The nation’s third Naval Training Center was commissioned at Orlando, Florida. Principal speaker was Hon. Charles F. Baird, Under Secretary of the Navy. It will supplement the recruit training capability at NTC San Diego, California and NTC Great Lakes, Illinois.
The United States asked the Soviet Union for the immediate return of the DC-8 commercial aircraft, its crew and 214 U. S. servicemen forced to land 30 June in the Kurile Islands of the Soviet Union. State and Defense Department officials said the plane had apparently strayed off course north of Japan. Thirty-one Navy men were aboard.
President Johnson announced that the U. S. and the Soviet Union had agreed to open talks in the near future, aimed at limiting and reducing both offensive nuclear weapons and defensive antimissile systems.
Sewart Seacraft Division of Teledyne Corp., Berwick, Louisiana, received a contract for $1,179,509 for the construction of four 85-foot aluminum patrol craft. The contract was issued by the Naval Ship Systems Command.
A wildcat strike which had closed the Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Connecticut since 17 June ended. The strike had idled nearly 8,000 workers.
As a result of a new promotion policy Ensigns will be eligible to be promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade following one year’s commissioned service. Formerly an 18 month period was required. A Lt. (j.g.) can expect to be eligible for further promotion to Lieutenant in two more years of service.
A-4 Skyhawks from the USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) struck a truck park five miles east of Vinh setting off numerous secondary explosions and more than 50 fires.
The House Armed Services Committee upheld Senate action by striking out $460 million the Defense Department requested to continue production of the Navy’s F111-B fighter-bomber.
The USS Ozbourn (DD-846) sank three enemy supply boats off the coast of North Vietnam. The USS Henry B. Wilson (DDG-7) destroyed twenty enemy support structures, damaged thirty, and ignited a secondary explosion and 25 fires near Hue in support of 1st ARVN Division elements.
The Naval Ship Systems Command awarded a $1,379,700 fixed-price contract for 63 twenty-six foot personnel boats to Gulf Stream Industries, Inc., Channelview, Texas and a $1,270,894 fixed-price contract for construction of two 100-foot torpedo retriever boats (TWB) to Peterson Builders Inc., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
The Soviet Union released the DC-8 forced down in Kurile Islands on 30 June.
In An Xuyen Province, 145 miles southwest of Saigon, U. S. Coast Guard cutter Androscoggin (WHEC-68) destroyed or damaged 38 enemy structures and 14 sampans.
The Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Atlantic Fleet announced that eight Atlantic Fleet ships would be placed in reduced operational status in July to provide trained personnel for other Atlantic Fleet destroyers. The ships are: destroyers USS Cone (DD-866), Johnston (DD-821), J. C. Owens (DD-776), and Harlan R. Dickson (DD-708); and destroyer escorts USS Courtney (DE-1021), Hartley (DE-1029), John Willis (DE-1027), and Lester (DE-1022).
The U. S. Coast Guard Cutter Campbell (WHEC-32) destroyed or damaged 60 enemy structures, 13 bunkers, and caused 23 secondary fires 14 miles east of Hue in Thua Thien Province.
The House Armed Services Committee voted to kill Defense Department plans to build four Fast Deployment Logistics Ships (FDLs) at a cost of $184 million in Fiscal Year 1969. The Defense Department had proposed to build 30-40 FDLs at a cost of $50 million each.
USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) pilots set off large secondary explosions and fires in an oil storage area 43 miles south-southeast of Vinh. A-6 Intruders from the USS Constellation (CVA-64) destroyed four railroad cars on a siding 30 miles south of Vinh. Other carrier pilots downed or damaged six bridges, destroyed two trucks, sank an enemy supply boat and destroyed an AA site.
The Senate Commerce Committee approved a House-passed authorization for the Maritime Administration of $466.9 million, including $237.4 million for the construction of 27 ships.
U. S. Navy and Coast Guard units operating in South Vietnam destroyed or damaged 101 enemy structures, 13 bunkers, and 19 enemy sampans.
The Navy announced that contract definition contracts have been awarded to Bath Iron Works, Corp., Bath, Maine; General Dynamics Corp. (Quincy Division), Quincy, Massachusetts; and Litton Systems, Inc., Culver City, California for the preparation of derailed proposals for development and production of new destroyers in what has become known as the DX Program. Bath Iron Works received a fixed-price contract for $10.5 million; General Dynamics and Litton contracts were $9 million each. Proposals are due from the contractors about the first of April 1969. Funds for the first five DXs have been requested from Congress in the Fiscal Year 1969 budget.
U. S. Navy Seawolf helicopters killed 16 enemy, damaged or destroyed 14 sampans and four junks during Operation Game Warden in Kien Hoa Province, 55 miles south of Saigon.
Commander Task Force 77 (Commander Attack Carrier Striking Force, Seventh Fleet) became a 3-star command effective this date when Rear Admiral Ralph W. Cousins, USN, was promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral. The President had announced the promotion, subject to Senate approval, on June 14.
The USS Buchanan (DDG-14) destroyed a highway bridge 14 miles south-southeast of Dong Hoi with her five-inch shells.
India’s first submarine, the Kalvari, arrived at New Delhi. This Soviet F Class fleet attack submarine was the first of four to come to India under an agreement with the USSR. The cornerstone was also laid for India’s submarine headquarters at Visakhapatnam.
The first squadron of U. S. Marine Corps OV-10A Broncos arrived at Da Nang, South Vietnam.
The Coast Guard Cutters Androscoggin (WHEC-68) and the Point Slocum (WPB-82313) destroyed or damaged 60 structures, 33 sampans, and two bunkers, while causing six secondary explosions and three fires southwest of Saigon, in An Xuyen and Vinh Binh Provinces.
A Soviet naval squadron arrived in Colombo, Ceylon, for a four-day visit. The ships were a cruiser, an antisubmarine frigate, and a tanker, part of the Russian Pacific Fleet. This is the first such visit by Russian warships.
The Soviet news agency Tass announced that Warsaw Pact countries would carry out joint naval exercises in the North Atlantic in July. The code name “Sever” was to be used for the exercise, aimed at testing the defenses of the Eastern block against sea attack. Ships from the Soviet Union, Poland, and East Germany, were to take part.
The House Armed Services Committee warned that the U. S. faced the possibility of a major submarine gap. The committee added to the Administration’s budget $16.4 million for research and development for a new class of submarines to be built in the 1970s.
It was announced that ships and aircraft of the U. S. Atlantic Fleet will join Navy and Air Force units from several South American countries for a period of three and one-half months, to conduct a series of combined naval exercises, designated UNITAS IX, in the waters around South America. Units from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Venezuela will join U. S. task group at various times to conduct the operations.
A two-week U. S. antisubmarine and mine warfare exercise commenced off the Georgia coast in the Atlantic Fleet. Operation “Sneaky Pete” included 14 surface ships, five submarines, and 28 aircraft.
The SS American Liberty was launched in Chester, Pennsylvania for U. S. Lines.
The President nominated Rear Admiral Bernard M. Strean, USN, for appointment to grade of Vice Admiral, to relieve retiring Vice Admiral Alexander S. Heyward, Jr., as Chief of Naval Air Training.
For the first time in its 18-month presence in Vietnam, the Army-Navy Mobile Riverine Force (MRF) started operating in the Co Chien River. This was the only branch of the Mekong where the MRF had not operated.
An F-8 Crusader aviator from USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) downed a MIG-17 southeast of Vinh with air-to-air missiles and 20 mm cannon fire. This kill brought the total of downed MIGS to 107 since the first one on 17 June 1965.
The President nominated Rear Admiral John A. Tyree, Jr., USN, for appointment to grade of Vice Admiral. He will become Chief of Staff, U. S. European Command.
At the request of the Navy, a Stop Work Order was issued to General Dynamics, Fort Worth, Texas, the prime contractor, on the F111-B.
An F4 Phantom from the USS America (CVA-66) shot down a MIG-21 with an air-to-air missile 16 miles west of Vinh over North Vietnam.
The oceanographic research vessel Melville (AGOR-14) was launched at Defoe Shipbuilding Company in Bay City, Michigan.
It was announced that allied warships operating in the Vietnam combat zone have passed the 600,000 mark in the number of rounds fired at the enemy since 1 January 1968. Ships averaged nearly 100,000 rounds a month.
The Royal Navy’s survey ship, HMS Fox, was commissioned at Brooke Marine Ltd., Lowestoft, England. She is the third of four ships in this class designed for coastal surveying work in any part of the world.
The British Government announced it would turn over one of its last major military footholds in the Far East, the Singapore Naval Base, to the government of that island nation by the end of 1968.
The U. S. Navy retired its last operational seaplane, a P-5 Marlin, during ceremonies at Patuxent Naval Air Station, Maryland. The Navy handed the plane over to the Smithsonian Institution.
The Secretary of the Navy approved the selection of 95 Navy Medical Corps Commanders for promotion to Captain, including the first Negro Medical Corp officer to reach that grade, Commander Paul Stewart Green, MC, USNR. Also on the list was Commander Mary Teresa Lynch, MC, USN, who joined a small number of lady Navy doctors to reach the rank of Captain. Only one is currently on active duty.
The Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) solicited request for proposals for nine 25,000 deadweight ton tankers.
Admiral Waldemar F. A. Wendt relieved Admiral John S. McCain as Commander of U. S. Naval Forces, Europe. Admiral McCain was to assume the position of Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Pacific.
Four U. S. Navy men were killed when a UH-1B helicopter was shot down in Ba Xuyen Province 73 miles southwest of Saigon near the mouth of the Bassac River.
The Garcia class destroyer escort USS O’Callahan (DE-1051) was commissioned at Boston Naval Shipyard, Massachusetts
The Saint Lawrence Seaway strike ended. The Seaway’s normal operations recommenced on the morning of 15 July. The strike involved some 1,300 Seaway workers and it trapped 100 ships in the waterway for 24 days.
Secretary of Defense Clark M. Clifford arrived at Tan Son Nhut Air Base to begin a tour of Vietnam. Accompanying him were General Earle G. Wheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Assistant Secretary of State William P. Bundy.
France exploded its second experimental nuclear device in eight days, over Mururoa Lagoon, southeast of Tahiti in the Pacific.
The carrier USS Independence (CVA-62) and four destroyers arrived in Istanbul, Turkey, for a seven day visit that was met with university student staged anti-American demonstrations in four Turkish cities.
The destroyer USS Blue (DD-744) was hit by enemy shore fire off the coast of North Vietnam near Dong Hoi. None of the crew was injured and damage to the ship was minor.
Twenty-four naval officer candidates began a training program at a predominantly Negro college for the first time in U. S. history, at Prairie View A&M, Prairie View, Texas. It is also the first new NROTC unit in the last 22 years.
The USNS Private J. F. Alerrell (T-AK-275) was hit by enemy small arms fire 22 miles southeast of Saigon, as she was transiting the Long Tau shipping channel to the capital city. There was no damage and no casualties were reported.
The Argentine cargo ship Rio Quintotz caught fire about 100 miles east of Port Everglades. U. S. Coast Guard aircraft brought fire-fighting equipment to the ship’s aid. The fire was out in a short time and one injured crewman was removed by Coast Guard helicopter.
The Kilauea class ammunition ship USS Mount Hood (AE-29) was launched at Sparrows Point, Maryland.
The USS Saratoga (CVA-60), USS Bennington (CVS-20), and USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) were selected as winners of the Admiral Flatley Memorial Award for superior performance in aviation safety during fiscal year 1968.
Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Va., received a fixed-price incentive contract for the design and construction of two guided-missile nuclear-powered frigates, DLGN-36 and DLGN-37. Total target contract price is estimated at $143,500,000. The Naval Ship Systems Command awarded the contract.
The Cambodian Navy seized a U. S. patrol craft with 11 U. S. Army personnel and one South Vietnamese serviceman aboard when it supposedly strayed into Cambodian territory in the Mekong River. The State Department said the U. S. apoligized [sic] to Cambodia for the intrusion, and explained that the boat inadvertently entered as a result of a navigational error.
The Navy announced plans to conduct limited carrier tests of the F111-B aircraft contingent upon successful completion of tests currently being conducted at Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Md. Navy F111-B #5 will be used for these carrier tests to be conducted aboard USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) off the West Coast.
The Vietnamese Navy took possession of four U. S. Navy Swift boats in ceremonies at An Thoi, on Phu Quoc Island in the Gulf of Thailand.
SS Idaho was launched at Avondale Ship yard, New Orleans, Louisiana for State Steamship Co.
The Royal Navy announced HMS Exmouth, the first major warship in the West to be propelled entirely by gas turbine engines, was commissioned at Chatham Dockyard. A frigate of the Blackwood class, Exmouth was built in 1957, and in 1966 started a major conversion to all gas-turbine power.
The Knox class escort destroyer USS Connole (DE-1056) was launched at Westwego, Louisiana.
Commander Samuel R. Chessman, USN Commanding Officer of Attack Squadron-195 aboard USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14), flew a record-breaking 306th combat mission by dropping his bombs on truck park in North Vietnam. Ninety-five percent of his missions have been over the north and yet Commander Chessman, 42, was never injured or shot down. Commander Charles Hathaway, USN, former CO of the same squadron aboard Ticonderoga, flew 305 combat missions (his last in April 1967). In addition to his Vietnam missions, Chessman flew 77 combat missions during the Korean war.
U. S. Navy SEAL advisors to the Vietnamese Navy reported at least 15 Viet Cong killed, six sampans destroyed and two damaged by the newly trained Vietnamese Navy SEALS in their first combat operation. In December 1961, a hand-picked group of Vietnamese sailors began taking instruction in a UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) school at Vung Tau. After their graduation in June, they began SEAL training.
The Sixth Fleet’s carrier USS Independence (CVA-62) and four destroyers departed Istanbul, Turkey, after a week of anti- American incidents. Turkish students attacked American sailors, smashed windows of American buildings and clashed with riot police. Nearly 20 U. S. sailors and more than 40 Turkish youths and police were hurt.
Operation Swift Play, a search and clear operation centered eleven miles southwest of Hoi An, commenced with heli-borne assault from ships in the Navy’s Amphibious Task Force 76. Only minor contact was made by the Marines from the 7th Reigment [sic], 1st Marine Division, as they swept through the area.
The U. S. Department of Commerce awarded an $82,280 study contract to Bechtel Corp., Vernon, California to develop mobile emergency port facilities to restore essential functions of ports damaged in natural or military disasters.
USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14), operating off the coast of North Vietnam since 26 January, departed Yankee Station following her last line period, becoming the first carrier to complete four Vietnam tours. Carrier Air Wing-19 and Ticonderoga departed the Tonkin Gulf for the United States.
F111-B successfully completed limited carrier tests aboard USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) off the coast of California. F111-B #5 completed a total of ten arrested landings, eight “touch-and-go’s,” and was launched by catapult nine times. Tests also included hangar and flight deck handling. Chief Test Pilot of the aircraft was Lieutenant Commander Richard A. Barnes, USN, and Ass’t Test Pilot was Lieutenant Roy R. Buehler, USN, both of Patuxent, Maryland.
The Senate Commerce Committee approved a House-passed bill to make the Federal Maritime Administration an independent agency.
General Dynamics Corp., Groton, Connecticut, was issued a $154 million definition of a previously awarded letter contract for construction of nuclear-powered attack submarines. The number of SSNs to be constructed increased from three to four. The Navy Ship Systems Command issued the definition.
Operation Swift Play was terminated. Nine enemy were killed, while Marines suffered no casualties in the two-day operation.
A Navy F-4 Phantom was struck down by ground fire in the Tonkin Gulf, ten miles east-northeast of Vinh. The two man crew was rescued by a helicopter from a Seventh Fleet destroyer and they were returned uninjured to their carrier.
A Soviet naval squadron returned to Moscow from a tour of the Indian Ocean and Middle Eastern ports.
Two aircraft were downed by enemy groundfire in the Panhandle of North Vietnam. The first, a Navy F-4 Phantom, was downed northeast of Vinh. The two-man crew is listed as missing. The other aircraft was a Marine Corps A-6 Intruder downed just to the north of the DMZ. One of the crew was rescued by an Air Force helicopter, while the second man has been listed as missing.
The Navy Court of Inquiry appointed to investigate the loss of the attack submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589) submitted its findings of fact, opinions, and recommendations to the convening authority, Commander in Chief, U. S. Atlantic Fleet. The 7-man Court convened 3 June and heard testimony from 76 witnesses.
In recognition of President Truman’s 26 July 1948 order to desegregate the Armed Forces, Secretary of Defense Clark M. Clifford wrote a memorandum to President Johnson which stated that in 1948 the Navy had only four Negro officers, now it has 330 and the Marine Corps, which had one Negro officer in 1948, now has 180.
SS Indian Mail was launched at Newport News, Virginia for the American Mail Lines.
The nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Guitarro (SSN-665) was launched in Vallejo, California.
U. S. Navy Swift Boat, PCF-53, operating out of Cat Lo, rescued two U. S. Air Force pilots when their F-100 Supersabre was downed by unknown causes. The pilots were returned to their base uninjured and in good condition.
Four U. S. Navy medium landing craft (LCM) were damaged in a series of underwater explosions in Quang Tri Province. One U. S. Navy man was injured. The explosive charges were probably placed beneath the boats by enemy swimmers.
Maritime Overseas Corp. placed a contract for construction of two 16,440-ton tankers with Bethlehem Steel Corp., Sparrows Point, Maryland, at an estimated cost of $16 million each.
For the second straight day, carrier-based pilots conducted sweeps against watercraft, destroying 109 barges, and damaging another 37 off North Vietnam’s Panhandle region.
The British Minister of Defense announced that orders for the construction of the last two new Leander Class frigates, the 25th and 26th in the series, for the Royal Navy, have been awarded to Yarrow Shipbuilder Ltd., England.
Four F-8 Crusaders from USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) fought a five-minute aerial dual with four MIG-17s 26 miles northwest of Vinh. One MIG was shot down with an air-to-air missile. The Crusaders were untouched. This was the third Navy MIG kill this month. The other MIGs fled across the 19th parallel and were not pursued.
It was announced that U. S. Navy Operation Game Warden patrols in the Mekong Delta have been extended to include the upper Mekong and upper Bassac Rivers. With the extension, counter-infiltration patrols now extend the full length of the Delta waterways, from the Cambodian border to the South China Sea.
The Vietnamese Navy received its first shipment of M-16 rifles from the U. S. Navy during ceremonies at the Vietnamese Navy headquarters in Saigon. This distribution is part of a continuing program to upgrade combat effectiveness of the Vietnamese Navy.
Rear Admiral Walter F. Schlech, Jr., USN, relieved Rear Admiral Reuben T. Whitaker, USN, as the Commander of Military Sea Transportation Service, Atlantic Area. Admiral Whitaker retires after 34 years of service.
Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., USN, relieved Admiral U. S. Grant Sharp, USN, as Commander U. S. Pacific during ceremonies aboard USS Hancock (CVA-19) in Pearl Harbor. Admiral Sharp retires after 45 years of service.
Rear Admiral James A. Dare, USN, relieved Rear Admiral Frederick J. Harlfinger, USN, as Commander South Atlantic Force, U. S. Atlantic Fleet.
Rear Admiral Henry J. Johnson, CEC, USN, assumed duties as Officer-in-Charge of Construction, Republic of Vietnam, relieving Rear Admiral Spencer R. Smith, CEC, USN.
Vice Admiral Bernard M. Strean, USN, relieved retiring Vice Admiral A. S. Heyward, Jr., USN, as Chief of Naval Air Training.
During the month of July, U. S. Seventh Fleet Navy pilots shot down three enemy MIG jets, bringing to 27 the total number of Communist aircraft downed by Naval aviators since 17 June 1965.
The Shipbuilders Council of America released its third quarter statistical summary, stating that for the first seven months of 1968, tabulations of private shipyards collective work force showed 144,300 workers employed during July—down 2,500 from April high, while employment in government-owned shipyards had climbed to 97,300 in July—this approximated five-year peak achieved in August 1967.
U. S. Navy pilots shot down a MIG-21 in a three-way dogfight. The two F-8 Crusaders from the carrier USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) downed the MIG over North Vietnam about 25 miles northwest of Vinh.
The U. S. Command in Saigon confirmed that erroneous radar and poor coordination among the Services caused the air-sea incidents on the nights of 15, 16, and 17 June, 1968, when allied ships were mistaken for enemy helicopters and nine American and Australian sailors were lost. A U. S. Board of Investigation determined that the attacks were inadvertently made by friendly aircraft.
The second group of U. S. pilots to be released by the North Vietnamese arrived in Vientiane, Laos, aboard an international control commission plane. The aviators were all of the U. S. Air Force: Captain Carpenter, Major Thompson, and Major Low. They were held captive for periods ranging from five to nine months.
The amphibious transport dock USS Trenton (LPD-14) was launched at Seattle, Washington. Her design provides the tactical advantage of having troops and their combat equipment in the same ship, rather than divided among personnel transports and cargo ships.
The Maritime Administration stated the active ocean-going U. S. Merchant Fleet numbered 1,104 ships of 1,000 gross tons or over on 1 July—an increase of 21 from last year. There were 928 privately owned ships and 176 government vessels in the Merchant Fleet. U. S. shipbuilders completed 40 merchant ships at a cost of $284 million during the year—22 were new and 18 were conversions.
The Ceylon government approved a proposal to establish a shipping corporation, a precursor of a merchant fleet, to start working early in 1969.
Fire occurred aboard the British freighter Gothic, 800 miles off the New Zealand coast. Seven persons died when fire destroyed the bridge deck and passenger accommodations.
Four years from the date of the PT-boat attack on the destroyer USS Maddox (DD-731), she returned to the Tonkin Gulf and fired on a bridge 39 miles north of Dong Hoi. Maddox was the first ship attacked in the Vietnam War.
It was announced that scientists from the U. S. Navy and the Department of Commerce are preparing to seed 1968 hurricanes with silver iodide in a continued effort to learn whether the violence of such storms can be lessened. These actions are called Project Stormfury.
The Defense Department announced that it is proceeding with plans to reduce expenditures in Fiscal Year 1969 by up to $3 billion in order to meet limitations of the Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968 signed into law (Public Law-90-364) on 28 June 1968, which required the President to reduce federal expenditures in Fiscal Year 1969 by $6 billion.
The Department of Defense also announced that in achieving expenditure reductions in Fiscal Year 1969 as required by the Revenue and Expenditure Control Act, 50 U. S. ships and eight Naval air squadrons with approximately 100 antisubmarine warfare aircraft will be inactivated. The major units involved were USS Topeka (CLG-8), USS Randolph (CVS-15), and USS Triton (SSN-586). The ships inactivated were divided between the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets, 32 and 18 respectively. Nearly 1,000 officers and 12,000 enlisted personnel were rotated to other assignments. An estimated $118 million will be saved by this action in Fiscal Year 1969.
It was announced that two U. S. Navy barracks ships, USS Nueces (APB-39) and USS Mercer (APB-40), have joined the expanding Army-Navy Mobile Riverine Force in the Mekong Delta. They join two sister ships that have been operating with the MRF in the Delta since April 1967.
The tanker Eagle Courier and the freighter Seattle collided off the west coast of Vancouver Island. There were no injuries, but both ships were damaged.
Israel completed construction of a new naval base at Ashdod Port, 30 miles south of Tel Aviv.
The Defense Department announced that development of Poseidon and Minuteman III missiles has now reached the point where test launches can begin and the test series will actually start later this month at Cape Kennedy.
HMS Scylla, a Royal Navy Leander Class frigate, was launched at Her Majesty’s Dockyard, Devonport, England.
Ecuadorian authorities seized four U. S. tuna fishing boats while they were operating in what Ecuador considered its territorial waters. The U. S. does not recognize the Ecuadorian claim of jurisdiction 200 miles off its coast. The fishing boats were 21 to 25 miles off the coast when seized.
Enemy shore batteries fired more than 100 rounds at USS Boston (CA-69) and USS Maddox (DD-731) off the coast of North Vietnam’s southern panhandle, but neither ship was hit.
U. S. Marine Corps’ newest FAC (Forward Air Control) aircraft, the OV-10A Bronco, began a combat evaluation period in the Republic of Vietnam by Marine Air Recon, Squadron 2, at Marble Mountain, Quang Nam Province.
The Commander in Chief, U. S. Atlantic Fleet announced that USS Von Steuben (SSBN-632) and the merchant tanker SS Sealady, collided about 35 miles off the southern Spanish coast. Von Steuben was submerged when she struck or was struck by a submerged tow cable connecting the German tug Fairplay X with the Sealady, which was under tow. The submarine sufaced [sic] immediately and Von Steuben and Sealady collided. There were no injuries, but the submarine sustained minor external damage to her superstructure and main deck.
The ammunition ship USS Kilauea (AE-26) was commissioned at the Boston Naval Shipyard, Massachusetts. Kilauea and her sister ship USS Butte (AE-27) are the first of a new class of ammunition ships with general hull charteristics [sic] of the existing combat store ship.
An explosion occured aboard the Italian tanker Ugo Fiorelli five miles from the port of Gela in southern Sicily. Three persons were hurled free of the tanker and rescued, while seven were killed and seven others injured.
USS Boston (CA-69) and USS Maddox (DD-731) were fired on again by enemy gun emplacements in the Nhuong Ban vicinity, 45 miles southeast of Vinh. No hits, damage, or injuries were sustained by either ship, but it was reported that pieces of schrapnel pelted the decks as some of the 200 rounds fell within 10 feet of the Maddox.
Thirty-two crewmen from the Hong Kong merchant vessel Yungfutary that went aground off Red China on 27 July were returned to Hong Kong Colony.
The Naval Air Systems Command selected Convair Division of General Dynamics Corp. and Lockheed Corp. teamed with Ling-Temco-Vought Aerospace Corp. to perform contract definition effort for the Navy’s new VSX (Developmental Antisubmarine) weapon system. The VSX (later called S-3A) is envisioned as a carrier-based antisubmarine warfare aircraft to replace the S-2 Tracker in the Fleet.
Operation Dodge Valley commenced in Quang Nam Province by elements from the 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
Admiral Sir Varyl Begg became Admiral of the Fleet, Royal Navy, after serving as Chief of Naval Staff and First Sea Lord.
It was reported that an attempt has been underway since April to find, raise, and ultimately exhibit the antecedent of all battleships, USS Monitor, lost on 30 December, 1862, off the shore of Cape Hatteras. The group exploring is a partnership between the State of North Carolina, which claims ownership under a 1967 law, and the North Carolina Tidewater Services, Inc., a salvage company.
The Navy announced that the antisubmarine carrier USS Yorktown (CVS-10) will be transferred from the Pacific Fleet to the Atlantic Fleet after making Long Beach, California her homeport for ten years. The shift to Norfolk, Virginia as homeport was done to ease the loss of the carrier USS Randolph (CVS-15) by deactivation.
Thirty-five Italian ships, including the luxury liners Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, were tied up in Rome by a strike of crews for higher pay.
A Navy air-to-air nonexplosive Sidewinder missile hit an oil survey vessel and set it afire 15 miles from shore near Santa Rosa Island, California injuring three members of the 18-man crew. A squadron from Naval Air Station Miramar was firing missiles at flare targets on a nearby test range.
The State Department announced that Ecuador released the four U. S. fishing boats seized 8 August after their owners agreed to pay fines imposed by the Ecuadorian government, estimated to have been about $202,000.
Tropical storm Rose caused high seas in the Tonkin Gulf and prevented Navy aircraft aboard three carriers from launching strikes over North Vietnam for the first time since 10 December, 1967, when northeast monsoons prevented operations.
The Naval Air Systems Command issued $1 million modifications to existing firm fixed price contracts for the contract definition phase of the VFX (later designated F-14A) weapon system to: (1) Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp., (2) LTV Aerospace Corp. Vought Aerospace Div., (3) General Dynamics Corp., Convair Div., (4) North American Rockwell Corp., and (5) McDonnell-Douglas Corp.
President Johnson signed a bill authorizing $429,391,000 for Maritime programs for Fiscal Year 1969, including $200,000 for merchant ship construction and rebuilding.
A North Korean press conference was held with members of USS Pueblo (AGER-2) crew as principals. The State Department said the so called “confessions” made by the crew were similar to previous reports of their comments, and that such confessions were always open to the suspicion that they were not voluntary.
Vice Admiral David C. Richardson, USN, relieved Vice Admiral William I. Martin, USN, as Commander U. S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean during ceremonies aboard USS Independence (CVA-62). Martin will assume the post of Vice Commander of the Atlantic Fleet, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia.
The Secretary of the Navy, Paul R. Igantius [sic], announced that the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) will be commissioned on 7 September at Newport News, Virginia and that the principal speaker will be the former Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara, who is now President of the World Bank.
A fire occured aboard Britain’s nuclear-powered attack submarine Valiant while she was in dock at Chatham, England, for routine maintenance. There were no casualties and damage to the ship was slight.
The Secretary of Defense stated that in the four months after the bombing restriction went into effect over North Vietnam on 31 March, 1968, the U. S. lost 51 fighter and attack aircraft over the North due to hostile causes. During the same four months in 1967, 126 planes were lost or losses were down 6 per cent.
The U. S. Lines Company announced that after 16 years the Navy has taken the security restrictions off the speed and aspects of the engine rooms of the liner SS United States. The release indicated that the liner averaged 35.59 knots on her maiden voyage in July 1952 from New York to England. The Navy stated that except for special circumstances, the Navy has no plans for conversion of the vessel as a military personnel carrier.
The ocean-going minesweeper USS Firm (MSO-444) destroyed or damaged 25 enemy structures, accounted for four secondary explosions, and started six fires in Quang Tin Province, 43 miles southeast of Da Nang.
A British Navy training yacht Galahad with seven men aboard was found in the North Sea by a Danish vessel after she was reported overdue yesterday.
Cambodia offered to return the landing craft and its 12-man crew, captured on 17 July, if the U. S. would give them 12 bulldozers as compensation. If this was not done, Cambodia said the men would be imprisoned for six months.
Operation Dodge Valley terminated. Contact with the enemy was light resulting in four enemy killed. Friendly casualties were one killed and one wounded. The operation began 12 August.
America’s newest missile, the Navy’s Poseidon, completed its maiden flight from Cape Kennedy, carrying a dummy warhead. The Navy termed the flight a complete success. The U. S. Air Force’s Minuteman III ICBM was also test fired this date from Cape Kennedy.
Thirty trucks were destroyed by Navy A-4 Skyhawk jets from USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) over a two-mile section of Route 72, 19 miles northwest of Vinh, North Vietnam.
The nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Tautog (SSN-639) was commissioned at Pascagoula, Mississippi.
The deep-diving submarine USS Dolphin (AGSS-555) was commissioned at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Dolphin is a research submarine capable of both advanced military research and basic oceanographic research.
Three U. S. Navy men were killed and another 29 wounded when river assault craft of the Army-Navy Riverine Force were attacked twice on the Hai Muoi Canal in Dinh Tuong Province, 52 miles southeast of Saigon. About 150 Viet Cong made up the attacking force.
The Soviet trawler No. MPPT-10 was seized by the British minesweeper Belton after a chase off the north coast of Scotland and towed to Lerwich [sic], Scotland, for presumably violating Britain’s 12-mile fishing limit. A spokesman for the Soviet Embassy said the trawler was always outside the British fishing waters.
The Naval Ship Systems Command awarded Marinette Marine Corp., Marinette, Wisconsin, a fixed-price contract for $4,084,600 for construction of 26 aluminum landing craft mechanized (LCM).
Operation Somerset Plain/LAM SON 246, a coordinated U. S. and ARVN search and destroy operation in the A Shau Valley which began on 4 August, was terminated. One hundred thirty-three enemy were killed and 97 wounded.
General Dynamics Corp., Groton, Connecticut received a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for $1,752,921 for nuclear-powered attack-submarine (SSN) concept-formulation studies in the areas of ship design, operations analysis, and systems engineering. The Naval Ship Systems Command awarded the contract.
The Navy identified the eight naval air squadrons which it announced on 7 August would be inactivated as part of actions taken to achieve expenditure reductions in Fiscal Year 1969: Carrier Anti-Submarine Air Group (CVSG)-55 (125 officers and 575 enlisted men), consisting of VS-23, VS-25, and HS-8; Carrier Anti-Submarine Air Group (CVSG)-60 (125 officers and 575 enlisted men), consisting of VS-34, VS-39, and HS-9; and patrol squadrons VP-18 and VP-23 (60 officers and 290 enlisted men each). Total personnel involved: 370 officers and 1,730 enlisted men.
The Secretary of the Navy presented the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Marine Private First Class James Anderson, Jr., USMC. During a combat operation near Cam Lo, Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 28 February, 1967, Anderson pulled an enemy hand grenade thrown in the midst of the platoon to his chest and curled around it, saving many of his comrades from serious injury or death.
More than a score of secondary explosions and oil fires rose from a 25-mile long petroleum pipeline and storage areas as the result of a three carrier co-ordinated strike 14 miles west-northwest of Vinh. As the jets from USS America (CVA-66), USS Intrepid (CVS-11), and USS Constellation (CVA-64) pounded the area, black smoke rose to 3,000 feet.
The research submersible PX-15 was christened as the Ben Franklin at West Palm Beach, Florida. The Grumman built vessel was designed by Dr. Jacques Piccard and will take six men on a four-week underwater cruise up the Gulf Stream.
The U. S. cargo ship, USNS Lt. Robert Craig, was struck by an enemy rocket after unloading ammunition at Cat Lai, five miles east of Saigon. The MSTS ship reported minor damage. In the evening another MSTS contract ship, SS Santa Monica, was hit by another rocket in the same area, while unloading ammunition. No U. S. casualties were reported in either attack.
The Naval Ship Systems Command awarded Boland Machine and Manufacturing Company, Inc., New Orleans, Louisiana, a fixed-price contract for $5,595,944 for the activation, repair, and conversion of the Marshfield Victory to a fleet ballistic missile resupply cargo ship (T-AK282).
At least 70 trucks were destroyed or damaged by Navy pilots in strikes on truck parks, road traffic, and transshipment points on the Panhandle of North Vietnam.
France detonated her first hydrogen bomb, joining the United States, Soviet Union, and Communist China as a thermonuclear nation. The test was conducted over the Mururoa Atoll, 800 miles southeast of Papeete in the South Pacific. The United States exploded the first hydrogen weapon in November 1952.
The USS Brule (AKL-28) was attacked by enemy fire on the Co Chien River 50 miles southwest of Saigon, wounding two Navy men.
Operation Allen Brook, a multi-company search and clear operation conducted by the 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division, was terminated. The operation commenced on 4 May. The cumulative results were 1,017 enemy killed, 102 suspects detained, and 154 weapons captured. The Marines sustained 172 killed and 1,124 wounded. A total of 2,248 tactical air sorties were flown in support of the operation.
In Sea Dragon operations, the heavy cruiser USS Boston (CA-69) was taken under fire by an enemy coastal defense site northwest of Dong Hoi. Twenty-five incoming rounds were counted by the crew. The cruiser executed counterbattery fire and set off two secondary explosions in the vicinity of the sites.
The MSTS-chartered cargo ship, SS Trans Northern received enemy rocket-propelled grenade and automatic weapons fire in the Rung Sat Special Zone, 22 miles southeast of Saigon. Damage was minor and there were no casualties.
Two MIG-21s were sighted west-southwest of Vinh and were chased north by Navy F-4 Phantoms.
The Secretary of the Navy presented the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Second Lieutenant John P. Bobo, USMCR, for his heroic actions during a combat operation in Quang Tri Province on 30 March 1967. Lieutenant Bobo insisted upon being placed in a firing position to cover the movement of his unit to a better position after refusing medical evacuation when an enemy mortor [sic] round severed his right leg below the knee. His gallant stand saved many of his men from death.
The Naval Air Systems Command awarded fixed-price contracts for contract definition for the VSX (S-3A) weapon system to Lockheed Aircraft Corp. ($5,400,000) and General Dynamics Corp. ($4,885,000).
The Air Force awarded letter contracts and an initial obligation of $11 million each to Pratt and Whitney Division of United Aircraft Corp., and General Electric Company for initial development phase for a high performance afterburning turbofan engine suitable for use in the Navy VFX (F-14A) advanced fighter and the Air Force FX air superiority fighter. The 18-month initial engine development program is jointly funded by the Navy and the Air Force.
Concept formulation phase of the LFS (Landing Force Support) Ship Program was initiated by a Navy Department working group. LFS is intended to replace old and uneconomical gun cruisers and rocket ships.
An explosion occurred at Naval Ammunition Depot, Crane, Indiana, in the building used in preparing 16-inch projectiles for a re-fuzing operation. Three workers in the vicinity were killed. The building was demolished and a formal investigation was initiated.
Twenty-five thousand tons of cement were off loaded from three American ships in Saigon that were waiting for a decision on loading since May 14th when the South Vietnamese government wanted to cancel its contract for the cement. The freighters SS Cortland, SS White Hall, and SS Bowling Green, were operated by George Bates and Company.
An A-6 Intruder was downed approximately 24 miles northwest of Vinh. The two-man crew is listed as missing.
A Polaris A3 missile was fired from the submerged nuclear powered submarine USS Daniel Webster 1,500 miles to an Atlantic Ocean target area. This raised the Polaris A3 flight record to 60 successes in 62 launchings. The A3 is carried by all but 13 of the 41 Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines.
The 20th meeting between the United States and North Korea was held at Panmunjon [sic] to discuss the release of USS Pueblo and its crew. The one hour and forty-seven minute meeting achieved no breakthrough.
MSTS-contract ship, SS Transglobe, and a Japanese merchant ship, Yutoku Maru, were hit by enemy heavy weapons of the Long Tau River, 14 miles southeast of Saigon. One civilian crewman of Transglobe was killed, although damage was minor.
An A-4 Skyhawk was downed by enemy ground fire about 29 miles west-northwest of Vinh. The pilot was recovered.
An East German naval vessel collided with a Swedish ferry and sank off Denmark. Six East German sailors were reported missing.
Two F-8 pilots from USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) shot down an enemy MIG-21, the 28th MIG kill for the Navy since June 1965. Navy aviators flew total of 1,173 missions over the Panhandle in August. During Sea Dragon Operations off the North Vietnamese coast, Naval ships shelled highway segments, supply boat activity, and bridges along the coast.
The Military Sea Transportation Service Office, Vietnam (MSTSO) and its subordinate MSTS units reported an all time high for cargo moved on MSTS ships operating in the waters of South Vietnam during the month of August 1968, during which 1.2 million measurement tons of equipment and supplies were discharged or loaded in South Vietnam ports by MSTS nucleus ships, MSTS contracted merchant ships, and MSTS contracted tugs and barges.
The Ministry of Defense, Royal Navy, announced that Commodore E. F. Gueritz will become Admiral President, Royal Naval College, Greenwich, England, effective today, and be promoted to Rear Admiral on 7 January 1969.
There were 1,084 vessels of 1,000 gross tons and over in the active ocean-going U. S. Merchant Fleet on this date, twenty less than the number active on 1 July. There were 174 Government and 910 privately owned ships in service this date.
Rear Admiral Don A. Jones USESSA, relieved Rear Admiral James C. Tison, Jr., as Director of the Coast and Geodetic Survey. Admiral Tison retires after 39 years with the agency.
Three Navy Swift boats destroyed 23 enemy sampans, 14 junks and four structures, and destroyed or damaged 24 bunkers in and around Quang Tin Province, 27 miles southeast of Da Nang.
The Navy closed the Ordnance Aero-physics Laboratory near Daingerfield, Texas, operated by the General Dynamics Corp. under a government contract. The Revenue and Expenditure Control Act led to curtailment, postponement, and cancellation of programs which were scheduled to use the laboratory’s facilities.
The destroyer USS Turner Joy (DD-951) sank 30 fifty-foot supply boats and four larger cargo barges while attacking a convoy of forty North Vietnamese vessels off the coast 26 miles northeast of Vinh.
Rear Admiral R. T. Whitaker, USN, was relieved by Rear Admiral W. F. Schlech, Jr., USN, as Commander MSTS Atlantic Area.
The Coast Guard cutter Sherman (WHEC-720) was commissioned in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The Secretary of the Navy presented the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Sergeant Walter K. Singleton, USMC, for heroic actions during a combat operation in Gio Linh District, Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 24 March 1967. When his unit came under intense enemy attack, Singleton moved from relative safety to make numerous trips to move injured men. Seeing that a large part of the enemy fire was coming from a hedgerow, he seized a machinegun and charged into the enemy strongpoint. Although mortally wounded, his attack killed eight of the enemy and disorganized the enemy attack.
Tropical storm Bess moved into the Tonkin Gulf forcing Seventh Fleet units to take storm-evasion precautions. Only three combat missions were flown from carrier decks.
The Japanese built Liberian tanker Universe Ireland, the largest ship operating in the world of 312,000 deadweight tons, left Yokohama for Kuwait on its maiden voyage.
Israel announced its Navy detained two Egyptian fishing boats after they entered Israeli territorial waters near Sinai, 29 August.
The Naval Air Systems Command awarded $1 million modifications to existing fixed-price contracts for contract definition phase of the VFX (F-14A) weapon system to: LTV; General Dynamics; North American; and McDonnell. Previous obligations under these contracts were $2 million each.
The Knox class escort destroyer USS Lockwood (DE-1064) was launched at Seattle, Washington.
The battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) departed Long Beach, Calif, for Hawaii prior to sailing for waters off Vietnam with the Seventh Fleet.
An A-6 Intruder from USS America (CVA-66) was hit by enemy ground fire southeast of Vinh. The navigator was rescued by a Navy helicopter, but voice contact was lost with the pilot after the helicopters encountered heavy automatic weapons fire. Three enemy were spotted in the pilot’s presumed position before contact was lost.
The Forrestal class attack carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) was commissioned at Newport News, Virginia. Former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara was principal speaker. The conventionally powered carrier is the second aircraft carrier to bear the name of a President. The first, CVA-42, was named for Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The destroyers USS Harwood (DD-861) and USS Berkeley (DDG-15) knocked out at least 38 enemy supply boats in the last two days off the North Vietnamese panhandle coast.
Operation Sussex Bay, a multi-battalion search and clear operation centered on an area nine miles west of Hoi An, commenced on 29 August, was terminated. Elements of the 5th and 7th Regiments, 1st Marine Division were involved. During the 12-day period, 65 enemy soldiers were killed while six Marines were killed and 24 wounded.
The 27th Marine Regimental Landing Team which was sent from the United States to Vietnam last February, during the TET fighting, began leaving for home.
A pioneering Navy program, in which ten unmanned, deep-moored data buoy will gather oceanographic and meteorological data from mid-ocean for a year or longer, officially began today when eight catamaran buoys left San Diego aboard the U. S. Coast Guard cutter Acushnet (WAT-167) for their stations in the North Central Pacific. The objective of the Navy’s North Pacific Project (NORPAC) is to provide data which will be the foundation for long-range forecasts not only of the weather, but also of the constant changes in deep ocean environment which affect submarine sonar operations. The project is being conducted by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography under a contract with the Office of Naval Research.
The 21st meeting between United States and North Korean negotiators was held with no breakthrough for the USS Pueblo and its crew.
Two U. S. Navy men were killed and 25 wounded when the tank landing ship USS Hunterdon County (LST-838) was attacked by enemy automatic weapons fire on the Ham Luong River in Kien Hoa Province, 43 miles southwest of Saigon. The ship sustained light damage.
The State Department acknowledged a “general order” allowing U. S. ships within three miles of foreign shores but said USS Pueblo was under specific instructions to stay at least 13 miles off the North Korean coast. This general order was issued 28 February 1965, but was superseded in Pueblo’s case by a 5 January 1968, order which would keep the ship at least the 13 miles off the shoreline of North Korea.
Thirty-six Naval aviators from USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) were honored aboard that carrier in the Gulf of Tonkin during ceremonies to install the Carrier Air Wing Five aviators into Task Force-77’s “200 Missions Club”. To have qualified, an aviator had to have flown 200 or more combat or combat support missions in the Vietnam theater. Two pilots for the group had over 300 missions. Most of the 200 missions were flown during the 1967-1968 deployments.
The Department of Defense announced that approximately 30,000 two-year Navy enlistees will be released early from active duty between 1 October and 31 December 1968, to save $48 million as part of the Navy’s program to cut spending in fiscal year 1969 as required by the Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968.
Twenty-five enemy soldiers were killed by elements of the 2nd Brigade, 9th Infantry Div., in the Army-Navy Mobile Riverine Force nine miles southeast of Ben Tre. The infantrymen were inserted into the area from the Navy boats of River Flotilla One. Fifteen Navy men were wounded and four infantrymen killed.
The Defense Department announced that the six Naval Air Reserve squadrons called to active duty on 26 January 1968, will be released to inactive duty in the near future. About 600 Naval Reserve officers and men were in the six units called to active duty after the seizure of USS Pueblo (AGER-2). Actions to permit the Reservists a return to civilian life will be completed by 1 November 1968.
A large scale NATO maritime exercise, nicknamed “Silver Tower,” with ships and aircraft from nine nations, began in the North Atlantic Ocean. Maritime forces were provided by Belgium, Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. More than 100 ships participated.
Firing in support of Operation Champaign Grove, 75 miles south of Da Nang, the rocket-firing ship USS Clarion River has, over a three-day period, destroyed or damaged over 376 enemy structures in Quang Ngai Province.
Navy carrier-based pilots destroyed or damaged over 70 supply boats, ranging in size up to 150 feet, in North Vietnam’s Panhandle.
Elements of the 4th and 9th Marine Regiments, 3rd Marine Div. made an air assault into the southern demilitarized zone, 22 miles west-northwest of Dong Ha, commencing Operation Lancaster II.
The Navy announced a new type of gunpowder known as NACO (standing for Navy Cool) that doubles the life of rapid-fire shipboard guns. The propellant burns at temperatures 300-degrees cooler than standard gunpowder and lessens gun barrel wear by more than 50 per cent. Developed by the Naval Ordnance Station, Indian Head, Maryland, NACO propellant is in use by the Navy’s 5-inch .54-caliber shipboard guns.
A single Navy Swift boat, PCF-21, killed four Viet Cong and destroyed or damaged 44 junks, 14 structures, and four enemy sampans in Quang Tin Province, 35 miles southeast of Da Nang.
Navy F-8 Crusaders engaged two MIG-21s in an area 40 miles west-northwest of Vinh with negative results on either side. A Navy A-7 Corsair was downed by enemy ground fire in an area nine miles south of Vinh. The pilot is listed as missing in action.
A USS Intrepid (CVS-11) F-8 Crusader pilot downed a MIG-21 twenty-five miles northwest of Vinh with an air-to-air missile. This was the Navy’s 29th MIG downed. The MIG pilot was seen to eject This was also the 110th MIG shot down by U. S. pilots since 17 June 1965, and the last MIG downed prior to this date was on 1 August 1968.
The Dutch freighter Johannes Frans sank about 650 miles east of New York. Heavy seas hampered aid by the Coast Guard cutter Dallas and the merchant tug, Hess Louisiana.
A Marine Corps F-4 Phantom was struck down probably by enemy groundfire 15 miles south-southeast of Dong Hoi. The two-man crew is listed as missing.
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended a defense budget of $71.9 billion during Fiscal Year 1969. Among other cuts were $279.1 million for conversion of six Polaris missile submarine to use the new Poseidon missile, thus enabling conversion of only two. The committee increased by $100 million to $130 million monies for development of the Navy’s VFX-1. Also $104 million was cut in Navy procurement.
The stern trawling fishing vessel Seafreeze Atlantic was launched at Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. The ship and her sister ship Seafreeze Pacific were subsidized by the Department of Interior for half the cost in an effort to rejuvenate the American fishing fleet.
Russian’s first guided missile helicopter ship Moskva and two Soviet frigates passed through the Bosporus strait into the Mediterranean Sea to join a fleet of 30-40 other Soviet warships.
The Secretary of the Navy presented the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Lance Corporal Roy M. Wheat, USMC, for heroic actions in the Dien Ban District, Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 11 August 1967. Corporal Wheat hurled himself upon an anti-personnel mine, absorbing the full impact of the explosion, saving his nearby fellow Marines from certain injury and possible death.
The House Armed Services Committee announced the creation of a Special Subcommittee on Sea Power to be headed by Congressman Charles E. Bennett (D-Fla.) to ascertain, the steps necessary to overcome the glaring deficiencies in the cargo and seaborne troop carrying capacity of ships owned and operated by the U. S. Government, or U. S. industry and to ascertain the condition of our privately-owned shipyards and their ability to meet the challenge of an expanded shipbuilding program[—]both combatant and non-combatant.
SS American Leader was launched at Chester, Pennsylvania for the United States Lines.
Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. received a $1,500,000 letter contract for advanced planning, design, and other work preparatory to conversion of USS Sam Rayburn (SSBN-635) to a C-3 Poseidon missile carrying capability.
The Defense Department announced plans by the Navy to reduce about 2,400 civilian positions in employment levels at 15 laboratories in order to save $12 million in Fiscal Year 1969. This action was necessitated by the Revenue and Expenditure Control Act (PL-90-364). The reductions will be accomplished by 30 June 1969.
President Johnson signed a bill authorizing hostile fire pay ($65 a month, retroactive to January 1st) to crew members of USS Pueblo held captive by the North Koreans.
The 1968-69 issue of Jane’s Fighting Ships was released in London. Its foreward [sic] stated the Soviet Navy now has 55 nuclear-powered submarines, 325 conventional submarines, 25 cruisers, 100 destroyers, and hundreds of other warships.
The Australian destroyer HMAS Hobart departed Vietnam for the last time. She arrived for duty with the Seventh Fleet in April.
Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company was awarded a $1,500,000 contract for preparatory work in the C-3 Poseidon missile conversion of USS Tecumseh (SSBN-628).
The Maritime Administration, U. S. Department of Commerce, announced it is requesting proposals for a Nuclear Ship Development Program, for which the NS Savannah would be made available for experimental use, to determine the interest and willingness of private industry to take the lead in the further development of nuclear-powered merchant ships. Since 1962, Savannah has opened 32 domestic and 45 foreign ports in 25 countries to operation of nuclear-powered merchant ships and has traveled over 330,000 miles on the first fuel loading. It has demonstrated reliability and punctuality equal to, or better than, convential [sic] ships. Her first refueling is expected to be completed in November.
Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, USN, Chief of Naval Operations, said the Soviet Union’s first helicopter carrier operating in the Mediterranean is “visible evidence of Russia’s announced intention to become a modern major offensive seapower.”
Two films prepared by North Korea about USS Pueblo and her crew were made available to U. S. television networks by the North Korean Embassy in East Berlin. One details the alleged aggression of the ship and the other shows some of the crew during a news conference and their routine day. Both films ran an hour and forty minutes.
Representative Lester Wolfe (D-N.Y.) announced that the Navy had agreed to open up Floyd Bennett Field in New York to handle civilian traffic to ease congestion at Kennedy and La Guardia airports. It was also brought out that nothing official could be done until such a proposal was submitted by a city agency through appropriate channels.
Lloyds Annual Register of World Shipping Casualties stated that more ships were lost in disasters in 1967, than in any other year recorded in peacetime. Losses amounted to 832,803-tons—three times the loss in 1959.
Japan’s annual naval maneuvers commenced in the Sea of Japan and included 80 ships and 70 aircraft.
The United States rejected a Spanish demand for $700 million in military aid as the price of allowing U. S. bases to remain in Spain after the base-rights agreement expires in March 1970.
A Navy A-4 Sky hawk pilot was rescued by a Navy helicopter 14 miles northeast of Vinh after his plane was downed by enemy groundfire.
NATO’s Silver Tower Exercise ended after 12 days of simulated war with 200 shipfrom nine nations participating in the waters of the Northern Atlantic.
Pilots from USS Hancock (CVA-19), USS America (CVA-66), and USS Constellation (CVA-64) destroyed or damaged 106 enemy supply boats and barges at scattered locations in the Panhandle.
A Navy A-4 Skyhawk was downed by enemy antiaircraft fire approximately 14 miles northeast of Vinh. The pilot was rescued.
A large scale maritime amphibious exercise involving fifty ships from the U. S., Britain, New Zealand, and Australia commenced in the Solomon Sea.
USS New Jersey (BB-62), the first American battleship to see action since the Korean War, entered the Vietnam conflict by bombarding North Vietnamese positions in the Northern half of the demilitarized zone. In three missions, the ship fired 20 rounds of 16-inch ammunition at enemy positions seven miles north-northwest of Con Thien, along the northern edge of the DMZ. Aerial observer reported four automatic weapons positions and one artillery position destroyed, thirty meters of trench line collapsed, and a road cut in two places.
Vice Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., USN, relieved Rear Admiral Kenneth L. Veth, USN, as Commander U. S. Naval Forces, Vietnam, in ceremonies aboard the USS Garrett County (LST-786) in Saigon. Admiral Veth becomes Commandant of the Fourth Naval District.
The Sun Oil Company’s 26th annual tanker study was released, stating that Japan outpaced other maritime nations in tanker construction in 1967 and showed the greatest growth in both total and average deadweight tonnage under construction. As of December 31, 1967, Japan had 18,436,000 deadweight tons of tankers under construction or 44.5 per cent of the world’s total tonnage on order. The worlds total tanker order book contains 469 tank ships representing 41,444,000 deadweight tons.
American and North Korean negotiators had their 22nd talk on the fate of USS Pueblo (AGER-2) and its crew. The one hour and twenty minute meeting produced no breakthrough.
Senator Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) said the United States has basked in Pentagon propaganda against too much defense while Russia gained a big lead in submarine strength. Citing a Senate Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee report, he stated Russia now had a fleet of over 350 postwar submarines, compared to 146 U. S. submarines, half of which are of World War II vintage.
In the month of September, Navy pilots from the carriers USS America (CVA-66), Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31), Constellation (CVA-64), Hancock (CVA-19), and Intrepid (CVS-11) concentrated on highway and river traffic and storage facilities in the Panhandle of North Vietnam, destroying or damaging 585 supply boats, 257 trucks, and 69 bridges. Ninety secondary explosions and 77 fires were touched off and numerous highway segments, choke points, and bridge approaches were createred [sic]. The Navy’s 29th MIG kill was registered on 19 September when an F-8 Crusader downed a MIG-21 twenty-five miles northwest of Vinh. A total of 1,107 missions were flown by Naval aviators over the North. Antiaircraft activity was heavy, with five Navy planes downed. Navy pilots retaliated by destroying numerous AA positions and two SAM sites, and damaging two more missile installations. In gunfire missions north, Naval ships destroyed or damaged 154 supply craft during Sea Dragon operations. Three bridges were destroyed and five damaged; 57 roads were cut; and 16 secondary explosions were set off. In Naval gunfire missions off South Vietnam, ships fired at a total of 1,237 enemy structures scoring heavy damage. In one three-day period USS Clarion River destroyed or damaged 376 structures in Quang Ngai Province, 75 miles south of Da Nang. More than 40 enemy soldiers were killed and 113 secondary fires set off.
The Military Sea Transportation Service was established nineteen years ago today.
Sixty thousand striking longshoremen from Maine to Texas were ordered back to their jobs at the request of President Johnson. The strike began at 12:01 a.m. this morning. This is the 29th time the Taft-Hartley Act was invoked by the White House to halt the effects of a labor dispute.
The Committee of American Steamship Lines announced that its 13-member companies intend to join with the American Merchant Marine Institute and the Pacific American Steamship Association to form a single new maritime association, yet to be named, effective 1 January 1969.
Vice Admiral Albrecht Obermaier, West German Navy, relieved Vice Admiral Aage Linde of Denmark as Commander of the Baltic approaches Naval Forces of the NATO.
A Navy A-4 Skyhawk from USS Hancock (CVA-19) was shot down by ground fire two miles south of the 19th parallel. The pilot was seen descending by parachute but was not found and is listed as missing. This brought the number of American planes brought down in combat over the North to 903 since February 1965.
In one of the heaviest days of naval action in South Vietnam this year, gunfire from U. S. Navy and Coast Guard units destroyed or damaged 163 enemy structures, bunkers, and watercraft. Most of the damage was inflicted by Navy Swift boats PCF-37 and PCF-137 and the Coast Guard cutter Pt. Glover (WPB-82307) in Bac Lieu Province, 126 miles southwest of Saigon.
The Navy acknowledged that for the past nine months it had been investigating inspection practices for steel used in U. S. submarines as the result of a letter from the head of a steel testing firm who expressed concern about the Navy’s steel buying and inspection procedures. The Navy review showed there is no evidence that rejected steel plates were used in any submarine construction.
Two contracts were signed for construction of seven C-6 container ships at Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., Division of Litton Systems, Inc., Pascagoula, Mississippi. Three of the vessels are for American President Lines, Ltd., and four for Farrell Lines, Inc.
Rear Admiral Lawrence R. Geis, USN, relieved Rear Admiral Henry L. Miller, USN, as the Navy’s Chief of Information. Admiral Miller assumes the post of Commander Naval Air Test Center, Pautuxet [sic] River, Maryland.
U. S. Navy Swift boats PCF-54 and PCF-137 and Coast Guard cutter Point Glover (WPB-82307) destroyed or damaged 194 enemy structures and watercraft in the second straight day of heavy action in Bac Lieu Province.
SS Delta Mexico was launched at Pascagoula, Mississippi, for Delta Steamship Lines, Inc.
A Navy A-7 Corsair pilot was rescued about five miles off the coast of North Vietnam by a helicopter from USS Richmond K. Turner (DLG-20) after his plane was hit by ground fire 17 miles northeast of Vinh.
The second Presidential Unit Citation to be awarded to a U. S. Navy unit in-country Vietnam was presented to the Mekong Delta River Patrol Group by Navy Secretary Paul R. Ignatius. The award covers the first year of U. S. Navy river patrol in the Delta. The first ten River Patrol Boats (PBRs) were sent up the Bassac River from the South China Sea on 9 May 1966. By June 1967 there were 80 PBRs, six UH-1B Seawolf helicopter gunships, and three platoons of SEALS operating in the area which had formerly been an enemy sanctuary. Approximately 600 Navy men will be eligible to wear the award for their service between May 1966 and June 1967. The only other Navy organization incountry Vietnam to receive the award is Mine Squadron Eleven for minesweeping operations from June 1966 to February 1967.
Eight U. S. Navy SEALS (Sea-Land-Commandos) and a Vietnamese force overran a Viet Cong prison camp located on an island 77 miles southwest of Saigon in the Mekong Delta. Nineteen Viet Cong were captured and 24 Vietnamese prisoners were released. The prison compound was burned.
Operation Maui Peak, a multi-battalion search and clear operation near An Hoa, commenced. Elements envolved [sic] were U. S. 1st Marine Division and ARVN 51st Regiment.
The destroyer USS Furse (DD-882) was hit by enemy coastal gunners 13 miles southeast of Vinh, causing injuries to three sailors because of shrapnel spraying across the deck.
Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, USN, Chief of Naval Operations, told a House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower that without a strong construction program of both combat and merchant ships it will be tantamount to abandoning seapower as an essential element of our total national power. He added that of the 932 combat ships in the Navy, 599 were at least 15-years old and 33 of that total are 25-years old and 70 per cent of the 1,146 U. S. merchant ships are at least 20 years old while only 13 per cent of Russia’s 1,351 merchant ships are in that age bracket. Also heard at this first hearing of the new subcommittee was Vice Admiral Lawson P. Ramage, USN, Commander Military Sea Transportation Service, who said the present merchant marine has been able to support the military campaign in South Vietnam, but there may be basis for concerning ourselves over whether it will be able to do as much five years from now.
The Navy’s new antisubmarine warfare patrol aircraft, the YP-3C Orion, began its operational life at Burbank, California. The Lockheed built plane is expected to be an ASW mainstay for the Navy during the next decade.
An Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team from Navy River Assault Flotilla One destroyed 15 enemy bunkers in Kien Hoa Province, 44 miles southwest of Saigon.
The Navy announced its plans for Operation Deep Freeze 1969, the Navy’s science program in the Antarctic, which officially began today with the season’s first flight from Christchurch, New Zealand, to McMurdo Station, Antartica [sic]. More than 2,000 men from the Navy, Coast Guard, and other armed services, and members of more than a dozen specialized units will participate from October to March 1969.
The Sixth Vietnamese Awards Ceremony was hosted by USS America (CVA-66) in the Tonkin Gulf. Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Vy, Minister of Defense of the Republic of Vietnam, presented Vietnamese awards to Navy and Marine Corps personnel.
The Secretary of Defense, Clark M. Clifford, departed Washington, D.C. for Bonn, Germany, to attend the NATO Nuclear Planning Group (NPG) meeting with the six other Defense Ministers of the participating NATO countries of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Secretary Clifford returned on 13 October.
The Maritime Administration announced there were 1,084 vessels of 1,000 gross tons and over in the active oceangoing U. S. Merchant Fleet on 1 September 1968, 20 less than on 1 July 1968. Of these, 174 were government-owned and 910 privately-owned.
The Defense Department announced that three industrial firms have been selected to conduct definition phase of the Navy’s ASMS (Advanced Surface Missile System) programs. Contracts totaling $18 million went to: Boeing Corp., Seattle; General Dynamics, Pomona, California; and Radio Corp. of America, Moorestown, New Jersey. The system will be installed on guided missile ships to improve the range of protection afforded task forces at sea from surprise attacks by supersonic missiles.
Congress enacted The Fiscal Year 1969 Defense Appropriations Bill and agreed to spend $820.7 million for Navy ship building and conversion programs. The largest Defense Appropriations Bill in U. S. history ($71.9 billion) contains the lowest funding of naval shipbuilding in the last decade.
The combat store ship USS White Plains (AFS-4) was commissioned at Naval Shipyard, Long Beach, California.
The nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Whale (SSN-638) was commissioned at Quincy, Massachusetts.
Four Soviet warships—a cruiser, a missile ship, and two submarines—arrived at Casablanca, Morocco, for a five-day courtesy visit, the first ever made to Morocco by Russian naval units.
The U. S. Navy Yard Repair Ship, YR-24, was accepted by Commodore Tran Van Chon, Chief of Naval Operations, Vietnamese Navy, on behalf of Republic of Vietnam, from Vice Admiral Zumwalt, Commander U. S. Naval Forces, Vietnam. In addition to the YR-24, the Vietnamese Navy has assumed command of six minesweepers, eight high-speed River Patrol Boats, and four Swift Boats within the past four months.
The antisubmarine warfare carrier USS Randolph (CVS-15) began inactivation at the Boston Naval Shipyard, Massachusetts.
The deep diving experimental miniature submarine Alvin, used to pick up a lost nuclear bomb off the coast of Spain, sank in 4,500 feet of water 120 miles south of Cape Cod when a cable broke aboard the catamaran vessel Lulu, mother ship of the submarine. No one was aboard. Alvin was inspecting buoy moorings and making studies of the ocean bottom. The vessel is operated by the Woods Hole Institution, Massachusetts.
A joint U. S. Navy and Coast Guard Market Time task force sailed into a Viet Cong sanctuary and destroyed or damaged 125 enemy structures and 40 watercraft in one of the war’s most successful in-country naval operations. Three Navy Swift boats and two Coast Guard cutters, Point Cypress (WPB-82326) and Wachusett (WHEC-44) accounted for the attacks in An Xuyen Province, 155 miles southwest of Saigon.
The Senate passed the bill to create an independent Federal Maritime Administration, by a vote of 324 to 44.
A communications exercise High Heels-68 conducted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff started to test complete responsiveness of worldwide communications and reporting procedures of military commanders. The termination date was 25 October.
President Johnson presented the Presidential Unit Citation to the Fifth Marine Regiment during White House ceremonies for action in combat against North Vietnamese soldiers in Quang Tin and Quang Nam Provinces. The men were credited with inflicting more than 3,000 enemy casualties and crippling North Vietnam’s Second Army Division.
Operation Sea Lords, an offensive effort, brought together for the first time the Navy’s three major operating forces in Vietnam Task Forces 115, 116, and 117 to interdict enemy infiltration deep into South Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. It began with Swift boats penetrating far into enemy-controlled canals and rivers flowing into the Gulf of Thailand, resulting in the destruction of 359 enemy watercraft, 411 structures, and three enemy killed. Seven Navy men were wounded in this action. Major Navy efforts in the Mekong Delta to this time have been limited to independent Game Warden patrols by River Patrol Boats (PBRs) and riverine assaults by gunboats of the Army-Navy Mobile Riverine Force. Operation Sea Lords sets forth a new concept for in-country Navy efforts by combining three forces for joint operations.
The Navy’s Charleston class amphibious cargo ship USS Mobile (LKA-115) was launched at Newport News, Virginia.
The Navy destroyer escort USS Albert David (DE-1050) was commissioned at Bremerton, Washington.
Operation Maui Peak terminated. During the 14-day operation, the Marines killed 203 enemy, while sustaining 28 killed and 103 wounded.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos suspended the imposition of harbor fees on U. S. Military transport ships pending further talks with the U. S. Government.
NATO officials stated that a Soviet cruiser and a guided missile destroyer anchored just outside the Gulf of Cagliari, apparently to monitor a U. S. Sixth Fleet amphibious exercise being conducted there.
President Johnson pocket vetoed legislation to make the Maritime Administration an independent federal agency, a goal of the nation’s maritime labor movement. The AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department declared it will continue its efforts in the next Congress to achieve passage of the bill.
During Operation Mighty Yankee, U. S. Seventh Fleet’s USS Dubuque (LPA-8) transported 14 North Vietnamese sailors from Da Nang to a point 12 miles off Vinh, North Vietnam, where the prisoner of war group was released in a motor whaleboat. The operation was carried off with the concurrence of North Vietnamese authorities. HMAS Perth and USS Bausell (DD-845) escorted USS Dubuque. North Vietnam guaranteed a 36-hour localized truce in the area, as did the U. S. when arrangements were made in Vientiane, Laos. The 14 were last of a group of 19 who were captured during a North Vietnamese PT-boat attack on a U. S. Navy destroyer 1 July 1966. Three were returned in March in exchange for three U. S. pilots and the other two were handed over in 1967; they were ill or injured.
A Navy A-4 Skyhawk from carrier USS Intrepid (CVS-11) went down 50 miles southeast of Vinh when it apparently collided with the ground after a strafing run. There was no sign of the pilot.
Premier Kittikachorn of Thailand stated that the Soviet Union had sent a convoy of naval ships to Southeast Asian waters and were moving in international waters along the Indonesian archipelago.
U. S. authorities stated that an agreement was reached between Japan and the United States to end a six-month ban on port calls of U. S. nuclear-powered submarines and other atomic ships following a 6 May incident involving USS Swordfish (SSN-579).
The first arrested landing was made on the USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) by I Commander Hal L. Marr, USN, in an A-4C Skyhawk.
The Polaris missile re-supply ship USNS Furman was awarded the Smart Ship Award by Rear Admiral Russell Kefauver, USN, Commander, Military Seal Transportation Service, Pacific. Furman is entitled to fly the gold and blue MSTS “E” pennant for one year, when in port.
The Secretary of the Navy presented the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Private First Class Gary W. Martini, USMC, for heroic actions during Operation Union at Binh Son, Republic of Vietnam, on 21 April 1967, in which he gave his own life to save two of his comrades who were wounded and exposed to the enemy lines.
The U. S. Navy’s decision to remove Lieutenant Commander Marcus A. Armheiter [sic], USN, from command of USS Vance (DER-387) in March 1966, was upheld by a U. S. District Judge in San Francisco, saying his removal was an “internal administrative matter.”
The 24th private session between the U. S. and North Korean negotiators on the issue of USS Pueblo was held with no result, according to the State Department.
Helicopters from HS-5 off the carrier USS Essex (CVS-9) and the destroyer USS Storms (DD-780) recovered the Apollo-7 space capsule that landed at 7:13 a.m. in the prime recovery area 1,150 miles east of Cape Kennedy in the Atlantic. The crew orbited the earth 163 times in eleven days.
Operation Henderson Hill, a multi-battalion search and clear operation involving elements of the U. S. 5 th Regiment, 1st Marine Division commenced in an area ten miles west-southwest of Hoi An.
The U. S. and Japan agreed on added safeguards to be taken by American nuclear vessels visiting Japan. The submarines will not discharge reactor coolant intentionally and the U. S. will conduct monitoring tests for radioactivity while visiting Japanese ports. Nuclear ships stopped Japan port calls 6 May, when it was charged USS Swordfish (SSN-579) increased radioactivity at Sasebo, Japan.
Operation Mameduke [sic] Thrust terminated. The search and clear operation commenced on 19 May, and centered in an area 25 miles west-southwest-of Da Nang, conducted by elements of the 1st Marine Division and 26th Marine Regimental Landing Team. Results were 2,730 enemy killed. U. S. casualties were 269 killed and 1,740 wounded.
The State Department said Cambodia still refused to release the eleven American soldiers seized in June when their patrol craft inadvertently entered Cambodian waters in the Mekong River.
Two fireballs roared from a gasoline storage complex fifteen miles south of Vinh after A-7 Corsair pilots from the carrier USS America (CVA-66) blasted three large fuel tanks at the site with 500-pound bombs. Each tank held an estimated ten metric tons of gasoline.
Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, USN, Chief of Naval Operations, said in a speech that in only ten years the Soviet Union had changed from a maritime nonentity to the world’s second largest sea power and that since the Korean war there has been a 65 per cent decrease in availability to the U. S. of major overseas bases.
President Johnson signed into law the first revision since 1950 to the Military Justice System. It allows bail for the first time and removes legal officers from possible pressure by their commanders.
Operation Garrard Bay, a battalion size search and clear operation, began in an area nine miles south-southeast of Da Nang. Elements of the U. S. 26th Marine Regimental Landing Team and 1st Regiment, 1st Marine Division are involved.
Defense Secretary Clark Clifford stated in a news conference that he has decided to go ahead with the Navy’s construction of a “quiet” turbine-electric-drive submarine, to contain a combination of advanced silencing techniques. Cost is estimated between $150 and $200 million. This action is in addition to his July 1st decision to proceed with the Navy’s so-called “high-speed” submarine.
The German freighter Kiffa, out of Hamburg, ran aground in the St. Mary’s channel, forty-miles from Salt [sic] Ste. Marie, Michigan.
The battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) was fired on for the first time in the Vietnam war. Ten to twelve rounds of 100 mm shells were fired at the ship off the northern coast of the Demilitarized Zone.
Canadian Naval officials announced that by this fall the destroyer Ottawa (DDH-229) will be the first bilingual vessel in the Canadian Navy. The 220-man crew will speak both French and English after intensive language schooling. Orders will be piped in both languages.
Navy jets from USS America (CVA-66) and USS Intrepid (CVS-11) destroyed or damaged 38 enemy cargo boats in strikes scattered throughout the Panhandle of North Vietnam.
The amphibious transport dock USS Denver (LPD-9) was commissioned at Bremerton, Washington.
It was announced that Japan and the U. S. are planning a joint scientific effort in studying marine resources, ranging from mineral resources of the sea to oil spillage programs.
The U. S. Navy celebrated its annual Navy Day. One hundred and ninety-three years ago today, the Continent Congress enacted the bill providing the creation of an independent fleet. In 1922, this day was put aside to pay tribute to the men and women of the U. S. Navy.
Sources stated Egypt is preparing in the near future to try to remove blocks in the Suez canal to free 15 ships trapped there since the Arab-Israel war in June 1967.
Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, General Lyman Lemnitzer, said a new element of his NATO command will be activated on 21 November for increased surveillance of Soviet fleet units in the Mediterranean. This “Maritime Air Forces Mediterranean” will include patrol aircraft from U. S., Britain, and Italy, and will be headquartered in Naples, Italy. Information obtained will shared among the three nations, plus Greece and Turkey. MARAIRMED will be commanded by Rear Admiral Edward C. Outlaw, USN.
Two Communist Chinese gunboats tried to stop the American freighter SS Thunderhead by firing flares across her bow in the Lema Channel south of Hong Kong. The ship ignored the vessels and sailed into the Hong Kong harbor unharmed.
The Secretary of the Navy presented the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Captain James A. Graham, USMC, for action in the Phang Dinh District, Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam on 2 June 1967. He led an attack on a machine gun position, forcing the enemy to withdraw, suffering two wounds. Captain Graham personally accounted for 15 enemy killed and gave his life when he chose to remain with a wounded comrade after ordering his platoon to withdraw to friendly lines.
Fifteen American-flag merchant ships were immobilized on the East and Gulf coast when the American Radio Association (AFL-CIO) called a strike against two shipping associations, seeking an increase in pension and additional fringe benefits.
France’s Defense Minister, Pierre Messmer, said France’s first atomic submarine will start sea trials in 1969, and the second submarine will be launched that same year. He also stated five atomic submarines are now planned.
The 660-foot merchant tanker ST Willamette was christened at Bethlehem Steel’s Sparrows Point Shipyard. The ship cost $11 million and is the fourth of six new 32,750-ton tankers being built by unsubsidized companies belonging to the American Maritime Association. The six tankers represent a total private investment of $66,800,000.
Reports from Istanbul state nearly a score of ships have been added to the Soviet Fleet in the Mediterranean in recent weeks, raising the count of Russian naval units to fifty.
A combined U. S. Navy, Coast Guard, and Vietnamese Air Force task force staged a surprise raid on enemy positions along the entire length of the 32-mile Cua Lon-Bo De River complex near the southernmost tip of South Vietnam. During the five-hour battle, a total of 242 enemy watercraft and 167 enemy fortifications were destroyed or damaged by the seven Navy Swift boats (PCFs), the Coast Guard cutter Wachusett (WHEC-44), the Market Time support ship USS Washoe County (LST-1165), and Vietnamese Air Force A-1 Skyraiders. Five Swift boat crewmen were wounded.
The world’s largest ship, Liberia’s Universe Ireland, arrived in Ireland with a cargo of crude oil after a month’s voyage from the Middle East.
The Soviet intelligence ship Gavril Sarychev appeared in Hawaiian waters. The ship reportedly carried sophisticated scientific equipment with about 70 scientists aboard. An American tug has been assigned to watch it.
The liner Queen Elizabeth departed New York for Southampton, England, for the last time. The liner will become a floating hotel at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Her maiden voyage was in 1940. Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth II is slated to enter service early in 1969. She will displace 65,000 tons.
Three North Korean patrol boats seized two South Korean fishing boats near the sea extension of the border separating the two countries and escorted them northward.
A fire and explosions leveled the Oxford Boatyard, Maryland, causing an estimated $290,000 damage to the facility.
The American steamer Philip R. Clarke became the first ship to pass through the new $40.3 million Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The lock is the biggest of four parallel locks on the St. Mary’s River linking Lake Superior and Lake Huron.
Striking radio officers defied a Federal court order and refused to sail American-flag ships out of East and Gulf Coast ports. About 25 ships were immobilized.
U. S. and North Korean negotiators held a 25th private meeting concerning USS Pueblo (AGER-2) and its crew, which lasted for only 20 minutes.
Russia’s manned spacecraft Soyuz-3 landed in Kazakhstan, Soviet Union, after four days, and 64 orbits. Colonel Beorgi [sic] Beregovoi, 47-years old, became the oldest man to fly in space.
The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, USN, announced that objects identified as portions of the hull of the submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589) have been located about 400 miles southwest of the Azores in more than 10,000 feet of water. The Military Sea Transportation Service oceanographic research ship, USNS Mizar (T-AGOR-11) made the find by taking photographs with a special 35mm camera which was dragged along the bottom of the ocean floor. Scorpion was last heard from at 11:03 p.m. EDT, May 21, 1968, and disappeared with 99 men aboard. The Court of Inquiry, headed by retired Vice Admiral Bernard L. Austin, will be reconvened to examine the new evidence. This culminated the most extensive sea search ever conducted, extending over a period of five months, involving more than 40 ships, over 6,000 men, and numerous aircraft.
President Johnson announced that he was ordering a complete halt of all U. S. air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam as of 8:00 a.m. EST, Friday, 1 November. The systematic bombing of North Vietnam began on 7 February, 1965. There had been one retaliatory strike in August of 1964 after U. S. ships in the Tonkin Gulf were attacked by enemy PT-boats. Since the routine bombing started in 1965, there have been nine bombing pauses before the President’s announced complete halt.
A Cypriot freighter, Agenor, was abandoned in the South China Sea after waves punched an 18-inch hole in its side while it was enroute to China to, be scrapped. The U. S. Coast Guard cutter Winnebago rescued its 17 crewmen.
Russia launched two unmanned spaceships in its Comos [sic] series.
A one-day wildcat strike by longshoremen over container fund issues halted work on 25 of 76 dry-cargo ships in New York port.
During the month of October, Naval air operations were somewhat hampered by increasingly rainy weather as the monsoon shifted to a northeasterly flow. In Naval gunfire north, the battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) was fired on twice by enemy shore batteries on 26 and 31 October. Below the DMZ, more than a thousand Viet Cong targets were destroyed or damaged by Seventh Fleet ships firing in support of American and allied ground forces.
In the last day of air strikes over the Panhandle of North Vietnam, pilots from the carriers destroyed or damaged 15 barges and four sampans, and inflicted heavy damage on a storage area 21 miles south-southeast of Vinh.
The last naval air mission over North Vietnam was flown at 6:00 p.m. by Commander Kenneth E. Enney, 42, of San Diego, from the carrier USS Constellation (CVA-64). Enney took his A-7 Corsair over Cap Mui Ron and bombed a bridge there. USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) pilots ended their strikes with a mission at 5:40 p.m., and aviators of USS Intrepid (CVS-11) finished shortly before noon. Constellation was the first U. S. carrier to participate in the Vietnam conflict and the last to launch a mission before the complete bombing halt directed by the President.
A Marine Corps F-4 Phantom was downed by enemy ground-fire over the southern Panhandle. The aircraft crashed at sea but the two-man crew was rescued by the Australian destroyer HMAS Perth (D-38).
Seventeen U. S. Navy men, five U. S. soldiers, and one Vietnamese interpreter were killed when two explosions ripped holes in the side of the Mobile Riverine Force support ship USS Westchester County (LST-1167) while at anchor on the My Tho River, about 34 miles southwest of Saigon. Damage was described as major. Twenty-seven other U. S. Navy men and Army soldiers were wounded. The blast was caused by an underwater explosive device.
In Operation Sea Lords (started 18 October) a combined, Mobile Riverine assault of the Rach Gia-Long Xuyen Canal by Mobile Riverine Force gunboats, ARVN soldiers, and Vietnamese Marines took place. Large quantities of enemy ammunition were captured along with a rocket launcher. There were no U. S. Navy casualties.
C. V. Staghound was launched at Bath, Maine, for American Export Isbrandtsen Lines.
The submarine USS Charr and the chartered fishing boat, Sea Urchin, collided about a half-mile off Pt. Loma, California. No one was injured, but the fishing vessel was disabled.
A Soviet oceanographic ship, under United Nations sponsorship, started a study cruise of the Mediterranean and carried fishery trainees from 13 Asian, African, and European countries. The study lasted through 1 December.
A Liberian-registered Greek tanker Spyros Lemos broke in two in the Atlantic off the northwest coast of Spain. British, Dutch, and Finnish ships assisted in the rescue of 25 survivors, while five men were reported drowned.
A fire broke out aboard the Norwegian tanker Etnefjell. The vessel was stricken about 350 miles southeast of Cape Farewell, Greenland.
U. S. Coast Guard cutters Absecon (WHEC-374) and Half Moon (WHEC-378) participated in the attempted rescue of survivors in heavy seas. Only three of the 33 crewmen are known to have survived. They stayed with the ship.
SS American Lark was launched at Chester, Pennsylvania, for the U. S. Lines Company.
A nuclear test of low yield was conducted underground by the Atomic Energy Commission at Yucca Flat, Nevada. This was the 27th underground test at the site this year.
Rear Admiral S. H. Moore, Jr., USN, relieved Rear Admiral L. B. McDonald, USN, as Commander MSTS Far East Area.
Defense Department announced that the prototype of an Omega aircraft navigation set has completed a successful 8,000 mile flight test in which the Omega set was used as the primary navigation system on all overwater portions of the flight. Installed in a Navy EC-121K aircraft, the test was between 7 and 14 October in the Atlantic.
Exercise Eden Apple, a NATO naval maneuver in the Mediterranean, began, and included 50 ships from the U. S., Britain, Italy, Greece, and France, to test naval defense against air and submarine attack. The exercise, expected to last two weeks, is under the command of Admiral Luciane Setgiu of Italy.
The Soviet Union’s 18,000-ton guided missile helicopter ship Moskva left the Mediterranean by passage through the Turkish straits escorted by three Russian ships.
The U. S. freighter Empire State with 45 crewmen and cargo of military equipment for South Vietnam, suffered a boiler explosion which killed one American. The ship, owned by Global Bulk Transport, Inc. of New York, was 138 miles east of Tokyo, Japan.
The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) rejected a new effort by the New York Shipping Association to avert the dock strike threatened for 20 December.
At least 28 enemy soldiers were killed and 286 watercraft and 266 structures destroyed or damaged during the week ending 6 November in the Navy’s Sea Lords, Market Time, and Game Warden operations in South Vietnam.
Two North Korean patrol boats hijacked four South Korean fishing boats and their 8 crewmen in the Sea of Japan 100 miles east of Seoul.
The Commander in Chief, U. S. Atlantic Fleet reconvened the Court of Inquiry originally convened 5 June to investigate the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of USS Scorpion (SSN-589) The court was reconvened to study photographs of portions of the wreckage of Scorpion obtained by the MSTS ship USNS Mizar (T-AGOR 11) on 30 October.
It was announced by the Commander in Chief, U. S. Atlantic Fleet, that the oceanographic research ship USNS Mizar (T-AGOR 11) temporarily has discontinued operations in the area about 40 miles southwest of the Azores, where portions of the hull of the sunken nuclear attack submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589) were located and photographed in more than 10,000 feet of water. Operations were stopped by the onset of winter weather, USNS Mizar will return to New York the middle of November. Operations are scheduled to resume next spring.
Queen Mother Elizabeth of England made a farewell tour of the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth before it becomes a floating hotel in Florida. The vessel arrived in Southampton 4 November completing its final trans-Atlantic voyage as a passenger liner.
The White House announced the resignation of Secretary of the Treasury Henry H. Fowler and Undersecretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach, the first of an expected series of the outgoing Johnson administration.
North Korean patrol boats seized ten South Korean fishing vessels and 72 crewmen south of the sea extension of the North-South border off the east coast of Korea.
Rear Admiral Douglas C. Plate, USN, relieved Rear Admiral Emmett P. Bonner, USN, as Commander Mine Forces Atlantic.
The U. S. shot its Pioneer-9 interplanetary weather watcher into orbit around the sun to spot solar radiation storms in time to warn moon-bound Apollo astronauts.
SS Korean Mail, was launched at Newport News, Virginia for American Mail Lines, Ltd.
A U. S. Navy light personnel landing craft (LCPL) was hit and exploded on the Dong Ha River in Quang Tri Province, killing four sailors and two marines.
Operation Daring Endeavor commenced. A multi-company search and clear operation centered five miles southwest of Hoi An, involved the 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Div. and the U. S. Army’s Americal Division. The operation began with an amphibious assault against Viet Cong positions with two destroyers and a rocket firing ship shelling enemy strongholds.
Norwegian ship owners are building more ships in Norwegian shipyards than in Japan for the first time since the new building boom began in Japan, according to a quarterly Norwegian ship survey. As of 1 October 1968, Norway had on order 116 ships totalling 1,518,000 gross tons from Norwegian yards and 19 ships totaling 1,233,000 gross tons from Japanese yards.
America’s nuclear cargo ship Savannah left New York for its first overseas voyage since being refueled at Galveston. Since 1961 the vessel has steamed more than 330,000 nautical miles on the initial fuel load.
The 240-foot barge Hess Hausler, loaded with over a million gallons of oil, ran aground in high seas and hurricane force winds, spreading a heavy oil slick over the beaches of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The U. S. Coast Guard rescued the two crewmen on the barge that broke loose from its tugboat in the mouth of Delaware Bay. The barge was owned by Hess Oil Company of Woodbridge, New Jersey.
The SS Fred Morris (U. S. Registry) was struck by enemy rocket-grenades on the Long Tau shipping channel 14 miles southeast of Nha Be, sustaining an unreported amount of damage.
Lloyd’s Register of Shipping 1968 statistical tables was released stating that Liberia, with 25,720,000 tons gross, has consolidated her lead as the world’s major maritime flag. Britain with 21,921,000 tons maintains second place, whilst a strong challenge from Norway and Japan relegated the U. S. to fifth position. It was stated that the steady development of Russia’s fleet continues, as did those of all leading countries, with the U. S. and Greece, the exceptions.
Colonel Jeanette I. Sustad, USMC, was named to succeed Colonel Barbara J. Bishop, USMC, as Director of Women Marines on 1 February 1969. Colonel Bishop will become Marine Liaison Officer to the Senate.
The Naval Ship Systems Command awarded a $1,150,818 fixed-price contract to Chrysler Corp., Detroit, Michigan, for design and construction of ten River Utility Craft (RUC).
The 42nd Ministerial meeting of NATO commenced with Secretary of State Dean Rusk heading a 27-man U. S. delegation The Brussels meeting lasted through 16 November.
The U. S. destroyer Hickox was turned over to the South Korean Navy in a ceremony at the Boston Naval Shipyard This was the second destroyer received under the U. S. military aid program this year. The ship will officially become the Pusan.
Twenty-six enemy sampans were destroyed and 63 structures and 15 bunkers were destroyed or damaged by U. S. Navy/Coast Guard units during Operations Sea Lords.
The amphibious assault ship USS New Orleans (LPH-11) was commissioned in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Operation Garrard Bay was terminated with enemy losses totaling 50 killed and 1,761 detained, while friendly casualties from 1st Marine Division sustained seven killed and fifty wounded. Action commenced on 25 October 1968, in Quang Nam Province.
Operation Daring Endeavor terminated. During the seven-day period, 33 enemy soldiers were killed and 336 suspects detained, while U. S. losses were one killed and 36 wounded.
The U. S. Department of Commerce awarded a contract to Litton Systems, Inc., Culver City, California, initiating a study to analyze the economics of ship maintenance and to develop the most economic policy for performing ship maintenance.
The French Armed Forces Ministry announced that France had successfully tested a strategic ballistic missile fired from a submarine under water. The two-stage missile was fired into the Atlantic over a range of about 1,100 miles in the direction of the Azores and was released from the submarine Gymnote off southwest France. France plans a nuclear-powered, ballistic-missile submarine fleet of five in the 1970s and two have been completed.
Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, USN, Chief of Naval Operations, said the Soviet Union had shown an unmistakable resolve to become the most powerful maritime force in the world, and they have applied gas-turbine power to about 175 naval and merchant ships, while the U. S. has only one ship of this kind. His remarks were made at the Propellor [sic] Club of the United States, a maritime group.
The Military Sea Transportation Service awarded a $1,390,826 contract to Northwest Marine Iron Works, Portland, Oregon, for overhaul, dry docking, improvements, and repairs to USNS General H. H. Arnold.
The Navy’s fleet of Polaris missile submarines completed its 600th patrol when USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657) returned to Charleston, S. C. The Navy said the combined cruises were equivalent to more than 36,500 days of submerged patrol duty or 100 years under water since November 1960.
Operation Meade River, a multi-battalion search and clear operation involving elements from the U. S. 1st Marine Division, and in conjunction with ARVN, Korean Marines, and Vietnamese National Police, commenced, in an area nine miles west of Hoi An.
Efforts to recover the lost research submarine Alvin were suspended because of worsening weather off the New England coast. Alvin was lost October 16th in 4,500 feet of water, 120 miles south of Cape Cod, when the submersible was starting its 307th dive.
The Navy’s Court of Inquiry investigating the loss of USS Scorpion (SSN-589) was recessed for several weeks to permit photo interpreters to complete a detailed technical analysis of pictures of Scorpion’s wreckage.
Spanish Foreign Minister proposed to the United States that all American and Soviet Naval forces be withdrawn from the Mediterranean.
USS Fechteler (DD-870) continued to hammer at enemy positions on Cape Batangan near Quang Ngai City, South Vietnam, that brought to 270 the number of enemy structures destroyed or damaged by the ship in four days of firing on the area. Fourteen enemy soldiers were reported killed.
The “1968 Santa Claus Special,” a fast U. S. cargo ship, sailed from Oakland, California, carrying parcels to servicemen in Vietnam in sufficient time for delivery before Christmas.
NATO inaugurated the new air command to seek out Soviet ships and submarines in the Mediterranean. The command, called MARAIRMED, is headed by U. S. Rear Admiral Edward C. Outlaw, USN, and will utilize patrol aircraft from the U. S., Italy, and Britain.
Ship owners announced a boycott of Los Angeles Harbor in a dispute with a union over rates aboard a cargo ship. The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) late yesterday announced a complete embargo of the harbor, except for military cargo.
Operation Lancaster II was terminated with 1,801 enemy killed and 265 detained while U. S. Marines from the 3rd Marine Division sustained 359 killed and 2,101 wounded. Action commenced in Quang Tri Province on January 20, 1968.
The Soviet Union instituted a new Merchant Sea Shipping Code which does not include any restrictions on the shipment of export or import cargoes on foreign vessels.
Norway entered big shipbuilding on an international scale with orders for eleven 222,000-ton tankers for Norwegian and foreign owners.
In ceremonies aboard USS Okinawa (LPH-3), Captain G. W. Stroud, USN, Commander of Amphibious Squadron Five, relieved Captain C. B. Bishop, USN, as Commander of one of the two Amphibious Ready Groups in the U. S. Seventh Fleet. The Task Group consists of four amphibious ships and 4,000 men. Since May 1968, Captain Bishop directed six amphibious operations against the enemy in Vietnam’s First Corps tactical zone.
The 170-foot vessel Triple Crown, used to supply off-shore oil drilling operations, sank without warning eight miles off Santa Barbara, California. The Coast Guard rescued 16 members of the crew, while nine were believed trapped below decks and not recovered.
It was announced that the first Navy ship to be named after a Marine Medal of Honor recipient in Vietnam is being built in Seattle, Washington. The USS Frank S. Reasoner (DE-1063) is scheduled to be launched in early 1969 and commissioned in 1970.
The United States pledged support to United Nations’ efforts to give newly developing nations the benefit of discoveries in the ocean learned by the great powers.
The battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) took her heaviest one-day toll since entering the war two months ago, when her shells destroyed or damaged 210 enemy structures and 32 bunkers and caused eight secondary explosions in two areas near Quang Ngai, South Vietnam.
The Japanese Cabinet approved a six-year program to build more than 20 million gross tons of ocean-going ships which would more than double Japan’s merchant fleet and cost about $280 million.
A Coast Guard helicopter removed seven crewmen from the 150-foot trawler Mateague after she reported she was sinking in the Atlantic Ocean four miles off Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina.
The Navy’s new multi-warhead Poseidon missile was launched at 11:59 a.m. from a land firing pad at Cape Kennedy on its second test flight, toward an Atlantic Ocean target area. The first test flight on 16 August was called a complete success.
Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Company in Tokyo laid the keel for Japan’s first nuclear-powered ship. The $15.5 million research and cargo vessel will be the world’s fourth nuclear-powered merchant ship. It is scheduled for completion by January 1972.
The experimental submarine Dolphin (AGSS-555), having attained what the Navy termed a significant milestone by reaching test depths for which she was designed, returned to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Although the depth was classified, reports stated it had not been previously reached by any known craft.
The Russians defended their presence in the Mediterranean, contending that its purpose was to insure the security of the Soviet Union’s southern borders.
The first Great Lakes ship to be named after a Negro will be the 601-foot ore carrying ship Merle M. McCurdy, owned by the Kinsman Marine Transit Fleet. She is expected to go into service the summer of 1969.
The Shipbuilders Council of America announced that the world’s second nuclear-powered merchant ship is planned by West Germany. The ore-carrier Otto Hahn, whose reactor plant is powered by U. S. fuel elements, will soon enter service. This action comes nine years after the U. S. launched the first nuclear-powered merchant ship, NS Savannah.
The combat store ship USS Concord (AFS-5) was commissioned at the Naval Shipyard in Long Beach, California.
U. S. Navy and Coast Guard units engaged in Sea Lords, Market Time, and Game Warden operations destroyed or damaged 1,198 enemy structures, watercraft, and bunkers throughout the Republic of Vietnam during the week ending 26 November. Navy men killed 16 Viet Cong and detained 20 enemy suspects. U. S. casualties were one sailor killed and 26 wounded.
It was reported that the Russian Navy is sending two Naval squadrons into the Indian Ocean in a show-the-flag operation. This is the third Soviet naval appearance in the Indian Ocean within six months.
The Soviet’s Communist Party newspaper Pravda defended a Soviet naval buildup in the Mediterranean by saying Russia would keep a fleet in that area as long as it judged the United States was maintaining a policy of oppression and dictation there.
The Navy’s Chaplains’ Corps marked its 193rd anniversary.
Operation Dawson River (Quang Tri Province), a multi-battalion search and clear operation centered in an area 14 miles south of Cam Lo, commenced by U. S. 9th Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.
U. S. authorities confirmed that recorded tapes with statements from crewmen of USS Pueblo (AGER-2) are in the possession of Western authorities. West Berlin reportedly found and seized the tapes on 23 November.
The attack carrier USS Ranger (CVA-61) returned to waters off the coast of Vietnam marking the beginning of the ship’s fourth deployment to the combat zone.
During the month of November, Navy aviators flew 470 sorties into South Vietnam, after the halt in bombing of the North. Carriers engaged in air operations were USS Intrepid (CVS-11), USS Constellation (CVA-64), USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), and USS Ranger (CVA-61). The battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62), took by far the heaviest toll of enemy targets during her time on the line, by flattening 182 bunkers and more than 800 support structures along with nine sampans, 15 cave complexes, and a reported 59 enemy soldiers killed.
Five divers began a simulated dive at Durham, North Carolina to expose them to undersea pressures at 1,000 feet beneath the surface. The experiment was to determine whether men can live and work at such a depth, a target for 1970 under the U. S. Navy’s Man-in-the-Sea Program. Three Navy men and two civilians from Duke University made the dive. The Navy recently sent three divers to 1,025 feet, but kept them there only a few minutes. Once at the level, the divers were subjected to hundreds of physical and psychological tests in the University’s hyperbarid [sic] chamber.
South Africa announced it is planning to build its own submarine. Last year the country ordered three submarines from France to begin a small submarine fleet.
The carrier USS Hancock (CVA-19) and the destroyers USS Mahan (DLG-11), Decatur (DDG-31), Rupertus (DD-851), and Samuel N. Moore (DD-747) entered the Sea of Japan from Vietnam duty for routine operations. This was the first carrier to visit the area since the carriers USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) and USS Ranger (CVA-61) sailed into the Sea of Japan following North Korea’s seizure of the USS Pueblo (AGER-2) on 23 January 1968. Other military sources said the Seventh Fleet presence was to discourage and deter further provocative acts from North Korea which included the landing of more than 60 guerrillas along South Korea’s east coast early in November.
Electric Boat Division, General Dynamics Corporation, was authorized by the Navy to initiate planning and procurement of materials and equipment for construction of the nuclear attack submarine SSN-685. The work will be done under a letter contract previously awarded March 17, 1967, to the Electric Boat Division, which will be increased by $22 million. This is the quiet turbine electric-drive submarine referred to by Secretary of Defense Clifford in his press conference of 25 October 1968. The Naval Ship Systems Command issued the contract.
The Soviet Union said it is beginning a Northern Pacific naval exercise which will continue until 2 January 1969. It will take place in an area of 9,000 square miles southeast of Iturup Island and Hokkaido.
The Navy announced that it is merging its two P-2 Neptune aircraft training units, presently located at Jacksonville, Florida, and Coronado, California, into one activity at North Island Naval Air Station, Coronado. VP-30 Detachment at Jacksonville will be disestablished effective 30 December.
U. S. Navy and Coast Guard units destroyed or damaged 247 enemy structures, 162 sampans, 24 bunkers, and three junks in actions throughout South Vietnam during the week ending 3 December. Nineteen Viet Cong were killed, 29 suspects detained, while American casualties amounted to one Navy man killed and six wounded.
Chairman Mendel Rivers of the House Armed Services Committee released a report on “The Changing Strategic Naval Balance—USSR vs. USA,” prepared by a panel composed mainly of retired U. S. military officers headed by Admiral H. D. Felt, USN, (Retired). It was reported that Russia will replace the United States as the world’s foremost sea power unless America’s naval arsenal and research programs are expanded and naval forces augmented for the contests ahead.
The Naval Ship Systems Command awarded a $5,797,768 fixed-price contract to Dixie Manufacturing Co., Baltimore, Maryland, for procurement of two Deep Dive Systems to be installed aboard two new submarine rescue ships (ASRs) now under construction. The systems and their related equipment comprise the MK-2 Deep Dive Systems.
The Viet Cong said its forces will observe a three-day ceasefire during the Christmas and New Year holidays. South Vietnam already announced a 24-hour cease fire beginning Christmas Eve.
Operation Henderson Hill, a multi-battalion search and clear operation involving elements of the U. S. 5th Regiment, 1st Marine Division, was terminated. The operation commenced on October 23rd and during the period 700 enemy soldiers were killed, 94 suspects were detained, and U. S. losses were placed at 35 killed and 273 wounded.
The nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Gurnard (SSN-662) was commissioned in Vallejo, California.
The Defense Department announced that Todd Shipyards Corporation was issued a contract for $13,950,000 for construction of a Navy oceanographic research ship (T-AGOR 16). Two additional such ships, requested in the Fiscal Year 1968 budget, have been cancelled because of spending restrictions now in force. The Naval Ship Systems Command issued the contract.
A new interdiction operation called “Giant Slingshot” began, centered on the Vam Co Dong and Vam Co Tay Rivers which snake westward from a point south of Saigon to enclose the “Parrot’s Beak” section of the Cambodian border. Before this, neither river had been patrolled regularly by U. S. Navy forces. More than 40 Navy patrol boats moved into the rivers to commence the operation, which is an outgrowth and part of another, continuing Navy operation, Sea Lords.
The Sturgeon class nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Finback (SSN-670) was launched at Newport News, Virginia.
Operation Taylor Common, a multi-battalion search and clear operation under the control of the U. S. 1st Marine Division commenced, centered in an area ten miles west of An Hoa.
The Knox class destroyer escort USS Badger (DE-1071) was launched at San Pedro, California.
Operation Napoleon Saline, which commenced as Operation Napoleon on November 5, 1967, was terminated. The multi-battalion search and clear operation was centered in an area four miles east-southeast of Gio Linh and involved elements of the 3rd Marine Div., U. S. Army 196th Light Infantry Brigade, and the 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized). There were 3,495 enemy killed and 831 individual and crew-served weapons captured. U. S. casualties were 395 killed and 2,134 wounded.
Two U. S. destroyers, USS Dyess (DD-880) and USS Turner (DD-834), passed through the Bosporus Straits (Turkey) into the Black Sea for a four-day routine cruise which sparked Soviet claims that their movement was a provocation. The U. S. repeated that the ships are sailing in international waters and are within the limits of the Montreux Convention regulating use of the Straits.
Operation Meade River (Quang Nam Province), a multi-battalion search and clear operation which commenced on November 20th, was terminated. U. S. Marines from the 1st Marine Division killed 841 enemy soldiers, detained 2,710 suspects, and captured 179 weapons. U. S. losses were fixed at 107 killed and 523 wounded.
The U. S. fishing boat Day Island was seized off the coast of Ecuador and ordered to head for the port city of Manta. The boat was 19 miles off the coast, but Ecuador claims 200-mile territorial waters, while the U. S. recognizes a 12-mile fishing limit for that country. State Department officials said steps were taken to obtain the release of the crew and boat.
Two identical deep-diving research submersibles, Turtle and Sea Cliff, were launched at Groton, Connecticut. Sea Cliff, which is 26-feet long and can operate at depths of more than one mile, will be used in attempts to raise the research sub Alvin, which sank off Cape Cod in October. The vessels will carry three-man crews and remain submerged for eight hours.
The USS Dyess (DD-880) and USS Turner (DD-834) completed a four-day cruise in the Black Sea without trouble despite constant shadowing by Russian ships and aircraft.
The amphibious cargo ship USS Charleston (LKA-113) was commissioned at Newport News, Virginia.
The ammunition ship USS Butte (AE-27) was commissioned at Boston Naval Shipyard.
Rear Admiral Edwin M. Rosenberg, USN, relieved Rear Admiral Paul L. Lacy, Jr., as Commander of the Seventh Fleet Amphibious Force in Vietnam.
It was announced that the U. S. plans to place four aquanauts in a sea floor dwelling off the Virgin Islands early next year for sixty consecutive days. The $2.5 million project called Tektite I is sponsored by the Navy, NASA, and the U. S. Department of Interior.
Amphibious Operation Valiant Hunt, a cordon and search operation commenced by forces of the U. S. Seventh Fleet against enemy positions along the coast of South Vietnam, about four miles south of Hoi An. Marines of Amphibious Ready Group Alfa were lifted in helicopters from the USS Okinawa (LPH-3) and USS Duluth (LPD-6).
A Soviet naval squadron consisting of two submarines and two surface vessels arrived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for a one week goodwill visit.
The U. S. released seven North Vietnamese civilian seamen that were captured 22 October 1967, fifty-miles south of Haiphong after a U. S. attack on enemy cargo boats. The men were given a small boat and dispatched from the amphibious transport dock ship USS Duluth (LPD-6), 13 miles off shore near the North Vietnamese city of Vinh.
The Maritime Administration announced it is soliciting proposals by 14 January 1969, from qualified ship operators for long-term bareboat charter (5-10 years) or purchase of NS Savannah. To date, the ship has been operating under bareboat charter to American Export Isbrandtsen Corporation subsidiary—First Atomic Ship Transport, Inc.—whose contract ends 30 June 1969. Savannah went into operation in August 1962.
The Defense Department announced that two contractors, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, and McDonnell-Douglas Corporation, had been selected by the Navy to continue in the contract definition phase for the F-14A aircraft, formerly known as the VFX-1. Selection of the winning contractor is scheduled to be made in January 1969.
North Korean and U. S. officials held the 26th meeting to discuss the release of Pueblo crewmen. State Department confirmed a two hour and 40-minute meeting.
A Joint Navy/Duke University diving project was concluded when five men emerged from a simulated dive 1,000-feet beneath the sea. The divers started their historic feat in the experimental diving unit at Durham, North Carolina, at 4:21 p.m. on 2 December and stayed at the 1,000-feet pressure three days, longer than anyone before them.
Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations, presented the Distinguished Service Medal to Navy Captain (Astronaut) Walter M. Schirra, Jr., who commanded the first manned Apollo flight. Admiral Moorer stated Schirra’s space deeds were “exceeded by no one afloat or airborne.”
The Soviet Union withdrew all of its guided missile ships from the Mediterranean, Western defense sources said. Of the fifty odd ships which the Russians sent to the area, only about thirty remained, mostly supply ships and about six submarines.
The nuclear-powered submarine USS Plunger (SSN-595) arrived at the Japanese port of Sasebo. The visit was the first of an atomic-powered submarine to enter a Japanese port since May of this year when USS Swordfish (SSN-579) visited Japan and touched off anti-nuclear riots and demonstrations by about 10,000 Japanese.
Soviet-built Egyptian jets are shadowing the U. S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, Admiral Horacio Rivero, NATO Commander in Italy, Greece, and Turkey, said and it is suspected that at least some of the TU-16 crewmen are Russians.
The Navy Court of Inquiry investigating the loss of the submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589) completed its work and adjourned. The Navy said findings of the seven-man court will not be made public until a final review of the complete record is accomplished by the Secretary of the Navy.
North Vietnamese negotiators in Paris said the U. S. has threatened to resume bombing North Vietnam if the National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) unleashed a new offensive in the south. The U. S. delegation emphasized no threats have been directed on the possible resumption of bombing of the north, only that enemy attacks on Saigon would jeopardize talks to end the war.
The United Nations announced that a long-standing quarrel about the composition of a committee on peaceful uses of the sea bed was partially untangled when the General Assembly Political Committee decided by a 96-0 vote that the committee in question would study means of reserving the sea bed for peaceful purposes and of exploiting resources beyond national jurisdiction. The proposal for a permanent 42-nation committee must now be approved by the General Assembly.
A Senate Foreign Relations Committee, headed by Senator J. William Fulbright, released a new report on the Tonkin Gulf incident (August 1964) stating that a key issue was whether the U. S. knew that North Vietnam was claiming a 12-mile territorial waters limit before allowing U. S. ships to stray within that limit. This was a renewed challenge against the Defense Department record on the incident.
The Naval Ship Systems Command awarded a $1,850,732 fixed-price contract to Southwest Welding and Manufacturing Company, Alhambra, California, for construction of 52 steel-hulled Mechanized Landing Craft (LCM).
Longshoremen along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts staged a walkout after an 80-day injunction had expired. The workers are asking for higher wages and fringe benefits. The Maritime Administration said 553 ships were tied up or otherwise immobilized in ports from Maine to Texas.
Cambodia released eleven American Army men and one South Vietnamese that were held captive since their landing craft strayed across the Cambodian border on the Mekong River 17 July 1968. The men were released without condition.
A combined four-day operation by Vietnamese ground forces and U. S. Navy riverine assault craft was terminated. Twelve barricades erected by enemy forces to seal off the Cau Lo River were destroyed and the river was re-opened. Navy frogmen destroyed the barricades, one Viet Cong was killed, and 78 enemy structures were destroyed along with 57 bunkers, 20 brick kilns, 86 sampans, and two tanks.
The North Koreans released the 81 surviving crewmen of USS Pueblo after being held prisoners for exactly eleven months to the day that the ship was captured. The officers and men brought with them the body of Fireman Duane Daniel Hodges, USNR, who was the only fatality of the incident. Funeral services were held for him by the crew prior to their departure from South Korea for the United States.
The Maritime Administration announced that a $116,857 contract was awarded to Arthur D. Little, Cambridge, Massachusetts, to investigate the feasibility of waterborne feeder concepts to implement unit cargo transportation.
The 81 surviving crewmen of USS Pueblo (AGER-2) took off from Seoul’s Kimpo airport in two Air Force C-141s to arrive at San Diego’s Miramar Naval Air Station late this same afternoon. Prior to departing South Korea, a memorial service for Fireman Duane D. Hodges was held in an open field near the planes. Hodges was killed during the capture of Pueblo on 23 January 1968. The crew stopped over at Midway Island enroute to the U. S. and were greeted by Admiral John J. Hyland, USN, Commander U. S. Pacific Fleet.
Bob Hope spent his 20th Christmas Eve away from home by giving a show aboard USS Hancock (CVA-19), while the aircraft carrier was operating off the coast of South Vietnam.
The U. S. Navy began interrogating the Pueblo crew about all phases of its conduct from the time of the North Korean seizure until crew’s release.
Helicopters of HS-4 hovered over Apollo 8 after it ended its historic flight around the moon with a pre-dawn splash-down in the Pacific within three miles of the carrier USS Yorktown (CVS-10) and at first light picked up the astronauts and delivered them safely to the carrier.
Six Navy Swift boats and Army gunship helicopters destroyed or damaged 60 enemy watercraft, 39 structures, and four river barricades in the Nam Can Forest, southwest of Saigon.
A task force of four Navy Swift boats and Army helicoptor [sic] gunships, destroyed or damaged 167 enemy sampans, 125 structures, and eight bunkers in An Xuyen Province (enemy base areas never before raided by naval forces).
Seventh Fleet Amphibious Forces launched the second phase of an amphibious combat operation, nicknamed Valiant Hunt, against enemy positions along the coast of South Vietnam. The area of operation is Que Son, south of Hoi An. Amphibious Ready Group Alfa launched the first waves of Marines in a heliborne assault on 15 December.
Secretary of Defense-designate, Melvin R. Laird, announced he has selected David Packard as his Deputy Secretary of Defense.
The U. S. Court of appeals, in a 2 to 1 decision, decided that the U. S. “mothball” merchant marine fleet must get first consideration in shipment of military cargo before the government uses foreign vessels. The National Maritime Union of America (AFL-CIO) had protested use of some foreign ships by MSTS to transport military cargo to Vietnam without consideration being given to the “mothball” fleet.
During the month of December, attack aircraft from the carriers USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), Ranger (CVA-61), Constellation (CVA-64), Hancock (CVA-19), and Intrepid (CVS-11) flew several hundred sorties in the Republic of Vietnam in support of allied troops there, while in the North, flights were limited to purely reconnaissance missions as a result of the bombing halt. There were, however, six surface-to-air missile (SAM) incidents over North Vietnam. In Naval gunfire South Vietnam, Seventh Fleet ships destroyed 373 bunkers.
Three prominent shipping organizations—American Merchant Marine Institute (AMMI), Committee of American Steamship Lines (CASL) and Pacific American Steamship Association (PASSA)—merged to form a new national maritime organization called American Institute of Merchant Shipping (AIMS) with headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The Maritime Administration announced there were 1,033 vessels of 1,000 tons and over in the active oceangoing U. S. merchant fleet on this date, 45 less than the number active on 1 November 1968. The total privately-owned fleet decreased by five to 967, seven less than the total on 1 January 1968. The number of large oceangoing ships under construction or conversion on this date decreased by two to 78, compared to 72 one year ago.
Two Soviet Navy ships arrived in Aden Harbor, South Yemen for a five-day visit—the second by the Russian Navy since South Yemen won independence a year ago.
Operation Barrier Reef commenced centered in an area 40 miles north Can Tho, Republic of Vietnam. The U. S. Navy operation involved River Patrol Boats (PBRs) and Armored Riverine Assault craft with the mission of interdicting enemy personnel and supply movement in the area.
Three cargo ships, of American, Italian and Panamanian registry, were attacked by enemy rocket fire as they transited the Long Tau shipping channel, but none were hit. This was the first time since 15 May 1968 that three ships have been attacked on the channel in a single day.
Four ships were launched at three locations. The USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) and the USS Manitowoc (LST-1180) at Philadelphia, the USS St. Louis (LKA-116) at Newport News, Virginia, and the USS Sims (DE-1059) at Westwego, Louisiana.
Amphibious Operation Valiant Hunt was terminated when U. S. Marines of Battalion Landing Team 2/26 returned to the ships of Amphibious Ready Group Alfa, U. S. Seventh Fleet. During the 21-day operation, 3,420 Vietnamese were detained and interrogated, 33 Viet Cong were killed, and 65 Viet Cong civil defendants were turned over to South Vietnamese government officials. American casualties were two Marines killed and 14 wounded. Throughout the operation, U. S. Navy destroyers rendered naval gunfire assistance to the Marines. Valiant Hunt commenced 15 December 1968.
The White House announced that Vice Admiral Rufus L. Taylor, USN, will step down February 1st as number two official of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Taylor, Deputy Director of the CIA since October, 1966, will retire from both the Navy and CIA. He will be replaced by Lieutenant General Robert E. Cushman, Jr., USMC.
The Secretary of the Navy Paul R. Ignatius, acting for the President, presented the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Chaplain (Lieutenant) Vincent R. Capodanno, USN, for actions in Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 4 September 1967. He left the safety of the command post, disregarded intense enemy fire, moved about the battlefield administering last rites to the dying and, when seeing an injured corpsman, Lieutenant Capodanno rushed forward in an attempt to aid and assist the man. He was struck down by a burst of machine gun fire.
President Johnson nominated Rear Admiral George M. Davis, Jr., MC, USN, as Surgeon General of the U. S. Navy.
Chairman L. Mendal [sic] Rivers (D-S.C.) of the House Armed Services Committee proposed a fiscal year 1970 naval shipbuilding program of $3.8 billion, including one nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, three nuclear-powered attack submarines, two nuclear-powered frigates, eight new destroyers, and five amphibious ships.
Rear Admiral William W. Behrens, Jr., USN, relieved Rear Admiral Edwin M. Rosenberg, USN, as Commander Seventh Fleet Amphibious Force/Commander Task Force 76, aboard the flagship USS Eldorado (LCC-11). Rosenberg’s tenure in the western Pacific was highlighted by the role he played in the release of the crew of USS Pueblo (AGER-2), as senior officer in charge of the repatriation.
U. S. Navy river craft and units of the U. S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division continued to uncover munitions caches in the Navy’s Giant Slingshot operating area southwest and northwest of Saigon, during the week ending 7 January. Thirteen enemy munitions caches weighing more than six tons were unearthed. Game Warden and Market Time forces destroyed or damaged 508 enemy structures, 122 watercraft, and 88 bunkers during the period. Thirty-five enemy soldiers also were killed, while the U. S. Navy sustained 22 wounded.
The Defense Department announced that the 44 officers and 1,031 enlisted men of Reserve Naval Mobile Construction Battalions 12 and 22 that were called to active duty in May 1968 will be released in the spring of 1969. The reservists were deployed to Vietnam in September 1968 and are expected to complete their tours in March and April, to be released 30 days after their return to the United States.
Two Soviet naval units including the rocket-equipped cruiser Admiral Fokin began a four-day visit to the port of Hodeidah in Yemen, according to a Tass announcement in Moscow.
The SS Angkor and SS Crustacia were taken under fire by enemy gunners while transiting the Long Tau channel, 22 miles southeast of Saigon. Angkor was hit by a B-41 rocket grenade and numerous small arms rounds. Damage to the ship was light, and Crustacia was not hit.
Operation Bold Mariner, the largest beach assault since the early days of the Korean War, commenced off the Vietnam coast when more than 2,500 U. S Marines from the Seventh Fleet’s Amphibious Force stormed ashore onto Batangan Peninsula, a traditional Viet Cong stronghold in southern I Corps, ten miles northeast of Quang Ngai City. Navy special forces, Seabees, Beachmasters, and hospital corpsmen joined in the assault. This was the first time in the Vietnam War that two Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs) and their embarked Marines special landing forces (SLFs) have been used simultaneously in a single operation. Eleven amphibious ships were involved, gaining support from the battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) and two destroyers for gunfire support, as the assault joined forces with U. S. and South Vietnamese army troops.
The Defense Department announced that Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Bethpage, Long Island. New York has been selected as prime contractor for the Navy’s new supersonic, carrier-based fighter, the F-14A (formerly known as the VFX). The two-place aircraft, equipped with Pratt and Whitney TF30-P-12 engines, will make its first flight in early 1971 and become operational with the fleet in 1973.
President Johnson presented the Presidential Unit Citation to the Navy’s SEAL Team One in ceremonies at the White House. The Team, a force of more than 200 trained to operate against guerrillas in the world’s rivers, harbors, and in-shore areas disrupting their lines of supply and spoiling plans and tactics, was organized early in 1962 at the direction of President Kennedy. Since July of that year, members of the Team have been operating in Vietnam. The citation was for service from July 1966 to August 1967.
The United States announced that U. S. Air Force Major General James R Knapp has been named as the new United Nations Command chief spokesman at Panmunjom, Korea.
At4 8:30 a.m. fire broke out aboard the nuclear-powered attack carrier Enterprise (CVAN-65) 70 miles south of the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The carrier had just begun its second day of a two-and-a-half day Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI). Forty-minutes after the fires began, they were under control and extinguished. Final casualty count was 27 dead and 65 injured. A Board of Investigation was convened to determine the cause of the accident.
Secretary of Defense-designate Melvin Laird told the Senate Armed Services Committee that improvement of the U. S. naval strength will be a high priority item within the Nixon Administration.
U. S. Navy river patrol boat (PBR) crewmen, U. S. Army 1st Air Cavalry elements and units of the 25th ARVN Division uncovered 14 munitions caches in the Navy’s Giant Slingshot operating area during the week ending yesterday. The munitions weighed nearly eight tons.
Uniflite, Inc., Bellingham, Washington, was awarded a $1,035,165 fixed-price contract for twenty-two 31-foot patrol boats. The Naval Ship Systems Command made the award.
The NATO defense ministers at a one-day meeting in Brussels approved the setting up of a small, coordinated Mediterranean naval force to be used for exercises and show the flag visits. The force, composed of men from the United States, Britain, Italy, Turkey, and Greece, is expected to be established in a few months. For the first time, naval units in the area would be put under NATO’s international command.
During joint ceremonies at the White House, President Johnson presented the Medal of Honor to Navy Lieutenant Clyde E. Lassen for risking his life on 19 June 1968, as pilot of a search and rescue helicopter attached to Helicopter Support Squadron 7, Detachment 104, embarked in USS Preble (DLG-15). Lieutenant Lassen rescued two downed aviators over unknown and hostile terrain under heavy enemy fire.
In the same White House ceremony, the President presented the Medal of Honor to U. S. Marine Corps Major Stephen W. Pless for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life while serving as a helicopter gunship pilot attached to Marine Observation Squadron Six near Quang Ngai, Republic of Vietnam, on 19 August 1967. He launched an attack against the enemy who were closing in on four American soldiers stranded on a beach and rescued them while under enemy fire.
The replenishment oiler USS Milwaukee (AOR-2) was launched at Quincy, Massachusetts.
It was announced that Soviet Navy ships made 103 passages in 1968 through the Turkish straits—the Bosporus and the Dardanelles—from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. There were 99 return passages. These ships included military transports, destroyers, hydrological vessels, minesweepers, and cruisers.
A Panamanian-flag 2,562-ton freighter Rigel sank with 21 men aboard, about 40 miles south of Sardinia’s southwest coast, and six sailors were reported missing. Crewmen were Italians and Yugoslavs.
Ground forces called on Navy ships to fire at 91 targets as Operation Bold Mariner went into its eighth day.
The Navy’s third test firing of the new Poseidon missile from Cape Kennedy, Florida, failed as the missile veered off course and was destroyed by radar signal about 17 seconds after its launch. Officials stated this would not delay plans to develop the weapon as a replacement for Polaris missiles. Cause of the malfunction was not immediately determined.
Fire broke out in a storage room of the British helicopter carrier HMS Blake, but firemen brought it under control in two hours. The ship was in Portsmouth, England.
United States Lines said it is seeking bids on the reconstruction of eight Mariner class freighters (constructed in 1953-1954) into full containerships at an estimated cost of $52 million.
The Special-subcommittee on Seapower of the House Armed Services Committee, headed by Representative Charles E. Bennett (D-Fla), resumed its hearings. Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, USN, Chief of Naval Operations, testified that 58 percent of U. S. Navy ships are at least 20 years old and that less than 1 per cent of the Soviet Union’s Navy surface combatant ships and submarines are 20 years old or older. The hearings are also to consider whether a two-ocean Navy can meet the nation’s increasing responsibilities, or whether a four or five-ocean Navy may now be needed.
A six-ship North Atlantic Treaty Organization flotilla departed Den Helder, The Netherlands, for sea facing a year in the North Atlantic keeping watch on Russian submarines. Officially called the NATO Standing Force Atlantic, it is the first international naval force ever to go to sea in peace time. Its commander is Dutch Commodore Bernard Veldkamp. The flotilla is composed of the U. S. escort ship USS Vesole (DD-878), two Norwegian frigates Stavanger (F-303) and Narvik (F-304), a Dutch frigate Van Nes (F-805), and a British frigate Dido (F-104). The flotilla is basically a training group, trying to develop methods by which ships from different navies can work together against submarines in wartime. Ships rotate to spread the experience as widely as possible.
U. S. Navy and Coast Guard units killed 90 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers and detained 40 enemy suspects during the week ending January 21st. Naval units destroyed or damaged 275 enemy structures, 176 watercraft, and 118 bunkers. Fourteen sailors were killed, 89 wounded, and three PBRs were sunk during this period.
The antisubmarine warfare carrier USS Essex (CVS-9) will be decommissioned by 30 June 1969, the Defense Department announced. Essex is the oldest carrier if active status in the Navy.
The world’s first nuclear-powered deep submergence research and ocean engineering vehicle, designated NR-1, was launched at Groton, Connecticut. The submarine will have a crew of five and will carry two scientists. The 140-foot vessel is capable of staying under water for weeks at a time to help to open up the mysteries of life on the bottom of the sea at least out to the edge of the continental shelf at depths of 600 to 1,100 feet.
The fourth Soviet submarine to cross the Turkish straits to the Mediterranean Sea this month passed through the Bosporus Strait.
Operation Dawson River (Quang Tri Province) was terminated by units of the 3rd Marine Division. The operation, which began 28 November 1968, accounted for 86 enemy killed, 10 detained, and 81 weapons seized, while sustaining three friendly losses and 50 wounded.
The Navy and the Maritime Administration announced the award of contracts for the implementation of the joint 100-ton Surface Effect Ship (SES) test craft program to both the Aero-jet General Corp., El Monte, California, and the Bell Aerosystems Co., Buffalo, New York. Funding for each contractor in the current fiscal year is $1.55 million and will cover detailed engineering design.
Operation Linn River began with a multi-battalion search and clear operation centered 12 miles west of Hoi An conducted by elements of the U. S. 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
The attack carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) returned to Vietnamese waters as a unit of Task Force 77.
The Navy announced that preliminary indications of the Board of Investigation are that the initial explosion which started the fire aboard the nuclear-powered attack carrier USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) on 14 January originated in the vicinity of a jet starter cart when exhaust may have caused the overheating and explosion of a Zuni rocket attached to the wing of one of the aircraft on the flight deck.
The nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Sea Devil (SSN-664) was commissioned at Newport News, Virginia.
Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird announced, on behalf of President Nixon, four nominations for positions in the Department of the Navy. They are: John W. Warner, to be Under Secretary of the Navy; Frank Sanders, to be Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Logistics); Robert A. Frosch, to continue as Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research and Development); and Charles A. Bowsher, to continue as Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management).
The USNS Kellar, a marine survey ship, was accepted into service as a member of the Military Sea Transportation Service Special Projects Fleet. The ship is destined for nautical survey work for the U. S. Naval Oceanographic Office.
The Navy released the findings of the Court of Inquiry into the loss of the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589), stating that the certain cause of the loss of the Scorpion cannot be ascertained from evidence now available, but no evidence had been found indicating foul play or sabotage. Scorpion sank in the Atlantic last May with 99 men aboard. Summarizing the findings of the seven-man court that heard 90 witnesses, the Navy said two possible causes of the loss were eliminated: Scorpion had not hit an undersea mountain, since there were none in that area and the court dismissed the view that the nuclear power plant was a cause. The Court also concluded that: the loss is not attributable to delayed completion of the submarine’s full “Subsafe” program; officers and men previously on board unanimously agreed that the crew was well trained; photographs gave no indication of an explosion of one of the submarine’s torpedos; there was no evidence of a collision with another submarine or ship; testimony established the crew was able and mature. The Court further stated the evidence does not establish that the loss of Scorpion, and the deaths of those embarked, were caused by the intent, fault, negligence, or inefficiency of any person or persons in the naval service or connected therewith. The submarine was last heard from on 21 May 1968. USNS Mizar (T-AGOR 11) discovered the wreckage and took the first photographs with underwater cameras on 30 October. Trieste II, the Navy’s deep-diving underwater research craft has been ordered to resume taking photographs this spring in the area 400 miles southwest of the Azores in the Atlantic.
Total numerical strength of the Armed Forces on this date was 3,416,768—representing an increase of 8,538 from 31 December 1968.
In U. S. Seventh Fleet operations this month, the highlight was the commencement of the Amphibious Operation Bold Mariner which began 13 January. As a result of small arms firing on aerial observers in the DMZ, Seventh Fleet destroyers damaged or destroyed 17 bunkers, started five secondary explosions or fires, and collapsed many meters of trench line. During the month, 300 sorties were flown by attack aircraft from Seventh Fleet carriers in South Vietnam. The carriers USS Hancock (CVA-19), Coral Sea (CVA-43), and Constellation (CVA-64) began the month on the line, while USS Ranger (CVA-61) and Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) also served on station with Task Force 77. Constellation finished her Vietnam tour in mid-month, being relieved by Kitty Hawk.
Two complete river assault and interdiction divisions totaling 25 heavily armed and armored river gunboats were turned over to the Vietnamese Navy in ceremonies on board the Mobile Riverine Force flagship USS Benewah (APB-35) in the Mekong Delta, 36 miles southwest of Saigon. It was the largest single turnover of U. S. Navy gunboats to date and represents a major step forward for the Vietnamese Navy’s riverine fleet.
The third in a series of three guided missile destroyers being built for West Germany, Rommel (DDG-30), was launched at the Bath Iron Works, Maine.
Chairman L. Mendel Rivers, announced that the House Armed Services Committee will investigate the seizure of USS Pueblo (AGER-2) as soon as the Navy completes its own inquiry.
The Navy announced the award of a $40 million contract to the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp., Bethpage, Long Island, New York, for the engineering development phase of its new supersonic carrier-based fighter, the F-14A. Funding under the development contract will total $388 million over approximately four years. The contract also gives the Navy the option to procure up to 463 production models of the F-14 following the development phase of the program. F-14 will be a variable sweep wing aircraft with a tandem seating arrangement and will offer an appreciable increase in performance over the Navy’s F-4 Phantom II.
Secretary of Defense Laird announced, on behalf of President Nixon, the nomination of Roger T. Kelley to be Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower and Reserve Affairs). Mr. Kelley, who served in both the Atlantic and Pacific as a naval officer during World War II, succeeds Alfred B. Fitt.
U. S. Navy and Coast Guard units reported killing 68 Viet Cong and destroying or damaging 406 enemy structures, 329 watercraft, and 85 bunkers during the week ending 4 February. Forty-four enemy suspects were detained by the naval forces. Navy casualties were one sailor killed and 11 wounded.
Scott Lithgow Drydocks Ltd., Greenock, Scotland, was awarded a $2,843,000 contract for the overhaul and repair of the floating dry dock, USS Los Alamos (AFDB-7). The Navy Purchasing Office, London, issued the contract.
Operation Linn River was terminated by elements of the U. S. 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division. Fifty-three enemy soldiers were killed and 856 suspects were detained. U. S. casualties were nine killed and 46 wounded, of whom 32 were evacuated.
SS Hong Kong Mail was launched for the American Mail Line at Newport News, Virginia.
Foreign Minister Michael Debré of France announced his support for a Spanish proposal to bar foreign fleets from Mediterranean ports of countries which do not border on that sea. The statement was aimed at the U. S. and Soviet Union, both of which maintain sizable fleets in the Mediterranean.
The Coast Guard reported a fleet of Soviet trawlers, warned to stay outside the U. S. 12-mile fishing limit or risk seizure, stayed 15 miles offshore under surveillance by Coast Guard cutters. Seventy-four trawlers were counted, with four 600-foot Russian mother ships at anchor.
The 8,095-ton German ship Hammonia and the 10,032-ton Liberian vessel Madison Friendship collided in the Elbe River (Germany). Both ships were damaged. Report of casualties was not available immediately.
The heaviest single day of shelling by one ship during the naval gunfire support missions in February was when the destroyer USS Davis (DD-937) flattened 60 military structures and three bunkers at an enemy position 18 miles south of Da Nang.
Units of the U. S. Sixth Fleet, USS Forrestal (CVA-59), and three destroyers arrived in Istanbul, Turkey, for a week-long visit. Three thousand Turkish students demonstrated on 11 February against the visit, with one of the leaders threatening suicide by fire unless the ships left within 48 hours.
About one-third of the large Soviet bloc fishing fleet shifted southward to a point 20-miles east of Currituck Beach, North Carolina.
The conventionally powered submarine USS Chopper (SS-342) experienced a temporary control casualty which resulted in a sharp-angle descent followed by an abrupt-angle ascent. An Atlantic Fleet headquarters’ statement indicated the Guppy class submarine, with a crew of 9 officers and 74 men, was operating on a routine training mission near the U. S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Two crewmen were injured and damage to the submarine was report minor, with repairs being made by the crew.
The Military Sea Transportation Service entered into agreement with Central Gulf Steamship Co., New Orleans, Louisiana, whereby nine new 25,000 dwt tankers will be chartered to MSTS to replace 16 T-2 tankers of the aging fleet. They will be built at Sparrows Point Maryland, shipyard of Bethlehem Steel Corp. and bareboat chartered to MSTS five years, with options to 25. Total construction cost is estimated at $115 million.
President Nixon stated in a telegram to Mr. Paul Hall, President of the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department, “A strong and viable merchant marine is essential in this quest for economic vitality.” The President also expressed his deep interest in seeing the U. S. merchant marine play a more important role in world commerce.
General Electric Company, Washington, D.C., received a $1,250,000 contract two gas turbine engines and their installation and test aboard ship. The Naval Ship Systems Command issued the contract.
A Peruvian patrol boat captured a U. S. fishing boat, Mariner, off its coast for being inside its territorial waters. Peru claims a 200 mile territorial sea limit while the U. S. recognizes only twelve miles.
A Communist rocket site in the southern half of the Demilitarized Zone blew up in a series of seven huge secondary explosions, and 18 more blasts ripping through the newly-constructed rocket position after it was hit by 16-inch shell from the battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62).
Longshoremen began to return to waterfronts’ cargo-clogged piers on the East Coast, ending the strike which began 20 December. Several port cities are still bargaining on details.
A violent clash between anti-American protest marchers and right-wing demonstrators marked the last day of the week-long visit of USS Forrestal (CVA-59) and her three escorting destroyers. The naval units arrived in Istanbul, Turkey, on 10 February. Two Turkish persons were killed and more than 100 persons injured in the battle.
Sealab III civilian aquanaut Berry L. Cannon, died while attempting to repair a helium leak in the habitat that was to house the Sealab III teams in the 60-day experiment, 610-feet off San Clemente Island. This was the first fatality in the Navy’s Man-in-the-Sea program. A Navy Board of Investigation was ordered to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death. Cannon was a member of Team One, which was scheduled to begin a two-week period 600 feet below the surface to study man’s usefulness during extended periods in the ocean depths. Sealab III represented the Navy’s third such test. The first was conducted at a depth of 193 feet in 1964 and Sealab II at 205 feet in 1965. Both were successful. An interim autopsy report stated Cannon’s death was due to asphyxiation by carbon dioxide. One of the four diving rigs used in the fatal dive was found to lack chemicals that remove carbon dioxide. Sealab III experiment was postponed immediately for an undetermined period.
The Navy christened the new Mark I underwater salvage system, which has been called one of the most significant advances in deep-sea diving during the past 50 years. The $7 million system, which will be able to work at a depth of 850 feet, will be tested next month by a team of Navy divers off the Port Hueneme, California, Naval Station.
Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Soviet Union has embarked on a crash program to build a fleet of ballistic missile submarines like the American Polaris boats. He stated that by 1973 or 1974, the Russians might be able to equal the number of Polaris-type submarines the United States has deployed.
Talks began in, Cairo on plans to free 14 ships trapped in the Suez Canal since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Three Swedish and Dutch experts had a four and one-half hour meeting with Suez Canal officials on behalf of ship owners of eight nations who have offered to clear the southern end of the 110-mile waterway at their own expense.
Three U. S. Navy Landing Craft Mechanized (LCMs) were damaged by enemy water mines at a Cua Viet River causeway 11 miles south of Quang Tri City. One U. S. Navy sailor was killed and the body of one enemy swimmer, wearing Soviet made scuba equipment was later found in the vicinity. The enemy was believed to have been killed by hand grenades thrown into the water when he was sighted in the area following the explosions. In addition, one Soviet Limpet-type mine was found on the river bottom.
SS MA HULL 223, since named SS Mormacstar, was launched for Moore and McCormack Lines at Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi.
The Navy announced that the battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) will finish a six-month Vietnam tour the end of March and return to California and be replaced by another heavy-gun ship, presumably a cruiser. The Navy said present planning envisions another deployment for New Jersey in the fall of 1969. The battleship commenced firing her 16-inch guns 1 October 1968, shelling targets in the DMZ.
Operation Purple Martin, under the control of the U. S. 3rd Marine Division, commenced in northwestern I Corps, nine miles northwest of Khe Sanh in Quang Tri Province.
SS American Leader was launched at Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Chester, Pennsylvania, for United States Lines.
Defense officials of the Republic of Korea and U. S. announced that a joint training exercise called Focus Retina is scheduled to begin in the Republic of Korea in mid-March 1969. It will take place in an area about 40 miles southeast of the capital city of Seoul and involve about 2,500 U. S. military men from the continental U. S. Focus Retina is designed to demonstrate the capability to deploy Strategic Reserve Forces in the U. S. to an overseas area rapidly. This is the first exercise of its type to take place in the Republic of Korea.
LTV Aerospace Corp. in Dallas, Texas was issued a $211,459,083 modification to an existing fixed-price contract for the production of the Navy’s A-7E Corsair II aircraft. This marks the completion of this contract with LTV for a total of over one-half billion dollars. The single-engine, all-weather jet attack aircraft is especially designed to carry out attack and close support roles.
The Defense Department announced that men and equipment have arrived on Bikini Atoll to begin the first phase of a project by the U. S. Government to restore the atoll to a habitable condition for Bikinians who wish to return to their former home in the mid-Pacific.
General Electric Co., West Lynn, Massachusetts, was issued a $5,800,000 modification to an existing fixed-price contract for engineering development of TF-34 turbofan engines for the Navy’s VSX (S-3A) antisubmarine warfare aircraft.
In Quang Tri Province, the U. S. 3rd Marine Division terminated Operations Scotland II and Kentucky. Operation Kentucky began on 31 October 1967 and resulted in 3,921 enemy killed, while U. S. casualties were 520 killed and 3,079 wounded. Operation Scotland II began on 15 April 1968, and resulted in 3,311 enemy killed. U. S. casualties were 463 killed and 2,553 wounded.
The U. S. Naval Oceanographic Office announced that oceanographers of their office recently discovered six new seamounts and several undersea channels in the Sea of Japan. The discoveries were made during surveys conducted aboard the research vessel F. V. Hunt, an oceanographic ship under contract to the Navy, and the USNS Silas Bent.
All the months air strikes were flown under the control of Air Force Forward Air Controllers (FAC). USS New Jersey (BB-62) blew up a Communist rocket site in the Demilitarized Zone on the 15th. Four carriers on the line during the last month were USS Hancock (CVA-19), Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), Ranger (CVA-61), and Coral Sea (CVA-43). Hancock left Yankee Station during the middle of the month.
The Maritime Administration announced there were 973 vessels of one thousand gross tons and over in the active oceangoing U. S. merchant fleet on this date—sixty less than the number active on 1 January. Although the Atlantic and Gulf Coast longshore strike was settled in some ports on 15 February, over one hundred ships were still tied up on this date because of the strike. The total privately owned fleet declined by two to 965 compared to 1 January. The number under contract for construction or conversion increased by one to 79.
A Department of Defense Joint Logistics Review Board (JLRB) was established by Presidential directive charged with a broad front approach to all aspects of worldwide logistic support to U. S. combat forces during the Vietnam era so as to identify strengths and weaknesses and make appropriate recommendations for improvement. The final report is due in April 1970.
Rear Admiral Thomas J. Rudden, USN, relieved Rear Admiral David H. Bagley, USN, as Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Group Seventh Fleet (65-ship, battleship-cruiser-destroyer group of the Seventh Fleet).
A U. S. Marine Corps F-4 Phantom aircraft was shot down 9 miles west-northwest of Hoi An. Both crewmen were injured and the aircraft was destroyed.
Peterson Builders, Inc., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, was awarded a $5,083,500 fixed-price contract for construction of six large Navy Harbor Tugs (YTB). The Naval Ship Systems Command awarded the contract.
Addressing the Shipbuilders Council of America’s 48th annual meeting, Rear Admiral Thomas R. Weschler, USN, Chairman of the Navy Ship Characteristics Board and DD-963/DXG Program Director, called for an end to “remote” relationships between ship operators, designers, and shipbuilders as essential to improved mutual understanding of influence of cost trade-offs on ship characteristics.
The attack carrier USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) became the first aircraft carrier to mark the beginning of a fifth combat tour off Vietnam as she launched jets against an enemy troop concentration and a supply area in I Corps. Ticonderoga was the first to launch retaliatory strikes against North Vietnam after the Tonkin Gulf incident in August 1964. The ship will be 25 years old in May.
Andrew E. Gibson appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee, as a step toward confirmation as Maritime Administrator, stating that his policy would be that of President Nixon’s, who has made it clear he wants to build up the merchant marine with American flag ships built in American yards. He was later confirmed.
The Defense Department announced that General Herman Nickerson, Jr., U. S. Marine Corps, will replace Lieutenant General Robert E. Cushman, Jr., as Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force, Vietnam. Cushman has been appointed by the President to be the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Washington, D.C.
Operation Taylor Common was terminated. The operation began on 7 December 1968, and was centered in an area ten miles west-southwest of An Hoa. During the three-month operation, U. S. Marines killed 1,398 enemy soldiers and captured 610 individual and 23 crew-served weapons. U. S. casualties were 156 killed and 1,327 wounded.
U. S. Seventh Fleet gunfire support ships had an impressive day with ten enemy reported killed, 187 enemy bunkers and military structures destroyed or damaged, 17 secondary fires, and four secondary explosions credited to their account.
The Hong Kong freighter Shun Tai collided with a Liberian ore carrier four miles south of Singapore, killing at least four sailors, seven others from the Shun Tai were missing, including the British Captain. The 7,075-ton freighter sank 11 minutes after the collision.
Representative William R. Anderson (D-Tenn) said that the Defense Department has blocked study of a sea-based anti-ballistic missile system, or SABMIS that could be twice as effective and less costly than the proposed Sentinel ABM system.
A Russian sailor who defected by swimming 400 yards from his ship Boiky to the British vessel Tweedbank was handed over to officials of the Soviet embassy in Lagos, Nigeria. The sailor was only aboard the British ship for six hours.
President Nixon announced that General Lyman L. Lemnitzer is retiring as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe July 1st, and will be replaced by General Andrew J. Goodpaster. Lemnitzer held the post since 1 January 1963. Goodpaster is currently Deputy U. S. Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.
The Defense Department announced that a British Polaris submarine, HMS Repulse (S-23), will visit the U. S. this month for final shakedown tests of her two crews and the weapons system, including the firing of Polaris missiles.
The Navy Court of Inquiry investigating the USS Pueblo (AGER-2) incident adjourned at 9:55 a.m. PST, in Corona, California, after hearing Commander Lloyd M. Bucher’s final remarks. Vice Admiral Harold G. Bowen, Jr., was President of the Court.
The Senate confirmed the nomination of Andrew E. Gibson of New Jersey to be Federal Maritime Administrator, Department of Commerce.
It was announced that conversion of the 108,000-dwt tanker SS Manhattan for Arctic service has begun at Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. shipyard at Chester, Pennsylvania, to strengthen the tanker for ice-breaking. The voyage through the Northwest Passage is expected to take place this summer.
The 693-foot Panamanian-registered tanker, Esso Honduras, and the 125-foot Soviet fishing trawler, No. NR4553, collided in pre-dawn darkness off the North Carolina coast. The Coast Guard said the trawler sank with all hands lost—estimated to have been about 15 persons aboard. The Russians did not request assistance. The trawler had been operating off the coast for the past month.
The Maritime Administration opened bids on conversion of eight Mariner class vessels to full containerships for United States Lines, Inc.
Operation Maine Crag, a multi-battalion search and clear operation centered six miles south of Khe Sanh, commenced under the control of the 3rd Regiment, U. S. 3rd Marine Division.
The nuclear-powered Sturgeon class attack submarine USS Sunfish (SSN-649) was commissioned at Quincy, Massachusetts.
The destroyer USS Mullinnix (DD-944) shelled an enemy rocket site in the southern portion of the DMZ. The site was silenced with one secondary explosion erupting in the target area.
The Game Warden support ship USS Harnett County (LST-821) was hit by one round of 107 mm recoilless rifle fire on the Vam Co Dong River, 16-miles southwest of Saigon. Four Americans were wounded and the ship received light damage.
Twenty-two NATO warships began a week-long antisubmarine exercise in the eastern Mediterranean amid reports of a similar maneuver by the Soviet Black Sea Fleet in the area. Ships from Greece, Italy, Turkey, Great Britain, and the U. S. took part.
General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, announced the appointment of Rear Admiral Allan R. Fleming, USN, as Commander Maritime Air, Mediterranean.
The 21st annual NATO meeting of the Planning Board for Ocean Shipping (PBOS) commenced in London, England. It was terminated on 20 March.
The heavy cruiser USS Newport News (CA-148) fired on enemy positions in the southern DMZ, destroying 14 enemy bunkers and causing nine secondary explosions.
It was announced that Senator Russell B. Long (D-La) had accepted Chairmanship of the Merchant Marine Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee. Senator Long pledged himself to the task of working to start rebuilding America’s merchant marine, to provide this nation with the strength on the seas and in world trade which that arm of U. S. national policy once possessed.
The Medal of Honor was presented (Posthumously) to Private First Class Melvin E. Newlin, U. S. Marine Corps, by President Richard M. Nixon, for action in the Republic of Vietnam on July 3 and 4,1967. Private Newlin, while serving as a machine gunner and repeatedly wounded, single-handedly repulsed savage enemy attacks against his own position as well as attacks on other marine positions. In the face of almost certain death, he broke up and disorganized the entire Viet Cong assault force, causing them to lose momentum and delay them long enough for his fellow marines to organize a defense and beat off their secondary attack. He was attached to the First Platoon, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division manning a key post on the perimeter of the Nong Son outpost at the time.
The Soviet Union introduced, at the disarmament talks in Geneva, a draft of an international convention calling for the prohibition of nuclear weapons and military installations of any kind on the ocean floor outside the 12-mile territory limit. The U. S. later voiced disagreement with the Russian proposal and submitted its own recommendation.
The Defense Department announced it has authorized the Navy to shift to a new all-distillate marine diesel type of fuel for ship propulsion, to replace, on a gradual time-phased basis, the Navy special fuel oil now in use. Procurement of the new fuel could start as early as March 1970 and reach a peak, now estimated at 46-million barrels a year, by February 1972.
Four Tektite I aquanauts set a new underwater record by remaining submerged for 31 consecutive days in their habitat off St. John Island in the Virgin Islands The previous record was held by Navy Commander Scott Carpenter who stayed under for a 30-day stretch during the Navy’s Sealab II project in 1965. The four aquanauts, all from the Department of Interior, have spent approximately 200-hours to date, at a 50-foot depth working in the sea outside their habitat, conducting daily marine science studies. They began their mission 15 February and are continuing toward their goal of being submerged 60-days. This was accomplished.
Defense Secretary Laird presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee a distillation of the Nixon Administration’s review of the Fiscal Year 1970 military budget submitted by departing President Johnson. He recommended an overall cut of $2.3 billion from the original request of $80.6 billion. Net reductions in Navy Shipbuilding and Conversion (SCN) of $66.9 million is contemplated and eliminated 1-SSN, 2-ATS, 1-AS, 1-AD 1-DE, 2-DLG conversions, and Long Lead Time Items/MSO conversions.
The American merchant ship SS Lafayette was hit by an enemy rocket while transiting the Long Tau Channel from Vung Tau to Saigon. Damage was minor and there were no casualties.
Peterson Builders, Inc., Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin, was awarded a $2,166,600 multi-year contract for construction of five motor patrol gunboats (PGM). The Naval Ship Systems Command issued the contract.
The Peruvian Navy seized two American tuna boats, San Juan and Cape Ann, about 23 miles off the coast of Peru. The San Juan was raked by machine gun fire from a Peruvian patrol boat in another incident of 14 February, but escaped northward into waters claimed by Ecuador after the firing.
The 6,933-ton Liberian ship Garden City and the Polish ship, 10,500-ton government steamship Zaglebie Dabrowskie, collided in dense fog off England’s southeast coast and the Liberian freighter was abandoned, and later sank. The Coast Guard reported the crew was picked up by the Polish ship.
The Special House Armed Service Subcommittee on Seapower, headed by Representative Charles E. Bennett (D-Fla), released a 67-page report based on seven hearings and staff visits to 13 major shipyards and ship repair facilities. The report stated the United States no longer enjoys a clear-cut military and technological advantage over the Soviets in naval matters and recommends that a well balanced construction program, extended over a period of years, should start immediately. The subcommittee said the Navy should, by the 1980s, have a fleet of 850 modern ships, which should include 41 Polaris submarines and nuclear attack submarines excluding nonnuclear submarines. Now, the report stated, the average age of U. S. Navy ships is seventeen and one-half years old, and 58 per cent of its combat ships are twenty years old or more, while the Soviet Navy, in contrast, boasts less than one per cent of its ships are that age. The report added that the Russians now have 1,575 Navy ships, while the U. S. Navy has only 894.
The fifth developmental test firing of the Navy’s new Poseidon missile was completed in the Atlantic shooting range, after launching from Cape Kennedy, Florida.
United Aircraft Corp., East Hartford, Connecticut, received a $6,500,000 contract for design, development, and testing of the TF-30-P-401 engine for use in the F-14A. The Naval Air Systems Command issued the contract.
U. S. Coast Guard’s intentions to solicit bids for construction of one 374-foot oceanographic cutter were announced. Formal bid invitations are expected to be issued in late June or early July.
Secretary of Defense Laird, in public testimony before the Disarmament Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noted that the Soviets can now produce one nuclear submarine per month and implied that seven were delivered to Russian naval forces in 1968. He added that he would “seriously question” whether the U. S. Polaris/Poseidon fleet of 41 submarines carrying 656 missiles, would be invulnerable to “preemptive attack” after 1972.
The deep diving Navy submersible Trieste II arrived in Mayport, Florida, to begin outfitting for further investigation of the loss of the attack submarine USS Scorpion in the Atlantic.
It was announced that Atlantic-Richfield Company has asked several U. S. shipyards to submit prices by 14 June 1969, on three or five tankers in the range of 100,000/120,000 dwt. Vessels would be used to haul Alaskan crude oil to West Coast refineries.
The Navy amphibious ship USS Caddo Parish (LST-515) was hit by enemy B-40 rocket-grenade fire, 39 miles southwest of Saigon. No casualties were reported and damage to the ship was light.
The American merchant ship, SS American Racer, came under enemy attack while transiting the Long Tau River, 13 miles southeast of Saigon. All rockets missed. This was the 21st attempt by the Viet Cong to sink a ship in the channel this year.
Navy Secretary John H. Chafee asked Congress to provide funds to pay nuclear-powered submarine trained junior officers an extra $15 thousand to remain on duty another four years after their terms of service are up.
The Navy’s only inshore fire support unit, consisting of four shallow-draft rocket-firing ships, was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for service in Vietnam. The ships involved were USS Carronade (LFR-1), St. Francis River (LFR-525), Clarion River (LFR-409), and White River (LFR-536), for the period from 1 June 1967, to 1 September 1968 in support of Allied forces in the Republic of Vietnam during intensive and sustained combat operations.
Light Attack Squadron Four (VAL-4), the newest air arm of the River Patrol Force arrived in country, South Vietnam and began flying their OV-10A Broncos in support of PBRs. A detachment of five Broncos are stationed at Vung Tau on the coast to patrol northwest of Saigon and another five are stationed at Binh Thuy Air Base, patrolling from the Mekong River area over to the Gulf of Thailand.
The Medal of Honor was present (Posthumously) to U. S. Marine Sergeant Rodney M. Davis, by Vice President Agnew, for action in Quang Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 6 September 1967. While directing fire of his men in an attempt to repel an enemy attack, he instantly threw himself upon an enemy grenade which landed in the midst of his men, absorbing with his own body the full force of the explosion. He saved his comrades from injury and possible death, enabling his platoon to hold its vital position.
A task force of 19 Soviet warships, including two missile cruisers and eight submarines, began exercises 200 south of Iceland, the Royal Navy reported. The Russian flotilla, the biggest Soviet sea force to approach the Atlantic in recent years, mustered for the exercise 400 miles off the coast of Scotland on the fringe of the Atlantic.
Dwight David Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, and General of the Army, died at 12:25 p.m at Walter Reed Army Hospital. He was seventy-eight years old.
Five British warships left Malta for Gibraltar and ended a British naval presence on the island which began in the year 1800.
The nuclear-powered attack carrier USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) arrived off the coast of Vietnam and launched 15 attack sorties against enemy targets in I Corps.
Operation Oklahoma Hills, a multi-battalion search and clear operation centered in an area 20-miles southwest of Da Nang, commenced, under the control of the 7th Regiment, U. S. 1st Marine Division.
The new British passenger liner Queen Elizabeth II sailed into the high seas from Southampton, England, for an eight-day acceptance trial to Dakar, Senegal, and back to Southampton.
The battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) departed the gunline after six months of shelling enemy positions. Her most effective day was on 27 March when she hit targets in the Phan Thiet area in II Corps. Her one-ton projectiles destroyed or damaged 72 enemy bunkers and destroyed five military structures and 70 meters of trench line. During her tour, the ship pounded the enemy with 18,000 rounds. Her final target was an active enemy bunker complex located five miles south of Cam Lo in northern I Corps.
Secretary of Defense Laird, moving to cut military spending another $613 million, told the House Armed Services Committee he plans to reduce B-52 bomber sorties and trim several naval ships in the Vietnam war. The Secretary said these ships—about 18 of them—are all low priority forces and their deletion should not have any significantly adverse impact on the Navy’s overall combat capabilities. . . since the number of gunfire support and market time patrol ships in Southeast Asia can now be reduced because naval combat operations against North Vietnam have been terminated.
Secretary of the Navy John H. Chafee told the Senate Armed Services Committee the Navy is considering a new undersea long-range missile system (ULMS) for the late 1970s to meet the increasing threat from the Soviet Union. He cited the possibility of an extensive Soviet antisubmarine warfare effort against the U. S. fleet of 41 Polaris and Poseidon equipped submarines and said, in preparation for such Russian efforts, the Navy is examining a longer range submarine launched missile system. No estimate of the intended range of the ULMS was given, but Poseidons are estimated to have a capability of about 2,500 miles. The Secretary also testified that the continued effectiveness of the U. S. Navy will require $3 5 billion or more annually for ship construction and conversion in the next decade. The budget for Fiscal Year 1970 presented by the outgoing Johnson Administration requested $2.9 billion for Navy ships, and the Nixon Administration modification reduced the total to $2.8 billion. Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, USN, Chief of Naval Operations, also testified before the same committee, stressing the need for an accelerated shipbuilding program for the Navy.
It was reported that another inter-agency maritime task group was formed by the Nixon Administration to produce a new maritime policy by mid-May. A similar maritime task force was established under the Johnson Administration.
Lieutenant Commander Jim Flateley, USN, 35, became the fourth pilot in U. S. naval history to record 1,000 landings on aircraft carriers, as he touched down on USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) in the Gulf of Tonkin, after completing his 150th combat mission in the Vietnam War. He was a member of Fighter Squadron 213, based in San Diego, and is the son of the late World War II Navy Ace, Vice Admiral Jimmy Flateley.
The Shipbuilders Council of America announced that tabulations of private shipyards’ collective work force as issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show 145,000 workers employed during February 1969—down 1,000 from an April 1968 high, but 9,100 above the August 1968 low. Data also showed employment in government-owned shipyards at 92,900 in February or 4,400 below the level of 97,300 achieved in July 1968.
The twenty-ship Soviet fleet that entered the North Atlantic last week turned east and headed back toward the Orkney Islands, British Defense sources stated. The force is the biggest to enter the North Atlantic since World War II and includes eight submarines and 12 surface ships.
The Navy announced that Commander Lloyd M. Bucher, USN, his five officers and one enlisted man are the only crew members of USS Pueblo (AGER-2) officially retained on the roster of the captured ship. The 75 other surviving crewmen have been transfered to other duty or certified for separation from active duty.
The first Soviet naval squadron to make an official visit to Mauritius arrived at the Indian Ocean island of Port Louis.
Development and production proposals for DD-963 destroyers (formerly DX) were submitted by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine; General Dynamics Corp., Quincy, Massachusetts Division; and Litton Industries, Inc., Ingalls Shipbuilding Division, Pascagoula, Mississippi. Following evaluation, initial ship building contract or contracts are scheduled for award by the Navy in mid-November.
U. S. Marine Corps Fighter-Attack Squadron, VMFA-232, arrived at Chu LaiAir Base. This F-4 Phantom squadron replaced another Phantom squadron. VMFA-323, which returned to El Toro California, 30 March.
An American oceanographic vessel Atlantis II, operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution of Massachusetts concluded a twenty day survey throughout the Black Sea. The team of 26 scientists was engaged in a detailed geochemical, geological, geophysical and biological study in international waters in that area. They were followed by a Soviet warship and a hydrographical vessel.
Norfolk Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Corp., Norfolk, Virginia, was issued a $1,749,876 contract for the dry docking and regular topside overhaul of the amphibious transport dock USS Raleigh (LPD-1). The supervisor of shipbuilding, conversion, and repair, Fifth Naval District awarded the contract.
Seven Soviet naval units entered the Mediterranean through the Strait of Gibraltar, the U. S. Sixth Fleet Headquarters announced.
The sixth developmental launch of the Navy’s Poseidon missile was made from Cape Kennedy, Florida.
The Navy’s Court of Inquiry into the capture of USS Pueblo (AGER-2) ended officially when the five admirals signed their names to its findings. The Court’s record was forwarded to Admiral John J. Hyland, USN, Commander, U. S. Pacific Fleet, the convening authority for review. The Court began deliberations on 13 March, after hearing 104 witnesses in hearings which opened 20 January. Pueblo was captured by North Korea 23 January 1968. Its crew was released 11 months later.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration named three Navy men for the flight of Apollo 12, the nation’s second lunar landing mission. They are Commander Charles Conrad, Jr., Commander Richard F. Gordon, Jr., and Lieutenant Commander Alan L. Bean. Gordon and Conrad are veterans of space flight in the Gemini program, while this will be Bean’s first space flight.
With her total patient admissions of about 13,000, the U. S. Naval Hospital Ship Sanctuary (AH-17) marked the second anniversary of her arrival in the South China Sea off Vietnam. Since her arrival in Vietnam waters, Sanctuary recorded over 7,000 helicopter landings, and her doctors have performed over 7,000 major surgical operations, and a total of 23,500 servicemen have received “out patient” treatment.
The Soviet Union increased its Mediterranean fleet to about 45 ships, five below the high point it reached last year, with fifteen Russian ships sailing into the Mediterranean through the Straits of Gibraltar in the last 48 hours. A Soviet guided missile destroyer sailed from the Black Sea through the Bosporus Strait into the area, bringing the Russian guided missile strength in the Mediterranean to an all time high, British Defense officials said. Also, Russia reportedly has 14 submarines in the Sea, the greatest number ever reported there.
The Interior Department reported that during the past three months a large Soviet fishing fleet carefully observed an agreement not to fish for certain Atlantic species during their spawning season.
Secretary of the Navy John H. Chafee announced the names of 19 ships to be retired and five to be transferred to Naval Reserve status as training units. These represent the ships referred to by Defense Secretary Laird on 1 April in a budgetary move. Five of the 19 to be retired are currently serving as Naval Reserve training ships. These actions are aimed at realizing a budget reduction of 326 million. Four of the units are assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, and 15 to the Pacific Fleet. The Atlantic ships are: USS Irex (SS-484), Chopper (SS-342), Shasta (AE-6), Waller (DD-466). Pacific Fleet ships are: USS Taylor (DD-468), Walker (DD-517), Jenkins (DD-447), Fletcher (DD-445), Falgout (DER-324), Vance (DER-387), Haverfield (DER-393), Wilhoite (DER-397), Aludra (AF-55), Black (DD-666), Colleton (APB-36), Marshall (DD-676), Whitehurst (DE-634), Vammen (DE-644), and Marsh (DE-699). The five ships to be transferred to the Naval Reserve Fleet are: USS Huntington (DD-781), Maddox (DD-731), S.N. Moore (DD-747), H.E. Hubbard (DD-748), and Brush (DD-745). The P-2 Neptune squadron, VP-7, at Jacksonville, Florida, also will be inactivated temporarily as part of Fiscal Year 1970 force level reduction.
In response to a letter submitted from 19 steamship companies regarding military cargoes, Vice Admiral L. P. Ramage, USN, Commander of the Military Sea Transportation Service, indicated that MSTS is willing to work with the steamship industry to establish a uniform rate for the carriage of break-bulk military cargo.
The Soviet Union’s submarine fleet is now larger than the combined underwater fleets of all 15 members of NATO, according to a report released today by Britain’s Institute for Strategic Studies. The Russians have about 380 submarines, 88 capable of firing nuclear warhead missiles. All NATO countries together have 329 submarines. Of the 150 U. S. submarines, three Polaris missile vessels are assigned to NATO European command.
The Defense Department announced that at approximately 5:00 p.m. EST a four-engine propeller-driven Navy EC-121 aircraft took off from its base at Atsugi, Japan, for a reconnaissance mission over the Sea of Japan. The aircraft had 30 Navy men and one Marine enlisted man aboard. At a distance some 90 miles southeast of Chongjin, North Korea, at 11:50 p.m. EST, the ec-121 disappeared from radar screens. It was later determined from evidence available, including North Korean claims and debris sighted, that it was shot down by North Korean aircraft. The Defense Department confirmed that the unarmed aircraft was, at all times, far outside any claimed territorial airspace of North Korea. U. S. Air Force aircraft from Japan, Okinawa, Philippines, and South Korea were dispatched to conduct search and rescue operations. U. S. Navy P-3s from Japan joined in the search effort and the Navy also dispatched the USS Dale (DLG-19) and USS Henry W. Tucker (DD-875) on the 15th from Sasebo, Japan to assist. The EC-121 was assigned to Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron One. The President later noted that the U. S has been conducting reconnaissance missions in the Far East and specifically in the Sea of Japan area since 1950, and in 1969 there were approximately 190 such missions in the Sea of Japan through March—all without incident, without threat, and without any warning.
Trieste II, White Sands (ARD-20), and USS Apache (ATF-67) departed Mayport, Florida, and are expected to begin operations in the area of the USS Scorpion wreckage, 400 miles southwest of the Azores, the latter part of May or beginning of June. Trieste II will photograph portions of the submarine’s hull, as well as allow on-the-scene observation by technical experts.
The Defense Department announced that a Navy P-3 patrol aircraft searching for the missing EC-121, reported that at a position of 41 degrees 14 minutes north and 131 degrees 50 minutes east, debris had been sighted in the water that could be associated with the downed aircraft. No survivors were reported.
At noon, Secretary of State Rogers talked with Ambassador Dobrynin of the Soviet Union and requested his government’s assistance in the search and rescue effort in the Sea of Japan for survivors of the EC-121. Subsequently it was reported that two Soviet destroyer-type ships (Number 429[–]a Kotlin class destroyer and number 582[–]a Kashin class destroyer) were operating in the immediate vicinity of the search area, where the P-3 had sighted debris in the water. U. S. aircraft assisted in directing the Soviet ships to the scene and in the recovery of some debris.
The Bureau of Commercial Fisheries stated a second Russian shrimp fishing fleet has been sighted in the Gulf of Alaska. It is the first Soviet fishing for shrimp near the Shumagin Islands in the Western Gulf since the U. S. fishery zone went into effect in March 1967.
Four aquanauts, who since 15 February have been residing continuously on the ocean floor off St. John Island in the Virgin Islands, completed decompression last night and took their first breath of normal atmosphere in more than sixty days. This concluded the successful Tektite I experiment which was a joint program of the Navy, Department of Interior, the NASA, and the General Electric Company. The four civilian aquanauts were at a depth of fifty feet for sixty days, doubling the record time for continuously living and working submerged without surfacing. The men left their habitat at 11:15 p.m. EST, to begin decompression.
The Defense Department stated that the proposed military budget for Fiscal Year 1970 requested in January of $80.6 billion is being reduced by $3.1 billion for a new total of $77.5 billion.
Hearings on HR-4152 authorization bill covering the Department of Commerce appropriations for Fiscal Year 1970 commenced. The Bill includes $15.9 million for ship construction or conversion under auspices of Maritime Administration. It is estimated that these funds plus $101.6 million, carried over from last year, would enable construction of ten merchant vessels.
Representative Thomas J. Pelly (R-Wash) questioned the ability of the U. S. merchant marine to provide an adequate emergency pipeline across the Pacific to Korea, during hearings before the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee. He doubted the World War II ships now in the reserve fleet would be able to transport the necessary supplies to Korea once again, especially with the Vietnam sealift consuming such a large number of vessels. Andrew Gibson, Maritime Administrator, told the committee that with the exception of the 160 reserve fleet ships serving in the Vietnam pipeline, the rest of the mothballed ships should be scrapped.
The guided-missile destroyer HMAS Brisbane (D-41) became the third Australian ship to take part in the Vietnam war when it shelled Viet Cong positions in IV Corps. HMAS Hobart (D-39) and Perth (D-38) have served prior to Brisbane’s arrival.
The Defense Department announced that two additional destroyers have joined the search effort today in the Sea of Japan. They are: USS Sterett (DLG-3) and USS Mahan (DLG-11).
The USS Henry W. Tucker (DD-875) recovered the bodies of one officer and one enlisted crewman from the EC-121 downed 14 February in the Sea of Japan. Tucker also recovered life jackets and pieces of aircraft wreckage including pieces of fuselage bearing shrapnel holes. A five square mile area containing aircraft debris was covered by the search vessels and aircraft at a point about sixty-miles from the North Korean coast. The two men were identified as Lieutenant (j.g.) Joseph Richard Ribar, USN, and Aviation Electronics Technician First Class Richard E. Sweeney, Jr.
The Navy announced that the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CVT-16) went aground at 4:15 p.m. about 2,500 yards south of her berth at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida. The combined efforts of four tugs could not keep the ship from drifting out of the channel into shallow water. There were no injuries nor damage reported to the ship. After spending more than seven hours aground, the carrier was pulled free by four Navy tugs.
President Nixon stated at a news conference that he had ordered that the reconnaissance missions be resumed and that these flights be protected. The Defense Department announced later in the day that appropriate actions will be taken to provide protection for reconnaissance aircraft and crews in international airspace over the Sea of Japan. Surveillance flights in the Sea of Japan area were halted immediately after the EC-121 loss.
The Department of Defense announced that certain U. S. ships and aircraft had been shifted from their previously assigned positions and assignments during the past several days, as a result of the loss of the EC-121, the search for survivors of the Navy EC-121 is continuing with three destroyers and aircraft on the scene. USS Henry W. Tucker (DD-875) departed the search area enroute to Sasebo, Japan, with debris and two bodies located yesterday.
Defense Department confirmed reports that USS New Jersey (BB-62) had been diverted from her scheduled arrival at Long Beach, California, and is returning to the Western Pacific.
The 25-year old attack carrier USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) began her fifth combat tour off the coast of Vietnam.
Rear Admiral Roy M. Isaman, USN, relieved Rear Admiral Frederic A. Bardshar, USN, as Commander, Carrier Division 7 during ceremonies aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) in the Gulf of Tonkin. Admiral Bardshar reports for duty as Vice Director (J-3) (Operations), Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Admiral Horacio Rivero, Jr., USN, Commander of the NATO forces in Southern Europe, stated at a press conference that Soviet naval combat strength in the Mediterranean is at an all-time high, noting that fifty or more Russian ships are operating in the area and that there were more than sixty last September, but he added the number of combatant vessels in the present fleet is higher than ever before. The Admiral concluded that Soviet naval activity in the Mediterranean had increased seven-fold in the last five years.
Submarines and aircraft of five NATO nations commenced a small exercise in the eastern Atlantic. It terminated 7 May.
Search and rescue operations for survivors of the Navy EC-121 shot down by North Korea was terminated at 5:00 p.m. EST.
NATO exercise—code-named Dawn Patrol—one of the largest held in the Mediterranean in recent years, commenced with more than 60 warships and 300 aircraft from the United States, Britain, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. NATO Headquarters stated that the exercise was observed, throughout the 13-day period, by Soviet naval units. The exercise ended 2 May. Maneuvers involved simulated war-time air strikes and air defense, amphibious landings by Marine units (in Sardina [sic]), antisubmarine warfare, surveillance, and simulated nuclear operations.
The Defense Department announced, as a result of the loss of the EC-121, Task Force 71 has been activated by the Pacific Fleet Commander and is commanded by Rear Admiral Malcolm W. Cagle, USN. The ships include four carriers, three cruisers, and 16 destroyers. They are: attack carriers USS Enterprise (CVAN-65), Ticonderoga (CVA-14), Ranger (CVA-61); antisubmarine warfare carrier USS Hornet (CVS-12); cruisers USS Chicago (CG-11), Oklahoma City (CLG-5), and St. Paul (CL-73); destroyer types USS Sterett (DLG-31), Dale (DLG-19), Mahan (DLG-11), Henry W. Tucker (DD-875), Gurke (DD-783), John W. Weeks (DD-701), Lynde McCormick (DDG-8), Perry (DD-844), Meredith (DD-890), Lyman K. Swenson (DD-729), Radford (DD-446), Parsons (DDG-33), Richard B. Anderson (DD-786), Shelton (DD-790), Ernest G. Small (DD-838), Davidson (DE-1045).
Three more ships from the Soviet Union’s Black Sea fleet entered the Mediterranean Sea.
A Pentagon announcement stated that two Russian Bear aircraft overflew the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) as she headed for her maiden deployment with the U. S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean.
The Defense Department stated the Nixon Administration wants Army General Earle G. Wheeler to remain on for a sixth straight year as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Made public was a letter Secretary of Defense wrote to the House Speaker, outlining proposed legislative changes which would permit General Wheeler to remain the extra year.
The battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) arrived in Yokosuka, Japan, for supplies. The ship had left the Japanese naval base 9 April enroute to Long Beach, its homeport, but was ordered to return to the Far East after the EC-121 shootdown.
Istanbul port officials stated three more Soviet warships (Mirka class escort vessels) passed through the Bosporus Straits to join the growing Russian fleet in the Mediterranean.
The Senate passed and sent to the White House a bill to provide for the rank of General (4-stars) for the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, when the Corps has a total active strength of 200,000 men.
The Defense Department announced that Russia had completed the first extended range test of the SS-9 with three re-entry vehicles last week. It was fired into the Soviet’s Pacific testing area at a range of about 5,000 miles. It was stated that the Soviet Union now has some 200 of the SS-9 missiles deployed.
Senator Warren G. Magnuson (D-Wash), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced a bill (SO 1915) which would authorize $300 million annually for merchant ship construction, under government auspices, for 1970-74 Fiscal Years, to enable construction of between 35 and 40 ships each year.
The Navy’s Task Force 71 operating in the Sea of Japan was increased from 23 to 29, with the addition of six destroyers. They were USS Rowan (DD-782), Waddell (DDG-24), Lofberg (DD-759), Coontz (DDG-9), Buchanan (DDG-14), and Duncan (DD-874).
The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, USN, departed for an eight-day European trip which took him to the U. S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean and U. S. military commands in four European nations, Great Britain, Belgium, Italy, and Spain.
Yesterday and early today the Navy conducted and completed a successful communications check with all U. S. submarines operating in the Western Atlantic as a result of a radio reception identified as a possible submarine distress signal, reported by several aircraft along the eastern seaboard yesterday. The check was made as a precaution. Indications were that the signal originated from tests of an emergency transmitting device carried by submarines. It was discovered later that the tests were conducted by a civilian manufacturing and testing firm on the East Coast.
The Israeli Navy Commander, Admiral Avroham Botzer, announced that the submarine Dakar, which sank with a crew of 69 aboard more than a year ago, probably is lying 30 to 60 miles off Egypt’s Nile Delta at a depth of about 1,250 feet. The assumption was based on examination of a buoy from the submarine discovered on 11 February. Foul play was not evident, the cause of the sinking has not been ascertained.
The Defense Department announced that 36 military installations and activities in the U. S. would be closed, reduced, or consolidated to save $95 million annually. Affected Navy activities are: Naval Weapons Center Corona Laboratories, Corona, California will be consolidated with the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, California; Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, San Francisco, will be disestablished; and the Naval Applied Science Laboratory, Brooklyn, will be reduced.
The nuclear-powered submarine USS Whale (SSN-638) arrived in Faslane, Scotland, today after completing more than a month of operations in the Arctic Ocean, including a surfacing at the North Pole. The polar visit occurred at 10:00 a.m. EST, 6 April, sixty years to the day and hour that Admiral Robert Perry [sic] and Mathew Henson reached the Pole in 1909. The crew of the Whale planted the U. S. flag on the Arctic ice. Whale was accompanied on a portion of this trip by USS Skate (SSN-578), a veteran of two previous Arctic visits. Scientific data and oceanographic information were obtained during the voyage. USS Nautilus (SSN-571) made the first polar transit in 1958. Skate's first winter polar transit was in 1958 also, while USS Seadragon (SSN-584) made a transpolar Northwest Passage in 1960. Both Skate and Seadragon accomplished a dual submarine polar expedition in 1962.
Task Force 71, that sailed into the Sea of Japan on the 20th of this month to protect American reconnaissance flights off North Korea, proceeded south through the Tsushima Straits to the Yellow Sea where fleet operations will continue. The naval task force officially numbered 29 ships.
Defense Department stated that Task Force 71 has been cut from an original 29 to only 8 Navy ships, including the nuclear-powered carrier USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) and seven destroyer-type ships.
Two U. S. Navy helicopters were shot down and crashed inside Cambodian territory. A third helicopter extracted four wounded survivors and one body. Four crewmen were known to be killed, in addition to the four wounded. The State Department confirmed this information on 2 May.
Fire broke out in the engine room of the 12,755-ton British tanker Mobile Apex while the ship was at anchor about a mile off an oil refinery in St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands, the Coast Guard reported.
Two enemy mines of unknown type and size exploded beneath an assault support patrol boat (ASPB) and a river patrol boat (PBR), killing one Navy man and wounding 14 others. Four U. S. Marines were also wounded in the explosions. The APSB was 122 miles southwest of Saigon and the PBR was hit on the Cua Viet River, ten miles south of the DMZ.
The inshore fire support ship USS White River (LFR-536) commenced her ninth Vietnam deployment as she trained her rockets on two enemy strongholds 6 miles southeast of Quang Ngai city, destroying or damaging 40 military structures, 11 bunkers, and causing 8 secondary explosions and 13 secondary fires.
During the week ending 29 April, U. S. Navy and Coast Guard units killed 48 enemy soldiers, detained 35 enemy suspects, and received six Hoi Chanh rallying to the government of South Vietnam. The Game Warden, Market Time, and Mobile Riverine forces destroyed or damaged 564 enemy structures, 262 watercraft, and 176 bunkers. The sailors also ignited 113 sustained fires and touched off 13 secondary explosions. Naval casualties during the week were 28 wounded and two killed.
During the month of April, enemy positions throughout the Republic of Vietnam took a heavy beating from U. S. Seventh Fleet naval gunfire, destroying or damaging 1,104 enemy military structures and 793 enemy bunkers. In addition, Navy ships destroyed or damaged 138 weapons positions, 54 sampans, 31 caves, and 22 enemy supply routes. A total of 53 enemy were killed and 112 secondary fires and 88 secondary explosions were touched off. During the naval air strikes from Seventh Fleet carriers USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14), Ranger (CVA-61), Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), and Enterprise (CVAN-65), pilots accounted for 137 supply routes, 79 military structures, 70 bunkers, and 8 sampans destroyed or damaged, with 24 secondary fires and 18 secondary explosions ignited, mostly in I Corps.
The Maritime Administration announced that there are 1,060 vessels of 1,000 gross tons and over in the active ocean-going U. S. merchant fleet on this date—87 more than the number active on 1 March. The increase reflects the return to operation of ships tied up by the Atlantic and Gulf Coast longshoremen’s strike. The total privately-owned fleet decreased by four to 961. The Maritime Administration’s active flee' increased by one to 172, while the inactive fleet decreased by 23 to 901 since 1 March. The U. S.-owned fleet declined by 22 to 1,073 and the total U. S. flag merchant fleet declined by 26 to 2,034.
The Knox class destroyer escort USS Rathbourne [sic] (DE-1057) was launched in Seattle, Washington.
Lieutenant General William B. Rosson relieved General Andrew J. Goodpaster as Deputy Commander, U. S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. General Goodpaster has been selected as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.
Operation Virginia Ridge commenced in Quang Tri Province, in an area four miles west-northwest of Cam Lo by elements of the 3rd and 9th Regiments, 3rd Marine Division.
Secretary of the Navy John H. Chafee announced that Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Systems, Inc., Pascagoula, Mississippi, was awarded a $113,900,000 initial increment to a potential $1,012,500,000 fixed-price multi-year contract for construction of new type, multi-purpose amphibious warfare ships (LHA). The Naval Ship Systems Command awarded the contract. The LHA will perform a mission which currently requires four different types of vessels, an LPH, LPD, LKA, and an LSD. The new LHAs will be constructed in the world’s most modern shipyard—a new $130 million mechanized facility constructed by Ingalls Shipbuilding at Pascagoula.
Operation Maine Crag terminated. Total enemy losses for the operation were 157 killed. Fifty-two suspects were detained and 465 weapons were captured. U. S. Marine losses were 21 killed and 134 wounded. The operation commenced on 15 March 1969.
The late Harold E. Holt, former Prime Minister of Australia, was honored when the United States Navy escort ship Harold E. Holt (DE-1074) was launched at Todd Shipyard in San Pedro, California. Senator George Murphy (R-CALIF) was principal speaker and Dame Zara Bate, F.B.E., of Melbourne, Australia, widow of the Prime Minister, christened the ship. The United States has also paid respect to the memory of the late Prime Minister by renaming the U. S. Naval Communications Station at North West Cape, Australia, in his honor.
The Knox class destroyer escort USS Patterson (DE-1061) was launched at Westwego, Louisiana. The fifty Knox class escorts compose the largest group of destroyer-type warships built to the same design by any nation since the end of World War II.
The nuclear-powered submarine USS Triton (SSN-586), the world’s largest nuclear submarine, was decommissioned at Groton, Connecticut. Triton, 447 feet in length, was first, in 1960, to circumnavigate the globe under water. She was the only submarine to have two nuclear power plants. Triton was decommissioned as part of a required expenditure reduction announced by the Defense Department. (See entry for 7 August.)
Operation Daring Rebel, an amphibious operation involving U. S. Marine Battalion Landing Team 1/26, operating in coordination with forces from the Republics of Vietnam and Korea, commenced in an area twenty miles south-southeast of Da Nang under the control of Amphibious Ready Group Alpha, U. S. Seventh Fleet. Participating forces have the mission of locating and destroying or capturing enemy forces, material, and installations within the operational area, ARG Alpha was composed of USS Duluth (LPD-6), Tortuga (LSD-26), Winston (LKA-94), and Okinawa (LPH-3).
Submarine Salvage Exercise (SUBSALVEX) 1969 commenced in the Chesapeake Bay by units of the Service Force, U. S. Atlantic Fleet. The three week exercise began after the hull of an old submarine, the ex-Hake, was sunk 100 feet below the surface, and was to provide training and experience in submarine salvage techniques which had not been used since 1939 when the ill-fated submarine Squalus sank and was then refloated. The exercise was conducted in three phases: Rescue, first lift, and final lift. Service Squadron 8 had overall responsibility. The hull was successfully raised, leaving the future clear for more sophisticated exercises.
The battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) arrived in her home port of Long Beach, California, after being delayed two weeks because she was diverted back to the Far East as a result of the loss of the EC-121 shot down by North Korea.
General Andrew J. Goodpaster, USA, relieved General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, USA, as Commander-in-Chief, U. S. European Command, during ceremonies in Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany.
It was announced that Seatrain Shipbuilding Corporation would build a 225,000 dwt tanker for Langfitt Shipping Corporation, New York, if the Maritime Administration approves application for Title XI mortgage insurance. The supertanker could cost about $42,313,000.
Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia, received a $4,009,725 modification to a previously awarded contract for the furnishing of additional material and services required to prepare for the accomplishment of the overhaul, repair, alteration, and refueling of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVAN-65). The Naval Ship Systems Command issued the modification.
Secretary of the Navy John H. Chafee announced in a press conference that after studying the review of the Court of Inquiry which was convened to inquire into the seizure of USS Pueblo (AGER-2) by the North Koreans on 23 January 1968, he has decided that no disciplinary action will be taken against any of the men in the incident. The charges against all of the officers concerned will be dismissed.
The Navy announced a reorganization of the Atlantic Fleet Cruiser-Destroyer Force, shifting home ports for eleven ships and their crew totaling some 3,320 men. Naval Commands affected were in Newport, Rhode Island; Charleston South Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; and Mayport, Florida. In manpower, the shifts meant a gain of about 950 Navy men in Mayport, about 550 in Norfolk, some 400 in Newport and a loss of about 190 in Charleston.
Secretary of Commerce Maurice H. Stans appointed Robert J. Blackwell to the position of Deputy Maritime Administrator.
The Navy announced that it has informed 21 high school seniors admitted to both the Naval ROTC program and Harvard University that there would be no program for them at that university this fall, because Harvard had told the Navy that the Naval ROTC program would remain only as a purely extracurricular activity.
Sewart Seacraft, Berwick, Louisiana, received a $2,007,332 fixed-price contract for 13 fifty-foot fast patrol craft (PCF). The Naval Ship Systems Command issued the contract.
The House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee added $129 million (for a new total of $145 million) to Fiscal Year 1970 budget for merchant ship construction under federal auspices. Budget request for maritime research and development was doubled from $7.5 to $15 million.
Secretary of Defense Laird issued a memorandum for all military personnel on equal opportunity and treatment in the armed forces, stating that he calls upon every installation and unit commander to provide the leadership that will continue to translate the policy of equal opportunity into living and meaningful reality for every man and women serving our nation in the uniforms of the Armed Services. The President’s Executive Order of July 26, 1946, directed the abolishment of racial segregation in the armed services and required equality of opportunity and treatment without regard to race, color, creed, or national origin.
The Navy announced that Commander Lloyd M. Bucher, USN, the former Commanding Officer of USS Pueblo (AGER-2), has been assigned to a one-year graduate course in naval management which leads to a master’s degree at the Naval Postgraduate School of Monterey, California, starting in July. This is reportedly the assignment Commander Bucher desired, since he was due for normal rotation to a shore billet after sea duty.
The submarine USS Grayback (LPSS-574) was recommissioned at Mare Island, California.
In I Corps, Marines from the 1st Marine Division killed 129 North Vietnamese soldiers from a group of 400 to 600 enemy sighted in an area six miles northeast of An Hoa in Quang Ham [sic] Province. Marine casualties in the day-long fighting were 6 killed and 12 wounded.
Commander Richard E. Nicholson, USN, relieved Captain Roy F. Hoffmann, USN, as Commander of the Navy’s Coastal Surveillance Force (Market Time) in South Vietnam, during ceremonies at Cam Ranh Bay.
A 3rd Naval Construction Battalion (Seabee) base camp nine miles southeast of Hue received about five rounds of enemy 122mm rocket fire. Seabee casualties were light, with no fatalities and light damage to the camp.
It was reported that Commander Scott Carpenter, USN, the nation’s only astronaut-aquanaut, will retire from the Navy on 1 July to enter business in the field of oceanography.
Radio Station Sugar Grove, the newest link in the U. S. Navy’s communication network, was activated with formal dedication ceremonies in Sugar Grove, West Virginia. The $6 million facility will be operated by 138 persons, including four naval officers, 104 enlisted men, and 30 civilians. Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) was principal speaker at the dedication.
The 253,000 dwt tanker Esso Cambria was launched in Rotterdam, the first of a new class of supertankers under construction for the Esso Petroleum Company.
Operation Apache Snow, a multi-regiment operation centered in an area about 32 miles west-southwest of Hue, commenced. Elements of the 3rd Regiment, U. S. 3rd Marine Division, and the 3rd Brigade, U. S. 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), operating in conjunction with elements of the ARVN 1st Infantry Division, were disrupting enemy lines of communications and locating and capturing or destroying enemy forces, material, and installations in the operational area.
Six naval craft, four Bulgarian and two Soviet, transited the Bosporus Straits in Turkey, from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. Thus far this year, 36 Soviet naval vessels, including destroyers, submarine tenders, supply ships, minesweepers, and the helicopter carrier Moskva, have passed through the straits to the Mediterranean, eleven are known to have sailed back to the Black Sea.
The Maritime Administration stated that Boston Metals Company was the apparent high bidder on the SS Rockbridge, a Victory-type ship put up for scrap. The bid was $93,777 for the vessel which, until recently, was used by the Navy.
Three Operation Sea Lords raids yesterday and today accounted for 150 enemy structures, 65 bunkers, and 34 watercraft destroyed or damaged by U. S. Navy Swift boats (PCFs), with Vietnamese Mobile Strike Force units and Navy Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) embarked. During the largest raid in An Xuyen Province, newly arrived OV-10A Bronco fixed-wing aircraft supported the waterborne forces. The Broncos accounted for ten additional enemy structures and one watercraft destroyed. These aircraft are flown by Light Attack Squadron Four (VAL-4).
The Great Lakes Commission reported the Military Sea Transportation Service has begun a test program from Great Lakes ports to determine the cost of exporting military goods via the St. Lawrence Seaway. About 12 trips are expected to be made by vessels under charter to MSTS. Eighty to one hundred thousand measurement tons of cargo will be involved in the test.
The Secretary of the Navy John H. Chafee announced that the antisubmarine warfare carrier USS Intrepid (CVS-11) will be assigned the homeport of Naval Air Station, Quonset Pt., Rhode Island, upon completion of an extensive overhaul in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard this August. Before entering the shipyard in January, Intrepid had been operating in a limited attack carrier (CVA) role and had completed three deployments to Vietnam in this capacity since 1966. The ship will now revert to her CVS role and replace the USS Essex (CVS-9), which is being inactivated.
Five merchant ships were attacked and two U. S. Navy ships hit as enemy gunners launched a series of rocket or rocket-grenade attacks at shipping in three major rivers in IV Corps. On the Long Tau River, five merchant vessels were fired at during their transit, but only one, the SS Robin Grey, was hit causing minor damage and wounding one merchant seaman. Two Navy resupply ships were hit on the My Tho and Bassac Rivers causing minor damage in both incidents and wounding two crewmen on one of the vessels.
The State Department announced that the Government of Israel paid in full claims totaling $3,323,500 on behalf of the families of the 34 men killed during the attack on USS Liberty (AGTR-5) on 8 June 1967, in the Mediterranean Sea. The only unsettled claim arising out of the incident is the claim for damage to the ship which remains under discussion.
During the past week, U. S. Navy and Coast Guard units killed 57 enemy soldiers, detained twenty enemy suspects and received eight Hoi Chanh rallying to the government of South Vietnam, while naval casualties were one killed and 33 wounded. Units of Game Warden, Market Time, and the Navy element of the joint Army-Navy Mobile Riverine Force destroyed or damaged 513 enemy structures, 256 bunkers, and 223 watercraft during scattered actions, concentrated mostly in the IV Corps and southern III Corps Tactical Zones. They also ignited 25 sustained fires and touched off 12 secondary explosions in enemy positions.
According to Turkish officials, five Soviet ships, two destroyers and three landing ships, moved through the Bosporus Strait into the Mediterranean Sea, augmenting Russia’s Middle East fleet of 50 to 60 vessels.
The buildup of American forces following the capture by North Korea of the USS Pueblo (AGER-2) cost the U. S. government about $300.7 million, including costs to move aircraft to South Korea, re-opening four air bases there, construction of new facilities, and a callup of some reservists. The figures were contained in a transcript of the House Appropriations Committee hearings.
Lieutenant Edward R. Murphy, Jr., Executive Officer of the USS Pueblo (AGER-2) when the ship was seized, announced that he has resigned from the Navy because the findings of the Court of Inquiry, and subsequent actions of the Navy regarding his career, left him no alternative.
Britain, Italy, and West Germany agreed to plan for a detailed design of a joint military combat aircraft for the mid-1970s and invited engine manufacturers to propose a suitable power unit within two months. The Netherlands, which had been involved in preliminary talks, reserved a decision about signing until this summer. The expected requirements would be: West Germany—600 aircraft; Italy—200; Britain—385; and the Netherlands—100.
The nuclear-powered submarine USS Guitarro (SSN-665), currently under construction for the Navy at San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard (Vallejo site), sank in 35 feet of water next to the pier. There were no casualties and the cause of the accident was not immediately determined, but salvage operations were begun immediately. There was no fissionable material aboard and therefore, no danger of contamination of the bay. The Guitarro was being outfitted by civilian shipyard workers at the time and was scheduled for commissioning in about six months.
Addressing the National Defense Transportation Association, Andrew E. Gibson, Maritime Administrator, stated that from the beginning of the Vietnam operation in July 1965 through 31 March 1969, privately-owned U. S. flag ships have carried 20,711,400 measurement tons of cargo to Vietnam or 67 per cent of the total 31 million tons transported by water to that area. Government-owned ships from the National Defense Reserve Fleet carried an additional 8,170,000 tons, meaning that American flag merchant ships carried nearly 94 per cent of the total cargo transported for MSTS.
The House of Representatives passed HR-4152 authorizing appropriations for certain maritime programs of the Commerce Department for Fiscal Year 1970, providing for an increase in merchant ship construction funds from $15.9 to $145 million.
The Defense Department announced that Major General Arthur H. Adams, USMC, had been named to succeed Major General James B. Knapp, USAF, in July, as Senior Member, United Nations Command Component, Military Armistice Commission, Korea. As Senior Member, U.N. Command Component, General Adams will act as command spokesman on matters pertaining to the agreement which ended the hostilities in Korea in 1953.
The attack carrier USS Oriskany (CVA-34) arrived off the coast of Vietnam again for the first time in over a year. This is the fourth tour of duty in the Vietnam combat zone for the carrier.
Two U. S. Coast Guard patrol boats, the Point League (WPB-82304) and Point Garnet (WPB-82310), were turned over to the Vietnamese Navy during ceremonies in Saigon. The 68-ton, 82-foot patrol boats are the first transferred by the Coast Guard. They brought to 101 the number of craft transferred to the Vietnamese since June 1968. The boats carry a crew of two officers and nine enlisted crewmen.
Peru’s Navy seized an American tuna fishing boat, Western King, about 25 miles off Peru’s northern coast and took her into the port of Talara. The seizure was the third this year in the controversy between Peru and the U. S. over territorial waters. Peru claims 200-mile jurisdiction, while the U. S. recognizes only a 12-mile limit.
Vice Admiral William F. Bringle, USN, Commander of the U. S. Seventh Fleet at a news conference in Manila, Philippines, said the U. S. Navy and Air Force are keeping a constant watch on American reconnaissance flights off North Korea. He added that intelligence-gathering vessels similar to the Pueblo are operating again, but did not disclose where.
Sixty-three warships from 12 Atlantic Pact states took part in the review at Spithead, England, marking the twentieth anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Philip, took the review from the Royal Yacht Britannia.
United States Lines, Inc. issued invitation bids on converting three Mariner class vessels to full container-ships. This represents a rebidding on the remaining vessels in the original eight-ship group.
President Nixon visited the Atlantic Fleet attack carrier USS Saratoga (CVA-60) 45 miles off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia and observed training exercises of a 14-ship naval carrier strike group in recognition of Armed Forces Day. The President spent about two hours aboard the aircraft carrier.
Another phase of Operation Daring Rebel began as Bravo and Charlie Companies of Marine Battalion Landing Team 1/26 were transported by helicopter to the western part of Barrier Island. They were met with only minor resistance.
The American merchant ship SS Davis was hit by an enemy rocket grenade or rocket, 25 miles southeast of Saigon, as she was southbound on the Long Tau River. Two crewmen were wounded and the ship received minor damage. This was the thirty-third shipping attack on the Long Tau, the main shipping channel to Saigon, since 1 January 1969.
The Charleston class amphibious cargo ship El Paso (LKA-117) was launched at Newport News, Virginia.
The nuclear-powered submarine USS Guitarro (SSN-665), which sank at its fitting dock on 15 May was lifted from the muddy bottom of the Napa River in Vallejo, California and hauled to drydock by Navy salvage experts.
Admiral Nigel Henderson, Royal Navy and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, stated that Russia’s fast-growing Navy will soon overtake Western fleets unless the West starts building new ships soon.
Vice President Agnew piloted the nuclear-powered submarine USS Hammerhead (SSN-663) for 15 minutes during a five-hour underwater trip about twenty miles offshore from Cape Kennedy. Admiral Bernard A. Clarey, USN, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, accompanied the Vice President and other dignitaries on the indoctrination cruise.
Todd Shipyards Corporation announced the signing of a $40 million contract with Sea-Land Service Inc., Elizabeth, New Jersey, involving construction of new forebodies for, or conversion to, existing vessels for container operations. The result will be an increase of four containerships to Sea-Land’s present fleet of 35.
Chief of Naval Material, Admiral I. J. Galantin, USN, announced that a Court of Inquiry has been convened to inquire into circumstances surrounding the pierside sinking of USS Guitarro (SSN-665), currently under construction at San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard (Vallejo site) on 15 May. The Court, headed by Rear Admiral Paul L. Lacy, Jr., USN, Project Manager, SSN-688, and later Design SSN Submarine Project at the Naval Material Command, held its first session at 12:30 p.m. EDT.
Operation Daring Rebel, which commenced on 5 May, terminated on Barrier Island. The U. S. forces were under the command of the U. S. Seventh Fleet’s Amphibious Ready Group Alfa, and accounted for 105 enemy killed, while sustaining two killed and 59 wounded. Almost 7,000 Vietnamese were detained for questioning by civilian authorities and more than 200 Viet Cong leaders were captured.
Representative Samuel S. Stratton (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the antisubmarine warfare subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, called for a “vastly increased program within the Navy to combat the growing Soviet submarine threat, including the reorganization of authority for managing antisubmarine warfare programs into the status of a separate Vice Chief of Naval Operations with control over Navy procurement efforts in ASW as well as operations and strategy.”
Secretary of the Navy John H. Chafee presented the Presidential Unit Citation to the officers and men of the Navy’s Delta River Patrol Force during ceremonies at Binh Thuy, 83 miles southwest of Saigon. Captain Arthur W. Price, USN, Commander, U. S. Navy River Patrol Group, accepted the award. The unit was cited for: “Exceptionally meritorious and heroic service from 31 January to 9 April 1968, while . . . engaged in armed conflict with Viet Cong forces during the TET (Lunar New Year) offensive and counter-offensive campaigns in the Mekong Delta region of the Republic of Vietnam.”
The Navy announced that an estimate of the cost of repairs to the Guitarro has not been determined, but Shipyard Commander, Rear Admiral Norbert Frankenberger, USN, stated that the total cost of salvage operations—those costs incurred from the time of the sinking at pierside until the submarine was placed in drydock—amounts to $130,000.
Chairman L. Mendel Rivers of the House Armed Services Committee appointed a special panel to investigate the sinking of the submarine Guitarro at Vallejo, California. The panel is headed by Representative Samuel Stratton (D-N.Y.).
Maritime Administrator Gibson stated that there is a proposal under serious study to build two or three large nuclear merchant ships within the next five years. President Johnson proposed, in 1967, to mothball the SN [sic] Savannah, but Congress disagreed and she remains in service.
The President proclaimed today as National Maritime Day 1969—a time to honor the men of the U. S. Merchant Marine.
The U. S. presented to the 17-nation disarmament conference in Geneva the draft text of its treaty to ban nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction from the seabed and ocean floor. It followed by two months a Soviet draft which proposed complete demilitarization of the seabed, a suggestion that America rejected as going too far. The U. S. treaty would prohibit fixed nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, or their associated fixed launching platforms on, within, or beneath the ocean floor beyond a narrow territorial band of water.
It was announced that the Department of Defense has authorized the Navy to proceed with the design and construction of a prototype Deep Submergence Search Vehicle (DSSV). Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, Sunnyvale, California, was issued a $500 thousand letter contract by the Naval Ship Systems Command. Actual construction work is scheduled to begin during Fiscal Year 1971, although the first vehicle will not be operational until the late 1970s.
A fire broke out aboard the USS King (DLG-10) shortly before 2200 while the ship was operating with the Seventh Fleet in the Tonkin Gulf. The fire was confined to the after fireroom and was put out at 2320 the same evening. Four crewmen were killed.
The Senate passed and sent to the White House a bill intended to combat a shortage of officers which threatens to hinder the Navy’s nuclear submarine program. The measure, already passed by the House, provides a $7,750 bonus for nuclear submarine officers with less than ten years service who sign up for an additional four year tour. The President later signed the bill.
Defense Department spokesman told members of the press that the present strength of the Polaris fleet will be maintained at 41 which number is essential at a time when the Soviet Union is building up its submarine-launched missile capabilities.
The nuclear attack submarine USS Swordfish (SSN-579) arrived at Yokosuka, Japan, for a ten-day visit.
The world’s largest heavy cruiser, USS Newport News (CA-148), was host to the Secretary of the Navy John H. Chafee and the Assistant Secretary for Financial Management Charles A. Bowsher on station off the coast of South Vietnam. After spending the night aboard the cruiser, the Secretary departed with Vice Admiral Bringle, USN, for USS Oklahoma City (CLG-5), Commander Seventh Fleet’s flagship.
The seventh developmental launch of the Navy’s Poseidon missile was made from Cape Kennedy.
The amphibious cargo ship USS Durham (LKA-114) was commissioned at the Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia.
USS San Diego (AFS-6), the sixth of a new class of combat stores ship, was commissioned at San Diego, California.
Navy Secretary Chafee visited the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment and the 1st Marine Air Wing in Da Nang, South Vietnam.
Two Soviet warships passed through the Bosporus Strait on their way to the Mediterranean. They were the missile-equipped Sverdlov class cruiser No. 852 and the Kotlin class destroyer No. 533. This raised the number of Russian naval craft known to have crossed into the Mediterranean through the Turkish Strait this year to 46. Nineteen are known to have returned in the same period.
Rear Admiral T. J. Rudden, Jr., USN, Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Group, U. S. Seventh Fleet, shifted his flagship from USS Newport News (CA-148) to the only other all-gun heavy cruiser serving in the Navy, USS Saint Paul (CA-73), off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam. Newport News has been the flagship for the last three months. Saint Paul begins her fourth combat cruise in Vietnamese waters.
Secretary of Defense Laird departed for Europe to attend the NATO Defense Planning Committee (DPC) at Brussels on 28 May. He was accompanied by General Earle G. Wheeler, USA, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and returned to the U. S. on 31 May.
Forty-six ships from six Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) nations began Exercise Sea Spirit—12 days of naval maneuvers in Manila Bay and the South China Sea. The operations, under the direction of Rear Admiral William T. Rapp, USN, will demonstrate that the members of SEATO have the will and capability to work together as a force to meet any possible Communist aggression. The ships were from the U. S., Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Britain. France and Pakistan were not participating.
Atlantic Fleet headquarters announced that the active phase of Exotic Dancer II—a joint exercise involving more than 31,000 men—began with an airdrop of paratroopers and a Marine landing on Salinas, Puerto Rico. During the past week, approximately one hundred airlift missions have moved more than one thousand tons of varied cargo to Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Puerto Rico. Admiral Ephraim P. Holmes, USN, Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Atlantic Fleet, was in charge of the exercise in the Caribbean.
Navy Secretary Chafee said the battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) is scheduled to return to Vietnam in the fall. He made his comments in Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, prior to leaving for Okinawa, Korea, and Japan as part of his two-week fact finding tour in Asia.
The Commanding Officer of the fire-damaged U. S. destroyer leader USS King (DLG-10) blamed a broken fuel fine for the fire that broke out in the engineroom of the ship while in the Tonkin Gulf off Vietnam on 23 May, which killed 4 and injured 15.
Secretary of the Navy Chafee visited Amphibious Ready Group Bravo aboard the USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) and the hospital ship USS Repose (AH-16). He presented 19 Purple Heart awards to 19 patients of the Repose.
The Defense Department Joint Logistics Review Board (JLRB) awarded a $315,114 contract by the Army Research Office, Arlington, Virginia, to a consortium headed by Booz-Allen Applied Research, Inc., with Harbridge House, Arthur D. Young, and RAMAL, Inc., as subcontractors. The initial level of contractual effort involves six professional man-years of dedicated support and a firm commitment of top-level corporate back-up from the consortium.
A U. S. Navy PBR crewman from River Division 515 dove into the Bassac River and killed an enemy swimmer with his knife. Engineman 2nd Class Rodney R. Rnadles, USN, spotted the enemy swimmer near one of the patrol boats about 107 miles west of Saigon. Later the PBR crewmen inspected their boats and found a hand grenade attached to an intake duct on one of them.
Senator Tydings (D-Md.) warned that the American merchant marine has sunk to sixth place among merchant fleets of the world and called for rebuilding it from the keel up. He also recommended multiple procurement and making the construction differential subsidy available to private shipyards as well as to proposed ship owners as two ways of rejuvenating the fleet.
After two days of talks with President Nixon in Washington, D.C., Prime Minister J. S. de Jong of The Netherlands indicated at a press conference that the Dutch government wants to build some nuclear-powered submarines and is seeking American technical assistance.
Rep. Samuel Stratton (D-N.Y.), who headed a special sub-committee of the House Armed Services Committee to look into the sinking of the submarine USS Guitarro (SSN-665) on 15 May, gave an interim report of its findings after two and one-half days of closed hearings at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard at Vallejo, California. The report stated that the sinking was caused by several avoidable factors: (1) inadequate coordination of both ship construction activities and the assignment of specific responsibilities; (2) ineffective implementation of certain sound ship construction procedures; and (3) inexcusable carelessness. The three member subcommittee concluded that had the manhole openings in the forward deck been closed as they should have been with ballasting operations underway on board, or had it been protected by a cofferdam as had been done on a previous ship, the Guitarro would not have sunk. They also listed several other conclusions in their interim report. The Navy’s official Court of Inquiry, convened to investigate the sinking, remains in session.
Effective today, Ship Acquisition Project Managers (SHAPMS) will receive increased authority and will have both managerial and financial responsibility for Navy shipbuilding programs under reorganization, announced Rear Admiral Edward J. Fahy, USN, Commander, Naval Ship Systems Command.
Operation Oklahoma Hills was terminated. Under the control of the 7th Regiment, U. S. 1st Marine Division, the operation left 506 enemy killed and 212 enemy weapons captured. U. S. losses were put at 53 killed and 476 wounded, of whom 350 were evacuated.
Rear Admiral Philip A. Beshany, USN, relieved Rear Admiral D. F. Welch, USN, as Commander, Amphibious Group Four.
A Marine Corps OV-10A was hit by enemy ground fire and destroyed 35 miles west-southwest of Quang Tri in Quang Tri Province. There were no casualties.
President Nixon said the nation should reflect on the deeds of those in the Armed Services who gave their lives to ensure to posterity the blessing of peace and freedom on this, Memorial Day.
Two ships which the government took out of service in February because they were no longer needed for the Vietnam sealift will be readied for more service—again in Vietnam—because a special sealift need has developed. It was also reported that the ships, SS Bessemer Victory and SS Laredo Victory, would sail for Sunny Point, North Carolina, a major ammunition loading depot, within two weeks.
Deputy Secretary of Defense David Packard departed on a trip of approximately seven days to the Republic of Korea and Japan. He will attend the 2nd Annual Joint Republic of Korea-United States Defense Ministries Conference.
One of the highlights of Seventh Fleet operations during the month of May was Operation Daring Rebel. The naval amphibious operation was launched on 5 May against enemy positions on Barrier Island, located about twenty miles south-southwest of Da Nang. Daring Rebel was terminated 20 May. A total of 25 ships fired from the gunline on targets in all tactical zones of the Republic.
The Republic of Vietnam Navy assumed total responsibility for patrolling the entire Fourth Coastal Zone, which covers more than 400 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea. This is part of the phase-in which began last summer to relieve U. S. Navy and Coast Guard units.
The Atomic Energy Commission stated that there is evidence of a Soviet underground nuclear test—the third this year and 25th since the limited test ban agreement in 1963—originating from the Soviet nuclear test area in the Semipalatinshk region of Siberia.
In I Corps, 14 enemy soldiers were reported killed by naval gunfire from USS Newport News (CA-148), after an aerial observer sighted two groups of enemy soldiers, directed the fire mission onto the enemy, and reported sighting the bodies lying in the strike area.
Captain Carvel H. Blair, USN, relieved Captain John G. Now, USN, as Commander of the U. S. Navy’s River Assault Flotilla One during ceremonies aboard the flotilla’s flagship, USS Benewah (APB-35), at Dong Tam.
The destroyer USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) and the Australian carrier HMAS Melbourne (R-21), collided at 0415, 3 June, Philippine time, approximately 650 nautical miles southwest of Manila in the South China Sea, cutting the destroyer in two. The collision occurred during the SEATO exercise “Sea Spirit” which began 29 May. The bow section of the Evans sank within about two minutes. The 196-foot aft section was secured alongside the carrier Melbourne shortly after the collision. Seventy-four Navy men were lost from the Evan’s crew. The carrier sustained damage to her bow, but there were no Australian casualties. There were 273 officers and men aboard Evans at the time.
The Supreme Court ruled that military personnel who commit crimes in American communities in peacetime while off duty must be tried in civilian courts. The current practice is for military and civilian authorities to confer about non-military off-duty crimes and about 85 per cent of such cases are now tried in civilian courts, but the military had claimed constitutional authority to try them all if it wished.
USS Swordfish (SSN-579), a nuclear powered submarine, left Yokosuka, Japan, after a ten day visit for rest and supply purposes.
Naval Forces from Canada, the United Kingdom, and United States, as well as the Standing Naval Force Atlantic, commenced the NATO exercise “Spark Plug” in the Caribbean and the western Atlantic. The exercise provided training in antisubmarine warfare and escort protection of ship convoys. It was terminated 13 June.
Captain Henry J. Lyon, USN, relieved Captain Louis K. Payne, USNR, as Commanding Officer, MSTS Office Vietnam.
Representative Hosmer (R-Cal.) remarked before the Senate that a study of Soviet seapower conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University concluded “that the Soviet Union has developed a plan of strategic priorities and highly coordinated maritime program which challenge the basic interests of the world’s major non-Communist seapowers.” The 14-member panel was made up of American and European experts.
Lieutenant General Lewis W. Walt, USMC, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, received his fourth star in ceremonies marking the first time in Marine history that the Corps has been authorized more than one four-star billet.
The Department of Defense announced the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia agreed on continuing into phase two of the advanced development of the Mallard Project. This Project is an unprecedented international undertaking in which a joint tactical communication system is being developed for the armies and associated navies and air forces of the four nations.
Rear Admiral Jerome H. King, Jr., Commander Antisubmarine Warfare Group One, aboard his flagship, USS Kearsarge (CVS-33), reported that search operations for survivors of the U. S. destroyer USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) had been discontinued.
The Defense Department announced it had completed its review of the Fiscal Year 1970 budget and had transmitted its recommendations to the Congress. Included were the Navy F-14, Fast Deployment Logistics Ship and destroyer-type construction which were not previously cut in a $3 billion reduction. Deputy Defense Secretary David Packard reported the F-14 was not cut under the DOD budget proposal and will get its full $450 million. However, the announcement indicated the Navy would bear the brunt of cutbacks, said to total $600 million.
Secretary of Defense, Melvin Laird, ordered an urgent review of the military’s assignment policies after three brothers were lost in the collision of the destroyer USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754).
Graduation ceremonies were conducted at the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York. Mr. A. E. Gibson, Maritime Administrator was guest speaker.
A West German shipyard announced tentative plans to build the world’s first atomic-powered zeppelin to carry 500 passengers and 50 tons of cargo at an average speed of 220 miles an hour for almost limitless distances. The airship project manager is negotiating with American’s General Electric Company to build the atomic engine.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Packard arrived in Tokyo, Japan, from South Korea, to confer with U. S. military leaders and Japanese government officials.
Secretary of the Navy Chafee addressed the graduating class at the U. S. Naval Academy. Eight hundred sixty-two midshipmen became Ensigns or Marine Second Lieutenants during the exercises.
The heavy cruiser USS Newport News (CA-148) completed her second tour in Vietnam, which began on Christmas morning 1968.
The Defense Department announced that two U. S. Navy destroyers would begin four days of operations on 18 June in the Black Sea, which borders on Russia. The announcement called the operations routine. The vessels are the USS Newman K. Perry (DD-883) and Norris (DD-859)—classified as light surface ships. The destroyers USS Turner (DD-834) and Dyess (DD-880) operated in the Black Sea last December.
Captain Joseph R. Faulk, USN, relieved Captain Arthur W. Price, Jr., USN, as Commander of the Navy’s River Patrol Force.
The Defense Ministry of Germany announced a contract for 12 U-boats which will more than double the size of the West German submarine fleet. The U-boats, small conventionally-powered 450-tonners, are destined to join the existing fleet of 11 similar submarines in coastal defense, mostly in the Baltic Sea.
USNS Petrarca was hit by enemy rocket-grenades while transiting the Long Tau River southeast of Saigon. Damage was minor with no casualties.
President Nixon signed legislation that would permit the Navy to pay nuclear submarine officers $15 thousand bonuses if they would stay in the service for an extra four-years.
The Maritime Administration opened bids for six new containerships sought by United States Lines, Inc., giving weight to speculation that subsidy funds might not be available for total procurement, or that the shipping line might not immediately order the entire quantity. Two shipyards bid on only two of the six containerships. Bath Iron Works Corporation and Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company submitted bids—with Sun the apparent low bidder offering delivery of first vessel in 330 calendar days and the second, 60 days thereafter. Sun’s bid was $17,888,000 for one vessel.
The carrier USS Kearsarge (CVS-33) brought 196 of the 199 survivors of the destroyer USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) to the Naval Base at Subic Bay, Philippines. Two seriously injured were earlier transferred from Kearsarge to a hospital in Cam Ranh Bay, Republic of Vietnam for treatment and one survivor was flown back to the U. S. on emergency leave.
A memorial service for the relatives and friends of the crew of USS Frank E. Evans was held at the U. S. Naval Station in Long Beach, California.
The fleet oiler USS Wichita (AOR-1) was commissioned at the Boston Naval Shipyard, Massachusetts. The tank landing ship Newport (LST-1179) was commissioned at the Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia. Newport is a new class of LST with greater speed than any of the previous ships of this type.
General of the Army Omar N. Bradley represented the Department of Defense at ceremonies in St. Lo, France, commemorating the 25th anniversay [sic] of D-Day.
The Military Sea Transportation Service reported that 109 reserve fleet ships are now in full operational status and chiefly are engaged in transporting ammunition from the U. S. to Vietnam. At the end of February, the Defense Department had reduced the number of reserve fleet ships in service to eighty.
Reportedly, the youngest serviceman to die in the Vietnam war, Marine Corps Private Dan Bullock, age 15, was killed. Bullock enlisted at the age of 14 last September, after presenting a birth certificate that stated he was 18.
Operation Apache Snow, conducted by the 9th Regiment, U. S. Third Marine Div. and the 3rd Brigade, U. S. 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), was terminated. An element of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, 1st Division operated in conjunction with U. S. forces; The Republic of Vietnam soldiers killed 224 enemy. U. S. forces killed 753 enemy and captured 272 individual and 43 crew-served weapons. U. S. casualties were 113 killed and 627 wounded. The operation began on 10 May.
The South Korean Coast Guard sank a North Korea spy boat after a 20-minute gun battle off Pukpyung, on the east coast. It was announced by the Defense Ministry in Seoul.
The Navy announced that the oceanographic research ship USNS Mizar (T-AGOR-11) photographed the minisubmarine Alvin, which sank in 5,000 feet of water 120 miles south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, last October 16. The deep-diving research submarine, which is only 22 feet long, was located after only four days of searching. Mizar is also the ship that first found and photographed the sunken nuclear-powered submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589) 30 October 1968, in 10,000 feet of water 400 miles southwest of the Azores.
The Coast Guard stated that the small ice-breaker Storis (WAGB-38) fired three shots across the bow of a Japanese fishing boat before the vessel stopped and was seized and boarded for fishing inside the United States 12-mile limit in North Sound, Alaska.
The 196-foot remaining aft section of USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) was towed by the fleet tug USS Tawasa (ATF-92) into Subic Bay, Philippines, at 6:00 a.m. The Joint Board of Investigation, composed of three officers each from both the U. S. and Australian navies, convened at Subic Bay Naval Base. Rear Admiral Jerome H. King. USN, is the Senior Member of the Board. This is reported to be the first such joint board of investigation of its type. Findings of the board will be passed to the respective navies for their disposition.
River assault squadron nine was disestablished.
The Subcommittee on Merchant Marine of the Senate Committee on Commerce approved the House passed bill HR-4152 authorizing appropriation of $145 million for Maritime Administration FY 1970 construction differential subsidies. This group reduced by $3 million to $12 million, the House approved figures for research and development. Also, the House approved HR-4153, Coast Guard Authorization Bill as passed by the House, providing $55,584,000 for FY1970 vessel procurement and upgrading programs. As originally introduced the bill would have authorized $23,684,000, but the House authorized a larger sum to enable the Coast Guard to build three high-endurance cutters instead of one contained in President Johnson’s budget request.
The Defense Department announced that it has cancelled the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) Program because of the continuing urgency of reducing Federal defense spending and advances in automated techniques for unmanned satellite systems. $1.3 billion had been spent to date on the program which was initiated in 1965. The cancellation is expected to save about $1.5 billion.
It was announced that Container Fleets, Ltd., England, has signed a contract with the National Union of Seamen that will allow unlicensed seamen to share their shipboard cabins with their wives for about two months a year.
It was announced that the antisubmarine warfare carrier USS Hornet (CVS-12) will be used as the prime recovery ship for the Apollo 11 mission.
Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird announced that he had dispatched a team from his office to work with the planning task force being established at Pacific Command Headquarters of Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., in Hawaii, to work out details for the replacement of the first 25,000 U. S. troops in the Republic of Vietnam. Representatives from the Services, Pacific Command Headquarters, MACV, and the JCS started a three-day planning meeting at Camp H. M. Smith on 12 June.
Japan launched its first nuclear-powered ship, the 88,350-ton freighter, Mutsu, built by the Japan Nuclear Ship Development Agency. It is scheduled to be completed in 1972 at a cost of $15,463,000. It will be the world’s fourth nuclear-powered non-military vessel. In operation are the freighter Savannah of the U. S.; the Soviet Union’s icebreaker Lenin; and the West German ore carrier Otto Hahn.
The White House announced that President Nixon had nominated Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, USN, for two more years as Chief of Naval Operations, effective from 31 July. The Admiral has been serving in that post since August 1967. Also named by the President, was General John D. Ryan, to become the next Air Force Chief of Staff, effective 31 July and General Earle G. Wheeler, USA, to serve one more year as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, effective 3 July. This will be General Wheeler’s sixth year in that position.
The Navy Court of Inquiry investigating the dock-side sinking of the nuclear submarine USS Guitarro (SSN-665) at the Naval Shipyard at Vallejo, California, on 15 May, adjourned to consider the testimony given in hearings.
Budget Director Robert P. Mayo told a House-Senate subcommittee, investigating the military budget and national priorities, that President Nixon had ordered a policy reversal to restore the Bureau of the Budget as the top watchdog of defense spending. Mr. Mayo noted that now, the defense budget, like all the others, will go to the Budget Bureau, which will have the final say, subject to appeal to the President.
The Sturgeon class nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Hawkbill (SSN-666) was launched in Vallejo, California.
Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Virginia, received a $3,436,000 letter contract for the advance planning, design, and preparatory work for the conversion of USS Nathaniel Greene (SSBN-636) to C-3 Poseidon missile capability. The Naval Ship Systems Command issued the contract.
Contracts involving five Mariner class vessels for conversion to full containerships for United States Lines, Inc. were signed with Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Company (two ships); Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Key Highway (Baltimore) yard (two ships); and Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Corporation (one).
It was announced that bids for construction of two large containerships for Matson Navigation Company will be opened by the Maritime Administration 11 July. Ship specifications include a 719-foot length, a 23 knot speed, and accommodations for 1,080 containers of a 24-foot size. They will engage in transpacific trade.
The Sturgeon class nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Bergall (SSN-667) was commissioned at the submarine base in New London, Connecticut.
South Korean forces reportedly killed 15 North Korean commandos and captured their spy boat in a six-hour battle off the southwestern coast of South Korea. The Communist vessel was attempting to land a commando team on Huksando Island, 120-miles south of Seoul.
Secretary of Defense Laird announced that he had approved the initial recommendations of Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., Commander-in-Chief Pacific, and General Greighton [sic] W. Abrams, Commander U. S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam, for the first replacement of U. S. troops in the Republic of Vietnam by South Vietnamese forces. Among the units departing by the end of August will be two brigades of the 9th Infantry Division and a Marine Corps Regimental Landing Team of the Third Marine Division.
The Royal Navy submarine HMS Rorqual (SS-02) bumped the USS Endurance (MSO-435) while docking at River Point pier in Subic Bay, Philippines, causing slight damage to the mine-sweeper’s hull. There were no injuries and no damage to the submarine.
The Australian destroyer HMAS Brisbane (D-41) fired on suspected Viet Cong targets in the II Corps during a naval gunfire mission, destroying 16 bunkers and 19 military structures, with another 15 bunkers damaged, one secondary explosion, and 25 meters of tunnel collapsed.
The eighth developmental launch of the Navy’s Poseidon missile was made from Cape Kennedy, Florida, at 11:57 p.m.
Eleven Mobile Riverine Force sailors were wounded when their river assault craft was hit by enemy recoilless-rifle and rocket-grenade rounds on the Ong Huong Canal, 46 miles southwest of Saigon.
It was reported that the Naval Air Systems Command had asked Tracor, Inc., Rockville, Maryland, to draw up a technical study, including a sea test plan for equipment, that would automatically capture a hovering helicopter and set it safely down to the deck of small combatants even in the highest seas. The Canadians have had an operational system for about two years.
The Secretary of the Navy directed that the USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) be striken [sic] from the naval vessel register on 1 July.
Eight Navy ships on the gunline off South Vietnam scored heavily against enemy targets in the I, II and IV Corps areas of the Republic. Twenty-three enemy were killed, 15 bunkers and 30 military structures destroyed, and an additional 12 bunkers, 59 military structures damaged, plus two sampans damaged. Eleven secondary fires and three secondary explosions also were noted by air and ground spotters.
The Commander U. S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam announced that some 1,200 U. S. Navy personnel now serving in the Republic of Vietnam will be redeployed before the end of August 1969. The personnel involved will come from the staff of the U. S. Navy’s Mobile Riverine Force (MRF), four of the MRF’s support ships and some Navy personnel supporting U. S. Marine units in the I Corps area. The ships are USS Mercer (APB-39), Nueces (APB-40), Whitfield County (LST-1169), and the auxiliary personnel lighter (APL-26). The Navy element of the MRF arrived in South Vietnam January 1967, and since that time, has directed riverine assault warfare throughout the Delta area, working with units of the U. S. Army 9th Infantry Division and Republic of Vietnam Forces. The Navy men are among those 25,000 U. S. servicemen announced by President Nixon at the Midway Conference to be redeployed from the Republic of Vietnam.
The House of Representatives passed bill HR-265 to extend the 55 per cent ship construction subsidy ceiling and 69 per cent ship reconstruction subsidy ceiling for another year to 30 June 1970.
At least 600 of the country’s 900 merchant ships were idled by an East and Gulf Coast strike of the 11,000-member National Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots. A union spokesman stated military cargo would not be affected.
President Nixon announced the names of nine Navy staff corps captains that he had nominated to the Senate for promotion to Rear Admiral. Three are from the Medical Corps, three from the Supply Corps and one each from the Chaplain Corps, Civil Engineer Corps, and Dental Corps.
The nation’s 84th nuclear-powered submarine USS Seahorse (SSN-669) completed her first sea trials.
The Hospital Corps of the U. S. Navy celebrated its 71st anniversary.
The U. S. Sixth Fleet destroyers, USS Newman K. Perry (DD-883) and USS Norris (DD-859) entered the Black Sea to conduct routine operations in international waters for about four days.
Construction began on the nuclear attack submarine Archerfish at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation, Groton, Connecticut.
President Nixon signed an executive order aimed at extending many of the legal rights guaranteed American civilians to the nation’s military men in all but extreme cases of combat. Key reforms which go into effect 1 August are: extending the right to counsel to all servicemen; isolation of the judicial process from improper pressures; and expansion of the status and powers of military judges by giving them roles comparable to that of a civilian federal judge.
The Medal of Honor was presented (posthumously) by President Nixon to Corporal Larry E. Smedley, USMC, in ceremonies at the White House. The citation stated that Corporal Smedley while serving as a squad leader with Company D, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, on 20-21 December 1967, led his six-man squad against an estimated 100 enemy force to avert their launching an attack on the Da Nang complex. He was wounded seriously twice but each time got up and finally single-handedly destroyed an enemy machine gun position.
A dozen U. S. fishing boats were reported seized by Ecuador’s patrol vessels late yesterday and early today, after one of them was strafed. One boat was seized 185 miles off the coast, while eleven others were captured 22 miles offshore. Ecuador, Peru, and Chile claim sovereignty 200 miles from their shores, while the U. S. recognizes only a 12-mile limit. The State Department launched an immediate inquiry to determine just what had happened. Later it was learned seven of the tuna boats seized, were released, but others were still held.
The United States and Spain arranged to sign a two-year renewal of a 15-year old agreement under which the U. S. operates naval and air bases in that country. This marks the end of 18 months of bargaining. The renewal pact covers only two years retroactive to 26 September 1968 when the old one expired. The U. S. will pay $50 million for the new agreement in the form of military aid to Spain.
Defense Secretary Laird stated that members of the same family will be able to continue serving together in the same ship or combat unit despite the death of three Nebraska brothers in the collision between USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) and HMAS Melbourne (R-21) on 3 June. Laird’s directive permits members of a family to serve together voluntarily or to request separate assignment.
U. S. destroyers USS Newman K. Perry (DD-883) and Norris (DD-859) departed the Black Sea and rejoined the U. S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean after routine operations in international waters. They entered the Black Sea 18 June.
The Maritime Administration announced that the nuclear ship Savannah will be bareboat chartered to First Atomic Ship Transport Inc. for another year of commercial operation. Further consideration will be given to alternative uses of the ship beyond 30 June 1970.
Defense Secretary Laird authorized the establishment of a special committee of academic personnel and armed services representatives to appraise the interrelationships of the ROTC programs of the services, and their relationships with university faculties, students, and administrations.
Sixty-four U. S. Navy river gunboats were transferred to the Vietnamese Navy in the largest single turnover of military hardware thus far in the war. This brings to 167 the number of U. S. Navy craft transferred to the Vietnamese Navy since June 1968. The turnover released U. S. Navy men for other assignments in Vietnam or early rotation if they had less than three months remaining in country. A number volunteered to remain with their craft as advisors. The ships included: four Command and Communications Boats (CCBs); 7 Monitors (MONs); 35 Armored Troop Carriers (ATCs) ; 16 Assault Support Patrol Boats (ASPBs); and two Refuelers (Modified ATCs).
Defense Department announced that the British missile submarine Renown (S-26) will sail to Florida next month for final shakedown tests of her two alternating crews and her missiles. She will be berthed at Port Canaveral, Florida, for a month.
Todd Shipyards Corporation was awarded a contract for conversion of three Mariner class vessels to full containerships for United States Lines, Inc.
It was announced that Defense Secretary Laird appointed former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul H. Nitze to serve as a consultant in connection with the Department of Defense planning and preparation of participation in Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) effective immediately. Mr. Nitze was Secretary of the Navy from November 1963 until he became Deputy Secretary of Defense in July 1967, a position which he held until January 1969.
Ceremonies were held in Massena, New York, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the opening of the St. Lawrence seaway. Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and President Eisenhower opened the U. S.-Canada waterway 26 June 1959. President Nixon participated in today’s ceremony.
River Assault Squadron 11 was disestablished.
Six British ships, including the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (R-05), the general purpose and antisubmarine frigates HMS Mohawk (F-125) and Rhyl (F-129) and the auxiliary ships HMS Resource (A-480), Lyness (A-339), and Olmeda (A-124), arrived in Norfolk, Virginia, for an eight-day visit.
The six-man U. S.-Australian Board of Inquiry investigating the 3 June collision between the U. S. destroyer Frank E. Evans (DD-754) and the Australian carrier HMAS Melbourne (R-21) heard its 78th and final witness today and adjourned to assess the blame. Hearings began in Subic Bay, Philippines, on 9 June.
The Navy announced that the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) will shift her home port from San Diego to Long Beach, California, on 1 October 1969. The move involves overhauling and re-configuring the ship as an anti-submarine warfare carrier (CVS). Following the conversion, Ticonderoga will replace USS Hornet (CVS-11) which will begin deactivation in March 1970.
The heavy cruiser USS Boston (CA-69) took station on the gunline off the coast of South Vietnam, becoming the first Atlantic Fleet cruiser to deploy to Vietnam three times.
Five veteran submarines that saw extensive service in the Pacific during World War II were taken out of service during a simultaneous decommissioning ceremony at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Mare Island, California. The decommissioning of USS Bream (AGSS-243), Bluegill (AGSS-242), Charr (AGSS-328), Raton (AGSS-270), and Tunny (LPSS-282) spelled the end of nearly one and one-quarter century of combined service.
Rear Admiral Allan F. Fleming, USN, relieved Rear Admiral Edward C. Outlaw, USN, as Commander of the U. S. Fleet Air Mediterranean, the Sixth Fleet Antisubmarine Warfare Force, and the NATO Maritime Air Forces Mediterranean.
USS Essex (CVS-9) was placed out of commission, in reserve, at Boston Naval Shipyard.
President Nixon announced the appointment of Mr. Gilbert Fitzhugh as Chairman of a Blue Ribbon Defense Panel to reappraise the Defense establishment. This is expected to be the most comprehensive review of the Department of Defense since the Hoover Commission studies of 1947 and 1953. Mr. Fitzhugh is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Metropolitan Life.
The Senate confirmed the nomination of General Earle G. Wheeler, USA, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for an additional year.
At the beginning of FY 1970, the average age of the Navy’s 886 active ships was 17 years. Broken down in 5-year increments, the following statistics reveal the reason for the concern expressed frequently by many high-level officials within the Navy Department.
Age in years:
Number of ships:
Among the oldest ships by type were auxiliary ships, average age 23 years; cruisers, average age 22 years; antisubmarine warfare carriers, average age 25 years; and destroyers, amphibious ships, and underway replenishment ships, with an average age of 19 years.
The Maritime Administration listed 1,013 vessels of 1,000 gross tons and over in the active oceangoing U. S. Merchant Fleet as of this date. Of these, 22 were combination passenger cargo ships, 780 were freighters, and 211 were tankers. Also of this total, 171 were government owned, while 842 were privately owned. An additional 1,000 vessels were listed as inactive.
A coordinated U. S., Australian, Thailand, and Republic of Vietnam operation along the northern edge of the Rung Sat Special Zone southeast of Saigon ended today. During the eight-day operation, U. S. Navy, Army, and Air Force helicopter gunships, fixed wing aircraft, and jets provided air support for the ground forces, and U. S. and Vietnamese Navy units operated along the area’s many rivers and canals. Four enemy base camps were destroyed, 43 enemy soldiers killed, and two captured as the allied units swept through the area. Friendly casualties were light.
Captain R. A. Hubbard, USN, relieved Rear Admiral R. Kefauver, USN, as commander of the Military Sea Transportation Service Pacific.
Airborne Instruments Laboratory, Inc., of Long Island, N. Y., was awarded an $18,113,010 fixed-price-incentive-fee contract for aircraft approach control systems equipment for installation aboard Navy aircraft carriers. The contract was awarded by the Naval Ships Systems Command. The system is expected to make the night landing safety record on aircraft carriers equal to that of daytime operations.
The USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) was decommissioned in a short ceremony at the U. S. Naval Base, Subic Bay, Philippines. It was announced that the after section of the ship will be towed to sea and used for target practice. The destroyer was 25 years old.
Vice Admiral Lawson P. Ramage, Commander Military Sea Transportation Service, announced the award of a container agreement to Sea-Land Services, Inc., which will total an estimated $138 million during the next two fiscal years. The agreement covered the sealift of about 1,600,000 measurement tons per year of dry and refrigerated cargo between the U. S. Pacific coast and the Republic of Vietnam.
The salvage ship USS Grasp (ARS-24) was honored for providing assistance to the Vietnamese Ship Ngyen Ngog Long during typhoon Phyllis last January. The Ngyen Ngog Long was disabled about 300 miles west of Guam in the path of the typhoon when the Grasp came to the rescue of the allied vessel and towed her to safety. Commodore Tran Van Chon, Chief of Naval Operations of the Vietnamese Navy, presented the citation.
During the week ending July 1, U. S. naval forces in Vietnam killed 38 enemy soldiers and detained seven enemy suspects. During this period 24 U. S. Navy men were wounded. Navy and Coast Guard forces destroyed or damaged 208 enemy structures, 117 bunkers, and 92 sampans, while igniting 14 sustained fires and six secondary explosions.
The destroyer USS Mullinnix (DD-944) was honored by the First ANGLICO Saigon, the officer in charge of Naval gunfire support spotters in the Republic of Vietnam, as “. . . the outstanding gunline destroyer for the period 1 July 1968 to 30 June 1969.” The citation noted: “Your rapid response, cooperativeness, accuracy and reliability . . . have earned you the title ‘Top Gun’.[”]
A report by a Special House Armed Services Subcommittee charged “culpable negligence” on the part of certain key shipyard workers was responsible for the dockside sinking of the nuclear attack submarine Guitarro (SSN-665). The submarine sank on 15 May 1969, during its final stages of construction at the San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard, Mare Island, Vallejo, California. The subcommittee, composed of Samuel S. Stratton (D.-N.Y.), Chairman, William J. Randall (D.-MO.) and John E. Hunt (R.-N.J.), cited the following factors contributing to the sinking: inadequate coordination of ship construction activities, ineffective security practices, a lack of continuous on-site central responsibility for ship safety and construction, and failure to correct or improve certain defects in basic construction safety.
The cruiser USS Boston (CA-69) received hostile battery fire while giving naval gunfire support to battalions of the Americal Division in the I Corps of the Republic of Vietnam. Evasive action was taken, and there were no casualties. The fire was not returned due to friendly forces in the area.
Operation Bold Pursuit, a combined operation involving forces from the U. S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps, and the South Vietnamese Army was concluded after 42 enemy had been killed. For nine days Marines from Battalion Landing Team 1/26 challenged the enemy in every corner of the objective area on Barrier Island about 20 miles south of Da Nang. Navy Swift boats and Coast Guard patrol craft were on station to prevent the enemy’s escape by sea, and gunfire support was provided by two Seventh Fleet destroyers. Medium Helicopter Squadron 265, embarked aboard the USS Iwo Jima, (LPH-2), flew more than 1,500 sorties during the nine-day operation.
Presidential Unit Citations were awarded to the joint Army-Navy Mobile Riverine Force during the task force’s last official ceremony before its inactivation. The Navy’s River Assault Flotilla One and the Army’s Second Brigade of the 9th Infantry Division received the citation aboard the USS Benewah (APB-35) on the My Tho River near Dong Tam, Republic of Vietnam. The award was for outstanding service during the 1968 Tet Offensive between January 29 and March 4, 1968.
The 3,400-ton Nationalist Chinese merchant ship Welfare was mined while at anchor eight miles southeast of Saigon on the Nha Be River. The vessel drifted about one and a half miles downstream and sank near the U. S. Navy base peirs [sic] at Nha Be. No crew members were killed, although several were slightly injured. All 29 Chinese crewmen were evacuated by Navy river patrol boats and sampans.
The first large scale maritime research and development conference held in the United States convened at the National Academy of Sciences’ Summer Study Center at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The three-week conference brought together high-ranking representatives from all segments of the maritime industry. Maritime Administrator A. E. Gibson said the goal of the conference was to “. . . chart the direction government-sponsored research in the commercial maritime field will take during the next five years.” He said the conference’s recommendations would “. . . play a crucial role in determining the future development of the American Merchant Marine.”
The official Soviet News Agency TASS announced that a seven-ship Soviet naval squadron will visit Cuba this month to “help further strengthen friendly relations between the Soviet and Cuban peoples.”
The Ben Luc Navy Base, the first U. S. and Vietnamese Navy joint command, was commissioned. Located on the Vam Co Dong River, 20 miles southwest of Saigon, the base supports Vietnamese and American units engaged in river assault operations in that area. More than 175 U. S. and Vietnamese Navy men will operate the base.
Navy river patrol boat crewmen from River Division 534 ambushed and killed seven enemy soldiers on the upper Saigon River, 22 miles northwest of the capital city.
Six men were injured, none seriously, when a projectile exploded prematurely in the barrel of a five-inch gun aboard the cruiser USS Boston (CA-69). The ship was providing gunfire support south of Da Nang when the explosion occurred. Fragments from the left barrel of the five-inch twin mount caused slight damage to a small area of the ship’s superstructure. The Boston resumed her gunfire missions within two hours after the explosion.
The Defense Department said the Soviet naval squadron on its way to Cuba was travelling in two groups. One group, consisting of a guided missile cruiser, a guided missile frigate, and a guided missile destroyer was sighted 600 miles east of Charleston, South Carolina. The other group consisted of two submarines and a submarine tender, and was seen 720 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida. Soviet fleet oilers had also been sighted.
Secretary of the Navy John H. Chafee announced he had requested Vice Admiral H. G. Rickover to continue for two additional years in his present capacity in the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program, and that Admiral Rickover has agreed to the extension. The action had the concurrence of the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, in which the Admiral also serves. His new tour will run until January 1972. His titles will continue as Director of the Naval Reactors Division of the Atomic Energy Commission, and Deputy Commander for Nuclear Propulsion of the Navy’s Ships Systems Command.
The USS Thomas J. Gary (DER-326) began a close surveillance of the seven Soviet ships enroute to Cuba. The Soviet ships were reported to be about 450 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida. They were also being watched by daily reconnaissance flights.
During the week ending yesterday, Navy and Coast Guard forces in Vietnam killed 28 enemy soldiers, detained five enemy suspects, and received two Hoi Chanh ralliers. Eight sailors were wounded during this period and one was killed. U. S. naval forces destroyed or damaged 228 enemy military structures, 167 sampans, and 76 bunkers, while igniting 19 secondary explosions and 11 sustained fires.
The ninth developmental launch of the Navy’s Poseidon missile was made from Cape Kennedy. The missile was fired at an ocean target some 1,500 miles to the southeast.
Vice Admiral L. P. Ramage, Commander, Military Sea Transportation Service, spoke before a luncheon sponsored by the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department. Noting that national security, prosperity, and survival depend on our merchant marine, the admiral said: “The Defense Department doesn’t appreciate the merchant marine, my own service doesn’t fully appreciate the merchant marine, but the merchant marine has never let us down.”
Navy Bronco aircraft killed 12 enemy soldiers attempting to evade Navy river patrol boats off the coast of Kien Giang Province in the Gulf of Thailand. Six enemy boats were also destroyed. There were no Navy casualties.
Vice Admiral Maurice F. Weisner relieved Vice Admiral Ralph W. Cousins as Commander Task Force 77 during ceremonies aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) in the Tonkin Gulf. Task Force 77, the Seventh Fleet’s Attack Carrier Striking Force, has operated continuously in the Tonkin Gulf since the early stages of American involvement in the Vietnam war. Vice Admiral Cousins will become Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Operations and Readiness.
Eight Navy men were wounded when a pair of terrorists threw a sachel [sic] charge in front of the Annapolis Hotel, a bachelor enlisted men’s quarters in Saigon. Damage to the building was minor. One of the terrorists was killed by the explosion.
Marines from Battalion Landing Team 1/26 landed unopposed as amphibious operation Mighty Play was launched in a coastal area seven miles south of Da Nang. Landing zones had been softened up earlier in the day by the destroyer Meredith (DD-890) and by A6 aircraft from the First Marine Air Wing. The area of the assault, heavily booby trapped and mined, has been used by the enemy as a supply and staging area for rocket attacks on the port city of Da Nang.
Astronauts John W. Young and Eugene A. Cernan, both naval officers with the rank of commander, were presented the Distinguished Service Medal by Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations. Both astronauts participated in the Apollo 10 lunar orbit mission last May. Cdr. Cernan was the Lunar Module Pilot, while Cdr. Young piloted the Command Module. The award ceremony was held in the Pentagon.
The Navy’s deep diving submersible Trieste II resumed observing and photographing portions of the submarine Scorpion’s (SSN-589) hull, which rests in more than 10,000 feet of water some 400 miles southwest of the Azores. In an effort to determine the cause of the Scorpion’s loss last year, Trieste operated in the vicinity of the wreckage until the end of the summer.
General Lyman Lemnitzer, former Supreme U. S. and Allied Commander in Europe, received from President Nixon an unprecedented award: the Distinguished Service Medals of the Navy, Army, and Air Force.
A fire broke out in an aircraft tire storage area in the attack aircraft carrier Forrestal (CVA-59) at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Eight sailors received minor injuries fighting the blaze, which was extinguished after burning for 13 hours in the storage compartment. Captain James W. Nance, commanding officer, said the fire did not affect the ship’s operational readiness.
More than 1,300 Marines of the First Battalion Ninth Marines departed Vietnam on board the USS Paul Revere (LPA-248), thus marking the largest single withdrawal of troops from Vietnam since President Nixon announced his plans for a 25,000-man reduction in authorized troop strength there.
The Soviet naval squadron which had been steaming toward Cuba anchored just inside the Gulf of Mexico, 75 miles west of Key West, Florida. It was the first time Soviet warships had ever operated in the Gulf.
The Soviet Union announced that it is conducting naval exercises on the Amur River, which flows for hundreds of miles along the disputed Soviet-Chinese border.
American Export Isbrandtsen Lines, Inc., issued invitations for bids on construction of six twin-screw containerships classified as MA Design C9-ST-86a. The vessels will have a container capacity of 849 including 70 reefers.
The research submersible Ben Franklin, with a crew of six men headed by famed Swiss Oceanographer Jacques Piccard, was towed out to sea from West Palm Beach, Florida, to begin a 30-day, 1,500-mile voyage adrift in the underwater Gulf Stream. Scientists on board will study various characteristics of the Gulf Stream, while one crewman from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will observe how the crew reacts to prolonged isolation similar to that which would be experienced on a space trek. Two surface ships, the USNS Lynch (T-AGOR-7) and the Privateer, will act as escorts along the voyage.
Maritime Administrator A. E. Gibson told the American Merchant Marine Conference in Savannah, Georgia, that the Nixon administration’s new maritime policy will give the U. S. merchant fleet the opportunity to make a new start. He said the new program “. . . will reaffirm the intent of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936—to provide and maintain a fleet built and operated under U. S. flag, capable of carrying our domestic and a substantial part of our foreign waterborne trade, and of serving as a naval auxiliary in a national emergency.”
General Earle Wheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, departed for an inspection trip to the Republic of Vietnam. Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird had asked General Wheeler (1) to make a thorough assessment of the current military situation; (2) to study all aspects of the continuing Vietnamization program, including U. S. troop redeployments; and (3) to consult with other military leaders on U. S. military strategy. He was accompanied by Rear Admiral William E. Lemos, Director, Policy Planning Staff, OASD(ISA).
Winners of the 1969 Edward F. Ney Memorial Awards for excellence in food service were named by the Navy. For forces afloat, the USS Wright (CC-2) won the large mess category, while the USS Peacock (MSC-198) had the best small mess. First place for forces ashore went to the Naval Station Long Beach in the large mess category, while the small mess winner was the Naval Radio Station, Fort Allen, Puerto Rico.
A fire aboard the U. S. Coast Guard Cutter Spencer (WHEC-36) at the U. S. Naval Base, Sasebo, Japan, caused extensive damage to the property of the crew. Fifteen men were treated for heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation, but none were hospitalized.
During the week ending July 15, U. S. Navy and Coast Guard units in Vietnam killed 39 enemy soldiers, detained three enemy suspects, and received one Hoi Chanh rallier. Naval casualties were 26 wounded and none killed. Navy and Coast Guard sailors destroyed or damaged 111 enemy structures, 57 bunkers and 48 watercraft while touching off ten secondary explosions and three sustained fires.
The destroyer USS Rupertus (DD-851) picked up three survivors from a downed helicopter six miles southeast of Da Nang, one mile off the coast from Marble Mountain. The Marine CH46 helicopter, from HMM 265 aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2), was forced into the water after an engine failed.
Five antisubmarine units with 621 officers and men will be transferred from Norfolk, Virginia, to the Naval Air Station at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, the Navy announced. The relocation of Carrier Antisubmarine Air Group 56, Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron 3, Air Antisubmarine Squadrons 24 and 27, and Carrier Division 16 will take effect 1 February 1970.
The joint board of investigation into the collision between the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne and the destroyer USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) adjourned. The board had completed its findings and forwarded duplicate original reports to the Commander U. S. Seventh Fleet and the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board.
The inshore fire support ship USS Clarion River (LFR-409) returned to the gun line off the Republic of Vietnam for the ninth time since her recommissioning in 1965. She marked her return by destroying three enemy bunkers, damaging 20, and cutting six enemy supply routes 18 miles northeast of Vung Tau.
Navy warships engaged in gunfire support missions off the coasts of the Republic of Vietnam destroyed or damaged 160 enemy military structures, 77 bunkers, and two tunnels. They also ignited seven secondary fires and one secondary explosion, making this the most productive day of the month for Seventh Fleet gunfire support ships.
Amphibious Operation Mighty Play ended as Marine Battalion Landing Team 1/26 completed its sweep of a small coastal area seven miles south of Da Nang. The ten-day search and destroy mission accounted for 31 enemy killed in action and numerous weapons and documents captured. American casualties were three killed and 34 wounded. Units of Amphibious Ready Group Alfa participating in the operation were the amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima, the amphibious transport dock Cleveland, the landing ship dock Whetstone, and the attack cargo ship Washburn.
Apollo 11 Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, a former Navy fighter pilot during the Korean war, became the first man to set foot on the moon. Perhaps ironically, on the same day that American astronauts planted the U. S. flag on the Sea of Tranquility, a squadron of seven Soviet warships sailed into Havana, Cuba in an unprecedented “showing of the flag” only a few hundred miles from where the astronauts had blasted off at Cape Kennedy.
The Navy announced it is making the National Safety Council’s Defensive Driving Course mandatory for all active duty personnel. The announcement noted that during 1968, 500 Navy men were killed in traffic accidents, compared to 460 Vietnam combat deaths that year.