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USS Higbee (DD/DDR-806), Gearing-class Destroyer

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USS Higbee (DD/DDR-806), Gearing-class Destroyer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Name:USS Higbee
Namesake:Lenah Higbee
Builder:Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
Laid down:26 June 1944
Launched:13 November 1944
Commissioned:27 January 1945
Decommissioned:15 July 1979
DDR-806, 18 March 1949
DD-806, 1 June 1963
Struck:15 July 1979
Nickname(s):"Leaping Lenah"
Honors and
1 battle star (World War II)
7 battle stars (Korea)
Fate:Sunk as a target, 24 April 1986
General characteristics
Class and type:Gearing-class destroyer
Displacement:2,425 long tons (2,464 t)
Length:390 ft 6 in (119.02 m)
Beam:40 ft 10 in (12.45 m)
Draft:14 ft 4 in (4.37 m)
Propulsion:Geared turbines, 2 shafts, 60,000 shp (45 MW)
Speed:35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph)
Range:4,500 nmi (8,300 km) at 20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph)
6 × 5"/38 caliber guns
12 × 40 mm AA guns
11 × 20 mm AA guns
10 × 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
6 × depth charge projectors
2 × depth charge tracks
1 x RUR-5 ASROC Anti Submarine Rocket
USS Higbee (DD/DDR-806) was a Gearing-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was the first US warship named for a female member of the U.S. Navy,[1][2] being named for Chief Nurse Lenah S. Higbee (1874–1941), a pioneering Navy nurse who served as Superintendent of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps during World War I.

Higbee was launched 13 November 1944 by the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. A. M. Wheaton, sister of the late Mrs. Higbee; and commissioned on 27 January 1945, Commander Lindsay Williamson in command.[3]

World War II

USS Higbee in 1945
Higbee immediately sailed to Boston, where she was converted to a radar picket destroyer. After shakedown in the Caribbean, she sailed for the Pacific on 24 May, joining Carrier Task Force 38 less than 400 miles from Tokyo Bay on 19 July. "Leaping Lenah", as she had been dubbed by her crew, screened the carriers as their planes launched heavy air attacks against the Japanese mainland until the end of hostilities on 15 August. She helped clear Japanese mine fields and supported the occupation forces for the following seven months, finally returning to San Diego on 11 April 1946. The post-war years saw Higbee make two peacetime Western Pacific cruises as well as participate in fleet exercises and tactical training maneuvers during both these cruises and off the West Coast. On her second WestPac cruise, Higbee escorted the heavy cruiser Toledo (CA-133) as they paid official visits to the recently constituted governments of India and Pakistan in the summer of 1948.[3]

Korean War
When Communist troops plunged into South Korea in June 1950, Higbee, redesignated DDR-806 on 18 March 1949, was immediately deployed to the Korean coast with the 7th Fleet. Most of her Korean War duty came in screening the Fast Carrier Task Force 77 as their jets launched raids against Communist positions and supply lines. On 15 September she formed part of the shore bombardment and screening group for the amphibious operation at Inchon. Higbee returned to San Diego on 8 February 1951. In two subsequent stints in Korea, she continued to screen the carrier task force and carry out shore bombardment of enemy positions. In order to protect against the possibility of Communist Chinese invasion of Nationalist China, Higbee also participated in patrol of Formosa Straits. Returning to the States on 30 June 1953, she entered the Long Beach Yard for a six-month modernization which saw major structural alterations made, including an enlarged Combat Information Center, new height-finding radar, and an improved anti-aircraft battery.[3]

Peacetime duties
The radar picket destroyer's peacetime duty then fell into a pattern of six-month WestPac cruises alternating with upkeep and training out of San Diego. Operating with the 7th Fleet on her WestPac cruises, Higbee visited Australian and South Pacific ports frequently as well as engaging in fleet maneuvers with units of SEATO navies. Her home port was changed to Yokosuka, Japan, on 21 May 1960. From there Higbee continued to cruise in the Pacific and along the China coast to strengthen American force in Asia. After two years duty in Japan, Higbee returned to her new home port, San Francisco, on 4 September 1962. On 1 April 1963 the destroyer entered the shipyard there for a fleet rehabilitation and modernization (FRAM) overhaul designed to improve her fighting capabilities and lengthen her life span as an active member of the fleet. Higbee was redesignated DD-806 on 1 June 1963.[3]

Vietnam war

During the Vietnam war years Higbee carried a steam locomotive whistle attached to a main deck steam fitting. The plume of steam marks the location as the whistle is used to salute the USS Chicago following refueling from the cruiser.
Ready for action on 3 January 1964, Higbee trained on the West Coast until departing for Japan on 30 June and reached her new homeport, Yokosuka, on 18 July. During the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in August, the destroyer screened carriers of Task Force 77 (TF 77) in the South China Sea. In February 1965 Higbee supported the 9th Marine Brigade[citation needed] at Da Nang, Vietnam. In May[citation needed] she participated in Project Gemini recovery in the Western Pacific. On 1 September Higbee helped to rescue the crew from Arsinoe after the French tanker had grounded off Scarborough Shoals in the South China Sea. The remainder of September was spent in naval gunfire support off South Vietnam. On the return voyage to home port, the ship saw short duty as Station Ship Hong Kong. While in Hong Kong, Princess Margaret was piped aboard the ship.

Higbee under repair at Subic bay following her bomb hit
While operating northeast of Luzon in late January 1966, Higbee sighted the Soviet hydrographic ship Gidrifon. Returning to South Vietnam in April, Higbee bombarded enemy positions near Cape St. Jacques and the mouth of the Saigon River. On 17 June she departed Yokosuka for the West Coast, arrived Long Beach, her new home port, on 2 July and operated out of there into 1967. In November 1966, Higbee and her squadron had R&R in Acapulco, Mexico, where Bob Hope did an unscheduled servicemen's show for the crews. The first half of 1967 was spent in the yards at Mare Island for a major refit before returning to the Vietnam theater. On 19 April 1972 Higbee became the first US warship to be bombed during the Vietnam War,[4] when two VPAF (also known as the NVAF-North Vietnamese Air Force) MiG-17s from the 923rd Fighter Regiment attacked, one of which, piloted by Le Xuan Di, dropped a 250 kilogram (500 lb) bomb onto Higbee's rear 5-inch gun mount, destroying it.[5]

The 5-inch gun crew had been outside their turret, due to a misfire within the mount, when the air attack occurred, which resulted in the wounding of four US sailors. The second MiG-17 flown by Nguyen Van Bay went on to bomb the light cruiser USS Oklahoma City, causing only minor damage.[5][6]

Although there were no official aircraft losses reported by either side during the aerial attack, witnesses aboard accompanying USN vessel's deploying defensive measures, claimed one of the attacking MiGs with a hit by a surface-to-air missile fired from the cruiser USS Sterett.[7][a]

Post-war fate
Higbee's first peacetime duty was as a member of Destroyer Squadron 27 homeported in Long Beach, California. Her later years (after May, 1975) were spent as a Naval Reserve Force destroyer homeported in Long Beach, CA and Seattle, WA, as a unit of DesRon 37.[8] In 1978 Higbee had the highest score for NGFS (Naval Gunfire Support) of any ship in the US Navy and was featured in Surface Warfare magazine for this distinction.[citation needed] Higbee was decommissioned and struck from the Navy list on 15 July 1979. Higbee was sunk as a target on 24 April 1986, around 130 nmi (240 km; 150 mi) west of San Diego at 32°28′0.4″N 119°58′0.7″WCoordinates: 32°28′0.4″N 119°58′0.7″W.[citation needed]

Higbee earned one battle star for her service in World War II and seven battle stars for her service in the Korean War.[3]

USS Hawkins (DD-873), Gearing-class Destroyer, Iwo Jima

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USS Hawkins (DD-873), Gearing-class Destroyer, Iwo Jima

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

USS Hawkins in 1945
United States
Name:USS Hawkins
Namesake:William D. Hawkins
Laid down:14 May 1944
Launched:7 October 1944
Commissioned:10 February 1945
Struck:1 October 1979
Name:ROCS Shao Yang[1][2] or ROCS Tze Yang[3]
Decommissioned:late 1990s
Fate:Scrapped, superstructure on display at museum[3]
General characteristics
Class and type:Gearing-class destroyer
Displacement:3,460 tons
Length:390.6 ft (119.1 m)
Beam:40.1 ft (12.2 m)
Draft:14.4 ft (4.4 m)
Propulsion:60,000 shp (45,000 kW); General Electric geared turbines, 2 screws
Speed:36.8 kn (68.2 km/h; 42.3 mph)
3 x twin 5 in (130 mm)/38 DP guns
12 x 40 mm AA guns
11 x 20 mm AA guns
2 x quintuple 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
USS Hawkins (DD-873) was a Gearing-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. Following the war, the ship saw service in the Korean War and in the 1970s, was transferred to the Republic of China Navy as Shao Yang, also known as Tze Yang. She remained in service until the 1990s. The ship was then scrapped with the exception of her superstructure, which became part of a display at a museum.

Hawkins, originally to be named Beatty, but renamed on 22 June 1944 and launched by Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas, 7 October 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Clara Jane Hawkins, mother of namesake First Lieutenant William Deane Hawkins (killed on Tarawa). The destroyer was commissioned on 10 February 1945, Comdr. C. Iverson in command.

Following shakedown training in the Caribbean, Hawkins arrived at Norfolk on 23 March 1945 to undergo conversion to a radar picket ship. Emerging 26 May, she conducted training exercises before sailing 18 June from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for San Diego and Pearl Harbor. After her arrival 8 July Hawkins prepared to enter the last phase of the Pacific War, but 3 days after her 12 August departure from Pearl Harbor for Eniwetok the Japanese surrendered. The destroyer continued from Eniwetok to Iwo Jima and Tokyo Bay, arriving 27 August, and assisted in early occupation operations. She then escorted ships to and from the Marianas, remaining in Japanese waters until 3 January 1946. Hawkins then steamed to the Philippines and Saipan, finally arriving Pearl Harbor 3 April.

Arriving at San Diego on 11 April, the destroyer took part in training operations off the West Coast until sailing again for the Far East January 1947. During the months that followed she steamed between Chinese and Korean ports, assisting and supporting American Marine units in their attempts to stabilize the Chinese situation and protect American lives. Hawkins under the command of Cmdr. Alfred L. Cope, played a significant role in rescue operations off Chilang Point Hong Kong 19 July 1947, when the steamer SS Hong Kheng sank with over 2,000 passengers on board. She returned to the United States 8 October 1947.

After a year of operations out of San Diego the ship sailed again for the Far East, arriving at Tsingtao, China on 29 October. Following operations off the Chinese coast Hawkins got underway from Tsingtao on 6 December. On this long voyage, completing a circuit of the globe, the destroyer visited Ceylon, Turkey, Gibraltar, New York City, and Panama before arriving San Diego 10 March 1949.

Hawkins in the Mediterranean in 1957.
Hawkins was reassigned to the U.S. Atlantic Fleet soon afterward, arriving at her new home port, Newport, Rhode Island on 23 May 1949. For the next year she took part in Reserve training cruises and readiness exercises in the Caribbean. The ship had been reclassified DDR-873 on 18 March 1949. Hawkins departed on 2 May 1950 for a cruise with 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean.

Korean War service
While in the Mediterranean, the world became aware of the Communist invasion of South Korea. After NATO maneuvers, Hawkins returned to Newport 10 October and prepared to become part of the fleet sailing for what became known as the Korean War. Sailing on 3 January via the Panama Canal she arrived at Pusan on 5 February. During her four months of Korean duty, Hawkins screened the mobile aircraft carrier forces during strikes on enemy positions and supply lines, provided antisubmarine protection, and controlled jet aircraft in combat air patrols. She also acted as plane guard during operations in the Formosa Straits designed to discourage Communist aggression against the friendly island. Departing the Far East in June, the destroyer returned to Newport on 8 August via the Mediterranean.

Post Korean War service to 1964
For the next few years the veteran ship alternated picket duty and training operations in the western Atlantic with periodic cruises to the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet. She was in the Eastern Mediterranean during the summer of 1950 when the Suez crisis threatened the security and peace of the area. Hawkins arrived Mayport, Florida, her new homeport, 18 August 1960. She became part of DESRON-8 performing exercises in the Bahamas and Caribbean areas with one deployment of radar picket duty off the coast of Nicaragua returning to Mayport in December 1960. In January 1961 the destroyer soon resumed her pattern of cruises to the Mediterranean. In 1961 she operated with a special Task Group in connection with American space experiments and missile tests off Cape Canaveral, Florida. When the introduction of offensive missiles into Cuba in 1962 threatened the security of the United States, Hawkins joined with other ships in quarantining that Caribbean country, cruising the Caribbean from late October until December. In 1963 the ship returned to the Mediterranean in January returning to Mayport in July and in August took part in Polaris missile tests in the Caribbean with the submarine USS Alexander Hamilton. During the next 5 months, Hawkins operated with aircraft carriers off Florida and in the Caribbean. Following additional Polaris missile tests with USS Andrew Jackson in February 1964, the destroyer steamed to Boston 21 March and was placed in commission, in reserve, prior to undergoing a FRAM I overhaul.


Reclassified DD-873 on 1 April, Hawkins completed FRAM late in 1964. Assigned to Destroyer Squadron 24, she operated out of Newport until departing 29 September for duty in the Far East. Steaming via the Panama Canal and the West Coast, she joined the 7th Fleet on 23 November. For the next three months she guarded aircraft carriers in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin and provided gunfire support for ground troops along the coast of South Vietnam. She departed Subic Bay late in February 1966, steamed via the Suez Canal, and arrived Newport 8 April.

Hawkins, over the next few months, participated in naval exercises off the East Coast and in the Caribbean. Departing Newport on 28 November, she joined the 6th Fleet at Gibraltar 8 December and became flagship for ComDesRon 24. For more than three months she cruised the Mediterranean from Spain to Greece before returning to Newport 20 March 1967. Into mid-1967 she operated along the Atlantic Coast from New England to Florida.

Hawkins went into the Boston Naval Shipyard in 1967 for overhaul. After months in the shipyard and in dry dock, the ship went to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for a shakedown cruise.

On 11 February 1969, Hawkins was operating off the coast of Cuba with the submarine USS Chopper when Chopper had a near-fatal accident. The submarine managed to surface but Chopper shot through the surface of the ocean, nearly vertical. The entire forward section of the submarine, to the aft edge of the sail, cleared the surface before she fell back.

In July 1969, Hawkins, working out of Cape Canaveral, Florida began Polaris missile tests with the Royal Navy's submarine HMS Renown, which ended with a successful test firing of a missile down a test range. Immediately afterward, these same tests were made with the submarine USS Thomas Jefferson but in this case the test was aborted shortly after launch.

Hawkins took part in the United States space project in November 1969 when it was assigned to the Apollo 12 Atlantic Recovery Force. The ship was fitted with special capsule recovery gear and practiced along with a Navy Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) to be prepared to recover the space capsule in the Atlantic if the Pacific landing was aborted.

In December 1969, Hawkins changed homeport from Newport, Rhode Island, to Norfolk, Virginia.

In 1970, the United States Navy assigned the destroyer USS Steinaker to the NATO Standing Naval Force Atlantic for Exercise Atlantic Ice. Steinaker ran aground while doing maneuvers in a fjord near Harstad, traveling at 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph) and was removed from the exercise. Hawkins was directed to replace Steinaker and complete their assignment with NATO. Hawkins met Steinaker in Bergen, Norway to offload their munitions, allowing them to enter the repair facility at Haakonsvern. From Bergen, Hawkins traveled to Oslo with exercises above the Arctic Circle en route. After more exercise in the North Sea, the force stopped in Kiel and then proceeded to Copenhagen in mid-May. There was a show of flags in Antwerp and Plymouth. Leaving Plymouth at the end of May, the force exercised with a French submarine in the Bay of Biscay before going to Lisbon.

On 9 February 1971, Hawkins again participated in the space program as a backup recovery ship in the Atlantic for Apollo 14.

In the spring of 1977, the USS Hawkins DD-873 was detached to the US Sixth Fleet, where she certainly served until October.

From 1976 to 1979, the Hawkins was assigned as a Naval Reserve training ship in Philadelphia. By that time she was nearing the end of her designed lifespan. Science fiction writer James D. Macdonald, then an ensign in the United States Naval Reserve, was assigned to her during this period, and reported to the captain one morning that the sounding tape used to check the water level in the ship's tanks had punched through the striking plate in one of the sounding tubes and the hull plate beyond it, indicating the hull was becoming unsound.

Transfer to ROC Navy and fate
The ship was stricken from the Navy List on 1 October 1979 and sold to the Taiwan in 1983. The ship was renamed Shao Yang[1][2] or Tze Yang[3] in service with the Taiwan Navy. The ship was scrapped in the late 1990s, but part of her superstructure is on display at a museum in Taiwan.[3] [4]

Honors and awards
Hawkins received two battle stars for Korean War service.



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