1970 Command History report on USS ORLECK (DD886) from her Commanding Officer.
Fleet Post Office
San Francisco 96601 DD 886/34:lu
26 Mar 1971
From: Commanding Officer, USS ORLECK (DD886)
To: Director of Naval History
Subj: Command History (OPNAV Report 5750-1); submission of
Ref: (a OPNAVINST 5750.12A
Encl: (1) USS ORLECK OPNAV Report 5750-1
- Enclosure (1) is submitted in accordance with reference (a).
Chief of Information
CHRONOLOGY OF HIGHLIGHTS
- Homeported in Yokosuka. ORLECK began 1970 in Yokosuka, Japan entering her final year of a two year WESTPAC deployment.
- Sea of Japan. ORLECK spent a cold vigil as part of Task Unit 71.0.4 in the Sea of Japan from 4 – 24 January 1970, returning to Yokosuka on 31 January. ORLECK returned to the Sea of Japan in June for operations with the USS R. K. TURNER and USS MAHAN.
- Tonkin Gulf. ORLECK spent February in Southeast Asia on PIRAZ station and patrolling the Taiwan Straits then back to PIRAZ in the Gulf of Tonkin.
- HONG KONG Visit. ORLECK made a 5 day port call in Hong Kong, British Crown Colony, 10 through 14 March 1970.
- Gunline. ORLECK spent the latter part of February, most of March and April through 10 May on the gunline for some of the most productive Naval Gunfire Support of the conflict. April found us off Cambodia.
- Shimoda Black Ship Festival. ORLECK participated in the annual Shimoda Black Festival in Shimoda, Japan from 16 through 18 May.
- Pacific Transit. ORLECK ender her two year deployment on July ninth and departed Yokosuka for San Diego, California, her new homeport with a stopover in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. ORLECK arrived in San Diego on 15 August 1970.
- SOCAL Operations. ORLECK has spent numerous days in the Southern California operating area participating in Surface and AA gun shoots, ASW, AA CNO special projects, and plane guarding for the TICONDEROGA.
- Golden Anchor Award. ORLECK received a CINCPACFLT Golden Anchor Award for career motivation for fiscal year 70 on 29 December 1970.
USS ORLECK (DD886) , commanded during 1970 by CDR Stephen A. WISE, U. S. Navy, is a Gearing – Class long hull Destroyer with a FRAM I configuration. Since her commissioning in September 1945, ORLECK has rotated between deployments to the Western Pacific and the West Coast of the United States. Homeported in San Diego, California since July 1970, ORLECK will remain a unit of Destroyer Squadron THREE until 1 April 1972 thence Destroyer Squadron SEVENTEEN. ORLECK is under the operational control of the United States FIRST Fleet and their Commanders as assigned.
For ORLECK, 1970 was divided into three major time frames each with its own quantity of challenges and rewards. The year opened during a WESTPAC deployment in which ORLECK was homeported in Yokosuka, Japan. The emphasis was on Navy Gunfire Support and Surveillance operations off the Vietnamese coastline. The cruise ended in August when ORLECK returned to the United States and San Diego, California relative her new homeport.
The second phase of 1970 was the three month period of local operations and exercises off the Southern California coast which encompassed all phases of destroyer operations.
The third and final phase of ORLECK’s operations for 1970 began and ended in December with the preparation for her scheduled overhaul in Mare Island Naval Shipyard.
The first four days of 1970 found ORLECK in the tail-end of a holiday celebration in her homeport; Yokosuka, Japan. Getting underway for Korean patrol operations in the Sea of Japan (SOJ) on 4 January, ORLECK was greeted by cold winds which were a forewarning of the conditions that could be expected during the middle of winter. In company with the USS BELKNAP (DLG26) ORLECK spent the 5th to the 21st of January in the frigid sea under the thick layer of ice that accumulated on all metal exposed to the weather. ORLECK returned to Yokosuka on 31 January for a two week routine upkeep period in Yokosuka.
On 15 February ORLECK departed Yokosuka for her first trip to Southeast Asia in 1970. On the way she had time for an anti-aircraft gunnery shoot off Okinawa and a two day stopover in Keelung, republic of China. ORLECK entered the combat zone of 22 February and commenced Surveillance operations in the Gulf of Tokin. No major incidents occurred and she departed the Gulf for a scheduled six day port call in Hong Kong, B.C.C. on 9 March.
The much enjoyed rest and relaxation period in Hong Kong was cut short due to the kidnapping of the merchant Columbia Eagle. ORLECK was ordered to the Gunline to replace the ships going to aid the pirated vessel. ORLECK supported the ninth ROK Infantry and U. C. FIFTH Mechanized Division in I and II Corps, Republic of Vietnam from 17-23 March. 20 March saw ORLECK fulfilling her Naval Gunfire Support commitments on the gunline, supporting the 21th Army of the Republic of Vietnam Division in IV Corps until leaving for a ten day turn around in Subic Bay, Philippines, commencing 10 April.
ORLECK returned to the gunline and from 20 April until 10 May 1970 pounded enemy installations in III and IV Corp, Republic of Vietnam supporting the 1st Australian Task Force as well as the 21st and 32nd ARNV Divisions. The gunline period resulted in some of the most impressive gun damage of ORLECK’s entire two year deployment. The large hill at Vung Tau was dubbed “ORLECK Mountain” after she effectively neutralized enemy operations in the area of that important Vietnamese Port.
ORLECK departed the gunline for the final time on 10 May and headed directly for Yokosuka to partake in the annual festival at Shimoda. ORLECK and R. K. TURNER (DLG20) were the two U. S. warships picked to represent the United States at the Black Ship Festival from 16 to 18 May, commemorating the opening of Japan by Commodore Matthew PERRY in 1858.
After the highly interesting and goodwill encrusted festival ORLECK returned to Yokosuka, not for rest and relaxation, but for a deployed INSURV inspection on 27 through 29 May. Upon completion of the hectic but constructive inspection ORLECK had a scant four days of relation before departing for her next operational commitment, the Sea of Japan on 4 June ORLECK arrived in the Sea of Japan to meet the R. K. TURNER. A highlight of this operation was the appearance of a Soviet Guided Missile Submarine being towed to Vladisvostok. ORLECK trailed them briefly then returned North on 7 June. Due to a change in operational policy for SOJ at that time, ORLECK and TURNER left the area and arrived in Sasebo, Japan on Kyushu’s west coast, where TURNER was relieved as Commander Task Unit 71.0.4 on 15 June. ORLECK men utilized the unexpected import period to visit EXPO ’70 at Osaka as well as the surrounding historic cities of Kyoto and Nara.
ORLECK departed Sasebo and arrived in Yokosuka in 26 June for what was to be her final stay in the Orient. The final weeks were spent in anxious preparation for the return to the United States and on 9 July ORLECK and the rest of Destroyers Squadron THREE departed Yokosuka and fanfare and Brass Bands.
The voyage to the states was an opportune time to read up on FIRST Fleet regulations and what could be expected in EASTPAC. A three day stopover in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii from 6 through 9 August provided a break in the long transit.
Destroyer Squadron THREE arrived in San Diego on 15 August and ORLECK began two leave periods of 15 days each to allow for much deserved reunions before entering the Southern California operating environment. A tender availability wit the US DIXIE (AD14) period from 4 through 17 September provided the services necessary for final preparations prior to gunshoots and exercises.
ORLECK hosted as Gunnery School Ship for Fleet Training Center, San Diego from 22 through 24 September, firing at the range at San Clemente Island,
The next two weeks were spent in port as ORLECK men attended the many courses and training devices available in San Diego,
Underway on 12 October ORLECK practiced ASW techniques with the USS SNOOK (SSN592) and USS MULANY (DD528) culminating in a torpedo shot on 13 October. AAW and NGFS exercises took up parts of almost every day. The highlight of this training period took place from 14 through 17 October during a AA Special CNO project in the local operating area. ORLECK returned to San Diego on 30 October for a four day upkeep period. A one day exercise resulting in a ASROC shot took place on 6 November, after which ORLECK moored near downtown San Diego and was open to visitors for the weekend.
The only planeguarding period of the quartet came on 16-17 November as ORLECK escorted USS TICONDEROGA (CVS14) before arriving at Francisco on 20 November. To confer with shipyard officials concerning her overhaul scheduled for January through March 1971.
ORLECK returned to San Diego on 25 November. The month of December was spent with tender availability from the USS Gompers (AD37) and final preparation were accomplished in anticipation of upcoming overhaul.
At year’s end a ceremony was held on board ORLECK at which various awards were given to personnel of Destroyer Squadron THREE in recognition of their contribution during WESTPAC cruise. The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the CINCPACFLT Golden Anchor Award with tumultuous sea to ORLECK for her outstanding career retention program.