Letter to Crew

9 August 1968

Dear Families and Friends of STODDARD:

After saying good-byes to San Diego on 10 June we joined the USS RICHMOND K. TURNER (DLG 20) and our sister ship USS INGERSOLL (DD 652) and steamed to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii arriving on 16 June. Our three days there were spent preparing for the transit ahead; naturally, the crew found a little time to enjoy the warm weather and relaxing waters of this tropical paradise while “taking in the sights”.

We enjoyed good sailing weather from the Hawaiian Islands to the Philippines, making brief fuel stops at Midway Island and Guam enroute. The sunny skies and smooth seas encountered provided us the opportunity to perform the numerous drills required to keep the crew at peak efficiency.

Upon our arrival in Subic Bay, Philippine Islands on 3 July we began nine days of upkeep. Upon completion of the upkeep we conducted two days of gunnery exercises as final preparations for our forthcoming forty days at sea.

Within two days of departing Subic we were on station with the USS AMERICA (CVA 66) IN THE gulf of Tonkin. As Carrier launched her daily air strikes against North Vietnamese targets, we acted as anti-submarine screen command ship and as rescue Destroyer in case of downed aircraft. STODDARD spent five days with the AMERICA after which she was detached to provide gunfire support for the troops ashore in the vicinity of Hue, RVN.

While acting as Naval Gunfire Support Ship (NGFS), we fired nightly “Harassment and Interdiction” missions along the coast from Hue, South Vietnam northward to the DMZ. This fire is designed to disrupt North Vietnamese supply and infiltration routes and prevent mass troop movements. By day we answered requests for gunfire support of U.S. and South Vietnamese troops. The effectiveness and accuracy of STODDARD’s fire have been praised several times by the gunfire spotters ashore. As a result of our initial success at NGFS, we were reassigned to the IV Corps area at the southern tip of South Vietnam where we continued daily fire support missions.

During our tour as Naval Gunfire Support Ship we expended 3000 rounds of 5” projectiles, which, when broken down, equals approximately 90 tons of high explosive propelled by 25 tons of powder. All of this was accomplished by the utilization of the 24 hour working day with all hands alternating 6 hours on and 6 hours off watch. Such an effort requires the most from the men in all of the ship’s departments and they performed admirably in their many duties.

During July, five of STODDARD’s senior petty officers elected to reenlist. Total reenlistment bonuses of approximately $18,000.00 were paid to them. Congratulations are extended to the reenlistees: RM2 Robert J. WRIGHT, PC2 John L. COBAUGH, EM3 Karl P. ARNOLD, MM2 James L. MILLER and BM1 Bobby G. THOMAS.

I also would like to congratulate LTJG Brian R. CLARRIDGE, LTJG Peter B. FAY, LTJG Robert C. SIVERLING, LTJG Roger W. STOKES and YN3 William H. VOGEL for their recent promotions to the grades indicated.

Although we are keeping busy, the best part of each week is still that letter from home at “Mail Call”. When we are operating with the carrier, your mail reaches the ship within four or five days after posting in the U.S.

When we are operating on the “gun line” mail service is not quite as prompt. Our incoming mail is flown from the U.S. to Subic Bay then placed aboard the various replenishment ships that we are scheduled to meet. At times our mail may be delayed an additional 4 to 8 days, depending on the frequency we meet the replenishment ships. Our mail home follows the reverse route with the same delays. Frequent letters from home are always appreciated.

One note of interest for dependents residing in the San Diego area. Dental fluoride treatments are available to San Diego area dependents every Saturday morning at the Naval Station Dental Clinic. Appointments may be made by calling the Naval Station Dental Clinic (32nd Street) during normal working hours Monday – Friday.

Commander, U. S. Navy
Commanding Officer


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