Forty years ago, 20 sailors were killed and 36 injured when a faulty projectile detonated on the USS Newport News .
They were all used to the sound of the 8-inch guns. The crew of the USS Newport News (CA-148) had been “on the gun line” since 11 May 1972, on station off the coast of South Vietnam providing heavy gunfire support against enemy troops and bunker positions in the Quang Tri City vicinity. She was the only heavy cruiser left in the Navy, and she delivered more firepower at a greater range than any other ship at the time. Her guns could fire 90 rounds per minute at a range of almost 18 miles, delivering projectiles that weighed 260 pounds apiece.