History of the McCaffery - 1973


On 1 January 1973, McCaffery was underway at Picket Station Alpha in the Gulf of Tonkin.
Commanding Officer - CDR S.W. Coulbourne

On 2 January, McCaffery was operating at various speeds and courses to maintain a three to five mile distance north of Bainbridge (DLGN-25). On 3 January, McCaffery was steaming at 16 knots in company with Cochrane (DDG-21), and Mason (DD-852) while maintaining shore bombardment. She fired as many as 144 rounds from her five-inch guns in a sustained barrage. On 16 January, firing ceased from the 51 mount for a short time due to a hot barrel which fouled the bore. The bore was cleared with no causalties. A short time later, a fire occurred in the upper handling room of the 52 mount. The fire was extinguished with no casualties. On 19 January, McCaffery left the Gulf of Tonkin for Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and arrived on 20 January. While McCaffery was moored at a buoy with two other ships, a Chinese Nationalist ship (LST-209) drifted into her starboard bow with no apparent damage. McCaffery remained moored until 31 January, when she got underway for the Gulf of Tonkin. McCaffery conducted exercises along the Vietnam coast. On 8 February, she proceeded to Subic Bay, Philippines, moored alongside Mackenzie (DD-836), and later moored to a pier where she could receive all services from the pier. On 17 February, McCaffery got underway for sea trials, testing a recently repaired evaporator. On 19 February, McCaffery got underway for Hong Kong, arrived on 20 February, and moored to a buoy in the naval anchorage area. On 26 February, McCaffery returned to Subic Bay.

On 1 March, McCaffery got underway with Enterprise (CVAN-65) for the Malaysian Republic of Singapore, and anchored there on 3 March. On 12 March, McCaffery got underway for Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin. While underway, McCaffery collided with Tolovana (AO-64) on approach to refuel. The number 3 tube of the port side MK-30 torpedo mount was damaged, and damage also occurred to the bulwark at frame 107. Tolovana lost a pneumatic fender, but there were no personnel casualties on either ship. On 16 March, Rear Admiral Mark A. Woods, COMCRUDESPAC, visited McCaffery by helicopter. McCaffery departed Yankee Station, stopped briefly at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and arrived at Yokosuka, Japan on 25 March. McCaffery remained moored until 7 April when she got underway for Sasebo, Japan, and arrived on 9 April. On 11 April, McCaffery got underway for exercises with Japanese ships including: JMS Asagumo (DD-115); JMS Ackumo (DD-119); JMS Makigumo (DD-114); JMS Yamagumo (DD-113); and USS Brook (DEG-1). When exercises were completed on 17 April, McCaffery returned to Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin on 20 April, and rendezvoused with Coral Sea (CVA-43) and Enterprise (CVAN-65). McCaffery participated in operations and served as plane guard for the carriers until 25 April, when she steamed for Subic Bay, moored on 26 April, replenished, and returned to Yankee Station on 30 April.

On 2 May, Mccaffery returned to Subic Bay and remained in port through 14 May. One day of exercises in the area and she got underway for Yokosuka, Japan, and moored there on 19 May. Her Vietnam service was completed. McCaffery got underway on 21 May for the voyage home. Other ships in the group steaming for Pearl Harbor were Lawe (DD-763), Corry (DD-817), and John King (DDG-30). On 25 May, an electrical fire in the after engine room which was extinguished with no injuries to personnel. On 28 May, McCaffery arrived at Pearl Harbor, and got underway the next day for Rodman, Canal Zone. She arrived at the Canal Zone on 9 June, passed through the Panama Canal, steamed on to Mayport, Florida, and arrived at Mayport on 14 June.

Starting in 1970, the US Navy began a systematic reduction in the number of active US Navy ships of all types. The objective of this reduction was to meet the requirements for a smaller, more modern fleet. There were more than 200 destroyers of all classes of destroyers in 1970. By the beginning of 1972, that number was already reduced by more than 70.

On 3 August, Rear Admiral J.H. Doyle and several members of Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) inspection team arrived on board for an operational survey of the ship. The INSURV enginering team inspected all parts of the ship according to the detailed instructions on the condition sheets. As a result of this survey, the Chief of Naval Operations sent a memo on 9 August to the Secretary of the Navy stating that McCaffery's "capabilities were not up to fleet standards." It was stated that to bring the ship's "capabilities up to date and also to undertake the much needed repairs, would be prohibitively costly." Therefore, the recommendation was made by the Chief of Naval Operations, and approved by the Secretary of the Navy, that USS McCaffery be stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 September 1973. After 28 years of distinguished service, the Naval Ship Inspection Board determined that USS McCaffery was not essential to the defense of the United States.

On 15 August, Lieutenant Commander James B. Ferguson, USN, relieved Commander Samuel W. Coulbourn, USN,
and became the McCaffery's ninenteenth (and last) commanding officer.

On 1 October at 0955, Rear Admiral J.R. Doyle, COMCRUDESGRU 12, arrived on board for the decommissioning ceremonies, which were held at 1030. The ship's log ended on 1 October 1973. McCaffery was sold for scrap to Northern Metals Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who took possession on 11 July 1974.

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