Friday, May 18, 2007

Fullbore Friday

USS Ernest G. Small (DD-838).

Ah, the Gearing Class. This Destroyer served at sea for 54 years with the US and Taiwan navy, but that isn't the best part of her story.

She had one of the most difficult regularly scheduled OOD Underway watches I can think of. Though her entire career is worth review, let's just focus on the Korean War.
From January to May 1950 she cruised in the Mediterranean and around northern Europe. With the outbreak of war in Korea, she was sent to join the 7th Fleet, and on 29 June she transited the Panama Canal en route to action.

She sailed with carrier forces, fired shore bombardments, patrolled off Taiwan, and participated in the landings at Inchon and Wonsan in September and October.

In December she helped evacuate the Tenth Army Corps from Hungnam and Inchon. Following a brief overhaul at San Diego in the first half of 1951, she began her second Korean tour as escort for the carrier Rendova (CVE-114).

She participated in the naval bombardment of Hungnam and was so occupied on 7 October when she struck a mine which seriously damaged her bow, killed 9 and wounded 18. Four days later heavy seas broke the bow off and she was fitted with a stubby replacement which enabled her to reach Long Beach, arriving on 18 December 1951.
But to get that stubby bow (with a very cute bow anchor) she had to get to Japan the hard way, as seen above. My neck hurts just thinking about it.

What I want to know; did they call for a tug when they got to Long Beach?

Though we like to pretend mines aren't there (too hard to think about) they are. They are deadly, they will bite you. They will challenge your Damage Control teams.

In the end, every ship is a mine sweeper.

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