the first month of 1969, final preparations were made for KING's
upcoming deployment with the U. S. SEVENTH Fleet in the Western
Pacific. An extended upkeep period in her homeport of San Diego
insured ail phases of KING's sophisticated weapons system and
Naval Tactical Data System were ready for the six month deployment
in the combat zone commencing in early February. A final missile
and conventional ordnance loadout was conducted at the Seal
Beach Naval Weapons Station on 22 January. The underway transit
time in the Southern California operations area allowed final
adjustments to various equipment. Families and close friends
of KINGSMEN were entertained on a dependents cruise on 24 January
which included helicopter operations off San Diego Harbor:
delay in the date of deployment from the first week of February
to 24 February allowed further improvement of personnel and
material readiness, In accordance with Commander U. S. FIRST
Fleet Quarterly Employment Schedule, KING left San Diego on
24 February bound for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, with Captain L.
D. CUMMINGS, Commander Destroyer Squadron FIFTEEN embarked.
The transit time was utilized for exercises at General Quarters
particularly in the ECM, communications and conventional gunnery
areas. Arriving in Pearl Harbor on 2 March for four days, the
ship received final Western Pacific operations plans and equipment
and was soon enroute to Midway Island in company with the USS
RADFORD (DD4-66). During the Pearl Harbor stay, Admiral John
McCAIN personally witnessed and commended KING for the exemplary
appearance of her ship and personnel upon arrival, A short fueling
stop at Midway Island on 8 March provided a brief exercise period
for the crew before the next leg of the transit to Yokosuka,
this particular part of the voyage KING experienced particularly
rough seas causing minor damage on the weather decks and a general
uncomfortable feeling for a large part of the crew, CYN3 Robert
J. CRAWFORD who would have been twenty five years old, missed
his birthday when 10 March was eliminated due to crossing the
International Date Line. The crew welcomed the arrival in Yokosuka
on 14 March. The four day stopover allowed KING sailors to tour
to nearby Tokyo, Yokohama, and other Japanese attractions. Vice
Admiral W. F. BRINGLE, Commander U. S. SEVENTH Fleet visited
the ship on 17 March. Underway again on 18 March with RADFORD
as an element of TU 71.1.2, KING conducted special operations
in the Sea of Japan until 23 March. For these actions KING was
awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Korea) proudly
worn by her crew for the remainder of the cruise.
sailed to Sasebo, Japan on 23 March for a one week visit which
combined an upkeep period with sight seeing opportunities for
the crew. A short cruise along the southern coast of Japan brought
KING to the bustling Japanese port of Kobe on 1 April where
the frigate was the only United States Naval Ship present in
the Harbor. During the four day visit the U. S. sailors were
welcomed throughout this thriving city and nearby Kyoto and
Osaka. KING hosted a number of tours by such organizations as
the Kobe Newspaper Reporters Guild, Kobe Rotary Club, Kobe Businessmens'
Association, Tkuta Police Force, Boys' Town Orphanage, and a
number of school groups.
Kobe on 5 April, KING sailed south for Subic Bay Naval Base,
Philippine Islands. Enroute, a surface to air TERRIER missile
firing was conducted at the Okinawa test range on the eastern
side of the island. Arriving in Subic on 9 April, the ship spent
four days in upkeep and installed special equipment peculiar
to the forthcoming mission as Strike Support Ship (SSS) and
Search and Rescue (SAR) control ship in the Gulf of Tonkin off
Vietnam. A UH2 helicopter and crew was brought aboard at this
ship departed Subic on 12 April for the Gulf of Tonkin via Danang,
Republic of Vietnam, for briefings and anti-PT boat training.
On 16 April KING relieved USS STANDLEY (DLG-32) as GTU 77.0.2
on Positive Identification Radar Advisory Zone
(PIRAZ) Station in the northern Gulf of Tonkin, The frigate
continued on this station for thirteen days utilizing her Naval
Tactical Data System (NTDS) facility to support the U. S. Navy
and Air Force strike efforts over Vietnam, The computerized
command and control system allowed KING air controllers to actively
follow strike aircraft over the target area, issue MIG warnings,
provide navigational assistance, exercise positive control of
Navy CAP,jet fighters and provide assistance to aircraft requiring
emergency in-flight instructions.
this period KING was continuously accompanied in her critical
mission on station by a "shot gun" destroyer providing
added conventional firepower. The shot guns were successively
the USS HOPEWELL (DD-681), USS CHEVALIER (DD-805), USS LEARY
(DD-879) and USS DOUGLAS H. FOX (DD-779). A vital role in
this PIRAZ station was played by underway replenishment (UNREP)
of fuel and supplies from various support ships to KING.
UNREPS were successfully completed during this first line period.
The welcome supporting ships were USS NAVASOTA (A0-106),
ALUDRA (AF-55), and USS PASSUMPSIC (A0-107).
28 April the ship received as emergency squawk from an A-7 jet
aircraft losing engine power ten miles away. KING's helicopter
rescued the downed pilot, LTJG Morris E. MANSELL of VF-53 who
was treated by ship's medical corpsman and quickly air-lifted
back to his squadron.
was relieved on 2 May by her sister ship USS MAHAN (DLG-1l)
and directly returned to Subic on 4 May for a brief upkeep period
alongside the destroyer repair ship USS KLONDIKE (AR-22). Underway
again on 9 May, the ship joined the CTG 77.5 screen operating
with the aircraft carrier BON HOMME RICHARD (CVA-31) on YANKEE
Station in the Gulf of Tonkin. The NTDS capability enabled KING
to act as Force Anti-Air Warfare Commander as well as Screen
Commander for KING, USS CHEVALIER (DD-805) and USS SCHOFIELD
(DEG-3). This mission continued for six days during which underway
replenishment was conducted twice with the USS NAVASOTA (A0-106).
This was the only time that other than a Carrier Division Commander
acted in the capacity of Force Anti-Air Warfare Commander and
was the result of not having an NTDS aircraft carrier available
in the Gulf,
16 May KING relieved STANDLEY on the South Search and Rescue
(SAR) station. Captain J. S. KERN, Destroyer Division 142, embarked
as Surface-Subsurface Surveillance Coordinator (SSSC) (CTG 77.9).
In company with her shot gun USS SAMPLE (DE-1048), the frigate
remained on South SAR for one week receiving replenishment support
from the USS PONCHATOULA (A0-148) and USS SACRAMENTO (AOE-1),
the latter utilizing the vertical replenishment (VERTREP) helicopter
technique with great success.
the afternoon of Friday 23 May, the Honorable John H. CHAFEE,
Secretary of the Navy, visited KING on the South SAR Station,
arriving and departing by special helicopter from YANKEE Station.
He was accompanied on his tour by Vice Admiral W. F. BRINGLE,
Commander of the United States SEVENTH Fleet.
in the evening of 23 May, a flexible oil line in the after fireroom
ruptured, causing an extensive Class B fire in that space. Damage
control parties brought the fire under control smothering the
blaze with foam. Timely aid was provided by SAMPLE in the form
of fire fighting equipment and communication support. KING
sustained four fatal casualties, all Boiler Technicians
on watch in the after fireroom when the fire broke out.
next day found KING returning to Subic. Arriving on 27 May KING
commenced a repair period at the Ship Repair Facility, Subic
Bay Naval Base. During this in port period extensive work was
performed to renew the after fireroom and repair all other fire
damage. Rear Admiral T. J. RUDDEN Jr., Commander Cruiser-Destroyer
Group SEVENTH Fleet, visited KING on 10 June. The crew was actively
engaged during this time in various activities. As part of a
People to People project KINGSMEN spent weekends painting a
schoolhouse in the neighboring Philippine barrio of Sexmoan,
Pampanga. Athletic teams in basketball, softball, bowling and
pistol found good competition including exciting contests with
the Australian crewmen of HMAS PARRAMATTA. Professor Parker
PhD. and Professor Harvey PhD. of San Diego State College conducted
numerous psychology and mathematics classes as part of the Navy
PACE (Program for Afloat College Education) educational program,
2 July, KING was again on her way back to the line relieving
MAHAN as CTU 77.0.2 on 7 July. Two UNREPS with NAVASOTA quickly
patrolling on PIRAZ station with USS HERBERT J. THOMAS (DD-833)
was interrupted on 10 July when all U. S. Naval ships were ordered
out of the shallow Gulf of Tonkin to the open waters of the
South China Sea to avoid Typhoon TESS. Returning to PIRAZ the
frigate was involved in an UNREP with USS SACRAMENTO (AOE-1)
and USS TAPPAHANNOCK (A0-43).
on PIRAZ KING hosted a visit on 13 July by Admiral FENG, Chi-Chung,
Commander in Chief of the Chinese Nationalist Navy; Vice Admiral
J. L. CHEW, Commander United States Taiwan Defense Command;
and Vice Admiral W. F. BRINGLE, Commander United States SEVENTH
on the PIRAZ station until 20 July, KING was accompanied successively
by USS PERRY (DD-844), USS HERBERT J. THOMAS (DD-833) and USS
PERKINS (DD-877) with whom she conducted various maneuvering
and communication exercises. UNREPS with the veteran oilers
USS GUADALUPE (A0-32) and USS KENNEBEC (A0-36) were a welcome
change of routine and the USS STERETT (DLG-31) relieved KING
on 20 July as CTU 77.0.2.
following days were spent speeding toward the liberty port of
Hong Kong, British Crown Colony, while all ears were listening
to news of the United States Astronauts landing on the moon.
KING moored alongside USS BUCHANAN (DDG-14) in Hong Kong harbor
on 22 July for six fascinating days of liberty in this oriental
city. Typhoon VIOLA shortened the ships visit by one day as
storm warnings cleared traffic from the busy harbor. KING spent
two rough days at sea evading the typhoon enroute to Subic for
an overnight stopover.
1 August, KING relieved STERETT on PIRAZ station with USS GURKE
(DD-783) as shot gun. The following day a U. S. Navy Crusader
jet from VF-53 on BON HOME RICHARD ditched within 1000 yards
of the ship. KING's small boat effected the rescue of the pilot
LT George L. WELLS, USN, who was quickly returned by helicopter
to his squadron.
the remainder of the line period, together with GURKE, USS WILTSIE
(DD-716), and USS EPPERSON (DD-719), the ship conducted successful
UNREPS with USS KAWISHIWI (A0-146), USS GRAFFIAS (AF-29) and
SACRAMENTO. Vice Admiral M. F. WEISNER, Commander Task Force
77 visited on 11 August and commended KING as the most responsive
ship that had been on PIRAZ station during his tenure as CTF
77. KING was relieved for the final time on 15 August by USS
CHICAGO (CG-11) and moved south to plane guard for USS KITTY
HAWK (CVA-63) on YANKEE Station. Completing flight operations
on 16 August KITTY HAWK with KING and GURKE returned to Subic
for a short layover before leaving for San Diego on 21 August.
KING conducted a surface to surface missile shoot that morning
at the Subic missile range before rejoining GURKE in the screen
of KITTY HAWK enroute CONUS. The unexpected decommissioning
plans of USS KEARSARGE (CVS-33) allowed that anti-submarine
carrier to join the formation in transit on 23 August.
voyage back to San Diego was well utilized for various drills
and exercises particularly in inter-ship communications and
gunnery. Commanding Officer, USS KING acted as Screen Commander
for this transit. Every three days the frigate refueled underway
directly from KITTY HAWK, and half way across the Pacific from
the USS CAMDEN (AOE-2) beginning her WESTPAC deployment. A large
crowd of families and friends greeted KING's arrival in the
homeport of San Diego on the morning of 4 September.
arrival marked the beginning of an in port period lasting almost
two months. Preparations for the upcoming Regular Overhaul provided
most of the work for this time. The Annual Supply Inspection
was conducted on 9 September with KING being highly commended
for achieving the greatest percentage increase in the yearly
grade for any ship in the fleet. In September KING acted as
host ship for the Portuguese frigate ALMIRANTE MAGALHES CORREIA
(F-474) visiting San Diego to participate in the city's 200th
birthday celebration. During the week of 29 September KING acted
as school ship for the DATC 1200 pound plant engineering course
at the Naval Station.
1 October administrative control of KING was shifted from Commander
Destroyer Squadron FIFTEEN to Commander Destroyer Squadron FIVE.
Commodore J. C. BERRIMAN, COMDESRON FIVE broke his flag on KING
for the month of October. KING departed San Diego on 27 October
enroute to the San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard for the scheduled
four month Regular Overhaul period. An overnight stay at Seal
Beach Naval Weapons Station allowed all ordnance, both missile
and conventional, to be off loaded as a safety precaution. Passing
under the Golden Gate Bridge on the morning of 29 October, KING
was soon moored at the Naval Shipyard at Hunters Point, south
of the city of San Francisco.
shipyard period is being used to revitalize the engineering
plant and add the latest in equipment and alterations to KING's
advanced weapons and NTDS systems. Extensive off ship schooling
is being provided for the officers and men in preparation for
Refresher Training and subsequent deployment.
Commanding Officer of KING held two awards ceremonies at the
shipyard location honoring the fine efforts of the crew during
the Western Pacific deployment. Five officers and men were awarded
the Navy Commendation Medal and sixteen others were awarded
the Navy Achievement Medal, all resulting from extraordinary
performance during 1969. Also during
November KING acted as host ship for HMS ARETHUSA during her
visit to the port of San Francisco.
well executed shift into Dry Dock #3 has allowed necessary work
on the sonar, hull, shaft and propellers. New Years Day 1970
found KING resting on keel blocks in the Hunters Point drydock
expecting to finish all shipyard work early in March.