USS STODDARD (DD-566)
FPO San Francisco 96601
24 July 1965
My dear friends and families of STODDARD's Crew:
This is the first of a few informal letters I will be sending
to help keep you posted on the current events as we progress
through our WESTPAC cruise.
First of all I, I would like to thank each one of you that was
on the pier the morning of 4 June for giving such a wonderful
send-off to the crew. All of us are looking forward to an eventful
cruise and happily anticipating our earliest return.
We joined the other ships of Destroyer Squadron 21 just outside
of San Diego, and steamed the Great Circle Route to Subic Bay,
Republic of the Philippines, approaching enroute within 300 miles
of the Aleutian Islands. The seas off of the coast of Alaska for
this time of the year, were very rough, the wind howling and the
weather was rainy and cold. Arrival at Subic Bay was Tuesday
morning, 22 June, where we welcomed aboard the division Medical
Officer, LT FORKOSH, and division Chaplain HULSEY. The Subic Bay
area is beautifully vibrant with a warm sub-tropical climate. The
navy base complex includes numerous recreational facilities (a
very good hobby shop), and clubs for both officers and enlisted
personnel. Outdoor sports are stressed; available are tennis
courts, swimming pools and baseball fields. Two notable exchanges
are available with some of the most reasonable prices in WESTPAC.
Ship's parties were held for each duty section on Grande Island,
the island is quite similar to Corregidor, which guards the
entrance to Manila Bay, forty miles to the south.
We left Subic Bay on the 6th of July after a deserved rest and
ship's upkeep period. Two days later we arrived in the British
Crown Colony of Hong Kong, which is noted for its picturesque
harbor and shopping environment.
After a week's stay in Hong Kong, with a paycheck to spend and
early liberty for all, we left on 14 July for our turn at Viet Nam
duty. Since the 15th (this is a magical date that concerns us
all-- the 15th we became eligible for Federal Income Tax exclusion
for July!) the STODDARD has participated in coastal surveillance
operations, and recently has been the sole destroyer responsible
for the harbor defense of DaNang, South Vietnam. DaNang, the site
of the second largest airfield in South Vietnam, is located in the
northern part of the Country about forty miles from the North Viet
Nam border. DaNang is extremely important in the overall U.S.
effort to keep free the people of South Viet Nam. By day we have
patrolled the entrance and coastline area of DaNang against
penetration by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese. In fact, just a
few days ago our boarding party headed by LTJG Jim CHAPPEL, our
new Operations Officer, actually boarded and searched a suspected
junk. The past four nights we have anchored in DaNang Bay and have
conducted shore bombardment against Viet Cong troop movements.
As you can well see we are keeping quite busy and are doing our
job the best that we know how. I've written this letter to help
you understand our duties in WESTPAC while we are away from
home. Please continue giving all your support to your loved ones
while they are honorably serving their Country, when and where
their Country needs them the most.
Commander, US Navy