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History of the USS Henry W. Tucker - DD 875

Section Five 1965 ~ 1969

Operation Market Time The Vietnam War The Forrestal Fire The EC-121 Incident

Last Updated: October 19, 2009

HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969

1965

In early January TUCKER once again headed south. Her first assignment was spent on Taiwan Patrol. After a week on patrol, TUCKER would steam to Kaohsiung for refueling and some R&R. TUCKER entered Kaoshiung harbor on 23

January 1965 for a few days to rest and refuel.

PRESIDENT JOHNSON IS INAUGURATED

The 36th President Lyndon B. Johnson, who took office after the assassination of President Kennedy 14 months earlier, gave his first inaugural address to the nation on 20 January 1965.

THE VIETNAM WAR ESCALATES

During the last few weeks, the Viet Cong became increasingly bold, and changed their tactics from selected hit-and-run targets to all-out assaults. These targets were increasingly close to Saigon. On 22 January, the decision was made to land elements of the 3rd assault division of the marines ashore in South Vietnam. This required a number of new assignments within the 7th fleet to provide support and increased surveillance along the Vietnamese coastline.

Two days later at 2000 on a Sunday evening, the call went out far all hands to return to TUCKER. All hands returned and TUCKER got underway for a new assignment in the South China Sea. Her duties included screening fast-attack carriers and patrolling on watchdog stations along the North Vietnamese coastline. For the next 11 weeks, TUCKER stayed on station near the Vietnam coast performing a variety of duties; plane guard, coastline surveillance, ASW exercises and other duties. This routine was broken only by a trip every two weeks or so to either Kaohsiung or Subic Bay. In March 1965, because there were so many monotonous days at sea, TUCKER's welfare and Recreation committee became a focal point for providing organized activities. The "at-sea" periods had been marked by an unusual high tempo of operations, and TUCKER was busy doing her duties with the SEVENTH Fleet. These, of course, were interspersed with underway replenishments, helicopter transfers of mail and personnel, and high-line operations between ships. Within this framework, The TUCKER crew worked hard to keep her shipboard maintenance and training programs rolling so that she could continue to be ready to meet all contingencies. Above and beyond this, TUCKER did have some leisure time while at sea. One new project was the creation of a ship's newspaper. This periodical was to be published twice a week when news could be received by Teletype, and was edited by Robert Hampton, SH1. Shortly after its inaugural, a contest was held to select a name. Phillip Jones, STG3, won with the name "TIN CAN TRIBUNE". TUCKER's new TIN CAN TRIBUNE included daily world news, local news, anecdotes, editorials, and featured cartoons drawn by David Loye MM3, starring an interesting and funny character named "Dave the Dog." Shown is the masthead for the new TUCKER newspaper. Another leisure activity was a weekly bingo game. This activity was held on the mess decks and was very popular. Unfortunately after the first few games it was discovered that there were many duplicate cards! This meant splitting prizes, and as a result the winners didn't win very much. This minor difficulty was corrected later by the acquisition of a new modern bingo set. Kelvin Gillow, SK1 was a steady and dependable worker in providing evening bingo sessions on the mess deck aboard TUCKER.

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The committee also organized a series of competitive tournaments on board. These tournaments included AceyDeucy, Cribbage, Dominoes, Pinochle, Checkers and Chess. The Cribbage winner was Thompson CSCS. The Dominoes winner was Richard Rice ETRSN. The Pinochle tournament, played in the evenings on the mess deck was Bohannon SN. LTJG Robert Severance won both the Checkers and the Chess tournaments. The Acey-Deucy tournament final pitted the Exec Officer LCDR Harry Kinsley and LTJG Ben (The Mad Sicilian) Sottile in a "duel to the finish". This was a game of great pageantry. This event was ably captured in an issue of the TIN CAN TRIBUNE and has been edited and re -written here:

Assembled on the helicopter deck were a group of men dressed in various combinations of towels, sheets, medical bathrobes, shower shoes, shower curtains, (Shower curtains? Where did they come from?), and chrome-plated helmets. Amidst this group stood LTJG Ben Sottile (alias "mad Sicilian") bedecked with a crown of celery leaves (no olive leaves on board) and a sheet in lieu of a toga. Standing out of sight of all this was the XO LCDR Harry Kinsley, who had learned of this spectacle only shortly before, but had time to secure his old reliable Boson's knife to his belt in the event of threat of bodily harm to his person. The XO entered the field of battle, followed by his loyal supporters from Operations Department sporting various signs of encouragement on T-shirts (including one of billboard proportions). The Mad Sicilian chose this time to make his entrance to the scene of battle amid fanfare furnished by Phillip Jones, STG3 on his trombone and the heavenly sounds of the Bos'n Pipe blown by William "Stretch" Johnson, BM3. Flower boy, Paul Wagner, FN; led the procession flinging flower petals along the path. Close on his heels were Frank Colvin, TM3 (Captain of the Guard) and the imperial Roman Legion composed of Jack King, BT1; Joe Purdom, BM3; James Germany, FN; Robert Garner, STG3; James Byrne, GMM3; and A. J. Levandowski, SN. The "Mad Sicilian" in a sedan chair was kept cool by Fan Boys (P. L. Medina, SH3 and Fred Smith, SHSSN). Attending to the personal convenience of their leader were Polk, SN and Alonzo Smith, GMGSN. About this time, a Helicopter pilot who had hovered over the fantail of TUCKER to transport Protestant and Roman Catholic Chaplains that Sunday afternoon gaped in disbelief at the sight of Roman legionnaires on a destroyer!

After all the fun and pageantry, the actual game was anti-climactic, but LTJG Ben Sottile won. TUCKER returned to Yokosuka for 2 weeks in April, which allowed a respite from the continuous at sea time. It became time for maintenance, short (one or two day) crew training courses, short leave periods, and best of all, an R&R period. One noteworthy accomplishment was the complete refurbishing of the mess decks, which included a new white tile deck, the purchase and installation of flower boxes complete with artificial flowers, and above all, a specially painted picture of TUCKER being replenished at sea. This time in port, TUCKER also celebrated her 20th year with a ship's birthday party at the "Club Alliance" in Yokosuka. This club lies just inside the main gate. The party was held on two successive days so that all hands could take part. There was a floorshow, good food and drinks, and a large birthday cake.

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All too soon it became time once again to head south. In May, MARKET TIME operations were established. TUCKER was to be an integral unit of a task group of destroyers, destroyer escorts, and American and South Vietnamese patrol craft and air forces whose purpose was to deny Viet Cong vessels access to and use of the waterways adjacent to the Coast of South Vietnam. Steaming up and down the coast, anchoring occasionally at Vung Tao and Qui Nhon, TUCKER daily kept hundreds of junks under close scrutiny. TUCKER had a Vietnamese "Advisor", South Vietnamese Naval Officer ENS Pham Phan aboard, who would be the interpreter when it was necessary to use the motor whaleboat to stop a vessel and search it. The Engineering Officer LT John Varner leads the "Advisors" via whaleboat to search a junk suspected of smuggling arms to the south. Besides LT Varner and ENS Phat Phan, the "Boarding Crew" included LTJG Sam Ellis, Butch Jarvinen SM2, Jeff Rose RM3, and Frank Smoot GMG3. Several junks were boarded and searched during this period. While TUCKER was assigned to Market Time operations, on 16 May, a radio message was received that U.S. Marines needed gunfire support near Da Nang. TUCKER responded and thereby became the first ship in the SEVENTH FLEET to use her five-inch guns for shore bombardment in the Vietnam War. Shore bombardment quickly became fashionable, reliable, and necessary. Shown is the exploded five-inch gun barrel of USS SOMERS (DD 947). In the early morning of 21 May 1965, TUCKER was steaming on a parallel track just north of TUCKER off the Binh Thuan province of Viet Nam (Just south of Cam Ranh Bay). USS SOMERS (DD 947) on 21 May 1965 fired her first shots in support of the South Vietnamese Army units at Pham Thiet and was credited with stopping a Vet Cong attack on a South Vietnamese government district headquarters building. SOMERS had a shell explode at the end of her forward 5inch gun. This resulted in injury to several crewmembers, and the death of the phone-talker for mount 51. TUCKER rendezvoused with SOMERS to hi-line their Vietnamese advisors off to TUCKER before she headed to Subic Bay for repairs. TUCKER also served as a stores ship and refueled and furnished various services to smaller ships, Coast Guard Cutters, Salvage ships, and Mine Sweepers that could go into the shallower waters. They were able to stay longer on their watch station because TUCKER provided technical assistance, payday, fuel, food, and ship's stores. TUCKER would head for deeper waters, replenish the supplies, and then head near their shallow limit, where the smaller vessels would come alongside to replenish. On one such replenishment, Radar Technician assistance was provided. Gary O'Neil, ET3 stepped aboard USS Reclaimer (ARS 42) and assisted by repairing the surface search radar. The repair went fast, but the RECLAIMER was already underway, back to her station. The next day, a helicopter was dispatched to retrieve O'Neil and transport him back to TUCKER.

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TUCKER headed south on 4 June 1965 to meet USS Independence (CVA 62) who was enro ute to join the 7th Fleet from Norfolk via the Indian Ocean. Her mission was to escort INDEPENDENCE into Singapore for four days of rest and recreation. On the way south, on 5 June, TUCKER crossed the equator where thirty-six members of the crew, all experienced "shellbacks" initiated the two hundred "pollywogs" on board into the rites of King Neptune. Shown is a copy of the certificate (10X14 size) received by all TUCKER pollywogs initiated on 5 June 1965. Each new shellback also received a wallet size card indicating the event.

INDEPENDENCE comes into view TUCKER, Shellbacks all, headed for the Malacca Strait. This Strait divides the Malay Peninsula and Island of Sumatra. Traveling northwest, TUCKER entered the Indian Ocean. Meeting up with INDEPENDENCE, TUCKER escorted her to Singapore. This was a welcome stop after 40 continuous days at sea. Singapore was the port of call

from 7-11 June. TUCKER then wended her way back the 1700 miles to Yokosuka via Subic Bay to commence her mid-term

availability on 25 June. This was an overdue 6-week dry-dock and upkeep period. Those crewmen with families in Yokosuka were finally able to relax and get some leave. On 8 July, while in Yokosuka, LCDR J. A. Barber Jr. relieved LCDR H. W. Kinsley as Executive Officer. This long period in port was spent working hard -and playing hard, with the hosting of a boxing smoker and other athletic events, raising money for the Lepers Hospital, leave, ship's parties and tours. In concert with the seven other ships of DESRON 3 in port, TUCKER collected $1000 toward the purchase of a heating unit for the Koyama Leper Hospital. Two Catholic sisters who help run the hospital came to the ship to explain the need for the heating unit. Showing slides, they explained that the temperature was continuously below freezing in the winter months, and even some of the hospital volunteers would get frostbite from the bitter cold. The sailors of DESRON 3 met the $8000 total needed. Another interesting occurrence while TUCKER was in Yokosuka was the spontaneous weekend "Jam Session". The TUCKER band consisted of lead guitar Cason FN, bass guitar Eckman, FN, drummer Palmer IC3 and others. This photo shows the band practicing in the DASH hangar while TUCKER was at sea. The band members decided to get permission from the Japanese who were responsible for Kamakura beach about 10 miles from Yokosuka to use the bandstand for an afternoon. What followed was beyond anyone's wildest expectations. The TUCKER music makers drew a crowd of up to 5000 weekend holiday Japanese beach-

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goers listening to their newfound American Friends. This was quickly picked up by Tokyo radio and TV news broadcasts. Some of the TUCKER crew participated in sponsored athletics. The bowling team, called the "Strikers", made a good showing in a tournament in Yokohama, then walked away with first prize in a TUCKER sponsored DESDIV 32 tournament. LTJG Ellis, the athletic officer organized a boxing smoker as an intraship match. The two winners from TUCKER were Hartley FN, and W. R. Eckman FN. On 26 and 27 July, TUCKER held another ship's party at the Club Alliance. Captain Bergin, Commodore of DESDIV 32 was in attendance to enjoy the festivities. In August, just before the end of this in-port period, Rear Admiral Walter H. Baumberger, Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force Pacific, visited TUCKER. He came aboard for an hour during his 3-day stopover in Yokosuka. He talked informally with members of the crew and toured some of the ship's spaces. Finally, TUCKER put to sea again on 10 August for ASW exercises near Japan. A sonar echo revealed a submarine close by. This was an unexpected surprise, as this unknown submarine was not part of the exercise. TUCKER began a game of "cat and mouse" as she followed the submarine for two days. Finally, the submarine was forced to surface. It was a Russian submarine that couldn't shake TUCKER. The next night, a Russian tender came upon the scene, and during the midnight watch change, made a maneuver to place themselves between TUCKER and the submarine, thereby allowing the submarine to dive and escape. That was an interesting operation, and an exemplary performance by TUCKER. She then returned to the South China Sea. This photo, taken from USS Vesuvius (AE 15), shows TUCKER coming into position for one of several arms replenishments that TUCKER performed during the latter part of 1965. Note the crates of shells on the deck of VESUVIUS, and the coast of Vietnam in the background.

Another of the many scheduled changes that had come to be accepted as routine sent her to South Vietnam again for Naval gunfire support (NGFS). For thirty two consecutive days TUCKER sped up and down the coast, providing five-inch shellfire where needed, day or night, often day and night. Naval Gunfire Support for Allied combat operations. During a period of more than forty days at this task, more than 5000 rounds of five-inch ammunition were fired at Viet Cong targets, and TUCKER earned a reputation for being on target with accurate results.

It was around this time that the new TUCKER motto "Have gun, will Travel" was born, based on the TV series of the same name. This image was captured from the cover of the 1967 TUCKER cruise book. The copyrighted image of the "Knight" chess piece had been replaced with this one that looks more like a "Seahorse."

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Occasionally, TUCKER would anchor in the "exotic and growing" South Vietnamese ports of Da Nang, Nah Trang, or Qui Nhon, for liaison and supplies. The left photo shows a Vietnamese Patrol Boat alongside TUCKER in Da Nang harbor. TUCKER served for a few days as "Harbor Defense Ship" in Da Nang. TUCKER's mission as Da Nang harbor defense ship was to defend assigned land areas, water areas and water approaches against small surface craft attack, intrusion by deception craft, sabotage by sneak attack, underwater swimmers or subversive personnel and enemy mine laying operations. This required constant vigilance by all hands. Various ships, mostly destroyers and destroyer escorts, took turns at this assignment. After this exhausting period of operating, 43 days at sea, a breather was provided with five days of rest and recreation in Hong Kong beginning on 22 September. Hong Kong-reputed pearl of the Orient, and it is. The floating village of Aberdeen with its famous restaurants, the Mainland city of Kowloon, gourmet dining and lavish nightclubs, Repulse Bay, Victoria Peak, Tiger Balm Gardens, shopping for ivory, jade, pearls and hand tailored clothes. A similarity was found between Singapore and Hong Kong - both exuding an international atmosphere in exotic and colorful settings. The 5 days passed too quickly. TUCKER once again turned south for another two weeks on the gun line before a short period of upkeep was required in Subic Bay. Underway once more, back to NGFS in South Vietnam where the tempo of operations had increased considerably. By the time TUCKER departed NGFS on 13 October, TUCKER had not only been the first to fire, but had spent more time on station and fired more rounds of five-inch/38 shells at the Viet Cong (more than 5,600) than any other destroyer in the 7th Fleet. After two weeks upkeep and type training in Subic, she began another continuous month at sea, on search and rescue operations in the Gulf of Tonkin. TUCKER also operated in the Tonkin Gulf with USS Joseph Strauss (DDG 16). They acted as an advanced SAR/AAW picket team, assuring that rescue operations for pilots could be done safely. During this month of November, TUCKER pioneered procedures for helicopter in flight refueling, and in the process became the first destroyer in the world to conduct in flight refueling of a helicopter at night. TUCKER kept two SAR helicopters in the air all day on Thanksgiving 1965. Also she participated in SAR operations, which resulted in the recovery of more than ten pilots who were on missions in Vietnam. TUCKER displayed a large banner on the Helo deck that proclaimed ­

"TUCK'S TAVERN - GAS - EATS - OPEN ALL NIGHT."

Coordinated training with these versatile aircraft paid off 26 June 1966 when two pilots from USS Constellation (CVA 64) and USS Ranger (CVA 61) were plucked from the sea less than 3 miles from the North Vietnamese coast and carried to TUCKER. TUCKER returned to Yokosuka on 4 December 1965 for the holiday leave and liberty period and also for a change of command.

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Perhaps the best record of TUCKER'S one and a half years as a forward unit of the 7th Fleet is seen through the following statistics, compiled during the leadership of Captain B. C. Wilcox from departure from Yokosuka on 30 June 1964 through return to Yokosuka on 4 December 1965: Time at sea Time in port Time in homeport Days at sea Days in port Fuel oil used Underway replenishments Steaming hours Nautical Miles Steamed CARRIERS OPERATED WITH: USS USS USS USS USS Bon Homme Richard Hancock Independence Midway Ranger CVA CVA CVA CVA CVA 31 19 62 41 61 USS Constellation USS Hornet USS Kitty Hawk USS Oriskany USS Ticonderoga CVA CVA CVA CVA CVA 64 12 63 34 14 63 % 37 % 23 % 331 days 196 days 6,091,195 gallons 121 9,808 hours 104,840 Nautical miles

13 December 1965-- CDR J. H. D. WILLIAMS, USN RELIEVED CDR B. C. WILCOX and became the TUCKER's fourteenth commanding officer.

This photo from the 1963-1966-cruise book depicts the Change of Command ceremony aboard TUCKER in Yokosuka. Outgoing CO Burr Curtis Wilcox is on the left, and new CO John Henry David Williams is on the right.

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1966

TUCKER departed from Yokosuka on 2 January 1966, bound again for operations in the South China Sea. After a brief stop in Subic Bay, TUCKER proceeded to join USS Ticonderoga (CVA l4) on DIXIE station near Nha Trang. There, along with other destroyers, she screened TICONDEROGA and served as lifeguard destroyer during aircraft launching and recovery operations. During the first two weeks of February 1966, TUCKER provided more Naval Gunfire Support for United States military forces in South Vietnam, bringing the 465 rounds fired against the enemy to more than 6,000 total. On 13 February TUCKER was relieved of Naval Gunfire Support duties and proceeded to join USS Joseph Strauss (DDG 16) as a member of the Tonkin Gulf Search and Rescue Unit. It was at this time, TUCKER spent 56 straight days at sea without returning to port. This was to be the longest continuous at sea time in TUCKER's history. During this deployment, some of the crew of TUCKER participated in a beard-growing contest. Of course, all were clean-shaven when she finally reached port on 26 February.

The end of February 1966 found TUCKER in Yokosuka again for a brief upkeep period. A welcome new installation of air conditioners in the after crew's berthing compartments allowed more comfortable sleeping conditions alleviating the heat during operations in the southern waters. During her three-week stay, TUCKER received her annual Administrative Inspection given by the Division Commander, Commodore Kirk. On 19 March, she headed southward once more to resume the already familiar role of Naval Gunfire Support ship; this time in the IV Corps area (around the Mekong Delta region) of the Republic of Vietnam. TUCKER departed the Gulf of Siam on 31 March, having increased her total number of rounds fired in Vietnam to more than 7,000. TUCKER entered Hong Kong Harbor to enjoy 5 days of liberty and shopping. This photo of ENTERPRISE was taken from USS Fred T. Berry (DD 858) in Vietnamese waters during May 1966. Heading back to YANKEE STATION in the waters off the coast of North Vietnam, TUCKER was able to get up close and personal with the nuclear fleet. TUCKER rendezvoused with USS Enterprise (CVAN 65) for an underway replenishment, performed plane guard duty, and participated in a nighttime air strike operation. TUCKER also

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operated with USS Bainbridge (CLGN 25). ENTERPRISE and BAINBRIDGE were part of the world's first nuclear powered surface fleet, and both had recently been loaned from the Atlantic (SIXTH) fleet to the Western Pacific (SEVENTH) fleet. This Photo shows USS Haleakala (AE 25) rearming TUCKER left, and USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14) right, off the coast of Vietnam. In early May, TUCKER headed to the Tonkin Gulf for more search and rescue duty. During May 1966 and part of June, TUCKER patrolled the Gulf, ready to rescue any downed Navy or Air Force pilots. The long wait paid off as TUCKER on 25 June 1966 directed the rescues of the pilots of a Navy A6 "Intruder" and a Navy A4 "Sky hawk", both aircraft having been shot down by enemy shore batteries. Released from SAR duty, TUCKER headed back to Yokosuka. Her long WESTPAC tour was coming to an end. Finally, flying the homeward bound pennant again, TUCKER entered the familiar waters of San Diego's harbor. Note the balloons helping to keep the pennant aloft. In July 1966, TUCKER returned to the United States, her 25-month tour of the Far East completed. After a well-earned leave period, TUCKER entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard in September for an extensive ove rhaul.

This time in the Long Beach shipyard, TUCKER received new communications, ECM, and navigation gear. The new equipment was placed on a "Crossbar" aft above the DASH hangar. This was the last "Silhouette" change (of several overall) on TUCKER for her remaining 7 years as a commissioned US Navy vessel. This partial photo shows the new HUT and Crossbar. The "HUT" was a modified trailer-like container, which housed the workspace for specially trained electronics and communications personnel to use and maintain the ECM gear and its associated antennas (shown as the three "cans" on the crossbar.) This equipment could confuse enemy radar and disguise TUCKER in several ways. The HUT was easily installed and therefore could be easily removed and modified as necessary. The Crossbar was large enough and versatile enough to also make it easy to modify or add transceivers. Later additions to the crossbar included new DASH helicopter video camera controlling equipment.

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1967

In January 1967, USS Henry W. Tucker (DD 875) left the shipyard. After a brief period of sea trials, she departed for San Diego on 9 February to undergo Refresher Training. Following six weeks of Refresher Training, during which TUCKER became operationally ready to perform all assigned tasks, TUCKER returned to Long Beach to undergo final preparations for a six-month deployment in the Western Pacific. It was about this time that the crew began calling TUCKER her new nickname, "HAPPY HANK".

APOLLO ASTRONAUTS DIE IN LAUNCHPAD CAPSULE FIRE

While TUCKER was the San Diego operating area, Astronauts Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger B. Chaffee were all killed when a fire erupted in their Apollo capsule during testing on 27 January 1967. This prototype capsule was necessarily redesigned and this subsequently set back the Apollo moon landing program. The next mission (Apollo 7) would not take place for 21 Months, in October 1968.

TUCKER departed Long Beach and pointed her bow westward on 19 June 1967. Making the journey to WestPac with TUCKER were USS Rupertus (DD 851) and USS Hopewell (DD 681). During the transit, TUCKER stopped at Pearl Harbor for 5 days and then Midway for fuel. On the way to Yokosuka, the three ships participated in "Economy Speed Trials". To the great joy of the engineers in the boiler room, TUCKER easily won the competition. Onward to Yokosuka, TUCKER dodged a whale in her path. The three ships arrived in Yokosuka on 9 July. The first order of business was the TUCKER change of command ceremony. 10 July 1967 -- CDR S. D. KULLY, USN relieved CPT J. H. D. WILLIAMS and became the TUCKER's fifteenth commanding officer.

USS Henry W. Tucker (DD 875) got underway from Yokosuka on 14 July 1967 and headed for duty in the South China Sea. TUCKER was to rendezvous with USS Forrestal (CVA 59) who was arriving after a long journey from the Atlantic via the Indian Ocean to take her assigned duty off the coast of Vietnam. Commander Task Group 77.6 was COMCARDIV 2, RADM Harvey P. Lanham. He was embarked on USS Forrestal (CVA 59). TUCKER arrived on in the vicinity of FORRESTAL on 17 July and CTG 77.6 assumed tactical command of TUCKER. She was directed to exercise independently within visual signaling range and to be in station B1 by 1800. TUCKER and FORRESTAL proceeded together to Subic Bay. They arrived in Subic Bay on 18 July, and remained in Subic for the next 4 days for re-supply, repairs, and refueling.

Moored at Buoy 25 in Subic Bay are USS Dixie (AD 14), USS Henry W. Tucker, (DD 875), and USS Rupertus (DD 851).

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TUCKER and RUPERTUS got underway at 0400, 22 July, and headed for Yankee Station. COMDESDIV 32, Captain John K. Beling was embarked aboard RUPERTUS. FORRESTAL got underway at 0800. After clearing the harbor, TUCKER began an ASW sweep as protection for FORRESTAL. Photo shows RUPERTUS and TUCKER astern of FORRESTAL. Steaming toward Yankee Station. Yankee Station is in the T onkin Gulf, and is midway (60 miles either way) between North Vietnam to the west and Hainan Island to the east. Normally two carrier battle groups operate at Yankee Station, but as FORRESTAL's battle group approaches, there soon will be three carrier groups operating there. The other two carriers are USS Oriskany (CVA 34) and USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31). For the next two days, all operations are normal, but on 29 July at 0315 AM, FORRESTAL reported a man overboard. TUCKER and USS Rupertus (DD 851) broke off from normal carrier operations, and began Search and Rescue. For the next two and a half hours, the man overboard search continued, TUCKER was able to recover the life ring tossed to the man overboard, but there was no sign of the man. At 0545 SAR operations were discontinued without success. All regular operations were resumed by 0600. TUCKER was ordered to continue the search until the message was received from FORRESTAL, "CLOSE TO ASSIST AT BEST SPEED". At flank speed, TUCKER steamed toward FORRESTAL, and sighted the billowing smoke, not knowing for sure what to expect. At 1052, a second launch from FORRESTAL was being readied when the tragic fire began with the accidental launching of a Zuni rocket from a F4B Phantom aircraft. This rocket launch was not the result of error on the part of the FORRESTAL crew. The rocket streaked across the flight deck and struck the external fuel tank of an A4E Skyhawk aircraft. This A4E Skyhawk was assigned to LCDR John McCain, readying for takeoff. Within five seconds the fuel ignited, spreading under other aircraft loaded with ordnance and fueled for the second launch of that morning. LCDR McCain scrambled out of the cockpit, onto the nose, and dove into the fire on the deck. He attempted to rescue a fellow pilot, but was immediately blown back by the first of many explosions. This photo of John McCain and his flight squadron was taken in 1965. McCain is front right. NOTE: After this incident, John McCain refused to accept an offered early release from his service commission. He instead took a new assignment as a pilot operating from USS Oriskany (CV 34). Three months later, on 26 October, he flew a mission over North Vietnam and was shot down. This was the beginning of his 6 -year stay as a prisoner of war at the "Hanoi Hilton".

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Huge clouds of black smoke billowed three hundred feet into the air. Scores of flight deck personnel rushed to contain the spread of the flames from reaching thirteen adjoining aircraft all loaded with ordnance. This photo was taken FORRESTAL flight deck. of the fire from the

In one minute and thirty-four seconds after the fire started, the first 1000 lb. bomb exploded. Flying shrapnel tore into other aircraft, ruptured more fuel tanks, and spread lakes of flaming aviation fuel ove r the deck. In a period of four minutes, seven major high order explosions shook the entire ship ripping seven huge holes through the thick armored steel flight deck with some reaching through the ship to the water line. Countless high and low order detonations continued. Some 40,000 gallons of jet plane fuel leaking from punctured aircraft fuel tanks, spread into holes ripped through the deck, spreading flames to many compartments far below the flight deck. Courageous fire fighting teams, officers, and enlisted men were knocked down, injured, or killed by the series of explosions. Rockets, missiles, and 20 mm shells shot across the flight deck, and ejection seats fired into the air. Twelve minutes after the last major explosion, but with minor explosions continuing, flight deck directors moved aircraft from near the island super structure while fire fighting teams kept the fire from advancing farther forward. Aircraft, some still in flames, were jettisoned in an effort to keep the fire from spreading. Fires continued out of control in the after part of the ship far into the night. Other ships on Yankee Station were re-assigned to assist FORRESTAL. Some of them were USS Oriskany (CVA 34), USS Bausell (DD 485), USS George K. MacKenzie (DD 836), USS Samuel N. Moore (DD 731), and USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31). TUCKER once again assisted in rescue operations for overboard survivors. She re-traced the debris-strewn waters to search for survivors. The picture is the FORRESTAL fire and USS Rupertus (DD 851) steaming alongside. RUPERTUS closed to within 20 feet of the Carrier at 1100 (A remarkable and courageous act of seamanship) so that her fire hoses could assist in extinguishing the carrier fire. At 1130 29 July, USS George K. MacKenzie (DD 836) proceeded up close to the port quarter of FORRESTAL to employ fog foam and OBA Canisters. Two stubborn fires remained in the hanger deck area. At 1447 on 29 July 1967, FORRESTAL began steaming in the direction of the hospital ship USS Repose (AH 16) in company with TUCKER and BAUSELL, while helicopters from the other carriers and the remaining ships continued to search for survivors. At approximately 2250 FORRESTAL began transferring, via helicopter, the injured to the hospital ship. Finally all fires were extinguished at 1200, 30 July 1967. Heroic crewmembers had risked life and limb to battle the blaze, rescue fellow crewmembers and save their ship. At 1410, 30 July, REPOSE, after a long day of taking aboard the injured, broke off to proceed to Da Nang Harbor, arriving there at 2015.

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HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969

FORRESTAL, TUCKER and BAUSELL remained behind at sea and began the journey escorting FORRESTAL to Subic Bay. BAUSELL reported having serious mechanical (overheating) problems with one of her screw shafts. At 1900, BAUSELL reported a boiler failure. This Photo of FORRESTAL was taken from USS Bausell (DD 485) after the fire was out. The FORRESTAL crew of over 5,000 men had saved their ship. One Hundred Thirty-four crewmembers made the supreme sacrifice. One hundred sixty-one men were injured with sixty-four personnel sustaining severe injuries. At the time of the fire, LCDR James Bloedorn was the FORRESTAL OOD. James Bloedorn was previously an officer aboard TUCKER during the years 1958-60. RADM Harvey P. Lanham, Commander Task Group 77.4 tra nsferred his command on 31 July and embarked via helicopter in USS Constellation (CVA 64). He assumed operational control of TUCKER and BAUSELL. TUCKER was re-directed to return to plane guard duty for USS Constellation (CVA 64) and USS Oriskany (CVA 34). The entire month of August was spent operating in the gulf, except for a few days of ASW training with the USS Cusk (AGSS 348) that included a successful DASH torpedo launch. These ASW games were much more fun than chasing carriers, and offered a welcome relief to a busy time at sea. After a brief five-day stop in Subic Bay in early September 1967, there was a short training period in waters near Subic. TUCKER once again headed west, this time in company with USS Coontz (DLG 9). The two ships pulled into the harbor in Da Nang for a day of briefings, and a night of anti-PT-Boat exercises. TUCKER and COONTZ steamed to northernmost end of the Tonkin Gulf. They relieved the ships on station, a point where the enemy coastline was visible. For the rest of September, and most of October, this was a busy time. Their duties included keeping track of all shipping into Haiphong harbor assisting in control of aircraft, and rescuing any downed pilots, refueling helicopters, and regular replenishments. Just before the end of this mission in the Tonkin Gulf on October 19, TUCKER temporarily headed south to flee Typhoon Carla. This photo from the 1967 cruise book shows her 100th in-flight helicopter refueling, a technique TUCKER pioneered. Note the TUCKS TAVERN sign that was drawn by Robert Hover, PN3. A new banner had to be made, because the original one was lost during the late 1966 Long Beach yard period. TUCKER was relieved from SAR station duties on 21 October 1967 by USS Wiltsie (DD 716). The first stop was Subic to quench a 45-day thirst, and then a rough ride to Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She entered, Kaohsiung's harbor on 27 October for ten days of upkeep. This marked the first extensive period in port for the men of TUCKER in more than three months, having spent 90 of the previous 95 days at sea.

SECTION 5-13

HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969

Following the visit to Kaohsiung, TUCKER proceeded to the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong for five more days of R&R. TUCKER departed Hong Kong on 10 November 1967 for the final mission of her deployment, Naval Gunfire Support. No sooner had TUCKER arrived on the assigned NGFS area, than US forces ashore called for gunfire assistance. Firing was commenced immediately, and continued day and night for the next two weeks. TUCKER fired over 1500 rounds, before she was released to Subic Bay on 25 November. She completed ASW exercises along the route. This photo from the 1967 cruise book is of TUCKER on the gun line. Leaving Subic, TUCKER again participated in exercises, this time with USS Tunney (APSS 282) to act as a target ship for that submarine. TUCKER then started the journey home to Long Beach, stopping at Buckner Bay for fuel on a rainy morning. Then it was on to Yokosuka, where there were a few days for Christmas shopping. Living spaces were loaded with gifts and souvenirs for family and friends back home. Finally, TUCKER set an easterly course in company with USS Hopewell (DD 681) and headed for Pearl Harbor on the way. Rough weather prevented refueling at Midway. She made a brief stop at midnight in pouring rain at Pearl Harbor for fuel, and then at flank speed, leaving HOPEWELL lagging behind, headed directly home. TUCKER, with a crewmember dressed as Santa Clause on the signal bridge, arrived in Long Beach on 23 December 1967, to be greeted by a host of friends and re latives wishing her and her crew a most welcome "Merry Christmas."

TUCKER is preparing to tie up outboard of USS Eversole (DD 789). TUCKER's loved ones and family members are waiting on the EVERSOLE fantail.

TUCKER received a letter of commendation for this deployment from Tactical Commander Captain K. B. Brown, COMDESRON 17 for her work on SAR:

"IN YOUR DIRECT SUPPORT OF NAVY AND AIR FORCE STRIKE AIRCRAFT AND OF THE ATTACK CARRIER STRIKING FORCE SEVENTH FLEET YOU PERFORMED VITAL SERVICE FOR YOUR COUNTRY. YOU REPEATEDLY DEMONSTRATED THAT HENRY W. TUCKER IS MANNED BY WELL TRAINED, COMPETENT, AND SKILLED DESTROYERMEN. YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE PROUD OF YOUR SHIP AND YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS. WELL DONE."

SECTION 5-14

HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969 These statistics from the TUCKER cruise book for 19 June 1967 through 23 December 1967 is as follows:

Days at sea Days in Port Fuel oil used Underway replenishments Steaming hours Nautical miles steamed Rounds of naval gunfire support 151 37 3,191,265 59 3,548 53,434 1,514 hours miles five-inch shells days days gallons (80% at sea)

TUCKER received and proudly wore the "E" for combat efficiency and had recently received the coveted "Meritorious Unit Commendation" for action in Vietnam during her just completed six-month tour in WESTPAC. The Battle Efficiency Award, commonly known as the Battle "E", is awarded annually to the small number of U.S. Navy ships, submarines, aviation and other units that win their battle effectiveness competition. The criterion for the Battle Efficiency Award is the overall readiness of the command to carry out its assigned wartime tasks, and is based on a year-long evaluation. The competition for the award is, and has always been, extremely keen. To win, a ship or unit must demonstrate the highest state of battle readiness. Ships that win a battle efficiency competition are authorized to paint a white "E" with black shadowing on their stacks or elsewhere to give evidence of the honor. TUCKER's "E" was painted on the forward stack.

SECTION 5-15

HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969

1968

THE PUEBLO INCIDENT

During TUCKER's period of maintenance in Long Beach, on 23 January 1968, North Korean Naval vessels and MiG jets attacked USS PUEBLO (AGER 2). The PUEBLO was a Navy vessel sent on an intelligence mission off the coast of North Korea. One man was killed and several were wounded. The eighty-two surviving crewmembers were captured and held prisoner for 11 months. To this day, the PUEBLO is being held by North Korea, and is still listed as a commissioned ship in the US Navy.

After a period of six months in maintenance, upkeep, training, during this period in the Long Beach Naval Shipyard, TUCKER once more began serious preparations for deployment to WESTPAC. TUCKER got underway from Long Beach to Seal Beach on 1 July 1968, where all available hands participated in on-loading ammunition. TUCKER returned to Long Beach that same day. Two days later, on 3 July, TUCKER departed to Western Pacific waters and her third extended cruise in support of Allied operations in the Vietnamese War. Once underway, joined by USS Rupertus (DD 851), TUCKER proceeded to Pearl Harbor. The first night out was marked by heavy weather. Gary Maher, Damage Controlman Third Class was injured while securing items on deck. TUCKER immediately altered course and increased speed to rendezvous with a helicopter from the USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), appropriately named "Angel 77." This Navy "Angel" flew Maher from TUCKER to the carrier CORAL SEA. After receiving first-aid treatment aboard. CORAL SEA, he later returned to TUCKER. The fourth o f July occurred during the rough seas, but Independence Day was not totally lost, because the seas soon became calm and warm. TUCKER and RUPERTUS slowed to enjoy a cookout and a belated but spectacular Independence Day fireworks display featuring roman candles and skyrockets. An additional spectacle for RUPERTUS in company with TUCKER was the "manning of the rail" by TUCKER's crew, with each man twirling a lighted sparkler. RUPERTUS radioed and announced that the effect was significant and sent TUCKER a "Well Done." Arriving on 8 July, TUCKER would remain for 4 days. This photo of the ARIZONA Memorial was taken from the Helo Deck as TUCKER entered Pearl Harbor. Upon leaving Pearl Harbor, TUCKER proceeded to Kahoolawe Island for gunnery practice. This island is about 7 miles off the coast of Maui, and was used for many years by the Navy for gunfire practice, until 1993. Upon completion of gunnery practice, TUCKER and RUPERTUS continued on to Midway Island. At Midway only 6 hours, TUCKER was again underway, arriving at her new (for the third time) homeport of Yokosuka, Japan, on 22 July 1968.

SECTION 5-16

HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969

One unfortunate incident became a source of amusement. The ship's laundry broke down shortly after departure from Hawaii. Since all Navy units endeavor to assist their fellows in need, RUPERTUS offered to do TUCKER's laundry. As the dirty laundry was high-lined aboard RUPERTUS, TUCKER expressed her thanks by hoisting a specially made "Fruit of the Loom" pennant in recognition of her services. This incident w as one of many that marked the friendly rivalry TUCKER had with RUPERTUS. Crewmembers are holding the "Fruit of the Loom" pennant. After arrival in Yokosuka TUCKER received briefings on her upcoming duties from the officers and men of Destroyer Squadron 9, whose ships she was relieving. After two weeks in Yokosuka, TUCKER got underway for her participation in the real action to come. But first, there was a refueling stop in Kaohsiung Taiwan, and then it was on to Subic Bay Philippines, for a day, arriving there on 11 August. Wasting no time, TUCKER got underway on 12 August and participated in OPERATION SEA DRAGON, firing on North Vietnamese coastal artillery sites, and waterborne logistics craft north of the DMZ. TUCKER operated with the heavy cruiser USS Boston (CAG 1) during operation Sea Dragon. Note the 8" triple guns that were used for gun line operations during her one and only Westpac deployment.

For two weeks, In these operations off the Southern Panhandle of North Vietnam, TUCKER's four five -inch guns sank four waterborne logistics craft, damaged three more, attacked numerous coastal defense gun sites, created many secondary fires and explosions on the beach and destroyed a beach logistics loading area. This picture taken aboard TUCKER shows spent canisters from the five-inch guns. Note the ship on the horizon. It is an ammunition supply ship, possibly USS Vesuvius (AE 15). TUCKER is following the arms supply ship to the shelter of Cam Rahn Bay to rearm. The ammunition supply ship had gone "dead in the water" and had to be towed by a sea tug. The barely visible dot on the horizon just to the right of that ship is the sea tug. TUCKER was also called upon to refuel helicopters inflight on a moment's notice. The climax of the SEA DRAGON mission w as a high-speed dash to the Demilitarized Zone to assist US Marines under heavy attack. TUCKER's accurate fire hit North Vietnamese bunkers, mortar positions and troop concentrations, greatly aiding allied operations in that area.

SECTION 5-17

HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969

Recognition of TUCKER's ability to do her job and do it well came in the form of a congratulatory message from the SEA DRAGON Task Unit Commander when he said:

"FOR THE SHORT TIME I HAD THE PLEASURE OF WORKING WITH YOU, I WITNESSED A FIGHTING SHIP WITH AGGRESSIVENESS AND DETERMINATION. YOU JOINED THE SEA DRAGON TEAM LIKE AN OLD PRO AND I HIGHLY COMMEND YOU. CONTINUE THAT FIGHTING SPIRIT."

On 27 August, TUCKER headed a little way south of the DMZ to the Qui Nhon area to provide NGFS for the soldiers ashore. Her second mission involved providing Naval Gunfire Support in the II Corps area of South Vietnam; most of it being near the cities of Tuy Hoa and Qui Nhon. In one week of operations off the coast of South Vietnam, TUCKER's gunnery team showed its competence by destroying 31 enemy structures, damaging 26, sinking one enemy sampan, damaging two more, interdicting two well-traveled enemy supply routes and firing nightly harassment and interdiction missions against enemy positions. She also refueled U.S. Navy "Swift" patrol boats, who reciprocated by delivering TUCKER's mail to shore. Again, recognition of TUCKER's expert marksmanship came from the Naval Gunfire Support Task Unit Commander. His message stated:

"YOUR PERFORMANCE IN THE TWO DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENTS OF I CORPS AND II CORPS WAS OUTSTANDING. YOUR I MPRESSIVE RECORD OF STRUCTURES AND SUPPLY BOATS DESTROYED OR DAMAGED IS INDICATIVE OF ACCURATE SHO OTING AND A PROFESSI ONAL GUNNERY TEAM. WELL DONE."

By the end of her gunfire missions, TUCKER's guns had sent 3,051 projectiles on their way to enemy targets. TUCKER, the first U.S. Navy ship to fire at Viet Cong targets, had now expended 11,572 rounds of five-inch ammunition during her participation in the Vietnamese conflict. A highlight of TUCKER's Naval Gunfire Support operations was the visit of two U.S. Marine gunnery spotters, Sergeant Robert D. Zehe and Lance Corporal Michael McCook. Both men had spotted for TUCKER many times, but had never enjoyed the opportunity to visit a Navy destroyer and see a shipboard gunnery team in action. As an interesting note, Sergeant Zehe stated that TUCKER had been the first ship whose gunfire he had spotted when he arrived in Vietnam in 1967 and would be the last prior to his return to the United States on September 5th. Both Marines were offered traditional TUCKER hospitality and toured the ship to watch her conduct a nighttime firing mission. In return for TUCKER's hospitality, Sergeant Zehe and Lance Corporal McCook invited six of TUCKER's men, including GM1 Larry Finton, RM3 Robert Ayello, TM3 Robert Peterson and SN Percy Stewart, to go ashore with them at Qui Nhon. During this visit, the men had the chance to visit the Republic of Korea's TIGER Division Headquarters and see first-hand how Naval Gunfire Support Missions were planned. TUCKER began providing plane guard duty on 7 September for the carrier group that included USS America (CVA 66), USS Bennington (CVS 20), and USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31). TUCKER then participated in several days of realistic anti-submarine warfare exercises with the submarine USS Medregal (AGSS-480), in which TUCKER's Anti-Submarine Warfare team proved their capabilities by completing each exercise successfully. TUCKER was honored this year by receiving the coveted Anti-Submarine Warfare "A" Award, awarded annually to the best ASW ship in each destroyer squadron. The "A" was proudly emblazoned on the ASROC launcher.

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HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969

Captain Kully reported in a family-gram dated September 19 1968, the following statistics for this 6-week deployment to Vietna mese waters starting on 12 August:

Rounds fired on SEA DRAGON operations Helicopter transfers Rounds fired on DMZ operations Swift Boat refuelings Helicopter refuelings Underway replenishments Days at Sea Vertical replenishments Days in Port 1750 22 120 3 15 20 42 1 4

Rounds fired on Naval Gunfire Support operations 1293

TUCKER began the trip back to Yokosuka by heading first to Subic Bay. On the way to Subic, one of those well- appreciated barbecues was held on the helo deck. The Barbecue was up to the high quality that made TUCKER's food famous throughout the SEVENTH Fleet, with all hands having a selection of steaks cooked to order, baked beans, assorted salads, vegetables and desserts. While the crew was enjoying the barbecue and relaxing, a helicopter from the nearby carrier USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) flew close to TUCKER and hovered above the ship and indicated by gestures that its crew would like to jo in the barbecue. Within a moment's time, the now famous "TUCKS TAVERN" sign was unfurled and five juicy steaks were hoisted skyward to be devoured by the happy and hungry crew of a "Bonnie Dick" helo. Such service to SEVENTH Fleet helicopters had made "TUCK's TAVERN" a much sought-after "watering hole" in the Tonkin Gulf, and deserved a reputation for fast, 24-hour service in the ready rooms of those carriers fortunate enough to have had TUCKER nearby.

The "Bonny Dick" Helo is waiting for their chow. This may be the first recorded instance of "Take Out" food orders from U.S. Navy ships at sea!

TUCKER entered Subic Bay for only a day to refuel, and then headed back to the northeast. She arrived in Yokosuka on 20 September for 2 welcome weeks of upkeep and liberty. The Commodore arrives aboard TUCKER. While in Yokosuka, Commander Destroyer Division 32, Captain Robert Vollertsen, visited TUCKER on 30 September, inspected the crew, and presented awards to many deserving crewmembers. The following day he hoisted his pennant in TUCKER, and stayed for the next six weeks. This made TUCKER the division flagship for this period.

SECTION 5-19

HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969 THE FIRST APOLLO LAUNCH

Apollo 7 was launched from Cape Canaveral on 11 October 1968. This was the first manned Apollo space flight after the disastrous launch pad fire that killed Astronauts Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee. Understandably, NASA (and the rest of the world) was on edge. The flight lasted 10 days and 20 hours. Although head colds plagued the astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn Eisle, and Walter Cunningham, the flight met all objectives and was completed successfully. Reentry and recovery went well. Apollo's flotation bags had their first try-out when the spacecraft splashed down in the Atlantic southeast of Bermuda, less than two kilometers from the planned impact point and promptly turned upside down. When inflated, the brightly colored bags flipped the command module upright. The crew was deposited on the flight deck of USS Essex (CV 9) by 8:20 am EDT.

TUCKER put to sea on 3 October 1968 with a special hoist mounted on the fantail. Also, an exact replica of the Apollo Command Module had been received on board. After a several of days of training with the hoist and capsule, TUCKER was ready to participate as an Astronaut Recovery Ship for the APOLLO 7 space flight. Alternating with USS Rupertus (DD 851) on station 300 miles south of Japan, a point directly under the Apollo orbit, TUCKER was ready to assist in the capsule recovery if needed. Ships that were available at the time were deployed on a latitude and longitude that was on the orbital path, should a delay in re-entry occur. This photo shows the special hoist and dummy Apollo capsule used for training. While TUCKER was on the recovery station, besides recovery training, there was other training that took place. The DASH helo was rolled out for flight training. As the drone helicopter was making its approach to the landing deck, control of the drone was lost. The DASH helo hit the mast, and spinning in mid-air, exploded and sank 25 yards off the port side. Four days into the APOLLO mission, the seas at TUCKER's station became rough, and a threatening tropical storm was approaching. Since recovery at that location would be unlikely anyway, TUCKER was ordered back to Yokosuka. TUCKER and USS Chevalier (DD 805) are among ships flying their colors in Kaohsiung Harbor on 31 October 1967. TUCKER, in company with RUPERTUS again departed Yokosuka on 28 October, bound southward. Practicing highline transfer operations on the way, the two destroyers entered Kaohsiung Harbor on 31 October. There was only one day of liberty, but those who could go ashore helped the citizens of Kaohsiung celebrate the birthday of their President Chiang Kai-shek. There was a parade, fireworks, and a holiday festive atmosphere reminiscent of our own 4th of July.

SECTION 5-20

HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969

While in Kaohsiung, TUCKER proudly flew all her dress ship flags for the occasion. Underway again, TUCKER and RUPERTUS entered the waters of Hong Kong Harbor on 2 November 1968. This time in Hong Kong was to last 5 days. The photo at the right shows Mary Soo's paint crew alongside in Hong Kong harbor, the Captain's gig lowered, and a Water Taxi waiting for the liberty crew.

This photo was taken of Hong Kong's Lockhart Road in the Wanchai District. Note the movie marquis advertising the newly released "The Green Berets" starring John Wayne.

Leaving Hong Kong on 7 November, TUCKER and RUPERTUS headed once again into the South China Sea. Their destination was Subic Bay. At this time in Subic Bay, Captain Robert Vollertsen, COMDESDIV 32 departed TUCKER and sent this message:

IT HAS BEEN A REAL PLEASURE TO FLY THE DESDIV 32 PENNANT FROM HENRY W. TUCKER'S YARDARM FOR THE PAST SIX WEEKS. ALL STAFF MEMBERS TOOK PARTICULAR NOTE OF THE SPIRIT AND PRIDE DISPLAYED BY EACH OFFICER AND MAN OF THE CREW. BOTH I, AND MY STAFF LOOK FORWARD TO THE POSSIBILITY OF AGAIN EMBARKING IN YOUR FINE SHIP. FROM PERSONAL OBSERVATION, IT IS OBVIOUS TUCKER WILL EVEN IMPROVE UPON HER PAST RECORD OF OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE.

After three days in Subic, TUCKER got underway on 12 November for plane guard duty with USS Coral Sea (CVA 43). TASK GROUP 77.6 consisted of CORAL SEA, TUCKER, USS Bausell (DD 485), USS Robert K. Huntington (DD 781), and USS George K. MacKenzie (DD 836). In the darkness of early morning on 21 November, TUCKER broke off from chasing the CORAL SEA to search for and rescue a downed pilot. An oil slick was found, but there was no sign of the pilot and there were only small pieces of debris. By noon that day, the search was abandoned. Two days later, TUCKER was detached from plane guard duty, and headed south to rendezvous with USS Sterett (DLG 31) and USS Jenkins (DD 447), for SAR duty near the coast of Vietnam. On 1 December, TUCKER made her way once more for plane guard duty with the CORAL SEA. This didn't last long, because the next day, TUCKER broke away to participate in ASW exercises with USS Davidson (DE 1045). The submarine USS Bream (AGSS 243) was to be the mouse in this cat-and-mouse game. After four days, TUCKER returned to plane guard duty with the CORAL SEA.

SECTION 5-21

HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969

Another of the temperamental habits of the DASH helo was the counter-rotating blades. Sometimes a gust of wind would tip it over when it was not quite up to speed to get airborne. This picture shows one of those broken DASH helo rotors. Finally, on 8 DECEMBER 1968, TUCKER headed north to return to Yokosuka. TUCKER in company with USS George K. MacKenzie (DD 836), USS Taylor (DD 468), and USS Huntington (CL 107) raced to keep up with USS Coral Sea (CVA 43) before entering Tokyo Harbor on 3 October 1968 and back to her homeport of Yokosuka. This deployment to Vietnam waters included 30 consecutive days of sea operations, and away from homeport for 45 days. TUCKER was home for rest, repair, inspections, and holiday celebrations. For the Christmas celebration, TUCKER's dress ship lights were replaced with blue bulbs, and Christmas trees appeared in various parts of the ship.

WORLD EVENTS THAT OCCURRED IN DECEMBER 1968

During TUCKER's holiday period in Yokosuka, Apollo 8 was launched, circled the moon, returned to earth, and was recovered. The Astronauts James Lovell, Frank Borman, and William Anders lifted off from Cape Canaveral on 21 December. The astronauts were the first humans to witness an "Earth- Rise" on 24 December when the spacecraft came into view of the Earth from the backside of the moon. Also, on the same day as the "Earth- Rise" photo, the USS Pueblo Sailors, led by Captain Lloyd Bucher arrived in San Diego after the North Koreans released the eighty-two Pueblo crewmen. They were released after 11 months of captivity.

SECTION 5-22

HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969

1969

Finishing her holiday rest period, TUCKER began an extended mission of ten weeks away from Yokosuka. Leaving on 16 January 1969, and a fuel stop in Buckner Bay, TUCKER arrived at Subic Bay on 20 January.

PRESIDENT NIXON TAKES OFFICE

The 37th President Richard M. Nixon gave his first inaugural address to the nation on 20 January 1969.

TUCKER again got underway on 22 January along with USS Standley (DLG 32), a new guided missile frigate from the East Coast. After some electronics testing and some drills, the two vessels headed almost due west en route to Da Nang. A highlight of TUCKER's voyage to Da Nang was accepting a challenge from STANDLEY to a "drag race." Although twenty-three years older than STANDLEY, TUCKER stepped on the gas and showed her wake to the dismayed crew of the newer ship! Early the next morning both ships arrived and anchored in the mountain-ringed bay of Da Nang Harbor. The motor whaleboat was lowered and placed into antiswimmer personnel guard duty. TUCKER remained in the harbor only long enough for several of TUCKER's officers and men to receive briefings concerning her next operations. Leaving the harbor that same day, TUCKER proceeded to the Southern Search and Rescue Station, in company with USS Fox (DLG 33). After more than two weeks there, TUCKER was relieved by USS Agerholm (DD 826) and headed for TASK GROUP 77.6 for five days with USS Coral Sea (CVA 43) as plane guard. TUCKER in line, waiting for her turn for UNREP (Underway Replenishment) from CORAL SEA. Finally, on 16 February, after three uneventful weeks of patrolling the coast, then chasing the carrier CORAL SEA, TUCKER returned to the role she originated back in May of 1965, Naval Gunfire Support. This time it was in the I Corps area of the Republic of Vietnam. Two days later, in the Chu Lai area, TUCKER closed to within a mile of the entrance to Chu Lai Harbor for boat transfer of Army officer observers from the AMERICAL Division aboard TUCKER so they could witness a demonstration of TUCKER's naval gunfire in action. A few days later, A small personnel helicopter (Model LOH 6) brought Army LtCol James Durbin aboard for a "Snoopy" DASH demonstration. The nickname for this type of helicopter was the "Loach." Durbin was brought on-board to witness the newest development in the DASH helicopter. Although DASH was designed for ASW operations, this time it was fitted with a video camera. Another part of the new DASH modification was added for "Hand Off" control to a chase helicopter that would then control the DASH in-flight from not too far away. This aided and enhanced land based spotters to direct TUCKER's five-inch shells to the targets. This DASH modification was nicknamed "Snoopy DASH".

SECTION 5-23

HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969

TUCKER then spent time supporting the SECOND Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. She worked closely with the U.S. Navy's Coastal Advisory Group 16, near Quang Ngai. Their men were advisors to the Vietnamese Navy's junk patrol forces. TUCKER bombarded areas from which the VC were attacking and harassing the junk base. During one day in this area, TUCKER attacked over 100 targets, achieving a remarkable amount of destruction with a minimum expenditure of ammunition. Highlighting this gun line period was the mission of 27 February 1969, where TUCKER was also able to do something rarely done by destroyers: She provided gunfire support near Quang Ngai and simultaneously sent a medical civic action team to provide medical aid to villages only one-half miles from where her shells were impacting. LT William. F. Gee, DESDIV 32 Doctor, and TUCKER crewmember R. (Doc) Rice HM1 are shown providing medical aid. TUCKER closed to about a mile from the coast, and a Vietnamese Navy junk came alongside. Onboard TUCKER at the time, was LT W. F. Gee. Doctor Gee was the Medical Officer for DESDIV 32, which consisted of TUCKER, RUPERTUS, MACKENZIE, and WADDELL. Doctor Gee had sailed with TUCKER individually on several occasions. This RVN vessel then took on-board Dr. Gee, two other TUCKER crewmembers. They were LTJG M. McDermott, (Public Affairs Officer) and R. (Doc) Rice HM1, TUCKER's Hospital Corpsman. Accompanying the group was a photo-journalist team from the SEVENTH Fleet Public Affairs Office in Saigon, consisting of Journalist Second Class John J. Mullaly and Photographer's Mate Third Class Dale Newton, who were embarked in TUCKER during her gun line period to gather hometown and feature news stories to be rele ased to the press. Once ashore, the group could see TUCKER's shells impacting on abandoned houses along the beachfront. This was definitely a "different" experience being on the receiving end of TUCKER's gunfire! Traveling by jeep to a village, they pro vided medical aid to treat almost 100 Vietnamese citizens, many of which were battle wounds inflicted by Viet Cong. There were US Army officers stationed in the village with the RVN Army forces in a triangular fort reminiscent of "Fort Apache" fortifications on the American frontier. (Angled pointed stakes were surrounding it). They then went by jeep a bit further inland where Doctor Gee and "Doc" Rice provided basic medical care for almost 100 of the villagers, an incredible number of cases, including one ancient-looking lady who complained of being tired all the time. When Doctor Gee asked her how many children she had, she answered "Fourteen". This medical mission took most of the day. Upon completion of that long day, they were returned via the junk to TUCKER. TUCKER detached from the gun line on 1 March and headed independently south for R&R in Bangkok During the previous 37 days, TUCKER had fired 1155 rounds of five-inch shells. Rounding the southern tip of Vietnam, she headed southwest, then west, and finally northwest, arriving in Bangkok waters on 4 March 1969. This photo was taken as TUCKER made her way up the Chao Phraya River to Bangkok, Thailand on 4 March 1969. The Sea Detail sailors on the port bridge wing are rendering honors to a passing British destroyer. Getting some much-needed R&R, TUCKER remained at anchor in Bangkok for six days.

SECTION 5-24

HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969

Departing Bangkok on 9 March, TUCKER returned to the northern SAR station in the Tonkin Gulf, sometimes only forty miles from Haiphong, North Vietnam. Patro lling with USS Worden (DLG 18) for ten mostly uneventful days, TUCKER was relieved by USS Rogers (DD 876) and headed north to Kaohsiung Taiwan. While in Kaohsiung, TUCKER had a surprise visit from a Material Representative of Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer force, Pacific Fleet. He remarked that TUCKER was one of the most materially outstanding ships he had seen in WESTPAC. After taking on fuel and fresh water, TUCKER got underway to Yokosuka, arriving 28 March. TUCKER crew enjoyed two weeks of liberty along with upkeep in Yokosuka. This photo was taken of the Yokosuka main gate, with the banner proclaiming the "Cherry Blossom Festival" on 6 April 1969. Note the crowd of Japanese citizens entering the base for the festival open house. Departing for Sasebo on 11 April, then arriving on 14 April, TUCKER's stay was interrupted by what was to be her most famous assignment, racing to the site of the EC-121 shoot down incident in the Sea of Japan.

THE EC-121 SHOOTDOWN INCIDENT

The EC-121 shoot down incident occurred on 15 April 1969 when an American EC-121 Warning Star on a reconnaissance mission was shot down by North Korean MiG aircraft over the Sea of Japan. All 31 Americans on board were killed in the shoot down, including 30 Navy personnel and 1 Marine. The plane crashed 90 miles away from the North Korean coast. The EC-121 could fly up to 300 mph, with a normal fuel range for 20 hours flight. It was unarmed and carried six tons of electronics equipment. A bulbous dome on the top of the fuselage housed special radar equipment, and there was about six tons of electronic equipment packed into the area otherwise used for cargo or passengers. There were three 30- man life rafts on board the plane and weather conditions were relatively favorable for rescue if the me n survived.

An American EC-121 reconnaissance plane took off from Atsugi Naval Air Station in Japan at about 0700 on Tuesday 15 April 1969. With the call sign Deep Sea 129 (DS 129), it was to make a routine mission of signal intelligence collection along a racetrack course off the North Korean coast. The plane arrived on station 90 miles off N. Korea at about noon and began its recon patrol. About 5 hours into the flight, two North Korean MIG fighters took off from a base used for training. Their progress was monitored by the USAF 6918th Security Squadron at Hakata Japan. Additionally, the Naval Security group listening post at Kamiseya, Japan was intercepting Russian radar tracking of the EC-121 in progress. At 1347 these two MIGs approached and the American spy plane disappeared from all tracking radars. DS-129 was never seen or heard from again. Two hours later, an American Air Force C-130 search and rescue plane took off from Tachikawa to search for the missing EC-121. USS Henry W. Tucker (DD 875) and USS Dale (DLG 19) were nested at berth six at Sasebo and were the two U.S. ships closest to the last known position of the missing American EC-121. At about 1700, both ships were ordered by COMSEVENTHFLT to get underway ASAP and proceed to the Sea of Japan to search for the downed plane. TUCKER needed three hours to light off boilers and make sufficient steam for getting underway. DALE, with major equipment out for repair at SRF Sasebo, estimated needing 10-12 hours to get underway. TUCKER executed an

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emergency recall of her crew and got underway at 2008 leaving only 13 enlisted men ashore. DALE beat her reported ETD and got underway at 2105, only an hour behind TUCKER.

At 0330 Wednesday morning, DALE caught up with TUCKER, and TUCKER increased speed to 25 knots as the two ships passed through the Tsushima Strait, approximately one third the way to the crash site. The two ships continued north as the sun rose Wednesday morning. At 1020 DALE detached from TUCKER to remain near the Japanese mainland. They were to receive a SAR Helicopter from shore. TUCKER increased her speed to 27 knots in a beeline for the crash site. Steaming ever closer to the crash site, shortly before 1400, TUCKER was approached by a Russian TU-16 Badger aircraft. The Soviet bomber was only a few hundred feet above the sea surface. TUCKER went to general quarters, but the Russian aircraft displayed no hostile intent. It passed down TUCKER's starboard side, then turned north and departed. At 1647, two more Soviet bombers circled TUCKER as the ship neared the search scene. At 1939, TUCKER arrived on station, the first American ship to arrive on scene 85 miles off the N. Korean coast and about the same distance south of the Russian navy base at Vladivostok. In the darkness, TUCKER launched her motor whaleboat and began searching for aircraft debris and possible survivors as well as any classified materials from the downed spy plane. Two Russian destroyers had been on scene since the previous evening and collecting debris in coordination with several American Air Force search planes. The Russian destroyers departed the area as TUCKER approached late Wednesday afternoon. As the Russians steamed away to the north, one illuminated TUCKER with fire control radar. DALE arrived on scene at 2110 and assumed tactical command of the SAR effort. During that night, TUCKER was first to recover aircraft debris, including a section of fuselage with bullet holes and bits of human flesh. DALE sighted a floating body at 0130, but was unable to recover it in the darkness. On Thursday morning 17 April, TUCKER's motor whaleboat crew found and recovered the bodies of LTJG Joseph Ribar and AT1 Richard Sweeney. These were the only two bodies recovered of the 31-man crew of America's EC121. Also retrieved were some personal effects of Philip D. Sundby CT3 and B. F. Conners ADR1.The bodies were brought aboard the ship, wrapped in cloth mattress covers, and stored in the butter and egg locker as a makeshift morgue. USS Sterett (DLG 31) arrived on scene at 1900 with COMDESRON 3 aboard and the Commodore assumed duties as OTC and on-scene commander. The three ships continued searching through the night. CINCPAC ordered TUCKER to rendezvous with Russian destroyer Vdokhnovenny (D 429) on Friday 18 April. This was the first cooperative meeting of Soviet and American warships since the Cold War began at the close of World War II. The photo shows TUCKER and the Russian Destroyer VDOKHNOVENNY motor whaleboats approaching each other. Note the C-130 circling overhead. The two small boats closed the distance between the destroyers, and met midway in between. After the formalities of the quick meeting were completed, the collected debris the Russian Destroyer had retrieved prior to TUCKER's arrival on scene was passed into TUCKER's motor whaleboat.

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HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969

After her historic rendezvous with the Soviet destroyer, TUCKER met with DALE and received DALE's collected aircraft debris, refueled with USS Tappahannock (AO 43), then headed south to return the bodies and debris to Sasebo. Entering Sa sebo Harbor, TUCKER was boarded from a small harbor boat that carried two caskets made ready for the recovered bodies. The crew was already in their dress blue uniforms for their arrival in front of the world's assembled communications media and dignitaries. Several agents of the Naval Investigative Service came on-board to catalog and photograph the laid out debris in the hanger deck. The photo shows the recovered debris on TUCKER being inspected and cataloged by Navy security officials before it was removed in port. The officer in the lower right foreground is TUCKER's LTJG James Atwill.

Minutes after the brow was in place, six enlisted TUCKER sailors in dress blues with white gloves carried the flagdraped casket of Sweeney AT1 across the brow to a waiting Navy ambulance in full view of worldwide news media. A photo of the event appeared in newspapers all over the world the next morning. A few minutes later, six TUCKER officers escorted the body of LTJG Ribar ashore in similar fashion. Amid the shrill of the Bos'n's Pipe, the slap slap of the Honor Guard's weapons, there was this highest of military tradition, bestowed at this moment of tragedy. This photo appeared in the Tuesday April 22 "Stars and Stripes" newspaper shows the casket of R. E. Sweeney AT1 being brought to shore. Later that Sunday, Captain CDR S. D. Kully and his Executive Officer, LCDR James L. May, answered questions at a press conference ashore with representatives of the world's media including NBC, CBS, ABC, and the U.S. wire services as well as Life Magazine and Pacific Stars & Stripes. The news conference concluded a week in which TUCKER's CO and XO participated in the only press conference conducted before worldwide media following the historic shoot down of the EC-121.

During the press conference, these "facts" for USS Henry W. Tucker (DD 875) came to light:

TUCKER was the first American ship underway to search for the EC-121. TUCKER was the first American ship to arrive on scene. TUCKER was the first American ship to collect debris. TUCKER was the only ship to recover bodies. TUCKER was the only ship to peacefully rendezvous with a Soviet destroyer in more than 25 years. TUCKER was the only ship chosen to deliver bodies and consolidated aircraft debris to Sasebo. The bodies of LTJG Joseph Ribar, and Richard Sweeney AT1 were then flown to Atsugi Naval Air Station where a second memorial service was held. TUCKER left Sasebo at 0800 on Monday 21 April and returned the Sea of Japan. She made rendezvous with USS Saint Paul (CA 73) for the transit back to the search scene, where both ships joined Task Force 71 to patrol the

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area for the next seven days. Task Force 71 grew to include 31 ships and was routinely shadowed by Soviet destroyers and aircraft. TUCKER detached from TF 71 on 27 April and joined USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14) for transit to Subic Bay. After one day of liberty in Subic Bay, TUCKER departed on 1 May, enroute to the III Corps area of Vietnam. While leaving Subic, TUCKER took on board a new type of ordnance, a five -inch projectile called RAP (Rocket Assisted Projectile), which extended the gun range an extra 10,000 yards. TUCKER arrived at the Mekong Delta 3 May and anchored off Vung Tau for naval gunfire support missions in coordination with spotters ashore. TUCKER conducted gunfire support missions from various anchorages in the area for a week.

The photo is of a swift boat alongside TUCKER while at anchor at Vung Tau.

Detached from this duty, TUCKER got underway for a port visit to Hong Kong from 13-18 May. This photo was taken overlooking Hong Kong Harbor from Victoria Peak. TUCKER left Hong Kong 18 May for transit to Yokosuka with a brief fuel stop 21 May at Buckner Bay, Okinawa. The ship arrived finally at her homeport in Japan on 23 May. TUCKER left Yokosuka on 8 June, headed for South Vietnam and the gun line. After a fuel stop in Buckner Bay, TUCKER was diverted once again north to the Sea of Japan. This time on Peacetime Air Reconnaissance Patrol Station, she was ready to go to the assistance of any Navy ship or aircraft requiring aid. She operated with USS Benjamin Stoddert (DDG 22). The continued presence of Russian Destroyers in the area who were nicknamed "Ivan" helped break what would be a very boring routine. Upon the conclusion of her duties in the Sea of Japan, on 25 June, TUCKER received the following congratulatory message from Commander, Destroyer Division 252, Task Unit Commander embarked in STODDERT:

KUDOS AND ALOHA 1. 2. OF THE THREE "SHOTGUNS" I'VE HAD ON PICKET STATION WITH ME IN THE SEA OF JAPAN YOU HAVE BEEN FAR AND AWAY THE BEST. YOUR SHIPHANDLING, INITIATIVE, RESPONSIVENESS, RELIABILITY, GENERAL ALL-AROUND ALERTNESS PLUS THE APPEARANCE OF BOTH YOUR SHIP AND CREW HAVE BEEN OUTSTANDING.

3. IT HAS BEEN MY SINCERE PLEASURE TO HAVE HAD YOU AS A MEMBER OF THIS TASK UNIT. GOOD LUCK, GOOD HUNTING, AND BON VOYAGE.

After 10 days in the chilly waters in the Sea of Japan, TUCKER once again headed south and returned to Naval gunfire support throughout the I Corps area and in the vicinity of Da Nang. This was her third gun line assignment in the last 5 months. In a short 12 days TUCKER participated in both day and nighttime shore mombardments. An in addition, a number of US Navy small vessels were supplied with ice, ice cream, and other stores making their lives a little more comfortable. TUCKER returned to Yokosuka on 13 July for an upkeep period and a change of command.

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CDR Story compiled these statistics for his deployment starting with departure from Long Beach California on 3 July 1968:

Days at sea - - - - - - - - - Days in port Yokosuka - - - Days in port, others - - - - - Miles steamed - - - - - - - - Fuel oil (gal) consumed - - - Underway replenishments - - Vertical replenishments ---Highline transfers - - - - - - Helo transfers - - - - - - - - Helo refuelings inflight - - - Boat transfers - - - - - - - - Rounds fired in the last year - - Rounds fired ­ SEA DRAGON OPS - - Rounds fired ­ DMZ (Aug 1968) - - - Rounds fired ­ NGFS - - - - - - - - Total rounds fired by TUCKER since she fired the first shot in May 1965 - 15,702 224 114 39 75,423 4,299,557 75 4 16 115 10 46 7181 1758 120 5303 (as of 30 June) (as of 30 June)

15 July 1969 -- CDR W. L. STORY, USN relieved CDR S. D. KULLY and became the TUCKER's sixteenth commanding officer.

APOLLO 11

Apollo 11 landed on the moon on 20 July. Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon followed by Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin the following day.

While in port, TUCKER received three congratulatory messages. The first was from the administrative superior, Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force, U.S Pacific Fleet (COMCRUDESPAC) congratulating TUCKER as one of the outstanding destroyers in the area of personnel retention. TUCKER was credited for a commendably high rate of personnel retention at all levels. The second message was also from COMCRUDESPAC, noting that TUCKER was a force leader in contributions to the annual Navy Relief Society's charity drive. The third message was from Commander Destroye r Squadron Three, (COMDESRON 3) informing TUCKER of the fact that she had submitted 555 news releases to the Navy's Fleet Home Town News Center during the first six months of 1969, more than any other ship of her class in the entire U.S. Navy. With a new Commanding Officer, TUCKER departed Yokosuka on 22 July, and headed once again to the coast of Vietnam. Her new assignment was the "gun line" and two periods of naval gunfire support for Allied units in the northern half of the Republic of Vietnam. After a brief refueling stop at Okinawa on 25 July, TUCKER arrived on the "line" on 28 July, racing ahead of the high seas and destructive winds of typhoon Viola all the way.

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This first gunfire assignment kept TUCKER occupied all up and down the coast until 6 August. During that time she supported various units of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, and earned the praise of her airborne spotters by the accuracy and rapidity of her fire. The bridge repeatedly heard the spotter comment, "Beautiful... those rounds were right in there... you people are reaffirming our faith in naval gunfire, and it's great to work for a ship that knows how to shoot!" During this first line period, TUCKER was reported to have "destroyed 20 bunkers, 3 enemy structures, a tunnel and a wooden platform, damaged 30 bunkers, 3 more structures, and caused 17 fires and 8 secondary explosions." Upon departing the gun line for Singapore, TUCKER received the following message from the Naval Gunfire Support Task Unit Commander:

YOUR PERFORMANCE WAS MOST IMPRESSIVE. SORRY I DID NOT SEE YOU CLOSE ABOARD BUT FOLLOWING YOUR SHOOTING BY MESSAGE TRAFFIC WITH THE KUDOS YOU RECEIVED FROM CUSTOMERS MAKES A "WELL DONE" CLEARLY WARRENTED. HAVE A PLEASANT R&R IN SINGAPORE. WE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR RETURN ON THE 15TH.

Every ship takes advantage of the proximity to the equator to cross it whenever possible, and this time was no exception. Singapore is only about 80 miles north of the equator. On 8 August, TUCKER polliwogs were initiated into the mysteries of the deep. This was the third of five equator crossings for TUCKER. TUCKER's crew had the relatively rare opportunity to participate in a ceremony known to mariners throughout history, "Crossing the Line." In this ceremony, "Pollywogs", (novices) are initiated into "The Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep," by King Neptune Rex and his Royal Court. It is a boisterous and colorful ceremony in which "Pollywogs" become "Trusty Shellbacks". Shown is the wallet sized shellback card given to all TUCKER crew initiated that day. The following day brought another welcome experience for TUCKER, the chance to visit the commercial crossroads of Southeast Asia, the colorful city of Singapore. TUCKER arrived on a most special day, August 9, which was the date of the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Singapore in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles of the East India Company. Arriving in Singapore, TUCKER tied up at the Royal Navy Base, away from town. A highlight of the stay in Singapore was the hospitality afforded TUCKER by her counterparts of the British Royal Navy at Her Majesty's Naval Dockyard, where she was berthed. The HMS LONDON, a modern guided-missile frigate was TUCKER's "host ship" during her stay. Shuttle busses took the crew in small groups to Singapore. The visit was for three liberty days. The photo shows a TUCKER sailor on liberty in Singapore as he strolls along the Marina District walkway. There was Singapore's version of Hong Kong's Tiger Balm Gardens, and a very large public park "Botanical Gardens" area with monkeys roaming freely. TUCKER left Singapore on 13 August and returned to the gun line, once again to the I & II Corps areas of Vietnam. Most of TUCKER's missions were again in the northern half of South Vietnam. At one point, she remained near the city of Nha Trang for several days to forestall a possible enemy attack on the vital bridges in the area. Most of her missions were in support of the U.S. Army's

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HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969

AMERICAL Division, based in Chu Lai. During this second gun line period of this cruise, TUCKER destroyed 30 bunkers, 74 structures, 2 wooden platforms, and one tunnel, damaged 35 bunkers and 56 structures, sank 12 boats and sampans, and killed eight of the enemy. While supporting the AMERICAL Division, TUCKER hosted a number of visitors aboard, including the air spotters, who discussed the tactical situation with TUCKER, and an Army photo-journalist from the AMERICAL Division who was gathering information on the characteristics and capabilities of naval gunfire. The most important visitors were Major General Lloyd B. Ramsey, Commanding General of the AMERICAL Division, Colonel Jack L. Treadwell, Commanding Officer of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade, and LT Colonel Paul R, Girave, Commanding Officer of the 6th Battalion, 11th Field Artillery. General Ramsey presented TUCKER with an AMERICAL Division plaque in recognition for her services, stating that he gave TUCKER his "best wishes and respects," complimented TUCKER on her "fine performance and outstanding shooting," and said that her support o his troops gave him f and his officers "a greater appreciation of and a greater respect for the capabilities of naval gunfire." One day, during this second gun line period, the forward gun mount train (rotate) motor failed during firing. In order to stay on the gun line, James Goodman, GMG2 rotated the mount by hand, which allowed continued accurate fire. During this gun line period, TUCKER also received two more congratulatory messages from the Naval Gunfire Support Task Unit Commander. This first, received on 24 August, read as follows:

WELL DONE TO YOUR PROFESSIONAL DESTROYERMEN. YOUR CHEERFUL WILLING ATTITUDE AND SHARP SHOOTING MOST GRATIFYING. YOU ARE WELCOME ON THE GUN LINE AT ANY TIME. KEEP CHARGING.

This second message was received the day TUCKER detached from the gun line and read:

CONGRATULATIONS UPON COMPLETION OF AN OUTSTANDING GUN LINE TOUR AND A HEARTY "WELL DONE" FOR YOUR SUCCESS IN ENHANCING ARMY APPRECIATION OF NAVAL GUNFIRE SUPPORT. YOU ARE WELCOME BACK ANYTIME.

TUCKER left the gun line on 2 September, and arrived in Subic Bay on 3 September, for a one night fueling stop. During the transit back to Yokosuka, the time was used to clean the ship and conduct necessary battle training so that she would remain ready for any eventuality. However, not all of the time was spent working. On Sunday, 7 September, TUCKER had another of the skeet shoots on the helo deck; winner of the shoot was AT1 Kenneth Whitson, Leading Petty Officer of WV Division. There was also a "card" of 3 bouts of the fifth running of the HENRY W. TUCKER Silver Gloves Championships. These boxing matches featured the musical talent of Bob Hover, PNSN and Joe Wynne, SN who entertained during intermission with country and western music. The day was concluded with an outdoor cookout, featuring barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers. TUCKER arrived home in Yokosuka on 8 September.

These statistics were compiled in the cruise book for this deployment period of 3 July 1968 to 8 September 1969:

Days Underway Total days in port Gallons of Fuel Oil (NSFO) Helicopter transfers Total five-inch rounds fired 266 44 5,318,885 125 11,253 Days in port Yokosuka Miles steamed UNREPS Helicopter re-fuelings 121 88,556 90 10

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HISTORY OF THE USS HENRY W. TUCKER 1965 - 1969

TUCKER remained in Yokosuka for 6 weeks of planned restricted availability, (PAR) until 19 October 1969. The crew enjoyed plenty of time in their homeport until she got underway once more for some training exercises but only for one day for post-availability checks in the nearby operating area. The weather was very bad, so after such a long time in port, the longest in-port time on this entire cruise, continuous "general quarters" meant for a lot of seasickness. TUCKER then returned to Yokosuka, arriving about 1530 hours, for four more days.

This cruise book photo shows waves slamming against the bow, ricocheting off the gun mount, and engulfing the bridge. 27 October found TUCKER once again in the Sea of Japan for ECM surveillance interspersed with various training exercises with USS Waddell (DDG 24) and USS Sterett (DLG 31). This time, the sea was not quite as rough, but it was very cold. This type training would last until 14 November. This cruise book photo shows TUCKER whaleboat returning from USS Waddell (DDG 24).

TUCKER arrived at Sasebo on 15 November for 5 days. After an operational readiness inspection, and refueling, TUCKER departed south toward Vietnam again. She made an intermediate stop at Hong Kong for another five days, celebrating Thanksgiving. TUCKER arrived at Subic Bay on 26 November. Only one day was needed to refuel, rearm and prepare for another turn on the gun line off the coast of Vietnam. TUCKER departed Subic on 27 November. The last gun line assignment for this deployment was for support of the 101st Airborne division of the US Army, thus supporting OPERATION ROSE, from 30 November until 15 December, a period of sixteen days. TUCKER provided gunfire support to the II Corps. Round after round was fired in response to forward air observers. This tour on the gun line saw the ship experience many of her most difficult UNREP experiences. The weather was rough and the deck was constantly wet and dangerous. At one point, the sea was so rough, TUCKER steamed into the relatively calm water of Cam Ranh Bay for refueling and rearming from USS Rainier (AE 30) to avoid the rough seas. Released from this duty, TUCKER proceeded to Kaohsiung Taiwan for refueling on the way back to Yokosuka. No sooner was TUCKER underway again when on 19 December, TUCKER was called upon to perform search and rescue duties in the Taiwan straits. An Air Force KC-135 was missing somewhere in the Taiwan straits. TUCKER, joining the search and rescue, immediately discovered conclusive evidence that that plane had in fact gone down. Establishing the location coordinates, TUCKER crew used grappling hooks to pick up pieces of the wreckage. After more than three days on this SAR duty, the crew was not sure they could make it back to Yokosuka in time for Christmas. But, early in the morning of 25 December, TUCKER arrived back to her homeport. CDR W. L. Story managed to get TUCKER back in time for the Christmas celebration. Waiting for the crew in Yokosuka were 26 bags of mail that finally caught up with them.

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On the last day of 1969, TUCKER said goodbye to "DASH". The temperamental drone helicopter had finally worn out it's welcome. The DASH was offloaded for good. The DASH (Drone Anti Submarine Helicopter) program was cancelled by the Navy in 1969. Although low reliability was the official reason, the manufacturer pointed to the expenses of the Vietnam war, and the lack of any need for an antisubmarine capability in that war.

To continue the History of USS Henry W. Tucker (DDR 875), select History years 1970-1973.

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