USS H. B. WILSON DDG-7 -  Westpac 1971 (page 1)

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To add to the story. If the photos were taken from CVA-34 during HBW's return from 1971 deployment, then they were shot on 10 Dec as TU 17.5.2 (HBW, RUPERTUS, HW TUCKER) crossed the International Date Line, with Ens C. R. (Rod) Girvin at the conn.  One more photo while alongside ORISKANY and we might have seen ship's dog, Halfhitch, in his life jacket supervising the evolution.  HBW arrived San Diego 0n 18 Dec.

C. G. Farnham


DAILY OPERATIONS  -- 17 AUG 70 to 6 JAN 72



DAYS OUT OF HOMEPORT                         342   (67%)

MILES STEAMED                                            >20,xxx

WESTPAC DEPLOYMENTS                        11 JUN 71  –  18 DEC 1971                                                                             

TOTAL DEPLOYMENT                                 6 Months /191 Days 


                                                                PORTS VISITED

                17 AUG 70 – 3 JAN 72      

                LONG BEACH, CA

                SEAL BEACH, CA            

                PEARL HARBOR, HI                       

                SUBIC BAY, R.P



                BUCKNER BAY, OKINAWA

                DANANG, RVN  

                HONG KONG, BCC                          






17           Report aboard USS HENRY B. WILSON (DDG-7 at Long Beach Naval Shipyard (LBNSY)

18           Relieving briefings by ship and Naval Shipyard representatives

19           Relieving briefings

20           Change of Command, CDR Farnham relieved CDR H. C. Mustin as Commanding Officer

21-31     Continuing Regular Overhaul (ROH), LBNSY

29           ROH, move ship to drydock

30-31     ROH, drydock




01-30     ROH, LBNSY, drydock




01-31     ROH, LBNSY.  Leave drydock

07           ROH.  COMDESDIV 212 visit

10           ROH.  COMDESDIV 212 Change of Command

19           ROH.  Fuel ship

23           ROH.  NRFC Audit

26           ROH.  NRFC Audit

27           ROH.  Light off 1A boiler.  NRFC Audit.  Personnel Reliability Board Mtng

28           ROH.  SAS/EAM briefs

29           ROH.  Light off 1B boiler

30           ROH.  Light off 2A boiler

31           ROH




01-30     ROH LBNSY

12           ROH.  Dock trials / FAST cruise

17           ROH.  Visit NSMSES, Pt. Hueneme

18           ROH.  FAST cruise

19           ROH.  Underway for machinery sea trials

23           ROH.  14A2 ASW team trainer

24           ROH.  14A2

26           ROH.  THANKSGIVING

30           ROH




01-18     ROH, LBNSY

08           ROH.  Flotilla NINE Nuclear Safety Mtng, San Diego


10           ROH.  Nuclear Weapons Trng Center course 916

11           ROH.  Underway for weapons sea trials

14           ROH.  Underway for weapons sea trials

15           ROH.  Underway for RFIS (radio frequency interference survey) & swing ship

16           ROH.  Underway for antenna radiation patterns

18           Complete ROH LBNSY.

19           Transit Long Beach to San Diego.  Moor Pier 3 NAVSTA San Diego

20-31     San Diego

25           San Diego.  CHRISTMAS

29           San Diego.  Zone Insp

30           San Diego.  Zone Insp.

31           San Diego





01           UPK San Diego, Pier 31N2

02           UPK San Diego

03           UPK San Diego

04           San Diego.  Commence SQT (missile test/trial).  NGFS trainer

05           San Diego.  NGFS.  COMDESDIV 212 embark

06           Enr NWS Seal Beach.  NGFS trainer.  Medical insp.  Z-1-CI

07           NWS Seal Beach, load ammo.  Enrat San Diego, Pier 31N

08-11     San Diego

11           Underway for SQT at PMR (Pacific Missile Range).  Z-2-GM

12           PMR SQT.  Z-2-GM.  15 knot economy trial.  Brief stop Long Beach

13           PMR SQT.  Z-2-GM, Z-26-S, Z-24-G

14           PMR SQT.  Z-2-GM, Z-11-S.  ARR San Diego Pier 26S

15           San Diego.  Refuel.  SQT

16           San Diego.  SQT

17           San Diego

18           Underway for SQT.  Z-29-S, Z-2/3-GM

19           SOCAL OPS.  SQUAW ASW tgt.  Z-2-GM, Z-3-S

20           SOCAL OPS.  20 knot economy trial. Z-2-GM

21           ARR San Diego, Pier 24S.  RAVIR trainer

22           San Diego.  TYCOM PMS visit. NAVSECGRU visit.  PMR Ops brief. RAVIR trainer.  ASW trnr

23           San Diego

24           San Diego

25           San Diego.  RAVIR trainer

26           Enr PMR, via NWS Seal Beach.  25 knot economy trial

27           PMR SQT missile firings – 5 TARTAR shots.  ARR San Diego, Pier 24S

28           San Diego.  Complete SQT

29           San Diego.  Nuclear Safety Council

30           San Diego.  Shift to Buoys 20-21

31           San Diego




01           San Diego, buoys 20-21.  Commence RFT (Refresher Training)

02           Buoys 20-21.  RFT.  NAVSECGRU training.  Naval Gunfire School Ship (GFSS)

03           Buoys 20-21.  RFT.  GFSS

04           Buoys 20-21.  RFT.  GFSS.  NUCWEPS RFT.  Shift berth to Pier 41N

05-07     Pier 41N.  RFT

08           Underway SOCAL for RFT.  Anchor San Diego 214

09           U/W RFT.  FTG-1AA, Gen drills

10           U/W RFT.  Z-9-AA, Gen drills

11           U/W RFT.  NGFS/Shore Bombardment at San Clemente Isl.  Engineering/Damage Control drills

12           U/W RFT.  NGFS, Eng/DC drills.  Pier 42 San Diego

13-15     San Diego

16           U/W RFT.  Fuel at LaPlaya.  Z-6-S.  Anch San Diego 214

17           U/W RFT.  Z-23/27-G, Z-6/16-U.  Anch 213

18           U/W RFT.  Eng/DC drills.  Buoys 20-21

19           U/W RFT.  Battle problem.  Fuel LaPlaya.  Buoys 20-21

20           San Diego

21           San Diego

22           U/W RFT.  Z-25/30-G, Z-7-U (USS BAYA)

23           U/W RFT.  Z-7-U (USS MENHADEN).  Anch 213

24           U/W RFT.  Z-6-S, Z-26-S.  Buoys 20-21

25           U/W RFT.  Battle problem.  Buoys 20-21

26           U/W RFT.  Z-10-CC, Z-13-CC.  Fuel LaPlaya.  Buoys 20-21

27           San Diego

28           San Diego


MARCH 1971


01           U/W RFT.  Z-17-AA, Z-10/12-CM.  Eng/DC drills

02           U/W RFT.  Eng/DC drills.  Buoy 16

03           U/W RFT.  Z-6-CC, Z-22-CI.  Eng/DC drills.  Buoy 16

04           U/W RFT.  Z-10-GM.  Fuel LaPlaya.  Buoy 16

05           San Diego.  14A6A ASW trainer

06           San Diego

07           San Diego

08           UW/RFT.  Man Overboard. Z-2/5-CI, Z-3-GM, Z-12-U.  Eng drills

09           U/W RFT.  Z-41-GM, Z-18-AA, Z-10-GM, Z-25-G, Z-11-S, Eng drills

10           U/W RFT.  Z-26/28/29-S (w/USS KANSAS CITY)

11           U/W RFT.  Z-26/28/29-S (w/USS ORISKANY), Z-6-AA.  Buoy 16

12           U/W RFT.  Final battle problem.  Complete RFT.  Pier 32S3

13-31     San Diego.  Embark COMDESDIV 212

15           San Diego.  TAV (USS S. GOMPERS)/DATC Availability

16           San Diego.  TAV/DATC.  Comm drills

17           San Diego.  TAV/DATC

23           Sam Diego.  “Big Brother” (AIC-ex)

24           San Diego.  Annual Medical Inspection

25           San Diego.   Ship’s “Dog” reported aboard

30           San Diego.  Z-12-CM

31           San Diego.  TYCOM Boiler Inspection.  AAW team training


APRIL 1971


01-06     San Diego, Pier 31N.  CHOP to COMDESRON 17.  TYCOM 3M Insp.  AAW team trnr

02           San Diego.  3M Insp.  AAW tm trnr

03           San Diego.  Embark Sea Cadets..

05           San Diego.  TYCOM  boiler insp.  PMR preps.  FORACS preps

06           San Diego.  14A6 ASW trnr

07           Underway, SOCAL ops.  Load fuel/ammo/missiles at LaPlaya.  Z-5-U (USS MENHADEN)

08           SOCAL ops.  SQUAW ASW target.  FORACS, San Clemente Island

09           Arr San Diego, Pier 35N2.

10           San Diego

11           San Diego

12           Underway for COMPTUEX 2-71.  Z-17-U, EWEX, AAWEX

13           CTX 2-71.  Full Power Trial (SAT).  EWEX, AAWEX

14           CTX 2-71.  PMR ops

15           CTX 2-71.  Z-29-S.  Gun tests.  Z-6-U

16           CTX 2-71.  ULM-4 (U), Z-17-AA.  PXO Barry reports.  Moor San Diego Pier 35N3

17-30     San Diego

19           San Diego.  RegPubsInsp.  DATC availability

20           San Diego.  Z-12-CM

22           San Diego.  NWAI (NucWepsAcceptanceInsp).

23           San Diego.  NWAI

29           San Diego.  Command Inspection. 

30           San Diego


MAY 1971


01           San Diego.  Pier 35N3

02           San Diego

03           Underway local ops.  ULM-4, Z-23-G, Z-30-G, Z-2-CI, SQUAW ASW tgt

04           Underway.  SQUAW ASW tgt, Z-16-U,Z-17-U (USS BLACKFIN).  Arr San Diego Pier 35N2

05-23     San Diego.  TYCOM Intel brief

                06           Comm drills

                07           In-port damage control drill package

                11           Commence POM (prepare for overseas mov’t).  Z-12-CM, Comm drills.  Install SLQ-20

                12           COMSEC brief.  14A2 ASW trainer

                13           ASROC loadout.  14A2 ASW trainer

                14           Human Relations Council

                17           Engineering plant light off.  Landing Party training

                18           COMDESRON 17 embark

                19           NGFS trainer

                20           NGFS trainer.  AIC trainer

                21           NGFS trainer.  TYCOM annual Ball

24           Underway SOCAL ops.  ULM-4, Z-6-U (USS RONQUIL), AAW, EWEX-3

25           PMR (Pacific Missile Range) missile firings – 3 warhead successes, 1 TLM success, 1 TLM fail

                                Z-29-6 (USS GUADALUPE)

26           Arr/Dep NWS Seal Beach for ammo.  Arr San Diego, Pier 35N

27           Underway local ops for Dependent’s Cruise.  Moor Pier 35N

28-31     San Diego



JUNE 1971


01-10     San Diego.  POM

11           Underway for WESTPAC (Western Pacific).  ULM-4, Z-2-CI, Z-6-AA, Z-17-AA

12           Test fire guns.  General drills, AAWEX

13           Join USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) for transit to Hawaii.  CIC/COMM drills

14           Fuel from ENTERPRISE.  CIC/COMM drills

15           ASWEX, Z-10/12-CM

16           Hawaii opareas.  Z-13-CC, Z-2-CI.  NPLG (nite plane guard for ENTERPRISE

17           Fuel from ENTERPRISE. Z-13-CC, Z-2-CI.  NPLG

18           Z-13-CC, Z-23-G, Z-30-G, Z-6-AA, AAWEX, NPLG

19           NPLG, Z-13-CC

20           NPLG

21           NPLG, Z-28-SZ-29-S (USS KAWISHIWI).  Arr Pearl Harbor Pier M2.  Call on Dep      CINCPACFLT

22           Underway local ops.  W-2-U/Z-16-U ( USS RUPERTUS, USS FLASHER).  Arr Pearl Harbor Pier 25

23-25     Pearl Harbor

                25           WESTPAC briefings

26           Underway for Subic Bay, PI with ENTERPRISE & RUPERTUS

27           Enr Subic

28           Midway Island for refueling

29           Crossed International Dateline – No 29th

30           Enr Subic.  On Soviet TU-95 picket station


JULY 1971


01           Enr Subic Bay, RP.  Fuel from ENTERPRISE

02           CHOP to SEVENTHFLT.  Test fire guns

03           Fuel from ENTERPRISE

04           Enr Subic

05           Enr Subic

06           Enr Subic.  Fuel from ENTERPRISE

07           Arr Subic Bay, RP, Alava Wharf.  ULM-4 (FAIL)

08-13     Subic Bay.  SRF (Ship Repair Facility) work conference            

                09           COMCRUDESFLOT 11 Chg of Cmd.  Call on COMNAVPHIL

                12           SLQ-20 installation

                13           Call on CO SRF

14           Underway independently enroute Yokosuka, Japan.  Load ammo, Subic Bay.  SUBOPS with USS BONEFISH

15-20     Enr Yokosuka

                17           Okinawa, SAMEX Z-36-GM (fail), Z-6-AA, Z-41-GM, Z-17-AA,  Fuel Buckner Bay

                20           ULM-4.  Arr Yokosuka, Pier 8

21-25     Yokosuka, Japan

21           Sea of Japan PARPRO (Peacetime Air Recon Protection) briefs.  ROC (Repub. China) media visit

                22           SOJ briefs

                24           Japanese Midshipmen cruise briefs.  Orphans visit

                25           Embark 10 Japanese Midshipmen

26           Underway for Kure, Japan w/Midshipmen.  Gun test fire.  Junior Officer shiphandling

27           Enr Kure/Eta Jima.

28           Anchor Eta Jima,  Move to Kure.  JMSDF (Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force) reception

29           Kure

30           Kure.  Tour Hiroshima.  Dinner with Kure Mayor

31           Underway enr Yokosuka via Inland Sea




01           Enr Yokosuka.  SUBOPS with USS GRAYBACK

02-08     Yokosuka, Pier 7

                03           COMCRUDESPAC visit/dinner

                04           NSA (National Security Agency) ops brief

                05           Asst Secretary of Navy (Johnson) visit

                06           ASN Johnson visit

09           Underway with USS BROOKE for Sea of Japan PARPRO ops.  ULM-4. Comm drills

10           Enr SOJ PARPRO.  Leap Frog shiphandling, Z-12-CM, C-13-CC

11           SOJ ops.  Soviet TU-16 BADGER overflights

12           SOJ ops.  TU-16 overflights.  Engineering drills

13           SOJ ops.  Eng drills

14           SOJ ops.  Fuel from USS PASSUMPSIC.  TU-16F overflights.  Eng drills

15           SOJ ops.  Eng. drills

16           Enr Yokosuka.  Shiphandlling drills with BROOKE

17           Arr Yokosuka Pier 6.  ULM-4

18           Yokosuka

19           Underway for Soviet Fleet surveillance ops, Northern Pacific (NORPAC)

20           Enr NORPAC SurvOps

21           Soviet SurvOps, Kurile Islands.  TU-16F overflights

22           Soviet SurvOps, Kuriles/Kamchatka.  Eng drills

23           Soviet SurvOps, Kamchatka.  Eng drills

24           SurvOps, Petropavlovsk Kamchatka.  Mass TU-16 overflights.  Trailed by Soviet RIGA Class DE

25           SurvOps Petro.  RIGA DE trailing.  Fuel from USS PASSUMPSIC

26           SurvOps Petro.  RIGA DE trailing.  Soviet S-2-T overflights.  Joined SovFlt – KYNDA CG, KOTLIN, KRUPNYY, SKORYY DDGs, NOVEMBER SSN

27           SurvOps Petro.  SKORYY trailing.  Fuel from PASSUMPSIC (w/SKORYY interference)

28           SurvOps Petro.  SKORYY trailing/PETYA DE trailing.  Fuel fm PASSUMPSIC

29           SurvOps Petro.  PETYA/SKORYY in trail.  Fuel fm PASSUMPSIC

30           SurvOps Petro.  SKORYY in trail.

31           Complete SurvOps.  Enr Yokosuka




01           Enr Yokosuka (storm)

02           Enr Yokosuka (gale)

03           Arr Yokosuka, Pier 8.  ULM-4.  CTU 71.0.4 (PARPRO)

04-11     Yokosuka

12           Underway enr Republic of Vietnam (RVN).  Relieved CTU 71.0.4 by USS KING (DLG-10)

13           Enr RVN.  Gun tests

14           Enr RVN. Fuel Buckner Bay, Okinawa.  Z-10-GM, Z-17-AA, Z-2-CI

15           Enr RVN.  Z-24-G, gun tests

16           Enr RVN.  Z-24-G, gun tests.  Fuel from USS PONCHATOULA

17           Arr RVN, MR-1.  Emb COMDESRON 17.  Commence Naval Gunfire Support RVN (NGFS) – 136 rounds

18           RVN NGFS – 45 rounds.  ASW with USS BLUEBACK.  Fuel from PONCHATOULA

19           RVN NGFS – 98 rounds.  Rearm from USS MAUNA KEA (near collision)

20           RVN NGFS – 209 rounds.  Refuel from PONCHATOULA

21           RVN NGFS – 180 rounds

22           RVN NGFS – 111 rounds.  VERTREP (helo) from USS NIAGARA FALLS

23           RVN NGFS – 182 rounds.  Rearm/VERTREP from KILAUEA

24           RVN NGFS – 242 rounds.  Fuel from PONCHATOULA

25           RVN NGFS – 156 rounds

26           RVN NGFS – 110 rounds.  Rearm/VERTREP from KILAUEA

27           RVN NGFS – 130 rounds. 

28           RVN NGFS – 189 rounds

29           RVN NGFS – 192 rounds.  Brief stop Danang, VN, host LTGEN Dolvin CG XXIV Corps

30           Brief stop Danang.  Refuel from USS KANSAS CITY.  Enr Hong Kong




01           Enr Hong Kong

02-08     Hong Kong, BCC

                02           Mary & Joe Indelli visit (to 7 Oct)

                04           HMS ALBION reception

                07           Typhoon Elaine

09           Underway enr Subic Bay, storm evasion Typhoon Gloria.  COMDESRON 17 depart

10           Enr Subic Bay, storm evasion Typhoon Faye

11           Brief stop Subic Bay,  medevac FN Hooker, underway for storm evasion

12           Underway for storm evasion

13           Arr Subic Bay.  SSI, Reg Pubs inspections.  FN Hooker died NavHosp Subic

14-16     Subic Bay

                15           Memorial service, FN Hooker.  PMS inspection.  CDS-17 embark

17           Underway, enr RVN.  ULM-4, Z-16/17-U.  Rescue Phil fishing boat

18           Enr RVN.  Gun tests.  Fuel from PONCHATOULA

19           RVN NGFS – 118 rounds, DMZ.  VERTREP from NIAGARA FALLS

20           RVN NGFS – 298 rounds.

21           RVN NGFS – 194 rounds.  Rearm from KILAUEA

22           RVN NGFS – 149 rounds.  Fuel from PONCHATOULA.  Typhoon evasion, Hester

23           Typhoon Hester evasion, South China Sea

24           RVN.  Fuel from USS NAVASOTA

25           RVN NGFS – 274 rounds, Hoi An tgts.  UNREP from KANSAS CITY

26           RVN NGFS – 30 rounds

27           RVN NGFS – 79 rounds

28           RVN NGFS – 21 rounds.  UNREP from KANSAS CITY

29           RVN NGFS – 30 rounds.  VERTREP from NIAGARA FALLS

30           Enr RVN MR-IV

31           RVN NGFS – 214 rounds.  Fuel from USS GUADALUPE




01           RVN MR-IV NGFS – 326 rounds

02           RVN MR-IV NGFS – 217 rounds

03           RVN MR IV NGFS – 307 rounds.  Rearm USS MAUNA KEA

04           RVN MR IV NGFS – 419 rounds

05           RVN MR IV NGFS – 167 rounds.  UNREP MAUNA KEA and GUADALUPE

06           RVN MR IV NGFS – 30 rounds

07           RVN MR IV NGFS – 398 rounds.  Enr YANKEE STATION.  CDS 17 trf to USS MORTON

08           Enr YANKEE STATION (Gulf of Tonkin).  Fuel from USS WICHITA

09           Enr YANKEE STA.  Brief stop Danang

10           YANKEE STA.  Fuel from PONCHATOULA


12           NSAR.  Fuel from NAVASOTA

13           NSAR

14           NSAR

15           NSAR.  Shiphandling with USS KING

16           NSAR.  Fuel from NAVASOTA

17           NSAR

18           NSAR.  Enr YANKEE STATION

19           YSTA.  Planeguard.   Fuel from GUADALUPE.  CDS 17 embark

20           Enr Singapore

21           Enr Singapore

22           Arr Singapore Man-of-War Anch.  SEVENTHFLT reception

23-26     Singapore

                25           THANKSGIVING

27           Underway enr Subic Bay.  Crossed Equator

28           Enr Subic Bay.  POLLYWOG initiation

29           Enr Subic Bay

30           Arr Subic Bay.  ULM-4




01           Subic Bay

02-18     Underway enr San Diego at 2020 with USS ORISKANY (CV-34)

                03           Transit San Bernardino Straits

                04           Fuel from ORISKANY

                08           Fuel from GUADALUPE

                10           Fuel from ORISKANY

                13           Brief stop Pearl Harbor for fuel, customs

18           Arr San Diego Pier 32N

18-31     San Diego

21                 CDS 17 Change of Command




01-06     San Diego

                06           CDR Farnham relieved by CDR Jensen



August 1971


With one third of HENRY B. WILSON’s deployment to the Western Pacific behind us I wish to take this opportunity to discuss with our loyal supporters at home what we have done thus far and what the next few months may offer.  Much of what I have to say you may already be aware of through letters from your man in WILSON.  At the outset I offer the purely personal belief that the cruise is passing rapidly at this end, and would hope you at home so find it as well.

The trip across the very, very broad Pacific consumed nearly a month.  Long by customary experiences, this was so because of our assignment to escort the nuclear powered aircraft carrier ENTERPRISE throughout, including a week and a half of operations in the Hawaiian area during which time ENTERPRISE pilots polished up their flying skills.  WILSON did have several days in Pearl Harbor, on the island of Oahu, and many of the crew used the time to good advantage to see those areas for which “Pineapple Land” is famous.  The stop at Pearl Harbor was useful as well for purposes of fixing some obstreperous equipment which “went haywire”, and to top off our storeroom supplies.

Leaving Hawaii on the 26th of June with ENTERPRISE and destroyer RUPERTUS, of our own Destroyer Squadron SEVENTEEN, WILSON made the lengthy transit to the U.S. Naval Base, Subic Bay in the Philippines (just north of Manila).  We did stop briefly enroute at Midway Island for fuel on the 28th.  ENTERPRISE was a fine traveling companion, providing donuts and cases of coke to us during our periodic trips alongside her for fuel.  Her 1,100 foot length to our 432 feet, 90,000 tons to our 4,600 tons, and 4,800 men against WILSON’s 340 provide rather dramatic comparisons in size.  Our frequent refuelings, every other day or so, were necessitated by a very high transit speed which found us burning fuel at a 2,000 gallons per hour rate (WILSON is not a Volkswagen).  Pleasantly enough, our trip was made unscathed by the endless summer typhoons (hurricanes to some of you, perhaps) that course through the Pacific.

The 7,000 mile journey across the Pacific ended for us at Subic Bay on the 7th of July.  We had no June 29th, since crossing the International Dateline just west of Midway Island permitted us to turn our calendars directly from June 28th to the 30th.  I should mention in this regard that Subic Bay time is 15 hours ahead of San Diego time.  The 7-14 July stay in the Philippines was warm, wet, and a period of intensive work by the crew.  The heavy workload did not, however, prevent some time off to utilize the many facilities at the naval base, and to become acquainted with the adjacent town of Olongapo.

WILSON departed Subic Bay on July 14th a bare step ahead of Jean, the next “scheduled” typhoon, enroute to Yokosuka, Japan (at the southern end of Tokyo Bay).  Saturday the 17th, was exercise day off the coast Okinawa.  We fired a TARTAR missile at a jet target (WE claim we hit it), and did a good deal of gun shooting at other airborne targets.  The day ended with a short stop at Buckner Bay, Okinawa to top off the fuel tanks; a stop so brief as to preclude any sightseeing of drought-stricken Okinawa.

On then to Yokosuka, arriving early on the 20th of July for a six day in-port stay.  The recent withdrawals from overseas installations have hit Yokosuka pretty hard, and it is now a shadow of the great naval installation it was in times past.  Nevertheless, a wide variety of inexpensive, high quality, foreign merchandise remains available, with prime bargains offered in china, stemware, cameras, stereos and watches.  On the tourist side, ten of our men made a two day climb of spectacular Mt. Fuji (12,388 ft.) and a bus load traveled off for a day in Tokyo.  Several other package tours have since been conducted as well.  We have also embarked on a spirited softball and basketball athletic program, though resultant aches, pains, blisters, etc. are occasionally more memorable than the win or lose element.

The highlight of the cruise thus far was a 26 July to 2 August trip to Kure, Japan, located on the Inland Sea.  WILSON had embarked twelve men of the Japanese Navy for a goodwill -- orientation trip.  Kure is a heavily industrialized city not frequently visited by foreigners.  A city of some 240,000, its most notable products were giant sea-going oil tankers (the largest then present being a monster 370,000 ton ship).  A bonus aspect of the Kure trip was found to be nearby Hiroshima.  A very modern city of nearly one million inhabitants has replaced the Hiroshima that was obliterated by the atomic bomb in 1945.

Following another week in Yokosuka, WILSON put to sea on 9 August for special operations in the Sea of Japan (between Japan and Korea).  We return to Yokosuka on the 18th, but can perhaps anticipate yet another trip of the same sort before the end of the month.

Where do we go from here?  Most of September will find the ship at sea off Viet Nam.  The schedule beyond September is not on the street yet, but if it runs true to form we may expect most of our operations for the remainder of the cruise to be in Viet Nam waters.  There should be a five day visit to Hong Kong, probably in October, and perhaps a short trip to some other port such as Singapore.  And, of course, there will be other stops in Subic Bay.

A review of what I have said thus far may indicate there has been more play than work.  Let me correct any such impression.  Ten hour days in port and sixteen hour work days at sea are the routine.  Most of the men exceed these figures frequently.  A ship requires continuous maintenance to keep it ready for whatever it may be called upon to do.  WILSON is an extremely complex ship, and it is kept going only because this fine crew keeps it so with a combination of skill, intelligence, patience, and dedication that would amaze Americans unfamiliar with ships.  It is perhaps unfair to attempt to single out any particular group among the crew for special recognition, but if pressed to do so I suppose I would have to go along with the engineering personnel.  Their hours are not only long, like the rest of the crew, but their working environment carries the additional challenges of working in very hot spaces, some of which range well above 110 degree temperature.  In short, I must say that your men are the sort one wants to have around when the going gets tough.  They won’t make the front page of the newspapers for their efforts, but then so many of those who do could not carry the shoes of WILSON’s men.

            Before closing I must add a reminder.  In my last letter I advised that families with problems should employ the services of the American Red Cross or a nearby military chaplain.  There have been thus far two or three instances where this has not been done.  The difficulties in responding appropriately to those situations have been quite time consuming.  Please, please, please, contact the Red Cross or the chaplains if you have problems that may require your man to come home.  We are short handed and must have every man assigned available for duty to meet the ship’s commitments; hence we cannot send men home unless your local agencies are unable to assist by means of their own resources.

This has been too lengthy; thank you for your kind attention, and 18 December still looks firm for return to San Diego.




C. G. Farnham

Commander, U.S. Navy

Commanding Officer




28 November 1971


            SEASON’S GREETINGS!!  The normal joys of the advancing Christmas season are heightened considerably for the men of the “Magnificent SEVEN” as we begin the voyage home to San Diego.  At this writing, HENRY B. WILSON is enroute from Singapore, where we celebrated Thanksgiving Day, to Subic Bay, together with the aircraft carrier ORISKANY and our Destroyer Squadron SEVENTEEN sister ships RUPERTUS and HENRY W. TUCKER.  This group is to remain at Subic Bay from 30 November until 2 December, departing late that evening for San Diego via Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the final 7,000 miles to the United States. 

            Saturday the 18th of December is our Christmas present.  I expect that the ship will moor at pier 2, San Diego Naval Station about 0930 (9:30 a.m.) on that morning.  During the following thirty days we will try to get all those desiring off the ship and on leave for about two weeks each.  For you San Diego residents, our arrival time should be carried in the local newspaper, or you may call the Cruiser-Destroyer Force Operations Office (235-2206) on 16 or 17 December to verify our pier assignment and arrival time.  We will be assigned a “host ship”; their customary functions being to provide directional signs at the gates, parking space near the pier, and generally they offer coffee, juice, donuts, etc. for the early arriving dependents while you fidget about waiting for the ship to moor.  Mothers, please keep a firm grip on small children while on the pier -- it can be a dangerous place.  One final item on this subject -- bring your best smile; we’ve been waiting a long time to see it.  (Watch out for our little dog, Half Hitch -- he has not had liberty since the ship left San Diego.)

            On to what we have been doing since the last FAMILYGRAM.  WILSON’s stop at Yokosuka, Japan in mid-August was barely long enough to get the 19 August letter in the mail to you.  After fueling, topping off storerooms and refrigerators, and fixing a few things, the ship departed on short notice just before midnight on the 19th for a high speed run northward along the Kurile Islands chain to the Soviet Kamchatka Peninsula (an extension of Siberia).  Though the Russians routinely observe the U.S. Navy’s maneuvers and operations at sea, we rarely have a reciprocal opportunity.  The trip to the North Pacific gave us that opportunity, and for the remainder of August we observed Soviet ships and seamen at sea.  It proved to be a most worthwhile and productive event, and added much to our Navy’s understanding of how the other side does things.  The northern excursion offered a marked contrast to the heat of Japan, with a light snow flurry coming our way on at lest one occasion.  An unfortunate aspect of that trip was our total isolation from the postal system for a lengthy period.  Many of you doubtless recall very well the mail drought at that time.

            WILSON returned to Yokosuka on 3 September, remaining in port until departure on 12 September for the Republic of Viet Nam.  As customary for WILSON, the 2,200 mile trip was made in haste; the reasons this time being a need for our long range guns, and a purely personal desire to avoid typhoon VIRGINIA, then bearing down on Japan.  Following a brief stop at Buckner Bay, Okinawa for fuel WILSON was on the “gun line” and firing into the alleged Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the Republic of Viet Nam and communist North Viet Nam bright and early on 17 September.  During the next 13 days our gunners launched nearly 2,000 of their 65 pound projectiles into the no-man’s-land of the DMZ.  There is no way of determining the total results of the gunfire support effort there since the DMZ is a “neutral area”, inhabited only by the North Vietnamese army (in violation of international agreement) engaged in the movement of men and arms into the Republic of Viet Nam.  The extent of their effrontery in this regard includes the flying of a massive North Vietnamese flag right in the middle of the DMZ, a flag we could view clearly from 15 miles distance.

            WILSON stopped briefly in the Danang area on 29-30 September, and then sailed for an eagerly awaited seven day visit to the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong.  A Hong Kong stop is the frosting on every ship’s deployment.  With four million people (98 percent Chinese) jammed into a 400 square mile area on the communist China coast, Hong Kong offers a wealth of nearly everything: shopping, scenery, entertainment, and a choice of either oriental or occidental atmosphere according to one’s own desires.  Hong Kong is a “free port”, and there is little if anything one cannot find in its limitless shops at the most attractive prices imaginable.

            The “overnight” trip form Hong Kong to Subic Bay began on 9 October, and finally ended on the 13th.  Typhoons FAYE and GLORIA alternately barred our way, and the very uncomfortable trip also presented us with tragedy.  Fireman Edward Hooker became ill after leaving Hong Kong, making it necessary for the ship to put into Subic briefly on the evening of the 11th to have him placed in the hospital.  FAYE chased the ship to sea again the following morning.  As the storm passed and WILSON returned to Subic on the 13th, we were informed that Fireman Hooker had passed away, the result of severe complications which defied all healing efforts of the hospital staff.  A memorial service was held aboard ship for our shipmate by the Squadron Chaplain.

            We left Subic Bay on 17 October, to resume bombardment of the DMZ on the 19th.  Interruptions in the transit were occasioned by the necessity to rescue two young Filipino fishermen whose boat had caught fire and sunk off the Subic Bay entrance, and we took time to practice our anti-submarine skills with exercise torpedo shots at a friendly submarine (both were successful).  We managed to have but 4 days at the DMZ before typhoon HESTER came roaring across the South China Sea.  Our evasion course took us south along the Viet Nam coast.  Due to an erroneous typhoon position report (from a satellite) we skirted narrowly across the path of HESTER just before she slammed into Viet Nam, leaving a toll of damage and homeless behind equal to the best the enemy has been able to do.  The 25th of October found HESTER gone and WILSON lending her guns to support a Vietnamese operation against a communist base camp south of Danang.  The ship then moved 80 miles to the south for 4 days of gunfire support, and late on the 29th we were ordered south around the bottom of Viet Nam to the Gulf of Siam.  Our gunners laid 3,000 projectiles into enemy positions in the bleak, swampy U Minh Forest of Viet Nam between 31 October and 7 November.  Though scheduled to remain on the gun line until 19 November, our gun barrels reached and exceeded the allowable limits of their life, with more than 3,000 rounds fired through each, and it was necessary to assign WILSON to other pursuits or provide new guns.  With so few days remaining before going home, a Subic Bay trip for new guns was vetoed.

            Before leaving the subject of gunfire support I should note a significant peripheral aspect, that of replenishing ammunition.  With the capacity of our magazines limited it was necessary to rendezvous frequently with ammunition ships to replace the bullets used.  Each projectile weighs 65 pounds and is sent on its way by a separate 45 pound can of powder.  The ammunition is delivered to us over a wire from the ammunition ship as the two ships steam alongside 100 feet apart.  Once aboard, the entire crew is turned out for the backbreaking task of moving the ammunition to the magazines.  On one occasion, three hours were required to load and stow 54 tons of ammunition.

            The ship was next sent north to the Tonkin Gulf on 7 November to complete her final two weeks of operational commitments.  From the 9th to the 18th we served as a rescue platform for carrier based aircraft in that area.  Fortunately, the ship was never called upon to go to the assistance of aviators in distress.  Late on 18 November WILSON set a course for Singapore, joining up with our present group of ships along the way for the 1,300 mile trip.

            Several objectives attended the Singapore visit.  It offered an opportunity to have repaired a variety of equipment that had been overworked during the preceding 36 days at sea.  Singapore is also an excellent shopping port, ranking alongside Hong Kong in the eyes of many.  It is a very, very busy and densely populated area, with two million people living in a 225 square mile area.  Every day brings ships from all corners of the globe to service Singapore’s bustling commercial markets.  Perhaps the highlight of the Singapore trip, however, was “crossing the line”; the Equator.  For seamen, this confers eligibility to enter the Royal Realm of Neptunus Rex, to share thereafter in the bounties of his munificence.  King Neptune is a stern and demanding ruler, however, and all those who would propose to enter his domain must satisfy his very exacting admission prerequisites before they emerge from lowly “Pollywog” status to being accredited as “Shellbacks”.  Very simply, there occurs an initiation ceremony which is conducted by the Shellbacks for (at the expense of) the Pollywogs embarked.  I’ll leave it to your man in WILSON to describe in detail the events of that traditional (and most memorable) ceremony.

            WILSON has been a valued asset to the SEVENTH Fleet during the past several months.  No other ship has tackled the variety of duties, or performed with the reliability, that WILSON has during this period.  The reasons for the success of the ship have been the individual and collectively outstanding performance of the men -- your men -- who have made the ship do what it was designed to do as it ranged the length of the Asian Pacific Coast.  To cite specific names and jobs well done would raise the probable risk of omitting many who have quietly and expertly carried their full share of the load, and I prefer not to accept that risk.  It has been a team effort by a group of young, and some not so young anymore, men of whom you, the Navy, and the United States can be so very proud.  A number of the men will be awarded medals or letters of commendation for distinctively superior performance of their duties during the deployment.

            This will be my last message to you, for I am to be relieved by Commander Robert L. Jensen in early January.  Be assured that I leave WILSON with regret, as I have been privileged to associate with some of our nation’s most loyal and skilled citizens during the past year and a half in WILSON.  I should add, as well, that you at home, particularly WILSON wives, have been of tremendous help to us all through your enduring support and perseverance in our absence.  You have my deepest gratitude for this.

            On behalf of the men of HENRY B. WILSON, may I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, complete with the spirit and joys which are inseparable from that Holy day.


With sincere appreciation,


C. G. Farnham

Commander, U.S. Navy

Commanding Officer


p.s.:  some deployment numbers for the statistically minded:


During the period 11 June to 18 December 1971, USS HENRY B. WILSON ---        


            Was away from San Diego                           190 days

            Was at sea                                                     141 days (74%)

            Was in port                                                    49 days

Traveled                                                        40,000 nautical miles (54,795 “land”    miles)

            Consumed                                                      3,800,000 gallons of fuel

                                                                                    900,000 gallons of fresh water

                                                                                    2,700,000 gallons of boiler water   

            Replenished supplies at sea                                   44 occasions  

            Fired 5” projectiles totaling                                    5,727 rounds (186 tons)

            Promoted or selected for                             38 men           

            Re-enlisted                                                    11 men

            Sent home on emergency leave                   8 men

            Visited the ports of                                      Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Kure, Japan;

Subic Bay Philippines; Danang, Viet Nam; Buckner Bay, Okinawa; Hong Kong, B.C.C.; Yokosuka, Japan;              Singapore








1970    17 AUGUST –  31 DECEMBER


17AUG – 18 DEC                                Long Beach Naval Shipyard, Regular Overhaul (ROH)

                20 AUG                                 CDR C. G. Farnham relieved CDR H. C. Mustin

                29 AUG – 1 OCT                 Drydock

19 NOV                                 Machinery sea trials

                03 DEC                                  Electronics sea trials      

                10 DEC                                  Weapons sea trials

                15 – 16 DEC                         RFIS / ARP range tests

                18 DEC                                  Complete ROH

19 DEC                                                  ENRAT San Diego

20 – 31 DEC                                         San Diego


1971    1 JANUARY – 31 DECEMBER



01 – 5 JAN                                            San Diego   

06 – 07 JAN                                          NWS Seal Beach, CA, ammunition loadout                         

08-10 JAN                                             San Diego

11 – 14 JAN                                          San Diego area local operations area exercises

15 – 17 JAN                                          San Diego

18 – 20 JAN                                          San Diego area local ops

21 – 25 JAN                                          San Diego

26 – 27 JAN                                          Local ops

28 – 31 JAN                                          San Diego

01 FEB – 12 MAR                              Refresher Training (RFT) Fleet Training Group San Diego

                08 – 12 FEB                         Underway RFT

                16 – 19 FEB                         Underway RFT

                22 – 26 FEB                         Underway RFT

                01 – 04 MAR                       Underway RFT

                08 – 12 MAR                       Underway RFT

13 MAR – 06 APR                              San Diego

07 – 09 APR                                         Local ops

10 – 11 APR                                         San Diego

12 – 16 APR                                         COMPTUEX, San Diego op areas

17 APR – 02 MAY                              San Diego

03 – 04 MAY                                       Local ops

05 - 23 MAY                                        San Diego

24 – 26 MAY                                       Pacific Missile Range ops

27 MAY                                                                Dependent’s Cruise

28 MAY – 10 JUN                               San Diego – POM

11 JUN – 22 JUN                                 ENR WESTPAC with USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65)

22 - 25 JUN                                           Pearl Harbor, HI

26 JUN - 07 JUL                                  ENR Pearl Harbor – Subic Bay, Pearl Harbor, HI

08 – 13 JUL                                          Subic Bay

14 – 20 JUL                                          ENR Yokosuka, Japan

21 – 25 JUL                                          Yokosuka

26 – 28 JUL                                          ENR Kure, Japan

29 – 30 JUL                                          Kure

31 JUL – 2 AUG                                  ENR Yokosuka

03 – 08 AUG                                        Yokosuka

09 – 17 AUG                                        Sea of Japan, PARPRO ops

18 AUG                                                 Yokosuka

19 AUG – 3 SEP                                  SPECOPS NORPAC Soviet Surveillance ops

04 – 11 SEP                                          Yokosuka

12 – 30 SEP                                          ENRAT Tonkin Gulf, Naval Gunfire (NGFS) ops

30 SEP – 01 OCT                                ENR Hong Kong, BCC

02 – 08 OCT                                         Hong Kong

09 – 13 OCT                                         ENR Subic Bay, via typhoon evasion

14 – 16 OCT                                         Subic Bay

17 OCT – 19 NOV                               Vietnam – Tonkin Gulf ops, NGFS / SAR

20 – 22 NOV                                        ENR Singapore

22 – 26 NOV                                        Singapore

27 – 30 NOV                                        ENR Subic Bay

01 DEC                                                  Subic Bay

02 – 18 DEC                                         ENR San Diego

                13 DEC                                  Pearl Harbor

18 – 31 DEC                                         San Diego


1972   01 – 03 JANUARY


01 03 JAN                                             SAN DIEGO

03 JAN                                                   CDR Farnham relieved by CDR Robert Jensen



July 27    Light line with USS Brooke


July 28     Arrived Kure, Japan


July 29 and 30 at Kure, Hiroshima


August 23-30  Up north chasing the soviet fleet.


Sept 12, departed Yokosuka, Japan final time


Sept 14, refueling at Buckner  Bay Okinawa, 11 am to 1:15 pm


Sept 17 – 30  Vietnam


Sept 30 – DaNang


Oct 2 arrived in Hong Kong   5 days  Art spend several at Hong Kong Hilton


Oct 18 to Nov 18 Vietnam


Nov 16 ship barbeque


Oct 25  South Vietnames ships along side


Oct 25  Half Hitch was HBW mascot who disappeared one day, we never did find him


Nov 22  arrived in Singapore


Dec 1  depart Subic


Dec 13  Pearl Harbor to refuel, customs


Dec 18 arrived at San Diego.



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