The Night 5-inch Fire Broke the Viet Cong
Joseph Todd, Former supply officer
In his April article “The Ubiquitous 5-inch/38,” (pp. 10–11), referring to the 5-inch/54 weapon, Norman Friedman writes: “It then formed the basis for the postwar power-loaded mountings, which were standard on board destroyers, frigates, and carriers starting in the 1950s. . . . The Navy probably would have preferred to keep the reliable 5-inch/38.”
Indeed, the 5-inch/38 weapon was used on new construction as late as 1963. In January 1965, I reported aboard the soon-to-be-commissioned USS Bradley (DE-1041) as assistant supply officer. Bradley (call sign Comet Express) was the second ship of the Garcia class, which was later reclassified as a frigate. The Garcia class had two 5-inch/38s enclosed single mounts—one forward and one aft. As I recall, the gunner’s mates preferred the 5-inch/38s and had little good to say about the 5-inch/54s.