DD-710's 28 Year tour of duty log: 1945-1973
Latest update: 8/18/10... 1945-1946, Beverly Trowbridge.
Below is a recap of USS Gearing's fleet operations,
done from a ship's history dated 1 January 1966 and E-mail
advice from a number of knowledgeable people listed below.
There are still gaps in some years and lots of room for improvement.
If you can add to or correct the facts or know of useful
web links to other sites with related content...
Send Email to web page author.
Keel laid August 10, 1944 at Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock
Company, Port Newark, New Jersey.
Launched 192 days later on February 18, 1945. The sponsor at the
launch and christening ceremony was Mrs. Thomas M. Foley, daughter
of the late Commander Henry Chalfont Gearing.
CLICK HERE to see photo of Gearing sliding down the ways.
CLICK HERE to see Gearing, post-launch, being outfitted.
Commissioned May 3, 1945 at Brooklyn Navy Yard. Commandant of the New York
Naval Yard, Rear Admiral F. D. Daubin, USN, at 12:00 hours, directed by
order of the Chief of Naval Operations that USS Gearing DD-710 be placed
in full commission in the United States Navy. At 12:05 Commander Thomas
Henry Copeman assumed command. At 12:06 the Executive Officer, Lt. Robert
W. Hayler, was directed to set the watch. The first Officer of the Deck was
Thomas I. Storrs, USNR.
CLICK HERE to see the FIRST PAGE of the deck log,
including a full list of plankowners.
Gearing was assigned to 135th Division, Squadron 68.
V-E Day, May 8, 1945. Moored at Brooklyn Navy Yard. Most crew members
who are not on duty go to Manhattan for big celebration.
CLICK HERE to read Beverly Trowbridge's 12 page "Memories of Stories Told
by Grandpa Malcolm Trowbridge, Jr." (Ens. Malcolm Trowbridge was a plank-
owner USS Gearing officer and Ms. Trowbridge's recollections cover
the 1945-1946 activities of the Trowbridges and DD-710.
Plankowners Carl T. Lloyd (RM3c 45-46),
Dominick Giampietro (MM1/c 44-46), Fred Burkett (BKR2 45)
and Art Jackson (RD2 45) along with Gearing
Association Historian George Jones (BM3 56-59)
have contributed most of the 1945 recollections below:
Fred Burkett: "We picked up the ship at the Brooklyn Navy
Yard when it was new. After the crew was compiled the skipper
threw a big party for us at Madison Square Garden at which time
a group picture was taken. I have never been able to find a copy
of that picture. They sold copies and I never got a copy. Any
archives in D.C. with pictures? We then took it to GTMO for the
shakedown cruise. As you know, the Sumner/Gearings were the first
destroyers built with TWIN 5's fore and aft."
Sailed from Brooklyn on 22 May and arrived Guantanamo Bay
on 25 May for 4 weeks of shakedown cruise operations and
training. Dominick Giampietro remembers being at the throttles
when the ship achieved 34.5 knots on the full power run.
Gearing became the flag for Desron 68 at 16:00 on 20 June.
On 25 June we took passengers aboard for transportation to
the US and sailed to Culebra Island, W.I., for shore bombardment.
We sailed for Brooklyn on 26 June and arrived on 29 June.
While in Brooklyn everyone got to go on a 10 day leave.
Propellor inspection/repair done at Brooklyn Naval Shipyard
(needed after the depth charge drills.) Also, modifications
were made to remove the aft torpedo tubes and install a quad
40mm, replace all single 20mm mounts with twin 20mm mounts,
and gobs of new radio equipment.
Sailed for Norfolk on 21 July for exercises to get ready for
planned duty in the Pacific. While based in Norfolk, also
trained precommissioning crews for other destroyers.
But the war ended... V-J Day, September 2, 1945.
Art Jackson remembers "For some reason we were in barracks
instead of aboard the ship. A few of us were there, not on
liberty nor on duty. We celebrated by taking a swig
of shaving lotion...a SMALL swig...UGH!"
First homeport assignment becomes Casco Bay, Maine
Sailed on 3 Oct for our new home port of Casco Bay, Maine,
Arrived Casco Bay on 5 Oct. Had to anchor. Open boats were
needed to ferry liberty parties ashore from the various ships.
Back to Boston on 12 Oct for minor repairs, returning
on 15 Oct.
Oct 21 - Memorial service at Grand Trunk Pier, Portland, Maine.
Went to sea to drop flowers in commemoration of United States
Navy personnel who lost their lives at sea during this war.
Oct 26-29 Navy Day open house at State Pier, New London, CT.
Approximately 1,400 visitors.
Oct 30 Left New London for Norfolk. Departed Norfolk on
1 Nov and conducted air and surface gunnery practice off the
Atlantic coast. Arrived Pensacola 4 Nov.
Practice antisubmarine detection with our own subs. Also
operated with USS Ranger CV-4, and USS Guadalcanal CVE-60.
Gearing received commendations from judges for its efforts.
Sailed to Puerto Rico where we practiced shelling the shoreline
On November 16 a change of command ceremony:
Commander Parsons relieved Commander Copeman at Pensacola.
November 19: Port visit up a very narrow channel to Houston, Texas.
In Pensacola at the end of November, many of the crew, those with
enough points (based on age, marriage status, and time in service)
were detached and sent to their respective separation centers for
1946 1 Jan.: became the flagship for Desron 4, the Bulldog Squadron.
Returned to Norfolk on 21 March.
USS Gearing and USS Greene DD-711 were plane guards in 1946
for the USS Roosevelt (CVA-42) during the test flight of the
first all-jet-engine plane to take off from a carrier.
At the U.S.Naval Historical Center website it can be found that
on 21 July 1946 "In the first test of adaptability of aircraft
to shipboard operation, an XFD-1 Phantom piloted by Lieutenant
Commander James Davidson, made successful landings and takeoffs
(deck launched without catapults) on board Franklin D. Roosevelt."
December 1946 in drydock at Boston Naval Shipyard.
1947 South America cruise: Visits included Montevideo,
Uruguay, and Rio de Janerio, Brazil. Sister ships on the South
America cruise included Greene (DD-711), Gyatt (DD-712), and Bailey
(DD-713). Port of Spain, and GTMO were included.
The first Equator crossing: Lat. 00-00, Lon. 37-12 was
on 20 Feb. at 08:30. Click to see Carlton Caron (SK3 46-47)photo
of port visit to Rio DeJaniero.
Cruised to ports of the U.S. eastern seaboard including a trip up
the Potomac River to Washington D.C. for a Navy Day celebration.
Jim Mulquin: GEARING made her first (and possibly only) visit to
Washington, DC in 1947; from Hampton Roads, she steamed north
up Chesapeake Bay and into the Potomac River, past Quantico and
Alexandria; she tied up at the Naval Gun Factory (now the
Washington Navy Yard) approx. 25-28 October 1947, helping the
city celebrate Navy Day; thousands of visitors were escorted
aboard; also present at this time was USS PLUNKETT (DD-431),
extracted from mothballs at NSY Charleston and used as a Reserve
training ship along the East Coast for several years; GEARING was
one of many ships of her class that visited Washington from 1945
until about 1978, when deterioration of the main channel down the
Eastern Branch (Anacostia River) prevented most destroyer visits;
an exception was the decommissioned BARRY's arrival in November
1983 (under tow) as a permanent museum/display ship at the Navy Yard.
In a June 2007 email, Jim Mulquin adds,
"Of possible interest: Tin Can Sailors is planning to publish my article
re: DE visits to Washington (1944-78 or so); a second article will address some
eighty-six(86) DD visits (1915-1978), including GEARING; I have documented visits
of 300-400 ships to Washington/Alexandria since 1801 -- names,identities,dates,
piers, including one battleship, one aircraft carrier and a number of cruisers,
and, if you have any specific questions, will be glad to respond; amazing what
managed to navigate the Potomac River over the years; equally amazing (at least
to me) is how little official documentation exists of Washington port visits for
the past two centuries, and how difficult it is to gather information on the subject."
Gearing set sail on 10 November for the first time to the Mediterranean
Sea. Countries included in ports of call included Algeria, Malta,
Italy and France.
1948 Returned from 1st Med cruise on 11 March. Peacetime operations
followed: operations off of the U.S. east coast and Caribbean
1949 Underway Jan 3 for the Med. via Operation Frostbite in arctic waters.
Port visits at Gibralter, Augusta (Sicily), Naples, Golfe Juan,
Valetta (Malta), Tripoli, Mersin (Turkey), Athens, Argostoli (Greece),
Messina (Sicily), Leghorn (Italy), Ajjaccio (Corsica), Menton
(France), Villefrance (see photo), Oran (Algeria).
Left Gibralter May 14, arrived Norfolk May 23.
Joe Simpson did a tour on the Gearing from 1947 to 1949
(reporting as a Seaman 1 and detached as a GM2). He recalls,
in a February, 2002 email to this web page, an Atlantic storm on
the return trip from the Med. in 1949 in which life rafts and
depth charge racks were torn away: "We lost all of them during
seas that were of sufficient height to have turned back one of
the British Queens, I recall it as having been the Mary and as
we stood on the forward torpedo deck, we, the torpedoman assigned
to monitor the forward torpedo tubes and myself on watch to monitor
the depth charge racks watched the carrier we were escorting take
water over her flight deck. This would have been under Captain
Kaufman as we were returning from our second cruise to the med in
1949. And yes, I do have black and white photos that I had taken as
each of the events unfolded. First the life boat bow line gave way,
and then the now trailing life boat still secured to the after davit
gave way taking the davit with her, then the four inch welded pipes
holding the life raft gave way, you can actually see the weld
breaking as over four feet of water on deck proceded to carry away
the depth charges and their launch carriages."
In 1949 Captain William W. Outerbridge was Commander Destroyer
Squadron 4, and USS Gearing was his flagship. Commodore Outerbridge
was later to become Admiral Outerbridge, but he is best known for
his mark on Naval history as Lieutanant Outerbridge on December 7,
1941. As Commanding Officer of the USS Ward DD-139, patrolling
the entrance to Pearl Harbor, Outerbridge carried out the attack
on and sinking of a Japanese midget submarine, about an hour before
the infamous attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor. The Ward's action
is regarded as the first action against Japan in the Pacific war.
Outerbridge was awarded the Navy Cross for heroism.
1950 Operation Portex in the Caribbean
overhaul at Boston Naval Shipyard
reftra at GTMO
1951 new home port: Norfolk, Virginia
6th Fleet Med. cruise from 10 January to 17 May.
Arthur Hagstrom of the USS Gyatt remembers a fender bender
between Gearing and Gyatt at Villefrance...
"Am writing you regarding a "fender bender" between the subject
ships. I was standing on the fantail in Villefrance, France when
the Gyatt slipped anchor and could not get enough steam up to
prevent the two ships colliding approximately May, 1951. It was
too cold to see any bikinis on the beach The Gearing had to drop
its anchor chain to prevent it from fouling up in the screws on the
Gyatt. However, the bow of the Gearing hit the port side of the
Gyatt and cut a hole at the after crews quarters. While all this
was happening the Commodore was standing up on the bow of the
Gearing. The Gearing was the Flagship of DESRON 4 at that time.
He did not have his uniform jacket on when one of the SN asked him
to catch a line. He sent for his jacket and when the SN saw it he
"As a Damage Controlman I went below to shore up the hole so that
we could sail around to calmer waters where the Cruiser USS
Cersarge was anchored. They provided a 4x8 steel plate that was
welded in place. Your records show that it happened in Istanbul.
I recall seeing the liner SS America there. Allot of our crew
took the motor whale boat into the city and went out to the liner
for a good time. All of the above is from memory and there may be
some I may have left out.
"Served from 1949 to 1953 aboard USS Gyatt. Came aboard just in
time to make the Blue Nose cruise to the Arctic Circle Nov. 1949."
Arthur W. Hagstrom, DC2, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the summer of 1951, Gearing made a 6 week "middie" cruise
included stop at Halifax. Then Operation Lantex in the Caribbean
1952 6th Fleet Med cruise
overhaul at Norfolk Naval Shipyard
reftra at GTMO
This info is from Joe Peters of the USS Dyess (relating to 1952-53):
"While in the Med I believe that Gearing was with Dyess and we were
the first U.S. ships to enter the Black Sea when the Russians
declared it off-limits to U.S. warships. We were sent there to prove
them wrong. While anchored there, I believe it was Gearing or Gyatt
dragged anchor and crashed broadside into our bow, just a fender
bender." (Joe Peters: email@example.com is looking for a list
of all the Squadron 4 ships on the Black Sea cruise.)
1953 6th Fleet Med cruise.
Click here for Ted Diemer's ship photo entering Toulon 9/53.
1954 Operation Springboard in the Caribbean
Operation Novorak with Canadian Navy
6th Fleet Med cruise
overhaul at Norfolk Naval Shipyard
reftra at GTMO
1955 6th Fleet Med cruise... Istanbul, Naples, Palma, Rhodes,
Athens, Iskenderun, Suda Bay,
At Norfolk, on April 8, USS Alan M. Sumner, the lead ship of its
class, moored alongside USS Gearing, the lead ship of its class.
CLICK HERE to see the Alan M. Sumner DD-692 index of on-line
log pages for the year 1955, including the April 8 meeting
CLICK HERE to see the 20 year long list of Sumner's log pages.
Gearing shares many of these experiences. This page is a sub-page
of the Sumner's extensively detailed and interesting web site.
1956 Operation Springboard... Havana (click for Don Ruggles' MM3 54-56
photo), San Juan. NROTC middie cruise... Barcelona, Belfast,
Guantanamo. Overhaul at Norfolk Naval Shipyard
1957 reftra... Kingston
civilian orientation cruise off Florida
6th Fleet Med and Red Sea cruise... Aden, Massawa, Eritriea,
Athens, Corfu, Suda Bay
CLICK HERE to see Aden photos and recollections
forwarded by email from Arlie Harman (Ltjg 55-58).
Arlie writes, "Now, for the old DesRon 4 sailors.
In looking on the web trying to pin down
the identity of the tin can alongside us
(in the Aden photo), I ran across info
to recall the other ships of the squadron.
Here they are in case anybody is interested.
I think the hull numbers are reasonably accurate:
Gearing DD 710 Flagship
McCard DD 822 (Replaced Gyatt which became
a DDG of some sort.
Couldn't find hull number.)
Ellison DD 864
Vogelgesang DD862 (Vogie)
Eugene A. Greene DD 711
Dyess DDR(?) 880
Bordelon DD(?) 881
Furse DDR(?) 882"
December '57 Sailed for Med. Storm crisis near Azores. Emergency
refueling with USS Salamonie. Lawrence W. Beckhaus,
GMG2, of the Salamonie (skippered then by Capt.
Edward L. Beach), was awarded the Navy and Marine
Corps Medal for rescue of Gearing sailor who was
washed overboard during the refueling.
1958 "Dux" logo developed.
Storm damage repair at Gibralter and Naples (alongside USS Tidewater.)
6th Fleet Med cruise continues... Ismir, Iskenderun
middie cruise to northern Europe... Oporto, Copenhagen, Antwerp
Jim Purcell remembers...
"That was the year of the Brussels Worlds Fair and some of
the guys who were also scheduled to be assigned to her got
flown all around Europe trying to catch up with her. I
wasn't that lucky. I came aboard after she returned."
COMDESRON4 transfers flag from USS Gearing to USS Manley.
4 months upkeep and refresher training at GTMO
In 1957-1958 William Charles Fitzgerald served aboard the Gearing
after his 1956 enlistment in the Navy. He later received an
appointment to the the Naval Academy and earned his commission in
June 1963. On 7 August 1967 Lt. Fitzgerald was killed in Vietnam.
He was postumously awarded the U. S. Navy's highest decoration for
valor, the Navy Cross. In 1995 an Arleigh Burke class destroyer
was named for him.
Click here to see the William C. Fitzerald DDG-62's home page
which includes a complete history of William Charles Fitzgerald.
(Please EMAIL this page author if you can add to recollections
about William C. Fitzgerald's 1957-1958 service aboard DD-710.)
1959 On July 11 a collision at sea: Gearing was struck by a coal
collier, the SS Malden of Mystic Connecticut, off Norfolk in
fog and early morning darkness while executing a turn in
a long line of ships. Surface search radar was out.
Danger of sinking was lessened only by the fact that the
impact was absorbed by Mount 51's barbette. Towed
to Portsmouth, Va. shipyard for repairs. Dahlgren weapons
experts helped to unload ammunition.
Click here to see photos in drydock from Derry L Mount (BT2 59-61).
Paul Kelly (MM3 59-61)recalls, "I was throttleman in the main
engine room for the collision G.Q. Chief Wade told me to answer
the bells and he assigned someone else to enter them in the log
knowing there would probably be an inquiry. Some of the small
miracles that occurred: A messenger, Dunn, had been in the reefers
taking readings when we were hit. He showed up in the engineroom
visibly shaken and soaking wet announcing that there was a ship
in the reefers! The forward officers' stateroom was destroyed.
The two officers who normally berthed there were both on watch.
That was the first time during that cruise they had both been on
watch at the same time."
1959-60 6th Fleet Med cruise... Beirut, Monaco, Athens, Istanbul, Barcelona
returned to new homeport in Charleston, South Carolina.
July 20, 1960: Observer at Polaris missle test by USS George
Washington SSBN-598. Paul Kelly (MM3 59-61) and Vic Fredda
(LTjg 58-61) recalled the event. Vic Fredda remembers "A test
firing of a missile fired from Cape Canaveral had to be
destroyed. The first missile fired from the George Washington
looked like it was going to tip over, but it righted itself and
was successful. We watched a total of 4 shots, all successful."
Friendship cruise to Africa and South America as part of Operation
SOLANT Amity, Oct. 31, 1960 to April 14, 1961
Flagship for Deputy Commander South Atlantic...
Belem and Recife (Brazil), Freetown (Sierra Leone)
Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Doula (Cameroun), Bathurst
(Gambia), Dakar (Senegal), Capetown (South Africa),
and the Cape Verde Islands
November 12, 1960: DD-710 is the first naval vessel to fly
the 50 star flag outside the U.S. As part of ceremony
the Navy's first 49 star flag was flown before the 50 star
flag was hoisted by Chief Fred (Eddie) Schneider.
During the Solant cruise to Africa it was a long time between
mail calls and Paul Kelly (MM3 '59-'61) recalls: "I don't
know who was responsible for what follows but it was a
brilliant move... I believe we were in Senegal (Dakar), and
at about 11:00 two French Army trucks come out on the pier and
in them is Louis Armstrong and his band ! They played for two
hours in blistering heat and then came aboard and ate on the
mess decks. He then arranged two nights in a row for tickets
to his concert on him. What a guy!!!! He was in the middle of
a world tour sponsored by Pepsi and the U.S. Government."
CLICK HERE to see the Louis Armstrong page
from the 1960-61 cruisebook.
G Company of 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines rides Gearing for six
weeks. Their LST had to make room for Belgian troops
being evacuated from the Congo. Headed by 1st Lt. J.
Thompson, the Marines stood watches and otherwise had
a ball. Ltjg Vic Fredda recalls: "They were especially
helpful during the Santa Maria crisis (see next item)
in keeping our glorious newspeople under control. In one
incident I had to call the marines to move reporters from the
ship's side so we could rescue another reporter who had rented
a plane and parachuted into the Atlantic to get to the Santa
Maria. The reporters along the rail wanted pictures and would
have allowed him to drown."
CLICK HERE to see photos and read the account of Ed Shea,
a member of the Gearing's Marine detachment.
Feb 2002 update: Ed Shea recently borrowed the SolantAmity
cruisebook from USS Gearing Association George Jones and has
scanned it. The entire cruisebook (7 megabytes) is available
to download in an Adobe .pdf file from Ed's web site, which
also has a lot of photos and recollections about the trip...
Ed Shea's Solant Amity website (www.solantamity.com) also
features, in its December 2004 newsletter, an update on USS
Gearing's Ensign Perry Benson (he was First Lieutenant in 1961).
Click here to download a .pdf copy of the newsletter.
Jan. 25-Feb 3: Intercepted hi-jacked Portguese liner Santa Maria
in the South Atlantic. Sailed from Recife with Admiral Smith
and 70-80 reporters aboard to intercept Captain Galvao,
July 27, 1961 at Gitmo. Fidel Castro threatens to "take the base".
About 40 midshipmen were aboard at the time. They were armed
and taken up into the hills to reinforce the perimeter.
Gearing moved out into the bay to take up fire support position.
Turned out to be another Castro bluff.
November 1961 to September 1962 - temporary reserve status:
FRAM MK I conversion at Boston Naval Shipyard
September 1962 - at Norfolk and Mayport in preparation for planned GTMO
reftra, but then ordered to sea from Mayport to begin
the Cuban Blockade and stop Russian missile deliveries.
Quoting from the Naval archives...
"October 25, 1962--7:15A.M.: The aircraft carrier USS Essex and the
destroyer USS Gearing hail and attempt to intercept the Soviet
tanker Bucharest. Since there is no reason to suspect the ship
carries contraband, the Bucharest is allowed to continue
its voyage to Cuba." (Department of Defense Operations during
the Cuban Missile Crisis, 2/12/63, p. 4)
FAST FORWARD TO 2012 >>> CLICK to read Gearing shipmates'
recollections about the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis 50 years later.
1962 Refresher training completed at Norfolk
new homeport: Newport, Rhode Island
new squadron assignment: DESRON 20 (Papasan), including
Beatty DD-756 Norris DD-859
Zellars DD-777 Myles C. Fox DD-829
Charles P. Cecil DD-835 Newman K. Perry DD-883
Decatur DD-936 (converted in 1965-1967 to DDG-31)
1963 Operation Springboard... St. Croix, San Juan
6th Fleet Med cruise... Naples, Palma, Valetta, Athens, Golfe Juan,
St. Raphael. LaSpezia, Civitevecchia,
War College Indoctrination cruise with new SSN Nathan Hale
DASH installed at Norfolk
1964 Operation Springboard... Fredericksted, San Juan, Port Antonio,
Guantanamo Bay. Assistant SECNAV Longstreet
rides and observes for two days.
DD710 won squadron "E" for excellence after the Springboard
competitive exercises. Jon Volz (FTG3 62-64) remembers:
"You know we sank a lot of sleds and shot a lot of sleeves to
get that award. Also just about knocked off a few Marines on
GITMO with a little shore bombardment. At that point in time we
just blew up whatever was out there!"
Orientation cruise for Eugene Straub-Bureau of the Budget.
Assistance rendered off of Newport at collision scene of
Decatur DD-936 and Lake Champlain CVS-39
COMDESRON20 transfers flag from Decatur to Gearing
In our June-July 1964 "NROTC Middie cruise" Gearing along
with other DESRON 20 ships sailed up the St. Lawrence Seaway
to Montreal to help celebrate that city's kickoff of
preparing for their world's fair, "Expo '67".
We then sailed back to New York City, docking on the
west side of Manhattan, to help celebrate the 1964
New York World's Fair, then in progress.
For the many ships moored in New York harbor that week
this was an early version of what later became an
annual Fleet Week.
North Atlantic operations and Med. cruise
September 8, 1964 to January 30, 1965.
30 days at sea: Operations Masterstroke and Teamwork in
the North Atlantic between Labrador and Iceland
6th Fleet ...Palma, Naples, Sfax, Genoa, Barcelona,
Theoule, Cannes, Valencia.
Chaplain Boyette pens "Of Home Again" for cruise book.
1965 Operation Springboard... San Juan, Fredericksted, Charlotte Amalie
Kingston, Guantanamo Bay.
2/65 near GTMO: (click to see photos)
Gearing motor whaleboat crew rescued USS Essex pilot from the
water after a catapult fizzled. (Lee Rife was on port lookout
at the time and remembers "I looked in amazement since that plane
was moving too slow. I reported 'HE ISN'T GOING TO MAKE IT! HE
ISN'T GOING TO MAKE IT!'")
41 days at sea: Sailed from Newport urgently and on very short notice.
Crisis in the Dominican Republic required continuous
patrol of the mouth of the harbor off Santo Domingo. Gearing and
crew awarded Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. (XO LCdr. Tom Rogers
organized and trained "Roger's Raiders" in the event a landing force
would be needed. It was not.)
6th Fleet Med cruise, August 9 to December 18:
Ponta del Gada, Naples, Beirut, Aden,
Muscat, Bahrein, Massawa, Naples, Monaco,
Malaga, Palma, Gibralter.
(Click here for Aden photos and recollections.)
(Click here for Bill Latta's great Monaco pix.)
(Click here to see the Monaco visit page
from the 1965 cruisebook.)
August 27: exchanged observers with Becuna (SS-319, a Balao
class refitted in 1951 to Guppy Ia class) and ran ASW torpedo
drills. Becuna is now a museum sub in Philadelphia.
Another sub of this class can be toured in Hackensack, NJ:
USS Ling (SS-297) and the New Jersey Naval Museum
"Flash" message ordered Gearing to steam at best speed from
Muscat to position 50 miles off coast of Karatchi, Pakistan to
stand by for possible evacuation of Americans during civil
unrest. "Laid to" at sea for 11 days before crisis ended.
1966 3 month overhaul at Boston Naval Shipyard
reftra at GTMO
1966-1967 6th Fleet Med cruise November 28, 1966 to March 20 1967
Gibralter, Naples, Palma, Sfax, Athens
Kavalla, Valetta, Gibralter
1967... Participated in the initial Polaris missile system trials of
SSBN-659 Will Rogers, newest Lafayette class fleet ballistic
1968... 6th fleet 20th anniverary cruise: Malaga, Toromolino, Valetta
Port Mahon (Menorca), Casablanca (with ComDesRon 20 aboard),
Naples, Bandol (France), Athens, Porto Conte (Sardinia),
Iskendrun (Turkey), Pollensa Bay (Majorca).
Cruise included dog & pony show held for top NATO officials.
Also ASW operations in the western Med. with Scorpion (SSN-589).
(In May of 1968 Scorpion went down with 88 men on board
400 miles southwest of the Azores while return from the Med.
On the return trip Captain Leis becomes a poet and
is awarded a published page in the cruisebook.
1969... Med. cruise: Naples, Athens, Thessaloniki, Golfe Juan, Valetta,
Golfe Juan, Barcelona, Suda Bay, Mykonos, Soudha Bay,
Although Gearing did some plane guarding for the Saratoga,
this was not a conventional med cruise. The new Russian
carrier Moskva had entered the med and DD-710 was ordered to
depart Barcelona on a high speed run to Naples for installation
of a "special module" on the hangar deck.
Then, for 3-4 months, followed the Russian fleet doing
surveillance work. Had NATO Navy, U.S. Naval Academy and
N.R.O.T.C. midshipmen on board for their summer cruises.
Much of the time went without normal replenishment, refueling
or mail. To get turkeys for Thanksgiving, the CO of an AE from
which Gearing was refueling had to be "blackmailed".
William E. Wilk (SFM3-1969) recalls the cruise: "I was on the
USS Gearing in 1969 when it went on a med cruise from Newport,
Rhode Island, its homeport. I can remember following the Russian
fleet, and their aircraft carrier. If I recall correctly, their
carrier only had four helicopters on it. They used to fly low over
our ship, especially over the bow. The "special module" was a box
similar to that of a box truck. I was a shipfitter SFM3 on the
Gearing, and I was the one who welded the angle iron onto the
hangar deck to mount this special module to. I was supervised by
SFC Hauser. We returned to Newport RI on 04 Dec 1969. At that
point I was released from active duty at 10:00 a.m. and returned
home to Chicopee, Massachusetts, where I still reside."
Dave Davies, RMCS Ret., (RM1 67-70) remembers some more about the
special module: "The van they were talking about was a CT van used
to snoop on the Russians. I was an RM2 at the time and had to show
the CTs how to set up their comm gear."
1970... Prep for overhaul: Ship's force replaced Mount 51 to save on the
overhaul expense. Dry dock at Boston Naval Shipyard. Overhaul
included removal of Mk 1A fire control computer.
Transferred to Reserve Fleet, Destroyer Squadron 28.
New homeport: New London, Connecticut
1971... Sixth Fleet Med. Cruise as a Reserve destroyer. Reservists
rotated aboard every two weeks. Some have audience with Pope
at Castelgandolfo who gives blessing to "officers and men of
the USS Gearing." Operations with SS-483 Sea Leopard (Guppy II
class). Mock invasion of Sardinia with amphibs and carrier
Lt. Vernon E. Clark is Engineering Officer.
Lt. Clark TODAY is Admiral Clark and became
CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS in July 2000!!
1972... Frank DeSanto (BT3 71-73) recalls: "Sailor Of the Sargasso Sea
I believe it was called. We were the only Destroyer in New London
amongst all those Subs. I watched the transformation from
conventional to Nuclear Subs. Gearing Duty (I was a BT) was tough
because it was a reserve ship at the time and our Med Cruise was
usually with a skeleton crew. "6 & 6" down the fire holes was a
norm. When the reserves did arrive it was double duty to train
them and perform our duties. Chief Schroeder ("Tazz" short for
Tasmanian devil) was one Hell of a tough BT but we loved
him. Wish I know his whereabouts. Would like to hear from some
of the old crew in the foward firehole from 1971
1973... Decommissioned July 2, 1973 at New London, CT sub base.
Click to see the LAST PAGE of the deck log.
Last CO was LCdr. William M. Ross, Jr.
Later laid up at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
1974... Sold November 1974 to Aardvark International, Inc. for scrap.
1988... The first reunion of Gearing shipmates was held in
Newark, NY (east of Rochester) in 1988 and cooincided with
the founding of the USS Gearing Association, with newsletters,
ship's store and website (Membership fee is STILL only $15.00)
Contributors of DD-710 history to this "time line" include:
Dominick Giampetro MM1/C 1944-1946 Plankowner
Theodore W. Diemer MM1 1945 Plankowner
Arthur L. Jackson RD2 1945 Plankowner
Frank Schleis BM2 1945-1946 Plankowner
Malcolm Trowbridge ENS 1945-1946 Plankowner
Carlton Caron SK3 1946-1947
Joe Simpson GM2 1947-1949
Conrad T. Hebert MM2 1948-1952
Joe Peters USS Dyess 1952-1953
Donald F. Ruggles MM3 1954-1956
George C. Jones BM3 1956-1959, USS Gearing Ass'n Historian
Steven V. Ferguson MM3 1956-1959
Jim Purcell 1958-1959
Victor I. Fredda LTjg 1958-1961
Paul Kelly MM3 1959-1961
Derry L. Mount BT2 1959-1961
Ed Shea Pvt USMC 1961
Dale H. Malquist EMFN 1961-1962
Jon Volz FTG3 1962-1964
Donald M. Provost LTjg 1964-1967
Robert J. Witkowski FTG3 1965-1966
Bill Latta PC3 1965-1967
Paul J. Curley BMSN 1968-1969
Thomas R. Hart RD2 1968-1970
William E. Wilk SFM3 1969
Allen S. Jefferis CDR (C.O.) 1969-1970
William Freeman QM3 1971
John M. Thayer MMFN 1971-1973
Frank DeSanto BT3 1971-1973
Can you add to the history or fix it? Send Email to author.
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