McCaffery at Grand Harbor, Valletta, Malta, 21 January 1966

History of the McCaffery - 1966


On 1 January 1966, was moored at Beirut, Lebanon. Commanding officer - CDR A.G. Hodge.

On 4 January, McCaffery got underway for Naples, Italy, arrived on 8 January, and moored at Molo Vincenzo. When McCaffery got underway on 20 January, she went to Valletta, Malta (21 January), then proceeded to Golfo di Palmas, Sardinia, and arrived on 27 January.

On 1 February, McCaffery returned to Naples for a brief visit, and departed on 11 February for Palma de Majorca, and moored there on 15 February. She departed from there on 22 February to begin the journey to home, stopped briefly at Gibraltar (24 February), and arrived at Mayport on 8 March. McCaffery remained in port, changing berths several times during the months of March and April.

On 16 May, McCaffery became a Secondary Recovery Ship for the flight of Gemini 9. The scheduled launch date for the flight was May 17; this was postponed when the Agena Target Vehicle (ATV) was launched but failed to reach orbit. The launch of Gemini 9 occurred on 3 June; this went perfectly when the spacecraft entered orbit. Released from the Gemini recovery mission on 3 June, McCaffery returned to Mayport briefly before proceeding to Norfolk for the installation of the drone antisubmarine helicopter (DASH). Within the month, McCaffery was fully qualified as a DASH unit of the Second Fleet, and, during the period 15-26 June, conducted DASH exercises in the Mayport area.

After a brief trip to the Narragansett Bay operating area (27-30 June), McCaffery proceeded to the U.S. Naval Station at Charleston, S.C., for the installation of a new MK-1A, which improved the gunfire control system of the ship. She returned to Mayport on 27 July. On 3 August, McCaffery loaded 30 and 45 caliber ammunition, and got underway for Key West to conduct exercises with students of the Fleet Sonar School.

On 30 August, McCaffery was assigned to the recovery mission of Gemini 11. During this deployment, a fire occurred in the bosnan's locker on 2 September. On 9 September, McCaffery launched and tracked a weather balloon, conducted DASH exercises, and transferred two personnel by highline. On 11 September, CDR Hodge visited the Severn (AO-61). On 12 September, Gemini 11 was launched successfully. Also, an emergency appendectomy was performed on D.O. Gage, SA, by LT. D.G. Wolstein, M.C. The flight of Gemini 11 ended on 15 September. McCaffery left her station in the recovery area, and got underway for Ponta Delgada, Azores. While mooring, damage occurred to three blades of the port screw when the screw guard failed to contact the concrete face of the pier. This damage caused abnormal vibrations at speeds through 25 knots. McCaffery refueled from Severn, proceeded to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and arrived on 23 September. After four days in San Juan, McCaffery returned to Mayport on 30 September.

On 16 October, McCaffery got underway for Key West, Florida to serve again as the Fleet Sonar School ship. She conducted DASH and torpedo exercises until 29 October when she returned to Mayport. On 17 November, COMDESRON 16 from the Ware (DD-865), came aboard to conduct a material inspection. McCaffery remained moored at Mayport until 28 November.

On 1 December, McCaffery got underway for exercises at Isle de Vieques and Isle de Culebra, and participated in LANTFLEX 66. McCaffery qualified as a gun support ship, and proved herself valuable as an anti-submarine screening unit for a large underway replenishment group. Underway on 14 December, the port shaft locked-up due to loss of lubricating oil. The problem was corrected. McCaffery returned to Mayport on 15 December.

On 31 December 1966, McCaffery was moored at Mayport, Florida.

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