and arriving at Yokosuka on 4 August. She serviced the 7th Fleet throughout August. In October, she visited Sasebo and Kagoshima, Japan Subic Bay, Philippines, and Buckner Bay, Okinawa. In November, she visited Hong Kong and spent the entire month of December 1963 in and out of Yokosuka, Japan.
Vesuvius began the year 1964 in Yokosuka making final preparations for her homeward passage. On 7 January, she got underway for San Francisco via the great circle route. She arrived on 31 January and spent February and March moored to the pier at Port Chicago. A brief trip to San Diego and participation in an exercise with other units of the 1st Fleet occupied April, and Vesuvius spent May in an upkeep status at Concord. On 6 July, she was underway for coastal operations. August and September saw the ship in and out of port, training and providing services to the Fleet Training Group. In October, she participated in operations with members of the 1st Fleet. On 20 November 1964, Vesuvius returned to Concord for upkeep and a holiday leave period. She got underway on 18 December for the Mare Island Annex, where she spent the holiday season.
The ship made a brief trip to San Diego beginning on 4 January 1965 before returning to Concord on 15 January. She began reloading cargo in preparation for deployment and got underway for the Far East on 1 February. Vesuvius reached Subic Bay, via Pearl Harbor and Guam, on 28 February. She then began operations in the South China Sea interrupted by brief returns for the onload of cargo in Slibic Bay. In July 1965, she received a well-earned respite from her duties in Hong Kong. After a week there, she resumed operations. Having made 182 underway replenishments during the deployment, Vesuvius returned to Concord, Calif., on 28 November.
Vesuviu$ began the year 1966 by steaming on 3 January to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Bremerton Wash., to undergo repairs for six weeks. After leavin Bremerton, the ship headed south to Concord to onload ammunition. On 5 March, she sailed for San Diego for refresher training. Shortly after arrival, a 26-inch crack in one of her hull plates was discovered. She promptly began transferring her load of ammunition to other ships. By 26 March, the ammunition had been successfully offloaded and, on 28 April 1966, Vesuvius proceeded to the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard in San
Francisco. On 14 May, Vesuvius deployed for the western Pacific. From 13 June through 27 November 1966 Vesuvius conducted replenishment operations between the Philippines and the South China Sea. In December, she stopped at Pearl Harbor on her way home, where an unusual cargo was embarked$9,700,000 was brought on board for a special currency lift back to the United States. Shortly before Christmas, Vesuviuo reached Concord.
The year 1967 found the ship berthed at Mare Island preparing to undergo her first major overhaul since 1962. Following completion of overhaul at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard and underway training, Vesuvius departed for the western Pacific on 15 July 1967, bound for Subic Bay. Except for brief periods in Hong Kong, Vesuvius came off the line in the South China Sea only long enough to fill her hold with more ammunition.
Near the end of January 1968, Vesuvius sailed to Yokosuka on her return trip to the United States, only to be recalled to the seas off Vietnam following the Pueblo incident. Vesuvius finally returned to the San Francisco Bay area on 17 March 1968, offloaded, proceeded to the Naval Shipyard at Mare Island and, on 4 April, entered the Triple A Shipyard in San Francisco for extensive repairs and upkeep, repairs were completed on 10 May, and the ship began refresher training in June. Following inspections and loadout, Vesuviu$ deployed again on 31 July 1968. She reached Subic Bay on 20 August for receipt of ammunition, then began operations in the Vietnam area. She remained on line through 3 December, when she left for a period of rest and recreation in Hong Kong. She departed there on 10 December to return to Vietnam.
Vesuvius remained on line through January and February 1969. In late February, she sailed into Bangkok, Thailand. From Bangkok, the ship went to Subic Bay to commence her final loadout before heading home. After a brief stop in Hawaii, Vesuvius arrived in Concord on 1 April 1969. In late April, the ship underwent six weeks of restricted availability at a commercial yard in San Francicso. Late in June, she steamed for San Diego and refresher training and exercises. By 23 July, she had returned to San Francisco and began three weeks of loadout for yet another deployment. Vesuvius departed for the western Pacific on 17 September 1969. After stopovers in Pearl Harbor and Yokosuka, she touched at Subic Bay for a few days before starting her line period off Vietnam.
During this deployment, Vesuvius conducted seven line runs in the South China Sea and the Tonkin Gulf in support of 7th Fleet operations. On 25 April, she left for home with stops at Kobe, Japan, and Pearl Harbor. She arrived at Concord on 23 May 1970. The ship entered a three-month upkeep in San Francicso from July to October followed by a predeployment inspection On 9 November, Vesuvius departed the San Francisco area for intensive training in San Diego and, on 6 December, steamed back to Port Chicago for a holiday leave period.
Vesuvius again departed for the western Pacific on 4 January 1971. She arrived at Subic Bay on 25 January, and, one week later, was underway for her first line run of the deployment. On 20 February, she pulled into Singapore and then proceeded shortly thereafter to the Philippines for a 15-day upkeep period. Vesuvius then resumed her assignment of providing ammunition logistics support to the 7th Fleet and Royal Australian Navy units off the coast of Vietnam. On 2 August 1971, Vesuvius left Subic Bay for San Francisco, arriving on 1 September. After offloading ammunition at Concord Naval Weapons Station, the ship moved to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard for a month of standdown. On 4 October, she entered a six-week upkeep. Upon completion, she returned to Concord on 19 November. Vesuvius departed Concord on 29 November for refresher training off San Diego, returning to Mare Island on 4 December.
Vesuvius got underway on 3 January 1972 and, on 5 January, commenced refresher training in San Diego. She returned to Concord on 29 January. Preparations for deployment began immediately, and the ship left California on 14 February. Upon arrival at Subic Bay Vesuvius again supported combat operations for the 7th Fleet. On 29 June, she began upkeep and returned to action on 18 July. Her duties were interrupted for short trips to Hung Kong and Bangkok in August and October. In December, she entered drydock at Subic Bay to replace her propeller, but she promptly returned to Vietnam and ended the year in the combat zone.
The ship returned to Concord on 3 March 1973. After offloading ammunition, the ship moved to Mare Island. The ship was scheduled for upkeep from April to July. However, a message was received from the Chief of Naval Operations in July to prepare the ship for decommissioning. On 14 August 1973, Vesuvius was decommissioned and transferred to the Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at Mare Island for further disposition. She was struck from the Navy list on 14 August 1973.
Vesuvius received two battle stars for World War II two battle stars for the Korean War, and 10 battle Stars for her service in Vietnam.
On her maiden cruise, from 23 November 1923 – 9 April 1924, Concord called at Mediterranean ports, passed through the Suez Canal to round the Cape of Good Hope, and exercised with the fleet in the Caribbean before returning to Philadelphia. As flagship of Commander, Destroyer Squadrons, Scouting Fleet, she cruised the Caribbean and sailed through the Panama Canal to exercise in the Hawaiian Islands in 1924–1925. Continuing to operate in the Atlantic, she joined in the Presidential Fleet Review taken by Calvin Coolidge on 4 June 1927.
Serving as flagship of Commander, Cruiser Division 3 (CruDivك), Battle Force, Concord cruised the Pacific from her base at San Diego after early 1932, exercising in the Canal Zone and the Caribbean in 1934. She took part in Presidential Fleet Reviews taken by Franklin D. Roosevelt on 30 September 1935 and 12 July 1938, and joined in fleet exercises in the Hawaiian area, in the Canal Zone, and off Alaska. After operating on the east coast in the winter of 1938-39, she returned to Pacific operations, and from 1 April 1940 was based at Pearl Harbor for a training schedule which intensified as war came closer.
World War II
When the U.S. entered the war, Concord was at San Diego preparing for a shipyard overhaul which she completed early in February 1942. Assigned to the Southeast Pacific Force, she escorted convoys to Bora Bora in the Society Islands, exercised in the Canal Zone, and cruised along the coast of South America and to the islands of the southeast Pacific, serving from time to time as flagship of her force.
From 5 September–24 November 1943, she carried Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd on a tour to survey the potential use of a number of southeast Pacific islands in national defense and commercial aviation. During this cruise, she suffered a gasoline explosion which killed 24 men including her executive officer, [ 1 ] and caused considerable damage, which was repaired at Balboa, Panama.
With repairs completed in March 1944, Concord set sail northward to join the Northern Pacific Force at Adak on 2 April. Serving as flagship of Task Force 94 (TF㻞) at the beginning of this duty, she joined in bombardments of the Kuriles which continued at intervals until the close of the war, preventing effective use by the Japanese of their bases there. Harassing the northern shipping lanes of Japan, her force sank several small craft, and on 25 August 1944, the destroyers of the force made an attack on a Japanese convoy.
On 31 August 1945, Concord stood out from Adak, covered the occupation landings at Ominato, Japan from 8–14 September, and sailed on to Pearl Harbor, the Canal Zone, Boston, and Philadelphia, where she was decommissioned on 12 December and sold for scrap on 21 January 1947.
8. Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm – 1991
When Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait in August 1990, the Navy SEALs𠅊long with the rest of the U.S. military their first large-scale conflict since Vietnam. During the buildup to the first Gulf War, SEALs performed key reconnaissance along the Kuwaiti coastline. With the international coalition’s ground operations set to begin in early 1991, SEAL operators planted explosives on the coast that, when detonated, convinced the Iraqi defenders that an amphibious landing was imminent. The Iraqis committed more forces to the coast, making them more vulnerable to the subsequent thrust into central Kuwait by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Mighty MO – USS Missouri (BB-63) Video and Photos
There are three other ships in the United States Navy which were named after the state of Missouri besides the battleship USS Missouri (BB 63), and although she became associated with the history of the Japanese raid at Pearl Harbor, she never took part in the event. So, why is she known by so many around the world?
Missouri, a.k.a. “Mighty Mo” stands out in the history of the Second World War not just as the last battleship of the U.S. Navy, but also as the battleship which hosted the end of the Second World War in the Pacific.
A kamikaze plane about to hit Missouri 11 April 1945
The life of Mighty Mo began after her commissioning on 11 June 1944 as the last Iowa-class battleship of the U.S. Navy. She had a full-load displacement of 58,000 long tons, a length of 887.2 feet and a beam that measured about 108 feet. At her maximum speed of 33 knots, she possessed a range of about 14,900 miles.USS Missouri (BB-63) (left) transferring personnel to USS Iowa (BB-61), while operating off Japan on 20 August 1945.
Just like the rest of the Iowa-class battleships, her main armament comprised nine 16-inch .50 caliber Mark 7 guns which could fire shells that weighed up to 2,700 lb at a target 20 miles away. Subordinate armament comprised twenty 5-inch .30 caliber Mark 12 guns that could hit a target 10 miles away. She was also fitted with anti-aircraft guns to defend Allied aircraft carriers from air attacks.
Missouri was one of the battleships that took part in the invasion of Iwo Jima, which is known as the fiercest battle of the war’s Pacific theater.
On 18 March 1945, she was part of the battleship group that struck airfields and naval bases along the coast of Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. During this event, she gunned down four enemy planes and provided cover for the badly damaged carrier Franklin.
Missouri moves through the Panama Canal en route to the United States in October 1945.
On March 24 and April 1, Mighty Mo was with the Task Force 58 battleship group during the raids at Okinawa. She shot down five airplanes, provided support in the downing of another six, helped repel numerous waves of attacks during the day and night of the invasion, and destroyed military and government infrastructure. Also, the sinking of the Japanese submarine I-56 was initiated by Missouri, whose radar had detected it.
After her contributions at Okinawa, she took part in the bombardment of the Japanese home islands. Her battle group devastated Japanese infrastructure such as the Nihon Steel Company and the Wanishi Ironworks, in Hokkaido, and several other industrial targets in Honshū, before the release of the second atomic bomb which would lead to Japan’s surrender in 1945.
Allied sailors and officers watch General of the Army Douglas MacArthur sign documents during the surrender ceremony aboard Missouri on 2 September 1945. The unconditional surrender of the Japanese to the Allies officially ended the Second World War.
The signing of the official instrument of surrender was done aboard Missouri, and thus, the end of the war was marked onboard this ship, the main fact for which she is remembered.
The outbreak of the Korean War saw Missouri back in action, providing support and going on bombardment missions. Her last of such missions was the bombardment of Kojo on 25 March 1953.
Missouri was accidentally grounded early on the morning of 17 January 1950.
On 26 February 1955, she was decommissioned. Following her decommissioning, one idea to move Missouri to Pearl Harbor as a museum ship was thwarted by the National Park Service because of fears that with her towering popularity she would overshadow Arizona, the battleship that had become a symbol of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor following her very dramatic end.
Missouri was instead mothballed in Bremerton, west of Seattle, Washington. However, more than 30 years later, she was reactivated and modified during the 600-ship Navy project.
USS Missouri at sea in her 1980s configuration
The resurrected version was equipped with Quad Cell Launchers to fire Harpoon missiles and Armored-box launchers for firing Tomahawk missiles. For protection against enemy missiles, a Phalanx CIWS was installed on the ship.
In 1991, during the Gulf War, she was back in combat again, serving until 31 March 1992, when she saw her final decommissioning.
Missouri received 11 battle stars throughout her lifetime of service, and was used by the USS Missouri Memorial Association as a museum ship at Pearl Harbor after her retirement.
More photosA kamikaze plane about to hit Missouri 11 April 1945
USS Missouri (BB 63) prior to her being launched at the New York Navy Yard, January 29, 1944. Note the unusual view of the bow.
USS Missouri (BB-63). Photographed while on her shakedown cruise, August 1944.
The U.S. Navy battleship USS Missouri (BB-63), with the destroyer USS Renshaw (DD-499) alongside, manning the rails during Navy Day ceremonies in the Hudson River, New York City (USA).
Aerial view of warships at the base piers of Norfolk Naval Base, Virginia (USA), circa August 1944. Among them are: the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63), the largest ship the battlecruiser USS Alaska (CB-1), on the other side of the pier the escort carrier USS Croatan (CVE-25), and two destroyers, a Fletcher-class destroyer at the pier and a Clemson/Wilkes-class-destroyer moored outboard.
View of the U.S. Navy battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) looking aft towards the number three battery and the superstructure. Note the 20 mm antiaircraft gun mounts in the foreground and the SG surface-search radar antenna atop both mainmasts and the circular antenna for the SK-2 air-search radar on the foremast. Also visible are two Mk 37 gun directors with Mk 12 fire control radar for the 12.7 cm artillery and the Mk 38 gun director with Mk 8 fire control radar (“hedgehog”) for the 40.6 cm artillery.
View of the forecastele of the U.S. Navy battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) in heavy seas.
The U.S. Navy battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) during battle practice in Chesapeake Bay on 1 August 1944. She is wearing Camouflage Measure 32 Design 22D.
USS Missouri leading USS Iowa into Tokyo Bay, Japan, 30 August 1945. Note destroyer USS Nicholas in escort.
Warships of the U.S. Third Fleet and the British Pacific Fleet in Sagami Wan, 28 August 1945, preparing for the formal Japanese surrender a few days later. Mount Fuji is in the background. Nearest ship is USS Missouri (BB-63), flying Admiral William F. Halsey’s four-star flag. The British battleship HMS Duke of York is just beyond her, with HMS King George V further in. USS Colorado (BB-45) is in the far center distance. Also present are U.S. and British cruisers and U.S. destroyers.
American aircraft fly over USS Missouri after the surrender.
USS Renshaw (DD 499) dwarfed in comparison, stands alongside USS Missouri (BB 63) to pipe President Harry S. Truman onboard for Navy Day luncheon, October 1945
USS Augusta, USS Midway, USS Enterprise, USS Missouri, USS New York, USS Helena, and USS Macon in the Hudson River in New York, New York, United States for Navy Day celebrations, 27 October 1945.
USS Missouri (BB-63) in drydock at Norfolk Navy Yard, Norfolk, Virginia, November-December 1949.
Missouri (BB-63) bombarding Communist positions off Chong Jin, Korea. She is only about forty miles from the Soviet border, so all hands are at General Quarters, 21 October 1950.
The U.S. Navy battleship of USS Missouri (BB-63) upon arrival at Norfolk, Virginia (USA), after service in the Korean War on 27 April 1951.
Crew members man the rail as the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) arrives in port prior to a cruise to Australia and around the world, 1986.
The No. 1 and 2 Mark 7 16-inch/50-caliber gun turrets are fired during a main battery firing exercise aboard the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63). The ship is en route to Sydney, Australia, during a cruise around the world, 1986. The battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) transits the Suez Canal while en route to Istanbul, Turkey. The ship is on an around the world shakedown cruise, 1986.
The Iowa class battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) arrives off the coast of Australia for a ceremonial visit to Australia in honour of the Royal Australian Navy’s 75th anniversary.
An aerial starboard view of the fleet oiler USNS Kawishini (T-AO-146), center, the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63), bottom, and the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), participating in an underway replenishment operation, 25 July 1986.
An aerial port view of the forward half of the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) while the ship is underway.
An aerial bow view of the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) underway.
Smoke billows from the muzzles of the Mark 7 16-inch/50-caliber guns in each of the three main gun turrets aboard the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) after the ship fired multiple salvos during exercise RimPac near Hawaii.
An elevated port bow view of the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) en route to recommissioning in San Francisco.
3 War Veterans (1941-2016) Reunion
ALL 3 WAR VETERANS ASSOCIATION of AMERICA
For all who served on active duty during any three wars:
WWII KOREA-VIETNAM, the Gulf, Afghanistan or Iraq Wars
Cory Plykka, 1-888-454-3434 3warveterans.com
Early Vietnam Veterans Reunion
(formerly MAAG Vietnam Reunion Group)
Open to all branches of Service
Bill Pratt, 661 N Big Oak Rd NW, Malta, OH 43758 740-962-2666 [email protected]
Korea Defense Veterans Association Reunion
For any Veteran that served in Korea….Any Branch and Unit.
Contact CBob Murphy, [email protected], 828-216-4347
USS Concord (CL-10) in Gulf of Panama, 1944 - History
USS Curts (FFG 38) was commissioned October 8, 1983, and named after the former commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Maurice E. Curts, and has been part of the U.S. Naval Reserve since Sept. 30, 1998. Curts is based in San Diego.
The first years in commission were focused on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations as she was the first Pacific Fleet unit with the complete SQQ-89 ASW Suite. Curts served in Destroyer Squadron 31, the ASW squadron, from 1985 until mid-1987. She was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for brilliant performance in the tracking of Soviet submarines.
Increased tensions in the Middle East as a result of the USS Stark incident in 1987 resulted in USS Curts assignment to the USS Missouri Battle Group. For their 1987-88 deployment, the battle group was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for efforts in support of Operation Earnest Will in the northern Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman.
A new era for the guided missile frigate began June 1, 1988, with departure from Long Beach, California, for a new homeport in Yokosuka, Japan. The frigate and a sister ship brought the first LAMPS MK III helicopters to Naval Air Facility, Atsugi. A busy first year was culminated by a deployment to the Middle East Force in support of Operation Earnest Will.
In 1990, USS Curts joined the battle group of aircraft carrier USS Midway and deployed to support Operation Desert Shield.
October 17, 1990 While crossing the South China Sea, she rescued 50 Vietnamese refugees from a disabled fishing boat that had been drifting for ten days. The last two months of 1990 were spent conducting Maritime Interception Force Operations in the Gulf of Oman.
An incredible year began as FFG 38 entered the Persian Gulf in 1991. Assignment to the northernmost group of ships in the Persian gulf at the outbreak of Operation Desert Storm resulted in Curts being in the middle of virtually all naval combat operations during the war. On January 14, 1991, the frigate with her embarked Navy and Army helicopters captured the Iraqi garrison on Qaruh Island. The net result was one island liberated, fifty-one Iraqi prisoners captured, two mines destroyed, one minelayer sunk, and a wealth of intelligence materials seized. Support of combat helicopter operations during Battle of Bubiyan Island and escort for the battleships USS Missouri and USS Wisconsin during Naval Gunfire Support missions were equally demanding. Assignment to the mine countermeasures escort force for the amphibious feint off Faylakah Island kept every crewmember on edge until the cease-fire was declared. Rejoining the Midway battle group, USS Curts returned to homeport on April 17.
In June 1991, USS Curts once again found themselves in the midst of another calamity as the eruption of Mount Pinatubo occurred while inport Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. After digging out from under about a foot of grit, rocks, and ash she was underway the same day to transport 298 evacuees to the island of Cebu during Operation Fiery Vigil. Another round trip brought 249 additional evacuees to safety.
In the latter half of 1992, FFG 38 completed extensive joint Navy exercises with Korean, Australian, and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) navies. During these exercises, the frigate had the opportunity to make port calls in Korea and Australia.
In October 1993, USS Curts joined the USS Independence Battle Group to participate with the JMSDF in the joint anti-submarine warfare exercise MAREX. On November 17, she steamed out of Yokosuka with the CV 62 Battle Group for a Middle East deployment. The frigate was assigned to the Red Sea where she conducted 89 boardings as part of the Maritime Interdiction Force supporting United Nations sanctions against Iraq. The Curts rejoined the battle group in the Arabian Gulf were she continued the enforcement of U. N. sanctions. While transiting the Gulf of Oman, she discovered an adrift livestock vessel. Assistance was rendered and the vessel along with its 23 crew members was towed to Oman.
May 2001, USS Curts, commanded by Cmdr. Lewis C. Nygard, arrived at Changi Naval Base, Singapore, recently to take part in the International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) 2001, May 8-11. During the event, 200 exhibitors from 24 countries displayed the latest technology and products their companies offer. Curts is one of 16 ships from 13 countries taking part in IMDEX Asia. After IMDEX Asia, Curts will cruise throughout the western Pacific region this summer as part of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).
July 15, 2003 The crew of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Curts (FFG 38), commanded by Cmdr. Bryan T. Caraveo, logged a couple of firsts July 8-12, as the first surface combatant to take part in the annual South Asia Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX), and the first U.S. Navy ship in more than a year to visit Chennai, India. The port visit was in conjunction with the third SAREX, a multilateral exercise designed to train exercise participants and enhance cooperation on regional nighttime search and rescue procedures.
August 3, 2004 Just one day after getting underway, USS Curts was called upon to support an urgent medical evacuation of a crew member stationed aboard the U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender Sequoia (WLB 214). The call came across during the early morning hours while the San Diego-based guided missile frigate was operating off the coast of Baja, Calif. FFG 38 is currently underway for a five-month deployment in support of counter-drug operations in the eastern Pacific.
August 28, The guided-missile frigate rescued 106 passengers of a distressed vessel 300 miles east of Ecuador while deployed to the U.S. southern Command AoR. The rescued passengers were transferred to the Ecuadorian coastal patrol ship BAE "27 de Octubre," to safely complete their journey back home.
September 17, USS Curts intercepted a suspected fishing vessel approximately 300 miles west of the Galapagos Islands. After boarding the vessel, Curts&rsquo embarked Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 108 discovered more than 30,000 pounds of cocaine, the largest drug seizure to date, hidden in a ship&rsquos compartment. The drugs were seized to be used as evidence against the 10 suspects detained during this operation. This is Curts' second interdiction since it deployed to the AoR in the beginning of August.
November 5, FFG 38 offloaded and turned over to authorities 75,000 pounds of cocaine in Key West, Fla. The multi-ton shipment, valued at more than $2.3 billion, is the result of five drug interdiction operations conducted in the eastern Pacific between Aug. 31 and Sept. 26. Curts directly supported three of the interdictions, totaling more than 44,000 pounds. The remaining 31,000 pounds of narcotics included in the offload were seized in two different operations: one conducted by USS Crommelin (FFG 37) with a LEDET (Law Enforcement Detachment), and another by USCGC Jarvis (WHEC 725).
February 2, 2005 USS Curts returned to San Diego from a six-month deployment to the U.S. Naval Forces southern Command area of responsibility (AoR) in support of law enforcement operations against the illegal smuggling of narcotics. While deployed, the frigate also operated in the Atlantic Ocean, transiting through the Panama Canal Oct. 31 and visiting Key West and Mayport, Fla., for a mid-deployment maintenance availability. The Curts returned to the Pacific Ocean Dec. 9, visiting the ports of Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Panama Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, en route to San Diego.
November 4, FFG 38 returned to San Diego after an underway period off the coast of southern California.
August 25, 2006 USS Curts, commanded by Cmdr. William DeBow, recently visited Freeport, Bahamas. The guided missile frigate, along with its embarked SH-60B helicopter detachment, HSL-49, is currently deployed under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces southern Command as part of a Joint/Inter-Agency Task force conducting counter-narcotics trafficking operations in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific.
September 28, FFG 38 pulled into Lima, Peru, in mid-September for a four-day port visit to the country.
November 9, Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 returned to Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., Oct. 27 from a successful six-month counter-narco terrorism (CNT) deployment aboard USS Curts. The most successful counter drug operation of this deployment resulted in the capture and transfer of personnel and 8.5 metric tons of cocaine, which has an estimated street value of $850 million. HSL-49, Det. 2 also flew two injured detainees ashore for medical treatment, conducted a search for 10 fishermen whose boat had capsized, and transported a Sailor ashore for emergency leave.
September 12, 2007 USS Curts, commanded by Cmdr. Yvette M. Davids, is currently off the coast of southern California conducting routine operations.
November 12, FFG 38 is currently participating in a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), as part of USS Abraham Lincoln CSG.
January 20, 2008 The guided-missile frigate is currently off the coast of southern California participating in a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX).
March 17, USS Curts departed San Diego for a scheduled deployment.
April 22, FFG 38 departed Lumut, Malaysia, after a five-day port visit.
May 15, The Curts recently visited Karachi, Pakistan, during the Exercise Insipred Union 2008 in the North Arabian Sea.
July 9, USS Curts and USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), along with other coalition ships from Bahrain and United Kingdom, are currently participating in Exercise Stake Net to protect key economic infrastructure in the central and southern Persian Gulf.
September 20, The guided-missile frigate departed Koror, Palau, after a six-day port call.
October 8, FFG 38 returned to homeport after a nearly seven-month underway period in support of the global war on terrorism and maritime security operations.
January 8, 2010 USS Curts, commanded by Cmdr. Harold T. Workman, departed Naval Base San Diego for a scheduled deployment to the western Pacific and Persian Gulf.
July 16, USS Curts returned to San Diego after completing an independent deployment in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility (AoR). The ship conducted four Suez Canal transits, two exercises with the Egyptian Navy and participated in Exercise Malabar 2010, a week-long bilateral military exercise which aims to promote the interoperability of the U.S. Navy and Indian Navy. The Curts also visited Guam Sepangar, Malaysia Phuket, Thailand and Male, Maldives.
August 25, The guided-missile frigate is currently participating in Exercise Quickdraw with the U.S. Coast Guard and assets from the Mexican navy off the coast of San Diego. Quickdraw is designed to test a ship&rsquos response time to a security or Maritime Homeland Defense threat with coordination from Department of Homeland Security and other coalition partners.
September 3, USS Curts arrived in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, for a goodwill port visit.
October 8, FFG 38 recently arrived in San Francisco to participate in the Fleet Week 2010 celebration.
April 29, 2011 The Curts, along with USS Vandegrift (FFG 48), entered the dry-dock at General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard for more than $17 million in repairs and upgrades.
September 2, Cmdr. Fermin Espinoza relieved David M. Rowland as CO of the Curts.
June 1, 2012 USS Curts, with an embarked Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 Det. 5, departed San Diego for its final deployment, before being decommissioned next year, in support of counter-illicit trafficking in the U.S. Southern Command AoO.
July 17, The guided-missile frigate recently departed Bahia Malaga naval base, Colombia, after three days of liberty.
August 15, USS Curts recently pulled into Vasco Nunez de Balboa Naval Base in Panama for a routine port call.
September 4, The Curts recently retrieved 750 pounds of cocaine after interdicted a "go-fast" speed boat in the eastern Pacific.
October 6, FFG 38 recovered approximately 627 pounds of cocaine after interdicted a fishing vessel in international waters off the coast of Ecuador.
December 4, USS Curts returned to Naval Base San Diego after a six-month deployment. While supporting Operation Martillo, the ship recovered more than 2,200 pounds of illegal narcotics with an estimated street value of $25 million.
January 25, 2013 USS Curts held a decommissioning ceremony at Naval Base San Diego. The ship left the fleet after a nearly 30 years of active servise and will be towed to Hawaii to be sold or scrapped.
February 27, The Curts (FFG 38) was officially decommissioned and stricken from the U.S. Naval Vessel Register.
September 19, 2020 The ex-USS Curts was sunk during a sinking exercise (SINKEX), as part of a biennial field training exercise Valiant Shield 2020, northeast of Guam.