Most Americans are aware of recent naval participation in events in widely separated areas of the globe, particularly in Southeast Asia. The significant thing is that when these situations required our country to take a stand, there was a military capability at hand with which to make credible our position. It was no accident that this military presence was often sea based. Sea based forces are unique in this regard --- self-contained, independent, mobile, flexible and self-sufficent. In each case, our Navy was able to perform its task with percisely the right combination of strength and finesse required by the existing conditions. It is therefore in times of international crisis, such as the United States is experiencing today in various parts of the globe, that the mission, capability, and effectiveness of the Uniuted States Navy is forcefully brought to the attention of the American public.
It is in these same critical times that a man's service aboard ship becomes more meaningful and worthy of remembrance. 1965 is just such a year. It is a time that should be recorded for posterity, both for the man serving aboard ship and for his family at home.
I want to take this opportunity to tell you something about what the USS MANSFIELD (DD-728) has done in the Western Pacific Area and to point out how your serviceman is making an important contribution to our nations's defence.
Since the ship's arrival in the western Pacific we have been employed as a unit of the mighty Seventh Fleet. This powerful fighting force is an effective mobile safeguard of our liberty and the primary safeguard of the liberty of so many people in the Far East. The Seventh Fleet rule as a "Ready Power for Peace" consists in maintaining a feeling of friendship and goodwill while halting the forces of aggression.
The MANSFIELD, as part of the Seventh Fleet, is in Viet Nam for three reasons: First, we are here to honor a commitment, a written agreement. The Republic of Viet Nam has asked for our assistance and to quote Mr. Rusk, "The integrity of that commitment has a major bearing upon similar commitments we have in other parts of the world, and the integrity of the American commitment is the Principal of Peace in the present world situation". Secondly, we are here to halt the expansion of communism and to permit the Republic of Viet Nam to be an independent nation. Thirdly, we are here to prevent the loss of such countries as Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines to the communist powers.
As you can see, this is a big job and the Seventh Fleet is playing a major role in the overall effort. Our carriers are providing half of the strike aircraft being used in both North and South Viet Nam, while destroyers like MANSFIELD are providing search and rescue services along with anti-submarine and anti-aircraft protection. Also included in a destroyer's duty is naval gunfire support to the Marines, U.S. Army and South Vietnamese forces.
The MANSFIELD'S duty thus far has included assignments to many weeks of fast carrier attack operations with the USS MIDWAY (CVA-41) and USS KITTY HAWK (CVA-63) throughout the South China Sea, naval gunfire support, anti-aircraft and anti-submarine patrol.
While assigned to a carrier we act as a versitile support ship ever drilling at screening the carrier from submarines and aircraft. During flight operations we are positioned nearby in rescue destroyer station as a lifeguard for downed aviators. This has been a very demanding job requiring high speeds and long hours for all hands.
During patrol duty, the hours are, for the most part, long and uneventful. However, we must remain alert, ready to cope with any situation which might arise. As this letter goes to press, the MANSFIELD is completing her six month tour of duty. During this time MANSFIELD has visited Subic Bay in the Philippines, Yokosuka, Japan and Hong Kong. These inport periods are essential for ship repairs and much needed relaxation.
Hence, the Seventh Fleet today continues its partol from the Sea of Japan to the South China Sea, ever ready to protect the interests of the United States and the security of our friends, a watchdog of peace in an area continuously threatened by communist Peiping and its partners in aggression.
In closing, I would like to salute the officers and men of the MANSFIELD. Since relieving Commander R.C. MARSHALL, I can say that it is only because of their loyalty and dedication that the MANSFIELD is able to perform her mission. We have had an exacting task, our hours have been long and separation from our families was ineveitable. But, you can have the deep pride and satisfaction in knowing that your serviceman is serving his country in the cause of freedom to which our nation has been committed since its birth.
MANSFIELD is presently scheduled to depart the Western Pacific Area on 16 January 1966, spend one day in Pearl Harbor, before arriving in Long Beach on 7 February 1966.
[Signed] D.P. Nellis
Dear MANSFIELD Family,
As Executive Officer of USS MANSFIELD (DD-728), I would like to take this opportunity to bring you up to date on the ship's operations since the Commanding Officer last wrote in July, 1966. At that time, MANSFIELD was nearing Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on her way to her new home port in Yokosuka, Japan. The ship spent 3 days in port in Pearl Harbor, giving the crew some relaxation and effecting needed repairs before continuing her long voyage to Japan. It is difficult to imagine how vast the Pacific Ocean is until you have sailed across it in a destroyer.
When MANSFIELD arrived in Yokosuka, she spent 15 days in her new home port and then got underway en route to Buckner Bay, Okinawa, for a minor anti-submarine warfare exercise.
After leaving Okinawa, MANSFIELD headed south toward a station off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam to provide Naval Gunfire Support to operations ashore. On the way to Vietnam, the ship was forced to turn and run into Subic Bay, Philippine Islands. The side trip was necessary to drop off a man who had become seriously ill, and needed hospital care. Continuing toward Vietnam, MANSFIELD arrived on station on the 8th of August. While on station, we had occasion to go into the mouth of the Saigon River to deliver gunfire support. From our position the ship gave a very effective support to several units in the area.
On the 19th of August, MANSFIELD was relieved, and started back to Yokosuka for liberty and an upkeep period, arriving in Yokosuka on the 26th of August. On the 7th of September, she cast off her lines once again to steam south and take part in the recovery operation for one of our last Gemini spacecraft. The ship's function was to cover an area designated as an alternate recovery area in the event that something went wrong, and the astronauts could not bring their craft to earth in the Atlantic as planned. For her special assignment, the MANSFIELD had been fitted with a new crane on the fantail; the crane carried a cradle type device that was designed to pick up the Gemini spacecraft. The ship had also trained men as swimmers to put in the water and attach a flotation belt to the Gemini vehicle. Though it was a slight disappointment to the men of the MANSFIELD not to be in the actual recovery, everything went well for the Gemini team, and the landing was in the Atlantic as planned.
The ship returned to Yokosuka on the 16th of September, and remained until the 1st of October, when she left en route to Kobe, Japan. The MANSFIELD went to Kobe on a good-will visit, and to let the crew have some rest and relaxation in a port other than Yokosuka. Kobe turned out to be more that any of the men could have expected, situated as it is in the center of one of the most picturesque and famous areas of Japan. Many of the men took advantage of the opportunity to go on day-long bus tours of the country in and around Kobe. Some of the sights of interest were ancient palaces of the Japanese Emperors, very old and famous religious shrines, and industrial complexes in the city of Kobe itself. The MANSFIELD had an open house while she was tied up in Kobe, and over 1,000 Japanese Citizens from Kobe and the vicinity visited the ship. As a demonstration of American friendship with the Japanese people, and as part of the Navy's PEOPLE TO PEOPLE program, the ship presented several sets of American encyclopedias to the universities and high schools in the Kobe school district. The MANSFIELD also sent a group of volunteers to the Kobe Boy's Town. The Kobe Boy's Town is an orphanage for boys patterned after the Boy's Town in the United States. The volunteers did a wonderful clean-up, fix-up job at the orphanage by painting, repairing siding, plastering walls, and replacing windows. After the repairs at the orphanage, the sailors invited the boys down to the ship, and they were treated to a dinner in the crew's mess hall. The dinner was followed by a movie show of cartoons, and was much enjoyed by all. As the boys were leaving the ship, their new friends from the MANSFIELD presented them with a large quantity of toys, games, and athletic equipment. On the 8th of October, when the MANSFIELD left Kobe all hands had very fond memories of the wonderful experience behind them.
From Kobe, the ship went to Kaohshung, Taiwan (Formosa). In Kaohshung, we prepared for another anti-submarine exercise. This was a larger exercise than the first, and required very detailed planning. The ship participated in the ASW exercise for three full days. The entire crew gained much valuable experience, and morale was improved by the opportunity to work together as a team. After the exercise the ship returned to Kaohshung for two days before getting underway for Subic Bay Philippines. In Subic Bay, the ship completed some minor repair work, and refueled before getting underway of what was to us then - a classified operation.
The operation is now history. The MANSFIELD and one other destroyer were the first Navy ships assigned to interdict enemy shipping off the North Vietnamese coastline. Our job was to destroy junk and sampan traffic from the North into South Vietnam. The waterborne traffic is one of the Communists' main supply routes for their war of infiltration into South Vietnam. On two occasions while the ship was cruising off the coast and firing at supply junks headed south, the Communist North Vietnamese opened fire with shore batteries directed at the MANSFIELD. The crew responded superbly during these attacks and the ship scored many hits on the gun emplacements ashore without receiving a scratch. Having completed ten days of operations in the North, and destroying of damaging 103 enemy craft along the coast of North Vietnam, the MANSFIELD turned south for more gunfire support duties. On the 19th of November, the ship left the area of Vietnam to go to Hong Kong, British Crown Colony, for duty as the "Station Ship."
The Station Ship in any port is the ship which assumes the majority of the administrative and logistic support responsibilities for all other Navy ships. The length of our stay in Hong Kong, from the 22nd of November until the 9th of December, 1966, gave the crew an excellent chance to take advantage of the fantastic shopping and low prices of a free port, and also the beautiful scenery of Great Britain's most famous Island Colony. Getting underway from Hong Kong, the MANSFIELD again headed for her home port. In Yokosuka the ship went through an extended repair period, until after the first of the year.
On the 3rd of January, the ship again got underway from Yokosuka en route to a station off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam, to provide more naval gunfire support to the United States, Vietnamese and South Korean troops fighting ashore. Upon arrival off the coast of Vietnam, she immediately began to answer calls for supporting fire from units on the beach. The entire twelve-day period of gunfire support duty was marked by long hours and extra work on the part of all hands. The ship remained at the ready 24 hours a day, with the crew manning their stations for 6 hours and then resting for 6 hours. Besides missions in direct support of ground operations, the ship also provided harassment and interdiction fire through the night. This proved to be a very heavy strain, but if we didn't sleep much, the enemy didn't either. Periodically, the ship was forced to leave her station to refuel or rearm, and as a general rule these operations were carried on night hours. Through the fast tempo of operations and long hours of watch, the crew performed in an outstanding manner, once again proving their "can do" spirit. The high morale demonstrated by all hands showed that each man had a feeling of his own importance, and the importance of the vital task his country has entrusted to him. It is the same spirit of the American fighting men that has kept our nation great, and will continue to do so even in the face of communist aggression. I believe each man realizes that he is here not just to protect the freedom of the Vietnamese people, but ultimately the freedom of all peoples the world over, including our own.
The 1,515 rounds of 5-inch ammunition that the ship fired on this trip south brought her grand total of rounds fired in support of the Vietnamese conflict to 13,250; this is believed to be the largest number of rounds fired by any West Coast destroyer. The MANSFIELD proudly claims the title of the "biggest Gun in the West".
On the 22nd of January, MANSFIELD was relieved of her duties of gunfire support, and began her trip back to Yokosuka, Japan. en route home we made a stop in Danang, Republic of Vietnam, and Buckner Bay, Okinawa. In Yokosuka, we are enjoying a period of rest for the crew and repair for the ship.
Although most of us were away from our homes and loved ones during the recent holidays, isolated as we are by thousands of miles and many hours, they were in our hearts, and thoughts of home were foremost in our minds. The memories of Christmas at home that we have, were made even more beautiful and enjoyable by the miles separating us. It may be of some comfort to know that the ship was in her home port of Yokosuka during the holidays, and that at least those members of the crew who have their families in Japan with them were able to enjoy the traditional holiday festivities at home. As always, Americans in far corners of the earth stand by one another and help each other as much as possible. the crew members of the MANSFIELD are no different, and many of the men with their families in Japan invited others into their homes to celebrate the holidays.
In closing, let me extend to you and yours my best wishes for the year 1967. I hope that the new year will fulfill all the promise it holds for you, and that your home will be blessed with love and plenty.Sincerely,
Dear MANSFIELD Family,
Since this is my first "FAMILYGRAM" since assuming command of the USS MANSFIELD (DD-728), I want to introduce myself to you. My name is Jack R. GRIFFIN and I am a native of Long Beach, California and a graduate of the University of Southern California. Prior to assuming command of the MANSFIELD I served in various billets including Commanding Officer of USS COOK (APD-130), Executive Officer/Navigator of the USS HAVERFIELD (DER-393), and Weapons Officer on the SEVENTH Fleet Flagship, USS PROVIDENCE (CLG-6). My wife, Kathleen and six children, Michael, Ross, Kelli, Deborah, and twins, Carl and Marianne, reside in Yokosuka.
MANSFIELD left Yokosuka the last of February and after a brief stop at Subic Bay, R.P., we headed for our assigned station as part of Southern Air Rescue Unit (SAR). This is an important assignment where ou primary purpose was to pick-up downed pilots off the coast of Vietnam. We remained on station until mid-April when we returned to Yokosuka the 19th of April for upkeep and repairs.
Early in May we again headed south as we were assigned duty with a Naval Gunfire Support Unit to provide gunfire support to United States, Vietnamese and South Korean troops fighting in the Republic of Vietnam. This type of assignment is a very demanding one a every man responded to the challenge that was constantly ours. The ship not only provided direct gunfire support to allied fighting forces, but also provided harassment and interdiction fire throughout the nights.
By this time we were ready for our next assignment, four days days in Hong Kong for R&R (Rest and Recreation). This British Crown colony is a beautiful spot to see and offers some of the finest food to be eaten anywhere.
While in Hong Kong, Lieutenant Commander Robert W. KESTELOOT reported to MANSFIELD and relieved Lieutenant Commander R.W. BlAES as Executive Officer. Lieutenant Commander BLAES reported to Staff, Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor for duty. Our new Executive Officer comes to the MANSFIELD from Staff, Commander SEVENTH Fleet. He is married and has two children, Walter, seven and Amy, six, living in Japan with his wife, Videe.
On 2 June with our stomaches full and our wallets empty, we steamed out of Hong Kong and returned to the area of the shores of the Republic of Vietnam. Once again our assignment was providing gunfire support for allied troops.
On 24 June we arrived in Subic Bay for four days of upkeep for the ship and some rest for the crew.
On leaving Subic, MANSFIELD was called on to use her guns, but was sent to a different kind of operation. Our assigned mission was to interdict enemy shipping near the North Vietnamese coastline. This type of waterborne traffic continues to be one of the Communist's main supply routes for their war of infiltration into South Vietnam. The ship left this duty 15 July and arrived in Yokosuka on 19 July to begin her restricted availability (RAV). RAV is time spent in repairing and overhauling all major machines on the ship. It is also time to fix and paint up compartments and in general to bring the appearance of the ship up to the highest standards of readiness. during this time Chief TONEY was selected Chief of the Year Afloat. Following the RAV was the Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) which determines the combat readiness of the ship. MANSFIELD's performance indicated readiness for combat.
With the RAV and ORI behind us, MANSFIELD left Yokosuka and returned to the area of operations she previously held and worked once again in the business of stopping the Communists water supply route. On 25 September, exactly eleven months after the MANSFIELD was first fired on by Communist's North Vietnamese shore batteries, she was fired on again. This time she sustained one hit which resulted in the death of one man and seriously wounding two others. The officers and crew responded in an outstanding manner during this attack, and were able to silence the enemy shore batteries.
On 1 October MANSFIELD returned to Yokosuka for repairs and upkeep.
With repairs complete and the ship in prime condition, we returned to action in the Northern I Corps near the DMZ, providing Naval gunfire support for the Third Marine Division and Allied forces. During this period MANSFIELD destroyed four and damaged ten Viet Cong structures, destroyed on and damaged four Waterborne Logistic Craft, and killed twelve North Vietnamese.
After two weeks on the "gunline", the crew enjoyed another five day R and R period in Hong Kong.
MANSFIELD departed Hong Kong and after successfully evading Typhoon EMMA returned to the Northern I Corps near the DMZ to resume naval gunfire support. On on "routine" mission the burning debris from the North Vietnamese artillery sites, located in the DMZ, paid tribute to the accurate naval gunfire from our powerful guns. MANSFIELD also delivered her 21,000th round of five inch projectiles against enemy forces in the Vietnamese conflict during this period. As this FAMILYGRAM is being written, our guns are firing new missions.
As you know, MANSFIELD is often given assignments which take her into "Harm's Way", I want to assure you that every precaution and method of protection is being used. Our crew is a well trained and well disciplined team which functions effectively. We are constantly seeking to perfect our teamwork because we know that the best defense is a trained, responsive and ready offense.
If at any time I can be of assistance to you concerning your sailor, please feel free to write.
Jack R. GRIFFIN
15 November 1967
The officers and men of MANSFIELD wish to extend their warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a joyous, prosperous New Year.
While MANSFIELD'S operations require most of us to be away from home again this year, our hearts and thoughts must and will bridge the gap between our friends and loved ones and ourselves. But the miracle of Bethlehem with its promise of peace on earth to men of goodwill holds special meaning and hope for MANSFIELD during this time of world turmoil. We pray that the spirit of this season will move men of all nations to respect the rights of their fellow men and live in peace.
Currently MANSFIELD is again operating off the coast of Vietnam performing numerous tasks. During the Holiday Season we expect to be in Yokosuka for an upkeep and rest period. While our schedule remains rigorous, all hands are making a concentrated effort to maintain MANSFIELD'S tradition of excellence.
Once again, I extend warmest Christmas wishes and hope the year of 1968 will be filled with prosperity and happiness; a year in which we will be re-united with you when the ship returns to the States.
[Signed] Jack R. Griffin