USS Fletcher DD-445 Command History & more 

January 1, 1969 - August 1, 1969

CRUISE SUMMARY - USS FLETCHER (DD 445)  (22 Nov 1968 - 8 May 1969)

USS FLETCHER (DD 445) departed Pearl Harbor on 22 November 1968 as an element of TU 15.8.2 composed of USS GOLDSBOROUGH (DDG 20), USS LOFBERG (DD 759) and USS FLETCHER (DD 445).  CTU 15.8.2 was COMDESDIV 112 embarked in GOLDSBOROUGH. The transit to the Western Pacific was utilized by Ship's Company to prepare for SEVENTH Fleet operations by reviewing operation orders and publications, checking operation of all equipment, compiling date on fuel and water consumption, and participating in various drills and exercises with the ships in company. This was a unique deployment as a majority of the crew was new to the ship, having recently been transferred from USS PHILIP (DD 498) during Project 693 Crew Swap.

The task unit arrived in Midway for a four hour stop on 25 November 1968 and upon completion of fueling continued on to Guam in the Marianas Islands. The task unit "CHOPPED" to COMSEVENTHFLT on 29 November and entered Guam on the evening of 1 December 1968. Fueling was completed expeditiously and the ships remained in Guam overnight, granting liberty to the crews. The Group was underway at 0700, 2 December to continue the transit to Subic Bay, R.P. 5 December saw the ships entering Subic Bay for replenishment, refueling, rearming, and upkeep. The task unit was dissolved and FLETCHER was ready for SEVENTHFLT operations. 

Following four days of upkeep, FLETCHER departed Subic Bay and conducted successful type training exercises in the Philippine operating areas. Course was then set for Yankee Station with prospects of joining a CVA Group for rescue destroyer duties. On 12 December the schedule was changed reassigning FLETCHER to CTF 115 for Market Time operations along the coast of RVN. Course was immediately altered for Cam Ranh Bay, an UNREP of opportunity was conducted enroute, and the ship anchored in CRB at first light on 14 December. Key officer personnel were met and escorted ashore for briefings by CTF 115 at staff headquarters. FLETCHER was assigned an outer barrier patrol station in the 2nd Coastal Surveillance Zone as part of CTF 115 Fast Reaction Force under the direct control of CTF 115.2 headquartered at Nha Trang Harbor and received additional briefings from CTG 115.2 and Staff.

FLETCHER patrolled her assigned barrier stations along the coast, and in a coordinated effort with patrol aircraft and inshore Navy and Coast Guard small craft, challenged and identified all shipping traffic sighted, maintaining the CTF 115 aim of no unidentified surface contacts in the Market Time area of responsibility. During this first operational assignment on the current deployment, FLETCHER also conducted FIVE spotted NGFS Missions at suspected V/C areas in support of in-country units. Little or no GDA was received due to dense foliage in the target areas, but the morale of FLETCHER's NGFS Team was boosted considerably upon receipt of a laudatory message from Lieutenant General PEERS for their accurate and effective shooting in support of U.S. Army troops in the Lee Hong Fong Forest area.

On 10 January 1969, FLETCHER was detached from TF 115 and proceeded to Subic Bay to pick up hardware for future installation of RAP Magazine Ordalt, VHF-Secure Voice Capability, and a Probe refueling Shipalt. The ship arrived in Subic Bay on the morning of 12 January and departed for Sasebo, Japan and upkeep, at first light 13 January.

Rendezvous with TG 77.7 was made that morning and the transit northward to Japan commenced in company with USS CONSTELLATION (CVA 64), USS ARNOLD J. ISBELL (DD 869), and USS BRINKLEY BASS (DD 887). Bad weather with heavy seas was encountered enroute and an SOA of 23 knots caused severe pounding into the sea. At various times a reduction of speed was required for the benefit of the destroyers. On 15 January refueling from CONSTELLATION was conducted under conditions considered marginal for destroyers. FLETCHER, at the request of the screen commander, made the first approach to determine the feasibility of refueling. With seas breaking over the bow and water soaking bridge personnel, the UNREP was conducted. One hour alongside was required and with 98 percent fuel aboard and "KUDOS" for a job well done, FLETCHER was detached to proceed independently to Sasebo.

The ship moored in Sasebo on the morning of 17 January to commence an eight day upkeep period. USS AJAX (AR 6), the assigned repair ship, was undergoing an interim dry docking during this period, but in spite of this fact, a substantial work package was competed by AJAX, SRD Sasebo, and Ship's Force. A successful ship's party was held on two nights while import and FLETCHER departed Sasebo on 25 January.

After a scheduled fuel stop in Buckner Bay, Okinawa on 26 January she proceeded to join TG 77.5 USS HANCOCK (CVA 19) for rescue destroyer duties. Rendezvous was made on 30 January. During this assignment FLETCHER assisted in searches for two downed aircraft recovering sections of the planes but no survivors were found. During this period FLETCHER was also assigned to the TF 77 DD/ASW training unit on 2 and 3 February and again from 6-8 February. The training was considered extremely beneficial in that exercises were conducted in many mission areas which do not receive emphasis during normal SEVENTHFLT operations.

The Task Group departed Yankee Station on 9 February and arrived in Subic Bay, 11 February at which time FLETCHER was detached. Following a brief stop at an ammunition anchorage to rearm, FLETCHER proceeded to the Tabones Gunnery Range and provided services to train NGFS Spotter teams from the Ninth Marines. Concmitant with the services provided to the marines, FLETCHER received an excellent warm-up for her next operational assignment, NGFS with TU 70.8.9. The period 13-15 February was spent inport Subic Bay alongside USS SAMUEL GOMPERS (AD 37), where several needed repairs were accomplished.

FLETCHER departed Subic Bay on 16 February and reported for duty to CTU 70.8.9 on 18 February. She was assigned to support the 101st Airborne Division and the 2nd Brigade ROK Marine Corps in the northern part of I Corps. All  missions were fired at targets in the Thua Thien and and Quang Nam provinces, areas of high V/C activity. This assignment was especially rewarding for FLETCHER in that the tangible results of her accurate shooting exemplified the part she was playing in the Vietnam War effort.

On 24 February FLETCHER was detached from TU 70.8.9 to proceed to Kaohsiung, Taiwan for upkeep. However, a schedule change redirected her to proceed to join TG 77.6 and USS CORAL SEA (CVA 43) for rescue destroyer duties. After three days with the Task Group she was again detached and 27-28 February were spent enroute Kaohsiung, Taiwan for upkeep alongside USS KLONDIKE (AR 22). FLETCHER moored alongside KLONDIKE on the morning of 1 March.

During this upkeep a substantial work package was completed with KLONDIKE expending almost 4000 man hours over the ten day period. The major accomplishment was installation of the Probe refueling Shipalt. This was the first installation of the Shipalt ever completed by a WestPac Repair Ship or tender and it was an entirely satisfactory installation job.

On 11 March FLETCHER departed Kaohsiung and proceeded to Subic Bay, arriving on 12 March. This brief stop was scheduled for the sole purpose of statically testing the new fueling rig, a job which was beyond the capability of KLONDIKE. This test was satisfactorily completed on 13 March and the ship was again underway 14 March enroute to Yankee Station.

Rendezvous with TG 77.3 and USS KITTY HAWK (CVA 63) was effected on the morning of 16 March and FLETCHER commenced a four day tour as rescue destroyer, upon completion of which the ship was detached to proceed to Hong Kong. From 21 through 26 March FLETCHER visited this well known British Crown Colony, and the welcome R and R period was thoroughly enjoyed by all hands. FLETCHER departed Hong Kong on 27 March and again set course for Subic Bay, arriving on 29 March. During the ensuing three day period, essential repairs were effected by the shore establishment and successful air and surface gunnery shoots were conducted in the Philippine operating areas.

Enroute Yankee Station on 1 and 2 April FLETCHER's crew prepared themselves for the ship's last operational assignment for the deployment, that of rescue Destroyer for TG 77.4 with USS ENTERPRISE (CVAN 65). During the assignment from 3-13 April the ship was again detailed to the TF 77 DD/ASW Training Unit for the period 8-11 April. This was the most beneficial ASW training period of the deployment for FLETCHER as a CVS was on Yankee Station and exercise torpedoes were available for utilization. Both exercise weapons allotted to FLETCHER were expended and evaluated as hits by the target submarine. A third hit was scored with an air-dropped exercise weapon, the attack being conducted by radar VecTac on FLETCHER's solution. With operational commitments competed on 13 April, FLETCHER set course for Yokosuka, Japan with a  scheduled fuel stop in Okinawa and three day port visit in Kobe enroute. In Yokosuka she will join TG 70.4 with ASW Group FIVE and USS HORNET (CVS 12) for the transit home. Outchop from SEVENTHFLT to FIRSTFLT is scheduled for 30 April with arrival in Pearl Harbor on 5 May. (webmaster note: actual arrival in Pearl Harbor was 8 May)


Z-1-AA              -1
Z-6-AA              -1
Z-17-AA            -2
Z-10-CC            -1
Z-13-CC(NM) -6
Z-10-CM           -1
Z-12-CM           -2
Z-21-G               -4
Z-23-G              -2
Z-6-U                -3
Z-7-U                 -5
Z-16-U              -2  (2 MK 44-1 EXTORP - EVALUATED HITS)
W-2-U              -5  (1 OBSERVED - SAT.)
S-2-T                 -4
CDP-410-C     -2
ASAC CONTROL TIME              -15 HR
DC DRILLS                                       -11 HR
ECC DRILLS                                    - 9 HR


(not done)


FUEL                                                              STORES (VERTREP)                                 AMMUNITION
USS CACAPONE (AO 52) - 2                USS NIAGARA FALLS (AFS 3) -2          USS VESUVIUS (AE 15) -1
USS MATTAPONI (AO 41) -2              USS MARS (AFS 1) -2                                 USS MT. BAKER (AE 4) -1
USS TOLOVANA (AO 64) -3                             TOTAL    -    4                                                   TOTAL    -    2
USS CHEMUG (AO 30 ) -1
               TOTAL - 27



FPO San Francisco 96601

In reply refer to: DD445/AEW:le 5750 ser: 286 1 August 1969

From: Commanding Officer, USS FLETCHER (DD-445)
To: Director of Naval History

Subj: Command History, forwarding of

Ref: (a) OPNAV 5750.2B

Encl: (1) USS FLETCHER (DD 445) Command History for 1969 (1 JAN - Decommissioning)

1. Enclosure (1) is forwarded in accordance with reference (a).

/s/ H. F. BOYLE

Copy to:


(combined with declassified "Detailed  Schedule")

to 9 Jan - Market Time Patrol, South Vietnam, Barrier Patrol
10 Jan - Chop to COMSEVENTHFLT
10 to 11 Jan - Enroute Subic Bay
12 JanInport Subic Bay, Philippines
13 to 16 Jan - Enroute to Sasebo, Japan with TG 77.7 and USS Constellation CVA-64
17 to 24 Jan - Inport Sasebo, Japan for upkeep
25 to 29 Jan - Enroute Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf
26 Jan - Fuel stop, Buckner Bay, Okinawa

30 Jan to 1 Feb - Operations with TG 77.5 and USS Hancock CVA-19 on Yankee Station
to 3 Feb - Type training and ASW exercises with TU 77.9.2 in Yankee Station training area
4 to 5 Feb - Operations with TG 77.5 and USS Hancock CVA-19 on Yankee Station
to 8 Feb - Operations with TU 77.9.2 and USS Sabalo SS-302
9 Feb - Operations with TG 77.5 and USS Hancock CVA-19 in Tonkin Gulf
to 10 Feb - Enroute NGFS Spotter Training exercises
11 to 12 Feb - NGFS Spotter Training, Tabones Islets, Philippines
13 to 15 Feb - Inport Subic Bay, Philippines
16 to 17 Feb - Enroute TU 70.8.9
18 to 23 Feb - NGFS operations II Corps Tactical Zone, South Vietnam as TU 70.8.9
24 to 26 Feb - Operations with TG 77.6 and USS Coral Sea CVA-43 in Tonkin Gulf
27 to 28 Feb - Enroute Kaohsiung, Taiwan
to 10 Mar - Inport Kaohsiung, Taiwan alongside USS Klondike AR-22
11 to 12 Mar - Enroute Subic Bay, Philippines
13 Mar - Inport Subic Bay, Philippines
14 to 15 Mar - Enroute to Yankee Station in Tonkin Gulf
16 to 19 Mar - Operations in Tonkin Gulf with USS Kitty Hawk CVA-63
20 Mar - Enroute to Hong Kong
21 to 26 Mar - Inport Hong Kong for R&R
27 to 28 Mar - Enroute Subic Bay, Philippines
29 to 31 Mar - Inport, Subic Bay
1 to 2 Apr - Type training and enroute to Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf
to 7 Apr - ASW training with TU 77.9.2
to 13 Apr - Operations with TG 77.4 and USS Enterprise CVA(N)-65 in Tonkin Gulf
14 to 18 Apr - Enroute to Kobe, Japan
17 Apr - Refuel at Buckner Bay, Okinawa
19 to 21 Apr - Inport Kobe, Japan
22 Apr - Enroute to Yokosuka, Japan
23 to 30 Apr - Inport Yokosuka, Japan to offload WestPac pool equipment and ammunition
1 to 6 May - Enroute to Pearl Harbor with ASW Group 5 composed of USS Hornet CVS-12, USS Wedderburn DD-684, USS Davidson DE-1045, USS Parsons DDG-33, USS Lofberg DD-759, USS Ernest G. Small DD-838, USS Richard B. Anderson DD-786 and USS Shelton DD-790.
6 May - Detached from Group with Davidson and Small to proceed to Pearl Harbor.
8 May - Arrive Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
8 May to 17 Jul - Inport Pearl Harbor, prepare for decommissioning
22 May - Offload all ammunition
30 Jun - Awards ceremony
16 to 23 Jul - Enroute to San Diego, California for decommissioning
24 to 31 Jul - Inport San Diego, prepare for decommissioning
1 Aug - USS Fletcher placed out of commission and out of service.  Custody of the ship was delivered to Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, San Diego, California.


USS FLETCHER (DD 445) is a 2100-ton destroyer of he Class that bears her name.  First commissioned on 30 June 1942, FLETCHER was named for Admiral Frank F. FLETCHER, USN.  The ship saw heavy action during World War II and has an enviable Battle Record.  Decommissioned in 1947, FLETCHER was modernized and recommissioned as an ASW Escort (DDE) on 3 October 1949.  FLETCHER saw considerable action during the Korean conflict.  In 1960 FLETCHER was redesignated as a destroyer (DD).  FLETCHER has been deployed regularly as a unit of the United States SEVENTH Fleet and is a Veteran of the Vietnam Conflict.

During 1969 FLETCHER operated as a unit of Destroyer Squadron ELEVEN assigned to Destroyer Division One Hundred Twelve with her home port at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  FLETCHER is under the Command of Commander Henry F. BOYLE, Jr., USN.

On 1 January 1969, USS FLETCHER (DD 445) was engaged in Patrol Operations off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam as a unit of Task Group 115.2 on Operation Market Time.  Operating in the vicinity of Cam Ranh Bay and Nha Trang, RVN, FLETCHER patrolled in search of enemy forces attempting to infiltrate men and equipment into the Republic of Vietnam.  On 6 January FLETCHER conducted Naval Gunfire Support Operations against suspected enemy positions in the area South of Cam Ranh Bay.  NGFS Operations were terminated before damage could be assessed because of interference with search and rescue operations for an aircraft believed down in the target area.

FLETCHER departed her patrol area on 1o January enroute Subic Bay, Philippines.  FLETCHER arrived at Subic Bay on 12 January and joined Task Group 77.7 on 13 January enroute Sasebo, Japan.  On 15 January FLETCHER was detached from Task Group 77.7 to proceed independently to Sasebo, Japan.  FLETCHER made a transit up the RYUKYU Island Chain and entered Sasebo on 17 January.  Upon arrival FLETCHER commenced a restricted availability for repairs with the Ship Repair Department of U.S. Naval Fleet Activities, Sasebo.

On 25 January FLETCHER departed Sasebo, enroute to Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf via a short refueling stop on 26 January at Buckner Bay, Okinawa.  FLETCHER joined Task Group 77.5 and USS HANCOCK (CVA 19) on Yankee Station o 30 January to assume duties as Plane-Guard Destroyer.  On 2 and 3 February FLETCHER participated in Type Training and ASW Exercises with Task Unit 77.9.2 and USS SABALO (SS 302) in the Yankee Station Training areas.  On 4 February FLETCHER returned to Task Unit 77.5.  O 6 February FLETCHER was again assigned to Task Unit 77.9.2 for ASW Training.  FLETCHER returned to Task Group 77.5 on 9 February and was detached to proceed to Subic Bay, Philippines.

FLETCHER arrived at Subic Bay on 10 February to fuel and re-arm, returned to Sea that same day and proceeded to the Tabones Islets Firing Range to conduct Naval Gunfire Support Exercises.  FLETCHER returned to Subic Bay on 13 February.

On 16 February, FLETCHER got underway for the coast of the Republic of Vietnam.  FLETCHER arrived off the coast of the I Corps Tactical Zone on 18 February and commenced Naval Gunfire Support Operations in the vicinity of DaNang, RVN as an element of Task Unit 70.2.9 on completion of NGFS Operations on 24 February, FLETCHER proceeded to join Task Group 77.6 and USS CORAL SEA (CVA 43) in the Tonkin Gulf.  FLETCHER was detached from Task Group 77.6 on 27 February to proceed to Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Arriving at Kaohsiung on 1 March, FLETCHER commenced an availability for repairs alongside USS KLONDIKE (AR 22).  While alongside USS KLONDIKE the Probe Fueling System was installed and work was accomplished on all four boilers.  FLETCHER departed Kaohsiung on 11 March enroute Subic Bay, Philippines.

FLETCHER arrived at Subic Bay on the evening of 12 March and Ship Repair Facility Subic conducted tests of the Newly-Installed Probe Fueling Stations.  On completion of testing on 14 March FLETCHER sailed from Subic Bay enroute to the Tonkin Gulf.  FLETCHER joined Task Group 77.3 and USS KITTY HAWK (CVA 63) on Yankee Station on 16 March.  On 20 March FLETCHER was detached to proceed to Hong Kong, B.C.C.

Arriving at Hong Kong on 21 March, FLETCHER commenced an R & R period.  While in Hong Kong the ship's company participated in many tours and took advantage of the many recreational opportunities offered by the British Port.  FLETCHER departed Hong Kong on 27 March enroute Subic Bay, Philippines.  The ship arrived at Subic Bay on 29 March.

On 31 March FLETCHER was again underway enroute to the Tonkin Gulf.  FLETCHER joined Task Group 77.4 and the Nuclear-Powered USS ENTERPRISE (CVA(N) 65) on 3 April at Yankee Station.  FLETCHER was assigned ASW Training Operations on 8 April with Task Unit 77.9.2 in the Yankee Station Training Areas.  On completion of Training exercises, FLETCHER re-joined Task Group 77.4.  FLETCHER departed Yankee Station 14 April for the last time, enroute Kobe, Japan via a fuel stop in Buckner Bay, Okinawa.  FLETCHER arrived at Kobe, Japan on 19 April.  While in Kobe the ship's company took advantage of tours of the Historic old city of Kyoto and other recreational activities offered by the Japanese port.  FLETCHER departed Kobe on 22 April and arrived at Yokosuka, Japan on 23 April.

While in Yokosuka, FLETCHER off-loaded WESTPAC Pool Equipment and excess ammunition down to her normal mid-pac allowance.  Minor repair work was accomplished b Ship Repair Facility, Yokosuka in preparation for FLETCHER's transit to Pearl Harbor.

On 1 May 1969 FLETCHER departed Yokosuka in company with ASW Group FIVE composed of USS HORNET (CVS 12) and units of Destroyer Squadron Thirty-One plus USS DAVIDSON (DE 1045), USS ERNEST G. SMALL (DD-838) and USS WEDDERBURN (DD 684) forming Task Unit 70.0.1 enroute to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  On 3 May all units changed operations commanders from COMSEVENTHFLT to COMFIRSTFLT.  Task Unit 70.0.1 was dissolved and Task Group 14.3 was formed.

On 6 May in company with USS DAVIDSON (DE 1045) and USS ERNEST G. SMALL (DD 838), comprising Task Element FLETCHER was detached to proceed to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  (HORNET and the remaining 5 escorts continued to the West Coast.)

FLETCHER and units in company arrived at their Home Port, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 8 May.  On arrival FLETCHER commenced a period of Leave and Up-Keep.  On 22 May all ammunition was off-loaded at Port NAD, Oahu, in preparation for decommissioning. A Pre-Inactivation Material Inspection was made by the Sub-Board of Inspection and Survey, Pacific on 10 and 11 June. On completion of their inspection, the Board found that FLETCHER was unfit for further service and recommended that she be stricken from the list of Navy Ships. On completion of the Inspection preparations continued for decommissioning.

On 30 June ceremonies were held for the presentation of Awards earned by Ship's Company personnel during the recent deployment.

In the period following her return to home port FLETCHER, at the direction of higher authority, transferred equipment and supplies to other operating units in order to upgrade and expand systems installed in these ships.  A phase-down of personnel was also begun in preparation for decommissioning.  After conducting sea trials on 15 July, FLETCHER sailed independently for San Diego, California comprising Task Unit 15.5.9.  FLETCHER arrived at San Diego on 24 July and continued preparations for decommissioning.  Preparations for decommissioning were completed on 31 July.

On 1 August 1969, Twenty-Seven Years and Two Months after she was first commissioned, USS FLETCHER (DD 445) was placed out of commission and out of service in ceremonies conducted at San Diego, California.  Custody of the ship was delivered to the Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, San Diego, California.


    11 UNREPS from 7 AO's
     5 UNREPS from 2 AOE's

  TOTAL: 19 UNREPS From 11 Ships
                     4 Vertical Replenishments from 2 ships.

      2492 Rounds 5"/38 Cal.
       600 Rounds 5"/38 Cal.
       100 Rounds 3"/50 Cal.
            2 MK 44 MOD 1 Exercise Torpedoes

    South China Sea
    Tonkin Gulf
    West China Sea
    Philippine Sea

    II Field Force Vietnam
    II R.O.K. Marine Brigade 


1.  Roster of Officers and Muster Roll as of 28 July 1969

2.  Operational Reports
      USS FLETCHER message 060815Z JAN 69 JGPREP
      USS FLETCHER message 241225Z JAN 69 JGPREP

3.  Photograph USS FLETCHER (DD 445)

4.  Welcome Aboard Pamphlet

5.   Press Releases
       USS FLETCHER message 070310Z JAN 69  (Press Release)
       USS FLETCHER message 181206Z JAN 69  (Press Release)
       USS FLETCHER message 191705Z FEB 69  (Press Release)
       USS FLETCHER message 201109Z FEB 69  (Press Release)
       USS FLETCHER message 231321Z FEB 69  (Press Release)

6.   USS FLETCHER Awards Ceremony Program

7.   USS FLETCHER Decommissioning Ceremony Program

8.   Congratulatory Messages
        COMDESDIV 112 message 080130Z  MAY 69
        CNO message 292225Z  JUL 69


Commander Henry F. Boyle, USN

Commander Henry F. Boyle was born October 11, 1932 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Naval Reserve on 31 August 1953. Commander Boyle then entered the U.S. Merchant Marine where he served as 3rd and 2nd Officer until July of 1956 when he entered on active Naval duty and was assigned to the USS MONTROSE (APA 212) as Navigator.

Subsequent duty stations included: Bureau of Naval Personnel, USS MADDOX (DD 831), and duty under instruction at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Transportation Management School, Oakland, California.

On completion of Post Graduate training, Commander Boyle served in the MSTS Office, Naples, Italy and as the Commanding Officer, of the MSTS Office, Rota, Spain.

Commander Boyle reported aboard the USS GOLDSBOROUGH (DDG 20) on 18 February 1967 and was promoted to Commander on 1 September 1967. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V" while serving on board GOLDSBOROUGH off the coast of Vietnam.

Commander Boyle is married to the former Patricia Anne Crowley of Quincy, Massachusetts.  The Boyles have three children and reside in Aiea, Hawaii.

Commander Boyle has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V", and the Navy Unit Commendation and is authorized to wear the Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and the National Defense Service Medals.

Decommissioning Ceremony Remarks by Rear Admiral Mason B. Freeman

Throughout man's history in some mystic way the sea has nurtured his freedom.  The means of this freedom, and its symbol has been his fighting ships. With their stability yet speed - their endurance yet mobility - their defensive strength yet striking power, - they have enabled nations to control the seas and shape the world's destiny. In the hands of a nation which revers freedom, - sea power has proved a giant force.

Many types of ships make up a navy, yet no type of fighting ship is more important and can do so many jobs as the destroyer, the dashing "can do" workhorse of the fleet.

We have assembled here today to mark the passing of an era in naval warfare, and the passing of a class of destroyers named for the lead ship, the Fletcher.

In 1942 a new breed of fighting destroyers joined the naval forces in the Pacific.  The one hundred and seventy five ships that followed the class leader, USS Fletcher, became the spearhead of the destroyer force in the Pacific.  Accepting all risks, the Fletcher frequently provided the aid needed to tip the delicate balance of the scale on the side of survival.  The men who served in these ships had but one unquestioned mission, to fight and win their country's sea battles.  This was sea power in action.  To engage the enemy in battle and win was their constant goal. In the 27 years since Fletcher joined the fleet, the development of the destroyers has been impressive, yet for all their changes, their mission has remained unchanged.

On June 30, 1942 Fletcher (her hull number adds up to 13) was part of a task group of 13 ships that engaged a Japanese task force in Iron Bottom Sound of Guadalcanal.  This day was a fateful 13th for five of the 13 American warships but Fletcher was dubbed the "Lucky 13" for, although her guns and torpedoes scored direct hits on the Japanese forces, she came through the battle unharmed.

 This first engagement set the tone for things to come on board "Fighting Fletcher." She participated in almost every function that can be assigned a destroyer and over one thousand Americans were rescued from the sea by her brave crew during World War II.  The Fletcher also distinguished herself in the Korean conflict and recently returned from her last deployment to Vietnam.

Although the era of the Fletcher is rapidly coming to a close, the spirit of willingness to win of the destroyermen of these fine ships remains. So long as we retain the will to win, - the knowledge that victory is the only course, so long will our nation survive.

Copyright © 2024 USS Fletcher Reunion Group