DD 851 (Gearing Class)
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Attached is a photo of (DD 851) alongside us (USS Bellatrix AF-62) somewhere in the Gulf of Tonkin in late 1965 or 1966. I was later on USS Cochrane DDG-21 through 1969 in the gulf. I was at the time LT j.g. John "JB" Bagby, USN.
Your Dad might be up on the signal bridge if not on the bridge. Several years after the "Forest Fire" I was stationed on USS Forrestal CVA-59 on the east coast.
My dad, Edwin J Burke, commanded Rupertus from the summer of 1965 through August 1967. He was skipper during the Forrestal fire. He later went on to command USS Mobile, LKA-115, and naval Communications Station Philippines. He retired in 1977 as a captain and died of cancer in 1995.
I still have a number of Rupertus items, including a plaque from the ship, a commission pennant, and an engraved tray from the officers to my dad, with the title fastest gun in the west.
I served aboard the Rupertus in 1954,55,56 as Sonarman, and did the patrols off of Taiwan.
(Formosa straight) It does not appear that the Rupertus site is active, however, I might be looking at the wrong one. Anyway, would like to find out if any of my shipmates are contactable.
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If you are the shipmates who composed the e-mails please contact us with some updated information.
From: Steve Beban SBeban@aol.com
I'm Steve Beban and I served aboard the USS Rupertus, a Gearing Class DD from August, 1966 through June 1968, while we were home ported at Long Beach Calif. I have recently received some scans from a BTC that served aboard her after I was detached.
The Rupertus while I was assigned to her as a Radioman Seaman was mostly used for "Sea-Dragon" missions along the North Vietnamese coast line Interdicting munitions supplies to the south. We received the Meritorious Unit Citation for these patrols and for a tragic but shining moment in our history when we were the "Plane Guard" ship assigned to duties of support for the USS Forrestal on that fateful day in July, (29th), 1967 when we came along side the Forrestal to help fight the tragic fire that engulfed the (CV 59) at 10:52 am that morning.
I hope you can attach this pic of her along side her name in your listing. I'd really appreciate it.
I got one shot looking aft from the 03 level (Signal Bridge) where a couple of 105 rockets are hitting the water just off the port rear quarter. The shots are not uncommon what we experience from time to time while doing "Sea Dragon'" coastal arms interdiction along the North Vietnamese coast. Most of the action during these missions in 1967-68 were experienced between Dong Hoi northward to an area not too far from what we called Tiger Island. During one of our Westpac tours in 1967 we were known as the "fastest gun in the west" as we had expended over 6500 rounds of 5 inch 38 caliber HT, HD and "WP" type shot from our guns.
USS Rupertus DD 851 under fire
Photo courtesy Steve Beban
I'm glad you like the pics. At this time I only have one more to send. It is an excellent pic of the Rupertus. The shot is jpg and is best viewed with 1024x768 res. I hope you can convert the pic to put in the page. I think this pic is the best as it shows the Rupe from stem to stern on the port side while underway somewhere. This picture may be the best for the lead pic of her for the page. If get a color shot I will foward that.
The pic of the rockets being fired on us was taken sometime in 1968. It is from our Cruise Book that came out in 1969 or 70. I don't know if I have any more of those types but I am in the process of looking for a close personal friend of mine that served aboard here with me - not after me. If I can fnd and make contact with him, he was a photo buff and may have some excellent color shots of his own that were taken while we were under fire during the Viet Nam war. I'm also looking for some history on her to add for the page.
I'll keep you posted.. Thanks
I served aboard her as a Sonar Technician. She had the AN/SQS-23 sonar, the MK114 underwater battery fire control system, She carried the ASROC (ANTI- SUBMARINE ROCKET) launcher, the MK 32 torpedo tubes. She could deliver the Mk 44, or the Mk 46 torpedo, or the nuclear depth charge. I also served onboard the USS COONTZ DLG-9 USS TOWERS DDG-9 and USS PARSONS DDG-33.
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