The History of the McCaffery - 1951


On 1 January 1951, McCaffery was moored at Sasebo, Japan. Commanding Officer - CDR C.A. Sander

McCaffery was moored alongside the USS Hector (AR-7) for scheduled availability. Repairs by the tender and ship's work continued through 6 January. On 7 January, McCaffery was underway with USS Norris (DDE-859) to serve in screen formation for USS Leyte (CV-12) during air operations. However, air operations were not conducted 8 through 10 January due to inclement weather. Early in the morning of the 9th, the air search radar became inoperative due to a fire in a transformer. The unit remained inoperative until a replacement part was received. Operations resumed on 11 January while steaming in a southerly direction to avoid storms in the operating area. McCaffery continued to fulfill her role in the Task Group along with other destroyers as they joined and departed the Task Group on special assignment or for replenishment until 17 January.

On 17 January a gasket blew out in the main steam line in the ship's forward engine room. McCaffery lost power and fell out of formation. A short time later she regained power, and steamed on the port engine, parallel to the formation at 17 knots. There were no personnel injuries. On orders from CTG, McCaffery returned to Sasebo in company with USS Brinkley Bass (DD-887) and USS Strickell (DD-888) to affect repairs. McCaffery moored alongside Strickell and USS Hamul (AD-20) on 18 January and remained moored through 30 January. On 31 January McCaffery got underway, proceeded to the operating area off the coast of Korea, and rejoined the Task Group.

McCaffery carried out her duties and responsibilities with the Task Group until 6 February when the Division was ordered to proceed to Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. McCaffery arrived 7 February for a two-day port visit for replenishment and liberty. McCaffery's Korean service had come to an end. McCaffery got underway on 10 February, with the rest of CORTDESDIV 61, for the return voyage home. This voyage included a two-day stop at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii,(19-20 February) before steaming for the next port, Balboa, Canal Zone. (As related to Bill Maslak by Captain Robert Buechler, USN (RET), a former engineering officer aboard McCaffery, the transit of the Division from Pearl Harbor to Balboa was accomplished in 14 days at 14 knots. The Division became the first ships to travel a distance of 5,245 miles without stopping or refueling.) McCaffery, Berry, Norris, and Keppler arrived at Balboa on 7 March.

War Diaries

After leaving Japan, The Division crossed the 150 degree East Longitude meridan on 11 February. This meridan was established by the military as the eastern boundary for submission of War Diaries during the Korean War . (A War Diary is a regularly updated official record kept by military units of their activities during wartime. The purpose of these diaries is to both record information which can be used by the military to improve its training and tactics as well as to generate a detailed record of units' activities for future use by historians. War diaries are focused on the administration and operations of the unit they cover, and generally do not contain information about individual personnel.)

On 9 March, McCaffery and the rest of the Division passed through the Panama Canal, and then completed the voyage home at Newport, Rhode Island on 14 March. This arrival completed a deployment which took McCaffery around the world. CORTDESDIV 61 was welcomed by many dignitaries which included: Commander, Destroyer Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Vice admiral F.G. Fahrion; the Governor of Rhode Island, D.J. Roberts; the Mayor of Newport, D.J. Lewis; and many high ranking naval officers. McCaffery got underway on 22 March for the Boston Naval Shipyard at Charlestown, and arrived on the 23 March.

On 27 April, Commander, Destroyer Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Vice admiral F.G. Fahrion, came aboard for presentation of the following awards: Bronze Star to Commander E.H. McDowell; J.S. Byrum; and ENC Russell Thomas. Letters of Commendation with Ribbon were presented to BMC F.F. Terlecki, BMC G.R. Abegg; MM1 Willard Arnott; and MM3 C.W. Tatro.

On 17 May COMDESLAND and staff came aboard to conduct an informal materiel inspection.

On 9 June McCaffery entered dry dock and remained there until 25 June when she was waterborne and moored. On 28 June McCaffery got underway for Rockland, Maine, and dropped anchor there the same day. On 2 July McCaffery moved back to Boston and entered dry dock on 6 July for 10 days. On 23 July she loaded stores and ammunition, and got underway for Newport. After a few days in Newport, she got underway for Norfolk, Virginia, and arrived on 31 July.

On 1 August McCaffery got underway for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While underway, a fire was reported amidships, forward of #1 stack. On 2 August a fire was reported in the pilot house switchboard. Power to the switchboard was secured and all navigational lights were turned out until the fire was extinguished. McCaffery steamed into Guantanamo Bay on 4 August. A few days in port and she got underway for the operations area. On 17 August a fire was extinguished in the gyro magnifier. Since the master gyro was inoperative, McCaffery commenced steering by magnetic compass.

On 1 September McCaffery arrived at Santiago, Cuba. Operations continued. On 7 September an aircraft from the USS Cabot (CVL-28) crashed in the sea about three miles from the ship. McCaffery steamed at best speed to the crash site. All personnel were rescued by helicopter from Cabot. Exercises continued in and around the area until 12 September when McCaffery was underway to Culebra Island, Virgin Islands, to conduct shore bombardment exercises. On 14 September, McCaffery anchored in Seine Bay, Culebra, and then departed on 17 September for Newport. On 19 September an unusual occurrence happened; a bat was captured 350 miles from the nearest land. McCaffery arrived in Newport 20 September, mooring at various berths until 16 October. On 16 October, she was underway to Norfolk, and arrived on the 17th. She participated in ASW Operations CONVEX and continued to operate between Norfolk and Vieques Island until 16 November when she returned to Newport. and remained in port thought 31 December 1951.

On 31 December, McCaffery was moored at Newport, Rhode Island.

SOURCE: USS McCAFFERY -- 1945-1974 by Edward W. (Bill) Maslak