THE "Sea Stories" of PROVIDENCE

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Thu, 18 Feb 1999 20:07:45 EST

In a message dated 2/18/99 6:09:49 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

<< Subj:
Date: 2/18/99 6:09:49 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: (Michael Matteson)


I wonder if anyone else remembers the time when the CNO, Admiral Thomas H.
Moorer visited the ship while we were in the Tonkin Gulf and as he was ready
to leave, the Boatswain Mate of the Watch properly struck 8 bells and
announced "NCO departing"? Chief Brown, who was on watch with me at the time
was nearly rolling on the deck laughing. Every once in awhile something
would come over the 1MC like that but all in all the BMOW's did a superb job.

Mike: Thats funny. I'll bet the old man had a bird. Did the Boats get a
reprimand or did they just blow it off? Do you think Admiral Moorer noticed
it? The f--- up of the century.
Poor Boats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That should be good for Sam's website.

Thanks for that,

Providence Chat Room
Fri, 12 Mar 1999 21:53:10 -0500

Hello Sam -

Your idea about a "chat room" for old Providence
shipmates sure sounds good. Unfortunately, I am
one of those "computer deficients" who doesn't
subscribe to any AOL-type of program. I think I'm
slick to be able to work E-mail. I have resisted
learning about the mechanics of advanced AOL
on-line technology. With your suggestion, I realize
that I will be missing out on something great.

I served with the Marine Detachment ( 7th Div)
from Thanksgiving 1959 until October 1961 and
I have many fond memories of the good ship
Providence and the great crew. After hearing me
brag about my time at sea, my wife of 36 years
and I attended our first reunion of crew members
when the meeting was held at St. Petersburg in
May of 1998. It was great! As you very probably
know, the next reunion is scheduled to be held in
Covington, Kentucky this Fall. I'm not sure if that's
on the Atlantic or the Pacific but, we hope to attend

Sorry I can't participate in the "chat room" effort.
It sounds like a great idea and I congratulate you
for coming up with the idea. Let me know if ever
you find yourself cruising US #95 through Virginia.
We live in Dumfries, just off the highway near the
Quantico Marine base. Best Regards:

Charles Sullivan

Re: Yankee Station During Vietnam War
Sat, 6 Feb 1999 11:41:48 EST
In a message dated 2/6/99 11:28:36 AM Eastern Standard Time,
<< Subj: Re: Yankee Station During Vietnam War
Date: 2/6/99 11:28:36 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: (Steve Robbins)
CC:, eemoise@CLEMSON.EDU (Edwin Moise),
(Ann Kelsey)

JR's definition of yankee station is about as good as you can
get...It was a moving field of operations...but basically a triangular
op area with the center located between haipong harbor and hinan
island. I spent three tours flying out of DaNang doing psyops missions
up in Zulu...but we had to plot the yankee station coordinates each
night because the carrier guys flew aircover for us. If you were to
draw a small triangle between haipong harbor and hinan island..with the
base of the triangle at the bottom and a 50% standoff distance from each would have defined yankee station fairly accurately I
think. Course, my memory isn't a whole lot better than JR'
possibly a QM could help out here.

Steve Robbins RMC(AC) USNR Ret
Project Jenny / Saigon 66 / DaNang 67-69

Thanks Steve for that bit of information. Will pass on to Webmaster at
PROVIDENCE website Sam Villa. I have been sending him all this info on Yankee
Station. He may be able to use it all at his website.

Thanks again. Really appreciate your comments and time on this most important
subject that many guys are not aware of. Lots of sailors were at Yankee
Station and never realized what the hell it was. Most thought it was just a
name. Speaking of names, I wonder who penned it??? Probably some Admiral or
maybe even CNO or someone up at OPNAV. Who knows but it certainly got used
during those tough years for guys like yourself. Good trivia question. If in
fact it is trivia.

YNCS Don Harribine, USN(Ret)
Editor, "The Shipmate"
CL82/CLG 6

Sam: Hope all this info on "Yankee Station," which you started is of some
value to you at your WebSite. Let me know when you can. Also let me know on
the links at your site and ours. Thanks again.


Re: Sea Stories
Sat, 13 Mar 1999 08:10:58 -0500 (EST)
Michael Matteson <>
Sam Villa <>

The St. Paul was a heavy Cruiser CA-73. We operated with her several times
over there between 66 & 68. As well as I can remember, Tiger Island was in
the vicinity of the DMZ and not very far off the coast. St. Paul and
Providence went up there one time to try to silence the 8'' shore batteries
the NVA had there and just about the time St. Paul had got them stirred up
and mad she lost the load & went dead in the water. Providence went steaming
in between St Paul and the island with our 6'' guns blazing trying to make
them keep their heads down.

It seemed to work and very shortly there was a big belch of black smoke out
of St. Pauls stack and in a few minutes, she was underway again and able to
get out of range. I suspect there were some Snipes sitting at the 'Long
Green Table With no Ashtrays' after that fiasco.

I checked out the new pages on the website. The mystery ship is DDG-22 USS
BENJAMIN STODDERT. It was homeported in Pearl Harbor.

By the way, the sillhoute you use at the top of each page is NOT Providence.
I don't know if you are aware of that or not. It looks more like the Boston
or Canberra, CA-1 or CA-2. They had 2 of their main battery turrets left up
forward when they converted to missiles. All the light cruisers were only
left with 1 turret. A couple of them had 3 5'' mounts up fwd after conversion.

Well, got to get busy,


At 04:45 PM 3/12/99 -0800, you wrote:
>Good message.
>What was the hull number for the St. Paul?
>Location of Tiger Island?
>By the way, I have added some more pages to the CLG-6 section on the
>Prov Web Site.
>Michael Matteson wrote:

>> Sam,
>> Yep, were being shot at and missed (that time) One other time we were shot
>> at & hit and SN Stevens had a piece of shrapnel bounce off his battle
>> helmet. He was in FM Div. too, I don't know if you remember him or not. That
>> was the time the SPS-8 antenna got destroyed and the SPS-42 antenna got a
>> few minor holes punched in it. There was shrapnel all over the weather decks
>> in the vicinity of the 02 level. I picked up a bunch of it and had it in a
>> film can for a long time. I don't know what ever happened to it.
>> I don't remember how far off shore we were but I would imagine it was about
>> 5 or 6 miles. Within range of a 105MM gun which is about all they had except
>> for a few installations where they had the equivalent of 8" guns. We helped
>> the St. Paul duel with them a couple of times up around Tiger Island.
>> I remember some stories about ships running aground too. I believe the OK
>> City was one of them.
>> Mike
>> At 02:21 PM 3/11/99 -0800, you wrote:
>> >Mike
>> >I take it we were being fire on.
>> >How close were we to the shore.
>> >I understand some ships off the line went aground.
>> >Sam
>> >
>> >Michael Matteson wrote:
>> >>
>> >> Sam,
>> >>
>> >> I really do enjoy browsing through the Providence web site and reading the
>> >> sea stories. Reading your latest one put me in mind of the evening off the
>> >> coast of the DMZ when I came up to Weapons Control to relieve the watch.
>> >>
>> >> The sun had just gone down and it was getting dark when I walked
across the
>> >> 02 level, (successfully stepping over all the tiedown chains of the
>> >> parked there) and as I reached for the dog on the weatherdeck door I
>> >> aft and there in our wake I saw a splash, and then another and another and
>> >> they were getting closer! I was kind of hypnotized watching the splashes
>> >> come up the wake and was torn between watching them and wanting to get
>> >> inside the skin of the ship. I finally had an attack of common sense and
>> >> hollered at the aft lookout and pointed at the splashes and went inside as
>> >> he was relaying the word to the bridge. By the time I got inside and
got the
>> >> door dogged down we could feel the screws biting in and we hauled butt
>> >> the 6" turret provided counterbattery fire.
>> >>
>> >> I don't know if we ever found out whether we "got their range" or got "out
>> >> of range" but it was exciting for a while.
>> >>
>> >> Thanks again for this great web site,
>> >>
>> >> Mike

Yankee Station
Thu, 4 Feb 1999 20:41:13 EST

Yankee Station was so called because it was in international waters off the
coast of North Viet Nam. By contrast, the analogous area of operation off the
coast of South Viet Nam was called Dixie Station.

Re: Yankee Station During Vietnam War
Thu, 4 Feb 1999 06:05:56 EST
In a message dated 2/3/99 11:48:20 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

<< Subj: Re: Yankee Station During Vietnam War
Date: 2/3/99 11:48:20 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: (Ann KELSEY)
To: (bill mcbride)
CC:, (John Paul Rossie),
(Steve Robbins), eemoise@CLEMSON.EDU (Edwin Moise), (Ann


According to the _Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social,
and Military History_, edited by Spencer Tucker, Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio,
1998, vol. 2, page 829, Yankee Station was a fixed point in international
waters off the coast of North Vietnam in the South China Sea. Coordinates
were 17 degrees 30 minutes north, 108 degrees 30 minutes east. Yankee
Station was the staging area for the Navy's Task Force 77(7th Fleet Attack
Carrier Strike Force) beginning in 1965.

The article is signed by J. Nathan Campbell and cites the following

Marolda, Edward J. and G. Wesley Price III. _A Short History of the United
States Navy and the Southeast Asian Conflict, 1950-1975_. Washington, DC:
Naval Historical Center, 1984.

Nichols, John B., and Barrett Tillman. _On Yankee Station_. Annapolis :
Naval Institute Press, 1987.

Polmar, Norman. "Support by Sea for War in the Air," _Aerospace
International_ 3 (July-August 1967): 29-31.

Hope this helps.

Ann Kelsey
Ann: Thanks much for this info. I appreciate it. Will publish in my
newsletter, "The Shipmate" from NAVetsUSA.

You guys and Bill McBride have been verfy helpful to us on this subject.
Please pass around to all your troops our gratitude for your considerate help.

We all appreciate it. The information is put out to about 1,000 readers.
There were a lot of sailors from our organization that were on "Yankee
Station" but never actually knew the meaning and origin of it. Just a name
for a particular body of water is what most thought.
Try our new Prov Chat Room.
Get a nick name and password and email me when you are ready to talk.
Or wait till Wednesday or Sunday morning. Click Below!!



Sample dialogue in the chat room

<samclg6> back, trying to many tasks
<samclg6> what about the accuracy
<mikematt42> one time we fired on NVA while they were so close to the spotter he was
whispering on the radio as he called the rounds in
<mikematt42> he lived to call some more missions
<samclg6> that's cutting it close
<samclg6> good
<samclg6> the spotter in the movie "Intruder" was not so lucky
<mikematt42> They used to call Prov "The Fighting Flag Ship" I didn't see that movie
<samclg6> William Defoe (downed pilot)
<samclg6> call sign......fighting red devil????
<mikematt42> NGFS has been lauded by troops ashore as much safer than calling in air strikes
<samclg6> what does that stand for?
<mikematt42> no our voice call sign was 'FIGHTING DEVIL'
<mikematt42> NGFS = Naval Gun Fire Support
<samclg6> Okay got it Fighting Devil
<samclg6> I know our gun fire angle could cause more damage than air strikes from planes
<samclg6> good typing practice
<samclg6> spelling practice
<mikematt42> under certain conditions & ranges it was but wasn't = to a 500 or 1000 lb. bomb
<samclg6> good point....
<mikematt42> also didn't risk a pilots life
<samclg6> usually around this time, try to get Grogan and Broyles on the chat room
<samclg6> Prov definitely saved the life of pilots
<samclg6> how do you like this instant feedback?
<mikematt42> I'll be back in a few minutes wife home and duty calls
<samclg6> okay, time to eat, stay in touch
<samclg6> see you later
<samclg6> over and out
<mikematt42> right-O

Re: Prov roster
Tue, 11 May 1999 09:12:53 EDT

In a message dated 99-05-08 22:47:03 EDT, you write:

<< Bos'n Craft >>
there was one time in Kobe Japan we were on liberty.Quite a few of us
Boatswain's Mates and our leader (Bos'n Craft) were in this bar splicing the
main brace.Bos'n Craft made the remark that he was the badest SOB that ever
left Kentucky.Well my being a cocky young BM3 and being from Kentucky made
the mistake of telling him he hadn't proved that to me. Because I woke up
about five minutes later and him looking at me with a beer in his hand saying
this ones for you.Never questioned that old man again. That old man was like
a father to all us BM's and no one messed with us. If he ever came up to you
and said "I think you ought to stay on board a few days, weeks, ever how
long, we didn't question him. We just never looked for our liberty cards
until he gave it to us. He was pretty special.

Send some more on him later,

Bill Mc

Re: Signed Guestbook
Tue, 09 Mar 1999 21:18:30 -0600
Robert Saylor <>
sam villa <>
Sam, No photos but my rank was NW-3 [Nuclear Weapons 3rd class] which
became GMT-3 [Gunners Mate Technician] when we reached Japan in '60.
The Japaneese had approximately 10,000 demonstrators in Yokohoma when
we arrived there because we were a Nuclear capable ship. We did not have
the warheads but they didn't know that. The Communists were causing a
riotso they changed our designation and made us change our insignia's before
we were allowed to leave the ship. I was in the 6th division [missilehouse].
My work area was an empty warhead locker, and my battle station was
the pannel that ran the missiles out on the launcher. Thought you might
be interested in the info.------------------------------Bob

YNCS Don Harribine, USN(Ret)
Editor, "The Shipmate"

Re: Yankee Station During Vietnam War
Wed, 3 Feb 1999 16:52:42 EST
In a message dated 2/3/99 3:22:51 PM Eastern Standard Time,
eemoise@CLEMSON.EDU writes:

<< Subj: Re: Yankee Station During Vietnam War
Date: 2/3/99 3:22:51 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: eemoise@CLEMSON.EDU (Edwin Moise)

>-----Original Message-----
>From: <>
>To: <>
>Date: Tuesday, February 02, 1999 8:44 PM
>Subject: Yankee Station During Vietnam War
>> I am retired YNCS (E8) Navy. Was on board USS PROVIDENCE (CLG 6) during
>>Vietnam war. Ship was in Vietnam waters and used for shore bombardment. I
>>was not on board at the time. Came later. Believe years were
>>I need to get a good definition of what "Yankee Station" was at that time.
>>Maybe a sailor stationed aboard ship and was in those waters can help or
>>you can asssist.
>>YNCS Don Harribine, USN(Ret)

Yankee Station was the position off the northern part of the coast of South
Vietnam, where the United States usually kept one or more aircraft
carriers, available to launch airstrikes against targets in North Vietnam,
Laos, and the northern part of South Vietnam. I have seen a specific
location given for it, 16 degrees north, 110 degrees east, but I am not
sure it was always defined that precisely; I have a history book, published
by the US Navy, with a map showing a location for it somewhat to the
northwest of that latitude and longitude.

Ed Moise

Thanks Ed for your expert information. Appreciate info. Excerpts may be used
at homepage of USS PROVIDENCE run by Sam Villa, a Vietnam veteran and former
crewman of that ship. Assuming you have no objection to that.

Thanks again and take care.

Don Harribine

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