DD 837 (Gearing class)
We are seeking information on the USS Sarsfield and her crews. Files and photos may be E-mailed to us and we will incorporate them into this page. When enough information has been assembled we will then build the ship her own section.
I was on board the Sarsfield from July 1973 to May 1975. I caught up with the Sarsfield in Suda Bay Sicily while it was on a Med cruise.
At the end of the Med cruise we went to the North Atlantic and crossed the Artic Circle.On a short port call we were called back to the Med for the Middle East Crisis. After that change of plans we were on the way back home when we collided with the U.S.S. Shenandoah AOE2 I think. We left our anchor in her side, luckily no one hurt, We dipped the Admiral the next day trying to high line him over for his investigation. During my time on board we made one Med cruise Two North Atlantic Cruises One Caribbean Cruises went through the Keel Canal in Germany Monitored the change of command of the Russian Navy in the Baltic. And went to Ft. Lauderdale Fl. on a liberty cruise.
The Sarsfield was always "haze gray and underway."
I served onboard Sarsfield from June 1975 through April 1977. I was a personnelman and worked in Ship’s Office. While onboard, I was able to make two complete Med Cruises with Sarsfield. The first started in September 1975 and we returned back in January 1976. I remember being assigned to port and starboard watches in CIC because they were short handed and learning a lot about radar operations. Our first stop overseas was Gibraltar, Spain and I remember to this day the feeling I had when I woke up that morning to see we were moored in a foreign county; it was pretty cool. During that cruise we saw many sites including stops in Spain, France, Italy (Naples, of course…), and Greece. I remember that Christmas 1975, my first Christmas away from home, was spent in Barcelona, Spain. But in retrospect, here I was, a kid all of 18 years old and I had a chance to walk around the ruins in Athens: How cool is that!
When we got back from the Med, we got ready for Task Force 200 which was a collection of Navy warships that made port stops during our Bi-Centennial celebrations in July 1976. We sailed up to Norfolk and I remember getting a chance to see the USS Nimitz who was relatively new at the time. Once we were done with some exercises in Norfolk, Sarsfield spent the Bi-Centennial in Brunswick, Georgia and then returned to homeport in Mayport, Florida.
Shortly after the Bi-Centennial celebrations were done, we took some tender time in South Carolina and that meant nothing but getting ready for another six-month deployment in the Med. Sure enough, by October 1976 we were underway again and headed towards the Med. I remember too many port stops in Naples and offering taxi drivers a few extra hundred lira if they could get us to EM Club faster. There is a reason Italian race car drivers are so good – they have good training on city streets!!! I remember that during this tour, Sarsfield was permitted to enter the Black Sea and only a few US warships were given that honor each year by the then Soviet Union. We traveled through downtown Istanbul to gain access to the narrow channel leading to the Black Sea and then we sailed up there for several days. And yes, the Black Sea is really black.
Prior to going into the Black Sea we were sailing with the aircraft carrier USS Kennedy. She went off to do some other flight ops and we went into the Black Sea. While we were in the Black Sea we heard the Kennedy collided with the USS Belknap and sheered off the top portion of the Belknap. We had just been sailing with Belknap and it was rather eerie to hear that. Later, upon leaving the Black Sea, we sailed to Naples and while we were there, Belknap was towed into port. It was a very somber moment and all the ships in port rendered honors as she passed to her mooring station. I was struck by the devastation she incurred.
Christmas was spent in Kalamata, Greece that year and New Year’s was in the ‘boot’ of Italy. One of the high points of that tour was being able to spend some time in Tunisia (Sfax specifically) and to see the lifestyle in that northern African country. People still pulled camels through town and all the women still wore the traditional veils that covered their faces. I remember, however, they had a disco that would have rivaled something from New York City and I wondered how that was possible. Seeing all the different cultures throughout the Mediterranean was most interesting. We arrive back in Mayport in April 1977 and at that time I was released from active duty. I left the ship in the middle of April 1977 and later that year she was decommissioned and sent to Taiwan.
My best buddy onboard ship was Mark Lawson. He and I had an instant kinship because we were both from the Midwest. He from northern Illinois and I from Southeastern Wisconsin. We understood what cool Fall days were like, the change of seasons, the joy of raking leaves when a good football game was on, and beer. Okay, our only rift was that he was a Bear’s fan and not rightly orientated to the Green and Gold of Green Bay but we were able to work through all of that! Mark and I took all our liberty together and we saw as many of the sights as possible. Back at Mayport, Mark had a red AMC Gremlin we dubbed the ‘Beer Wagon’ for obvious reasons. We hung out with a bunch of CB friends and enjoyed cruising up and down Jax Beach and A1A.
All in all, it was a great experience even though while onboard everyone thought about nothing much else than getting home to loved ones. Sarsfield was my only ship in the Navy and I was proud to serve with her crew. At the time, she was the fastest greyhound in the Mayport Basin and she’d do about three or four turns over 33 knots without any smoke! Hey, for a WWII tin can, she was doing good. The crew, under the direction of the captain Commander G. G. Mays, always did well and we never embarrassed Destroyer Squadron Fourteen. It was a good time and a time I will never forget.
Paul J. Lawonn, PN3
As a green Ensign and Asst. Navigator, I was a plankholder of the Sarsfield, from her commissioning at the Charleston Navy Yard in Boston (July 1945), to my release from active duty in June, 1946. I wrote my memoirs, which have 24 pages relating my Sarsfield experience (far too many for posting on the website). Shipmates I mention were the Captain, Hepburn A. Pearce (followed by Cmdr. Putnam), Exec. Stanley Craw, Lt. Hollyfield (1st Lt. and Damage Control Officer), Lt. Weed (Gunnery Officer), Lt. Bartram (Asst. Engineering Officer), Ensigns (some Lt. j.g.'s) Nelson B. (Pete) Delavan (CIC), John Ahearne, Wm. O'Connell (Torpedo Officer), Nurnburger, Savage (Sonar Officer), James (Jim) Worsely (Supply Officer).
Am 82, will be 83 by end of 2007, not too many of us who put her in commission still around.
I never served on the Sarsfield, but knew it well. My husband served on it in 1974 and 1975. I just wanted to share two pieces of information....during that 1974-1975 time frame the Sarsfield made a North Atlantic cruise. During an at-sea refueling on that cruise, the Sarsfield left her anchor in the side of a tanker. She came home without her anchor and a distinct wrinkle in her bow - starboard side, if I remember correctly. After all these years, all the details of the event escape me, but I always wondered if the "wrinkle" was ever ironed out.
The other piece of information......she was decomissioned by the Taiwan Navy, along with the other six ships in that class, when they acquired four ex-Kidd DDG-993 class guided missile destroyers. Sorry I don't have a decomission date.
I am writing on behalf of my father, who does not have internet service.
He served on the Sarsfield when it was first launched, during WWII. He was in the Navy as a Fireman First Class from 1944 - 46. I have his photo of the ship that was given to each sailor who served then, and several photos of the men on the ship in 1945.
He will be 80 in October this year, and I'm sure he would enjoy receiving letters from other vets.
Let me know if you are interested in any further information or photos. His name is Charles L. Foster.
My name is Paul B. Hamblin and I was on the USS Sarsfield in 1975. I remember going through the mediterranean and stoping at Naples for a while I remember we stoped in Athen's Greece for a while too and I was allowed to have shore leave there. I believe shortly after that we went through the straights leading to the Black Sea and I believe the Kennedy was with us for that tour and we also had a Russian Ship about 10 miles on the horizon staying with us.
I don't remember too many of my shipmates and I can't find any photo's either. I also remember while we were in Naples, Italy The Belknap collided with the USS Kennedy and really messed up the Belnap pretty bad. I heard rumors from people on the Kennedy that there were fires broke out all through the Belknap and people jumping overboard. I saw the ship being towed back to Naples and the smoke stacks were bent over and it was in real bad shape.
If I find any pictures of me on the ship I will email them too you. in the meantime you can add my name to the crew members. I was a seaman E-2
JUST WANTED TO GIVE YOU MORE INFO ON THE SARSFIELD AS I DID NOT SEE ANYTHING ABOUT HER IN THE TIME I WAS ABOARD HER I STILL HAVE HER YEAR BOOK FOR 1962 I WAS ON HER FROM 1962 TILL 1965 THE PICTURE YOU HAVE OF HER IS BEFORE THAT TIME SHE WAS IN BOSTON HARBOR WHEN I CAME ABOARD HER . DURING THAT TIME SHE WENT THROUGH A COMPLETE OVER-HALL THE AFTER GUN MOUNTS WERE TAKEN OFF AND SHE WAS GIVEN AS-ROCK AND THE RAT TORPEDO MOUNTED ON HER FORWARD GUN-MOUNT . SHE WAS HOME-PORTED IN KEY-WEST FLA .SHE ALSO TOOK PART IN THE CUBAN BLOCKADE .I WAS STILL ON HER WHEN PRES KENNEDY WAS SHOT
FRED MC NULTY CS3 USN
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