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The 1972 WestPAC Cruise Of The USS Richard S. Edwards DD-950 

Chronology
Quartermaster's Notes
Narrative

APRIL

10 Underway from Pearl Harbor; enroute Subic Bay.

12 Refuel at Midway.

19 Refuel at Guam.

22 Moored, Subic Bay; final preparations for combat zone.

25 Underway, enroute combat zone.

26 Arrived Pt. Allison, near DMZ, for NGFS duty.

27 First round fired from Mt 51 at 0049: hostile fire at 0058; embarked COMDESRON NINE.

28 Enroute Gulf of Tonkin; begin Freedom Train strikes against North Vietnam.

MAY
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08 Operation Frame Glory, daylight raid near Hon Mat with USS BERKLEY DDG-15.

Daylight raid near Haiphong harbor with destroyers BERKELEY, BUCHANAN and M.C.

FOX, to provide suppression gunfire for first aerial mine laying.

09 Operation Pocket Money, began notification line duties.

11 End notification line; enroute DMZ.

12 Return to Gulf of Tonkin; begin Linebacker strikes against North Vietnam.

16 Detached, enroute Sasebo, Japan.

20 Moored, Sasebo.

27 Underway, enroute combat zone.

31 Arrived Pt. Allison, near DMZ, for NGFS duty; debark COMDESRON NINE.

JUNE
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02 Detached, enroute USS SARATOGA CV-60 for escort/plane guard duty.

13 Detached, from USS SARATOGA; enroute Pt. Joey.

14 Arrived Pt. Joey, Binh Dinh province, for NGFS duty.

28 Detached, after firing 5,754 rounds in support of 22nd ARVN Division; enroute Subic

Bay.

29 Moored, Subic Bay.

JULY

04 Underway, enroute combat zone.

05 Arrived Pt. Joey for NGFS duty.

29 Detached, enroute Pt. Angela; arrived Pt. Angela, near DMZ, for NGFS duty.

August
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01 Fired 1,179 rounds in 18 hours during coordinated offensive by VN Marines near

Quang Tri.

02 Detached, enroute Subic Bay.

04 Moored Subic Bay.

14 Underway, enroute combat zone.

16 Change of command in Da Nang harbor. CDR L.K. RICE relieved CDR W.C. Deal at

0653; enroute Pt. Angela: arrived Pt. Angela for NGFS duty.

17 Detached, enroute and arrived Pt. Claudia for NGFS dutv.

25 Detached, enroute and arrived Pt. Angela for NGFS duty.

26 COMCRUDESPAC, Rear Admiral Woods, visited RSE while she steamed on station.

28 Detached, enroute Gulf of Tonkin.

29 Begin linebacker strikes against North Vietnam.

SEPTEMBER
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01 Evacuated Gulf of Tonkin to evade Typhon Elsie.

04 Returned to Gulf, recommence Linebacker strikes.

10 Night raid with cruisers, RSE assigned suppression of coastal defense sites; no rounds fired.

11 Detached, enroute Pt. Angela arrived Pt. Angela for NGFS duty.

12 Detached, enroute Hong Kong, B.C.C.

13 Moored, Hong Kong

14 Underway, enroute Subic Bay.

23 Arrived Subic Bay, entered floating drydock.

OCTOBER
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02 Underway for sea trials: moored Subic Bay.

05 Underway, enroute Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

06 Moored, Kaohsiung.

09 Underway, enroute combat zone.

11 Arrive Pt. Angela for NGFS DUTY.

14 Detached, enroute and arrived Pt. Gwen for NGFS duty.

25 Detached, enroute Subic Bay.

27 Moored, Subic Bay.

30 Underway, ENROUTE PEARL HARBOR.

NOVEMBER

02 Refuel at Guam.

10 Moored, BRAVO PIER, U.S. NAVAL STATION, PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII. 

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SOME EXCERPTS FROM THE QUARTERMASTER’s NOTEBOOK
27 APRIL 0049 Fired first round of the war from Mount 51.

09 MAY 0853 Coming around to make another run.

0854 Hostile aircraft bears 310. RIGHT STANDARD RUDDER. Retiring at this time.

12 MAY Presently running through Vietnamese fishing fleet.

15 MAY Mig alert.

16 MAY (Mid-watch entry) Heading south for the next strike. The crew is ready for GQ at anytime...three more strikes against the NV this morning.

31 MAY RSE is acting as shotgun on this mission.

12 JULY 1607 Motor whale boat is in the water for testing.

1628 Commence fire, Mt 51.

1655 Cease fire. Commence fire Mt 52.

1718 Cease fire.

1720 Motor whale boat back aboard. Test satisfactory.

STATISTICS

214 days out of homeport...173 days at sea...steamed over 45,000 miles... 80 days of NGFS duty...33 days of Freedom Train/Linebacker duty, 94 raids against North Vietnam...11 days as carrier escort/plane guard...99 underway replenishments…54 helo details...46 small boat evolutions…4,717,241 gallons of fuel consumed…2l,625 rounds of 5"/54 cal, ammo fired.

 

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THE STORY OF WESTPAC 1972, USS RICHARD S. EDWARDS DD-950

On 10 April 1972, with only three days advance notice, USS RICHARD S. EDWARDS left Pearl Harbor, HI in company with the USS DAVIDSON (DE-1045), nearly four months ahead of schedule. It was the DD-950's first WESTPAC since recommissioning in January 1971. Two brief refueling stops on  12 April at Midway  and Guam on 19 April led to Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, on 22 April, where final preparations were made for combat operations.

As a unit of Seventh Fleet R.S. EDWARDS departed Subic Bay on 25 April, arriving on the gunline near the DMZ the following day. Her two five-inch gun mounts fired their first rounds in the early morning hours of 27 April. Later in the day Commander; Destroyer Squadron NINE embarked as CTU 77.1.1, Freedom Train strike unit, and R.S. EDWARDS moved north into the Gulf of Tonkin.

Working with numerous other destroyers, the ship participated in naval gunfire missions against targets in North Vietnam, including a daylight raid near Hon Mat in company with USS BERKELE (DDG-15) on 8 May. The next morning, R.S. EDWARDS and three other ships steamed to the mouth of Hiaphong harbor to Provide suppression gunfire against coastal defense sites while U.S. planes began the first aerial minelaying operation. All ships emerged undamaged despite heavy hostile fire. Later on 9 May, R.S. EDWARDS retired to a notification line station to warn foreign merchants of the Mines.

On 12 May, task unit 77.1.1 became TU 77.1.2, a Linebacker strike unit, and night raids against the North Vietnamese took on a regularity matched only by the underway replenishments that occurred during daylight hours. When detached on 16 May, R.S. EDWARDS had participated in sixty-seven naval gunfire strike missions, twenty of which were opposed by hostile fire. But the gun barrels cooled as the ship steamed to Sasebo, Japan, arriving on 20 May. A short seven days later, with much needed maintenance accomp1ished, R.S. EDWARDS headed back to the combat zone.

COMDESRON NINE debarked on 31 May, and the destroyer was tasked with escort/plane guard duty for USS SARATOGA(CV-60) from 2 - 13 June. On 14 June, the ship began a fifteen day stint providing 5,754 rounds of five-inch ammo in support of the 22nd ARVN Division in Binh Dinh province. A brief upkeep period in Subic, 29 June - 4 July, was only an intermission as R.S. EDWARDS returned to the same area as a naval gunfire support asset for allied ground offensives, amphibious and vertical envelopment operations until 29 July. Returning to the DMZ area, EDWARDS gunners supported a coordinated South Vietnamese Marine battle near Quang Tri on 1 August. On this day BIG SAL and her sister pumped out 1'179 rounds in less than eighteen hours.

The R.S. EDWARDS left the gunline the following morning for an upkeep period in Subic Bay from 4 - 14 August. Her next line Sling began in Da Nanq harbor on 16 August when Commander Lloyd K. RICE relieved Commander Walter C. DEAL as the tenth Commanding Officer of USS RICHARD S. EDWARDS. Naval gunfire support duties which occupied the ship from 17 - 28 August, were interrupted briefly on 26 August, when COMCRUDESPAC, Rear Admiral WOODS, visited the ship while she steamed on station near the DMZ. On 28 August, the destroyer was ordered north into the Golf of Tonkin for a second tour as a part of TU 77.1.2. In company with two other destroyers R.S. EDWARDS conducted twenty-seven night raids on such military targets as petroleum storage areas, coastal artillery sites, troop encampments and material storage areas in North Vietnam. Additional duty as a merchant surveillance ship was accomplished in daylight.

Between 1 - 4 September, the R.S. EDWARDS was forced to evade Typhoon Elsie, and as a result, the ship received a short lesson in heavy weather seamanship.

Upon completion of her assignments in the Gulf on 11 September, R.S. EDWARDS returned to the DMZ for three days of naval gunfire support before leaving for Hong Kong, where she moored on 16 September. The welcome rest and relaxation concluded on 22 September, when the ship departed for Subic Bay. There the ship was placed in drydock for hull, rudder and screw repairs. This was her longest stay in Subic, from 23 September to 5 October, and it was immediately followed by a visit to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, from 6 - 9 0ctober. A final gunline tour from 11 - 25 October, as a naval gunfire support ship, brought the total number of rounds fired by R.S. EDWARDS to 21,625.

The ship made her final visit to Subic Bay from 27 - 30 October, and she was rejoined there by USS DAVIDSON (DE-1045) for the trip home. One quick stop for gas in Guam on 2 November was all that the R.S. EDWARDS needed to reach Pearl Harbor.  Crowds of family and friends greeted the returning sailors on 10 November 1972.

KUDOS

17O805Z May 72. FROM COMDESRON NINE: "A proud, confident, well trained, informed and high spirited Crew...fired 3,417 rounds in 19 days...averaged 1 gun up 100% time...02 guns up 95% time...never failing to deliver required rounds in target area...engaged three firing CD sites in a single mission, firing 484 rounds counter battery fire during retirement...never on water hours...R.S. EDWARDS is among the very few."

242040Z May 72, FROM COMDESRON TWO FIVE: "We all are extremely proud of RICHARD S. EDWARDS and crew...Congratulations, Jack Deal, to you and your crew for this outstanding performance. We always knew you could hack it."

300300Z May 72, FROM COMDESRON NINE: "You have left nothing to be desired as a squadron flagship and combatant. I will be holding a front line slot for you."

292332Z October 72, FROM COMMANDER IN CHIEF, U.S. PACIFIC FLEET: "Your officers and men can reflect with pride on the splendid record of RICHARD S. EDWARDS. Your efforts on the Gunline and short notice Participation in Linebacker strikes have been followed with interest here...the challenge each task presented you has been met in an exemplary manner. Well done."

011334Z November 72, FROM COMANDER, SEVENTH FLEET: "Another outstanding Westpac deployment...Let me extend to your fine Crew my commendation for a job well done."

210305Z October 72, FROM COMDESRON TWO FIVE: "Aloha. Although I have not had the privilege of being embarked and serving with you these past seven months, I am intimately familiar with your distinguished accomplishments in the Seventh Fleet. Many Commanders and ships have praised your performance. Your officers and men have done an outstanding job. As the Navy's finest, I am deeply proud of you...Well done and Aloha."

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This page updated on:   Tuesday, September 26, 2000