The Strauss Under Fire
Da Nang Harbor 1967
The attached sequence of photos of incoming rounds occurred on our 1967 deployment to West Pac out of Pearl. While we had been under fire about a dozen times, this was by far the closest they came and for the longest duration while I was on board. The ASROC GMs took the photos from the ASROC deck and or control station. As I remember it, we were the lead ship in a shore bombardment mission with either the Orleck, Small, Higbee or one of the other squadron DDs in company. Ens. Adamek and I had just switched Divisional responsibilities, he to the guns and I to First division, hence my GQ station was on the signal bridge as OinC of Sky One with SMC Jones and SM1 Kaffer. We had been firing for a while when all of a sudden they dropped a round ten feet off the Starboard side about 20 ft aft of the wing of the bridge. Needless to say it scared the hell out of everyone as shrapnel ricocheted through the rigging and hit the forward stack. The next rounds sailed overhead bracketing the ship. Every one ran for cover with the thought that the next rounds would be right on target. Like sheep around a goat, we wound up gathering around salty old SMC Jones who ordered every one back to their stations and to keep spread out “. . . so they don’t get us all at once!”
The XO, LCDR Tarbuck, ordered every one off the signal bridge. It was a delayed process as most scrambled to gather hot pieces of shrapnel (with Cyrillic symbols on them) off the deck. I think we counted over 150 rounds landing in our vicinity as we high tailed it out of there. The QMs had drawn circles on the chart corresponding to the range of various shore batteries that might be used against us. We were shelling from some 10,000 yds off shore. As we ever so s-l-o-w-l-y turned and gained speed, we crossed the 13,000 yd circle indicative of the range of perhaps their 37mm guns. The shells continued to fall around us and we looked for a reprieve at the 17,000 yd mark for their next biggest gun. Shells again bracketed the ship as we zigged and zagged, now at full speed. I think it wasn’t until we had crossed the 23,000 yd circle that the shells stopped falling.
From what I have read on the site, Strauss was involved in several more gun battles and other incidences warranting a sea story. I would love to have those involved give their account of these or any other incidents (that wouldn’t cause a jail term or a divorce).
Tom Wycall, April 65 to Jan 68
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