Letter from Commanding Officer


FPO San Francisco 96601

24 July 1965

My dear friends and families of STODDARD's Crew:

This is the first of a few informal letters I will be sending to help keep you posted on the current events as we progress through our WESTPAC cruise.

First of all I, I would like to thank each one of you that was on the pier the morning of 4 June for giving such a wonderful send-off to the crew. All of us are looking forward to an eventful cruise and happily anticipating our earliest return.

We joined the other ships of Destroyer Squadron 21 just outside of San Diego, and steamed the Great Circle Route to Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, approaching enroute within 300 miles of the Aleutian Islands. The seas off of the coast of Alaska for this time of the year, were very rough, the wind howling and the weather was rainy and cold. Arrival at Subic Bay was Tuesday morning, 22 June, where we welcomed aboard the division Medical Officer, LT FORKOSH, and division Chaplain HULSEY. The Subic Bay area is beautifully vibrant with a warm sub-tropical climate. The navy base complex includes numerous recreational facilities (a very good hobby shop), and clubs for both officers and enlisted personnel. Outdoor sports are stressed; available are tennis courts, swimming pools and baseball fields. Two notable exchanges are available with some of the most reasonable prices in WESTPAC. Ship's parties were held for each duty section on Grande Island, the island is quite similar to Corregidor, which guards the entrance to Manila Bay, forty miles to the south.

We left Subic Bay on the 6th of July after a deserved rest and ship's upkeep period. Two days later we arrived in the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong, which is noted for its picturesque harbor and shopping environment.

After a week's stay in Hong Kong, with a paycheck to spend and early liberty for all, we left on 14 July for our turn at Viet Nam duty. Since the 15th (this is a magical date that concerns us all-- the 15th we became eligible for Federal Income Tax exclusion for July!) the STODDARD has participated in coastal surveillance operations, and recently has been the sole destroyer responsible for the harbor defense of DaNang, South Vietnam. DaNang, the site of the second largest airfield in South Vietnam, is located in the northern part of the Country about forty miles from the North Viet Nam border. DaNang is extremely important in the overall U.S. effort to keep free the people of South Viet Nam. By day we have patrolled the entrance and coastline area of DaNang against penetration by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese. In fact, just a few days ago our boarding party headed by LTJG Jim CHAPPEL, our new Operations Officer, actually boarded and searched a suspected junk. The past four nights we have anchored in DaNang Bay and have conducted shore bombardment against Viet Cong troop movements.

As you can well see we are keeping quite busy and are doing our job the best that we know how. I've written this letter to help you understand our duties in WESTPAC  while we are away from home. Please continue giving all your support to your loved ones while they are honorably serving their Country, when and where their Country needs them the most.

Sincerely yours
Commander, US Navy
Commanding Officer


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