HMAS HOBART -
attacked by US Airforce
June 1968 Vietnam

HMAS Hobart & HMAS Perth 'handing over' in Subic Bay, Philippines - 1968 Gunline Deployment.

Hobart returned 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" Guns.

Hobart returned 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.

The Destroyer 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.

Hobart's crew 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.


Above Damage Assessment Subic Bay PI

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 Da Nang.

Edson relieved 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.

Actually Hobart 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.

Webmasters Note: - 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.

Hobart arrived 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.

Hobart completed 3 Gunline deployments to Vietnam and decommissioned in May 2000.

Hobart Subic Bay - Damage Assessment and Church ServiceDamage Assessment in Subic Bay by Admiral Ulysses S. Grant Sharp,USN, Commander-In-Chief of the United States Forces in the Pacific.



www.gunplot.net
© 1997 - 2003 Gun Plot. All rights reserved

This web site is protected by copyright. Users of the web site shall only be entitled to copy the web site for their own personal use and may not republish or reproduce any substantial part of the web site in any manner whatsoever without the prior written permission of the owner. An acknowledgment of the source must be included whenever the author's material is copied or published - Contact Webmaster Here.