attacked by US Airforce
June 1968 Vietnam
Hobart & HMAS Perth 'handing over' in Subic Bay, Philippines -
1968 Gunline Deployment.
to 'The Gunline' on 20th May 1968 for her 2nd Deployment. Straight
into heavy action in 1 Corps around the Da Nang vicinity saw her heading
for Subic in early June for a barrel replacement for her two 5"
to Sea Dragon operations on June 11th, relieving USS St Paul with
Captain Shands taking command of Task Unit 77.1.2. USS Theodore Chandler
(DD 717) was the support ship of the TU, which carried out its first
firing on two truck parks 12 miles North of Dung Hoi.
On 13th &
14th June both ships carried out successful firing operations around
Mui Ong and Cap Lay, where both ships came under fire from coastal
defence batteries, 13 rounds landing as close as 50 yards from Hobart
before she knocked out one gun and US 7th Airfoce Phantoms accounted
for the remainder. Shrapnel was later collected from Hobart's upperdeck.
This was the third time Hobart had come under enemy fire.
USS Edson had been detached from the NGFS Unit and now joined Hobart
and Chandler to carry out surveillance around Tiger Island, 13 miles
east of Cap Lay where an enemy radar installation was monitoring Operation
Sea Dragon. With only one extended TU in the area it was found that
the garrison was being resupplied at night by sea.
Early on the morning
of June 17th Hobart detected an aircraft approaching her from the
vicinity of Cap Lay and evaluated it as 'friendly'. In the meantime
whilst Hobart had been trying to establish the identity of the aircraft
it launched a missile which hit her amidships on the starboard side,
immediately aft of the boat davit. The warhead passed through 01 Deck
and penetrated the Chief Petty Officers Pantry, Radar Room 3, the
Missile Director Control Room and severely damaging the Emergency
Conning Platform. The body of the missile then passed through the
outer skin of the after funnel, damaging its uptakes, and finished
up in the forward funnel. In its passage it killed Ordinary Seaman
R. J. Butterworth and wounded AB Parker and OrdSmn Davidson.
clambered to Action Stations, and 3 and a half minutes later another
two missiles fired from close range slammed into her. Again, on the
starboard side. The 2nd missile entered her transom just below 1 Deck
wrecking the Gunner's Store and Engineers Workshop, luckily the warhead
did not explode. The 80 Man Aft Seamen's Mess wore a large part of
this missile! The 3rd missile hit her very near the site of the first
and the warhead passed through the Fan Space, Missile Director Equipment
Room and No 2 Missile Director. Chief Electrician Hunt was killed
and several sailors wounded by part of the missile warhead. The Ikara
Missile Magazine was also seriously damaged.
As Hobert tuned
away from the threat direction the aircraft was seen to be a swept
wing jet fighter. Hobart got away 5 rounds of 5" and no further
attack was made.
The TU joined
USS Boston. And with USS Blandy DD943 formed an anti aircraft screen
around USS Enterprise CVAN 65. A helo from Enterprise provided a medivac
and delivered AB Parker, Mech Holmes, and AB Laity to hospital in
Hobart as leader of the TU and Hobart steamed for Subic Bay. On passage
the crew cleared the debris and collected pieces of missile for identification.
It was only then it was realised that the missiles had been fired
from US Aircraft.
had been one of only several ships attacked by 7th Airforce jets on
the nights of the 16th & 17th June. On the 16th USS
PCF19 was sunk near the DMZ with 5 killed and on the 17th Hobart,
Boston and Edson were attacked. Edson 15 minutes after Hobart as were
'Market Time' vessels USCGC Point Dume WPB82325 and PCF12,
a US Navy Patrol Craft. Boston and Hobart both took hits but only
Hobart suffered fatalities.
- The above is the Official US and Australian Navy's version about
the attacks on the US Navy Patrol Vessels PCF 12 and PCF 19, however
I suggest you go HERE
and read an account by James Steffes, a crew member of PCF12 that
fateful night. Whilst it is clear that Hobart was indeed fired upon
with Sea Sparrow missiles from fixed wing, jet aircraft, what is not
clear from James' and others eyewitness accounts is why it all happened.
at Subic Bay on the 19th June where CINCPAFLT, Admiral J.J. Hyland
USN inspected the damage (above) and addressed the Ship's Comapny.
On the 20th June all ships in Subic Half Masted their Colours in honour
of Chief Hunt and OrdSmn Butterworth.
3 Gunline deployments to Vietnam and decommissioned in May 2000.
Assessment in Subic Bay by Admiral Ulysses S. Grant Sharp,USN, Commander-In-Chief
of the United States Forces in the Pacific.