SEVENTH “WESTPAC” DEPLOYMENT AND

FOURTH VIETNAM COMBAT CRUISE

U. S. AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA

RESTRICTED AVAILABILITY AT BREMERTON, WASHINGTON

& LOCAL TRAINING OPERATIONS

(7 September 1968 to 11 September 1969)

CHAPTER XXIII

 

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) with Commander Kenneth W. Wallace, Commander, Carrier Air Wing 15 (CVW-15) (tail code NL), Rear Admiral John P. Weinel relieved Rear Gerald E. Miller, Commander Carrier Division Three and Captain Martin G,O’Neill, Chief of Staff, Carrier Division Three embarked departed Naval Air Station, Alameda, California 7 September 1968, with Captain James Ferris, as Commanding Officer and Commander Edward V. Laney, as Executive Officer, on her seventh “WestPac” deployment operating with the Pacific Fleet (25 January 1960 to Present) and tour of duty with the 7th Fleet in the Far East, her sixth South China Sea deployment, on her fourth Vietnam Combat Cruise, with Captain Shawcross, William H. in command. Prior to her deployment she was awarded the Battle Efficiency "E,” conducting CarQuals and weapons training evolutions, marking the first time that an A-6A squadron had operated from a Midway-class carrier, as VA-52 reported to CVW-15, proceeded by operations locally off the California coast through the 1968 summer, conducting carrier suitability trials for the F-4K Phantom, a Royal Navy variant on 18 July, and the F-III B from 23 to 24 July 1968 - the latter proving to be a large, unwieldy aircraft for the size of the ship in which it was embarked, upon completion of overhaul at Hunters Point (NHC Battle Order p 11), completing her 1st & 2nd Vietnam Expeditionary Force (VEF) deployments during her 1st & 2nd “WestPac,” (first CVA in the Bering Sea during 12 December 1961 to 17 July 1962 deployment). She will undergo her seventh foreign water deployment since her visit to Vancouver, B.C. (18 to 22 March 1960) when she deployed from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington upon completion of sea trials and a post-overhaul inspection and survey evaluation, commencing once recommissioned, following SCB 110A conversion (16 April 1957 to 25 January 1960), decommissioned on 24 April 1957, completing nine tours of duty in the Mediterranean Sea operating with the 6th Fleet (7 June 1948 to 13 August 1956); reclassified hull classification symbol CVA-43 on 1 October 1952. She will under go her 18th Foreign Water Fleet Deployment (FWFD) since her commission on 1 October 1947” (Ref. 1-Coral Sea, 2-USS Coral Sea “Welcome Aboard” brochure, 34, 35, 72, 1275V3-/3, 1275T6, 1275V4, 1275V5, 1275V6, 1275V7, 1275V8 & 275V12-/12).

 

WestPac Cruise Book 1968-69 - Ref. 1275V

Command and Staff - Ref. 1275V1

Captain James Ferris, CO, USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) - Ref. 1275V2

The Cruise - Ref. 1275V10

Ports of Call - Ref. 1275V11

 

USS CORAL SEA (CVA-43) with CVW-15 (NL)

(7 September 1968 to 18 April 1969) 

Hull No. /

Fleet

Foreign Water Fleet

Deployment

 Air Wing

Tail

Code

Depart

Return

Days at Sea

Fleet D. No.

USS Coral Sea (CVA-43)

Pacific & 7th

7th WestPac

6th SCS

4th Vietnam Combat

CVW-15

NL

7 Sep 1968

18 Apr 1969

Vietnam Conflict/War

18th FWFD

224-days

 

SQUADRON

SQUADRON NICK NAME & PRIMARY

ROLE

AIRCRAFT DESIGN

NICK NAME &

PRIMARY ROLE

TAIL

CODE

Modex

AIRCRAFT

DESIGNATION

VF-151

Vigilantes -

Fighter Squadron

McDonnell-Douglas - Phantom II Jet Fighter

NL100

F-4B

VF-161

Chargers -

Fighter Squadron

McDonnell-Douglas - Phantom II Jet Fighter

NL200

F-4B

VA-153

Blue Tail Flies -

Attack Squadron

Douglas - Skyhawk -

Jet Attack Bomber

NL300

A-4F

VA-52

Knightriders -

Attack Squadron

Grumman - Intruder -

Jet Attack Bomber

NL400

A-6A

*VFP-63 Det.43

Eyes of the Fleet or

Gators - Light Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron

Vought - Crusader -

Jet Fighter - Reconnaissance

NL500

RF-8G

VA-216

Black Diamonds

Douglas - Skyhawk -

Jet Attack Bomber

NL600

A-4C

VAW-116

Sun Kings - Carrier Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron

Grumman - Hawkeye - Electronics

NL010

E-2A

VAW 13 Det. 43 Changed to:

Zappers -

Carrier Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron

Douglas - Skywarrior -   Jet Attack - Special electronic installation

(VR)
734-736

 

EKA-3B

VAQ-130 Det. 43

Zappers - Carrier Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron or Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron

Douglas - Skywarrior -   Jet Attack - Special electronic installation

(VR)
014-016

 

EKA-3B

VAH-10 Det. 43

Vikings -

Heavy Attack Squadron

Douglas - Skywarrior -  Jet Attack Fighter - Tanker

NL   720-017

 

 

EKA-3B /

A-3 (KA-3B)

HC-1 Det. 43

Pacific Fleet Angels - Helicopter Combat Support Squadron

Kaman - Seasprite - Transport (Utility)

(UP)
70-72

(UP)
04-06

 

UH-2C

 “CVW-15 operated advanced models of its aircraft such as VA-153's A-4Fs and this time with two Whale units, VAQ-130 Det. 43 "electric" EKA-3Bs and VAH-10 Det 43's KA-3B tankers” (Ref. 43).

VAW was designated Carrier Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron in 1968 - Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 1969 until Present

VAP-61's Command History Report for 1968 indicated continued support of 7th Fleet carriers on Yankee Station.  However, the squadron's report does not identify the detachments deployed aboard carriers in WestPac during 1968.

VQ-1 detachments continued to support carrier operations in Vietnam, however, the 1968 Command History Report for VQ-1 does not mention any detachments that were aboard carriers operating on Yankee Station.

In 1968 an HC-7 detachment was formed and given the mission of maintaining year-round combat configured helos aboard carriers and other ships operating on “Yankee Station” for combat search and rescue missions. The 1968 Command History Report for HC-7 does not identify all the specific ships that detachment 110 operated aboard.

On 1 October 1968, VAQ-13 and its detachments were redesignated VAQ-130.

VQ-1 and VAP-61 detachments provided support from DaNang Air Base, Republic of South Vietnam, for Fleet carriers operating on Yankee Station in 1969.

*These squadron detachments were not aboard the carrier for the entire deployment.

Ref. 34, 35, 39, 41 & 76

 

    “Departing Alameda on 7 September 1968 and proceeding via Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) reached Yokosuka, Japan on the 25th, relieving USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) "Bonnie Dick"” (Ref. 43).

 

 

McDonnell F-4B Phantom II, BuNo 151487, modex NL215, VF-161 "Chargers," probably during the ship's fourth Vietnam cruise. NS024360 495k. Glenn M. Millar. http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024360.jpg

 

Iran History & Air Arm

 

      “The first batch of F-4Ds arrived in Iran on 8 September 1968. A second batch of 16 more F-4Ds were ordered later” (Ref. 20).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) made a port of  call at Yokosuka, Japan, a city in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, covering an area of 100.7 km² and is the 11th most populous city in Greater Tokyo, 12th in the Kantō region from 23 to 28 September 1968” (Ref. 405).

 

    “Between line periods, USS America (CVA-66) visited Hong Kong, Yokosuka and Subic Bay, Philippines” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) made a port of call at Subic Bay, Philippines from 6 to 7 October 1968” (Ref. 405).

    “With USS America (CVA-66) mission on "Yankee Station" nearing completion, she launched the last of her attack aircraft at 1030, 29 October 1968” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

Operation Rolling Thunder

(2 March 1965 to 31 October 1968) – Ref. 102D

 

    “President Johnson had ordered a bombing halt above the 18th parallel and transshipment points along the highways and ferries became the new targets.  The air war for the Seventh Fleet aircraft carriers was now turning to close ground support of allied forces in South Vietnam. Enemy concentrations, storage areas and supply routes were the major targets for the airwing pilots. This stopped on at 2100 Saigon time, November 1, 1968, when President Johnson ordered a complete bombing halt above the 17th parallel” (Ref.1-Constellation). 

 

    “On 1 November 1968 the last Navy mission over the restricted area was flown earlier in the day from USS Constellation (CVA-64) by Cmdr. Kenneth E. Enney in an A-7 Corsair II” (Ref.1-Constellation).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) moved south of that 17th parallel; from that point on, the ship flew only reconnaissance sorties over the North and strikes into South Vietnam and Laos. Ultimately, with USAF and USMC aircraft operating over the former, all strike missions came to be flown over Laos” (Ref. 43).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) last combat mission in the north above the 17th parallel was at the northernmost costal defense sites on Hon Matt Island” (Ref. 1-Coral Sea).

 

    “President Lyndon Johnson's halting all bombing of North Vietnam above the 20th parallel, together with other imposed limitations, restricted the Navy's operational area to the territory between the 18th and 19th parallels. Lack of lucrative targets, poor weather, and crowded air space as a result of three carriers on station, characterized the Navy's operations there, as USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) planes struck a series of traffic control points along the major highways in an effort to impede the logistics flow southward” (Ref. 43).

 

    “USS America (CVA-66) set sail for Subic Bay, Philippines and the offload of various "Yankee Station" assets from 30 October to 3 November 1968” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “A heavy attack squadron, VAH-10, and an electronic countermeasures squadron, VA-130, departed USS America (CVA-66) on 3 November 1968, as they bean a transpacific movement of their entire detachments t o Alameda, and 144 aviators along with several members of the ship's company departed for the United States on the "Magic Carpet" flight” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) made a port of call at Subic Bay, Philippines from 4 to 12 November 1968” (Ref. 405).

 

    “The days USS America (CVA-66) spent en route to Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Norfolk were, of necessity, more relaxed than those of her six months of combat. Nine hundred ninety-three "Pollywogs" were initiated into the realm of Neptunus Rex on the morning of 7 November 1968, the ship again crossed the Equator” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “On 9 November 1968, a flight deck "cookout" was sponsored by the supply department as the entire crew of the USS America (CVA-66) enjoyed char- broiled steaks and basked in the equatorial sun” (Ref. 1-America & 72).

 

    “Between the end of August and mid-November 1968, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) completed her eighth and ninth line periods on "Yankee Station" and communications patrol in the Tonkin Gulf” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “Punctuating her time on “Yankee Station” with a nine-day in port period at Subic, USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) resumed air operations on November 1968, with strikes in USAF Steel Tiger (Southern Laos) areas controlled by airborne or radar controllers located at Camp Carroll, Dong Ha or DaNang. CVA-43's pilots encountered SAMs over North Vietnam for the last time in 1968 when LTJG James S. Ozbirin evaded one as he flew his VFP-63 RF-8G on a photo mission near Vinh, on 3 December 968. Five days later the ship's second line period ended” (Ref. 43).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) catapult shot put A-4C in water, killing CDR M Naschek of VA-216 attached to CVW-15 on 21 November 1968” (Ref. 34).

 

    “On 26 November 1968, USS Hancock (CVA-19) and the USS Camden (AOE-2) collide during an underway replenishment. There are no injuries but the Camden is slightly damaged” (Ref. 84A).

 

    “In early December 1968, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) got underway for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) made a port of  call at Yokosuka, Japan, a city in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, covering an area of 100.7 km² and is the 11th most populous city in Greater Tokyo, 12th in the Kantō region from 12 to  25 December 1968” (Ref. 405).

 

    “While at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii during mid December 1968, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) conducted communications tests” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

     “Commander Fredrick Nelson relieved Commander Edward V. Laney, as Executive Officer of USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) on 17 December 1968” (Ref. 1275V3-/3).

 

    “On the 18 December 1968, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in TF 130, the Manned Spacecraft Recovery Force, Pacific” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Hornet (CVS-12) arrived in port Sasebo, Japan on 23 December 1968” (Ref. 1-Hornet & 323).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) spent from 12 to 25 December 1968 in Japanese waters” (Ref. 43).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) was in port at Sasebo, Japan for Christmas on 25 December 1968, operating in Japanese waters from the 12th” (Ref. 34).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) carried out two more line periods on “Yankee Station,” interspersing launching strikes in support of ground operations in South Vietnam and Laos followed by visits to Singapore, Subic Bay, Philippines (twice, for upkeep) and Hong Kong” (Ref. 43).

 

    “Acting as primary landing area communications relay ship, USS Arlington (AGMR-2)  participated in the recovery of Apollo 8 and returned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 29 December 1968” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Bainbridge (CGN-25) and USS Robison (DDG-12) were part of USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) battle group” (Ref. 84A).

    “On 31 December 1968, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) sailed for the Subic Bay, Philippines (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

Air War

 

    “Early in the war encounters between Migs and U.S. jets were rare but they increased steadily as the conflict grew larger. The two main fighters North Vietnam used were the Mig-17 and the supersonic Mig-21. The Mig-19 also served in small numbers but was virtually identical to the Mig-17. Both planes are primitive by western standards but possess superb maneuverability and multiple heavy cannon. The Mig-21 is significantly more advanced having better radar and heat-seeking air-to-air missiles as well as cannon.

 

     The F-4 Phantom, the main fighter for both the Navy and Air Force, lacked an internal gun or cannon.

 

     The Phantom relied on state of the art radar, long-range Sparrow missiles and short-range heat-seeking Sidewinders. Before Vietnam this all-missile armament was seen as quite sufficient and an internal gun obsolete. Pilots dogfighting in the skies over south-east Asia soon found the lack of a gun a real liability.

 

     Rules of engagement from the White House often put American aircrews at a disadvantage. Pilots had to visually identify targets as enemy aircraft before firing which often meant they were too close to engage with missiles.

 

     The loss in Southeast Asia of 421 fixed-wing aircraft from 1965 to 1968 attested to the strength of these defenses. The aviators killed, missing, or made prisoner totaled 450. The operating environment was especially dangerous in North Vietnam, where 382 Navy planes were shot down, 58 of them by SAMs (Air War)” (Ref. 102A).

 

     Over 20,000 combat missions were flown by Thunderchiefs in Vietnam. A total of over 350 Thunderchiefs (Ds and Fs) were lost in combat, most of them to North Vietnamese anti-aircraft fire. This was over half of all Thunderchiefs built. 126 F-105s were lost in 1966 alone, 103 of them to AAA. At one point in 1965-1968, it was calculated that a F-105 pilot stood only a 75 percent chance of surviving 100 missions over North Vietnam. Although the total number of losses was rather high, the actual loss rate was not that bad considering the total number of missions that were flown.

 

     The Thunderchief made an excellent tactical bomber. The internal bomb bay had originally been designed with nuclear weapons in mind, but for operations in Southeast Asia, the internal bay of the F-105D rarely carried any ordnance, usually being fitted with a 365-gallon auxiliary fuel tank” (Ref. 102B).

 

Weapons

 

     With the exception of the ammunition for the M61A1 cannon, all the ordnance was carried externally. With multiple ejector racks the F-105D could carry an impressive load of external fuel, ECM gear, and up to eight 750-pound bombs on long-range missions. On short-range missions, it could carry sixteen 750-pound bombs. Alternative combat loads were two 3,000-pound bombs or three drop tanks.

 

     On a typical mission over North Vietnam, the F-105D would carry six 750-pound bombs or five 1,000-pound bombs, along with two 450 US-gallon drop tanks. The D could also carry the Martin AGM-12 Bullpup air-to-surface missile, but this weapon was to prove almost useless in Vietnam against hardened targets. The F-105D could carry 2.75-inch rocket pods, napalm canisters, as well as four AIM-9 Sidewinder infrared homing air-to-air missiles. The M61A1 Gatling-type 20-mm cannon proved invaluable in the dual role of air-to-air combat and ground strafing. With its size and range, the F-105D could carry twice the bombload further and faster than the F-100 (Weapons)” (Ref. 102B).

 

    “USS Arlington (AGMR-2) departed the Subic Bay, Philippines, and, on 17 January 1969, she resumed direct communications support for naval units in the Tonkin Gulf on her tenth line period on "Yankee Station” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “At San Diego, California, USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) embarked a cargo of Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters for delivery to transport squadrons in Vietnam” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “Rear Malcolm W. Cagle assumed command as Commander Carrier Division One on 8 June 1968 and broke his flag aboard USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) on 23 January 1969” (Ref. 1275V6).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) made a port of call at Singapore from 31 January to 6 February 1969” (Ref. 405).

 

    “On 6 February 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) departed "Yankee Station," ending her tenth line period and communications patrol in the Tonkin Gulf and proceeded to Yokosuka, Japan (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “After upkeep at Yokosuka, Japan, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) conducted operations off southern Japan and in the Ryukyus” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “After a brief stop at Pearl Harbor a week later, USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) continued her voyage to Yokosuka, Japan where she arrived on the 20 February 1969” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga).

 

    “USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) departed Yokosuka, Japan on 28 February 1969 for the coast of Vietnam” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga).

 

    “Over the next four months, USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) served four periods on the line off Vietnam, interdicting communist supply lines and making strikes against their positions” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga & 72).

 

    “USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) arrived on “Yankee Station” on 4 March 1969 and began flight operations conducting combat sorties, interdicting communist supply lines and making strikes against positions of the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) made a port of call at Subic Bay, Philippines from 5 to 10 March 1969” (Ref. 405).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) loaded special landing-force equipment at Subic Bay, Philippines and embarked the Commander, Special Landing Forces Bravo and a squadron of Marine CH-46 transport helicopters” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “On 10 March 1969, USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) began operating in support of Operation Defiant Measure, steaming off Danang as her helicopters flew missions “on the beach” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “Repairs to the USS Enterprise (CVA(N)-65) were completed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in early March 1969” (Ref. 1-Enterprise, 72 & 84A).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) made a port of call at Hong Kong from 12 to 18 March 1969 on her way home to Alameda, Calif.” (Ref. 34).

 

    “With her part in Operation Defiant Measure over, USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) debarked her helicopters before steaming to Subic Bay, Philippines for upkeep on 18 March 1969” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) continued to operate in the Danang area during the weeks that followed, her helicopters flying frequent support missions, and her marines preparing for further combat landings” (Ref. 1Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “Toward the end of March 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) sailed for Hong Kong, whence she returned to Vietnam” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) pulled in for a port of call at Subic Bay, Philippines on 1 April 1969” (Ref. 405).

 

    “USS Arlington (AGMR-2) arrived at "Yankee Station" on her 11th line period and communications patrol in the Tonkin Gulf on 6 April 1969 and began testing her Apollo communications equipment” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) made a port of call at Yokosuka, Japan from 5 to 9 April 1969 and was relieved once more by USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) "Bonnie Dick" on 9 April 1969 in port and sailed for Alameda” (Ref. 43 & 405).

 

    “USS Arlington (AGMR-2) remained at "Yankee Station" on her 11th line period from 6 to 14 April 1969, where she tested her Apollo communications equipment” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “On 14 April 1969, North Korean aircraft shot down an unarmed EC-121 propeller-driven Constellation which was on a routine reconnaissance patrol over the Sea of Japan from its base at Atsugi, Japan. The entire 31-man crew was killed. U.S. response was to activate Task Force 71 to protect such flights over those international waters in the future. Initially, the TF consisted of the carriers USS Enterprise (CVA(N)-65), USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14), USS Ranger (CVA-61) and USS Hornet (CVA-12) with cruiser and destroyer screens” (Ref. 1-Enterprise & 72).

 

    “On 15 April 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) departed the Tonkin Gulf and headed back to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “During USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) second line period, however, her tour of duty off Vietnam came to an abrupt end on 16 April 1969 when she was shifted north to the Sea of Japan. North Korean aircraft had shot down a Navy reconnaissance plane in the area, and Ticonderoga was called upon to beef up the forces assigned to the vicinity. However, the crisis abated, and Ticonderoga entered Subic Bay, Philippines on 27 April 1969 for upkeep” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga & 72).

 

    “USS Hornet (CVS-12) was the first carrier to arrive in Sea of Japan on 16 April 1969, when North Korean shoot down an unarmed Navy EC-121 reconnaissance aircraft” (Ref. 1-Hornet & 323).

 

 

Aerial view of the San Francisco Naval Shipyard at Hunters Point, sometime between April and July 1968. USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) and USS Hancock (CVA-19) are easily identifiable. Also visible in this photo are USS Midway (CVA-41), undergoing her SCB-101.66 modernization in the drydock just aft of Coral Sea, and USS Oriskany (CVA-34), undergoing an 8-month overhaul in the background. Chester Morris comments: "The two A shaped structures (painted with stripes) next to the large overhead crane at the bottom of the photo, are a part of the system used to test the new Polaris missile during the 60's at Hunters Point. They would fire a missile with what I assume was compressed air, and they were a part of the catching apparatus." Robert M. Cieri 4th Vietnam Cruise, 7 September 1968 – 18 April 1969. NS024345 175k.

http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/024345.jpg

 

    “On 18 April 1969, USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) with Commander Kenneth W. Wallace, Commander Carrier Air Wing 15 (CVW-15) (tail code NL), Rear Malcolm W. Cagle broke his flag aboard Coral Sea on 23 January 1969, assuming command as Commander Carrier Division One on 8 June 1968 and Captain John E. Kennedy, Chief of Staff, Carrier Division One in February 1968 embarked (tail code NL) arrived Alameda, California, with Captain James Ferris, as Commanding Officer and Commander Fredrick Nelson relieved Commander Edward V. Laney, as Executive Officer on 17 December 1968, ending her seventhWestPac” deployment operating with the Pacific Fleet (25 January 1960 to Present) and tour of duty with the 7th Fleet in the Far East, on her sixth South China Sea deployment, her fourth Vietnam Combat Cruise (NHC Battle Order p 11) (110 line days on 5 line periods), proceeding via Pearl Harbor, Coral Sea reached Yokosuka, Japan the 25th, relieving USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) "Bonnie Dick." Coral Sea made a port of  call at Yokosuka, Japan, a city in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, covering an area of 100.7 km² and is the 11th most populous city in Greater Tokyo, 12th in the Kantō region from 23 to 28 September 1968. Coral Sea made a port of call at Subic Bay, Philippines from 6 to 7 October 1968. President Johnson had ordered a bombing halt above the 18th parallel and transshipment points along the highways and ferries became the new targets.  The air war for the Seventh Fleet aircraft carriers was now turning to close ground support of allied forces in South Vietnam. Enemy concentrations, storage areas and supply routes were the major targets for the airwing pilots. This stopped on at 2100 Saigon time, November 1, 1968, when President Johnson ordered a complete bombing halt above the 17th parallel. On 1 November 1968 the last Navy mission over the restricted area was flown earlier in the day from USS Constellation (CVA-64) by Cmdr. Kenneth E. Enney in an A-7 Corsair II Coral Sea moved south of that 17th parallel; from that point on, the ship flew only reconnaissance sorties over the North and strikes into South Vietnam and Laos. Ultimately, with USAF and USMC aircraft operating over the former, all strike missions came to be flown over Laos Coral Sea last combat mission in the north above the 17th parallel was at the northernmost costal defense sites on Hon Matt Island. President Lyndon Johnson's halting all bombing of North Vietnam above the 20th parallel, together with other imposed limitations, restricted the Navy's operational area to the territory between the 18th and 19th parallels. Lack of lucrative targets, poor weather, and crowded air space as a result of three carriers on station, characterized the Navy's operations there, as Coral Sea planes struck a series of traffic control points along the major highways in an effort to impede the logistics flow southward Coral Sea made a port of call at Subic Bay, Philippines from 4 to 12 November 1968. Punctuating her time on “Yankee Station” with a nine-day in port period at Subic, Coral Sea resumed air operations on November 1968, with strikes in USAF Steel Tiger (Southern Laos) areas controlled by airborne or radar controllers located at Camp Carroll, Dong Ha or DaNang. CVA-43's pilots encountered SAMs over North Vietnam for the last time in 1968 when LTJG James S. Ozbirin evaded one as he flew his VFP-63 RF-8G on a photo mission near Vinh, on 3 December 968. Five days later the ship's second line period ended. Coral Sea catapult shot put A-4C in water, killing CDR M Naschek of VA-216 attached to CVW-15 on 21 November 1968. Coral Sea made a port of  call at Yokosuka, Japan, a city in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, covering an area of 100.7 km² and is the 11th most populous city in Greater Tokyo, 12th in the Kantō region from 12 to  25 December 1968. Commander Fredrick Nelson relieved Commander Edward V. Laney, as Executive Officer of Coral Sea on 17 December 1968. Coral Sea spent from 12 to 25 December 1968 in Japanese waters. Coral Sea was in port at Sasebo, Japan for Christmas on 25 December 1968, operating in Japanese waters from the 12th. Coral Sea carried out two more line periods on “Yankee Station,” interspersing launching strikes in support of ground operations in South Vietnam and Laos followed by visits to Singapore, Subic Bay, Philippines (twice, for upkeep) and Hong Kong. Rear Malcolm W. Cagle assumed command as Commander Carrier Division One on 8 June 1968 and broke his flag aboard Coral Sea on 23 January 1969. Coral Sea made a port of call at Singapore from 31 January to 6 February 1969. Coral Sea made a port of call at Subic Bay, Philippines from 5 to 10 March 1969. Coral Sea made a port of call at Hong Kong from 12 to 18 March 1969 on her way home to Alameda, Calif. Coral Sea pulled in for a port of call at Subic Bay, Philippines on 1 April 1969. Coral Sea made a port of call at Yokosuka, Japan from 5 to 9 April 1969 and was relieved once more by USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) "Bonnie Dick" on 9 April 1969 in port and sailed for Alameda, with the knowledge that CVW-15's losses were reduced as a result of the bombing halt; however, 2 Aviators & 2 Airman KIA and four were missing in action during the downing of four aircraft. Ports of call include: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Yokosuka, Japan, a city in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, covering an area of 100.7 km² and is the 11th most populous city in Greater Tokyo, 12th in the Kantō region; Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines, U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay, a bay forming part of Luzon Sea on the west coast of the island of Luzon in Zambales, Philippines, about 100 kilometers northwest of Manila Bay and is a major ship-repair, supply, and rest and recreation facility of the United States Navy located in Olongapo, Zambales, Philippines twice; Yokosuka, Japan; Sasebo, Japan; Singapore; Subic Bay, Philippines; Hong Kong; Subic Bay, Philippines and Yokosuka, Japan (Source: Coral Sea Cruise Report for above ports of call and ref. 43 & 72). Squadrons: VF-151, F-4B; VF-161, F-4B; VA-153, A-4F; VA-52, A-6A; VFP-63 Det. 43, RF-8G; VA-216, A-4C; VAW-116, E-2A; VAW-13 Det. 43 (*1), EKA-3B; VAH-10 Det. 43 (*2), KA-3B and HC-1 Det. 43, UH-2C. (*1) VAW-13 redesignated VAQ-130 on Oct.1, 1968 and (*2) VAH-10 redesignated VAQ-129 on Sep.1, 1970; completing her 1st & 2nd Vietnam Expeditionary Force (VEF) deployments during her 1st & 2ndWestPac,” (first CVA in the Bering Sea during 12 December 1961 to 17 July 1962 deployment). Her seventh foreign water deployment since her visit to Vancouver, B.C. (18 to 22 March 1960) when she deployed from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington upon completion of sea trials and a post-overhaul inspection and survey evaluation, commencing once recommissioned, following SCB 110A conversion (16 April 1957 to 25 January 1960), decommissioned on 24 April 1957, completing nine tours of duty in the Mediterranean Sea operating with the 6th Fleet (7 June 1948 to 13 August 1956); reclassified hull classification symbol CVA-43 on 1 October 1952. Her 18th Foreign Water Fleet Deployment (FWFD) since her commission on 1 October 1947 (7 September 1968 to 18 April 1969)” (Ref. 1-Coral Sea, Constellation, 2-USS Coral Sea “Welcome Aboard” brochure, 34, 35, 43, 72, 405, 1275V3-/3, 1275T6, 1275V4, 1275V5, 1275V6, 1275V7, 1275V8 & 275V12-/12).

 

USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) Air Wing: Carrier Air Wing Fifteen (CVW)-15

 

DEPLOYMENT

 DATES

K

I

A

M

I

A

P

O

W

PLANES LOST

LINE DAYS

LINE PERIODS

WESTPAC

    & Combat

Mission

CVW-15 (NL)

 07/09/68-18/04/69

2

1

N/A

 4

 110

 5

 7th / 4th

 South China Sea

Reference 34, 35 & 43 reflect Chat info.

 

 07/09/68 - 18/04/69

 AWARD OR CITATION

 AWARD DATES

  “WESTPAC”

 Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit

 Citation

 15, 17 - 18, 21, 25 - 27 October, 14 - 16, 23, 25 & 28 November, 1- 2, 4 - 5 & 30 December 1968

  7th & 4th

 Vietnam

 Combat

 Vietnam Service Medal for Combat

 Operations

 16 - 11 October - 3 November, 14

 November - 8 December 1968 – 4 April on the 18th April 1969

 7th

 Engineering Excellence

 1968

 7th

 Communications Excellence

 1968

 7th

 Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Award

 1968

 7th

 Battle Efficiency Award 7th Fleet in

 the In the Pacific FY 1968

 30 September 1968

 7th

 Navy Unit Commendation

 18 April 1969

 7th

Reference 34 & 35 reflect Chat info.

 

 Seventh “WestPac” deployment and Fourth Vietnam Combat Cruise

 (7 September 1968 to 18 April 1969)

 (2 Aviators & 2 Airman KIA, 4 MIAs with 2 Presumed Killed in Action)

NAME

RANK

SQUADRON

DATE of LOSS

LOSS-COUNTRY
HOW

COMMENT

O. R. Orell

CDR

VA-52
A-1H

13 Oct. 1968

North Vietnam
Unknown

Missing in Action

James D. Hunt

LT
U. S. Navy

VA 52
A-6A

13 Oct.
1968

North Vietnam
Over Water
Unknown

Status in 1973: Missing in Action
Status in 1978 changed to: Presumed Killed in Action

Quinlen Orel

CDR
U. S. Navy

VA 52
A-6A

13 Oct.
1968

North Vietnam
Over Water
Unknown

Status in 1973: Missing in Action
Status in 1978 changed to: Presumed Killed in Action

Larry J. Stevens

LT JG
U. S. Navy

VA 216
A-4C

14 Feb. 1969

Laos, AAA and Small Arms Fire

Status in 1973: Missing in Action

Rodney Chapman

LT CDR
U. S. Navy

VAH 10
KA-3B

18 Feb. 1969

North Vietnam
Over Water

Status in 1973: Killed/ Body not

Stanley M. Jerome

E-6
U. S. Navy

VAH 10
KA-3B

18 Feb. 1969

North Vietnam
Over Water

Status in 1973: Killed/ Body not Recovered

Eddie Schimmels

E-
U. S. Navy

VAH 10
KA-3B

18 Feb. 1969

North Vietnam
Over Water

Status in 1973: Killed/ Body not Recovered

Rodney Chapman

LT CDR
U. S. Navy

VAH 10
KA-3B

18 Feb. 1969

North Vietnam
Over Water

Status in 1973: Killed/ Body not Recovered

USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) Association http://www.usscoralsea.org - Ref. 34

Reference 43 reflects CVW-15's losses reduced as a result of the bombing halt; however, two more men died and one was missing in action during the downing of four aircraft.

 

    “On 2 May 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) arrived in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and once again joined TF 130” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) re-embarked her helicopters as well as part of a battalion landing team of Marines who had been taking part in fighting ashore on 3 May 1969, arriving Danang on 18 March 1969” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Arlington (AGMR-2) with TF 130 was assigned as primary landing area communications relay ship for the Apollo 10 capsule” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “On 8 May 1969, USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) departed Subic Bay, Philippines to return to "Yankee Station" and resumed interdiction operations. Between her third and fourth line periods, the carrier visited Sasebo and Hong Kong” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga & 72).

 

    “USS Arlington (AGMR-2) departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 11 May 1969 and steamed for the Apollo 10 recovery area, some 2,400 miles south of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

     “Captain Samuel G. Gorsline, Jr. assumed command of USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), on 16 May 1969, relieving Captain James Ferris, 22nd Commanding Officer, serving from 2 March 1968 to 16 May 1969” (Ref. 34 & 35A).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) operated in Danang on 3 May 1969 to late May, arriving Danang on on 18 March 1969” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “On 26 May 1969, the Apollo 10 capsule was recovered and the assigned ships USS Arlington (AGMR-2) including returned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “A new, major development in carrier fire prevention occurred on 26 May 1969 when USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42) put to sea from the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va., after an 11-month overhaul which included installation of a deck edge spray system using the new seawater compatible fire-fighting chemical, Light Water” (Ref. 1-Roosevelt).

 

    “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) completed a two month restricted availability at Bremerton, Washington returning to NAS Alameda, Ca. on June 1969 and a slate of refresher training operations out of San Diego” (Ref. 34).

 

    “During late May and early June 1969, USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) received visits from Secretary of the Navy John Chafee and Vice Admiral William F. Bringle, Commander 7th Fleet” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “From Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) proceeded to Midway Atoll where she provided communications support for the Nixon-Thieu conference on 8 June 1969 and, on the 9th, she sailed west” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) offloaded her marines at Danang on 10 June 1969 and embarked a battalion landing team for transportation to Okinawa” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) arrived Okinawa on 16 June 1969 with a battalion landing team for transportation” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “On 24 June 1969, the first operational "hands off" arrested landing using the AN/SPN-42, Automatic Carrier Landing System (ACLS), on a carrier was performed by Lt. Dean Smith and Lt.j.g. James Sherlock of Fighter Squadron 103 when their F-4 Phantom landed aboard USS Saratoga (CV-60)” (Ref. 1-Saratoga).

 

    “USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) arrived on “Yankee Station” for her last line period of the deployment on 26 June 1969 and there followed 37 more days of highly successful air sorties against enemy targets. Following that tour, she joined TF 71 in the Sea of Japan for the remainder of the deployment until which time she departed the Sea of Japan and deployed to Subic Bay, Philippines” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga).

 

    “The battalion landing team arriving onboard in Okinawa conducted amphibious exercises with USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) from 16 to 27 June 1969 (11 days) and boarded the ship for a voyage to Subic Bay, Philippines where they continued the training process” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “On 27 June 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) returned to the Vietnamese coast” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “On 7 July 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) was ordered east for her third Apollo recovery mission” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “USS Hornet (CVA-12) was the recovery carrier for the Apollo 11 moon mission during which astronauts Neil Armstrong, and Edwin Aldrin Jr., landed on and walked on the moon in July 1969. Fellow astronaut Michael Collins remained in orbit around the moon” (Ref. 1-Hornet).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) returned to the Danang area on 8 July 1969 and resumed flying helicopter support for Marine ground forces in the northern I Corps area, during which time she took evasive action to avoid an approaching typhoon and then began preparations for an amphibious operation” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “Arriving in the Apollo recovery area on 21 July 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) tested her equipment; and, on 22 July 1969,  moved to Johnston Island” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “On 23 July 1969, USS Arlington (AGMR-2) embarked President Nixon for an overnight visit; and, on the 24th, supported the recovery of Apollo 11. Crew and capsule successfully recovered, Arlington headed for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, whence she steamed to the west coast” (Ref. 1-Saipan & 72).

 

    “Operation Brave Armada began on 24 July 1969 with a helicopter-borne assault on suspected Viet Cong and North Vietnamese positions in Quang Ngai Province” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) remained in the Quang Ngai-Chu Lai area to support this attack until its completion on 7 August 1969 and then steamed to Danang to debark her marines” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) departed Danang and sailed for Okinawa on 13 August 1969” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) arrived Okinawa four days after her departure from Danang and disembarked her helicopter squadron before getting underway again to evade another typhoon” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) departed Okinawa and proceeded to Hong Kong, dropping anchor there on 22 August 1969, the day on which she received a message announcing her forthcoming inactivation” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “On 22 August 1969, USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) collides with a tug and a Navy barge in San Francisco Bay, injuring one barge crewman” (Ref. 84A).

 

    “Following an initial 20-day period of supporting strikes in South Vietnam as well as Laos, USS Constellation (CVA-64) sailed to Defender Station in the Sea of Japan, which had been created as a result of increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula” (Ref. 1-Constellation & 72).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) returned to Danang  on 3 September 1969 to load material for shipment to the United States and sailed that evening for Yokosuka for three days of upkeep before leaving the Far East” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

    “USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) departed Subic Bay, Philippines on 4 September 1969 headed to San Diego, Calif.” (Ref. 1-Ticonderoga).

 

    “USS Valley Forge (LPH-8) got underway from Yokosuka, Japan on 11 September 1969 and sallied for Long Beach, Calif.” (Ref. 1-Valley Forge & 72).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER XXIII

 USS CORAL SEA (CV 43)

Operations Evening Light and Eagle Claw, A Sailors tale of his Tour of duty in the U.S. Navy (August 1977 to February 1983)

 

A Sailors tale of his Tour of duty in the U.S. Navy - Operation Evening Light And Eagle Claw -

 

Book - ISBN NO.

978-1-4276-0454-5

EBook - ISBN NO.

978-1-329-15473-5

 

Operations Evening Light and Eagle Claw (24 April 1980) Iran and Air Arm History (1941 to Present)

 

Operations Evening Light and Eagle Claw (24 April 1980) Iran and Air Arm History (1941 to Present)

 

Book ISBN NO.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

EBook ISBN NO.

978-1-329-19945-3

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA  Vol. I (10 July 1944 to 31 December 1975)

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA Vol. I (10 July 1944 to 31 December 1975) -

 

Book ISBN NO.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EBook ISBN NO.

978-1-329-54596-0

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA DURING HER TOUR OF SERVICE Vol. II (1 January 1976 to 25 August 1981)

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA DURING HER TOUR OF SERVICE Vol. II (1 January 1976 to 25 August 1981) -

 

Book ISBN NO.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EBook ISBN NO.

978-1-329-54790-2

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA DURING HER TOUR OF SERVICE Vol. III (20 August 1981 to 26 April 1990)

 

USS CORAL SEA CV-42, CVB-43, CVA-43 & CV-43 HISTORY, AND THOSE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OPERATING WITH CORAL SEA DURING HER TOUR OF SERVICE Vol. III (20 August 1981 to 26 April 1990) -

 

Book ISBN NO.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

EBook ISBN NO.

978-1-329-55111-4