reporting on board

Say hello to other friends of the Royal Navy Airship Service!

Re: reporting on board

Postby Kona » Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:19 am

Welcome aboard indeed, asgaard aardvark! We certainly won’t lack for information on heavy ordinance around here!

My C.V. almost matches yours exactly; GMG2 on the HW Tucker (DD875), 1967 to 1969, also a charter member of the Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club. What years were you aboard the “Oz”? I can’t confirm it, but I have a hazy recollection of operating with you at some points; we were in the same desron, and I think we did plane guarding together. What was your “brown water” experience? Swifts? PBRs?

I also served briefly on the George K. MacKenzie (DD-836) and the Oklahoma City, then flagship, 7th fleet. Both of those assignments sucked mightily compared to the Tucker.

Have you been to any of your ship’s reunions? Financial constraints have prevented me from attending all but one of ours, which happened to occur in my home town of San Diego. I’m still in contact with a few crew members; all FT’s unfortunately. I don’t think any of the cannon cockers I served with ever developed the brains to work a computer or write a letter.

Again, welcome aboard. We have decided to declare all early arrivals to this site plankowners, and we reserve the right to define “early arrival”. Here’s your plank!

http://www.hwtucker2000.com/index.html
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Re: reporting on board

Postby asgaard aardvaark » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:56 am

Thanks, Kona. I remember being moored astern of the Tucker someplace or other--maybe Pearl Harbor. I well remember the legend "Tucker International Airport" painted on the DASH hanger. I did my tour in-country as a member in good standing of the Maekong River Yacht Club. I was on a small cargo boat that peddled everything from toilet paper and beer to ammunition from Vung thu on the South China Sea, to the Cambodian border. I ended up as the Unit armorer (afloat) which I thought was a lot of fun. Our boat had a BM1 as skipper and, being non-comissioned, we had our own stash of booze aboard. When we'd return from a run (usually 6 days) to our home port in Nha Be, "Boats" would jump up onto the hatch cover and tell the assembled crew--all 15 of us--"Y'all are old enough to know when you need haircuts, liberty commences as of now!" And beat the rest of us (including the dog) out the gate.
We had 5 M60s, 4 M2 .50 Cal and assorted small arms indluding a case of LAAW rockets that someone managed to procure somehow. Unfortunately, we had to rely on those weapons from time to time--such is war. I still have fond memories of us setting around the table on the mess deck, laughing and joking, lying and bragging like a big happy family (and my son can't figure out why I took to the TV show "Firefly" so quickly--all we needed was the hot chicks, not that there wern't verious plans for sneaking a 'mama-san' or two aboard ;) ).
I spent the last of my hitch on the OZ, doing reserve time. I was transferred from the Wallice L. Lind (DD 703) as a compliment. The OZ. being a FRAM Gearing class as opposed to the "Jolly Wally" which was a FRAM Allen M. Sumner class, the Oz having ASROC, was necular capeable and so drew a higher class crew.
Anyhow, I did some time on an old Buckley class DE (USS Whitehurst--DE 634) that's the ship they used in making the movie "The Enemy Below)
Glad to be aboard.
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Re: reporting on board

Postby Kona » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:06 am

Sounds like your tour was pretty interesting. Not that “interesting” is always a good thing. Speaking of the Dash hanger, we refueled a lot of SAR helos in-flight from the Dash deck, and passed up sack lunches to the crews. During my tenure, they had a sign that read “Tuck’s Tavern—Gas—Eats—Open all nite”.

Our Dash went out of control one day, turned toward the ship, cut the signal halyards on its way between the mast and the forward stack, then hit the water ten yards from where I was standing outside in the chow line. They pulled the Dash program out of the fleet soon after that, I think.
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Re: reporting on board

Postby asgaard aardvaark » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:54 pm

DASH had a lot of problems, not the least of which was flipping over after dropping one of its two torps. Later, they halved the load. I can't help but wonder if nowdays, given the advanced computers, it wouldn't be a viable project--just look at the success of UAVs, like Predators, on the modern batlefield. It would be a lot lighter and cheaper than LAMPS.
Oh yeah--to answer an earlier question, my hitch was 1968-1974, so I was in-country '69-'70 and on the OZ in '74, when she was a reserve ship. One of my shipmates had a flair for wordplay and noticed that "RESCREW" the acronym for "reserve-crew" could be read as "re-screw" :lol:
I bet there were a lot of people on the bridge scrambling for cover and saying a lot of things they wouldn't want remembered as their last words, when that DASH went out of control ;)
One thing, besides the sign, about the Tucker that I remember was the "Sea Chaperall" mount on the aft end of the helo deck. I didn't know just what it was, at the time, but the two "Sidewinders" caught my attention.
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Re: reporting on board

Postby Kona » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:34 am

asgaard aardvaark wrote:One thing, besides the sign, about the Tucker that I remember was the "Sea Chaperall" mount on the aft end of the helo deck. I didn't know just what it was, at the time, but the two "Sidewinders" caught my attention.

Interesting! I was transferred off the Tucker in 1969, and I left the Nav in 1970, so I wasn’t around when that system was installed. In fact, I had never heard of it until now. Jane’s has a nice site on it at http://www.janes.com/articles/Janes-Nav ... tates.html
Apparently it was tested and given a limited installation in the fleet, then abandoned after a year or so.

I have often wondered why we didn’t catch more fire from the North during the war. We spent a lot of time doing shore bombardment, including Haiphong Harbor, and I heard they had fire control radar locked on us most of the time, but I don’t recall taking any hits or even near misses. Were we so ineffective the North decided we weren’t worth the effort, or was there some other reason? I can’t believe they didn’t have anything to shoot at us with; they shot down tons of our bombers.
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Re: reporting on board

Postby asgaard aardvaark » Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:00 am

OK, Kona--You wondered if the North Vietnamese fired back on the bombarding ships, and here’s what I found:
Operation “Sea Dragon” March 1967-September 1971, US and Australian ships were engaged in shore bombardment of North Vietnamese shore installations, which included radar sites, oil storage farms, truck concentrations and bridges along with assisting rescue helicopters. On numerous occasions fire was returned with varying results. These ships included the HMAS Frigates Hobart, Perth, Brisbane and the Destroyer HMAS Vendetta, along with The Battleship USS New Jersey, Cruisers, USS Newport News (ca148), Saint Paul (ca 73) And Providence (clg 6) as well as several US destroyers.
The Newport News engaged 20-28 shore batteries simultaneously , being bracketed by over 300 rounds but not hit. Saint Paul wasn’t quite so lucky, on Sept. 2, 1966 when she receiving one hit on her starboard bow above the waterline that inflicted no casualties and did only minor damage. Providence dueled with an enemy shore battery on May 25, 1967 but was not hit. On Feb. 2, 1966, the destroyers USS Brinkley Bass (DD887) and USS Waddell (DDG 24) engaged in an exchange of fire in support of a rescue helicopter.
The most one sided duel occurred on Oct 19, 1969 when the battery commander of a shore battery had the nerve (insanity?) to try to return the fire of the USS New Jersey. 10-12 rounds were fired, all falling short. Considering that the guns were either 152mm or 130mm, that’s like a pigmy trying to bring down an elephant with a bamboo spear. Nothing is reported as to whether the New Jersey fired back or not, although I’m inclined to think that they simply ignored the presumptuous popguns and went about their business in the stately manner that all battleships display. No doubt there were more engagements featuring destroyers and frigates, but they were not well publicized and I would have to find what ships were there, and look up the individual record of each, which even on the internet would be a daunting task--even though...
:ugeek:
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Re: reporting on board

Postby Kona » Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:50 pm

Ah ha! So they did return fire some; more than I knew in fact. I just wondered why it wasn’t more than that. It seems that, with Chinese and Russian backing, they could have inflicted real damage and pretty much ended close-in naval activity. I’ve long suspected that the North was playing a waiting game, not escalating enough to engage the American people’s hostility, but wearing them out, which we know eventually worked.

The GK MacKenzie came under fire on a shorebomb mission before my tenure aboard. As luck would have it, the excited pointer smacked the selector lever into the “auto” position so hard it broke the safety and went into “manual” as the guns were elevating toward the target. The momentum spun the handwheels out of control and wrapped the firing key wire around the handle, breaking the wire. The mount couldn’t fire without that key being closed. The mount captain ran over, shoved the pointer out of the way and hand-spliced the wires together, putting the mount back in action just in time. I’m pretty sure he got decorated for that.
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Re: reporting on board

Postby PaulGazis » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:40 am

I'd be quite curious to learn just how those duels worked out on the NVA side. Up through WW-I, most ship vs shore artillery duels tended to be inconclusive, since ships' main batteries were rarely able to score the direct hits needed to knock out a gun emplacement while large capital ships could shrug off hits from most shore-based artillery. (BANG! dink. "I say, is someone shooting at us?" "It's rather hard to say, sir. That might have just been some mishap in the kitchen."). This seems to have changed in WW-II, when I gather that American ships in particular got good at providing fire support. Was this a matter of practice and training, improvements in technology, and/or the teeniness of the islands on which some of their targets were located? (If a shell lands on something as small as Tinian, it pretty much has to hit something.)

Did this effectiveness extend to Southeast Asia, against an adversary with decades of practice at Not Being Hit? I wouldn't even dare to guess. But by now, I imagine someone must have compared after-action reports on both sides to find out. I wonder what they discovered...
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Re: reporting on board

Postby gunner » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:50 pm

i'd say it was "all of the above" to a large extent. while the politicians slept the navy was anticipating a war in the pacific, and while we were caught by surprise at pearl harbour the navy was training and arming for it as well as budgets would allow. other factors also came into play, such as u.s. navy emphasis on damage control, which was better than the japanese navy practise. keeping ships in the fight, and repairing salvagable ships to return them to service. as well as a ship building industry that far out matched the japanese who could not make up losses as we did. air power was also a key factor, along with naval gunnery, as newer aircraft designs came out and pilots learned the weaknesses of japanese designs, and exploited them, admiral yamamoto's fear that they had awakened a sleeping dragon became reality.
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Re: reporting on board

Postby gunner » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:18 pm

i don't have any real "war stories" to contribute, i was in from 1955 to '59, too late for korea and out too early for viet nam. i did almost go to lebanon in '58, but when the ay-rabs saw all the big green american tourists playing on their beaches they decided to call off the party, my outfit was scheduled for follow on landing and got stood down. didn't hurt my feelings any, most of my n.c.o.s were fresh from korea and knew what getting shot at was like, and told us.
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