The Sixties and Vietnam Campaign
The USS BRAINE - DD630 spent the first eight months of 1960 conducting local ASW operations in preparation for joining the USS BENNINGTON - CVS20 as a Hunter Killer Task Group. She deployed for the Western Pacific in company with DesDiv 212 on 2 October. She conducted local ASW operations in the Hawaiian area. The division departed Pearl Harbor on 21 November for HUK operations in the Philippine Islands. During her cruise she made ports of call at Subic Bay, P.I., Hong Kong and Yokosuka, Japan. She departed Yokosuka on 19 April 1961 for San Diego. The BRAINE conducted local operations in the San Diego area and in June entered the U.S. Naval Shipyard in Long Beach for an extensive overhaul. Following her yard overhaul, she returned to San Diego for a period of underway training designed to prime the ship for deployment to the Western Pacific On 14 August CDR Robert W. Lowman, USN assumed command.
In January 1962 the BRAINE departed San Diego for the Western Pacific via Pearl Harbor and proceeded to the Philippines in company with DesDiv 212 and the new super carrier USS RANGER. She sailed north to Taiwan for the Formosa Patrol. During the next few months she participated in several joint operations with the British and Australian navies. She visited Yokosuka and Kobe, Japan, Hong Kong and Okinawa. Returning to the United States in July, she was engaged in local operations out of San Diego. In November the BRAINE was ordered to Panama Canal Zone on escort duty during the Cuban crisis, returning to San Diego for tender availability along side the USS DIXIE. CDR Edward A. Williams, USN assumed command on 12 December.
In January 1963 the BRAINE was awarded the DesRon 21 “E” for overall excellence. At the same time, the BRAINE became one of the few ships in the Pacific Fleet to earn a Gold “A” for five consecutive years of outstanding ASW performance. She conducted local ASW operations, ASW school ship and night plane guarding for the USS CONSTELLATION. In June the BRAINE was in San Francisco for plane guarding for the USS MIDWAY and anti-aircraft exercise. On 15 October CDR Robert Juarez, USN assumed command. The BRAINE departed San Diego en route to the Western Pacific with Cruiser Destroyer Flotilla Nine and proceeded to Subic Bay via Pearl Harbor. She sailed north to Sasebo, Japan and dry docking for extensive repairs on her hull. Upon completion of repairs, she proceeded to Kaoshiung, Taiwan to begin Formosa Patrol with DesDiv 212.
The BRAINE operated as a unit of the Seventh Fleet from January to April 1964, participating in Strike Exercises/Comtuex and other operations. During this period she visited Yokosuka and Beppu, Japan; Subic Bay, P.I.; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Buckner Bay, Okinawa and Hong Kong. She participated in operations in the South China Sea with USS BON HOMME RICHARD - CVA31. She departed Buckner Bay on 30 March for San Diego. In May she conducted training operations in the San Diego area with midshipmen for their summer cruise, with visits to Tacoma, Washington and Port Chicago, California. She spent the latter part of the year in yard overhaul.
In 1964 the Braine went Hollywood. Many of the scenes for the movie "In Harms Way," starring John Wayne were filmed on the Braine. Many celebrities visited the ship. The Braine appeared briefly in one scene and was acknowledged in the credits.
CDR Elton V. Conger, USN assumed command in January 1965. In February the BRAINE conducted exercises and drills and refresher training with COMFLETRAGRU. She returned to San Diego and participated in Exercise TEE SHOT, an anti-air warfare exercise. In April she conducted Flotilla Operations off the West Coast. On 4 June the BRAINE, as a unit of Cruiser Destroyer Flotilla NINE, departed for the Western Pacific via the northern great circle route. After a rough crossing, she arrived at Subic Bay and joined TG 77.7 for special operations in the South China Sea.. On 7 September the BRAINE covered the coast of South Vietnam firing 500 rounds of ammunition at fifty different targets. After a trip to Japan she returned to San Diego via Subic Bay, Guam, Midway and Pearl Harbor.
The BRAINE spent the first half of 1966 undergoing repairs and conducting training exercises off the west coast. On 28 May CDR Fred J. Fleiner, USN assumed command. On 14 September the BRAINE left San Diego for the Western Pacific encountering heavy weather with gale force winds and heavy seas requiring a stopover in Midway for repairs. On 19 October she joined TG 77.7 on Yankee Station and participated in Operation Sea Dragon. The mission was to prevent coastal water craft from carrying war materials to the Communist troops in South Vietnam and provide fire support for the First Marine Division. On 4 November the BRAINE, engaged in a running gun battle with North Vietnamese shore batteries. The BRAINE returned the fire with over four hundred rounds of five-inch ammunition. At one point while providing fire support from dawn to dusk for fourteen straight days, she was refueled and resupplied in the dark. During one engagement, the BRAINE received slight shrapnel damage, but no casualties were sustained. This marked the third time the BRAINE had been hit by enemy fire. Several cargo crafts were destroyed or damaged. The Commander Seventh Fleet awarded a commendation to the USS BRAINE for outstanding performance in the action off the coast of North Vietnam. The BRAINE was nicknamed “The Galloping Ghost of the Vietnam Coast”. The BRAINE was forced to Da Nang harbor for repairs when it was discovered a thirty-five foot section of the port side bilge keel had torn loose. During the tour on Yankee Station, the BRAINE was visited by two actors from Hollywood--Mr. John Gavin, star of the TV series CONVOY and Miss Martha Raye, accompanied by a musical group. The BRAINE departed to Japan for additional repairs.
The BRAINE greeted the 1967 New Year with 12 foot seas as she tossed her way back to Yankee Station, in company with the USS MULLANY - DD528 and the USS TICONDEROGA - CVA14. This transit was marked with an emergency breakaway from the TICONDEROGA and a 51 degree roll. On 21 January the ship arrived in Kanshiung, Taiwan for an upkeep period prior to her departure for Hong Kong. She departed for Yokusuka, Japan via Subic Bay, the last stop of a successful tour in the Western Pacific.The BRAINE returned to San Diego. After a period of tender availability, the ship was assigned ASW School Ship. On 8 June the BRAINE embarked on a Pacific Midshipman Cruise, where she conducted training exercises off the West Coast and Hawaii and returned to San Diego. In September the BRAINE commenced a three month overhaul at the Mare Island Naval Ship Yard, where two new 5"/38 gun mounts and three 3"50 gun mounts were installed. She returned to San Diego in late December.
1968 was a cruise year for the USS BRAINE. Her winter and spring months were used for additional training for the ultimate circumstances the crew may encounter, operating with sister ships of Destroyer Squadron TWENTY-ONE. On 25 May the BRAINE departed for her Western Pacific deployment in company with the USS HORNE - DLG30 and USS CONSTELLATION - CVA64. After a stopover in Hawaii, she proceeded to Yokosuka, Japan, with intership drills and intensive operations with the Seventh Fleet. On 7 July the BRAINE entered the Yankee Station operating area, acting as plane guard for four aircraft carriers. On 25 August, the BRAINE was called to task and responded with success. An F-4 Phantom II off the USS CONSTELLATION crashed on take-off. The BRAINE recovered the only survivor, LT McPherson, within four minutes of the accident. She departed for Subic Bay for tender upkeep. On 6 September, four of BRAINE’s crew members manifestly demonstrated their valor when they dove into the water to rescue a sailor who had fallen from the pier while returning from liberty. The four sailors were BM3 Robert J. Exley, DC3 Raymond J. McDonald, SN Richard W. Klusman and FN Jimmy D. Keener. The ship returned to Yankee Station to resume her duties as a plane guard destroyer.
On 14 October, the BRAINE departed for Yokosuka, Japan. In transit, MM1 Paul T. Schimpf was killed as he courageously attempted weather deck repairs in the face of extremely rough seas. She returned to the Vietnamese theater on 29 October to provide gunfire support on the coast of Vietnam. Shore bombardment is a rigorous test of a destroyer’s stamina and efficiency. For four days, the BRAINE fired her gun at night in DaNang Harbor, during the day along the nearby coast. With her mission completed, the BRAINE departed for Hong Kong, on to Subic Bay and Brisbane, Australia. On 20 November, she crossed the equator at 126 degrees 21' E and Neptunus Rex delivered forth his awesome wrath and majesty on the BRAINE’s lowly Pollywogs. On 6 December, she departed for San Diego, via the Fiji Islands, America Samoa and Pearl Harbor, arriving on 19 December.
The BRAINE spent the first few months of 1969 for tender availability and local operations and training. On 28 April she made a good-will visit to Acapulco and Manzanillo, Mexico. Local training operations continued. On 29 August word was received that the BRAINE would become a Naval Reserve Training Ship homeported in Portland, Oregon. On 30 October CDR C.R. Norton - USN assumed command of the BRAINE. She made several training cruises in the area. On 16 December, CDR Philip C. Simon assumed command of the BRAINE and Naval Reserve Destroyer Division 273 based in Long Beach, California
The USS BRAINE served as a Naval Reserve Training Ship for all of 1970. The crew consisted of one-half regular destroyer crew and one-half reservists based in Portland, Oregon. The reservists sailed with the ship one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer. In addition, there would be a two week cruise each month for a mix of reservists from anywhere west of the Mississippi River and weekend cruises for various reservists stationed in the 13th Naval District. The ship embarked on training cruises to Seattle and Bremerton Washington; Vancouver, British Columbia; Esquimalt Ensinada, San Francisco and San Diego, conducting anti-aircraft warfare exercises and torpedo launch exercises. She conducted joint training exercises with the Canadian Navy. The operations included anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, multi-ship maneuvers, underway replenishment and individual ship exercises. She continued training exercises for the balance of the year, making several cruises up and down the Columbia river between Portland and Astoria, about an eight hour transit.
The BRAINE continued training exercises in 1971 and underwent some tender for repair and upkeep. On the last cruise, the BRAINE made a high-speed (two boilers) run at 27 knots between Long Beach and San Diego. The ship was in good condition when decommissioned. In August the USS BRAINE - DD630 was stricken from the records and sold to the Republic of Argentina.
I have moved the ship's memorial website from www.ussbrainedd630.com to Google Blogger at www.ussbrainedd630.blogspot.com. The USS Brai...
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