It was late April or early May when 48 hours notice was given to the Providence crew for early departure from San Diego.  Our destination was the vietnam gunline with the Newport News and Oklahoma City.

"The ship was vibrating and noisy from the engines/screws working hard to get us there fast."

             48 Hours
             Wed, 03 May 2000 12:33:05 -0700
             samvilla <>
             @Home Network
It was a long time ago and my memory is fading.
But I do remember that it was almost a straight course for Vietnam.
The ship was vibrating and noisy from the engines/screws working hard to get us there fast.
I believe we did stop at Guam and Subic Bay for ammunition, fuel, stores and supplies.
Talk to you later.

        Re: 48 Hours
        Wed, 3 May 2000 19:32:21 EDT

That's correct. SOA of 25 knots authorized with fueling stops in Pearl and Subic. Best of all -- no deployment inspections and we sailed out of San Diego C-1, no CASREPS, no tugs, no staff and no absentees. And all of you get all the credit.

Best regards,
Ken Hayne

        Fri, 3 Nov 2000 23:16:33 -0500
        "Steve Shi" <>

As a postscript on the "48 Hours"--I was on the ship's rifle team and we
were competing in the 11th Naval District Hipower Matches at Miramar/Camp Elliot on Sunday when we were called off the 600 yard line by the tower saying we had an urgent call to return to the ship.  We drove back as fast as possible and were greeted by a scene of really   intense activity at North Island as stores were being loaded and personnel returned.  When we got aboard the ship was abuzz with rumors and once aboard no one was allowed
off again.
(Easter was on 2 April 72 so I think it was 9th or 16th of  April when we were called
back to ship.)

Then Captain Haynes called an officers meeting in the wardroom
late in the afternoon and came in holding a pink (then used for TS messages) message which he read to us.  It ordered us to proceed at all deliberate speed to report to the gun line in VN.

  We debarked part of the COMFIRSTFLT staff in San Diego before leaving and the remainder I believe got off in Pearl Harbor.  WE refueled there and loaded some ammo and were only there for several hours as I recall.  Then on to Guam for the same hurried stop and then Subic where all the white railings etc. were painted gray and we drew .50 cal MGs for mounting topside and swapped our blue training rounds for the 5/38 and 6/47 for the olive drab real McCoys.

  As we neared the gunline I recall we were at GQ for what seemed like a very long time (rations eaten at our posts etc.) and we moved in close to the shore in the early morning hours.  I am not sure but I think one of the times we took fire from the 130mm shore batteries occurred the first day as sort of a "Welcome to Vietnam" greeting by the bad guys.

        RE: "Days of Glory"
        Sat, 4 Nov 2000 17:57:00 -0500
        "Steve Shi" <>
        "'samvilla'" <>

Excerpt from

Of even greater importance to the nationwide South Vietnamese defensive
effort was the Navy's campaign against North Vietnam, where the enemy
launched and supplied the Easter Offensive. On 2 April 1972, soon after it
became apparent that a major Communist effort was underway, President Nixon
ordered his Pacific forces to strike that region of North Vietnam nearest to
the DMZ by air and sea. By 9 May, the entire country, excluding a buffer
zone 30 miles deep along the Chinese border and a number of sensitive
targets, had been opened to Navy and Air Force attack. During April, the
first month of operations, the Seventh Fleet resumed the interdiction
campaign that ended in November 1968. Task Force 77 swelled to include five
carriers, Constellation, Kitty Hawk, Hancock, Coral Sea, and Saratoga (CVA
60). The addition of Midway to the task force in May would make this the
largest concentration of carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin during the war. The
air squadrons, massed for multiaircraft strikes in Operation Freedom Train,
hit key military and logistic facilities at Dong Hoi, Vinh, Thanh Hoa,
Haiphong, and Hanoi. Smaller flights attacked enemy troop units, supply
convoys, and headquarters in the areas around the DMZ. Also taking part in
Freedom Train were the fleet's gun cruisers and destroyers, which ranged the
southern North Vietnamese coastline, shelling transportation routes, troop
concentrations, shore defenses, and Communist logistic installations. Joseph
Strauss (DDG 16) and Richard B. Anderson (DD 786) opened this renewed
operation on 5 April when they fired on the Ben Hai Bridge in the northern
half of the DMZ. Then on the 16th for the first time, cruiser Oklahoma City
and three destroyers obliterated targets on the Do Son Peninsula, which
guarded the approaches to Haiphong. [I think we were in on this too or did a
similar one around the same time]



The nature of the campaign changed in May when President Nixon ordered the
virtual isolation of North Vietnam from external Communist support. Aside
from the obvious military rationale, the President sought by this action to
end North Vietnamese intransigence at the stalled Paris negotiations. For
the first time in the long Southeast Asian conflict, all of the Navy's
conventional resources were brought to bear on the enemy. On 9 May, in
Operation Pocket Money, Coral Sea's A-6 Intruders and A-7 Corsairs dropped
magnetic-acoustic sea mines in the river approaches to Haiphong, North
Vietnam's chief port. Shortly thereafter, the other major ports were mined
as well. Over 85 percent of the country's military imports passed through
these ports. Washington gave foreign ships three days to depart the country,
after which the mines armed themselves. Despite this advance notice, 32
foreign, mostly Communist ships elected to remain trapped in North
Vietnamese waters.

The fleet's surface combatants also helped deny the enemy unhindered use of
the inland coastal areas. On 10 May the 8-inch guns of heavy cruiser Newport
News bombarded targets near Hanoi from a position off Do Son while guided
missile cruisers Oklahoma City and Providence and three destroyers
suppressed the enemy's counterbattery fire from the peninsula. Normally
three or four U.S. ships made up the surface action group that cruised along
the coast ready to provide air-spotted or direct fire. From April through
September, the cruiser destroyer group fired over 111,000 rounds at the
enemy, destroying or damaging thousands of bunkers and buildings; knocking
out tanks, trucks, and artillery sites; killing 2,000 troops; and sinking
almost 200 coastal logistic craft and 4 motor torpedo boats. In August,
Newport News, destroyer Rowan (DD 782), and naval air units sank two of the
PT boats that attacked the American ships off Haiphong.  [we were on this
mission too and I recall seeing the PT boats through my starlight scope on
the Mk 37 Director when the Newport News fired several broadsides with its
8" turrets using non-flashless powder--what a sight!   Another PT boat was
sunk by an A-7 from the Kitty Hawk using a cluster bomb.  It was pretty
exciting since the week before we had gotten a CIA briefing in Subic about
the North Vietnamese possibly having acquired STYX antiship missile boats
which included a film showing the damage that they can do to a ship!].  ]

The North Vietnamese fought back hard. Earlier in the year Higbee (DD 806)
became the first U.S. naval vessel attacked by enemy MiGs, one of which
dropped a bomb on the destroyer's stern, wounding four sailors. In addition,
while Communist coastal batteries hit 16 ships offshore in 1972, no ship was
sunk then or at any time in the Southeast Asian conflict. In July,
Warrington (DD 843) struck what was determined to be a wayward U.S. mine
that caused extensive damage to the ship. Naval leaders later decided to
scrap the already obsolete destroyer rather than spend money on her repair.
These few human and material casualties suffered by the Seventh Fleet
contrasted with the great punishment absorbed by the North Vietnamese.
>From May through December 1972, no large merchant vessels entered or left
North Vietnamese harbors. An attempt by the Communist to lighter cargo to
shore from ships in international waters was foiled when fleet ships and
aircraft, including Marine helicopter gunships, intercepted and destroyed
the shuttling craft. The deployed American fleet even curtailed the enemy's
intracoastal movement. [these were called "WBLCS"=="waterborne logistics
craft"--the Mardet CO, Capt. Dale Wyrauch and I were qualified air spotters
for naval gunfire and were called on to assist the overtaxed ANGLICO  Marine
air observers from Danang by using  the LAMPS helo off one of the DEs to fly
along coastline in search of these and then call in NGF and air on them. ]

Complementing this effort at sea was the massive aerial offensive by the
U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force named Linebacker. In contrast to the earlier
Rolling Thunder campaign, in Linebacker Washington gave operational
commanders authority to choose when, how, and in what order to strike and
restrike targets. Commanders could adjust to changing weather and the
enemy's defenses and concentrate their aerial firepower to best effect. As a
result, American air squadrons interdicted the road and rail lines from
China and devastated North Vietnamese warmaking resources, including
munition stockpiles, fuel storage facilities, power plants, rail yards, and

Using Boeing B-52 bombers and new, more accurate ordnance, such as laser
guided bombs and advanced Walleye bombs, the Air Force and the Navy hit
targets with great precision and destructiveness. For instance, the U.S. air
forces destroyed the Thanh Hoa and Paul Doumer bridges, long impervious to
American bombing, and the Hanoi power plant deep in the heart of the
populated capital city. They also knocked out targets as close as 10 miles
to the center of Hanoi and 5 miles from Haiphong harbor. Between 9 May and
the end of September, the Navy flew an average of 4,000 day-and-night attack
sorties each month, reaching a peak of 4,746 in August. This represented
over 60 percent of the American combat support sorties during the same
five-month period.

The North Vietnamese attempted to counter the American onslaught. Employing
thousands of antiaircraft weapons and firing almost 2,000 surface-to-air
missiles in this period, the enemy shot down 28 American aircraft. In one
day alone, the Communist air force challenged U.S. aerial supremacy by
sending up 41 interceptor aircraft. On that day, 10 May, Navy pilot
Lieutenant Randy Cunningham and his radar intercept officer Lieutenant (jg)
William Driscoll became the war's only Navy "aces," adding three kills to
the two already credited to them.  [we were at the Cubi Point Oclub the
night they had a wetdown for them getting their 5th MIG--quite a night!]
American air units destroyed a total of 11 North Vietnamese aircraft that
day, but lost 6 of their own. The Navy's ratio of kills to losses had
improved by the end of air operations on 15 January 1973, when the total
stood at 25 MiGs destroyed in air-to-air combat for the loss of 5 naval
aircraft. During the Linebacker campaigns, the fleet's SAR units rescued 30
naval air crewmen downed for various reasons in the North Vietnamese theater of operations.

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