The following are Newsletters that were sent to my parents by Captains Bailey and Smith.

There are Fourteen of them.

I retyped these letters because you could not read them, I copied them word for word.

 

USS NEWMAN K. PERRY (DD883)

FPO NEW YORK, N.Y.

09501

 

DD883:01:kn

5700

28 May 1965

 

Upon completion of USS NEWMAN K. PERRY’s conversion to a FRAM 1 Destroyer at the Boston Naval Shipyard and the subsequent refresher training period at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba I take this means to introduce myself to you. My name is Commander Richard T. Bailey, U.S. Navy. I have been PERRY’s Commanding Officer since 6 January 1965 and am extremely proud of both her and the splendid men serving in her.

This letter is the first in a series that I intend to send you so that, due to your natural interest in PERRY, you may know more about her activities.

Since departing the Boston Naval Shipyard in March, PERRY has been engaged in an active training period at the U.S. Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Having spent eleven months in the shipyard and with what is essentially a new ship, a tremendous amount of individual and team effort was required during this period to make PERRY into a ship that is qualified and ready to join the fleet. This was done and I am extremely proud of all "PERRYMEN" for their efforts which made the refresher training period the success that it was.

Upon return to Newport, Rhode Island on 29 May a brief period of leave and upkeep will be followed by operations with other fleet units and preparations for a midsummer deployment to the Mediterranean Sea will keep us occupied.

In closing I should like to invite you to visit PERRY upon our return to Newport, Rhode Island. I shall look forward to meeting you.

Sincerely

R.T. Bailey

Commander, U.S. Navy

Commanding Officer


USS NEWMAN K. PERRY (DD-883)

FPO, New York, N. Y.

09501

DD883:01:jrb

5700

29 July 1965

 

 

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Midkiff

As you are aware NEWMAN K. PERRY is soon to depart on an extended deployment to the Mediterranean Sea as a unit of the United States Sixth Fleet.

Our departure date is 9 August 1965. Current scheduling calls for us to return to Newport, Rhode Island on 20 December 1965.

Port visits are planned to France, Italy, Greece, Spain, and Libya. These will be welcome stops for us as the Sixth Fleet spends considerable time at sea. They will be valuable for the maintenance of our ship as well as affording an opportunity to see a bit of a foreign country.

Sincerely,

R. T. Bailey

( The rest of the letter tells about how to address letters, contact the Red Cross in case of an emergency. So I won’t bore you with all that. )


USS NEWMAN K. PERRY ( DD883 )

FPO, New York, N. Y.

09501

DD883:00:hs

5700

15 August 1965

Dear Mr. And Mrs. Midkiff,

 

This letter is being written as the NEWMAN K. PERRY nears the last leg of the trip from Newport, Rhode Island to Ponta Delgada on the island of San Miguel in the Azores.

Our stay will be a brief one, approximately 36 hours, and is made in order for us to refuel the ship. Destroyers, while the fastest and most maneuverable of warships, can only carry a very limited quantity of fuel and must be refueled quite often. At present our speed of twenty knots consumes approximately 1000 gallons of fuel per hour.

The weather during the crossing has been excellent and has helped those members of our crew who are new to the sea to become acclimated much more comfortably than is often the case.

Our passage has been marred unfortunate and rare incident. During the early morning hours of 11 August our Commodore, Captain Robert R. Carter, U. S. Navy, Commander Destroyer Squadron TWENTY, Flagship USS NEWMAN K. PERRY, was lost overboard. In spite of our search efforts assisted by the Coast Guard and Navy aircraft we were not able to recover him. Captain Carter was an outstanding naval officer who served his country gallantly for more than twenty three years. He suffered wounds during World War II and wore the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for bravery in action. His loss has been keenly felt by all of us and he will be greatly missed. Chaplain Boyette will conduct a memorial service for the late Commodore when we arrive in port.

From Ponta Delgada we will sail to Pollensa Bay in Mallorca, an island of the Balearic Islands off the Southeast coast of Spain. There we will spend one day relieving the ships that have been in the Mediterranean for several months.

Our next port visit will be Naples, Italy where we will arrive on 23 August for a three day visit. During this time we will make repairs and reprovision our ship.

Sincerely,

R. T. Bailey


USS NEWMAN K. PERRY (DD 883)

FPO, New York

09501

DD883:00:hs

5700

29 August 1965

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Midkiff

 

It is with heavy heart that I write to you this time to inform you that our ship collided with the U.S.S. SHANGRI LA, during the pre-dawn hours of darkness, on 27 August.

The bow of our ship was severely damaged and two sailors were trapped inside it above the water line. Rescue efforts commenced immediately and we were successful in extricating both men. Unfortunately Fred L. GREENE, Seaman Apprentice, USNR, was so severely injured that despite the efforts of a team of doctors in the U.S.S. SHANGRI LA’s hospital, he expired one and one half hours after he was freed. The other man, John RYALS, Seaman Apprentice, USN, was less seriously injured and is now at the Naval Hospital, Naples, Italy, receiving treatment. His progress is good.

The courage of both of these men during the long hours it took to free them was truly magnificent and in keeping with the best traditions of the Navy. Their families can be truly proud of these brave men.

We are in Naples, Italy now making preparations to enter a dry-dock to effect repairs. Due to the extent of the damage it will be several weeks before PERRY will be ready to rejoin the Fleet. This will not effect our rotation and there is no reason to believe that we will not return to the United States on our scheduled date of 20 December.

A memorial service for Fred GREENE will be conducted this week by our Squadron Chaplain. I ask you to join your prayers with ours for Fred GREENE and to give thanks to the lord that he saw fit to spare our ship.

 

Sincerely

R. T. BAILEY


USS NEWMAN K. PERRY (DD-883)

FPO, New York, N. Y.

09501

 

DD883:00:my

5700

11 October 1965

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Midkiff,

I know that you will be pleased to know that all repairs have been completed and that our ship is once again ready for sea.

On Friday of this past week we conducted a sea trial. The ship performed magnificently and attested to the high degree of technical proficiency and mechanical skill of the Neapolitan shipyard.

During our stay in Naples a large percentage of the crew contributed their skills and time toward refurbishing the orphanage of the Littlest Angels of Christ The King. Vast improvements were made to make the orphanage more habitable for the children. These include: rewiring, installation of lighting fixtures, painting fourteen rooms, re-plastering whole rooms, complete overhaul of the plumbing system, and many other tasks to numerous to mention. The long hours donated by so many Perrymen was a splendid example to all of us and an important contribution to the improvement in our countries relations with another nation.

Italy is unlike our country, with it’s system of financial aid for public institutions. The officials at the orphanage are dependent completely on voluntary contributions in order to exist.

Our Squadron Chaplain, Lieutenant Boyette, has made arrangements with the Senior Chaplain, Naval Support Activity, Naples for the receipt and delivery of packages consigned to the orphanage. The primary need of the children at this time is for serviceable clothing, including shoes. The children are in the three to ten years age bracket and include both boys and girls.

 

There are two addresses to be used depending on the size of the package.

Large Packages

Project Handclasp

Norfolk, Virginia

 

The package should be labeled

For delivery to the Littlest Angels of Christ The King, Naples, Italy

Small Packages

Senior Chaplain

Naval Support Activity

Fleet Post Office

New York 09521

Attach a letter to the package designating it to the orphanage.

The packages sent to Norfolk will be delivered to Naples by Navy ships thus saving a great deal of postage.

We are now en-route Beaulieu, France for a ten day visit.

Sincerely,

R. T. BAILEY


DD883:01:jrb

5700

8 December 1965

 

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Midkiff

When this letter reaches you USS NEWMAN K. PERRY will be in the Atlantic Ocean homeward bound for Newport, Rhode Island. It was mailed in Gibraltar, B. C. C. Weather permitting, the ship will arrive at the Newport Naval Base, at 9 a.m. on 18 December 1965. Our berth has not yet been assigned but it will be at the Destroyer Piers.

For those who intend to meet the ship, the following information undoubtedly may be helpful:

Although our arrival time is scheduled for 9 a.m., sea and weather conditions, such as wind or fog, may cause a delay. In order to avoid arriving at the pier too early, a call to the Ship’s Movement Information Office can be made to determine the exact arrival time. The number is 841-3193.

Federal regulations stipulate that visitors cannot board a ship until clearance has been granted by the U. S. Customs Agents. The regulations further stipulate that no one may leave the ship until clearance has been granted. Arrangements are being made to expedite this formality so that those meeting the ship can board as soon as possible.

The USS GRAND CANYON has been designated as host ship by Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Force Atlantic. She will make arrangements for parking spaces near the assigned berth and for providing shelter and refreshments, GRAND CANYON can be easily identified. She is a large tender ship and has the number 28 on either bow. Personnel from GRAND CANYON will be happy to assist you in any way. Do not hesitate to call upon them.

Since leaving the United States in August, our ship will have steamed some 28,203 miles by the time she returns to Newport. Other statistics of interest are:

Fuel Oil Consumed 574,500 gallons.

Fresh Water Consumed 244,000 gallons.

Food Consumed 90 tons.

We made port visits to Naples, Italy; Beaulieu and Toulon, France; Palma, Mallorca; Barcelona, Spain; and Gibraltar, B.C.C. I am extremely proud of the crew in that during these visits and the long stay in Naples their behavior ashore was exemplary, thus creating great good will for the United States by their splendid conduct.

Our ship will remain at Newport until mid January at which time we will depart for the Caribbean area to participate in the annual " Springboard " exercises. We will return again the later part of February.

Leave will be granted to the maximum extent possible during our period in the U.S. and it is my hope that all of the crew will be able to spend some part of the holiday season at home. You will realize that the leave opportunity must be shared on an equitable basis, but that individual preferences will receive first consideration.

In closing I extend to you my best wishes for a happy holiday season.

 

Sincerely

R. T. Bailey


USS NEWMAN K. PERRY (DD-883)

FLEET POST OFFICE

New York - 09501

DD883:01:jjc

5700

15 April 1966

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Midkiff,

 

NEWMAN K. PERRY has not been idle since my last letter. After an extensive holiday leave period the ship participated in the annual Atlantic Fleet exercise in the Caribbean called "Springboard" leaving Newport on January 27 and returning on 21 February.

During this cruise all departments were afforded the opportunity to train extensively and to develop their proficiency to a higher readiness condition.

Several ports were visited including San Juan, Puerto Rico; Antigua, B.W.I.; St. Croix, American Virgin Islands; and Bermuda. As usual the Perrymen brought great credit to their ship and the Navy by their exemplary conduct ashore in these ports.

On Monday, 18 April, our ship will depart for a short cruise and will be gone for approximately three weeks. Our operations will be primarily anti-submarine warfare training. We will be operating with the USS WASP (CVS-18), an anti-submarine aircraft carrier of the Essex class. During this cruise we will visit Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for three days.

During our in port periods in Newport the ship’s bowling and basketball teams have participated in league play and have fared very well. The basketball team placed second and the bowling team is at present in a down to the wire contest for first place.

Operations for the next several months will be of short duration and no deployments to the Mediterranean Ocean expected until the fall. During the late spring and early summer, we will participate in the annual midshipmen cruise. These cruises are designed to train midshipmen in practical application of knowledge they have gained during the school year.

I have enjoyed receiving the many letters the families of Perrymen have sent and look forward to hearing from you.

R.T. BAILEY

Commander, U.S. Navy

Commanding Officer


USS NEWMAN K. PERRY (DD 883)

FLEET POST OFFICE

NEW YORK - 09501

11 May 1966

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Midkiff

National Broadcasting Company - TV is presenting a one hour color special, "Anatomy of Defense", on Friday 20 May 1966. The program will be presented at seven-thirty P.M. eastern daylight savings time. The exact time and channel will be listed in your local programming guide.

The program is devoted to focusing attention on the unified and specified commands and the individual contributions of these commands. Among Atlantic Fleet activities that will be shown are an Anti-Submarine Warfare exercise. Units of Destroyer Squadron TWENTY, of which USS NEWMAN K. PERRY is the Squadron Flagship, participated in the filming.

NEWMAN K. PERRY will be seen firing an ASROC (Anti-Submarine Rocket), transferring personnel by helicopter, and underway at high speeds.

I urge you to keep this program in mind and to set aside time to see it. It will afford you an invaluable opportunity to see NEWMAN K.PERRY in action and will also give you insight into the workings of the entire Navy team. Portions of the program include operations aboard the nuclear powered Polaris submarine USS SIMON BOLIVAR.

 

Sincerely,

 

R.T. BAILEY

Commander, U.S. Navy

Commanding Officer


USS NEWMAN K. PERRY (DD-883)

FLEET POST OFFICE

NEW YORK 09501

16 November 1966

COMMANDING OFFICER’S NEWSLETTER

This is my first letter to you as Commanding Officer of NEWMAN K. PERRY. On the 9th of September 1966, at Newport, Rhode Island, I relieved Commander R. T. BAILEY, USN. Since then I have been reminded almost daily of the outstanding record of achievement attained by NEWMAN K. PERRY during the previous year. For the year beginning 1 July 1965 and ending 30 June 1966, NEWMAN K. PERRY has won the coveted Battle Efficiency "E" awarded annually to the best destroyer in Destroyer Squadron TWENTY. Main Battery Gun Mount 52 also won the Mount "E" for the second consecutive year; proving again that they are among the best marksmen in the Atlantic Fleet.

I know you all join me in extending a "Well Done" to the crew. When you see these small white Battle Efficiency "E’s" sewn on the right sleeve of a NEWMAN K. PERRY man’s uniform, you have every right to assume it wouldn’t be there had it not been for your support and your sacrifices.

As you are well aware, we departed Newport, Rhode Island on 4 October 1966, and have traveled many miles. We were successful in evading Hurricane Inez by a fast passage down the Atlantic Coast stopping only to refuel at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Then we continued on our trip to the Pacific by way of the Panama Canal. Our transit through the Panama Canal proved quite interesting. Although only 45 miles long, the trip through various water locks took approximately seven hours. The system of locks on the canal was probably the most interesting part of the trip. The ship was raised a full 85 feet to the level of the major part of the canal, and then back down again. There was some excitement as we passed the "Continental-Divide" separating the Atlantic from the Pacific.

After completing our transit of the Panama Canal, we made a three day port stop at the Rodman Naval Station in the Canal Zone. Since Rodman is at the Pacific entrance to the canal, many of the crew were able to visit nearby Panama City. I was pleased with the conduct of the crew while ashore. As representatives of the United States in a foreign country, all were careful to present the best possible image. There were no unfavorable incidents of any kind, and I am sure the people of Panama were as pleased to have the PERRY visit their country as we were to be there.

In the Western Pacific, we are conducting intensive training to ensure that we will be operationally ready to perform our mission. In this area too, the crew’s performance is excellent.

I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize the important role you play as a member of the Navy family. The price that duty to our country exacts is levied as heavily, if not more so, on the families of every man on board, as on the man himself. I hope you share my pride in the knowledge that he is providing a necessary and worthwhile service to his country in a time of great need. Our task in the months ahead will seem lighter if we are encouraged by our loved ones who are waiting patiently at home. We will receive air mail regularly and you would be surprised to see how much a letter from home means to every man on board. That letter from home has the same "shot in the arm" effect it has always had. It is a major factor in maintaining the high state of each man’s morale. I entreat you to keep the news from home flowing.

In closing, if the Department Heads, the Executive Officer, or myself can be of assistance to you at any time please do not hesitate to inform us. Should an emergency arise, please utilize the services of the Red Cross to notify us. This materially expedites our making a determination of weather or not emergency leave can be granted.

I have enclosed a short history of NEWMAN K. PERRY which I hope you will enjoy. I assure you that I will do all in my power to insure that the men on board are given proper guidance and leadership during my tenure as Commanding Officer.

A. SMITH

Commander, U.S. Navy

Commanding Officer


USS NEWMAN K. PERRY (DD-883)

FLEET POST OFFICE

NEW YORK 09501

17 December 1966

 

COMMANDING OFFICER’S NEWSLETTER

Aboard the NEWMAN K. PERRY Rodman, Panama, is remembered as a remote base, thousands of miles and hours from the southern coast of Vietnam, to which she has traveled since our last newsletter. Simulated combat conditions across the Pacific Ocean prepared us well for the hectic, sleepless hours of gunfire support missions, in which we have been engaged for almost a month.

The transit of the earth’s largest ocean was not all spent at work and combat preparations. At Hawaii and Japan, we found warm welcomes, good liberty, outstanding enlisted men’s clubs, and tourist opportunities of a lifetime. Gifts, souvenirs, and curios were purchased by many men, who were already preparing for Christmas or other special events.

Entering Pearl Harbor, no American, especially a navyman, could look at the Memorial of the Battleship USS ARIZONA without emotion. December 7, 1941, a quarter of a century ago, was momentarily relived as we remembered the death toll our country suffered on that "Day of Infamy", and the more than 1,100 men still entombed within the rusty hulk of the ARIZONA.

Hawaii, with her gorgeous landscapes, white-sanded beaches, proud Diamond Head—Hawaii, with her flair for color, light and breezy clothes, new and exciting entertainment, her sunshine and sunsets, helped us forget the tragedies of the past and allowed us to enjoy seven days in our fiftieth state. No exciting port, however, surpasses the enjoyment which the announcement "Mail Call" brings to all hands. In Pearl Harbor, our mail caught up with us, bringing the assurance and closeness of those we love at home.

Nine days later Yokosuka, Japan, offered us our first glance at the mysteries and enchantment of the Orient. Tours to the Shinto landmark of Kamakura, to the world’s largest city of Tokyo, or the personal tours in the Yokosuka area were taken by many. The enormous, well-stocked Navy Exchange found eager NEWMAN K. PERRY crew members taking advantage of reduced prices for merchandise from many countries.

Final combat preparations were made on our trip from Japan to the Mekong Delta area of South Vietnam where we were assigned. Stopping at Buckner Bay on the island of Okinawa and at Subic Bay in the Philippine Islands for fuel, we arrived on station November 23rd. That night, at 9:16 P.M., we fired our first five inch thirty-eight high explosive projectile on an enemy stronghold. Three weeks later we surpassed 4,000 rounds of heavy bombardment on enemy trenches, structures, supply points and routes, and in support of friendly troops. Aircraft and ground spotters credited NEWMAN K. PERRY with outstanding accuracy on assigned targets, the best shooting they have seen. Credit goes to all hands in this teamwork operation. The pace aboard ship has been challenging, for we do not only fire guns. During the night hours, we meet tankers, stores and ammunition ships to replenish our supplies, only to receive another mission a few hours later.

Thanksgiving Day was not traditional. Firing missions dominated our time, but a lull for dinner turned our thoughts to our families and our hearts to God. The tables were laden with delicious food: turkey, ham, stuffing, vegetables, even apples and nuts. Decorations helped the atmosphere and the time of rest gave us all a chance to think of next year, when we hope to share this day with those we love.

The guns of the NEWMAN K. PERRY will be temporarily silenced on the 19th of December, when we leave the gunline and sail for Hong Kong. There, all hands will have liberty at one the most outstanding ports in the world, after 36 continuous days at sea. Our thoughts will continue to be with you at home during the season of joy and sharing, Christmas. We look forward to the mail that will be waiting for us in Hong Kong. Cards and letters are the greatest morale boosters the men receive, so write often.

As Commanding Officer of NEWMAN K. PERRY, along with her officers and men, extend to each of you at home best wishes for a Merry Christmas, hoping and praying the new year will bring us safely together again.


USS NEWMAN K. PERRY (DD-883)

FLEET POST OFFICE

NEW YORK 09501

17 December 1966

 

COMMANDING OFFICER’S NEWSLETTER

Aboard the NEWMAN K. PERRY Rodman, Panama, is remembered as a remote base, thousands of miles and hours from the southern coast of Vietnam, to which she has traveled since our last newsletter. Simulated combat conditions across the Pacific Ocean prepared us well for the hectic, sleepless hours of gunfire support missions, in which we have been engaged for almost a month.

The transit of the earth’s largest ocean was not all spent at work and combat preparations. At Hawaii and Japan, we found warm welcomes, good liberty, outstanding enlisted men’s clubs, and tourist opportunities of a lifetime. Gifts, souvenirs, and curios were purchased by many men, who were already preparing for Christmas or other special events.

Entering Pearl Harbor, no American, especially a navyman, could look at the Memorial of the Battleship USS ARIZONA without emotion. December 7, 1941, a quarter of a century ago, was momentarily relived as we remembered the death toll our country suffered on that "Day of Infamy", and the more than 1,100 men still entombed within the rusty hulk of the ARIZONA.

Hawaii, with her gorgeous landscapes, white-sanded beaches, proud Diamond Head—Hawaii, with her flair for color, light and breezy clothes, new and exciting entertainment, her sunshine and sunsets, helped us forget the tragedies of the past and allowed us to enjoy seven days in our fiftieth state. No exciting port, however, surpasses the enjoyment which the announcement "Mail Call" brings to all hands. In Pearl Harbor, our mail caught up with us, bringing the assurance and closeness of those we love at home.

Nine days later Yokosuka, Japan, offered us our first glance at the mysteries and enchantment of the Orient. Tours to the Shinto landmark of Kamakura, to the world’s largest city of Tokyo, or the personal tours in the Yokosuka area were taken by many. The enormous, well-stocked Navy Exchange found eager NEWMAN K. PERRY crew members taking advantage of reduced prices for merchandise from many countries.

Final combat preparations were made on our trip from Japan to the Mekong Delta area of South Vietnam where we were assigned. Stopping at Buckner Bay on the island of Okinawa and at Subic Bay in the Philippine Islands for fuel, we arrived on station November 23rd. That night, at 9:16 P.M., we fired our first five inch thirty-eight high explosive projectile on an enemy stronghold. Three weeks later we surpassed 4,000 rounds of heavy bombardment on enemy trenches, structures, supply points and routes, and in support of friendly troops. Aircraft and ground spotters credited NEWMAN K. PERRY with outstanding accuracy on assigned targets, the best shooting they have seen. Credit goes to all hands in this teamwork operation. The pace aboard ship has been challenging, for we do not only fire guns. During the night hours, we meet tankers, stores and ammunition ships to replenish our supplies, only to receive another mission a few hours later.

Thanksgiving Day was not traditional. Firing missions dominated our time, but a lull for dinner turned our thoughts to our families and our hearts to God. The tables were laden with delicious food: turkey, ham, stuffing, vegetables, even apples and nuts. Decorations helped the atmosphere and the time of rest gave us all a chance to think of next year, when we hope to share this day with those we love.

The guns of the NEWMAN K. PERRY will be temporarily silenced on the 19th of December, when we leave the gunline and sail for Hong Kong. There, all hands will have liberty at one the most outstanding ports in the world, after 36 continuous days at sea. Our thoughts will continue to be with you at home during the season of joy and sharing, Christmas. We look forward to the mail that will be waiting for us in Hong Kong. Cards and letters are the greatest morale boosters the men receive, so write often.

As Commanding Officer of NEWMAN K. PERRY, along with her officers and men, extend to each of you at home best wishes for a Merry Christmas, hoping and praying the new year will bring us safely together again.

 

J. A. SMITH

Commander, U. S. Navy

Commanding Officer


USS NEWMAN K. PERRY ( DD883 )

FLEET POST OFFICE

NEW YORK 09501

17 January 1967

COMMANDING OFFICER’S NEWSLETTER

NEWMAN K. PERRY is presently rounding out the fourth month of her deployment to Southeast Asia and as is customary, calendars throughout the ship are rapidly acquiring black marks of various shapes and sizes noting the passing of days and weeks.

As the New Year begins, we continue to pursue a challenging operating schedule, that began on November 23, when at 9:16 P.M., our guns opened fire with the first round of five-inch thirty-eight caliber projectiles upon an enemy position in South Vietnam. Less than forty days later the year ended, but NEWMAN K. PERRY’S activities during those days already were turning cold, historical facts into a saga.

Our first mission was to stop the flow of enemy arms and supplies from coastal storage areas into the rich rice land of the Mekong Delta south of Saigon.

We started with methodical saturation bombardment, which brought destruction and harassment to enemy supply points and training centers in the Mekong Delta area. Necessary for it’s rich supply of rice, the delta cannot be overlooked as just another muddy swamp. By night scores of high explosive shells, by day hundreds of them were sent miles inland to targets spotted by Army reconnaissance planes. NEWMAN K. PERRY’S gun action, and naval bombardment confused or destroyed the enemy. Each night our guns harassed the enemy shores, but damage could not be assessed due to darkness. On several occasions, enemy ground fire was silenced by the top notch marksmanship of our gunners.

On November 28, we left the Mekong Delta to take part in a special operation on the island of Phu Quoc, just off the coast of the Cambodian-Vietnam border. This five day mission involved friendly ground troops who needed support with pinpoint firing. They received it! Phu Quoc, in five days, became an exciting story in itself. Praise and thanks from the Green Berets and Special Forces ashore made the crew realize why we were called upon to assist to clear that strategic island.

After three frustrating days of high seas kept our guns silent, we took another mission near the Cambodian border which lasted until December 9. Totals were figured on the way back to the Mekong; the ship had already fired more than 3,000 rounds with our big guns. On one occasion, our men fired a rapid 61 rounds in 17 minutes against an offending weapons position. We continued to steadily pound enemy positions night and day, stopping only long enough to replenish our supplies of fuel, food and ammunition. Supplies are replenished at sea from another ship while both ships are underway. Replenishment at sea is part of the Navy’s "stock and trade" and enables us to operate at sea for extended periods of time. It was not unusual to fire all day, then refuel from an oiler for two hours, followed by a replenishment of our ammunition from midnight until four o’clock in the morning from an ammunition ship, and then return to firing again at first light on the new day.

On December 18, when we prepared to leave for Hong Kong, everyone looked at some impressive statistics. We had fired more than 5,100 5"/38 caliber high explosive projectiles, destroying or damaging 286 structures, 18 bunkers, and 8 trench networks. These were positively confirmed. Many other targets could not be observed due to heavy foliage and darkness. During this 26 day gunline period, both day and night, NEWMAN K. PERRY left the line briefly 19 times to be replenished at sea from oilers, ammunition and stores ships. It was a tired but satisfied crew that steamed to Hong Kong on December 19 for a well deserved rest over Christmas.

Hong Kong the "Pearl of the Orient", was an exciting city. This British Crown Colony, noted for her vast trade, is a duty free port, of which most visitors take advantage. A photographers delight: beauty, slums, mountains and seascapes were all available and tours inexpensive. Churches of all denominations made Christmas fuller for those who desired to attend services on either Christmas Eve or Day. Those having duty that day were fortunate to also have a Protestant Divine Service and a Catholic Mass on the ship’s forward torpedo deck. Tailor and shoe shops, sweater and leather goods stores, department stores and tiny shops were visited by our men every day as they purchased, at phenomenal prices, items they could not afford in the States.

The last week of 1966 shows the versatility of destroyers like NEWMAN K. PERRY. We operated for the first two days with the carrier CORAL SEA as plane guard, then joined another destroyer in anti-submarine warfare exercises, before taking station in the northern sector of the Tonkin Gulf with the nuclear-powered cruiser LONG BEACH. This is where we ended the year, as support ship for LONG BEACH and as standby ship for search and rescue missions to locate downed American pilots.

Now the New Year has begun. In two and a half months, we will join the rest of the ships in the squadron and head back to Newport. With this fine record behind us, the months ahead can only add to the experiences and pride of our work in the fight for peace in Vietnam.

We all hope and pray for a Happy New Year, the year of reunion. Despite our separation and loneliness, may we all find satisfaction and thankfulness to have been a vital part in this fight for freedom, supported by American men, who in turn, are supported by each one off you at home.

I want to say in closing that I am grateful for this loyal support you are giving the Navy and NEWMAN K. PERRY through the support of your men.

With every good wish,

J. A. SMITH

Commander, U. S. Navy

Commanding


USS NEWMAN K. PERRY (DD883)

FLEET POST OFFICE

NEW YORK 09501

24 March 1967

COMMANDING OFFICER’S NEWSLETTER

Since my last letter, written while NEWMAN K. PERRY was operating in the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of North Vietnam, we have completed our last tour of duty in the combat zone and are now in the midst of final preparations to start the long trip home. Our last two combat tours were rugged ones. We operated as plane guard for the fast attack aircraft carriers USS KITTY HAWK and USS BON HOMME RICHARD at Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin. Planes flying from these aircraft carriers were conducting bombing strikes daily against the enemy with devastating results.

Operating with these aircraft carriers has been a true test of seamanship on the part of all hands. It was the northeast monsoon season and the weather was terrible. The sun was seldom out and the seas were running so high that the ship was taking water on the decks most of the time. In spite of this, we had to be ready at any moment to rescue pilots having to "ditch" before reaching the carrier’s flight deck. These operations required high speeds and precise maneuvering so the support required could be provided while at the same time remaining clear of the aircraft carrier during flight operations.

Between carrier operations, we went further north on patrol in the Gulf of Tonkin. While on these patrol operations, we provided gun support, fuel, water and other needed supplies to smaller Navy ships throughout their operations. This was a most unusual and demanding assignment. It was a real challenge to our professional skill and ingenuity and everyone on board did a marvelous job.

On February 6, 1967, NEWMAN K. PERRY arrived in Kaohsiung, Taiwan for our second port visit since November 15, 1966. We had been at sea 42 consecutive days. The seas had been rough, the wind had been cold, and the sun had appeared only 5 days out of the 42. Needless to say, we all were glad to be in port for some well deserved rest and recreation.

The island of Taiwan is controlled by the Chinese Nationalists and is more familiarly known to most of us as Formosa. The city of Kaohsiung is a naval port situated in Southwestern Taiwan, 325 miles East of Hong Kong. Our stay was a combination of ship upkeep work and liberty. All hands received an extra treat due to the ships timely arrival. The Chinese Lunar New Year celebration took place during our stay in Kaohsiung. Since we were at sea during the calendar New Year, we were able to join the Chinese New Year celebration as it is practiced in the Far East. Fire crackers, parades and festive costumes marked the sprit of the Chinese holiday.

Leaving Taiwan on February 13th, we traveled south to Subic Bay in the Philippine Islands. The ship arrived on February 15th for an upkeep and repair period utilizing the combined repair facilities of USS DELTA, a repair ship, and the Subic Bay Naval Repair Facility. During our stay, the warm sun soon tanned some skins that had grown pale during the cloudy days in the Tonkin Gulf.

The Philippines are noted for their fine wood products and many of the men took advantage of the shopping opportunity to purchase wood products of all descriptions. Also, our softball team started spring practice and beat the USS WARRINGTON’s team in a warm up game by a score of 13 - 2. The team should be fully organized by the time the ship reaches Newport and ready to participate in the summer Cruiser-Destroyer Force Atlantic Softball League.

On February 24th, NEWMAN K. PERRY departed Subic Bay as plane guard escort for the aircraft carrier BON HOMME RICHARD. Two days travel time put us back in the Gulf of Tonkin. The weather was still nasty. We operated with the destroyer MULLANY and the BON HOMME RICHARD exclusively until March 8th when we departed the combat zone for the last time and headed for Hong Kong.

Our schedule had been changed and we returned to Hong Kong, "Pearl of the Orient", on March 10th to begin a twelve day assignment as the Senior Officer Present Afloat Administrative Ship. Our function was to serve as the official station ship representing the United States Navy. We were responsible for Liaison between all U.S. Navy ships entering and leaving this busy port and the British Government here. It was an interesting and challenging assignment since Hong Kong is a sensitive and strategically located city. All hands enjoyed the opportunity to take advantage of the bargains we learned about during our previous stay over the Christmas holiday.

Our duties in Hong Kong have been completed and we are now enroute to Subic Bay in the Philippine Islands where NEWMAN K. PERRY will rejoin the other ships of Destroyer Division 201 for our return home. All ships will leave Subic Bay on March 27th and travel home as a division.

I am sure many of you are wondering why the entire squadron left Newport together but will be returning separately. The answer to this is in the complex logistic and operational requirements for employing navy ships in the waters of Southeast Asia. Operational and scheduling commitments require our division to remain two weeks longer.

The impressive record compiled by NEWMAN K. PERRY while in the combat zone had earned the ship a number of commendations. The Commander in Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet has commended her for expeditious handling and initiative taken in bringing to the public’s attention the significant roles played by Atlantic Fleet destroyers off the coast of Vietnam. In addition, we have been able to meet or exceed all demands placed upon us through the hard work and skilled efforts of our crew. As an indication of this, I would like to quote here a message we received from Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Forces SEVENTH Fleet:

"The fine performance of N.K. PERRY during her WESTPAC deployment has been noted with a great deal of pleasure. CORAL SEA, KITTY HAWK, AND BON HOMME RICHARD were all happy with the job you turned in as plane guard. Your performance both as SOPA ADMIN HONG KONG as a NGFS Unit was outstanding. Initiative, leadership, and teamwork were in evidence in PERRY throughout her entire deployment. Best wishes for an extremely joyful homecoming.

Warm Regards,

RADM MARK W. WOODS

Enclosed is a recent photograph taken of NEWMAN K. PERRY while on operations in the Gulf of Tonkin with the USS KITTY HAWK. The photograph was taken in the middle of our 42 day at-sea period during December, January, and early February. It is a very fine photograph and I thought you would like having it as a reminder of where your loved ones are serving.

As Easter season approaches, I wish you a happy and holy Easter with the fond hope that next year you will be together with your loved ones.

Sincerely,

J. A. SMITH

Commander, U.S. Navy

Commanding


Fleet Post Office

USS NEWMAN K. PERRY (DD-883)

New York 09501

27 April 1967

COMMANDING OFFICERS NEWSLETTER

My last newsletter left NEWMAN K. PERRY enroute to Subic Bay to rejoin the other three ships (USS WARRINGTON, USS KEPPLER, USS MANLEY) to start the trip home. It was certainly good to be back together as a division for the first time since our departure from Yokosuka, Japan in mid-November 1966. We were pleased to find that none of the ships had suffered any personnel fatalities. Considering the wide range of duties we had been assigned during our combat tour and the many possible dangers involved, we were all very thankful for our good fortune.

We departed Subic Bay together, on 27 March enroute to the island of Singapore lying at the southern tip of the Malayan Peninsula. Our journey took us across the Equator and into the realm of King Neptune. At this point, I feel some explanation is due. A sailor who has never crossed the Equator is considered to be a lowly Polly-Wog. Veterans of Equator crossings, and the associated initiation, are called Shell-backs. The Shellbacks are representatives of King Neptune and are expected to conduct the initiation ceremonies that make lowly Polly-Wogs crusty Shellbacks. These ceremonies were conducted throughout the day of 29 March. Colorful costumes were worn and unusual tasks awaited the Polly-Wogs. Having survived the day, all former Polly-Wogs could take a great deal of pride in their new status as Shellbacks. I’m sure that no one will forget the day that NEWMAN K. PERRY crossed the Equator.

 

We arrived in the exotic port of Singapore on 30 March for a stay that lasted nearly three days. The island is 26 miles long and 14 miles wide and is typical tropical country. A causeway consisting of a road and railway connects Singapore to the Malay Peninsula across the Strait of Johore. Many of our people went on the sightseeing tour around this splendid island and saw some of the most picturesque spots to be found anywhere in the world.

While we were in Singapore, I was pleased to present Signalman First Class Jack Jerrell with an engraved ship’s plaque during special ceremonies honoring him as the NEWMAN K. PERRY "Sailor of the Year" and the ship’s entry in the Cruiser-Destroyer Force Atlantic "Sailor of the Year" contest. It was a well deserved award.

We departed Singapore in the early evening of April Fool’s Day and transited the Straits of Malacca during the night. These Straits connect the Indian Ocean with the South China Sea and are undoubtedly the busiest shipping waterway in the world.

On one end lies the commercial port of Singapore, the gateway to the Far East, and on the other end the Indian Ocean, the western boundary of the Near East. All ocean traffic going from the Far East to Europe must pass through the Straits of Malacca or take the longer route south of the Equator and around the Island of Sumatra. The Southern passage, as well as being far greater in distance, is also marked by many uncharted atolls. It was a busy night before we were safely out into the broad expanse of the Indian Ocean. As we traveled across this important ocean, we refueled at sea from the British Oiler RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) OLEANDER off the coast of Ceylon.

While crossing the Indian Ocean, the ship was given its annual Operational Readiness Inspection to determine our overall readiness to carry out any combat assignment. It was a rigorous inspection which lasted a full day. Everyone on board put a great deal of effort into the battle problem and associated exercises. Although our final grade has not been determined, I feel we did extremely well.

Our cruise continued across the Arabian Sea and into the Gulf of Aden. On the morning of March eleventh, we passed through the Straits of Bad-el-Mandeb where the African continent and the Saudia Arabian land mass could be seen simultaneously.

The next port stop was Massawa, Ethiopia. It was a brief visit for fuel but we were there long enough to have two hours liberty. Massawa is the home of the Ethiopian Imperial Naval School of about 50 cadets. While in Massawa, the ship donated a set of the Encyclopedia Americana to this school, in order to enable the cadets to better understand and learn about the American people.

Massawa’s importance in the past as well as today arises from it’s strategic location as a seaport. Situated in close proximity to the Red Sea, it is the principal port for Ethiopia and it was an important base for both the U.S. and British Navies during World War II. Today it provides the U.S. Navy one of it’s few fueling ports available between the Suez Canal and Singapore.

Two days travel from Massawa found us in Port Suez at the southern end of the world famous Suez Canal. We started through the Canal shortly after eight o’clock in the morning. In contrast to the tropical green landscape bordering the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal was marked by arid desert wastelands on either side throughout most of the nineteen hour trip. We departed Port Said at the northern end of the canal late in the evening and entered the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

The weather here was much different from that which we had experienced over the past few weeks. The nights were cold and damp while the days were windy but sunny.

While traveling through the Mediterranean Sea, it was necessary to make a brief fuel stop in Soudha Bay on the island of Crete. The mountains surrounding the bay were capped with snow, the first any of us have seen this year. During our twelve hour stay, Commander Destroyer Squadron TWENTY inspected the ship and crew. I am pleased to say that we made an extremely favorable impression.

We left Shouda Bay on Sunday evening, April sixteenth and proceeded to the port of Valleta on the island of Malta, arriving on April 18. This was our first liberty port in the Mediterranean Sea and one with a rich heritage. The island of Malta was subjected to sever bombing during World War II by the Nazi powers but the Maltese people never gave up. Their heroism and courage was one of the remarkable feats of World War II. The British Government bestowed the highest honors on the island in recognition of their heroic efforts.

Entering the harbor at Valetta, one is given the impression that he is entering an ancient medieval fortress because of the numerous limestone fortifications throughout the island. Limestone is still being used as the principal material in constructing buildings since it is so plentiful on the island. Only three short days were spent in Malta and then we continued on to Naples, Italy.

The Bay of Naples is one of the three most beautiful bays in the world. Mount Vesuvius overlooks the bay and can be seen for miles at sea. Three days were spent in Naples and this was ample time for many of the crew to tour the city of Rome and visit the Vatican. Those who made the trip to Rome are still talking about the ancient museums, the Trevi Fountain, and the many other historic landmarks in the Eternal City. It was an unforgettable experience for those who were able to make the trip.

On April 25, we left Naples and headed for our last liberty port before the ship returns to Newport. It was a one day trip in rough weather to Palma on the Spanish island of Mallorca. The island is situated about equidistant from the coast of Spain, France and Sardinia. It is known as one of the favorite European vacation resorts throughout Europe, Similar to our Miami Beach. Palma de Mallorca is the port located on the southern side of the island, and sheltered from much of the Mediterranean storms coming across from France and Spain, by it’s high mountains just a few miles back from the coast.

The principal industry on the island is the production of synthetic pearls. A process involving the dipping of glass beads in a mixture of ground up fish scales and then heating is involved. The complete process is kept secret and is known only to the Mallorcans.

We expect to leave Palma on April 29 and start the final leg of our trip home. The ship will stop for fuel at Gibraltar and in the Azore Islands on the trip across the Atlantic. Present plans call for us to arrive in Newport, Rhode Island on Monday morning, May 8. I expect the arrival time to be in the vicinity of eleven o’clock. It will take some time to get all our lines over and to rig the brows. As soon as brows are rigged, dependents on the pier will be able to board the ship. Refreshments will be served in the Mess Decks, the Chief’s Mess and the Wardroom. One of my major concerns in addition to effecting a rendezvous between you and your loved ones is safety. The marvelous aura which can result from being home again with our families after such a long absence could be completely washed away by the injury of one of our children or a mother. I must therefore urge you all to be cautious and careful while on the pier and while boarding or leaving the ship.

Before closing I would like to say a few words about the conduct of NEWMAN K. PERRY men ashore. Conduct ashore has been outstanding during the entire deployment and this indicative of pride in our country, the Navy and the NEWMAN K. PERRY. An example of this was the recent award to the ship of a plaque for Meritorious Conduct in Hong Kong, which as you know is a very strategic spot in world affairs. This was a significant accomplishment and typical of the top notch performance by our crew. The net impact of our port visits was a resounding boost to the friendship and understanding that exists between the U.S. and the countries visited.

To answer any questions you may have concerning leave and liberty during our first month in Newport, let me say the policy is to give as much as we can. Liberty will be granted each day to the maximum number of people not on leave that is possible. Even though we are moored alongside the pier, we must have sufficient numbers of the crew aboard to safeguard the ship and to accomplish required work.

I hope homecoming is as wonderful as you dreamed it would be and I can assure you we are all as anxious as you are.

 

Sincerely,

J. A. Smith, USN

Commanding

 

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