In the early morning of 22 February 1969, a radio call from a Marine outpost just south of the so-called “demilitarized zone” in Vietnam calmly but urgently requested assistance. Steaming in the dark waters of the South China Sea was a giant of a ship, the USS New Jersey (BB-62). She was the Navy’s only battleship, resurrected from the mothball fleet less than a year before. Together with a Coast Guard cutter, the behemoth answered the plea for assistance by opening up with her portside 5-inch guns and then followed with salvoes from her main 16-inch battery. Radarman Third Class Bob Fulks could hear the staccato bursts of machine-gun fire on the radio as he coordinated with spotter Lance Corporal Roger Clouse to rain death and destruction onto a large number of enemy troops who were closing in on the embattled Marines.
Lest We Forget - ‘Firepower for Freedom’
By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)