HTCM Ernest E. Belk – Navy Record
Courtesy of Nettie Miller Belk



Master Chief, Ernest E. Belk was a USS Laffey Plank Owner.
This web page is dedicated to his honor.  This is a long overdue posting.

Obituary - ERNEST BELK

Master Chief Ernest E. Belk, United States Navy, retired, of Oceano, California, died Friday, Dec. 10, 1999, at his home at age 75.  A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Open Door Church in Oceano, the Rev Bob Banker officiating.  His ashes will be scattered at sea from a plane.  A bronze plaque will be placed at Veterans Cemetery at Point Loma, San Diego.

Born November. 5, 1924, in Nashville, Tenn.,  Mr. Belk joined the Navy in 1941, going aboard the USS Tucker in December 1941.  He fought in many theaters of the war in the South Pacific and served on the Laffey, a ship that was sunk to the water line but made it home to Seattle to be repaired and returned to duty.  He was also involved in the invasions of Sicily, Palermo and D-Day.  After many more battles in the European Theater, his ship returned to the Pacific Theater and engaged in battles from Australia to Alaska, earning Mr. Belk many medals and commendations.

lso serving in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, he earned more medals and other honors.  As a ship fitter chief of the Navy, he received O.O.D. qualifications and, therefore, could take command of any ship at any time, his family says.

leaving the Navy, he served with the military sealift command in Panama, Indonesia, Alaska and other Pacific areas and again won commendations.  After retiring to his home in Oceano, he worked as an engineer at Arroyo Grande and valley hospitals, winning awards at both.  Mr. Belk enjoyed flying and belonged to three flying clubs.

He is survived by his wife, Nettie; daughter Judy of San Jose; son Michael of Hawaii; granddaughters Michelle Roberts and husband Kevin, Gloria Cox and husband Robert, Dianna Miller, Catherine Miller and Jane Tenopir; a sister, Gloria Traughber and husband Billie; great-grandchildren Chris, Chase and Courtney Roberts and Jason and Kevin Dhuyvetter and Jacob Cox; many nieces and nephews; and friend and adopted brother, Bill Senna and his wife, Sherwin, of Oceano.

Memorials may be made to Oceano Depot, P.O. Box 535, Oceano, CA 93445; or to Open Door Church, P.O. Box 693, Oceano, CA 93445

Arrangements are by Lady Family Mortuary in Arroyo Grande.

[The Tribune, Thursday, January 13, 2000]

24 Nov 1941 to 17 Nov 1945

Entered the US Navy immediately after his 17th birthday on 5 Nov 1924.  Enlisted in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.

Sent to Naval Training Command where he graduated 5 Dec 1941.

Sent to Treasure Island Naval Station in San Francisco, California, to await ship, USS Tucker (DD-374), which had been in Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, and came to Treasure Island to strip the ship and pick up sailors.

After 3 days aboard the USS Tucker, the ship sailed to escort the fully-loaded oil tanker USS Kaskaskia (AO-27) to Long Beach, California..  While in the breakwater at Long Beach, the ship discovered and sank an enemy submarine.  This was his first battle encounter while serving as pointer on gun #52.

After an overnight stay in Long Beach, the USS Tucker sailed unaccompanied to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  They had no great difficulties; however, upon entering Pearl Harbor, they sighted a torpedo coming between the ship and its screws.

Shortly thereafter, the USS Tucker sailed in a convoy to New Zealand and the South Pacific.  They continued to escort convoys of supplies to the South Pacific atolls, etc., and participated in the Battle of the Solomons.

During the winter of 1942, the USS Tucker hit a mine or took a torpedo and sank outside of Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides.  After a few hours in the water, he was picked up by a mine sweeper and taken to Espiritu Santo.

He caught a ride on a merchant ship, trying to get back to the States, and was finally returned to San Diego, California, by the USS Long Island. (CVE-1).  He enjoyed 30 days survivor’s leave before traveling to Norfolk, Virginia, for training.

He was assigned to the USS Nelson (DD-623) and started for the Mediterranean arena.  One week later he was transferred to the Elizabeth C. Stanton (AP-69) where he underwent emergency surgery for appendicitis.  He returned to the USS Nelson at his own demand shortly thereafter, before he had healed, where he participated in the first operation of the Mediterranean invasion of Palermo, Sicily.  He served as a Quartermaster Striker in the First Division, Secondary Con.

In March 1965 he was returned to the US Naval Hospital in San Diego, California, for knee surgery.  He was discharged from the hospital in June 1965.

In July 1965 he was assigned to welding school at USNS San Diego.

In March 1966 he was assigned to the USS Bradley (DE-1041) where he served as a Ship Fitter. Chief with OOD qualifications.

In August 1970 he was transferred to the US Navy Electronics Laboratory in San Diego, California, as a Research Assistant (NAVPERSTRARSCHLAB) to help develop training manuals.  He made several trips to the Pentagon and the East Coast while doing research and development on the Hull Technician Manual and revamped the manual on engineering qualifications.  He also learned computer key punch technology.

In Jan 1973 he was assigned to the USS Beaufort (ATS-2) based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where served until his retirement from the Navy in September 1975.  The USS Beaufort was the only ship he ever served on where he did not earn any awards.


US Navy Schools Attended:

4 May 1956:     Member US Naval Institute

29 Sep 1957 to 1 Nov 1957:  Metal Smith

6 Nov 1957:    Elementary Welding

22 Aug 1959 to 20 Sep 1955:    Structural Firefighting

8 Oct 1961:  Pressure Chamber and Ejection Seat Training

11 May 1962:  Petty Officers Leadership

4 Oct 1962:  Blue Print Reading and Sketching

19 Nov 1963:  Military Requirements

11 Dec 1963:  Ship Fitter 1 and C

1 Nov 1965:  Intermediate Welding

24 Nov 1965:  Class 2 Welding

28 Sept 1967:  Advanced Welding

4 Mar 1968:  Navy Regulations

1 Feb 1969:  Enlisted Counselors School

7 May 1972:  Military Justice

July to Aug 1972:  Psychology at San Diego State University

Ship Information

USS Tucker (DD-374), 1936-1942

USS Tucker, a 1500-ton Mahan class destroyer, was built at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia. Commissioned in July 1936, she spent the next year working up in the western Atlantic before going to the Pacific to join the Battle Fleet. During the rest of the decade Tucker mainly operated off the West Coast and in Hawaiian waters, with a trip into the Caribbean in early 1939 to participate in Fleet Problem XX. In 1941 she visited New Zealand as part of the Navy's efforts to demonstrate its presence in the region at a time of rising tensions with Japan.

Tucker was moored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japan’s surprise attack on the Pacific Fleet abruptly brought the United States into World War II on 7 December 1941. For the next several months she was engaged in patrol and escort duties between Hawaii and the West Coast. Sent to the south Pacific in the spring of 1942, Tucker operated between Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. On 3 August 1942, while escorting a freighter, she entered a defensive minefield near Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides and struck a mine amidships. With her back broken, Tucker gradually sank despite attempts to tow her ashore. This tragic accident, the result of a communications failure, cost the lives of six of her crew and deprived the Allies of a badly needed destroyer on the eve of the long and costly Guadalcanal campaign.

USS Kaskaskia (AO-27), 1940-1970

USS Kaskaskia, a Cimarron class (T-3 type) oiler, was built at Newport News, Virginia, as the civilian tanker Esso Richmond. Launched in late September 1939, she was acquired by the Navy in October 1940 and placed in commission later in that month. She was sent to the Pacific in November 1940 and spent the next year supplying fuel to Navy ships and bases in the Hawaiian area.

During the months after the United States entered World War II in December 1941, Kaskaskia mainly operated in the south Pacific. She was transferred to the Alaskan theater in mid-1942 but returned to the south Pacific in March 1943 and served there until July, when she went to California for repairs. For the rest of the Pacific War, Kaskaskia supported the great seaborne offensive that swept across the central Pacific to the Philippines and then turned northwards to seize islands closer to Japan. For a year after the fighting ended in August 1945, she helped with the occupation effort in the China-Korea-Japan area.

Kaskaskia carried fuel between the U.S., Asia and Pacific bases from 1947 until the Korean War began in mid-1950. She then began regular deployments to support ships operating off the Korean coast, with the first lasting for nearly a year, from September 1950 until late August 1951. Her second and third Korean War tours took place in January-July 1952 and from December 1952 into July 1953. The oiler made one post-war Far Eastern cruise, in 1954, before decommissioning in April 1955. She operated briefly with the Military Sea Transportation Service in 1957 and was stricken from the Navy List in January 1959.

Increasing Cold War tensions brought Kaskaskia back to active duty in the early 1960s. Reinstated as a Naval vessel in September 1961, she recommissioned in December of that year. During 1962 Kaskaskia served in the western Atlantic and Caribbean, taking part in space flight recovery activities and Cuban Missile Crisis operations. In 1963-1969, she continued to provide fuel to Navy ships in those areas, as well as deploying five times to the Mediterranean to support the Sixth Fleet. She celebrated her 30th anniversary afloat in September 1969, at the conclusion of her final Mediterranean cruise, and was decommissioned in the following December. USS Kaskaskia was sold for scrapping in September 1970.

USS Long Island (AVG-1, later ACV-1 and CVE-1), 1941-1947

USS Long Island, a 7886-ton escort aircraft carrier, was launched in January 1940 at Chester, Pennsylvania, as the merchant cargo ship Mormacmail. The U.S. Navy acquired her in March 1941 and converted her to its prototype escort carrier. Long Island was commissioned in early June 1941 and conducted trial operations in the Atlantic during the rest of that year. Among the results of these tests was a lengthened flight deck. She also performed some convoy escort duties and, during the first months of 1942, was employed as a training carrier.

In May 1942, Long Island went to the Pacific, where she served with the west-coast-based battleship force in June and also continued her pilot training mission. Beginning in July, she transported aircraft to island bases, including carrying planes to the newly-conquered, and tenuously-held, position on Guadalcanal. Long Island was reclassified ACV-1 (auxiliary aircraft carrier) in August 1942 and soon returned to the west coast to resume training carrier pilots. In July 1943, she was again reclassified, becoming CVE-1 (escort aircraft carrier).

During 1944 and 1945, Long Island was kept busy transporting aircraft from the United States to locations closer to the Pacific war zone. After the end of World War II, she brought home service personnel as part of Operation "Magic Carpet". Decommissioned in March 1946 and soon stricken from the list of Naval vessels, USS Long Island was sold for scrapping in April 1947. However, she was subsequently resurrected to become the civilian passenger ship Nelly. In 1953, she was renamed Seven Seas and was thereafter employed as a seagoing university.

USS Nelson (DD-623), 1942-1968

USS Nelson (DD-623), a Gleaves-class destroyer, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Rear Admiral Charles P. Nelson, who served during the Spanish-American War and World War I.

Nelson was laid down 7 May 1942 at the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock  Co., Kearny, New Jersey, launched 15 September 1942 sponsored by Mrs. Nelson Stewart, daughter of R.Adm. Nelson, and commissioned 26 November 1942, Lieutenant Commander M. M. Riker in command.

After shakedown along the Atlantic coast, Nelson reported to the U.S. Atlantic Fleet 21 January 1943. Through 29 May, she operated on convoy duty as flagship of Destroyer Squadron 17, making runs to Bermuda, Port of Spain, Trinidad, Dakar, French West Africa; Aruba, Netherlands West Indies; Casablanca; and Gibraltar.

Invasion of Sicily, 1943

Upon completion of a short training period at Norfolk, Virginia, Nelson got underway 7 June to take part in the invasion of Sicily. During the crossing she screened the cruiser Boise (CL-47), arriving at Algiers on 20 June. Serving as flagship for Commander Task Force 81 (TF 81) during the Sicily operation, Nelson was assigned duty with the central part of the Western Task Force. This group was to land assault troops on beachheads near Gela, Sicily, to expand the captured area, and to seize the nearby airfield at Ponte Olivo.

At 02:46 on D-Day, 10 July, the first assault waves hit the Gela beaches. Plunging in through the breakers, the shock troops encountered light opposition. But furious gunfire raked the follow-up waves. Caught in the blue-white glare of searchlights, landing craft were subjected to intense fire, and LCIs took direct hits.

At 03:00 Nelson commenced figure eight patrols to the east of the transports. Shortly after dawn Axis aircraft joined the fight, flying out of the Acate River valley on the eastern coast and attempting to bomb and strafe Allied ships, landing craft, and beaches. Nelson fired sporadically at the planes throughout the day. At 12:30 she received word that Maddox (DD-622) had been sunk. Enemy aircraft continued the attack the next day, delivering a high level bombing attack on the Nelson's area and obtaining a direct hit on the Liberty ship Robert Rowan. By 23:02 the ships commenced laying a heavy smoke screen, and the Axis attacks were beaten off.

German dive bombers buzzed in on a surprise attack from the northeast at 17:33 on the 12th, dropping bombs and making strafing runs. Nelson splashed one plane at 17:42 and an hour later departed in convoy for Algiers, North Africa.

Returning to the battle area the 17th, she took up antisubmarine patrol station around Gela and Scoglitti until the 23rd, when she returned to Algiers. Later, on the 30th, she escorted troop ships into Palermo Harbor on the north coast of Sicily. During this operation she was harassed by constant German air attacks. At 05:48 on 1 August she opened fire on a single plane, splashing it with the third salvo.

Nelson returned to New York 22 August, where Lt. Comdr. Thomas D. McGrath relieved Lt. Comdr. Riker of command 3 September. The ship was assigned to North Atlantic convoy runs for the winter. This duty took the destroyer to Belfast, Northern Ireland three times and to Greenock Bay, Scotland, and Gibraltar once each.

Invasion of Normandy, 1944

In May 1944 Nelson steamed to England to stage for the coming Normandy invasion. While moored alongside a tanker at Plymouth, England on 24 May, her port screw fouled a mooring buoy, causing extensive damage to the screw and shaft. Nelson was placed in drydock where the screw and shaft, deemed beyond repair, were removed. But the need for fighting ships was so great that Nelson got underway 2 June with only a starboard screw. At Milford Haven she rendezvoused with a convoy, and by 8 June was in the Normandy assault area.

The next day she steamed into position No. 13 on the "Dixie Line" as part of the anti-submarine and E-boat screen around the Omaha beachhead. E-boats were the German version of PT boats — speedy, agile, hard-hitting, and hard to hit. Armed with 40 mm guns and torpedoes, they specialized in night attacks. On the night of 8–9 June several destroyers on the "Dixie Line" had taken under fire and chased several of these E-boats, sinking two.

Nelson was anchored in position 13 the night of 12 June. Thus far her only contact with the enemy had been in the form of a glide bomb which had exploded harmlessly off the starboard quarter during her first night in the area. At 01:05 on the 13th she made a radar contact, challenged the contact by flashing light, and opened fire. The target slowed, turned away, and split into three distinct blips. The destroyer had loosed ten salvos when a torpedo struck her just aft the No. 4 gun mount blowing off the stern and No. 4 mount. Maloy (DE-791) stood by to transfer personnel, and Nelson was taken in tow. Twenty-four of her crew were killed or missing and nine wounded. After emergency repairs at Londonderry, Northern Ireland, where her #2 turret and torpedo tubes were removed as a weight saving/stability measure, the destroyer was towed to Boston where she received a new stern.

Nelson being towed back to Boston for repairs, after losing her stern from #4 turret aft to a German E-boat torpedo on June 13, 1944, off Normandy.

Extensive repairs completed 23 November 1944, Nelson returned to Atlantic patrol duty. During December she steamed to Plymouth, England, conducting anti-submarine patrol en route. She departed New York late in February 1945 on a convoy run to Oran, Algeria, returning 31 March.

Throughout April and May Nelson served as plane guard and screen for Card (CVE-11), and 16 May Lt. Comdr. Clark W. Freeman, USNR, relieved Comdr. McGrath as skipper. The destroyer transited the Panama Canal 1 August en route Pearl Harbor, and then to Tokyo Bay 3–14 September, following Japan's surrender. The last part of September she steamed to Okinawa, Korea, and Singapore, which she reached the 24th. En route home, she arrived Colombo, Ceylon the 30th. There, two days later, Lt. Comdr. Scott Lothrop relieved Lt. Comdr. Freeman as commanding officer; and on 3 November, Nelson sailed for New York, via Cape Town, South Africa, arriving 6 December. She got underway again 29 January 1946 for Charleston, South Carolina. By directive dated January 1947, Nelson was placed out of commission, in reserve, U.S. Atlantic Reserve Fleet, and berthed at Charleston. She was struck from the Naval Register on 1 March 1968 and sold in July 1969.

Nelson earned two battle stars for World War II service.

USS Laffey (DD-724)

Ernest E. Belk is on the muster roll of the crew of the USS Laffey (DD 724) on the day of its commissioning,

February 8, 1944 in Boston, Massachusetts.  The men listed on the web pager are the original plank owners.

The quality of the reproduced records is not the best for a couple of  reasons, among which are the questionable quality of the micro film provided by the National Archives, the questionable micro film equipment used in the Portland, Oregon library, and finally, the questionable editing abilities of the webmaster.

USS Collett (DD-730), 1944-1960

USS Collett (DD-730) was launched 5 March 1944 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. C. C. Baughman as proxy for Mrs. J. D. Collett; and commissioned 16 May 1944, Commander J. D. Collett in command.  Assigned to the Pacific Fleet, Collett reached Pearl Harbor 16 October 1944 and Ulithi 3 November. From this base, she screened the mighty carrier task force variously designated TF 38 and TF 58 for the remainder of the war. She first saw action in the air raids on Luzon and Formosa, which accompanied the advance of ground forces on Leyte, and prepared for the invasion at Lingayen from November 1944 into January 1945. In January the carriers she screened continued to launch air attacks on Formosa, the China coast, and the Nansei Shoto, and on 16 and 17 February sailed daringly close to the Japanese coast to strike targets on Honshu before giving air cover to the invasion of Iwo Jima from 20 to 22 February.

Collett returned to Empire waters with the carrier task force to screen during air raids on Honshu 25 February 1945, joined in the bombardment of Okino Daito Shima 2 March, and returned to screening during the air strikes on Kyushu and southern Honshu of 18 to 20 March. From 23 March to 24 April, the force concentrated its strikes on Okinawa, invaded on 1 April. On 18 April Collett joined with four other destroyers and carrier aircraft to sink Japanese submarine 1-56 in 26°42' N., 130°38' E.

After replenishing at Ulithi, Collett rejoined TF 58 11 May 1945 for its final month of air strikes supporting the Okinawa operation, and from 10 July to 15 August sailed with the carriers as they flew their final series of heavy air attacks on the Japanese home islands. With her squadron, she swept through the Sagami Nada on 22 and 23 July, aiding in the sinking of several Japanese merchantmen. After patrol duty off Japan, and guarding the carriers as they flew air cover for the landing of occupation troops, Collett entered Tokyo Bay 14 September 1945, and 4 days later sailed for a west coast overhaul.

Remaining on active duty with the Pacific Fleet from World War II into 1960, Collett alternated local operations and cruises along the west coast with tours of duty in the Far East, the first of which came in 1946-47. She was in the Far East upon the outbreak of the Korean war in June 1950, and after patrolling off Pusan from her base at Sasebo, and escorting cargo ships laden with military supplies to Korea, she sailed up the difficult channel to Inchon on 13 September to begin the preinvasion bombardment. She carried out her mission, although hit four times by counter fire which wounded five of her men, and on the 15th, returned with the invasion force, to whom she provided gunfire support once the landings had been made, as well as protective cover at sea. Her outstanding accomplishment in the invasion of Inchon was recognized with the awarding of the Navy Unit Commendation. After taking part in the Wonsan landings on 26 October, she returned to San Diego 18 November 1950.

Her second tour of duty in the Korean war, from 18 June 1951 to 17 February 1952, found her screening TF 77 as it conducted air strikes on the Korean east coast, training with an antisubmarine group off Okinawa, patrolling in the Taiwan Straits, and conducting shore bombardments along the coast of Korea. Similar duty, aside from bombardment, was her assignment during her third tour, from 29 August 1952 to 9 April 1953.

From the close of the Korean war, Collett served in the Far East in 1953-54, 1954-55, 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1959. Early in 1960 she began an extensive modernization, which continued until July 1960. On 19 July 1960, Collett collided with Ammen (DD-527) off Long Beach, Calif., killing 11 and injuring 20, all members of Ammen's crew. Despite a badly smashed bow, Collett made port under her own power, entering the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for extensive repairs. Her bow was removed and replaced with that of Seaman (DD-791) an uncompleted destroyer in the Reserve Fleet. On 5 November 1960, Collett departed Long Beach for coastal operations, which continued intermittently for the remainder of the year.

Collett received six battle stars for World War II service, and in addition to the Navy Unit Commendation, six battle stars for the Korean war.


USS Hammerberg (DE-1015), 1955-1976

USS Hammerberg (DE-1015), first ship to bear this name and third of the Navy's new class of Destroyer Escorts was designed for large-scale wartime construction. She had a displacement of about 1850 tons, was a single screw-geared turbine installation that sped construction times, and reduced the requirements for critical machinery components. On 22 November, the keel was laid 1953 and the ship launched on 20 August 1954.

USS Hammerberg was built by the Bath Iron Works Corporation, Bath, Maine. Upon completion, she was delivered to the Boston Naval Shipyard Boston, Mass. And it was there on 2 March 1955 she was commissioned as the USS Hammerberg.

The ship's sponsor was Mrs. Elizabeth H. Moss, mother of the late Owen Patrick Hammerberg, Boatswain Mate second class; Hammerberg was the posthumous winner of this country's highest award for heroism, the Congressional Medal of Honor. Hammerberg gave his life in saving the lives of two fellow divers trapped, during rescue operation, in a cave-in of steel wreckage, under an LST sunk in 40 feet of water, at West Lock, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, February 17, 1945.

Lieutenant Commander M. E. Draper assumed duty as her first Commanding Officer. After a shakedown cruise to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, USS Hammerberg spent the summer in training in anti-submarine warfare.

After New Year's USS Hammerberg departed for the Caribbean, where she and other ships conducted Operation SPRINGBOARD. In May and June the ship acted as a school ship for the Fleet Sonar School at Key West. During August, the ship was engaged in ASW operation. In September, she entered New York Naval Shipyard for overhaul. Before completion of the overhaul, Lieutenant Commander M.E. Doyle reported aboard to relieve as Commanding Officer.

Early in 1957, USS Hammerberg got underway for refresher training at Guantanamo Bay. With six weeks of intensive training, USS Hammerberg returned to her homeport and participated in further exercises under the operational control of COMANTISUBLANT. The ship spent most of June, July engaged in two separate convoy exercises, and all hands enjoyed two brief calls at Bermuda during June and July.

In August 1957, USS Hammerberg participated in another convoy exercise. In August, the ship also attended ceremonies at Bath, Maine in celebration of 350 years of shipbuilding in that city. In September, USS Hammerberg got underway for her first transatlantic trip as a participant in a six week NATO operation. The people of Milford Haven, Wales, and Plymouth, England warmly welcomed the ship, during her short stay there. After participation in exercises with French, English, and Canadian ships off the cost of France, she spent ten days in Brest along with ships of the French and U.S. Fleets. Some crew members visited Paris and other parts of France at this time.

Shortly after the ship's return to the United States in October, USS Hammerberg took part in a ten day hunter-killer operation with the aircraft carrier USS Tarawa.

In February 1958, USS Hammerberg took part in advanced anti-submarine exercises off the coast of Florida. Lieutenant Commander A. L. Willis then relieved as Commanding Officer. In April USS Hammerberg departed on her second transatlantic voyage. She participated in operations with ships of the Royal Norwegian Navy in areas above the Arctic Circle as well as calling on ports in Iceland, Newfoundland, Norway, and Belgium. The ship visited Antwerp, Belgium, for five days and all members of the crew had an opportunity to see the 1958 World's Fair in near-by Brussels.

In early August, USS Hammerberg sailed on a cruise that was to last nearly forty consecutive days at sea while operation as a unit of Task Force 88 conducting project ARGUS in the South Atlantic. Highlight of this two-month operation was a five-day visit to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on the return trip.

After an overhaul in Boston and a brief refresher training week in Guantanamo Bay, USS Hammerberg proceeded on with Task Force 86 in February 1959, to the west coast of South America. She transited the Panama Canal and participated in anti-submarine exercises with the navies of Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. At Balboa, Panama, Lieutenant Commander D.J.J. Downey took command of the ship.

USS Hammerberg returned home in April 1959, steaming via the Panama Canal to Newport, Rhode Island.

In July 1959, she participated in CONVEX 3-39.

August of 1959 saw USS Hammerberg underway for Londonderry, Northern Ireland, where she participated in the Joint-Anti-Submarine School, along with many NATO representatives. After stopping off in Argentina, Newfoundland, the ship arrived in Londonderry. Operation with elements of the British, Dutch, Norwegian, and Portuguese Navies, as well as German aircraft, USS Hammerberg helped prove once again the excellent ASW capabilities of the DEALEY class destroyer escort.

Leaving Ireland and the squadron, USS Hammerberg steamed independently to Edinburgh, Scotland and Bridlington, England. Here she represented the Untied States Navy in the dedication ceremonies of a monument honoring the historic naval battle of Flamborough Head between USS Bon Homme Richard and HMS Serapis.

Lisbon, Portugal was the final port-of-call on the European cruise joining up with other units of CORTRON TEN, USS Hammerberg displayed her ASW capabilities to interested Portuguese officials. A week of ASW and developmental work against nuclear submarines completed her 1959 activities.

The New Year opened as she readied herself for Springboard 1960. In January, Escort Squadrons Ten and Fourteen escorted an amphibious landing force from off the shores of North Carolina to their striking beach in the Southern shores of Vieques in the Caribbean.

In March, USS Hammerberg participated in LANTPHIBEX 1-60. She assumed the task of anti-submarine protection for amphibious troupe ships, and returned to Newport on 1 April.

On 2 July, Lieutenant Commander P.C. Boyd was relieved as Commanding Officer. Almost immediately, USS Hammerberg departed for LANTFLEX 2-60, a large fleet exercise in which the entire second fleet participated. At the end of LANTFLEX, USS Hammerberg prepared for Task Force 86, comprised of her sister ships Courtney and Dealey, the submarine Odax, and the destroyer John Paul Jones as flagship, Commander South Atlantic Force.

The first phase of Operation UNITAS consisted of operations with the combined navies of Venezuela and Columbia. Visits were made to La Guaira, Venezuela, and Cartagena, Columbia.

USS Hammerberg and other U.S. units returned to Newport on December 13, 1960.

The ship prepared for Operation UNITAS II, an almost exact repetition of the first operation.

USS Hammerberg returned from South America on 1 December 1961, and spent a short time in a tender availability. During that time, Lieutenant Commander R.F. Schniedwind became the ship's Commanding Officer. Also at this time, The USS Hammerberg was awarded the "Supply Excellence 'E'" for 1961. Then, in mid-January 1962, she sailed for the Caribbean to participate in Operation Springboard.

The ship returned to Newport in February, and spent the next five months in a series of convoy escort operation, as a unit of Task Group Charlie, commanded by Rear Admiral Jones, Commander Destroyer Flotilla Two.

In August, the ship was enroute to Key West, Florida, where she operated with the Fleet Sonar School, providing sonar services for the students.

August again found USS Hammerberg performing convoy exercises until September when type training and ASW tracking operations began.

On 7 November, USS Hammerberg was enroute south to Mayport, Florida, where she patrolled the coast of Florida during the 1962 Cuban crisis. On 29 November, the ship returned to Newport for a well-deserved rest with upkeep and tender availability also to allow the crew to spend Christmas holidays with their families and friends.

During this period, with a ceremony on 17 December Rear Admiral C.B. Jones, COMCRUDESFLOT TWO, presented the Operational Excellence Award to the ship.

In January of 1963, USS Hammerberg went to Boston Naval Shipyard for an overhaul period followed by refresher training in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Upon completion of five weeks of refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, USS Hammerberg sailed to Key West, Florida and provided services for the students of the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare School there for a one week period. Upon completion of this assignment, USS Hammerberg returned to Newport, Rhode Island where, on 24 May 1963, LCDR Lucien Capone, Jr., U.S. N. relieved as Commanding Officer.

After a brief period in port, USS Hammerberg participated in a large-scale escort of convoy exercise off the East Coast of the United States. At the completion of this exercise, all hands enjoyed the ship's brief visit to New York City prior to return to Newport.

June and July 1963 were devoted to intensive preparation for Operation UNITAS IV - a deployment which was to comprise the circumnavigation of South America in the conduct of Anti-Submarine Warfare training operation with seven South American Navies. Preparations included a brief period in Norfolk, Virginia for scheduled boiler repairs.

USS Hammerberg departed Newport on 12 August in company with USS Cromwell (DE-1014) and USS Cortney (DE-1021) in which Commander Robert B. Pettitt, Commander Escort Squadron Ten, was embarked. After rendezvous with USS Norfolk (DL 1) and USS Sennett (SS 408), the other U.S. UNITAS participants, USS Hammerberg, arrived in Trinidad on 19 August and Task Force 86 departed Trinidad enroute to Salvador (Bahia) Brazil and the first phase of operations with the Brazilian Navy. Operation UNITAS IV, Commanded by Rear Admiral John A. Tyree, USN, Commander South Atlantic Force, was the largest such operation to date, and was a notable success - both in terms of the training received and in the solidification and enhancement on Inter-American relations.

During this cruise USS Hammerberg visited Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Buenos Aires and Puerto Belgrano in Argentina, Punta Arenas, Talcahuano, Valparaiso, and Mejillones Bay in Chile, Callao (Lima), Ilo, and Talera in Peru, Salinas, Ecuador, and Cartagena, Colombia. During the course of the circumnavigation of South America, USS Hammerberg transited the Straits of Magellan, the Chilean Inland Passage, and the Panama Canal.

Upon completion of Operation UNITAS IV on 30 November 1963, USS Hammerberg proceeded to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for a brief operational visit and the proceeded to rendezvous with Task Force 180 at sea for participation in exercise PHIBASWEX 1-63. This very large-scale escort of amphibious convoy operation included Antisubmarine Warfare exercises with over 30 other Atlantic Fleet units from Vieques Island off Puerto Rico to Moorhead City, North Carolina.

On 17 December, 1963, after over four months of intensive operation at sea, USS Hammerberg returned to Newport, Rhode Island for tender availability and a welcome holiday leave period.


USS John Willis (DE-1027), 1956-1973

USS John Willis (DE-1027) was a Dealey-class destroyer escort in the United States Navy. She was named for John Harlan Willis, a navy hospital corpsman who at Iwo Jima was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.

The John Willis was launched by the New York Shipbuilding Company of Camden, New Jersey on 4 February 1956 and was sponsored by Mrs. Winfrey M. Duke, widow of John Willis. She was commissioned at Philadelphia Naval Yard on 21 February 1957, Lt. Comdr. H. O. Anson, Jr., in command.

John Willis reported to Newport, R.I., 7 April for duty with the Atlantic Fleet. Following two months of shakedown along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean, she departed Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 7 June for a five-week cruise to Northern Europe that carried her to Dutch, German, and Danish ports on the North and Baltic Seas. Upon her return to Newport 14 July, she commenced 10 months of ASW exercises along the Atlantic coast in preparation for deployment with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean.

She steamed from Newport 12 May 1958 for the Mediterranean; and following her arrival at Gibraltar 21 May, she sailed with units of the 6th Fleet to participate in joint North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) antisubmarine exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean. The pro-Western government of Iraq fell to Arab nationalists 14 July, and on the 15th President Chamoun  of Lebanon requested U.S. aid to thwart the possible overthrow of his government. In response President Dwight D. Eisenhower dispatched the 6th Fleet to Lebanon and ordered Marines to land at Beirut to protect "Lebanon's territorial integrity and independence." John Willis joined the Lebanon Patrol 18 July and for the next two months remained on intermittent patrol. As the Middle East crisis eased in September, John Willis departed the Eastern Mediterranean 14 September and sailed for the United States, putting into Newport 7 October.

On 29 November she entered the New York Shipyard to receive an experimental model of the Variable Depth Sonar (VDS) and thus became the first of the destroyer escorts to employ this latest development in ASW equipment. Resuming her operations 4 February 1959, she spent the remainder of 1959 and the early part of 1960 testing and evaluating the new equipment and conducting ASW exercises along the Atlantic coast from Newfoundland to Key West. Following a demonstration of the VDS for the Second Inter-American Naval Conference at Key West in late May, John Willis joined the Atlantic Fleet for four months of American and NATO Operations "Sea Spray" and "Sword Thrust," in the North Atlantic. She retired to Plymouth, England, 2 October but on the 10th rejoined the NATO forces for Exercise "Pipe Down."

John Willis returned to Newport 20 October and resumed coastal operations. On 8 May 1961 she sailed to Guantanamo Bay for patrol duty along the Windward Passage of the Caribbean. Following the assassination of Dominican Dictator Trujillo 27 May, she conducted patrols along the coast of the Dominican Republic. She departed the Caribbean 25 June and sailed via Key West for homeport. She returned to the Caribbean 2 December after participating in the recovery of the Project Mercury MA-5 spacecraft, which on 29 November twice orbited the earth with a chimpanzee, Enos, on board.

In response to a request for aid by President Balaguer, who feared that supporters of slain Dictator Trujillo would topple the democratic government in the Dominican Republic, President John F. Kennedy ordered units of the Atlantic Fleet into the area to illustrate America's support for the established government. John Willis sailed to the Dominican Republic 2 December and commenced seven days of patrol duty after which she returned to Newport to prepare for another cruise to Northern Europe.

She sailed for Portsmouth, England, 8 January 1962 and reached the English coast 19 January. While sailing the North Sea on the 23d en route to Horton, Norway, she assisted units of the British Navy during search and rescue operations for stricken Norwegian ship, Eystein. John Willis put into Horton 24 January and for three weeks sailed to several Norwegian ports while officers and engineers of the Norwegian Navy studied the construction details and operational characteristics of this Dealey class DE, which had been selected as the prototype for five new Norwegian warships. Upon completion of her Norwegian cruise, she sailed 15 February for the United States and arrived Newport 3 March.

John Willis resumed ASW and convoy escort exercises out of Newport and during August received additional ASW equipment. Following 4 months of extensive overhaul, she steamed to the Caribbean 1 March 1963 for an operational readiness inspection. After returning to Newport 8 April, she commenced operations 15 April with a NATO force of 30 ships, engaged in ASW Exercise, "New Broom Eleven," in the North Atlantic. After her return to Newport 25 April, she began G months of intermittent training in preparation for an Atlantic Fleet amphibious Exercise, "Phibaswex," scheduled for December. During this training period she conducted convoy escort and ASW maneuvers from Narragansett Bay to Guantanamo Bay; she attended the ASW Tactical School at Norfolk; and she served as a training ship at the Fleet Sonar School at Key West. While engaging in maneuvers designed to detect and destroy nuclear submarines, John Willis provided search and rescue assistance 23 September for a MATS plane, which was lost in the North Atlantic on a flight from Dover, Del., to the Azores.

John Willis steamed from Newport 2 December with Escort Squadron 10 and joined Task Force 180 for amphibious exercise at Vieques in the West Indies. During this exercise she conducted barrier patrols and practiced the latest ASW techniques against nuclear and conventional submarines. On the 17th she was released from the completed exercise and she returned to Newport.

For the next three years John Willis continued to operate along the Atlantic Coast and in the Caribbean while taking part in squadron exercises and serving as school ship at Key West. During the latter half of 1964 and 1965 she participated in UNITAS V and UNITAS VI and made two cruises along the coasts of South America as part of the U.S. sponsored "People-to-People" Program. Between January and June 1966 she underwent extensive overhaul at Boston where she received HASH capabilities and communications alterations: thence she resumed refresher and readiness training out of Newport. Assigned to Escort Squadron 8, she deployed to European water 29 May 1967. After arriving off the Norwegian coast early in June, she operated along the coast of Western Europe during the next month before sailing to join the ever ready and powerful ships of the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean.


USS Robison (DDG-12), 1961 - 1991

USS Robison (DDG-12), named for Rear Admiral Samuel Shelburne Robison, was a Charles F. Adams-class guided missile armed destroyer in the service of the United States Navy.

Robison was laid down by Defoe Shipbuilding Company in Bay City, Michigan on 28 April 1959, launched on 27 April 1960 by Mrs. John H. Sides, wife of the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, and commissioned on 9 December 1961 at the Boston Naval Shipyard, Comdr. D. V. Cox in command.

Robison served as plane guard for carriers on Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf, participated in Sea Dragon operations, patrolled on search and rescue duties and carried out Naval Gunfire Support missions during the conflict in Vietnam.


Robison steamed for the west coast 29 January 1962 via the Panama Canal. On 1 March she received a message diverting her to Clipperton Island, to rescue 10 stranded seamen from the tuna boat Monarch, which had capsized 20 days earlier.

Arriving at San Diego on 7 March, Robison underwent shakedown and then post-shakedown availability 14 June in San Francisco. Fleet Adm.
Chester W. Nimitz, who had twice served on Admiral Robison's staff, visited the ship on 25 June.

Following completion of availability 31 July, Robison proceeded to Mare Island Naval Shipyard for ammunition, took on ASROC and Tartar missiles at Seal Beach, and then commenced 3 months of local training operations out of San Diego. She got underway with Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla 11 on 13 November for her first WestPac tour of duty. Upon completion of this deployment, Robison arrived San Diego 21 June 1963 for coastal operations.

She departed San Diego 18 November in company with USS Parsons (DD-949) for escort duties. Calling at Pearl Harbor 23 November, she departed 2 days later in company with USS Midway (CV-41). Upon detachment from Midway, she touched at Guam, and then escorted USS Hancock (CV-19) eastward. Following fueling stops at Midway Island and Pearl Harbor, she arrived San Diego 19 December.

In January 1964 Robison entered Long Beach Naval Shipyard for regular overhaul. After missile qualifications and refresher training, she steamed 14 August for her second WestPac deployment. Following her successful participation in modern naval warfare training exercises and calls at various Far Eastern ports, she departed Yokosuka 24 January 1965 and arrived San Diego 6 February.

Local spring operations were followed by a midshipman training cruise from 10 June to 5 August. The latter month also brought a call at Portland, Oreg., and a visit, on the 24th, by the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. David L. McDonald. In the fall she sharpened her ASW, AAW, and shore bombardment techniques during coastal operations. Early in the new year 1966, the destroyer prepared for her third tour of duty in support of 7th Fleet operations in WestPac.

That deployment ended with her return to San Diego 18 July 1966. Overhaul in San Francisco took her through the fall and into the winter months, culminating in her return to homeport on 3 February 1967. Refresher and type training filled the next 5 months, and 25 July saw Robison once again en route to the Orient.

After calling at Pearl Harbor 31 July and Yokosuka, Japan, 5 August, she commenced Tonkin Gulf operations 25 August in the screen for USS Coral Sea (CV-43). In naval gunfire support and "Sea Dragon" operations during the period from 26 August 1967 to 9 January 1968, Robison was credited with the destruction of 78 waterborne logistics craft. Her remarkable degree of combat readiness during this period earned for her the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Upkeep, availability, training, and operating off the west coast maintained Robison's state of readiness through the next 11 months. She steamed from San Diego for her fifth WestPac deployment on 30 December 1968 in company with carrier Kitty Hawk. The usual call at Pearl Harbor was followed by arrival at Subic Bay, 20 January 1969. After voyage repairs Robison joined Task Group 77.3 in Tonkin Gulf. The destroyer, flagship of her division, served in the screen of both Kitty Hawk and Bon Homme Richard. She also provided naval gunfire support to troops ashore in the I Corps Zone.

Robison returned to San Diego on 6 July 1969, remaining there until 2 October, when she arrived at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Hunters Point, for overhaul. Work was completed 4½ months later, and Robison returned to her homeport of San Diego 27 February 1970, ready for refresher training and yet another WestPac deployment.

1970 - 1980

With the advent of 1970, Robison began a cycle of deployments which endured for three years. She spent the spring of each year on the west coast of the United States and then, in late spring or early summer, she deployed to West Pac. This cycle continued until 1973. During that year she remained on the west coast, engaged in normal operations out of San Diego, where she was berthed as of January 1974.

After fighting in Vietnam in the 60's, ironically, she participated in the rescue of two groups of Vietnamese refugees in 1980. The first group was spotted while doing maneuvers with the Thai Navy in the South China Sea. When the Robison arrived that evening only 262 people survived of the 300+ that disembarked from Vietnam to escape the horrors of their homeland. [citation needed], Many died during their ordeal in the sea or ended their lives after giving up hope before the Robison arrived. These refugees were "housed" under tarps on the gun deck of the Robison, cared for and nursed back to health by members of the crew until permission was granted to take them to Thailand to be processed and, eventually, taken to the United States. Within weeks of rescuing the first group, a second group was spotted with a very small contingent of people; 21 to be precise. The seas were stormy so the people were taken below decks and cared for as the ship transited to the Philippines where they would be processed for emigration to the United states. The members of her crew received the Humanitarian Service Medal. [citation needed]


The guided missile destroyer decommissioned on 1 October 1991, was struck from the navy list on 20 November 1992 and sold to Consolidated Metals, Inc., for scrapping.

Robison was decommissioned on 1 October 1991, stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 20 November 1992 and sold for scrap on 20 June 1994. The plan was that it would be converted to a power barge with her sister ship, the USS Hoel DDG-13. That plan for Robison was changed after the power barge failure of the Hoel.[1] [2] See the reference of Power Barge in the entry for USS Hoel (DDG-13).

Robison was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for service off the Vietnamese coast.


Robison earned seven battle stars for service off the Vietnamese coast.

USS Bradley (DE-1041, later FF-1041), 1965-1989

USS Bradley, the second of ten 2,620-ton Garcia class escort ships, was built at San Francisco, California, and commissioned in May 1965. Her first deployment to the Westen Pacific between July and December 1966 included four months of gunfire support along the coast of South Vietnam and carrier escort duty in the Gulf of Tonkin. In February 1967 Bradley received the prototype destroyer installation of the Sea Sparrow Basic Point Defense Missile System (BPDMS). After intensive trials between May and September, the system was removed in September.

Bradley commenced her second deployment to Southeast Asia in December 1967 but was diverted to the Sea of Japan in response to the North Korean capture of USS Pueblo (AGER-2). In March she resumed carrier escort and gunfire support duties off South Vietnam. After a final tour on the gun line in June, during which she fired 3,247 rounds in 10 days from her two 5"/38 guns, she returned to San Diego in July 1968. Her first regular overhaul between October 1968 and May 1969 featured a major upgrade to her SQS-26 sonar and extensive work on her two temperamental pressure-fired boilers. Bradley's third deployment featured a gun line tour in January 1970, surveillance of the Soviet Navy's worldwide "Okean" exercise in April, and more carrier escort and gunfire support duty lasting into June. During the next five years Bradley conducted three additional deployments to Southeast Asia, interrupted by a second regular overhaul in 1971-72.

In June 1975 Bradley began a year-long overhaul which included the enlargement of her helicopter hangar. In July 1975 she was reclassified from escort ship (DE) to frigate (FF). After trials in mid 1976, Bradley conducted two more deployments, each of which included lengthy operations in the Indian Ocean, before entering the shipyard in mid-1979 for another one year overhaul. Repeating this pattern, she conducted another two deployments, this time ranging between Korea and Malaysia, before starting another year-long overhaul in mid-1983, primarily to remedy boiler problems. The ship made one more Western Pacific deployment between mid-1986 and January 1987 and a Northern Pacific cruise in May-June 1988 before decommissioning in September 1988.

In September 1989 Bradley was leased to Brazil at San Diego and became the destroyer Pernambuco (D 30). She was stricken from the U. S. Navy and sold outright to Brazil in January 2001. She remains active in the Brazilian Navy into her 39th year afloat, having participated at sea in seven exercises between early 2001 and early 2003.


USS Beaufort (ATS-2), 1965-1989

USS Beaufort (ATS-2) was an Edenton-class salvage and rescue ship acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1972 and maintained in service until struck in 1996. Beaufort spent her entire career in the Pacific Ocean, based out of Pearl Harbor, and provided salvage and rescue services where needed from the Western Pacific to the North Pacific.

Built in Lowestoft, England in 1968

The fifth ship to be so named by the Navy, Beaufort (ATS-2) was laid down on 19 February 1968 at Lowestoft, England, by Brooke Marine Ltd.; launched on 20 December 1968; sponsored by Mrs. Waldemar F. A. Wendt; delivered to the Navy at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 5 January 1972; and commissioned there on 22 January 1972, Lt. Comdr. Arthur R. Erwin in command.

Naval service

Beaufort completed outfitting at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 5 April 1972 and moved first to the Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia, for departing and thence to Little Creek, Virginia, to load in preparation for the voyage to Pearl Harbor.

She made an overnight stop at one of her namesake cities, Beaufort, South Carolina, on 14 and 15 April and a two-day visit to Port Royal, South Carolina, from 15 to 17 April before resuming her voyage to Hawaii. The salvage tug transited the Panama Canal on 24 April and headed up the U.S. West Coast of North America to San Diego, California, arriving there on 3 May. Five days later, Beaufort put to sea on the last leg of her voyage.

She arrived in Pearl Harbor on 15 May and became a unit of Service Squadron (ServRon) 5. The ship remained in port until 5 June at which time she began shakedown training in the Hawaiian Islands operating area.

The salvage tug completed shakedown training on 23 June and soon began diver and salvage training. August brought final contract trials; and, in September, she resumed salvage training and capability evaluation. Between 13 October and 15 November, she towed the former Observation Island (AG-154) to San Francisco, California, and returned to Pearl Harbor. She arrived back in Pearl Harbor on 15 November and began post-shakedown availability.

First Western Pacific Ocean deployment

That repair period occupied her for the rest of 1972 and ended on 15 March 1973. At that time, she resumed normal operations out of Pearl Harbor. Salvage training kept her busy until 16 May when she got underway for her first deployment to the western Pacific. Beaufort stopped at Midway Island and Guam before arriving in the Philippine Islands at Subic Bay on 8 June. She conducted operations in the vicinity of Subic Bay until the beginning of July. At that time, the salvage tug got underway for Vietnam. Between 8 and 22 July, she served as a support ship for the minesweepers engaged in Operation End Sweep, the removal of mines from Haiphong harbor in North Vietnam.

Losing her tows in a storm

She returned to Subic Bay late in July for a short period of upkeep. From there, the salvage tug went to Naha, Okinawa, to pick up three pontoon barges for towing to Ream, Cambodia. Beaufort departed Naha on 1 August and shaped a course for Ream. Off the coast of South Vietnam, however, she encountered a storm; and all three barges sank.

The ship continued on to Ream where she arrived on 14 August. There, she picked up another tow, a Cambodian LCI, for the voyage back to Subic Bay. The salvage tug reached her destination on 19 August. On the 27th, she got underway for Hong Kong where she made a storm-induced, extended port visit. Beaufort departed Hong Kong on 8 September and headed back toward the Philippines. On the approach to Subic Bay, she took Tripoli (LPH-10) in tow and brought her into port on the 10th.

She put to sea again on 25 September to help to refloat the grounded USNS Sgt. Jack J. Pendleton (T-AK-276) and returned to Subic Bay from that mission on 9 October. On the 24th, the salvage tug shaped a course for Sasebo, Japan. She arrived in Sasebo on 29 October and remained there until 4 November. On the latter day, Beaufort took two tank landing ships in tow and began the voyage back to Pearl Harbor. She reentered her home port on 28 November and spent the rest of the year in post-deployment leave and upkeep.

North Pacific operations

From 1 January to 20 May 1974, Beaufort underwent a restricted availability in the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. Following that repair period, she resumed normal operations in the Hawaiian Islands. That employment lasted until 16 August when she stood out of Pearl Harbor in company with USNS Silas Bent (T-AGS-26) bound for Alaskan waters. She operated with Silas Bent until mid-September.

On the 18th, the salvage tug parted company with Silas Bent and laid in a course for Bremerton, Washington. She visited Bremerton from 25 September to 10 October and Vancouver, British Columbia, between 10 and 17 October. During the remainder of October, she made calls at Seattle, Washington; Astoria, Oregon; Longview, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and San Francisco, California. On 4 November, Beaufort departed San Francisco to return to Pearl Harbor. She reentered her home port on 10 November and remained there through the end of 1974.

Return to the Far East

A restricted availability occupied her during most of January 1975. She resumed operations out of Pearl Harbor on the 27th. Type training, diving drills, and local tows kept her busy until 30 June when she entered the Dillingham Shipyard for a pre-deployment restricted availability. Beaufort resumed local operations on 23 August, and they lasted until 8 September when she got underway for the Far East.

The salvage tug stopped at Guam from 15 to 19 September and then continued on to the Philippines. She arrived in Subic Bay on the 24th and operated out of that port until 18 November when she set a course for Japan. Between 24 November and 4 December, Beaufort salvaged some amphibious equipment that had been blown to sea by a storm near Numazu, Japan. On 5 December, she put into Sasebo, Japan, for two days of upkeep. She returned to sea on the 7th, bound for Chinhae, Korea, where she spent the period between 9 and 19 December supporting Republic of Korea Navy salvage training operations. On 20 December, she returned to Sasebo and remained there through the end of the year.

Beaufort departed Sasebo on 3 January 1976 and shaped a course for Taiwan. After visits to Keelung and Tsoying, Taiwan, she conducted five days of salvage training with the Taiwanese Navy before heading back to Subic Bay on the 17th. She operated out of Subic Bay until 14 February when she departed the Philippines for Guam towing Kittaton (YTM-406). The salvage tug brought her charge into Apra Harbor on 22 February and, two days later, got underway with Tuscumbia (YTB-762) in tow and headed for Midway Island. Beaufort dropped her tow off at Midway on 6 March and continued her voyage back to Pearl Harbor.

The ship arrived at Oahu on 9 March and began a month of post-deployment leave and upkeep. She underwent a restricted availability for the installation of firefighting equipment and new navigational lights during the latter part of April and most of May. She resumed operations out of Pearl Harbor on 27 May. Concluding those operations on 16 August, she reentered the Dillingham Shipyard for a regular overhaul.

The yard work took about a year, occupying the remainder of 1976 and the first eight months of 1977. During the final three months of the overhaul, however, Beaufort put to sea occasionally for tests and evaluations. After 24 May, additional repairs were made at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. She resumed normal operations in September, conducting refresher training in the local operating area between the 6th and the 25th. Normal operations -- salvage training and diving drills -- occupied her time until the end of the first week in November.

Re-deployment to the Western Pacific

On the 7th, Beaufort stood out of Pearl Harbor on her way to the western Pacific. She arrived at Apra Harbor, Guam, on 18 November. For the next two weeks, she conducted special operations in the Mariana Islands operating area. On 2 December, she broke off the special operations to evade a typhoon at Buckner Bay, Okinawa. On 7 December, she resumed the special operations which lasted until the 14th.

The following day, the salvage tug reentered Apra Harbor. She departed Guam on the 22d bound for Korea. She reached Pusan on the 26th but departed again the next day for Chinhae. Beaufort provided support services for Swordfish (SSN-579) from 28 to 31 December and then headed back to Pusan.

Following a visit to that port on 1 and 2 January 1978, the salvage tug weighed anchor for Japan. She arrived at Sasebo on 4 January once again and began a 15-day upkeep period. On 20 January, Beaufort put to sea for Korea once again. She stopped at Chinhae from the 21st to the 23d, then headed for Numazu, Japan, where she conducted salvage operations between 26 January and 9 February. After a stop at Yokosuka on 10 and 11 February, she towed the former Tensaw (YTM-418) to sea for a sinking exercise. She completed that mission on the 17th and laid in a course for Hong Kong. At the end of a four-day call at the British colony, the salvage tug headed for Taiwan where she took part in salvage exercises with elements of the Taiwanese Navy early in March.

Salvaging a downed F-14

She returned to Hong Kong on 9 March for an 11-day visit before getting underway for Subic Bay. On her way there, however, she received orders diverting her to the Gulf of Thailand to salvage a downed F-14. From 25 to 31 March, conducted recovery operations on the fighter.

On 1 April, Beaufort put into Singapore for a week of liberty and upkeep. She returned to sea on the 9th, bound for surveillance duties in the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands. That mission continued until 23 April when the ship entered Apra Harbor, Guam, for a two-day port call. On 26 April, she began her voyage home to Oahu. She reached Pearl Harbor on 5 May and began a month of post-deployment leave and upkeep.

On 5 June, Beaufort resumed normal operations with a visit to Lahaina Roads near the island of Maui. There, she conducted a bow-lift exercise on the former Bluegill. Similar duty elsewhere in the Hawaiian Islands and the mid-Pacific operating area occupied her for the rest of the year and into 1979.

Return to the Western Pacific

At the end of January 1979, she entered the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for a restricted availability. Beaufort completed repairs on 11 March and resumed local operations. On 1 April, the salvage tug began preparations for overseas movement and, on the 24th, departed Pearl Harbor for the western Pacific. The ship arrived in Apra Harbor, Guam, on 5 May and operated from that port until the 27th when she got underway for the Philippine Islands.

Beaufort stopped at Legaspi between 1 and 4 June before arriving in Subic Bay on the 6th. For the next four months, she performed the usual U.S. 7th Fleet duty visiting a number of ports, towing ships, and conducting salvage training. On 29 September, she departed Yokosuka, Japan, to return to Hawaii. Beaufort arrived in Pearl Harbor on 10 October and, after post-deployment stand-down, resumed local operations on 13 November.

Duty out of Pearl Harbor occupied her time through the next nine months. On 25 August 1980, she got underway for the west coast of the United States. The ship reached Oakland, California, on 1 September and remained there until the 7th. Beaufort headed back to Hawaii on 8 September and arrived there on 15 September. Five days later, she got underway for the western Pacific. The salvage tug arrived in Apra Harbor, Guam, on 6 November. Following a nine-day stopover at Guam, Beaufort weighed anchor for the Philippines. En route, she conducted a surveillance mission in the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands.

On 26 November, the salvage tug arrived in Subic Bay but remained only until the 30th when she embarked upon a voyage which took her to Thailand and Singapore. Beaufort returned to Subic Bay on 2 January 1981. She operated out of that port until 6 April when she got underway for home. The ship stopped at Guam on 12 April but continued her voyage east on the 13th. Beaufort reentered Pearl Harbor on 28 April and remained there until 8 June when she resumed operations in the Hawaiian Islands.


Beaufort was decommissioned on 8 March 1996 and was struck from the Navy list on 12 December 1996. She was disposed of through the Security Assistance Program, transfer and cash sale of the hull and transferred to the Republic of Korea Navy on 29 August 1996.

Honors and awards

Qualified Beaufort personnel were authorized the following:

Combat Action Ribbon

Joint Meritorious Unit Award

Navy Unit Commendation

Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (3)

Battle "E" Ribbon (5)

National Defense Service Medal

Southwest Asia Service Medal

Humanitarian Service Medal (Boat People)

Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)

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