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Page 6 text:
It was a dismal November morning, coldand overcast,
with rain pouring as if unleashed for the occasion. At
9:45 the LONG BEACH slipped her mooring lines and
pulled away from Pier Echo, LONG BEACH Naval
Station for what was to be her first combat tour of duty.
Leaving family and friends waving on the pier, the LONG
BEACH made her way through the breakwater and began
her 12,000 mile trek to the Gulf of Tonkin.
Skippered by Captain Kenneth C. Wallace, USN, of
Merritt Island, Florida, who had relieved Captain Frank
H, Price, USN, of command in late August, LONG BEACH
took three and a half days for the first leg of her journey,
Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaiian lslands.
After a three and ahalfdaylayover in Pearl, allowing
the crew their last U.S. liberty for almost eight months,
LONG BEACH weighed anchor again for the second leg of
the trip. Amidst speculation and "scuttlebutt" on the part
of the crew, the LONG BEACH's destination was announced
as White Beach, Okinawa.
Anchoring off White Beach, LONG BEACH's liberty
boats were kept busy shuttling crew members back and
forth during the three day visit. LONG BEACH found
diversion in the quaint little towns of Okinawa, bearing
such names as Naha, Village One, Two and Three.
The final stop before relieving the USS CHICAGO
on station in the Gulf was Subic Bay, Philippine lslands.
In Subic Long Beach armorers mounted four .50 caliber
machine guns on the superstructure. Supplies were taken
aboard for the month and a half to come at sea.
LONG BEACH was boarded by RearAdmiraI Alexander
Goodfellow, Command Cruiser Destroyer FLOTIL LA
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SEVEN and his staff at Subic. RADIVI Goodfellow and his
staff were to remain aboard LONG BEACH until January
, Relieving RADIVI Goodfellow was RADIVI Nlark Woods,
USN, Commander, Cruiser Destroyer FLOTILLA NINE
and staff. RADIVI Woods assumed his duties and he and
his staff were to remain aboard until the end of LONG
BEACH's tour of duty.
Relieving the USS KING on station on the last daylof
November, 1966 LONG BEACH assumed her duties with
enthusiasm. The extensive training prior to deployment
was to pay off. .
In the very early hours of December 20, 1966, LTOQD
Robert Field and Radarman Chief Mike Johnson detected
two hostile aircraft on their scopes. The two enemy alr-
planes were tracked on a course which would bring them
within 30 miles of LONG BEACH. A message was ser1ti0
the carrier KITTY HAWK, and a flight of fighters W6:S
sent aloft. With the help of the two LONG BEACH all'
controllers, the Navy pilots located their targets and
destroyed them. Navy team work had done its' job, and
LONG BEACH was an intergral part of that team during
her eight months in WESTPAC.
After 37 days in the Gulf, and now duly initiated
members of the "Gulfof Tonkin Yacht Club",LONG BEACH
lvxvlaswrelieved by the USS IVIAI-IAN and she departed for
We had been at sea 40 plus days before the LONG
BEACH slid past Bataan and Corregidor and anchored in
Mama Bay. Once again the liberty boats were filled t0
overflowing with sailors eager to enjoy the sights of the
Page 5 text:
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Page 7 text:
Philippine's largest city. Three days later, the LONG
BEACH lifted her anchor with regret and set sail for
LONG BEACH remained in Subic for two weeks,
with part of that period spent on minor maintenance and
upkeep. The crew was anxious to be off when the mooring
lines were slipped and LONG BEACH glided out of the
harbor and pointed her bow towards the British Crown
Colony of Hong Kong. S
Hong Kong was to be the last port o'call before
returning to the Gulf, and promised the most rewarding
liberty we had yet encountered. Tours were very popular,
but many LONG BEACH men preferred to strike out on
their own. The native-supplied liberty boats, called
walla-wallas, kept up their frantic scurrying to and from,
desperately trying to keep up with the ever increasing
numbers of LONG BEACH sailors anxious tohitthe beach.
The LONG BEACH was never again to visit Hong
Kong, but she made several return trips to Subic Bay.
With April came several changes aboard LONG
BEACH. Probably the most noticeable was the change
of weather. With Spring finally arrived, the weather
improved immenseley. We returned to the Gulf to find
most of the fog and low temperatures replaced by sun
and warmth--sunglass sales picked up at the ship's store
and the air conditioning system was checked for possible
improvements and renovations.
April also saw the Executive Officer, Commander
Smith, relievedbyCommanderJ.D.Watkirigs, USN, Com-
mander Smith had served as Executive officer since
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Probably the most spectacular highlight of the entire
WESTPAC cruise was the LONG BEACH's April visit
to Australia, After crossing the Equator in mid-April,
with the traditional Shell back ceremony still fresh in their
memories, LONG BEACH sailors descended upon the
beautiful town of Sydney. After seven days liberty in
Australia's largest city, LONG BEACH onceagain returned
Time spent on station seemed to pass much faster
than the days in port. We had so much work to do in the
Gulf, that we fell into a rigid routine, rarely broken,
which made one day seem exactly like the last. This
routine saved us from boredom and restlessness, but
didn't eliminate the crew's eager anticipation of our next
One pleasant aspect of our time on station bore a
direct result on our pocketbooks and purchases. We drew
seven months Hazardous Duty pay, which admirably in-
creased our paydays and our bank accounts. Tape re-
corders were fashionable, as were record players, radios
and jewelry, and all were direct result of the wealth
offered by duty in the Gulf.
And finally came summer, and with it the end of
LONG BEACH's first tour of duty in WESTPAC. She
had seen thousands of miles of ocean, interspersed with
port calls, where her men stopped to look, relax, and
enjoy themselves. She had experienced a variety of new
sensations, but probably the most 'rewarding of all, was
pulling back into her homeport amidst the cheers and
cries of her loved ones.
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