(Hubbard's radiotelephone call sign during the Vietnam Conflict).
Thanks to Jim Kelly for this photo. Hubbard off Southern California, 1967
In August 1964 when North Vietnamese torpedo patrol boats allegedly attacked American destroyers patrolling the Gulf of Tonkin, Hubbard was nearby screening USS Ticonderoga CVA-14. Hubbard remained in the area as part of Task Force 77.5 (USS Ticonderoga, CVA-14, USS Edson DD-946, USS Berekley DDG-15, USS Samuel N. Moore DD 747 & Hubbard). The following day sorties were sent out by the two carriers in the area to counterattck against North Vietnamese torpedo boats and supporting facilities. Hubbard and the other units of Task Force 77.5 received the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon for this action. This event marked the "official" start of the Vietnam Conflict. Hubbard returned to Long Beach, California 28 October 1964.
In October 1965 Hubbard departed for the coast of South Vietnam. In November and December 1965 in company with Valley Forge LPH-8 she provided gunfire support for two Marine amphibious landings. In the following months she acted as escort for USS Kitty Hawk CVA-63 and Hancock CVA-19. She acted as Harbor Defense ship at Da Nang. During this cruise Hubbard fired more than 1,000 rounds of 5 inch shells into Viet Cong strongholds along the coast of South Vietnam. She spent months patrolling the coast and escorting carrier groups in the South China Sea. Hubbard returned to Long Beach 7 April 1966. The destroyer had drawn nationwide attention 10 March 1966 when ABC Television aired scenes of Hubbard during shore bombardment in the news special "Operation: Sea War Vietnam".
The Choir Boys of OI Division. China Fleet Club, Hong Kong
Hubbard from Kittyhawk, 1966
March 28, 1967 - September 20, 1967
R.J. McConaughy RM3
The following is a brief recap of the 1967 and 1968-69 deployments
(submitted by Jim Kelly)
We left Long Beach on March 28 with other ships of DesRon 13 and called on Pearl Harbor, Midway, and Yokosuka. En route to Subic, we were diverted to the Gulf and joined USS BOSTON CAG-1 for Sea Dragon Operations of the coast of North Vietnam from April 24through May 6. After two days of plane guarding for USS KITTY HAWK CVA-63, we proceeded to Subic to repair a casualty to number 1 main engine. May 24-29 were spent plane guarding for USS HANCOCK CVA-19. We spent another week on Sea Dragon, providing cover for the rescue of a ditched F-105 pilot until the SAR helo could get to him. We then spent a week riding shotgun for the USS LONG BEACH CGN-9 on PIRAZ station. Next was two weeks of plane guarding for USS ENTERPRISE CVN-65. I'll never forget her changing course 160 degrees and increasing speed from 10 to 25 knots without signal. I was particularly impressed with how CAPT Bush expressed his displeasure to her CO for putting us in a stern chase situation, as our assigned station was 2,000 yards off her port bow.
We next spent four days supporting a Marine search and destroy operation south of Danang. after the Marines re-embarked, we got a "well done" from the Amphibious Task Group Commander and were detached to proceed to Sasebo for a scheduled availability. Our availability lasted overnight and we were en route to Chinhai, Korea, where we received instructions for the conduct of a coastal interdiction patrol in the Yellow Sea, just below the DMZ. I can't remember being colder at sea then I was during those night watches in Director 51. We didn't encounter any craft trying to infiltrate northern agents into the south, but we had a merchant man try to ram us. He changed his mind when he found himself staring down the twin barrels of Mt. 52. We took one or more rolls of photos of him and haven't a clue what the intell folks did with them. The HEH earned the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for this effort. After we were released, we headed for Sasebo and had an 18 day availability.
From Sasebo we went to Hong Kong for three days of R&R. From there it was to I Corps where we spent a month supporting the Third Marine Division. With the exception of a three day search and destroy mission, we spent the whole month just south of the DMZ, engaging VC and NVA targets in and just south of the zone. While there, we got to see the Marines require our relief ship, an East Coast 5/54 destroyer, to fire a full calibration exercise after their first rounds were virtually on top of the observers, not the target which was 5,000 yards away. As we were leaving, the Marines told us, "You may not be a long rifle, but you certainly are a straight arrow." We appreciated the recognition.
During the deployment, we expended over 4,500 rounds of 5/38, 2/3 in support of the Marines. From the gunline, we went to Subic and Yokosuka. From Yoko, we headed for Midway, on the fringe of one typhoon after another. When we finally tied up at Midway, the Oil King estimated we had enough fuel to steam four more hours. Life on the short hulls wasn't easy!
We again deployed on July 18, 1968. Within 12 hours of leaving Long Beach, we had casualties to #4 boiler, the gyro, one of the emergency generators, and a main steam leak. It further became apparent that we were too far behind PIM to catch the HANCOCK and needed fuel and too low on fuel to make it to Pearl without refueling. We therefore returned to Long Beach late July 19 and the folks on the USS DELTA AR-9 got everything in order for a July 21 departure.
We rejoined the other ships in Pearl and proceeded via Midway, Yokosuka, and Buckner Bay to Subic where we had a three week availability to repair numerous items in the engineering spaces, primarily problems causing excessive feed water usage. We joined USS WAINWRIGHT DLG-28 on the PIRAZ station and provided her shotgun services for a week. After evading tropical storm Bess for several days, we returned to Subic where USS DIXIE AD-14 went to work on our continuing feedwater problems. I left the ship during this availability, having served onboard for 26 months. In October, HEH provided plane guard services for HANCOCK and USS AMERICA CVA-66. She next conducted ASW exercises with USS BAUSELL DD-845 and USS RATON AGSS-270 in the southern part of the Gulf. From the Gulf, she proceeded to Sasebo via fueling stops in Subic and Buckner Bay.
After a week in Sasebo, she proceeded via Buckner Bay to join the HANCOCK on Yankee Station. After three weeks in the Gulf and some more ASW exercises, HEH proceeded to six days in Hong Kong and then another week in Subic alongside USS SAMUEL GOMPERS AD-37. During this availability, additional repairs were made to propulsion systems and the ship acquired a motor whaleboat from USS NEW JERSEY BB-62, after an engine casualty to HUBBARD's boat.
HEH then headed back to the Gulf and three weeks of NGFS in II Corps area. this was followed by a one-week availability in Subic prior to departing for Brisbane, Australia for a five day visit followed by five more days in Sydney. From Sydney, she sailed to Bay of islands, New Zealand, the first U.S. Navy ship to call there. After four days, she sailed to Whangarei, New Zealand for a four day visit. then it was time to head for Long Beach via Pago Pago, American Samoa, and Pearl Harbor. She reached home February 19, 1969.
"Hi, my name is John Evans, and I was stationed aboard the USS Samuel Gompers from 1968 thru 1972. The attached photo shows the Gomers, Coontz, Hopewell, Duncan, and Hubbard tied up on our port side at a mooring buoy in Subic Bay Phillipines. During the height of the Tonkin Gulf gun line activities, gun barrel replacement was the order of the day, and we replaced many. If you have any interest in or use for this photo, please feel free to use it as you wish. It was an honor and a privilege to serve the great old veteran destroyers from those days, though many of these ships are now gone, our memories are not".
Fair winds and following seas,
John M. Evans
In October 1969 USS Harry E. Hubbard was decommissioned, struck from the Naval Register and sold for scrap to Zidell Explorations of Portland, Oregon, for $80,596.66 . . .