She returned to the Naval shipyard in Long Beach in 1960 as part of the Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) program. the overhaul extensively modernized her, replacing the 3-inch/50 caliber guns with Mark-32, triple tube anti-submarine warfare torpedoes. The after super structure was reconfigured with a hanger for the drone anti-submarine helicopter (DASH) and variable-depth sonar equipment. Machinery was over hauled, new electronic equipment was installed, and living and working spaces were rehabilitated.
Shipmate Tom Harper adds, "The DASH pictured is a SNOOPY bird (C version) that we would send over NVN to do our own gun spotting. It had a TV camera and a still camera mounted on a "sled" that attached to the hard mounts where a torpedo would normally go. We probably had the most successful use of this system. This bird has extra fuel tanks that tripled the aloft time to three hours (105 gal. of fuel)." Go here for an interesting story concerning the DASH from Capt. Jack Griffin and a poem dedicated to Snoopy submitted by Gary Wigley.
From October 1960 to October 1961, the modernized destroyer conducted training exercises with the First Fleet off the west coast (According to Larry Lawton "After the modification we spent several weeks up in the Puget Sound area testing our new sonar gear"). The following three years, she operated in the Far East out of Yokosuka, where she provided escort service for the Seventh Fleet Fast Carrier Attack Force.
Making her home port in Long Beach, MANSFIELD returned to the United States in June 1964 for a 14-month stay. On 20 August 1965 she cruised to the Western Pacific for duty with the Seventh Fleet. For the next six-months, she carried out screening and plane guard duties with fast carriers, and provided gunfire support for the South Vietnamese. On 4 September 1965 CDR Donald P. Nellis, USN relieved CDR R.C. Marshall, USN, as commanding officer, at sea enroute Japan to the South China Sea. On 12 September the MANSFIELD joined Task Force 76 in the South China Sea off North Vietnam.
On 20 October - 3 November 1965 the MANSFIELD conducted surface strikes against the communist enemy Viet Cong forces with the following results:
10 December 1965 MANSFIELD slipped in behind enemy held sections of Saigon on one of the small tributaries of the Saigon River and devastated the Viet Cong positions with sensational gunfire. From that day on, the word from the naval gunfire spotters was: "Request MANSFIELD for gunfire support, she is the best."
In June 1966, MANSFIELD returned to Yokosuka, and her deployment schedule repeatedly returned her to duty in the South China Sea for assignments off the coast of Vietnam. During the early weeks of September, MANSFIELD operated with Task Force-130 as an alternate recovery ship for NASA's Gemini-XI program. Tom Harper adds, "The space capsule shown here is an Apollo version. We had a crane mounted on the stern but when the astronauts died in the training fire, NASA came quietly onboard and took the gear off. We were supposed to be a recovery ship for Apollo I in early '67."
Envelope with the Gemini Rendezvous Mission Stamp postmarked aboard the Mansfield
After spending two weeks in late November as station ship in Hong Kong, MANSFIELD returned to Vietnam waters for the remainder of 1966. She operated on blockade patrol in the 1st-Corps area; interdiction of junk and sampan traffic from the north into South Vietnam, and gunfire support south of Saigon.
She came under fire on 25 September 1967 from North Vietnamese coastal installations near Dong Hoi, taking one hit; killing one crew member and seriously wounding two others. A month later, on 25 October while patrolling the coast of North Vietnam searching for craft carrying supplies to hostile forces in South Vietnam, she again came under fire for North Vietnam coastal sites. Responding to the attack, she returned fire until the enemy emplacements were silenced. As a result of the clash, naval gunfire missions were implemented under the name Operation Sea Dragon, directing gunfire inland to destroy North Vietnamese supply lines.
If you are on Cape Cod and would like to pay your respects to Richard Archer, go here for directions to Oak Neck Cemetery.
Please visit Dan "Jake" Jacob's Tribute Page to shipmate Richard Archer, who was KIA in action in 1967. Thanks, Karl.
A NEW BROWSER WINDOW WILL OPEN. CLOSE IT TO RETURN HERE.
Shipmates Tom Harper and Karl Kristiansen
visit the grave of shipmate Richard Archer - 9/12/12
October 4, 2012
I am the Medical Officer who was winched to Mansfield from USS Tripoli's (LPH-10) SH-34 helo.
Mansfields's company had already prepared MM2 Archer's remains for transfer, and left me and HM2 Matkowski of Tripoli to triage and treat existing shipboard casualties, and render further medical assistance. All the casualties, other than your KIA, MM2 Archer, who suffered an immediate fatal strike by enemy shrapnel, survived their wounds, and no doubt, served well. Mr. Douglas Gibbon was the Mansfield crewman, who captured me from the helo deck horsecollar, safely physically grasping the Doc, dropped to deck, suffering static induced physical damage from shock, fell to a steel deck from height, shielding me... He denied offer of immediate relief, and returned to his shipboard duties. He was knocked to the deck and suffered damage which might be incipient to helo-to-deck transfer in saline, fuel rich, electrcal, plunging and gaseous environments.
I was , with ship's company and my own airlifted Tripoli corpsman, able to stabilize the medical situation. We and the ship's corpsmen accomplished this while on gun runs directed by an energetic Commodore, 4 striper, who visually called incoming shore fire and directed evasive maneuvers, while returning fire, having thoughtfully visited sickbay to see the wounded crew and be assured that we could do the necessary surgery while on fast gun runs. When the action was finally complete we were eventually returned to Tripoli by motor whaleboat, the H-34 having become mechanically weary on Tripoli's flight deck, as helicopters do. The seas that day were moderate, but exciting, with about a four foot height gap between the deck and Mansfield.
All except PO2 Archer, survived and returned to duty. Do not forget the deck crew and my corpsmen, and Tripoli and Mansfield corpsmen, and the Tripoli H34 crew and motor whaleboat crew. Good action, well done!
|5" Rounds Fired||40,001|
|Days on Gun Line||220|
|Times Under Hostile Fire||8|
|Active Artillery Sites Silenced||30|
Newspaper articles from this time period courtesy of shipmate Jim Frazier.
Awards Ceremony Program courtesy of shipmate ETN2 J.J. Marold.
|From the ship's log, January 1, 1967 as entered by LTJG Mulvey:
"Moored as before in company of four. Starboard side to the USS Blue. Mooring lines doubled the ship snug uptight, nothing will part us on this cold New Years night. The Hector is providing the services we're requiring as SOPA, COMDESRON nine remains so supine. The Harbor is teeming with ships of all Nations gathered together for rejoicing and celebration. The Hector, the Blue, the Osborn, the Dehaven, moored about us in reconciliation. The New Year promotes it's hopes and its fears, typical is Vietnam a valley of tears. The year may look gray but in the Navy we say, peace through power will brighten the way. So goodbye to the old year, hail to the new one the Mansfield steams on to insure its a smooth one." - [Submitted by Cef Suarez 3.9.10]
From 1967 to mid-1968, she carried out air-sea rescue, blockade and gunfire support missions in support of Allied operations in Vietnam. In June 1968, MANSFIELD returned to the United States for two years, home porting in Long Beach.
She served as a training recovery ship for NASA's Apollo missions off the west coast prior to October 1968, when she underwent overhaul at the Naval Shipyard, until January 1969. following training exercised on the west coast, she deployed 26 September to the Far East and home ported in Yokosuka, where she operated in the Sea of Japan as a picket, and participated in gunfire support missions off the coast of Vietnam during November 1969.
Following a five day replenishment at Subic Bay, on 3 January 1970, MANSFIELD deployed to Hong Kong. From 22 January to 8 February, she provided gunfire support for the 1st and III Corps in South Vietnam. Following a short stay at Sasebo, she departed the Far East for the last time returning to Long Beach, 1 April 1970.
The material condition of the U.S. Navy was declining visibly. Funds normally allocated to new ship construction, maintenance, and overhaul went instead to fighting the war in Vietnam. On 1 July 1970, Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. emphasized his deep concern about "the accelerating obsolescence of the Navy." He noted that during Korea and Vietnam, too many of the Navy's "sea control forces and ships were allocated to obsolesce and , finally, retire with replacement."
Such was the fate of the MANSFIELD. Relegated to obsolescence and naval cost reallocations, she spent the remainder of 1970 in restricted availability at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard.
The 27-year Navy veteran, made a final short coastal cruise as a Navy warship from Long Beach to San Diego, where she was decommissioned 4 February 1971. During the years of her active duty she received five battle stars for World War-II service, three for Korea and three for Vietnam.