The SPS-8 radar took a hit by air burst in May of 1967.  The first communication below by Mike Morrill started this round robin of discussion.  Hope you enjoy reading these email messages and if you like, send me your perspective.

Top arrow points to SPS-8 Radar that was hit and lower arrow actually points to Mike Morrill in his dress blues for this photo off San Francisco.

If you look closely you can see that Mike forgot to polish his shoes and that he needs a shorter haircut and should get a clean hat.        .... Sam

Subject:      CLG-6 Home Page
Date:>        Wed, 15 Mar 2000 21:06:25 -0800
From:         michael morrill <>
To:              samvilla

Sam, this is Mike Morrill Again.  I was looking at the Providence site and I noticed what I believe to be an error.  It was stated that  the Providence had received a  "direct" hit on her midships radar causing sever damage but no personnel casualties.  That is a little different from what I remembered from being there.  At the time we were hit we were making a slow port turn while in the process of either unloading some marine brass (I believe it was General Walt) up near the DMZ.  The ship was straddled by one of those gun emplacements the Vietnamese had located in tunnels.  Actually we received an air burst above the ship and shrapnel from that shell fractured the support disk for the radar and it just sort of fell over and dangled there.

 We did have one casualty - a fellow who had been sleeping in one of the boats (which of course he wasn't suppose to be) was struck by a piece of schrapnel which dented his hard hat leaving him with both a bruised head and ego.  At the time we were making our slow left turn and were shelled the Marine 5 inch 38 mount crew was in the process of switching from manual to automatic mode.  The gun's automatic radar (I believe it was automatic, however I was not a fire control technician so I could be in error) located the source of the incoming fire and was pointing the riffles at the target as the ship continued to make it's port turn.  By the time the mount was enabled to fire the muzzles of the rifles were pointing  nearly parallel to the bridge windows.  All the windows on the starboard side of the bridge were shattered if I remember correctly.

 A Short follow-up - several weeks after the event after all our green would-be John Waynes had written home to describe there personal heroism  I remember that CDR Cummings (The Executive Officer) came on the 1MC and requested that  crew members should inform their families that we, "had not suffered extensive damage to the ship and there were no casualties"  Apparently, some of our more inexperience crew members had elaborated just a bit in their letters home.

My memory may not be as accurate as I believe so I would be interested in hearing from any crewmember who could provide versions different from my own. I do feel comfortable in saying that it wasn't a "direct hit".

Thanks again - Mike (

        RE: feedback
        Sat, 18 Mar 2000 08:21:44 -0500
        "Osredkar, Florian" <>

Don, I remember the shelling incident although I was below decks at the time
doing my turn as mess cook. GQ was called at the time, I think, probably
after the first rounds came in. I remember well the dangling antenna and the
way it was secured with rope afterward by Bos'n Craft's crew. I'm sure if
the hit had been direct the whole structure would have been blown off the
mast and gone over the side, especially considering the centrifugal forces
at work during a hard turn.
Yes, most stories get embellished in the telling, especially when told by
young men eager for a fight. I wonder what will be told about this event
years from now when the last of those who remember it relate it to their
grand kids.
Don, I really enjoy recalling the years I spent aboard the PROVIDENCE and
the further into the past they recede the sweeter these memories become.
Thanks for your part in keeping them alive.

Warmest regards,
Florian (Ozzie) Osredkar
FM Division 1966-1970

        Re: feedback
        Sat, 18 Mar 2000 09:14:41 EST
My only recount of the below incident ws the same as described.  It
definitely was an air burst, and effected the radar unit.  I know we returned
fire for a while to silence the shore battery, belief it was Cap Lay at the
DMZ.  I know from that time on we were very cautious in that area.

Jim Chryst
YN2, Captain's Office at that time.

        Re: feedback
        Sat, 18 Mar 2000 13:14:58 EST

Don I was on engine #1 when this event took place. The ship was in GQ, I
heard a sound like someone hit the side of the ship with a sledge hammer.
Being locked in down in the hole you are real  edgy about that type of noise.
I remember we got ordered to full speed ahead, but never saw the hit. Always
heard we was hit.
 Later Jim


 The incident I remember was in '67 or '68. I remember Lt (jg) Crawford
 was  the Fire Control Officer at the time because he is the one who climbed
 the  aft mast and inspected the SPS-42 antenna while we were underway. I was
 his  safety observer while he was aloft. If my memory serves me correctly, he
 left the ship before we returned from West Pac. I sure wish I hadn't
 lost  the diary I kept during that time.

  Mike Matteson

        Re: feedback
        Sun, 19 Mar 2000 08:37:23 -0500 (EST)
        Michael Matteson <>

Let me be the one at the top of the list to assure that Providence DID in
fact take a round that nearly knocked the AN/SPS-8B radar antenna off the
mast. This happened during the '66 - '68 deployment. I was there then. I was
not aboard in '72 when Capt. Haynes was Skipper. I don't remember the exact
date we were hit but I believe either Capt. Tisdale or Capt. Aubrey was in
command at the time.


        Fwd: feedback
        Sun, 19 Mar 2000 12:15:09 EST

     Forwarded to all former USS PROVIDENCE crewmen for review and comment:

I would hope this clears the air about the two separate events.  These
comments are from shipmate Tom Grogan who apparently was also an eye-witness
to the hit that the ship took on its SPS-8B radar sometime in 1967-68.  The
other event was 22 May 1972 as told by ADM Hayes in previous e-mail.

Take care, all
Don Harribine

Photo submitted by Ray Rudy ETR2, OE Division

Hi Sam;
I have been reading with fascination about the hit in may "68 to the
SPS-8 antenna. As to whether the event ever really happened, or if it was a
direct or indirect hit, the attached photo may help. Someone with better
eyesight might be able to discern the nature of the damage. I do remember
that we were not at GQ. I had worked all of the night before and slept in
that day (which would not have been possible if at GQ) I awoke about 4pm
(1600) and went up to the ET shop located directly under neath the bean bag
court. There was a lot of commotion about the hit at that time. The stairs
on the starboard side of the ET shop had received one piece of shrapnel
damage. I know that we went to Subic Bay for a short visit, then on to
Yokosuka for repairs. All the while the message "stand clear of ..... (area
underneath SPS8) due to possible falling radar antenna. The antenna itself
weighed 5 tons. We did receive a new antenna in Yokosuka as a replacement.
The reason that we went to Subic as I remember was that we could not go directly
from the gun line to Japan. Japan did not want the appearance of being used
as a base for war. We always went from the gun line to another port before
returning to Japan.
The expert on the SPS-8 was an ETR2 from Oklahoma named Dan Phillips,
who reenlisted and transferred to the USS Springfield in the Mediterranean.
EMO was Lt. Cdr. Earl Oliver. Chief John Tarantino was head repair guy.
I recall that the SPS-8 had a little problem of pointing straight up in
the air if not operated very carefully. There were motors and limit switches
to prevent this, but they occasionally would fail. When the antenna would
point straight up, it would lock there and not move. The only way to fix
this was for about a half dozen of us would go aloft and physically move the
antenna back down to horizontal. This usually required a couple of guys to
climb out on the feedhorn and act as a counterbalance. After the new antenna
was installed, I don't recall that ever happening again.
There was damage to some other things as well. Some antenna cables were
hit with shrapnel and had to be replaced. I remember being on the foremast
checking out a cable to an ECM antenna. While waiting for Ron Gilkison ETR2
to disconnect something below decks, I pulled a paperback book out and was
laying there reading it when the Captain (Aubrey) and XO CDR. Walters
climbed the main mast to inspect for damage. Remember at that time we were
not allowed to have paper back books outside on the ship. The XO hollered
something at me to the effect of being on report for the book, when the
captain stepped in and said something like "ignore it, it's hard enough to
get someone to aloft, if he wants to read that's ok with me."
I'll try to find more pictures and email them as I find them.
Ray Rudy
OE Division

        Re: feedback
        Sun, 19 Mar 2000 12:07:23 EST

Prov Shipmtes.

Having served on Providence from July 66-Nov 72, although getting up there in
years, I do remember BOTH events.  The SPS-8B took place in '67 or '68.  The
second event took place in '72.

Just prior to the 8B getting clobbered I was standing one the port side of
the missile house talking to SN Stevens, the one who got beaned on the
noggin.  There was a third sailor from FM Div present, don't recall his name.
 I went down the ladder from the missile house to the main deck and heard to
rounds go over the ship but did not connect the noise with incoming fire.
Just as I was stepping inside the ship  GQ sounded.  After I arrived at my GQ
station FTMC "Charlie" Brown informed me about the demise of the 8B.

During the second event I was in Weapons Control.  I do remember hearing the
bang, hearing shrapnel hitting the top of weapons control and smelling
cordite.  I do remember the first thought that entered my mind, "this could
get serious."

Lets remember we are talking about two separate events.

Tom Grogan

        Re: feedback
        Sun, 19 Mar 2000 12:19:26 EST

Don, I think the hit took place in July or Aug. of 69. I was medivac off of
the CLG-6 in September of 69. I never forgot the hit as I said because we had
heard (pt boats) were after us and being locked down in a engine room is
about as stressful as it gets. In 72 I was a civilian.   Jim

        Re: Fwd: feedback
        Sun, 19 Mar 2000 12:32:45 -0500 (EST)
        Michael Matteson <>


Before this gets out of hand again, I read shipmate Mahan to say that the
SPS-8B had already suffered it's casualty when he got there in '68. The ship
left Wellington, New Zealand on 2 Jan 1969 and proceeded to San Diego, Ca.
She spent the entire year of 1969 in East Pac where we didn't make anyone
mad enough to shoot at us.


        Re: Fwd: feedback on SP-8 hit in 1967
        Sun, 19 Mar 2000 09:19:18 -0800 (PST)
   From: (Dick Reinhardt)
Hi gang,
             I don't have specific details but I recall the incident. I
was a Lt. at the time and CIC Off. Capt. Aubrey was CO and CDR Trawick
was OPS. I don't recall if we went to Subic for repairs or back to Yoko.
I left the ship (transfer orders) in Oct 67 and the Height finder radar
(SP-8) was hit prior to that time. The round was thought to be from an
88mm but we were not sure. Counter batt. was effective. Maybe this will
trigger some more memories from our ship mates. If the event was kept
quiet, it may have been to not reveal our lessened air-control and
air-defense capabilities. Happy St Patty day to all.

                  Warm Regards, Dick Reinhardt

            Re: Fwd: feedback
            Sun, 19 Mar 2000 14:30:17 -0400
            "The Daggett's" <>
       I believe that the PROV departed west pac in Dec 1968 enroute to
Australia  for XMAS 1968 then to Wellington New Zealand for New years
1969 then to Tahiti then to Pearl, then to San Diego in Feb 1969, So I
do not think it got hit in 1969  but I remember the incident that Tom
Grogan mentions as I  was on board and remember Stevens being hit by
what was believed to be schrapnel as he was manning a 50 cal machine gun
on the 01 level starboard side.  I remember him not being eligible for the
purple heart because the helmet took the hit (thank god ) not him.


        Taking a hit--CLG-6.
        Sun, 19 Mar 2000 15:27:06 -0500
        "Jim Broyles" <>
        "Don Harribine" <>

Just a note to let you know how much I appreciate your several forwards over the last couple of days. It is intriguing to hear
all the different perspectives on the time(s) that the ship came under fire. One thing that surprised me is an oversight that no one yet has mentioned. That is not only was the radar damaged in '67, but the Admiral's bean bag court sustained quite a bit of damage also.  Of course, being a snipe, I wasn't topside when it happened.  On the contrary, I was engaged in a heavy duty poker game down in the forward IC room.  We were playing seven card stud when we heard a sound that Jim Alexander described perfectly.   It was like the hull of the ship being struck by a sledge hammer.   Just a dull, quiet kind of THUNK. I know we were not at GQ because of the fact we were playing poker.   I don't remember them allowing that activity during battle drills.  I remember later talking with my fellow IC men about the whole experience and how we basically missed it. We did, however, enjoy the extra time in port in Yokosuka while repairs were being made to the old gal.  Keep up the great work with the newsletter.



 Have refrained from responding to this line in hopes of hearing something
 to corroborate my recollections. I was aboard the Providence from JUL 70-SEP72,
 or so my plaque says. Somewhere in that time frame, I read or heard of her being
 damaged during one of her earlier cruises in the 60's. The incident, as narrated
 by Capt. Haynes, did indeed occur while I was aboard. Although not completely in
 line with my remembrances, the action took place much as related. As with any
 action, if not intimately involved with it, the accounts as passed on by others,
 gain much embellishment (fancy term for Sea Stories<GG>). The most prevalent of
 my recollections of that event was the GQ condition which lasted a couple of
 days. Still not sure why, but know it was a long time.

Jesse Miller, DPC, USN, Ret. 58-82, DS Dept. USS Providence 70-7

        USS Providence weekend
        Sun, 19 Mar 2000 18:06:38 -0500 (EST)
        Michael Matteson <>


I ain't had so much fun since the hogs ate my little brother!!

Thanks, Dick Reinhardt for getting the year settled, I couldn't remember
whether it was '67 or '68. Does anyone remember whether we got a replacement
for the SPS-8B antenna? I remember the antenna being removed but I can't
remember whether it was replaced.

Steve Daggett is correct that we spent Christmas of '68 in Sydney,
Australia. I'm still married to the souvenir I met there. Tom Grogan
probably remembers having New Years "tea" with the New Zealand family in
Wellington and Chaplain Fay might remember having his hat stolen by a moped
rider in Papeete, Tahiti. My recollection is that we departed Yokosuka on
Thanksgiving Day of '68 and arrived in San Diego on 16 Jan. '69. I remember
that day because I found out the next day after the admin mail had been
opened that I was advanced to FTM1 the day before ie the 16th.

Back to Dick Reinhardt, I just got off the phone with Jim Broyles (formerly
IC3 Broyles) and we were remembering how the enlisted crewmembers would
postpone liberty call 4 hours rather than face LT Reinhardt at the
Quarterdeck. You had a reputation Dick!  Anyway, a story came to my mind
about when we were in Vancouver, B.C. and SN Tom Maguire came back from
liberty after trying and failing to 'drink Canada dry' and saw the tide had
come in and raised Providence in the water to a point where it looked to him
as if the gangway was an insurmountable obstacle. As he told the story, he
sat down on the first step of the accom ladder and started crying and lo and
behold Lt. Reinhardt came down the brow, assisted him aboard and sent the
messenger of the watch to see that he got to his berthing compartment OK.

Great weekend doing Providence stuff,

Mike Matteson

        Re: USS Providence weekend
        Sun, 19 Mar 2000 16:06:53 -0800 (PST)
   From: (Dick Reinhardt)
     To: (Michael Matteson)

Mike and all,
            Your right chief, its been a great week end, sorry about
your little brother.
I'll have to tell a story on myself and ruin my "reputation". In "YOKO"
when we were not allowed to wear foul weather gear off the pier onto the
main base, exchange, club etc. I saw a shipmate leaving the pier in a
foul weather jacket and asked the after brow watch to stop and bring him
to the quarter deck. As he got up close, I noticed he hadn't shaved
and sent him below to do so. I didn't mention the jacket and the word
spread that my eyesight was so good I could spot "unshaven chins" at
some distance. Sorry I had to blow that myth. I recall the "speed run"
from Vancouver back to SD to get there in time for 1st Fleet to take the
Mexican CNO on board. Going through the Gulf Islands in Puget Sound
prior to offloading the pilot at Victoria, I had to evade a large "dead
head " log rather than take it through our screws. The admirals chief of
staff gently informed me that my quick turn and rudder shift cleared
their table of food and dishes. I guess they weren't battened down for
sea. We later ran into heavy fog as we cleared the #1 sea buoy leaving
the straights and had to play tag with that Russian Elant ship. We did
get back to SD in time tho, just. I really enjoyed being special sea
detail OOD.
       It sounds like I missed a great trip to Australia and New
Zealand. I knew I was leaving the ship too soon.
       This has been an especially good week end for me, I turned 70 on
Fri, St Patty day and we had both daughters home to help celebrate. I
still don't need glasses except to read but don't know if I can still
spot a whisker at a 1,000 yards. Take care all, I'm sure the week end is
not over and we will hear more about the SP-8 hit.

                   Warmest regards to all, Dick Reinhardt

        Re: feedback
        Fri, 17 Mar 2000 17:31:12 -0500 (EST)
        Michael Matteson <>

Sam & Mike,
I certainly don't remember which direction we were turning or who we were
unloading that day but I do remember taking the hit. Whether it was "direct
hit" or a "near miss" is not as important as the fact that we had made
somebody ashore mad at us and they were shooting back! The word was that it
was probably a 122mm rocket that hit us because we were within range of same
from the beach. The AN/SPS-8B suffered the most damage but the AN/SPS-42
antenna also got a few small holes punched in it. I remember that I had to
increase the dry air flow rate to the wave guide and antenna until some
months later when we got the antenna replaced.

It was SN Stevens (FM Div) who got the ding on his battle helmet. He was
traversing the 02 level at the time and was not asleep in a boat. I remember
him saying that his skivvies were really the worst part of the casualty.

There was shrapnel all over the upper weather decks afterwards but it was
determined that a lot of it was from the gearbox of the SPS-8B. I had a
bunch of it in a  35mm film can for a long time but I lost track of it
somewhere along the way.

Our gun batteries did respond with some timely and accurate counter battery
fire and we made them crawl back into their holes in short order. It would
have been the Director Officer's Control that was responsible for locating
the source of the rounds and commencing counter battery. The AN/SPG-25 radar
on the MK-37 director was used for AAW or ASU (Anti Air or Anti Surface)
control of the 5" 38 Caliber Dual Purpose Gun Mount.

Take Care,
Michael Morrill

        Re: Fwd: feedback
        Sun, 19 Mar 2000 12:32:45 -0500 (EST)
        Michael Matteson <>


Before this gets out of hand again, I read shipmate Mahan to say that the
SPS-8B had already suffered it's casualty when he got there in '68. The ship
left Wellington, New Zealand on 2 Jan 1969 and proceeded to San Diego, Ca.
She spent the entire year of 1969 in East Pac where we didn't make anyone
mad enough to shoot at us.


At 11:49 AM 03/19/2000 EST, you wrote:
>Comments from Bob Mahan former ETN3, USS PROVIDENCE shipmate on the hit the
>ship took in 1969.  Although there is no doubt that Bob is correct, the sad
>story is that the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships does not
>mention it.
>Don Harribine
>In a message dated 3/19/00 7:43:25 AM Pacific Standard Time,
><< Subj:     Re: feedback
> Date:  3/19/00 7:43:25 AM Pacific Standard Time
> From: (BJ)
> To:
> Don,
> Not sure about the 1972 incident since I had left the ship when it was
> relieved by the Oklahoma City in 1969 at Yokosuka.
> I remember talk of the SPS-8 radar taking a hit at sometime during
> that deployment when I came aboard in 1968. The SPS-8 was
> maintained by ETR3 Paul ___ (we called him POD) who often
> repeated the story of the attack on his beloved radar. I  was given to
> understand the whole incident was kept pretty quiet. I realize my
> information is second hand, but I thought it might at least aide in
> establishing a timeline.
> Bob Mahan ETN3, ComSeventhFleet/OE Division, 1968-1969.

            Re: feedback
            Sun, 19 Mar 2000 20:14:48 -0500
            "wayne" <>
Just a quick note to say that I've enjoyed the stories especially about the
SPS 8.  Having been an ET and serving aboard 60 to 62. I had occasion to
work on it a couple of times. Once when someone decided to remove the
obstruction (checkball) in the Hanson quickconnect for the Power
tube (Magnatron?) cooling.  I had decided not to reup (probably because of
the Electronics Officer at time) and got transferred to tincans just before
she went into Drydock in early 62. Some one said she was getting sonar but
that did not make a lot of sense.  Keep up the good work

Wilky ETR2

        Receiving hostile fire
        Sun, 19 Mar 2000 21:49:00 -0600
        Paw Paw <>
        "" <>

Don, to put this to bed here is what my eligibility for the Combat
Action Ribbon stated: Providence was in the vicinity of Cap Lay, North
Vietnam at time 061018Z July 1967, proceeding to assist USS Saint Paul
(CA-73) who was reported receiving hostile fire from enemy coastal
batteries. At this time Providence was also subject to approximately 15
rounds of hostile fire from North Vietnamese 85mm (estimated) batteries
located at coordinates YD243892 . The hostile batteries commenced fire
at a range to the ship of approximately 14,000 yards, and ceased firing
at a range of 17,600 yards. Rounds were observed to straddle the ship's
position on the second salvo, however the majority of rounds fell 25 to
1000 yards astern due to the ship's maneuvers. No material damage or
personnel casualties were sustained. Providence commenced counter
battery fire at 061020Z and cease fire at 061030Z after expending 86
6"/47 rounds. Several secondary explosions were observed in the
immediate vicinity of the two coastal defense sites The enemy batteries
were silenced. Other friendly units in the area, in addition to Saint
Paul, were elements of TU 70.8.9, TG 76.4 and TG 76.5 located to the

During this period that I was engaged in action my commanding officer
was Captain Norbert E. Aubrey, Jr., USN.

Having copied this from my records I agree that the Radar was damaged
and some shell fragments was found on board and that there was minor
damage to some doors on the 01 level.

Ken Wright. Providence crew member from April 63 to Dec 68 (EMFA-EM1).
Hope this clears up what year and what happen.

        Sun, 19 Mar 2000 21:12:25 -0800
        Harold E Sutton <>

Dear Sam,
        Sorry to be getting back to you after so long a time, I'm
impressed with the progress of Providence  web site.
As I mentioned before, I was on the helm when we went into HaiPhong
Harbor the second time.    Lt Shi   has pretty much confirmed what I
remember that night although I remember more surface craft being reported
on the  com link.   Anyway,   I just wanted to say that when we were
decommissioning Prov in  1973 I found a newspaper clipping of her being
hit in the mast during her deployment in 1968.   If I can find  this I
will send you a copy, I have other clippings of her  as well.   Other
than  that, keep up the good work and hello to all who served on the
Prov,  they just don't make them like her any more.

QM3   Harry Sutton

        SPS-8B RADAR
        Wed, 5 Apr 2000 23:12:16 EDT
I came on board after the SPS-8 incident.  However, as an RD I was one of the few people on board who knew its capabilities.  It put out the most power of any radar on board (except maybe fire control) and had a very narrow pulse
width and beam width.  Those of us who had the opportunity to operate it loved it for the clarity of display resolution.  RD3 Edgecomb was on board and was operating it when it took the hit.  He said he tracked the round all the way in from the beach until the screen went dead, and I can attest to the fact that the SPS-8 was easily capable of picking up an incoming round, since
we routinely tracked outgoing shells during NGFS.

Bill Morey
OI div from 70-72.

Return to Menu/Links