USS Eugene A. Greene DD 711
History


USS EUGENE A. GREENE (DD-711)

THE BEGINNING

When a ship is authorized by the Congress of the United States there are four key historical and ceremonial occasions that occur during her life. These ceremonies are the keel laying, the launch and christening, the commissioning; and finally, the last historical event, the decommissioning. USS Eugene A. Greene (DD-711) experienced all of these events, with commissioning and decommissioning occurring twice. This is a brief history of USS Greene's life and record of service as a ship-of-the-line in the United States Navy.

USS Greene was constructed in ten months. The keel of the ship was laid on August 17, 1944, by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Port Newark, New Jersey. The keel laying ceremony honored the beginning of USS Greene's life and all in attendance added their wishes of "good luck and following seas." The ship was commissioned on June 8, 1945, and thus began USS Eugene A. Greene's (DD-711) life as a United States Naval Destroyer.

At the end of the 19th century most of the world's navies concentrated their efforts on the development and employment of fast, maneuverable, but lightly armed, torpedo equipped boats. These torpedo-boats would charge, attack and escape from the larger and more ponderous iron-clad warships. The defensive invention to counter the torpedo boat was the torpedo-boat destroyer (later shortened to destroyer). It was at the turn of the 20th century that the destroyer was conceived, and its mission was to neutralize the threat that torpedo-boats posed against larger ships-of-the-line.

The destroyer possessed the speed to overtake the torpedo-boat and the fire-power to overwhelm and destroy it. Because of its effectiveness the role of the destroyer was soon expanded from this single purpose to tasks formally accomplished by gunboats, small monitor ships and other naval vessels. Thus, shortly after its development, the destroyer became a multi-purpose weapons ship whose capabilities continuously evolved from the original concept to fulfill the many different missions assigned to it.

This evolution of a destroyer's capabilities is readily apparent when looking at USS Greene's twenty-seven year life span. As her mission changed so did her sensors and armament, but at all times USS Greene, like her predecessors, was ready to answer any call. USS Greene served as a rescue ship, gunfire support ship, patrol ship, anti-submarine warfare ship, surveillance ship, anti-air warfare ship and a goodwill ship that showed the flag around the world.



THE SHIP

At the time of her commissioning at the New York Navy Yard on June 8, 1945, USS Greene was the second ship built of the 2,250 ton Gearing Class destroyers. At this time these ships were the heaviest and most powerful destroyers in the world . She was 390.5 feet in overall length and had a beam of 41 feet. Having a draft of 15 feet, USS Greene displaced 3,480 tons when fully loaded. She had four Babcock and Wilcox (600 pound P.S.I. steam boilers) and two turbine driven shafts which provided 60,000 shaft horsepower. Owing to her twin screws and twin rudders, USS Greene was highly maneuverable and capable of attaining speeds in excess of thirty-four knots. Her complement was 15 officers and 266 enlisted personnel.

USS Greene was named for Eugene Michael Greene (his baptismal record showed his middle name as "A." and the Navy changed his name when he enlisted to Eugene A. Greene). He was born in Smithtown, L.I., New York on November 21, 1921, and attended St. Francis Prep School in Brooklyn, New York. In 1940 he graduated from Rhode Island State College in Newport, Rhode Island with a BS Degree in Physical Education. He was on the school's varsity basketball team, captain of the golf team and editor of the school's yearbook. On January 13, 1941, Eugene enlisted in the Naval Reserve. After Air Cadet Training at Floyd Bennet Field in New York, he received further aviation training at the Naval Air Stations in Jacksonville and Miami, Florida. Next he received advanced training at Corpus Christi Naval Air Station and qualified for carrier landings with the Advanced Carrier Training Group, Atlantic Fleet at Norfolk, Virginia . He won his aviator's wings and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve on August 30, 1941. In February of 1942 he married Miss Anita McSweeney.

Ensign Eugene A. Greene was assigned on March 11, 1942, to Bombing Squadron Six (VF-6) on board the USS Enterprise (CV-6). This squadron was the famous Dauntless Dive Bombers who were commanded by Air Group Commander, Lieutenant Commander Clarence Wade McClusky. On June 4, 1942 in The Battle of Midway, Ensign Eugene A. Greene was shot down and classified Missing in Action (MIA). He had distinguished himself in breaking through heavy Japanese fighter and anti-aircraft opposition to lead a courageous dive bombing attack against a Japanese carrier. Posthumously, he was awarded the Navy Cross for his selfless heroism. The citation read: "Disregarding extreme danger from concentrated anti-aircraft barrages and heavy fighter opposition ,he pressed home his attacks, with utter disregard for his own personal safety, and struck at the enemy forces at a distance from his own units which rendered return unlikely because of probable fuel exhaustion."

Ensign Greene and the other men of the Dauntless Dive Bombers at The Battle of Midway changed the entire course of the Pacific War. It was in this decisive battle that our Navy turned back the superior Japanese carrier task forces that were threatening Midway Island and Hawaii.


Following the Navy custom of naming destroyer type ships after Navy and Marine Corps heroes, the name Eugene A. Greene was assigned to DE-549. This decision was canceled on June 10, 1944, and the name was reassigned to DD-711 on July 10, 1944. USS Greene was launched on March 18, 1945, and was christened and sponsored by Mrs. Anita McSweeney Greene, widow of Ensign Greene. On June 8, 1945, the ship was commissioned USS Eugene A. Greene (DD-711) with Commander William V. "Bill" Pratt III , USN in command.

THE EARLY YEARS 1945 - 1952

After routine fitting out was completed, USS Greene got underway on July 5, 1945, for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for its initial shakedown training. Completing training on August 9, 1945, the ship reported for radar experiments off Fort Pierce, Florida. It was here that the ship celebrated the news of the Japanese surrender. Originally slated for duty with the Pacific Fleet, her assignment was changed to the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and USS Greene was assigned to Destroyer Squadron 68.

The primary role of USS Greene and the other ships of her class at the end of World War II was no longer defensive in nature. The ship was now primarily an offensive weapon. Relying on her five-inch , three-inch and anti-aircraft guns and torpedoes, her mission was now to conduct surface attacks, to provide naval shore bombardment and to screen carrier task forces from attack. Her secondary role was to support Hunter-Killer (HUK) Groups in anti-submarine warfare (ASW).

Operating from Norfolk, Virginia , as home port , USS Greene participated in operations with the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea and with the U.S. Second (then Eighth) Fleet in the Caribbean Sea and North and South Atlantic Oceans. Of particular interest is that USS Greene and her sister USS Gearing (DD-710) were plane guards for the USS Roosevelt (CVA-42) in 1946 during the test flight of the first all jet engine plane to take off from a carrier. In early 1947, as a unit of Destroyer Unit 41, USS Greene departed for Montevideo, Uruguay and participated in the festivities accompanying the inauguration ceremony for President Beretta. On the return trip to the United States a visit was made to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. On November 10, 1947, USS Greene sailed on the first of what would be many Mediterranean cruises that would be made over the next twenty-five years.

During 1948 and 1949 USS Greene twice sailed for duty with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. In late 1949 she joined other ships of Task Force 28 to lead an experimental cold weather cruise north of the Arctic Circle. The results of this cruise proved valuable in research on operating under severe cold weather conditions. USS Greene like other destroyers spent little time in home port. She constantly sailed the east coast and Caribbean waters providing services as a naval reserve training ship, schooling reservists, serving as a plane guard in carrier operations, exercising with large task groups, and standing watch against air and seaborne threats to the security of the United States. Sixth Fleet duty in the Mediterranean was again in the offing when USS Greene departed on January 19, 1951. After participating in combined fleet maneuvers, she returned to Norfolk, Virginia in June.

DESTROYER RADAR PICKET (DDR-711) - 1952

In April 1, 1952, at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia USS Greene was decommissioned and received a major conversion. She was commissioned for the second time on December 1, 1952, as the first (DDR) or Destroyer Radar Picket ship. USS Greene was fitted out with special radar communications systems which enabled her to act as an early warning unit when stationed ahead of a task force. She retained her six five-inch guns and six three-inch guns, but her lighter anti-aircraft weapons were removed. Additional radar antennas were also added forward of the after gun-mount. Although USS Greene's primary focus was now anti-air warfare, both naval shore bombardment and anti-submarine warfare remained important missions.

Throughout the 1950's and into the early 1960's USS Greene's operating schedule was similar to that of other Atlantic Fleet destroyers: U. S. Second Fleet operations, U. S. Sixth Fleet operations, occasional Northern European trips and NATO operations. During early 1953 USS Greene conducted Refresher Training in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba prior to reporting to Pennsacola, Florida for duty. On September 16, 1953, She departed Norfolk, Virginia for the Mediterranean. USS Greene participated in NATO Operation "Mariner" while enroute. She returned to her home port of Norfolk, Virginia on February 3, 1954.

In January of 1954 USS Greene participated in Operation "Springboard" in the Caribbean. USS Greene became the Flagship for Commander Destroyer Division 42 on February 23, 1954. In the Summer of 1954 the "Steamin' Greene" sailed again to the Mediterranean area and visited many familiar ports. Returning to the United States she participated in inter-ship and air defense exercises in preparation for another Mediterranean tour in July of 1955. Just prior to Christmas of 1955 USS Greene returned to Norfolk, Virginia.

USS Greene headed again for the Mediterranean on July 28, 1956. During this tour of duty several anxious and eventful weeks were spent off the Suez Canal and Israel's Coast. After four months of operations USS Greene returned to home port and a few weeks later went into Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia for regular overhaul. Coming out of overhaul in March 1957, she was on her way again to the Mediterranean for Sixth Fleet duty. USS Greene participated in NATO exercises and rescued the two survivors of a night plane crash on the USS Roosevelt(CVA-42).

After returning to Norfolk, Virginia in October 1957, USS Greene was back in the Mediterranean in December. Christmas and New Year's Day was spent in Palma, Majorca, Spain. While returning to home port USS Greene participated in a massive air-sea search (lasting eight days) for a Navy patrol plane lost in the vicinity of the Azores. From March until June 1958 the ship's time was spent in home port and short operations off the Atlantic coast. In June USS Greene left on a Midshipman training cruise and visited Santander, Spain; Trondheim, Norway and Ghent, Belgium. In Belgium the crew had the opportunity to visit the Brussels World's Fair. The ship also took part in NATO operations off the British Isles. She returned to Norfolk, Virginia on August 8, 1958.

In November of 1958 USS Greene participated in LANTFLEX which consisted of a three week training cruise in the Atlantic. She departed from her homeward course long enough to rescue the downed pilot of a Navy F4D about fifty miles off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

In September 1959 the home port of USS Greene was changed to Charleston, South Carolina. Participating in the "Grand Entry" into Charleston, South Carolina USS Greene entertained various city officials and dignitaries at a reception on board. On September 1, 1959, USS Greene was assigned to Destroyer Squadron Six and became the Flagship for Commander Destroyer Division 62. She participated in a missile nose cone recovery operation on September 23, 1959, off Cape Canaveral, Florida.

On January 28, 1960, USS Greene departed for Mediterranean Sixth Fleet duty. Ports of call included: Genoa and Naples, Italy; Athens, Greece and Cannes, France. USS Greene returned to Charleston, South Carolina from the Mediterranean in September 1960. She then went to sea to train new crew members and responded whenever required to handle various "hot spots" in the Caribbean. After a year in Charleston, South Carolina, USS Greene departed once again for the Mediterranean in August 1961.

Almost all of USS Greene's entire Sixth Fleet deployment was spent escorting USS Intrepid (then CVA-11). With her superior radar and TACAN, USS Greene was stationed close to USS Intrepid to sort out the air picture and to provide aircraft guidance back to the carrier. Tensions increased in 1961 as a result of the Berlin crisis. Naval Reserve forces were "called up" and two reserve destroyers were added to the Sixth Fleet. During this Mediterranean cruise USS Greene and USS Intrepid experimented with new plane guard tactics that helped to decrease the possibility of collision during low visibility. These new tactics were adopted by the Navy several years later. In 1961 USS Greene received the Battle Efficiency "E" for outstanding performance!

Ports-of-call during this deployment included: Valletta, Malta; Thessalonika and Piraeus (Athens) Greece, Naples, Gaeta, Livorno and Genoa, Italy; Golfe d' Juan, France and Barcelona, Spain. Christmas 1961 was spent in Naples and New Years in Greta, Italy. During the transit home in February 1962, USS Greene fought through a major storm and received significant damage to her starboard side. In early March as she entered the Cooper River in Charleston, South Carolina, her berth was changed so that dependents greeting the ship would not see the ship's damage.

The Spring and Summer of 1962 found USS Greene in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba several times. Political tensions were mounting and her radar and guns were needed to help defend Guantanamo Naval Base. In October 1962 as the crew returned from weekend liberty, USS Greene lighted all boilers, checked all weapons systems and rapidly left Charleston. That evening off the coast of Florida the crew tuned in commercial radio stations and heard President Kennedy announce the Cuban Quarantine. In the spirit of USS Greene's motto,

    "Affirmative, On the Way,"

she joined the carrier strike force off Cuba at flank speed.

USS Greene's mission during the Cuban Missile Crisis was to protect the carriers from hostile aircraft, Soviet submarines and the Soviet built OSA and KOMAR guided missile patrol boats which were operating out of Cuba. Fortunately, the crisis ended without combat and USS Greene returned to Charleston, South Carolina in November 1962 before proceeding to Boston Naval Shipyard.

USS EUGENE A. GREENE (DD-711) - (FRAM I) CONVERSION - 1962

On December 1, 1962, USS Greene changed home port to Boston, Massachusetts and the ship was placed in reserve commission at Boston Naval Shipyard to undergo Mark I Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM I) . This was the second major conversion of the ship and the FRAM I program included an overhaul and extensive modernization of the entire ship. The ship's complement was reduced to five officers and approximately 80 enlisted men.

One of the ship's five-inch guns was removed as were all three-inch guns and the depth charges. ASW torpedo tubes were added, as well as, the ASROC launcher, the DASH hanger and deck, and the SPS-40 radar. In the last step of the evolution of the USS Greene's mission, the emphasis was on anti-submarine warfare, electronics, and electronic counter measures.

After post FRAM I check out USS Greene joined Task Group Alpha , Destroyer Squadron 32, and conducted Hunter-Killer (HUK) exercises in both the Atlantic and Mediterranean. In 1965 the ship carried out duties as a recovery ship for the unmanned Gemini Space Shot in the Caribbean and took part in patrol duties off the Dominican Republic. In early 1966 USS Greene was named the winner of the Atlantic Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Trophy and received an "A" for ASW excellence.

On June 1, 1966, USS Greene departed Norfolk, Virginia in the company of USS Beale (DD-471) for duty in the Seventh Fleet . On June 6, 1966, USS Greene transited the Panama Canal and entered the Pacific Ocean for the first time in her career . USS Greene had now operated with all four of the Navy's numbered Fleets. She truly lived up to her new motto "Anywhere-Anytime." After transiting the Panama Canal USS Greene hit a submerged log. She entered Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on June 21, 1966, to have the starboard screw replaced and a flooded rudder repaired. With repairs made she departed Hawaii, crossed the International Date Line on June 30, 1966, and headed for Viet Nam service. After departing Hong Kong on July 27, 1966, USS Greene was underway for "Yankee Station" in the Tonkin Gulf. During most of this period she was an escort and rescue ship for the USS Constellation (CVA-64) and USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) as the ships conducted air strikes against North Vietnam . USS Greene also provided Naval Gunfire Support to friendly forces in the Republic of Vietnam's I Corps Area. This was the only time that USS Greene's five inch guns were fired in anger.

On October 19, 1966, just two days out of Sasebo, Japan and just joining the USS Roosevelt (CVA-42) , the ship's port shaft parted in the stern tube and slid aft to rest on the port rudder. USS Greene limped into Tso Ying, Taiwan. The ship's propeller was locked in place, and then USS Greene transited to Subic Bay, Philippine Islands for repairs. On November 10, 1966, USS Greene departed Subic Bay, Philippine Islands, crossed the Equator and then began the 13,396 mile transit back to Norfolk, Virginia. After brief visits in Pulau, Singapore; Cochin, Indian and Aden, Aden USS Greene passed through the Malacca Straits and Suez Canal to circumnavigate the world. USS Greene arrived in Norfolk, Virginia on December 17, 1966.

USS Greene departed Norfolk, Virginia on November 2, 1967, for the first leg of her Red Sea cruise and as a unit of the Middle East Force. She rounded the Cape of Good Hope and proceeded along the east cost of Africa. The ship spent Christmas in Mombassa, Kenya. Ports of call included: Port Louis, Mauritius; Djibouti, French Somaliland; Jidda, Saudi Arabia and Massawa, Ethiopia. On February 3, 1968, after firing a twenty-one gun salute to welcome his royal highness, Prince Ghalamreza Pahlavi, brother of the Shah-of-Iran, USS Greene ran aground as she entered the harbor of Bandar Abbas, Iran. The ship was freed the next day and proceeded to Karachi Shipyard and Dry-dock Company in Karachi, Pakistan to repair the starboard propeller and crushed (SQS 23) sonar dome.

USS Greene returned home from the Middle East on May 14, 1968. Two weeks later she was part of the massive search for the missing submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589). USS Greene participated in NATO Convoy Exercise "Silver Tower", the first exercise of its type since WW II, and in October 1968 she assisted in the recovery of the manned space craft Apollo VII.

After being placed in CADRE status in November 1968 (35% of normal manning level), USS Greene was not placed in fully operational status until the fourth quarter of 1969. On December 1, 1969, USS Greene was removed from CADRE status and commenced her Refresher Training with a new crew. However, recurring propeller and shaft problems continued to curtail her readiness capability.

THE 1970s - THE LAST YEARS

In the opening days of 1970 USS Greene was in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for refresher training. On January 14, 1970, USS Greene left Guantanamo Bay, Cuba conducted Naval Gun Fire Support (NGFS) exercises at Culebra, Puerto Rico and returned to Norfolk, Virginia on January 20, 1970. USS Greene departed for her fourteenth Mediterranean cruise on March 5, 1970. USS Greene passed through the Straits of Gibraltar ending a rough voyage across the Atlantic and starting six months of U.S. and NATO exercises and port visits. On April 28, 1970, USS Greene left Augusta Bay, Sicily for operations with the NATO Naval On Call Force Mediterranean in exercise "First Step." This was the first activation of this force which involved naval units of the United Kingdom, Turkey, Greece and Italy.

On June 8, 1970, USS Greene celebrated her 25th Anniversary since her commissioning in 1945. On June 16, 1970, while refueling, USS Greene lost steering control and collided with the starboard side of USS Waccamaw (AO-109). Neither ship incurred extensive damage and USS Greene continued her cruise. Ports of call during this cruise included: Cannes, France; Piraeus Harbor, Greece; Valletta, Malta; Augusta Bay, Sicily; Naples, Italy and Antalya, Turkey. She transited the Sea of Maramara and the Dandanelles on August 3, 1970. USS Greene left Naples, Italy on September 2, 1970, and transited to Tangier, Morocco. She joined Destroyer Squadron 32 units west of Gibraltar and having completed her Mediterranean tour transited back to the Destroyer-Submarine Piers in Norfolk, Virginia and arrived home on September 16, 1970.

USS Greene was dry-docked at Norfolk Naval Shipyard on March 15, 1971, for major repairs to the sonar transducer, hull and machinery. She remained for an extended upkeep and maintenance period and shipyard overhaul until June 15, 1971. On July 1, 1971, USS Greene shifted from Destroyer Squadron 32 to Destroyer Squadron 36 and then in October 1971 she shifted to Destroyer Squadron 2. On September 16, 1971, USS Greene participated in Operation "Royal Knight" a North Atlantic NATO exercise. Surface units from West Germany, Norway, United Kingdom and Netherlands coordinated their efforts in intensive anti-submarine and anti-air warfare exercises. Upon completion of the exercise USS Greene enjoyed port visits in Kristiansand, Norway and Hamburg, Germany. USS Greene returned to Norfolk, Virginia on October 22, 1971.

USS Greene departed Norfolk, Virginia on December 1, 1971, to begin what would be her last Mediterranean Sea deployment. She continued to Naples, Italy where the ship celebrated Christmas. New Years was celebrated in Palma, Mallorca, Spain. USS Greene participated in National Week Operations with NATO forces and visited ports in Greece and Turkey. The ship returned to home port in Norfolk, Virginia on June 29, 1972.

USS Greene was decommissioned on August 31, 1972, in Norfolk, Virginia. The decommissioning of any ship is always a nostalgic occasion that produces many emotional sensations. USS Greene had seen the passing of many nautical miles beneath her keel, and she had gained a fleet reputation for excellence because of the many fine officers and men who had given so much of themselves in her behalf. She had served the United States Navy well, but she would be missed and remembered by many.

SNS CHURRUCA (D61) - THE SPANISH NAVY

The former USS Greene was commissioned in the Spanish Navy as SNS Churruca (D-61) and transferred on loan to the Spanish Navy at Norfolk Naval Base, Norfolk, Virginia on August 31, 1972. She was eventually purchased by the Spanish Navy on May 17, 1978. USS Greene was renamed SNS Churruca in honor of the Spanish Navy's Lieutenant General Cosme Damian Churruca and Elorza. He was a Spanish Naval Officer born in Motrico (Gulpuzcoa) on September 27, 1761. Lieutenant General Churruca was a learned navy officer who excelled in military matters as well as astronomy and mathematics. He died, in the line of duty, during the Naval Battle at Trafalgar on October 21, 1805. He was a Major General and had command of the ship San Juan Nepomuceno. To reward his heroism at the Battle of Trafalgar he was posthumously promoted to Lieutenant General.

SNS Churruca served for seventeen years as vital part of a Spanish Navy. She was part of Destroyer Squadron 11 along with four other destroyers of the same class: USS Noa (DD-841), USS Furse (DD-882), USS Leary (DD-879) and USS O'Hare (DD-889). In 1978 SNS Churruca participated in the U.S. Sixth Fleet's "National Week" exercise. This was the first time that the Spanish Navy had participated in a major Sixth Fleet exercise and SNS Churruca's performance was consistent with her heritage. In later years as the Spanish Navy modernized its units, the SNS Churruca was relegated to tasks of lesser importance such as high seas patrolling while attached to the Cantabric Maritime Zone. Finally, she was placed in inactive service and decommissioned on September 15, 1989.

On December 12, 1991, SNS Churruca had served her useful life and was used for target practice and sunk. The impact of a 500 pound MK 8 bomb ended her life at exactly 12:12 hours. After four hours of intense pounding by missiles, projectiles, bombs and rockets USS Eugene A. Greene (DD-711) / SNS Churruca (D61) slowly sank to rest 4,500 meters deep 100 miles to the west of the Canary Islands. She had served, with distinction, a total of forty-six years.

POSTSCRIPT

I served on board USS Greene from January 1966 until November 1968 as the ship's Electronics Counter Measures (ECM) Officer and Communication Officer. I qualified as an Officer of the Deck for Fleet Steaming and served in Viet Nam. USS Greene gave me the opportunity to circumnavigate the world, transit both the Suez and Panama Canals, cross the Equator and International Date Line and visit countries around the world. What an experience for a young person!

USS Greene was my home and passage to a larger world then I had known existed. She was a "window to the world" and was a teacher of responsibility, trust, respect and friendships that have lasted over the years. The lessons learned in those early years have served me well in my career and personal life.

The 50th Reunion of USS Greene demonstrated the need for a brief but comprehensive history of the ship on which all hands had served. I decided that a review of collected OPNAV Reports could yield this result. Along with the help and recollections of many shipmates this report was complied. I owe a special debt of gratitude to William Gost who added many editorial comments.

Few recollections overcome the hazards of sentimentality. Nostalgia produces its own share of emotions and sensations, especially when applied to military service. Clear-sightedness about the past requires ample measures of understanding and above all truth. I trust that these virtues are reflected in this history.

Hopefully you will enjoy reading about your time and the history you made on board USS Greene . I have no apprehensions nor regrets in feeling a lasting gratitude about the time I spent on board the destroyer USS Eugene A. Greene (DD-711).

Robert J. Clark

"HALF-HITCH" - THE USS GREENE'S MASCOT

Whatever his appearance to the contrary, "Half-Hitch", USS Greene's mascot, was a dog of considerable breeding ... and a sea-dog from birth at that.

So begins the recorded history of "Hitch." He was born aboard a sub-casher at Ft. Pierce, Florida about the last week of 1945. His mother was a blue beagle and his father, odds are, was a red-bone hound. USS Greene picked him up at the age of three weeks.

In theory, "Hitch" belonged to the Ordnance Gang, as they originally brought him aboard. However, it took him only a short time to find out which way the food lay, and he attached himself to the Commissary Department. Aboard ship "Hitch" divided his time between his post just outside the galley door and his station at the gangway... watching for commissary stores trucks to arrive.

In Pensacola he soon got the reputation of being a jailbird. He was put in the brig at least three times, and the ship's Welfare Fund was out some six dollars getting him bailed out. Later; however, the Yard Police gave him a wide berth and would not pick him up. They said: "That dog eats so much that he is driving the Naval Air Station Dog Pound out of business.

Among other things, "Hitch" was a publicity hound, and on a number of occasions got his name and face plastered in the local newspapers. Among his achievements were these:

1. Chewed out by a Commander for digging in the New York Navy Yard sand pile.

2. Was spoken to by the Governor of Connecticut.

3. In New York he made liberty, drank four beers, and embittered three taxi drivers by thoroughly wetting down their cabs.

"Hitch" also had his personal possessions. One was a navy blue peacoat with Seaman First Stripes, a Gunner's Mate Striker's Badge, and Atlantic Fleet and Victory Ribbons. Another piece of property was his "man tag" complete with name, rate and service number.

A few people thought that "Hitch" might someday make a hunting dog, but most of USS Greene's crewmen knew that would never happen. He was always classified as a typical seaman. "Hitch" would eat, sleep, and make liberty call , and if you could have asked him he would have said, "The work can wait."

USS EUGENE A. GREENE (DD-711)

PERSONAL NOTES

USS EUGENE A. GREENE (DDR / DD-711) REUNION

Over one hundred people gathered at the Marriott Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Commissioning of U.S. Destroyer USS Eugene A. Greene (DDR-711 / DD-711). This was the second gathering of the various crews that served on board USS Greene and many old friendships were renewed. After a highly successful first reunion in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on September 22-25, 1994 the 50th Anniversary Reunion in Charleston, South Carolina was held on September 21-24, 1995.

Thursday, September 21 was arrival and registration day. The hospitality room was quickly opened and filled with USS Greene memorabilia which included photos, letters, patches, hats, and of course sea stories to warm any landlubber's heart. There was even a USS Greene Commissioning Plaque that was offered as the grand prize for a lucky raffle ticket holder.

On the next day, Friday, all hands boarded buses at the hotel and arrived dockside to the Charles Town Princess. A two and a half hour harbor cruise followed and everyone enjoyed seeing old Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie, Patriots Point, the U.S. Naval Base (which officially closed the day before) and Charleston's waterfront mansions. Lunch was taken at Market Square and then a two hour bus tour of historic Charleston included stopping at the Battery that overlooked Charleston's Harbor and Fort Sumter, and a walking tour of picturesque, stately mansions. Many shipmates teamed up for dinner and then returned to the hospitality room to reminisce and recall their service days onboard the USS Greene.

Saturday morning was dedicated to the ship's business. Jerry Riordan conducted the meeting and it was decided that the next reunion would be in Boston, Massachusetts, in September 1997 (the USS Greene's home ports were located in Norfolk, Charleston and Boston). After a brief financial report and announcements the business meeting was concluded.

For those "Old Salts" who could not get enough of the sea, a special tour of Patriots Point followed the business meeting ( an optional tour of Boone Hall Plantation for spouses who said "enough is enough" was provided). Most of the USS Greene's crew toured the carrier Yorktown; however, the destroyer Laffey, the submarine Clamagore and the Cost Guard Cutter Ingham also received visitors. This was truly a special treat for any Navy man.

After a complete documentation of attendance by official and semi-official photographers, the formal USS Greene Banquet was held Saturday night. This was a chance to dress up and enjoy a final dinner with shipmates. At the special

    invitation of Jerry Riordan, William "Bill" Greene, the brother of Eugene A. Greene, was present as the guest speaker. Bill related some personal remembrance of Eugene:

"I can't remember too much about Eugene ... other that he was a big brother. He was about eight years older than me. There were eight brothers and sisters... He was a good athlete... played basketball for St. Francis Prep... played basketball at Rhode Island University... was captain of the golf team... etc. We had six from our family in WW II - Eugene & Roger - Pacific John and me in North Africa & Italy - Thomas and Frank - USA. Eugene was lost during the Battle of Midway... flying a Dauntless Dive Bomber."

Bill Greene concluded his remarks with a thought for the day "poem" that left everyone thinking about their contribution:

Did you gain this day, or lose it

was it poor or wisely spent?

Did you leave a ray of sunshine?

or a scar of discontent?

As you close your eyes in slumber

do you think that God would say

You have earned one more tomorrow

by the work you did today?


Robert J. Clark
Photo courtesy of Robert J. Clark

The 50th Anniversary of USS Eugene A. Greene (DDR-711 / DD-711) concluded on Sunday, September 24 with a farewell breakfast. Farewells are always difficult, and this was no exception. With wishes of "smooth sailing and following seas" it was departure day until reuniting in Boston in 1997.

USS Greene has many other shipmates and crew members that have not been contacted and do not know about the next reunion. You can do your part by searching out shipmates and contacting them. See you in '97.


Robert J. Clark

USS Eugene A. Greene (DD-711) Musters For Shakedown

On Thursday through Sunday ( September 22-25 1994) some 146 hearty shipmates (and mates) mustered at Virginia Beach, Virginia for their shakedown in preparation for the 50th Anniversary Cruise (Reunion) planned for the month of September 1995 at a Charleston, South Carolina Naval Facility. The Alpha, Bravo and Charlie ( Able, Baker and Charlie ... to you older Salts) crews:

Alpha -- Commissioning to March 1952 ...Gearing Class (DD-711)

Bravo -- April 1952 to October 1962 ...After a DDR conversion (DDR-711)

Charlie -- December 1962 to June 1972 ... as a DASH DD and back to (DD-711)

On June 17, 1972 USS Eugene A. Greene (DD-711) was transferred to the Spanish Navy and was renamed SNS Churruca (D-61). None of the Delta crew (The Spanish crew) showed up; they probably did not get the word ... at least they did not get it in Spanish. Several of the Charlie crew had remained with USS Greene to assist the Spanish in getting to know the "Old Girl." In the Spanish Navy USS Greene (then SNS Churruca) became a "wet" ship (brandy in the breakfast coffee; mid-morning beers; wine with lunch and etc.). The transition Charlie crew apparently survived these "hardships" because they recounted same at the Reunion.

The Sea Stories began as soon as the various crews assembled; and they improved as time went on ... at each telling the stories became more fierce, the liberties greater, the dangers more perilous ... these sea tales will be polished and even better when retold next year at Charleston:

Two (2) memorable signals from USS Greene in her Sixth Fleet days were related:

When quarried by a passing British Flag, "How long are you at sea?" ...USS

Greene flashed, " 390 feet and six inches! The same length as we are in port!"

When asked to tow to Naples, Italy the destroyer MacDonald, which had had

an engine casualty, the impatient American Flag kept asking for a status

report, to which the USS Greene eventually responded, " USS Greene has Old

MacDonald in tow E-I-E-I-O !"

Bill Oster then reported on the rugged duty aboard SNS Churraca nee USS Greene during the transfer to the Spanish Navy. Bill Gost reported on visiting the SNS Churraca in 1978 and finding the old "Greene" in good (Spanish) hands.

Eugene A. Greene, Ensign, USNR, born November 21, 1921 in Smithtown, Long Island, New York, Naval Aviator, killed in action on June 4, 1942 dive-bombing a Japanese carrier, Navy Cross posthumously. Upon decommissioning in 1952 ( for DDR conversion), Frank Cashin was requested to take to Anita Greene, his widow, the silver service from the USS Greene's wardroom. He reported Mrs. Greene to be a lovely and attractive lady. He will try to locate her to invite her to the USS Greene '95 Charleston Reunion.

Thursday - Arrival of Advance Party at the Holiday Inn - Virginia Beach, VA.

Friday - Tour of MacArthur Museum, Norfolk, VA; followed by a little "sea-duty" aboard the City of Norfolk, a sight-seeing cruise ship, on which the noon meal was served. The tour was of the Norlfolk-Hampton Roads Harbor Facility, reported to be the largest deep-water port in the world ... capable of handling every ship in the world!

Saturday - Tour of NOB Norfolk; staring at Admiral's Row where 24 Naval Flag Officers and Generals have their official residences; a lunch as the Officer's Club; then a visit to the USS Scott (DDG-995), a guided missile destroyer (length - 563 feet, 10,200 tons, 80,000 shaft-horsepower; vs. USS Greene's 390.5 feet 2250 tons, 60,000 shaft-horsepower) propelled by 4 gas turbans, with 2-5"/54 guns, 2-guided-missile launchers, 2-torpedo tubes, and a helicopter hanger.

In the evening, the All-Hands Evolution ...pictures, the banquet, the meeting, the sea-stories ... all led by Jack Plasterer, assisted by Glen and Laverne Herman.

Sunday - A meeting of the new committee, breakfast and departure of All Hands.

All Hands are requested to seek out all USS Greene Shipmates for the next Reunion in Charleston, South Carolina in 1995 ... STAND-BY FOR THE DATE AND OTHER DETAILS!

Frank Cashin

Commanding Officers

Commander William V. (Bill) Pratt, III , USN 1945 - 1947

Commander William C. Abhau, USN 1947 - 1948

Commander Theodore H. Brittan, USN 1948 - 1949

Commander Ed A. (Count) Ruckner, USN 1949 - 1950

Commander Gerald S. Norton, USN 1950 - 1952

Commander Fredrick C. Seyford, USN 1952 - 1954

Commander D. F. Larkin Jr. , USN 1954 - 1956

Commander M. J. Sappington, USN 1956 - 1957

Commander Charles B. (Barney) Rhinehardt, USN 1957 - 1958

Commander Harold (Hal) Baumberger 1958 - 1959

Commander J. W. (Will) Guidry, USN 1959 - 1961

Commander Charles F. (Chuck) Poenicke, Jr., USN 1961 - 1962

Commander Felix S. (Hap) Vecchione, USN 1962 - 1963

Commander D. A. Long, USN 1963 - 1965

Commander Earl W. Sapp, USN 1965 - 1967

Commander Emil F. Wasniewski, USN 1967 - 1969

Commander Richard J. Dietz, USN 1969 - 1971

Commander Arthur W. Pattee, USN 1971 - 1972





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