This is the story of the USS BLACK (DD-666), as published on the Internet from www.hazegray.org, DANFS (Dictionary of American Fighting Ships), also a history furnished by Commander Bert. Myatt Jr., Commanding Officer of the USS BLACK, various cruise books along with personal experiences and other sources.
Available for download here for personal use only
Displacement = 2050 tons (standard dry weight)
2800 tons or more, loaded for deployment
Length overall = 376'5"; Beam overall = 39'7"
Draft = 17'9"; Shaft Horsepower = 60,000; Speed = 35.2 knots official (39 knots unofficial) Approx. Range = 4,900 nautical miles
Crew consisted of: Officers = 16
Chiefs and enlisted men = 270
Main battery = 5-5"x38 guns; Torpedoes =21" 10 tubes in two quintuple mounts; (Additional armament: 5 twin 40mm gun mounts two on either side of the bridge, on the O-1 level, two mid ship and one between 5" mounts 3 and 4; 7- 20mm gun mounts, 2 on each side, and 3 located on the fantail; 2 stern racks for depth charges; 3 port and 3 starboard "K gun" mounted depth charge racks; plus assorted small arms
Propulsion = Two-12' diameter three bladed propellers driven by geared turbines. Four Babcock & Wilcox, 565-PSI boilers with super-heaters. Class = FLETCHER (DD-445), (175 were launched during a 25 month period, between
leaving the Navy Yard, the BLACK. sailed for
BLACK then sailed to
early March the BLACK
escorted four fleet tankers to
exercises were held with the carrier the USS
PRINCETON (CV-23) off
operation order covered the occupation of Aitape and
5 May the BLACK sailed for
designation of Task Force 33 was changed to Task Force 79 and Task
Group 33.1 became Task Group 79.1. This Task Group was designated to
land troops in the Dulag area on
the night she delivered harassing fire on the towns of Alegre and
Cabacongan. At dawn on
While underway she was attacked by one torpedo bomber on 13 November 1944, which launched a torpedo before being shot down. Several air attacks occurred in the Leyte Gulf area on 14 November 1944, but the BLACK had no opportunity to fire. She departed Leyte again at dusk on the same day with transports and arrived at Hollandia, New Guinea on 19 November 1944.
On 5 December 1944 the BLACK proceeded in company with the USS KIDD (DD-661) and USS HALE (DD-642) to Manus and four days later departed for Pearl Harbor. She arrived on 19 December 1944, fueled and sailed immediately for San Francisco for a major yard overhaul, Arriving in San Francisco on 24 December 1944, she entered the Moore Dry-dock yard in Oakland on 26 December 1944 and underwent overhaul until 7 February 1945.
She conducted trials and calibrations in the San Francisco area, and then on 12 February 1945 sailed to San Diego for refresher training. The BLACK then sailed for Pearl Harbor in company with Destroyer Division 96 and arrived there on the 25 February 1945. Various training exercises were held and on 3 March 1945 she departed for Ulithi, in company with the carriers USS FRANKLIN (CV-13), USS INTREPID (CV-11), and USS BATAAN (CVL-29) as well as the battle cruiser USS GUAM (CB-2) and reported to Task Force 58 for duty upon arrival.
Arriving on 13 March 1945, the BLACK was underway to conduct battle-training exercises with Task Group 58.7 on the morning of 14 March 1945. The evening of 15 March 1945 found the BLACK rendezvousing with Task Group 58.3. She then proceeded to the operating area south of Kyushu, Japan as a picket station 30 miles ahead of Task Force 58. The Task Force then proceeded to the waters off southern Japan for air strikes against the mainland and from l8 March 1945 on the BLACK'S career became eventful.
The first of a series of long hours at battle stations began when flares were observed on 18 March 1945. Unidentified planes were picked up in the area and suddenly the BLACK saw a lone Japanese twin-engine bomber coming in low on the water from starboard and making no evasive maneuvers. She opened fire and 3 minutes later observed the Betty to crash in a pillow of flames.
Several other enemy planes were picked up during the night and shot down by the Task Force. Flares were again observed, and on the morning of 19 March 1945, the BLACK again fired on an enemy plane. At 0550 Shikoku Island, Japan loomed into sight only 20 miles away. Later that morning four Corsairs were seen circling a downed enemy plane. The BLACK was ordered by the Task Group Commander to investigate. She picked up the body of a dead radioman but failed to find anything of intelligence value.
Destroyer Division 96 was then assigned to escort the USS FRANKLIN (CV-13, which had been badly damaged, out of the operating area. After rendezvousing with the USS SANTA FE (CL-60) and USS FRANKL1N (CV-13, which, was being towed by the USS PITTSBURG (CA-72), the retirement began with seven destroyers of Division 96 as the screen. Though the group was alerted many tines they successfully withdrew to the southwest of the operating area.
After being relieved as escort for the USS FRANKLIN (CV-13, BLACK returned to Task Group 58.3 on 22 March 1945 to conduct strikes on Okinawa and Nansei Shoto.
On 26 March 1945 the BLACK served as picket ship 30 miles ahead of the Task Group and though the day wais uneventful, that evening, upon rejoining the Task Group it became necessary to make smoke. The following day found the BLACK again on picket duty, while proceeding to her station she was attacked by a twin-engine enemy bomber. A bomb hit l00 yards off her port bow, but the plane was downed by gunfire from the USS CHAUNCEY (DD-667). That night she rejoined the Task Group and retired to the southeast to rendezvous with a fueling group.
After fueling, the BLACK again took station with Task Group 58.6, which was underway to intercept the Japanese Fleet off Kyushu. However, the fleet was never located and the BLACK rejoined on the afternoon of 29 March 1945.
During the tense active month of April 1945, the BLACK was assigned picket duty approximately 30 miles ahead of Task Group 58.3, which continued air strikes in support of the Okinawa operation. Almost every day was enlivened by air alerts and Combat Air Patrol (CAP) victories over attacking enemy forces. On the evening of 3 April 1945, after rejoining the formation from picket duty, the BLACK fired on an enemy plane that dove out of the sun and dropped a bomb off her starboard bow. After returning from picket duty on 4 April 1945, Task Group 58.3 retired from the area to replenish, after which she again returned to the Okinawa operating area. The following morning, 6 April 1945 at 0454, while proceeding to her picket station, a single enemy plane swooped in behind a friendly night fighter and strafed the BLACK but caused no damage or casualties. While on picket the CAP, controlled by the BLACK and sister ships were of invaluable aid. On 7 April 1945 they repelled numerous attacks while downing seven planes. That evening the BLACK received word of victorious results against a Japanese surface group to the northwest. 8 April 1945 was uneventful and the Task Group returned to the replenishment area where necessary fuel and stores were taken aboard in time for the group to return to the strike area on the 9th and 10th.
|On 11 April 1945 Destroyer Division 96 received word
while on picket duty that air attack was imminent. At 1341 the BLACK
increased her speed to 35 knots upon contacting an enemy plane. Ten
minutes later a "Zeke" a single-engine fighter dove from a
cloudbank off her port beam, but was hit and set afire. It crashed
some 50 feet on her starboard quarter. Soon after, another
"Zeke" come in, was hit, and tried unsuccessfully to crash
into the USS BULLARD (DD-660).
At 1407 a third "Zeke" came in, was hard hit by the BLACK but strafed the destroyer as it passed overhead and crashed into the USS KIDD (DD-661). The USS BLACK, USS BULLARD (DD-660) and USS CHAUNCEY (DD-667) then escorted the USS KIDD (DD-661) back to Task Group 58.3 and returned to the picket line later the same day. The following day CAP again dispersed many raids, destroying two "Zeroes" five miles from the picket line.
After an uneventful 13th, the Task Group proceeded south from the Okinawa area and replenished on 14 April 1945, returning to the strike area the following day. On 16 April 1945, after going to battle stations many times, the BLACK was attacked at 0935. The enemy dropped his bomb, then made a suicide attack from astern and crashed only 10 yards off the BLACK'S port bow, showering the weather decks with shrapnel and water. Luckily no one was hurt.
Following that attack, a "Zeke" dove on the USS BULLARD (DD-660) and missed by only a few feet also. Later that day seven enemy planes were spotted and off and on the ships were at battle stations all day. The picket ships rejoined the Task Group that evening after the CAP had downed some 16 enemy planes and the destroyers had splashed two. 17 April 1945 turned into a replica of the previous day as the BLACK fired on 4 more suicide planes during the morning, damaging one and scoring a direct hit on another which crashed off the port beam. The total for the day was ten shot down by carrier planes and 3 by picket ships.
On 18 April 1945 the BLACK joined a group of destroyers and battleships to form a bombardment group. After replenishment the following day she proceeded to Okinawa to support additional landings. At China Saki Point off Okinawa, the BLACK was given permission to fire direct fire and observed several hits in small buildings. She rejoined Task Force 58 on the evening of 19 April 1945 and remained with them until replenishing on 23 April 1945. On 22 April 1945 she had the opportunity to fire on a Japanese snooper and also destroyed a mine while other ships were replenishing.
From 1 to l0 May 1945 duty was fairly uneventful though the BLACK was still on her picket station. The BLACK then joined an air support force east of Okinawa on 11 May 1945 and formed a radar picket line with other destroyers. During the morning she took under fire two enemy suicide planes and splashed them both, with an assist from the CAP on one. Upon rejoining Task Group 58.3 on 12 May she proceeded to a new position where the carriers of the group launched air strikes against Kyushu, Japan. Several air alerts occurred during the following day, though BLACK failed to splash any in her area.
The next two days were spent replenishing and thereafter Task Group 58.3 returned to Okinawa to support that operation. Nothing extraordinary occurred from 20 to 27 May 1945 though routine strikes and replenishments were made. On 28 May the designation of Task Force 58 was changed to Task Force 38. The BLACK continued as a screen ship of Task Group 38.3 under Vice Admiral Mitscher aboard the USS RANDOLPH (CV-15). The force proceeded to a point south of Okinawa for tactical support operations and on 29 May 1945 sailed for Leyte for gunnery exercises.
After entering Leyte Gulf on 1 June 1945, BLACK had a very welcome period of upkeep and rest until 16 June 1945 during which time Admiral Halsey relieved Admiral Mitscher. The BLACK sortied on 18 June 1945 for two days of underway training with other destroyers of her division, after which she returned to anchor at San Pedro Bay, Leyte.
After rendezvousing with the fueling group, Task Group 38.3 sailed again for a striking point off Honshu. On 14 July 1945 the BLACK was detached with a group of ships to bombard Kamaishi, Honshu. At 1048 the task unit arrived and the heavy ships began shore bombardment. An enemy oiler headed out and the BLACK, USS CLAUNCEY (DD-667) and USS HEERMANN (DD-532) were directed to "get the oiler."
Three enemy vessels were soon sighted and shortly after opening fire all were sinking. No further enemy shipping was found and at 1330 the BLACK resumed her station in the bombardment group. The entire group retired at 1420 and the BLACK was detached that night to join Task Group 38.4 for duty. However, the following day she again joined Task Group 38.3 and spent several uneventful days while the Task Group conducted air strikes off Tokyo.
to steam south and east of the Japanese mainland as part of Task
Group 38.8 during the month of August. On
After riding out a typhoon during that time,
After riding out a typhoon during that time,the BLACK and USS CHAUNCEY (DD-667) were detached and ordered to proceed in company with the carrier the USS CABOT (CVL-28) to
The BLACK received six battle stars for her World War II service.
completion of outfitting, trials and a shakedown cruise, the
BLACK served as setting for the movie "Okinawa" before joining Destroyer
Division 281 composed of the
USS TRATHEN (DD-530), USS CHAUNCEY (DD-667) and USS
McCORD (DD-534) and made a November transit of the Panama
Canal to join the Atlantic Fleet at Norfolk.
her new homeport in
Then followed refresher training in
The BLACK participated in type and fleet
operations along the eastern seaboard and in the
BLACK sailed for the Far East with Destroyer Division 281 the, USS TRATHEN (DD-530), USS McCORD (DD-534) and USS CHAUNCEY
(DD-667) on 9 January, 1953, on an
around-the-world-cruse, not expecting to see Norfolk again until
The first days out of
|The one night of liberty in Balboa (Panama City) was
enjoyed thoroughly by all hands and we steamed into the Pacific
Ocean on 15 January 1953.
Arrived 22 January 1953 San Diego just long enough to gave the many Californians aboard a chance to say goodbye to families and friends while the remainder of the crew spent our three days of liberty in traditional Navy fashion. Leaving 24 January 1953 for Hawaii.
The BLACK joined forces with Destroyer Division 282, the USS PRINCETON (CVA-37) and the USS MANCHESTER (CL-83) en route to Pearl Harbor, during which time the BLACK had her first experience since being recommissioned in fueling at sea. The Captain eased one tense moment by ordering the brow put over to the USS PRINCETON (it would not have been hard, we were that close).
The BLACK arrived 30 January 1953 for a one-day sojourn in Hawaii. It was a delightful experience for all three-liberty sections and we departed the next day 31 January 1953.
Accompanied by the most pleasant weather of the cruise, the days passed uneventfully between Pearl and Midway Island, where the BLACK stopped 3 February 1953 for fuel. Midway's main attraction was the Gooney Bird, so named for reasons known only to those who have seen them. Later that day BLACK entered into the "Realm of the Golden Dragon", Ruler of the 180 Meridian when we crossed the Internal Date Line.
The following "Plan Of The Day" is not unique but it is typical.
|0030 Security Watch inspects lower decks; hour1y
thereafter; hour1y reports to JOOD on the bridge.
0330 Call the Morning Watch.
0345 Relieve the watch, on deck section II.
0500 Call cooks.
0545 Call duty MAA, Division Reveille P0's, Mass Deck MM and. Mess-men.
0559 Sunrise. Turn off running lights following motion of OTC.
0600 Reveille. "Up all hands, Trice all bunks, the smoking 1amp is lighted in all authorized spaces."
0615 Pipe sweepers. "Sweepers man your brooms. Clean sweep down fore and aft. Empty all trash cans."
0630 Mass Gear. Early mess for Cooks, Mess-men, Stewards, Stewards-men, First Class PO's and the Forenoon Watch. Uniform Signal. Clean dungarees.
0645 Pipe to breakfast.
0720 Re1ieve the watch, on deck section III.
0755 OOD report "Eight o'clock, request permission to strike eight bells," to the Captain.
0800 Assembly all hands to quarters for muster. Send 0800 position report, Surgace Tactics.
0815 Turn to, Sick Call.
0830 Drill Call. Condition III (Shore Fire Control).
1000 Send noon fuel report to OTC. Steering Drill.
1100 Pipe sweepers. "Sweepers man your brooms. Clean sweep down fore and aft. Empty all trash cans."
1115 Mess Gear. Early mess for Cooks, Mess-men, Stewards, Stewards-men, First Class PO's and the Afternoon Watch.
1130 Pipe to dinner.
1145 Relieve the watch, on deck section I.
1150 Open Ship's Store. "The Ship's Store is now open for one hour."
1155 Report 12 o'clock and chronometers wound to the Captain.
1200 Send 1200 position report. Shifting Steering Control Drill.
1300 Dri11 Ca11. Condition III (Shore Fire Control),
1400 Surface Tactics.
1530 Telephone Talkers School.
1545 Relieve the watch, on deck section II.
1600 Instruction for Raiding Party on the fantail.
1600 Knock off work. Test running lights. Pipe sweepers. "Sweepers man your brooms, Clean sweep down fore and aft. Event 7, Sonar Communications.
1615 Uniform Signal: "Shift into the uniform of the day."
1620 Open Ship's Store. "The Ship's Store is now open for one hour"
1715 Mass Gear, Early mess for Cooks, Mess-men, Stewards, Stewards-men, First Class PO's and the Second Dog Watch.
1730 Pipe to supper.
1745 Relieve the watch, on deck section III.
1815 Sick ca11.
Sunset Turn on running lights following motion of OTC, Lookouts report running lights bright, life buoy watch on fantail reports storm light and lifebuoy (and on. the half hour thereafter until sunrise).
1945 Relieve the watch, on deck section I.
2000 Movie Call. "Tonight's movie will be shown in the crew's mess deck starting in five minutes. The movie is ("The Cane Mutiny") starring (Humphrey Bogart) and (Van Johnson).
2005 Movie for the crew.
2200 Taps. "Taps". "Out lights and silence in all berthing spaces. The smoking lamp is out in all birthing spaces. Keep silence about the decks. MAA report "Ten o'clock lights out" to the JOOD on the bridge.
2345 Relieve the watch, on deck section II.
|On 5 February 1953 the BLACK crossed the International
Dateline proceeding from east to west at Latitude 28 degrees 26'
We had a high speed run to Japan, a race actually, between Destroyer Division 281, which the BLACK won easily I must add. The last days of the long trip were marked with high winds and rough seas, but by this time the crew was old salts and only about 80 per cent of us got seasick. Upon arrival in Sasebo, on 12 February 1953 the ship was dry-docked for replacement of the sonar dome. A routine inspection revealed that we also had a damaged (burned out actually) strut bearing (I am sure the high speed run fries the bearing.) to replace. Deadline delivery date followed deadline delivery date, while the crew spent much yen on all varieties of merchandise of Japan.
Finally on 4 March 1953, three weeks later than scheduled, we chopped to Task Force 95 and pointed our bow out into the Sea of Japan, bound for the frozen coast of North Korea.
Our thirteen weeks of operating in the NAVFE area, both at sea and in port, will be forever emblazoned in the minds of most of us, some remembering the harsh events of war, and some the pleasant interludes.
Sea time was divided roughly into three periods, interspersed with something akin to shore duty. Our initial operation found us off the Bomb-line, 4 through 16 March 1953 where the job was to provide call fire for Marine spotters on the beach, to protect Nando Island, and to keep close check on the numerous Korean sampans plying the coastal waters. During our ten days in this capacity we delivered untold numbers of 5"x38 shells at enemy targets, including indirect fire missions well north of the Bomb-line in the dead of night. On several occasions we exchanged observers with the Marines, and saw at first hand what the Navy can do in the way of destroying bunkers, cutting trenches, and raising general havoc.
One unhappy incident occurred during this period. On the night of 7 March 1953, just after dark, the BLACK collided with a small South Korean fishing craft, cutting it in half. Although fast work on the part of the deck force saved nine of its occupants, the boat sank in a very short time, carrying eight additional people with it.
Back to Sasebo 17 through 25 March 1953 we went for some well-earned rest and liberty. Upon arriving in Sasebo, the BLACK went alongside the USS AJAX (AR-6) for repairs. At the beginning of April we were underway once more, this time for hectic days, 26 March to 22 April, with Task Force 77, broken only by a three day stint escorting the USS PRINCETON (CVA-37) on 31 March to friendly waters and the on 3 and 4 April the USS MANCHESTER (CL-83) back to Task Force 77. Days of high speed steaming for the engineers, of turns and maneuvers, plane guard, replenishment, and refueling at sea.
Through the good offices of our Commodore, we managed to draw Yokosuka, 24 April to 10 May 1953 as our next liberty port, transiting the narrow Shimonoseki Straits, which separate Honshu and Kyushu islands. Liberty was good, whether one stayed in Yokosuka or journeyed to Tokyo. During this period the BLACK went into dry-dock for hull repairs.
|Our last underway period was with Task Force 77 again
12 May to 3 June 1953. This time we were assigned ten days of
detached duty as the Bomb-line Unit escort destroyer. Most of it was
spent leading the cruisers USS BREMERTON (CA-130), 15 to 30 May
1953, and USS ST. PAUL (CA-73), 30 May to 1 June, around like a
great Dane on a leash, but at night we had the opportunity of firing
harassing and interdiction missions at targets on the beach.
The BLACK made three sorties into beleaguered Wonsan harbor, and drew more than her share of enemy fire and publicity. We did incur one near miss on 24 May 1953 and had the pleasure of watching USS BREMERTON (CA-130) fire several overwhelming broadsides of counter-battery fire as enemy shell splashes came uncomfortably close to her fantail. On 30 May 1953 we found ourselves being fired upon by a coastal gun battery near familiar Suwon-Dan, Korea.
Back in Sasebo for tender availability alongside the destroyer tender USS DIXI (AD-14) from 4 through 9 June 1953 preparing for the long trip home, someone brought aboard a cute little puppy. Kept by popular demand (the Captain's), she quickly became our mascot and acquired the moniker of "General Order" for reasons found in Navy Regs.
On 9 June 1953 the BLACK sailed for Hong Kong to join the USS TRATHEN (DD-530) and USS CHAUNCEY (DD-667) and to provide a recreation stop for the crew on 11 and 12 June 1953 on our homeward leg. Points of interest for those who had time to see them were the Tiger Balm Gardens and "Junk City". We departed Hong Kong at 0630 on 13 June 1953.
Before getting to Singapore, Malaya on 16 June 1953 we slimy pollywogs crossed the Equator proceeding from north to south at Longitude 105 degrees 15' 30" east and spent a wet, garbagy, oily morning as guests of Davie Jones, King Neptune, The Royal Princess, The Royal Judge and we will never forget The Royal Baby, and their crew of scalp thirsty Shellbacks.
Liberty in Singapore, 16 and 17 June 1953, was extraordinarily quiet, probably due to the collective lack of money. All hands spent their beach time quietly drowning their respective sorrows in a new alcoholic discovery, the "Gimlet".
Leaving equatorial latitudes, we sailed west and north to Columbo, Ceylon, where we stopped 22 through 26 June 1953 for four sweltering days and was joined by the USS McCORD (DD-534). Columbo's major attribute was that it had star sapphires for sale cheaper than in Hong Kong. Almost everybody took the daylong tour to Kandy to see the Temple of the Tooth and other lesser wonders of the world. Chiefly enjoyed was the ride on backs of several huge, ungainly elephants, one an agile tree climber. Running firecracker fights enlivened the return trip to Columbo. The most popular hangout was the Grand Oriental Hotel, directly opposite Fleet Landing, which provided good drinks at reasonable prices underneath scores of fans. A few more hardy souls ventured to eat some native Ceylonese food and were forced to drink quantities of water to keep the tears back and the food down.
Our last stop in Asia was Aden, Arabia, 2 through 4 July 1953 undoubtedly the sandiest and hottest place in the world. Although the temperature hovered around 105 during our two-day layover, it was rumored that the mercury hit 130 on Coronation Day just a few weeks before. Liberty consisted of attempting to keep from dying of thirst.
Without a backward look, we weighed anchor at Aden, steamed north through the Red Sea, where we stopped one afternoon for swim call and on 8 July 1953 traversed the Suez Canal looking forward to the fine liberty ports in the Mediterranean Sea and the arrival in Norfolk only a month away.
We slipped out of the Suez Canal after a hot, sandy three days in the Red Sea and headed for Athens, Grease 10 to 13 July 1953. Contrary to expectations, the ancient capitol proved to be very enjoyable liberty probably because it gave us our first taste of Western civilization in six months. The much-heralded ruins, centered around the Acropolis. Some of the better hotels in the city proper offered excellent food at reasonable prices (though they seemed astronomical at 30,000 drachmae to the dollar). Those whose inclinations were more of the standard Navy convention found wine, women, and song in great quantities in Piraeus, Athens' port. Even those in the duty section received more than their share of frivolity as several well-stacked Greek maidens unwittingly provided a first class strip tease on small boats near the ship. One goggle eyed seaman, over the side on a stage, gaped long and longingly and succeeded in painting his arm instead of the ship.
Naples, Italy was our next port of call, from15 to 19 July 1953, headquarters of the 6th Fleet. Naples, although not too good a liberty town itself, was a fine hopping off place for Rome, Capri, Sorrento, and Pompeii. A few men from the BLACK took the three-day tour to Vatican City, many made the 120-mile trip for one day. Those on the tour were granted the privilege of an audience with Pope Pius XII. Everyone who went to Rome visited St. Peter's Cathedral, the Catacombs, the Coliseum, the Victor Emmanuel Building, and one or more of the city's famous restaurants. The Isle of Capri, immortalized in song, proved to be as beautiful and enchanting as its advance billing. High on the cliffs of Anacapri, luxurious hotels provided delicious food and an awe inspiring view for miles around. A thousand feet below, basso voiced boatmen rowed to the azure crystalline splendor of the Blue Grotto, where one could swim if so minded. Intermingled throughout was an aura of warm hospitality and friendliness, which made the island a must on a future visit to Italy.
Pompeii, the city which Vesuvius buried under a layer of lava and ashes 23 centuries ago, was "Just more ruins" at first glance, but closer inspection revealed a wealth of intimate detail about the civilization of the ancient Romans. A civilization so weakened by moral decay that it was doomed to vanish 500 years before it did.
Third major stop in the Med was Cannes, France, 20 and 24 July 1953, the heart of the fabulous French Riviera, the home of the bikini. Whether we stayed in Cannes, went to Nice, or took the long trip to Paris everyone had a good time. Food was good, entertainment available in abundance, swimming and boating was done in perfect weather, and Jerry Lewis gave a solo performance on the BLACK at the behest of Pablo Thomas.
On 25 July 1953 the BLACK crossed the Meridian of Greenwich proceeding from east to west at Latitude 37 Degrees 50' 30" north.
Last stop in the Med and final jumping off point for Norfolk was Gibraltar, 26 and 27 July 1953, the huge rock fortress that has given England control of shipping lanes to the East for hundreds of years.
At last, looking ahead with anticipation and behind with satisfaction, we poked our bow into the broad Atlantic, headed due west and home arriving back in Norfolk 6 August 1953.
The BLACK received two battle stars for service off Korea.
After riding out hurricane Hazel in Chesapeake Bay on 14 August 1953, the BLACK returned to Norfolk for repairs alongside the destroyer tender USS SIERRA (AD-18) before beginning local operations on 15 September 1953 with USS TRATHEN (DD-530) and USS WATTS (DD-567). The BLACK remained on local operations until 15 December 1953 when she returned to Norfolk for the Christmas holidays.
The BLACK resumed operations on 26 January 1954 and on 8 February 1954 departed for Pensacola, Florida to assume duties as plane guard for the training carrier USS MONTEREY (CVE-62). During the period, the BLACK had the opportunity to visit New Orleans and returned to Pensacola on 23 February 1954. On 24 February 1954 the BLACK rescued a pilot who had crashed during flight operations from the USS MONTEREY (CVE-62).
On 27 February 1954 the BLACK visited Mobile, Alabama to act as official naval representative to the Mobile Mardi Gras celebration, remaining there until sailing for Norfolk on 3 March 1954.
Upon arrival, the BLACK entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a major overhaul.
On 3 July 1954 Commander Richard A. Sexton relieved S.A Bobczynski as Commanding Officer
On 16 July 1954, the BLACK was again underway conducting destroyer qualification exercises and acting as plane guard for the carrier USS LAKE CHANPLAIN (CV-39), while proceeding to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the BLACK visited the ports of Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Santiago, Cuba.
Returning to Norfolk, the BLACK arrived in time to ride out a hurricane in Chesapeake Bay on 14-15 October 1954. During the week of 18 October 1954 the BLACK acted as plane guard for the carrier USS MIDWAY (CVB-41) and conducted type-training exercises off the Virginia Capes until 10 November 1954.
On 13 November 1954, the BLACK was again ordered to plane guard the USS MIDWAY (CVB-41) and departed for Mayport, Florida, completing her assignment and returning to Norfolk for engineering repairs on 22 November 1954. She remained in the Naval Shipyard for the Christmas holidays.
On 3 January 1955, Commander William O. Hill relieved Commander R.A. Sexton as Commanding Officer.
On 5 January 1955, Destroyer Squadron 28 had its homeport changed from Norfolk, Virginia to Long Beach, California. Accordingly, the squadron composed of the USS OWEN (DD-536), USS PRITCHETT (DD-561), USS COWELL (DD-547), USS CUSHING (DD-797), USS JARVIS (DD-799), USS WATTS (DD-567), USS TRATHEN (DD-530) and BLACK departed Norfolk and transited the Panama Canal on 16 January 1955 arriving in Long Beach on 26 January 1955. Upon reporting to Pacific Fleet, the Squadron became Destroyer Squadron 19 with Division 191 composed of the BLACK, USS TRATHEN, USS WATTS and USS JARVIS.
|Type training and local operations occupied the
division until 21 April 1955. On that date with Destroyer Squadron
19, the BLACK departed Long Beach for a six-month Far Easters tour
arriving in Pearl Harbor on 28 April 1955 for logistic support.
The squadron departed Pearl Harbor on 2 May 1955 arriving in Yokosuka, Japan on 12 May 1955 with a fuel stop at Midway Island on 5 May 1955.
On 23 May 1955 the BLACK reported to Task Force 77 and conducted antisubmarine warfare and plane guard operations with the submarine USS STERLET (SS-392) and carriers USS MIDWAY (CVB-41) and USS ORISKANY (CV-34). Further operations with the carrier USS BADOEING STRAIT (CVE-116) kept the squadron busy until 24 June 1955 when BLACK in company with Task Group 70.4 moored at Keelung, Formosa, remaining until 1 July 1955.
Plane guard duties with the USS HORNET (CV-12), USS BOXER (CV-21), and USS PHILIPPINE SEA (CV-47) kept BLACK hopping until 30 August 1955. On 2 September 1955 in company with the cruiser USS BREMERTON (CA-130) and destroyers USS WILTSIE (DD-716) and USS WATTS (DD-567), BLACK conducted shore bombardment exercises at Kobi-Sho.
On 6 September 1955 the BLACK, USS BREMERTON (CA-130), USS JARVIS (DD-799) and USS TRATHEN (DD-530) were detached to proceed to Hong Kong for a one-week visit with return to Yokosuka on 19 September 1955.
On 29 September 1955 following a week of upkeep, the BLACK with the remainder of Destroyer Division 191 departed Yokosuka for Long Beach, California on 19 October 1955.
22 November the BLACK entered Long Beach Naval Shipyard for a major overhaul that lasted until 29 February 1956.
The BLACK undertook a three week underway training period in San Diego on 3 March arriving back in Long Beach 24 March for an availability alongside the destroyer tender USS FRONTIER (AD-25).
The BLACK began her third Far Eastern tour on 17 April 1956 when Destroyer Division 191 departed Long Beach arriving in Pearl Harbor 23 April 1956. Departing Pearl Harbor on 30 April, the division arrived in Yokosuka, Japan 10 May 1956.
The division departed Yokosuka on 21 May 1956 and conducted p1ane guard duties for the USS ORISKANY (CV-34) until 25 May 1956 when Task Force 77 was joined for participation in operation "Seahorse" off the coast of Okinawa.
On completion of operation "Seahorse" on 1 June 1956 the BLACK escorted the carrier USS SHANGRI LA (CV-38) to Yokosuka and rejoined Destroyer Division 191 on 4 June 1956.
On 8 June 1956 Commander A.R. Brueggemann relieved Commander A. O. Hill as Commanding Officer.
On 10 June 1956 the BLACK joined USS WASP for plane guard duties while enroute to Kure, Japan for a two-day visit.
Departing Kure on 18 June 1956, the BLACK and USS WASP (CV-18) proceeded in company with the remainder of Destroyer Division 191 to Sangley Point, Philippine Islands where the USS YORKTOWN (CV-10) and Destroyer Division 171 joined for special operations off the Philippine coast. Operations were completed on 25 June 1956 and the BLACK escorted the USS WASP (CV-18) to Yokosuka for replenishment, arriving 1 July 1956.
Hunter-Killer operations were next on the agenda, and were conducted off the coast of Okinawa with the USS PRINCETON and Destroyer Division 191 from 3 July to 16 July 1956. BLACK was detached from this group on 16 July 1956 and proceeded to Yokosuka for repairs prior to returning to Long Beach with departure set for 27 July 1956. Upon arrival in Long Beach, the BLACK became a unit of Destroyer Division 92.
The BLACK'S first operation with her new division composed of the USS LYMAN K. SWENSON (DD-729), USS IRWIN and USS EVERETT F. LARSON (DD-830) came on 10 September 1956 when the division joined the USS BREMERTON (CA-130) and Destroyer Division 12 in local operations. Returning to Long Beach on 13 September 1956, the BLACK participated in the first Fleet Review on 14 September 1956 and rendered honors to the Secretary of the Navy embarked aboard the cruiser USS ST. PAUL (CA-73).
After a week of upkeep, the division commenced a ten-week destroyer qualification course at San Diego, and following a three-day repair period alongside the tender USS BRYCE CANYON (AD-36) departed for Pearl ilarbor on an emergency deployment.
Remaining in Pearl Harbor from 17 to 21 November 1956, the BLACK departed for Long Beach in company with destroyers USS JAMES E. KYES (DD-787), USS EVERSOLL (DD-789), USS SHELTON (DD-790) and USS IRWIN (DD-794) arriving on 26 November 1956. During December, the BLACK enjoyed a period of upkeep and holiday leave.
January of 1957 saw the BLACK again undergoing a period of local operations. Anti-submarine exercises were undertaken through February. The arrival of March saw the BLACK and her division destroyers alongside the USS BRYCE CANYON (AD-36) preparing for her fourth Far Eastern tour.
On 12 March 1957 the BLACK, in company with her division destroyers departed Long Beach enroute to Pearl Harbor arriving 18 March 1957 after participating in various exercises enroute. On 18 March 1957 the BLACK also participated in a search for a downed pilot whose aircraft had been seen to crash near the formation. Results yielded only a pilot's helmet and other debris.
The BLACK departed Pearl Harbor on 21 March 1957 and steamed toward Yokosuka with a fuel stop at Midway Island on 24 March 1957. Yokosuka was reached on 31 March 1957 after further division exercises enroute.
This tour in the Far East enhanced the BLACK'S reputation as the "Steaming Demon". Before Long Beach was to come into sight again, some 36,000 miles were to be logged underway.
One week in port expired and the BLACK was enroute to the operating area for further readiness exercises with an overnight stop at anchor off Atami. Exercises of the readiness nature continued until 11 April 1957 when the BLACK returned to Yokosuka. On 13 April 1957 the BLACK and her sister ships sortied from Yokosuka to participate in an amphibious exercise as a unit of Task Group 36.4. This exercise was completed on 17 April 1957 when Yokosuka was again reached.
On 21 April 1957 the BLACK departed Yokosuka, steaming independently to Koshiung, Formosa, arriving on 25 April 1957. Following a one-day stop for logistics, the BLACK took station in the Formosa Straits as a unit of the Formosa Patrol. The BLACK'S stint on the Patrol line lasted until 1 May when she returned to Kaohsiung.
Departing Kaohsiung on 4 May 1957, the BLACK returned to duties with the Formosa Patrol, remaining on station until 9 May 1957, and returning to Kaohsiung. On 11 May 1957 the BLACK returned to station for her third stint. This tour was rather short-lived, for on 14 May 1957 the BLACK departed station to join her division mates for a trip to Yokosuka, arriving 17 May 1957. Underway again the next day, the BLACK proceeded to carry out an assignment as plane guard for the carrier USS HANCOCK (CV-19) in the vicinity of Okinawa, later joining Task Force 77 for further training operations. During the period the BLACK was called upon to search for a downed aircraft from the USS HANCOCK (CV-19) with negative results. However, during this same period, alert action by the BLACK saved a crewman of the cruiser USS WORCESTER (CL-144) who had fallen overboard at night. This operation continued until 2 June 1957 when the BLACK entered Sasebo Harbor, Japan for a well-deserved period of repair and upkeep alongside the repair ship USS AJAX (AR-6).
Completing repairs, the BLACK and Destroyer Division 92 departed Sasebo on 9 June 1957 and rejoined Task Force 77 for operations off Okinawa. As in her last tour with this group, the BLACK was primarily assigned to plane guard for the USS HANCOCK (CV-19).
This tour was completed on 21 June 1957 when Destroyer Division 92 returned to Sasebo, the BLACK remained in Sasebo for three days, departing on 24 June 1957 to plane guard for the USS HANCOCK (CV-19) in the vicinity of Kobe, and later to the familiar operating areas off Okinawa. This tour ended 1 July 1957 and the BLACK returned to Sasebo.
Again underway on 10 July 1957, the BLACK departed Sasebo to join the carrier USS LEXINGTON (CV-16) as plane guard while conducting flight operations in the Kyushu operating areas. Destroyer Division 92 was detached from the USS LEXINGTON (CV-16) on 14 July 1957 and proceeded to Hong Kong for a weeks' visit, arriving on 19 July 1957. Departing Hong Kong on 25 July the division arrived in Yokosuka on 2 August 1957 after a stop at Kaohsuing for fuel. Upon arrival at Yokosuka, the division went alongside the destroyer tender USS MANUL (AD-20?) for a week of upkeep and repairs prior to returning to the United States.
Yokosuka was left behind on 9 August 1957 when the division departed for Pearl Harbor with a fuel stop at Midway Island, arriving in Pearl Harbor on 17 August 1957. The next day, the BLACK and her division mates departed for Long Beach, California arriving on 24 August .
After returning from the last Far Eastern tour, the BLACK enjoyed a period of leave and upkeep in Long Beach. November saw her entering the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for a major overhaul that was completed on 11 January 1958.
Upon completion of the overhaul, the BLACK undertook refresher training, conducting air and surface gunnery practice, Engineering exercises, ASW exercises, shore bombardment and tactical maneuvers. In mid March 1958, the BLACK underwent redeployment inspection and departed Long Beach for New Zealand.
Stops were made at Pearl Harbor and at Pago Pago before arriving at Auckland, New Zealand on 19 April 1958. Traditional ceremonies were held when the Ship crossed the equator near Pago Pago.
Steaming north, the BLACK stopped at Manus and Guam, arriving at Yokosuka, Japan on 12 May 1958. The BLACK was now operating with the carrier USS SHANGRI LA (CV-38). A short stop was made at Buckner Bay.
On 31 May 1958 Commander A.H. Murray, Jr. relieved Commander A.R. Bureggemann as Commanding Officer. The ship continued operating with USS SHANGRI LA (CV-38) until a short tour of duty on the Formosa Patrol called her south.
By 17 June 1958 the BLACK was in Subic Bay taking advantage of the ship repair facility there. From there, she steamed north to Japanese waters and operated there until 20 October 1958 when she left for Long Beach.
The BLACK and her sister ships arrived in Long Beach on 8 November 1958 and from then until the end of the year, the division enjoyed a leave and upkeep period.
New Year's Day of 1959 found BLACK in a leave and upkeep status in Long Beach, California. This period lasted until 4 March when the BLACK undertook duties as gunnery and sonar school ship off San Diego. Upon the completion of this assignment on 20 April, there followed an availability period with the USS HAMUL (AD-20?) until 1 May 1959. The next few days were spent in type training in ASW and shore bombardment until the BLACK entered dry-dock at Todd Shipyard at San Pedro.
May and early June 1959 found the BLACK undergoing Insurv Board and redeployment inspections. Upon their completion, the BLACK departed Long Beach and the United States on 16 June 1959 in company with Destroyer Division 92, bound for Western Pacific waters. A short stop was made at Pearl Harbor before steaming on to Subic Bay, arriving there on 8 July 1959.
On 21 July 1959, the BLACK took part in Hunter Killer operations in Japanese waters. Again on 29 July 1959, she took part in an anti-submarine exercise, also off Japan, before heading south for Taiwan.
The period from 6 August until 5 September 1959 found the BLACK steaming independently patrolling the Taiwan Straits. Only a few stops at Kaohsiung for mail and fuel varied the routine. But one other thing did change, and that was the weather. It was during this period that the BLACK ran afoul of several typhoons. By the time the patrol was over, a week of rest and recreation in Hong Kong was indeed deserved. But the weather was to dog the BLACK until departure for the United States.
While in the British Crown Colony, the men of the BLACK donated $300 to the "Millions of Noodles for Millions of Refugees" project, which is sponsored by the Catholic Relief Services of Hong Kong. The funds covered one half the cost of a noodle-making machine, which produces noodles for Chinese refugees from surplus powdered milk and flour donated by the United States.
Leaving Hong Kong, the BLACK visited Sasebo, Japan for two weeks before returning to Taiwan for a short time. After playing tag with a typhoon again, the BLACK steamed north and visited Kobe, Japan for four days.
After a week of type training with Destroyer Division 92, the BLACK put into Yokosuka, Japan, for voyage repairs before departing for the States. Dodging one last typhoon, the BLACK departed WESTPAC on 28 October, stopped briefly at Pearl Harbor, and arrived back in Long Beach on 16 November. From then until 28 December, she was in a leave and upkeep status, putting back to sea for the remainder of the month for ASW training. She returned to Long Beach in time for the crew to observe New Year's Eve ashore.
The first week of 1960 found the BLACK back at sea undergoing ASW exercises with Destroyer Division 132 off the southern coast of California. After a two week leave and upkeep period in Long Beach beginning on 7 January 1960, the BLACK set to sea again, heading for waters off the coast of San Diego where she joined with the USS BLUE (DD-744) for ASW dual ship exercises at which time the two some acquired the somewhat noteworthy reputation of the "BLACK and BLUE " team. Operations up to 29 February 1960 found the BLACK and USS BLUE (DD-744) combination together quite often in type training.
On 29 February 1960 the BLACK shifted from Destroyer Division 92 to become a unit of Destroyer Division 191. March and April found the BLACK undergoing type training and periodic upkeep with its new Destroyer Division in Long Beach.
On 18 May 1960 the BLACK'S bow crossed the sill of Dry-dock 3 in the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for a month's overhaul and repair period. On 13 June 1960 the BLACK tied up to pier 3 in Long Beach for the remainder of her yard period.
On 24 June 1960 Commander Charles E. Stastny relieved Commander Arthur H. Murray, Jr. as Commanding Officer. The BLACK soon thereafter started a thorough underway-training program.
On 25 July 1960 found BLACK undergoing refresher training in San Diego, conducting air and surface gunnery practice, engineering exercises, ASW exercises, shore bombardment, ABC defense problems, and tactical maneuvers. The remainder of the fall until mid November found the BLACK for the most part at sea undergoing type training. During this period the BLACK represented the Long Beach destroyers by participating in a strike exercise that consisted of aircraft carriers, cruisers, oilers, destroyers, submarines, and aircraft making up a typical naval striking force.
Upon completion of BLACK'S extensive underway-training program, she tied up next to the USS HAMUL (AD-20?) for a tender availability. During this time the BLACK was able to lick her wounds and prepare for redeployment inspections.
The tail end of November and early December 1960 found the BLACK at sea operating with Destroyer Divisions 191 and 192 of f the southern coast of California in type training. On 2 December 1960 BLACK invited all dependents of the crew aboard for a day's cruise to Santa Catalina, giving wives and relatives a look at "home" for the crew for the next six months while in WESTPAC.
On 3 January 1961 the BLACK deployed to WESTPAC with a very short stop in Pearl Harbor. About 3 weeks were spent in Guam to accomplish much-needed repairs prior to scheduled operations in the Philippines area. In March the BLACK was in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, for a two-week period of upkeep. After leaving Subic Bay BLACK operated with a fast carrier striking force in the South China Sea.
Hong Kong provided a peaceful week of liberty and recreation during March. Continuing a people-to-people project started in its 1959 Hong Kong visit. BLACK contributed another $300, the second half of the cost of a noodle-making machine, to the "Millions of Noodles" project. The BLACK departed Hong Kong to make a brief stop at Buckner Bay, Okinawa, and then on to Sasebo, Japan, for a short availability period.
The BLACK was sent to Taiwan Patrol in late March. During the early part of April the BLACK was relieved on Patrol and preceded to Subic Bay for emergency repairs, then back to Hong Kong for several days of relaxation. After departing Hong Kong the BLACK proceeded to Subic Bay for voyage repairs and preparations for sailing back to the United States.
On 12 May 1961 BLACK set sail for home with a refueling stop in Pearl Harbor on 22 May 1961. Early on the morning of 27 May 1961 the BLACK steamed through the breakwater into Long Beach Harbor to enjoy the company of family and friends for a needed three-week leave period.
Commencing the last week of June the BLACK started local operations in the Long Beach and San Diego area. In September 1961 the monotony of local operations was broken by a trip to San Francisco, where the BLACK had open house for hundreds of the citizens of the Bay area.
ASW operations off San Francisco were followed by local operations in the Long Beach and San Diego area until the middle of December 1961 when the BKACK was assigned space dockside for a short holiday leave and upkeep period.
The upkeep period was completed about the middle of January 1962 and BLACK was one of the units of Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Three participating in exercise "Air Gun" from 12 to 20 January 1962.
On 24 January 1962 Commander Robert E. Bondy, Jr. relieved Commander C.E. Stastny as Commanding Officer. Commander Stastny then put on his forth stripe and reported to Naval Operations for duty.
In February 1962 the BLACK was fortunate to be a part of the CRUDESPLOT 3 group of ships going to San Francisco for a visit in the Bay area. After a week back in Long Beach, the BLACK participated in Fleet Gunnery exercises at San Clemente Island. One day in port and the BLACK got underway on Washington's Birthday to rendezvous with the USS MIDWAY (CVB-41) for a week of plane guard duty in the San Francisco operating area.
In March 1962 the ship participated in operation "Pot Shot", a combined fleet amphibious exercise near Camp Pendleton, California. The last week of March was spent in TyCom exercises and training in the Long Beach and San Diego operating area. The month of April was largely spent preparing for the Pre-Rotation inspection and the In-Surv inspection scheduled for May. Two weeks of local operations were concerned with evaluating the new Naval Tactical Data System (NSTDS).
After completing the In-Surv inspection in early May 1962, the ship participated in operation "Pork Barrel" off the southern California coast. Shaft troubles caused the ship to enter Long Beach Naval Shipyard on 31 May 1962 for emergency repairs prior to departing for WESTPAC.
On 7 June 1962 while the BLACK was in dry-dock, Monsignor John Romaniello, M. N., director of Catholic Relief Services in Hong Kong and founder of the "Millions of Noodles" project, visited the ship, returning two visits made by the BLACK during previous trips to Hong Kong in 1959 and 1961. The crew or the BLACK was one of the first groups to donate funds toward the purchase or the famous "Noodle Machines," which convert surplus wheat flower and powered milk into edible noodles for the under privileged people of Hong Kong, including thousands of refugees from Communist China.
Upon completion of repairs, the BLACK cleared dry-dock on 9 June 1962 and steamed independently to Pearl Harbor, rejoining the other units of CRUDESFLOT 3 on their way to the Far East. On 19 June 1962, the BLACK again entered dry-dock in Pearl for four more days of emergency repairs, and on 25 June 1962 the CRUDESFLOT 3 group got underway for Yokosuka, Japan.
Following a week's availability alongside the USS DIXIE (AD-l4) in Yokosuka, the BLACK departed for Hong Kong on 14 July 1962. Highlights of the three weeks of duty, as U.S. Navy Station Ship at the British Crown Colony was a challenge swim meet with the British naval base, H.M.S. TAMAR. The athletic event was scheduled as the first of a challenge series between the U.S. Navy Station Ship and H.M.S. TAMAR. Commander Seventh Fleet donated a perennial traveling award, a challenge shield, for the competition, and the BLACK swimmers won the first event in the series by a score of 69 to 28.
Leaving Hong Kong, the BLACK divided the remainder of August between Taiwan Straits Patrol and visits to Subic Bay. Dodging typhoons and the Taiwan cholera epidemic, the BLACK left Subic Bay on 5 September 1962 for Sasebo, Japan, and a two-week availability with the USS AJAX (AR-6).
For the next month and a half the ship operated off the coasts of Honshu, Kyushu, and Okinawa as a part of Task Force 77 with first the USS ORISKANY (CV-34) and then the USS BON HOMME RICHARD (CVA-31). ASW screening, plane guard duties, and AAW exercises kept the ship and men in a high state of readiness. When the world-wide alert was sounded during October 1962 for the Cuban missile crisis, the BLACK as a part of one of the Navy's mobile carrier striking forces, was again ready to act as a fighting unit in the service of her country.
After visiting Sasebo again from 20 to 26 November 1962, the BLACK returned to Yokosuka for a brief stopover prior to departing for the United States on 7 December 1962 when the BLACK moored once again at familiar Pier 15 on the "Mole" at Long Beach, California.
Although the BLACK had a very busy schedule during its assignment with the Seventh Fleet in WESTPAC, the BLACK sailors, nevertheless, found time to promote much good will in their off-duty hours. In Hong Kong, the BLACK received the Servicemen's Guide Award for exemplary conduct ashore, and the men of the BLACK continued a tradition established in 1959 and 1961 by donating funds to the "Millions of Noodles" for the Millions of Refugees project. In addition to athletic events with the H.M.S. TAMAR, the BLACK athletes competed in several sports against local British and Chinese teams in Hong Kong.
During the September 1962 visit to Sasebo, the ship was awarded the Commodore's plaque for winning the Destroyer Division 192 Olympics, an athletic competition covering seven different sports. In the West Pac athletic competition sponsored by Destroyer Squadron 19, the BLACK placed first over all the other ships of Destroyer Divisions 191 and 192. LTJC J. K. Poole, Gunnery Officer, visited Kokura, Japan, as a semi-official representative of Kokura's "Sister City", Tacoma, Washington.
Thus, after its busy overseas assignment, the BLACK returned home to finish Out 1962 with a much needed rest and holiday leave period.
It was quite a Christmas for crew and dependents of the BLACK after being separated for nearly seven months. From 21 December 1962 to 5 January 1963 the ship remained in port at Long Beach for a leave and upkeep period followed by a two-week tender availability alongside the USS ISLE ROYALE (AD-29).
During the last two weeks of January 1963 and the first week of February 1963 the BLACK was in port at Long Beach for a short upkeep period and one week underway in the San Diego operation area. On 6 February the BLACK entered the U.S. Naval Shipyard in Long Beach, California for a regular overhaul and remained there until 16 May 1963. On 23 May 1963, the BLACK celebrated her 20th birthday.
During the last two weeks of May 1963 the ship spent a few days at sea preparing for the trip to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, The ship arrived at Pearl Harbor in the afternoon of 6 June and began a very rigorous daily operating schedule of refresher training. It was a strenuous seven weeks for all hands, but a successful and educational experience too. Of course, it was not all work, and the crew enjoyed their hard earned liberty as usual. Both the ship's baseball team and the basketball team returned to Long Beach undefeated.
On 19 July 1963 the ship departed Hawaii and arrived at Long Beach on 25 July 1963 for two weeks in port, followed by a couple more of days in port. The BLACK spent one more week at sea and then three weeks of upkeep at the U.S. Naval Station in Long Beach, California.
The 17th and 18th of September 1963 were spent operating in the local areas followed by another hard week of upkeep. The next ten days the BLACK was underway plane guarding for the two carriers, USS KITTY HAWK (CVA-63) and USS MIDWAY (CVB-4l) while participating in "Operation Big Bear."
From 4 October to 21 October 1963 the BLACK had a much needed tender availability and then underway for the remainder of the month conducting various gunnery, engineering and operational exercises. 1 November 1963 to 4 November 1963 the BLACK was in port and then underway again for four more days of competitive exercises off the coast of southern California. During the tender availability from 8 until 22 November 1963 the BLACK took on a new look by adding new, more up-to-date anti-submarine torpedo tubes.
During the week of 2 until6 December 1963 the ship was in port in San Diego where a large percentage of the ship's crew attended various schools at the U.S. Naval Training Center, San Diego, California.
On 14 December 1963, Commander James P. McMahon relieved Commander R.E. Bondy, Jr. as the twelfth Commanding Officer of the USS BLACK.
On 20 December the "BLACK SPIDERS" brought home the trophies for winning the Long Beach area destroyer league basketball championship with a 11-0 record. A Christmas leave period was enjoyed during the last three weeks of 1963.
In January 1964, the BLACK shifted berths and entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for an interim overhaul. Immediately following her yard period, the BLACK math all preparation for her early March deployment.
On 7 March 1964 the BLACK deployed to WESTPAC. Upon arriving in Subic Bay, Philippines in May 1964 she entered the repair facilities floating dry-dock for sonar dome repairs and general upkeep.
During the rest of her deployment, BLACK operated with other Seventh Fleet units as a carrier plane guard, CVA screen ship, and as a patrol ship in the Taiwan Straits. The BLACK made trips to Hong Kong, Sasebo, and Yokosuka, Japan to the delight of all hands.
In mid-June 1964, the BLACK departed the Orient from Yokosuka and headed home. On 3 July 1964 the BLACK, arrived in Long Beach; another WESTPAC cruise completed. On 4 July 1964, Ensign J. Dennis Black, the oldest son of Lieutenant Commander Hugh D. Black, for whom the ship was named, reported aboard for duty. Following a leave and upkeep period, on 3 August 1964, the BLACK got underway from Long Beach bound for San Diego, her new homeport. Departing Destroyer Squadron 13 she was welcomed "home" by units of Destroyer Squadron 15, and Destroyer Division 152. Following a two-week tender availability, the BLACK was ready to swing into action with her new destroyer mates.
The fall of 1964 found the BLACK participating in "Operations Union Square" and "Hardshot", two major fleet exercises. In her role as an ASW ship, she was frequently engaged in submarine prosecution.
The month of December 1964 was a period when the BLACK busied herself with preparations for an early January 1965 deployment to WESTPAC. Considerable work was done in the engineering plant.
The Christmas holidays came and swiftly went by; many of the crew was on leave, the majority of the engineers were replacing worn tubes when the New Year was ushered in.
On 5 January 1965, under the command of Commander J. P. McMahon the BLACK departed her San Diego homeport and commenced what was to prove to be her most eventful WESTPAC cruise since her 1953 operations in Korea. Enroute to the South China Sea in the company of units of Destroyer Squadrons 7 and 15 and the flagship USS CANBERRA (CAG-2), the BLACK stopped briefly in Pearl Harbor, Midway and Guam. Subic Bay was the scene of a ten-day upkeep period alongside the USS DIXIE (AD-14), where the ship had considerable work done on her boilers. But all was not work in Subic.
Competitive, as always, the "BLACK SPIDERS" took an all corners in basketball and won nearly all of these games. Similarly, the ship's softball team saw a lot of action and many victories. Before heading out to Point Yankee, most of the crew had taken the opportunity to sight see and relax in the Philippines.
On station at Point Yankee for a stretch up to thirty days, the ship saw a good deal of the aircraft carrier USS CORAL SEA (CVB-43) from her plane guard station. Late February and early March 1965 found the BLACK under the operational control of Commander Task Group 77.6, and amphibious organization. For two weeks standing off the mouth of the Saigon River, the BLACK was escort for the USS PRINCETON (LPH-5) and other amphibious units posed for a strike.
In mid-February 1965, at Vung Ro Ray, South Vietnam, a few hundred miles north of the BLACK'S position, Vietnamese piloted aircraft sank a communist supplied steel hulled vessel when it was discovered that the camouflaged ship was off loading munitions for Viet Cong use. This discovery documented the theory that a coastal blockade was necessary to prevent arms infiltration by sea.
The USS HIGBEE (DD-806) and the BLACK were, in mid March 1965, assigned to Task Group 71.1 and were the first United States warships to partake in the infiltration surveillance mission. From the patrol's inception until mid July 1965 when the BLACK was homeward bound, she played an integral role in the deve1opment and conduct of Operation "Market Time".
During the nearly seven month deployment, about eighty percent of the ship's time was spent at sea. However, visits in April and July 1965 were made to Hong Kong, and three times the ship made the long trek to Yokosuka, Japan for upkeep, recreation and relaxation.
The months of June and July 1965 found the BLACK shelling Viet Cong strongholds from as close as 1500 to 2000 yards off shore in some missions. As it happened with Operation "Market Time", here too the ship was one of the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of naval gunfire in call for fire missions conducted by airborne spotters. On 3 June while conducting a gunfire mission, the spotter aircraft was being taken under fire by a heavy machine gun emplacement. With one shot directed from the BLACK'S main battery director, the gun nest was destroyed.
On 17 July 1965 Commander B.Y. Setzer, Jr. relieved Commander J.P. McMahon as Commanding Officer while the BLACK was in Hong Kong.
On 19 July 1965 the BLACK departed Hong Kong enroute to Yokosuka, Japan for a brief visit before heading home.
On 7 August 1965 in company with the USS BUCHANAN (DDG-14), USS ROWAN (DD-782), USS CHEVALIER (DD-805), and USS HAMNER (DD-719), the BLACK tied up at the Naval Station, San Diego, California. For the next several days the tourist merchandise and shopping spectaculars streamed off the ship. From homecoming day until September 1965 pre-overhaul sea trials, except for the highly successful dependent's cruise on 1 October 1965 the ship remained in port.
On 11 October 1965 the BLACK entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for a three months yard overhaul. Her exterior structural appearance was little changed, except for the construction of a mid-ship heavy weather replenishment station. The bulk of the yard work was conducted in the engineering and electronic spaces. Though outward appearance might not indicate it, the three 3"x50 rapid fire mounts and the forward five inch mounts were replaced by new mounts.
On 10 January 1966 after concluding the shipyard overhaul sea trials with a demonstration of 38 plus knots, the BLACK left Long Beach for San Diego via the Seal Beach ammunition depot. It was homecoming again on 12 January 1966 as wives, families and friends turned out to hear the BLACK band and welcome the ship home.
With underway training scheduled to commence on 31 January 1966, the days in port were few, as it was necessary to shakedown the ship and crew in preparation. Underway training commenced as scheduled.
On 17 March 1966 the BLACK concluded its underway training, having passed all her required exercises to the satisfaction of Commanders Fleet Training Group, San Diego, and Fleet Anti-submarine Warfare Training Group, San Diego.
Moored in San Diego, the men of the BLACK busied themselves for the 28 and 29 March 1966 administrative inspection, which it passed with flying colors.
Operation "Gray Ghost" commenced on 12 April 1966 and before the BLACK had barely cleared the San Diego channel, she went to the scene of a downed helicopter and successfully rescued the four-man crew when the helicopter flipped over.
During "Gray Ghost" the ship was actively engaged in ASW pursuits while screening the carrier USS ORISKANY (CV-34). She also took part in anti-PT boat patrols and was always alert for an AAW threat.
In port on 20 April 1966 for a few days, the officers and men took a breather, before going to sea again the week of 2 through 5 May 1966 for type training. On Monday, 9 May 1966, the BLACK was again at sea, where for the week she continued type training with shore bombardment, surface shoots, air shoots and ASW work scheduled.
A tender availability period and much deserved leave and upkeep occupied the rest of the month of May. During this time, air conditioning was installed in the living compartments aboard ship, and plans were made to procure a portable swimming pool for the crew's relaxation. 23 May 1966 marked the ship's twenty-third Birthday, which was quietly celebrated on board.
On 11 June 1966 the BLACK departed San Diego and commenced her tenth WESTPAC cruise in eleven years since coming to the west coast in 1955.
Task Unit 15.8.2 consisting of the USS BUCHANAN (DDG-14) (COMIDESDIV 152 embarked), USS SOUTHERLAND (DD-743) and the BLACK arrived in Pearl Harbor on 17 June 1966 for an operational briefing prior to joining the Seventh Fleet. Leaving on 20 June 1966, the task unit proceeded across the international late line on 23 June 1966 following a brief refueling stop at Midway Island. On 27 June 1966 the task unit "chopped" to COMSEVENTHFLT and was redesignated Task Element 188.8.131.52. Continuing on through the fringes of typhoon Kitt, the task element arrived in Yokosuka, Japan on 30 June 1966 and joined the USS INTREPID (CV-11) forming Task Group 77.5.
The following day, Task Group 77.5 departed Yokosuka for Dixie Station in the South Viet Nam Combat Zone, arriving there on 9 July 1966. The USS BUCHANAN (DDG-14) was then ordered detached. The BLACK and the USS SOUTHERLAND (DD-743) (CONDESDIV 152 embarked) were assigned to screening and plane guard duties while the USS INTREPID (CV-11) initiated air attacks against targets in the Mekong Delta region. The BLACK was detached from Task Group 77.5 on 10 July 1966 and ordered to join Task Unit 70.8.9 for ten days of gunfire support for a combined assault against Viet Cong positions in the III Corps area on the 11 July 1966. Following a preliminary strike by the U.S. Air Force, the BLACK supported the helicopter landing of a battalion of the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam. Once the landing zone was secured, bunkers and fortifications were located and they were effectively taken under fire by the BLACK'S main battery 5"x38 guns while her secondary battery 3"x5O guns anchored the ARVN right flank, thus preventing the infiltration and envelopment of their base of operations by Viet Cong relief forces. After the area had been neutralized and large amounts of Viet Cong material destroyed, the BLACK stood by to cover the retiring troops. The operation was deemed a success and the BLACK was credited with preventing a Viet Cong regiment from infiltrating into the area.
Following this operations the BLACK conducted six days of shore bombardment from a position about six miles up a tributary of the Saigon River known as the Dong Son. Commencing on 13 July 1966, the BLACK conducted harassment and interdiction missions firing from two to six 5"x38 caliber rounds per hour during the night at preselected targets such as supply routes, staging areas, infiltration routes, assembly areas, structures, bunkers and caves. During this tan day period the BIACK fired a total of 1,369 5"x38 und 3"x50 rounds with almost 100 percent accuracy. Airborne spotters of XII Corps reported good to excellent coverage. Damage assessment during harassment and interdiction firing, however, were often difficult or unobtainable due to heavy foliage.
Completing her gunfire support mission, the BLACK was again attached to Task Group 77.5 where she assumed screening and plane guard duties until 30 July 1966. When detached, both the BLACK and USS S0UTHERLAND (DD-743) steamed to rendezvous with the USS FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (CVA-42). Now units of Task Group 77.7, they escorted the USS ROOSEVELT into port at Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines for a one-week tender avai1ability period.
Early on the morning of 7 August 1966, Task Group 77.7 augmented by the addition of the USS BOYD (DD-544), departed Subic Bay and transited Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin Combat Zone where the USS ROOSEVELT (CVA-42) launched air strikes against enemy positions in both North and South Viet Ham. The BLACK was scheduled for ASW training along with screening and plane guard duties and on 12 August 1966 the BLACK rendezvoused with the USS DALE (DLG-19) and the submarine USS STERLET (SS-392) for ASW exercises returning to the ROOSEVELT (CVA-42) upon there completion. Again, four days later, the BLACK joined the USS JAMES B. KYES (DD-787) and USS STERLET (SS-392) for further training. Following this two-day period the BLACK returned to her screening and plane guard duties.
On 19 August 1966 Commander Kenneth C. Reynolds USN relieved Commander B.W. Setzer Jr. USN as Commanding Officer, in a morning ceremony conducted on the fantail. Commander B.W. Setzer was then transferred by highline the same day to the USS SOUTHERLAND (DD-743) where he relieved Captain C. E. McMullen as Commander Destroyer Division 152.
On 21 August 1966 the BKACK was detached from Task Group 77.7 and again directed to proceed to engage in gunfire support duties as a unit of Task Unit 70.8.9. General quarters was first sounded at 0940, 22 August 1966 and by 2300, 24 August 322 rounds has been expended against Viet Cong troops in the open and in sheltered areas and at suspected Viet Cong positions. These missions, the majority of which were harassment and interdiction firings, left five known enemy dead, 37 structures destroyed and at least 23 others damaged. II Corps spotters reported that the missions conducted in the Vung Xuan Dai areas achieved outstanding results.
On 1 September 1966 the BLACK rejoined Task Group 77.7, screening and plane guarding the USS ROOSEVELT (CVA-42) while she continued her air strikes. Further ASW exercises were conducted with the USS DALE (DDG-19) and USS BONEFISH (SS-582) on 3 and 4 September 1966.
On 8 September 1966 during Task Group refueling operations, the Soviet Intelligence Trawler GIDROFON closed the formation and placed herself in lose proximity to the USS ROOSEVELT (CVA-42). The carrier that was refueling alongside the USS HASSAYAMPA (A0-145) directed the BLACK to intervene and "shoulder" the intruder away from the formation. The BLACK successfully diverted the trawler and was given a "well done".
On 12 September 1966 Task Group 77.7 departed Yankee Station and made a high-speed 2200-mile transit to Yokosuka, Japan for a period of upkeep. During the transit the Task Group was forced to evade typhoon Dora and the BLACK suffered minor topside damage during the storm.
The BLACK spent16 through 28 September 1966 in an upkeep status in Yokosuka, departing independently on 29 September 1966 enroute to Yankee Station. On 30 September while in transit to Okinawa for a brief refueling stop, a lookout spotted a jet target drone in the water. The $210,000 drous was recovered by the BLACK and off-loaded at Buckner Bay, Okinawa the next day.
Two days after leaving Buckner Bay, the BLACK rendezvoused with Task Group 77.7. Because the USS ROOSEVELT (CVA-42) was returning to Yokosuka at high speed for repairs she refueled the BLACK at 22 knots and the BLACK was then directed to proceed to Subic Bay for a period of upkeep. Arriving in Subic Bay on 4 October she departed a week later for ASW training near Taiwan.
After two days of ASW training with The USS POMODON (SS-486) and a one-day stop at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, the BLACK steamed to the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong to assume SOPA (Administrative) duties, arriving on 16 October 1966. Relieving the USS HANSON (DD-832) the following day, the BLACK performed the duties of Station Ship Hong Kong until 27 October 1966 when she departed for Yokosuka, Japan.
Stopping only briefly to refuel at Buckner Bay, the BLACK moored in Yokosuka on the morning of the 31 October 1966. The next three days were spent preparing for the return home.
On 4 November 1966 Task Element 184.108.40.206 consisting of the BLACK, USS DALE (DDG-19), USS GURKE (DD-783) and USS CHEVALIER (DD-805) departed Yokosuka enroute to rendezvous with the stricken carrier USS ORISKANY (CV-34). The ORISKANY was returning home after being damaged by a serious fire on her hangar deck, which took the lives of 44 of her crew. The rendezvous was accomplished near Iwo Jima and the formation was designated Task Group 77.6.
Refueling from the carrier the Task Group completed the transit to San Diego, California without stopping for fuel. It "chopped" to Commander First Fleet on 8 November and arrived at its homeport of San Diego on 16 November 1966. Despite the tragic circumstances under which the USS ORISKANY (CV-34) returned, homecoming was a joyous reunion for everyone on the BLACK.
During the course of the cruise, the BLACK refueled underway 33 times receiving 2,612,884 gallons of Navy Special Fuel Oil and the BLACK conducted 52 underway replenishments from a variety of service ships plus carriers and destroyers. From 11 June to 16 November 1966 the BLACK covered a distance of 48,612 miles or nearly two circumnavigations of the globe.
For the remainder of 1966 the BLACK enjoyed a well-earned period of leave and upkeep in San Diego. On 1 June 1968 Commander Bert Myatt, Jr. relieved Commander K.C. Reynolls as Commanding Officer.
The BLACK received three battle stars for service off Viet Nam.
|On 17 February 1971 the USS BKACK (DD-666) was sold to Chou's Iron and Steel Co. Inc. for $101,595.00 and scrapped.|
|The following is a list or the USS BLACK'S Commanding
1. 21 May 1943 until 18 Mar 1944 LCDR Jack Maginnis
2. 18 Mar 1944 until 22 Oct 1945 LCDR E.R. King
3. 22 Oct 1945 until 5 Aug 1946 LCDR E.H. Simpson
4. 5 Aug 1946 until 18 Jul 1951 OUT OF COMMISSION
5. 18 Jul 1951 until 15 May 1952 CDR J.R. Beardall, Jr.
6. 15 May 1952 until 3 Jul 1954 CDR S.A Bobczynski
7. 3 Jul 1954 until 3 Jan 1955 CDR R.A. Sexton
8. 3 Jan 1955 until 8 Jun 1956 CDR W.O. Hill
9. 8 Jun 1956 until 31 May 1958 CDR A.R. Brueggemann
10. 31 May 1958 until 24 Jun 1960 CDR A.H. Murray Jr.
11. 24 Jun 1960 until 24 Jan 1962 CDR C.E. Stastny
12. 24 Jan1962 until 14 Dec 1963 CDR R.E. Bondy Jr.
13. 14 Dec1963 until 17 Jul 1965 CDR J.P. McMahon
14. 17 Jul 1965 until 19 Aug 1966 CDR B.Y. Setzer Jr.
15. 19 Aug 1966 until 1 Jun 1968 CDR K.C. Reynolds
16. 1 Jun 1968 until unknown CDR Bert Myatt Jr.
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