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USS Sterett 1972

Mumbles

Registered User
pilot
Contributor
Has anyone else ever heard this?? I received this story in an email today...

April 19, 1972: The Battle of Dong Hoi. U.S.S. Sterett, DLG-31, on station off the coast of North Vietnam with her escort destroyer U.S.S. Higbee, was attacked by two MIG-17 fighters from just north of Haiphong. One place dropped a 500 lb. bomb that blew the 5" after gunmount off the Higbee. Sterett fired two Terrier surface-to-air missiles at point blank range at one plane, one of which punched right through the cockpit to blow up on the other side. The second plane ran for home, but was shot down by another Terrier just before it reached the safety of the mountains around Haiphong. Two hours later, two North Vietnamese PT boats attacked Sterett with Styx anti-ship missiles. Sterett fired two more Terriers at the Styx missiles, knocking both down. She then opened up with her 5" 54 cal. after mount, firing 11 rounds of air frag over the radar position of the PT's, smashing them into kindling and sinking both.

This was the only full on naval engagement of the Vietnam War, and was the first combat kill with the Terrier missile. True story
 

Fog

Old RIOs never die: They just can't fast-erect
None
Contributor
Sounds like we should be giving the Blackshoes (SWO's) more love & less crap - of course this was 38 yrs ago.
 

SynixMan

Space Cadet
pilot
Contributor
I find it more interesting they went 2 for 2 on engaging the Styx Missiles with RIM-2 Terriers. Didn't think the tech of the day could handle that.
 

The Chief

Retired
Contributor
,,,,,, Didn't think the tech of the day could handle that.
I did think, and believe it not possible. Back in the dust bins, I remember the incident, but a bit differently. My old home, OK City (CLG5) was with the DLG/DDR. There was never a consensus that any MIG's were shot down, by anyone. Vintage Terrier range was 20 miles or so, doubt it would reach out and touch a MIG-17 over the mountains of Haipong from stated area. During that period, the Okie Boat (CLG 5) armed with RIM 8H Talos missles scored the first surface to surface sinking of an enemy combatant when it sunk a NVAF mobile radar "boat". At lease as I remember it.

Of course the USS Higbee was a first in it's own right.:icon_tong
 

Ace_Austin

Member
pilot
Knocking down two MiGs, a pair of vampires, and then getting into a gunfight with some PT boats? Sounds like a Shoes wet dream. Hell, I'd want in on a day like that.
 

Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
Vintage Terrier range was 20 miles or so, doubt it would reach out and touch a MIG-17 over the mountains of Haipong from stated area.
Maybe he just flew into the ground instead of getting hit by the missile? A kill is a kill...
 

The Chief

Retired
Contributor
Maybe he just flew into the ground instead of getting hit by the missile? A kill is a kill...
Shipmate (C7F staff, N2) from the era emailed me with information, but still trivia. He states that indeed we got a MIG 17 that day, but one. He was still on C7F (embarked Okie City). I had left some months earlier.

Okie City, (Heavy Cruisier, ie, 8" turrent) with C7F embarked along with Higbee and Sterett began operations against Dong Hoi in preparation for Operation Linebacker planned for May 1972, with was the first full scale bombing of the north since the halt to bombing in 1968 by then POTUS LBJ. Dong Hoi was a major radar/radar control center in NVN. The kill of the MIG 17 was from a Talos fired by the Okie City, direct violation of ROE. According to source the AC was indeed over Haipong when it was splashed.

This was the second "incident", probably never reported, with the Okie City. I was attached to C7F at time. We had received via backdhannels (or was it black channels) the the NVAF had received some brand new MIG 21's and were flying into Vinh. PVO reporting confimed "excited activity" in Vinh. Decision was made to engage with a Talos. Vinh ATC had a (probable MIG 21) on long final into Vinh, 100 nm away from our posit on North SAR GOT. Bird away, ATC Vinh confirmed lost radar contact, they never knew what had hit them. Clear violation of ROE, including protection of methods and sources.

It all seems rather silly today.
 

jmcquate

Well-Known Member
Contributor
We had the ability to whack MiGs in the pattern with SAMs and the ROEs preveted it? WTF?
 

SynixMan

Space Cadet
pilot
Contributor
Chief, can you go into detail on the ROE restrictions of the time for surface ships?
 

A4sForever

BTDT OLD GUY
pilot
Contributor
... He states that indeed we got a MIG 17 that day, but one. ... Okie City, (Heavy Cruisier, ie, 8" turrent) .... The kill of the MIG 17 was from a Talos fired by the Okie City...This was the second "incident", probably never reported, with the Okie City. I was attached to C7F at time. We had received via backdhannels (or was it black channels) the the NVAF had received some brand new MIG 21's and were flying into Vinh. PVO reporting confimed "excited activity" in Vinh. Decision was made to engage with a Talos. Vinh ATC had a (probable MIG 21) on long final into Vinh, 100 nm away from our posit on North SAR GOT. Bird away, ATC Vinh confirmed lost radar contact, they never knew what had hit them. Clear violation of ROE, including protection of methods and sources.

It all seems rather silly today.
OKCity: light cruiser, MC, light = 6" main gun batteries, originally of the WW2 Cleveland-class ... but I digress ... :)

I think some of the 'internet info' that is available to the unwashed is getting the Higbee (WW2 Gearing class DD), the Sterett ('60s Belknap class DL/cruiser), and the OKCity confused w/ regards to shoots/kills/damage incurred during the Dong Hoi fight.

I don't think the Sterett bagged a MiG that APR '72 day during the Dong Hoi fight, but then again, we'll never know for certain.
We claimed it -- and it makes for a GREAT story -- but the gomers said both MiGs RTB'ed ... so who knows?

You are right @ the Talos kills > 100NM ... that was a VERY big deal and a closely guarded secret at the time -- as in, who would ever think that a program begun shortly after WW2 could EVER produce a product that could bag a MiG at over 100 NM years later ... ???

American ingenuity and '50s/'60s tech -- let's see 'made in the fucking Workers' Paradise of Communist China' -- today -- compete w/ that ... ??? :)


USS Chicago - a former 8" gun WW2 heavy cruiser prior to being gutted and rebuilt as an ALBANY class missile cruiser -- (and while she was supporting our mining of Haiphong harbor), the USS Long Beach (a super-fast, radical design, super-dooper Nuke cruiser) and the ol' OKCity all achieved MiG kills utilizing long range shots w/ the Rim-8 Talos missile.

Talos ... big missile ...a BIG FUCKING MISSILE ... when size counts (as it always does -- bigger is ALWAYS 'mo' bettah', you gerbils :)):




Whatever the details ... it's all very, very good stuff ...

"MISSILE'S AWAY" !!! That phrase has GOT to be a great sound for any Blackshoe to hear, anytime, anywhere ... :) It means they are IN THE FIGHT !!!

Ironic: as years later when flying from NRT-BKK we always talked to Hanoi ATC ... which had it's remote site in Vinh ... kinda makes you wonder what it was all about ... ??
 

The Chief

Retired
Contributor
OkCity: light cruiser, MC, light = 6" main gun batteries, originally of the WW2 Cleveland-class ...


Yep, 20 lashes for me. 6"/47 main battery aye; just checked my WESTPAC Cruise Book. While I could claim memory problems, the CL as in CLG-5 should have told me, but .... Think it would have been CAG-5?
 

The Chief

Retired
Contributor
Complicated, but some examples:

A. Polish ship, loaded with arms etc, bound for Hai Phong. Steams right past our array of ships right into Hai Phong. Pier side, unloading we cannot touch the ship. Outbound they wave and present a toast to us with their beer in hand.

B. Russian IP (and other foreign) train their North Viet commrads. Best not get the Ruskie. That inbound Fishbed to Vinh, how do you know that the pilot is not a Russian or other.

C. Sources and methods. Example; how did we know, how much did we know and how timely was our information. If they knew we were "breaking" their codes, or found out we had taps on their landlines, they would have instituted countermeasures, closing our view into their EOB, for what ever that was worth. "Blindmans Bluff" and excellent book. Navy gave authors permission and list of folks to talk to about cold war intel. Folks on the list assumed they could tell all; not the intent of the Navy, at. Big Navy assumed folks would not talk about ""sensitive"" stuff. Once Big Navy saw what some folks told, some told all, they tried to stop the book, but the horse had long left the barn at the period in time. In still wince when I read some of the material in the book.

D. There was also the ban on "offenseive" bombing of targets in the north by LBJ in 1968.

E. Jane Fonda and entourage inbound Hanoi. Best not harm them.
 

A4sForever

BTDT OLD GUY
pilot
Contributor
Yep, 20 lashes for me. 6"/47 main battery aye ....
Pish-tosh on the details ...

A HEAVY cruiser ??? An 8" main battery sea going fire breathin' monster ??? I spent some time on this one in the '60s when she was 1st Fleet flagship:



And this is part of what we did:


 
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