THE USS SAINT PAUL CA-73
This is the story of a ship-USS SAINT PAUL (CA-73)-one of the most famous and most loved ships in the history of the United States Navy. Commissioned 25 years ago today, the "Fighting Saint" has served her entire career in the Pacific Fleet, much of it in the Far East, and the Saint is a familiar sight in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Manila, Keelung, Sasebo, Yokosuka, Pusan, Inchon, and the other great harbors of the Orient. Saint Paul's heavy guns have spoken out for freedom in three -wars, she has been wounded in action, brave men have died on her decks and in her turrets, and she has-earned the Navy Unit Commendation to top her impressive array of campaign ribbons and battle stars.
Saint Paul has also played a quietly effective diplomatic role. Presidents and Kings have walked her decks, she has been a proud stately flagship for a long line of distinguished admirals, and her countless port visits in support of U.S. policy have made Fighting Saint sailors popular ambassadors throughout the Asian littoral and island nations.
Accordingly, this is also the story of Saint Paul's men—the unbroken chain of loyal dedicated crews who have breathed life into this 18,000 tons of steel, guns and machinery. It is proper that we who are privileged to man Saint Paul today should dedicate this Silver Anniversary history, with pride and respect, to our brothers—those thousands of gallant men who have -preceded us and those who will follow.
/s/ Hugh G. Nott
Captain, U.S. Navy
No other ship in any navy in history has fired as many rounds of ammunition as USS SAINT PAUL (CA-73) in her 25 years of continuous active duty with the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The "Fighting Saint" was commissioned February 17, 1945, and is a veteran of World War II, the Korean Conflict and Vietnam. She is one of three all-gun heavy cruisers in the world today.
The "Fighting Saint's" history began when she was ordered from Bethlehem Steel Company in September 1940. Her keel was laid February 3, 1943, and she rolled off the blocks from her Quincy, Massachusetts birthplace on September 16, 1944.
After a brief shakedown cruise in the Caribbean, SAINT PAUL entered the Pacific in June 1945, and has operated continuously there since that time.
On July 12, 1945, she reported to Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey's THIRD Fleet. The heavy cruiser supported air strikes by the task force on the home islands of Japan. Her first enemy action came July 29, when she took part in a night shore bombardment on the central coast of Honshu.
On August 9, 1945, SAINT PAUL fired the final salvo by a major naval unit on the home islands of Japan. At the cessation of hostilities, the cruiser steamed into Sagami Bay at battle stations on August 26 to prepare for the surrender of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Climaxing her brief but active World War II career, she entered Tokyo Bay with the fleet to take part in the surrender ceremonies.
After the war SAINT PAUL became flagship for Rear Admiral C. Turner Joy's Yangtze River Patrol Force in China for several months.
In the five peacetime years that followed, SAINT PAUL deployed yearly to the Western Pacific and maintained a state of constant readiness. During those years, crew members visited Shanghai, the Marshall Islands, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Inchon, Korea, as well as ports in Japan and the Philippines.
At the outbreak of the Korean Conflict in June 1950, SAINT PAUL was ready. As flagship of Cruiser Division ONE, her first assignment was patrolling the Formosa Straits as part of Admiral T.H. Binford's Formosa Patrol.
She entered the Korean Conflict two months later, operating with Task Force 77 before giving the Republic of Korea's Capital Division direct gunfire support in its drive to Chongjin. Providing round-the-clock bombardment despite heavy weather, SAINT PAUL smoothed the way for the advance.
When the Chinese Communists entered the war and launched their December assault, SAINT PAUL steamed into Wonsan Harbor and bombarded key road junctions and other targets on the outskirts of the city. She provided protection while other Navy ships evacuated U.N. personnel and equipment.
Immediately after this operation she joined other United Nations vessels in the Hungnam evacuation, which ranks alongside Dunkirk as one of the greatest evacuations by sea in history. Such an operation would not have been possible without the support of ships like SAINT PAUL. For twelve days and nights the heavy cruiser and companion ships fired 5 and 8-inch projectiles into the Red Chinese lines, holding back the enemy troops while the "amphibious landing in reverse" was being made. Finally, on Christmas Eve 1950. with the waterfront ablaze, SAINT PAUL withdrew, the last U.N. ship to leave the harbor.
At Inchon in January 1951 the heavy cruiser went into action again, covering the re-entry of U.N. forces there. Shore batteries from enemy-held Wolmi Island took the cruiser under fire on several occasions, but the "Fighting Saint's" 8-inch guns, with the help of other U.N. ships, silenced the batteries before they could cause any damage.
SAINT PAUL continued to furnish gunfire support along the west coast of Korea while U.N. troops drove north of the Han River. During this time the ship operated as long as 62 days at sea before returning to port.
Late in March SAINT PAUL blasted enemy transportation routes and communication lines in the vicinity of Wonsan, Songjin and Chongjin on the east coast of Korea. She came under very heavy fire near Wonsan, but no casualties were sustained, although the ship was straddled several times by enemy shore fire.
After nine months in Korean waters, SAINT PAUL returned to her home port of Long Beach in May 1951. She had chalked up 34,441 miles and fired almost 28,000 rounds at the enemy.
After a brief home stay and overhaul period, the "Fighting Saint" was back in Korean waters in September 1951. She spent the autumn on the gun line off the coast of North Korea and also provided anti-aircraft support to Task Force 77.
The heavy cruiser laid down an intensified shore bombardment screen on Christmas Day 1951 to occupy enemy troops so they couldn't spoil the Allies' frontline Christmas Day.
After New Years in Japan, it was back to the war for the men on SAINT PAUL. Her first mission was to destroy important railroad supply lines on the east coast. Once, she even broke up a birthday party for the Premier of North Korea; she held her fire until the party was well underway and then fired salvos from her five-inch battery to end the celebration.
Several days later the only major personal tragedy in the ship's 25-year history occurred, taking the lives of 30 men. During a firing mission, an explosion in the forward main turret's magazine sucked the oxygen out of the compartment, and rescue attempts within minutes of the catastrophe were too late to resuscitate the asphyxiated gun crew.
Before returning to port, SAINT PAUL conducted a two-day strike on railroad targets near Songjin. On the first day of this strike, a small boat put out from the beach after the cruiser had completed her day's firing. Lookouts sighted the boat and reported there were men in the craft waving a white flag. The nine North Korean soldiers in the boat wanted to surrender. The heavy cruiser took them aboard and subsequently transferred them to a prison camp.
The ship returned home on June 24, 1952, after eight months in the war zone. She had travelled more than 60,000 miles and fired more than 16,000 rounds at Communist targets.
Leisure time was short, however, for after a month in Long Beach, SAINT PAUL began intensive training to prepare for another Far Eastern deployment.
On April 1, 1953, the "Fighting Saint" again became an active part of Fast Carrier Task Force 77, firing at vital rail supply lines near Songjin, deep in North Korean territory.
During May and June the cruiser steamed along the east coast of the Korean peninsula, bombarding Red bunkers, supply installations, gun positions and troop concentrations. Boldly, SAINT PAUL entered the blockaded harbor of Wonsan several times to fire on coastal defense gun sites.
In June the heavy cruiser participated in the Anchor Hill battle, where ROK and Communist troops battled two months for control of the heights. SAINT PAUL and other units of the United Nations fleet fired high-explosive shells into enemy positions on the mountain 24 hours a day. Her helicopters and medical department were also kept busy, rescuing and treating Air Force and Navy pilots forced to ditch their planes, as well as wounded ROK soldiers and sailors from the destroyers IRWIN (DD-794) and ROWAN (DD-782), wounded when their ships were hit by enemy counter battery fire.
The cruiser received her only direct hit of the Korean Conflict on July 11, 1953, when she was fired upon by shore batteries in Wonsan. One of about 50 rounds fired by Communist guns at the cruiser that day struck a 3-inch anti-aircraft mount. There were no casualties to personnel.
On July 27, 1953, SAINT PAUL conducted the last naval gun strike of the Korean Conflict. Approximately two minutes before Lieutenant General William K. Harrison signed the first truce document, the ship fired the final shell from a United Nations naval unit.
After the armistice was signed, SAINT PAUL returned to Yokosuka for a few days before beginning two weeks of patrol duly off the east coast of Korea. Then she started home for Long Beach, ending a 50,000-mile journey.
The "Fighting Saint" took a break upon her return to the States, with two months devoted to family reunions and leave for the crew. Then she steamed north to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for overhaul.
On May 4, 1934, SAINT PAUL returned To the Western Pacific. As flagship for Commander Seventh Fleet, she ranged along the entire eastern coast of Asia, going from one "trouble spot" to the next. When the Chinese Communists threatened the Nationalist Chinese islands of Tachin and Quemoy, SAINT PAUL and other SEVENTH Fleet units patrolled the area to discourage any ideas of invading Taiwan.
Combat duty was only a small part of the cruiser's 1934 deployment, however. The SAINT and her men made goodwill calls on many seldom-visited Japanese ports: Beppu, Toyama, Hadadato, Mure, and Hiroshima. There were Japanese-American baseball games, several concerts and gifts were even exchanged. During the year SAINT PAUL entertained more than 2,000 Japanese school children on board. On November 18, she left Yokosuka to return to Long Beach.
When the "Fighting Saint" departed her home port eight months later, on July 12, 1955, she had completed nearly 11 years of continuous active service in the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The ship headed for Keelung, Taiwan, where she was designated flagship for Vice Admiral Alfred M. Pride, Commander SEVENTH Fleet, on August 15. Most of her deployment was spent off the coast of Communist China near Taiwan, protecting United States interests in the area.
On December 16, 1955, SAINT PAUL was host to the Honorable Charles E. Thomas, Secretary of the Navy, who was observing air and surface demonstrations by the task force.
After the Secretary's visit, the cruiser went to Buckner Bay, Okinawa, for a brief formal ceremony in which Vice Admiral S.H. Ingersoll relieved Vice Admiral Pride as Commander SEVENTH Fleet.
Back home in February 1956, the ship was thoroughly overhauled in Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. She left the yards in August, sporting a new bridge, fresh paint and rejuvenated firerooms and engines.
On September 14, 1956, the heavy cruiser became FIRST Fleet flagship and hosted Secretary of the Navy Thomas again, this time for a FIRST Fleet review in Long Beach Harbor. Secretary Thomas and FIRST Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Robert L. Donnison reviewed the largest assembly of ships to form on the West Coast since 1934.
On November 6, 1956, SAINT PAUL deployed for her eleventh post-World War II cruise to the Far East. During the following few months she made goodwill calls in many ports, after becoming flagship for Vice Admiral Ingersoll in Yokosuka on November 29.
Vice Admiral Ingersoll turned over SEVENTH Fleet command to Vice Admiral Wallace M. Beakley in ceremonies on the deck of USS BON HOMME RICHARD (CVA-31), anchored in Okinawa's Buckner Bay, on January 28, 1957. As flagship of "the largest single integrated naval force in the world," in the words of Admiral Ingersoll, SAINT PAUL was present to become Admiral Beakley's flagship.
On March 17, 1957, she took part in Operation "Beacon Hill" off the coast of the Philippine Islands. Before the exercise was interrupted by the death of Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay, a combined force of 60,000 men had engaged in the largest U.S. Navy amphibious operation since World War II.
The ship arrived back in Long Beach on May 21 after completing another six-month cruise. June, July and August were devoted to type training and maneuvers. Visits to Monterey, California, and the World's Fair at Seattle, Washington, were highlights for the crew. Her parade unit of Marines and sailors won an Award of Merit presented by Greater Seattle, Inc., for the men's performance.
After spending Christmas at home for the first time in three years, SAINT PAUL prepared for a February 3 departure for the Western Pacific.
Stopping in Pearl Harbor for fuel and supplies, the heavy cruiser set sail for Wellington, New Zealand. During the days that followed, those crew members who were "slimy pollywogs" became trusty "shellbacks" under the guiding hand of King Neptunus Rex and his royal court.
Arriving in New Zealand in February 1958, the ship was visited by more than 10,000 citizens of this friendly country. Passing through the Coral Sea on the way to Japan, the ship's officers and men paid their respects to the memory of the sailors who gave their lives in those waters during World War II.
From March to August SAINT PAUL acted as flagship for Commander SEVENTH Fleet, and paid visits to Yokosuka, Yokohama, Hong Kong, Subic Bay and Keeking. The ship returned to Long Beach on August 25.
In January 1959 the cruiser came out of four months of extensive overhaul in Long Beach Naval Shipyard. Work had been completed on her communication facilities, as well as bottom de-fouiing, complete repainting, habitability improvements, and engineering and ordnance repairs, including complete rewiring of her 3-inch gun mounts-Early in February it became known that the heavy cruiser was to become permanent flagship for Commander SEVENTH Fleet. Requests went out to alt units of the Pacific Fleet for volunteers for permanent Westpac duty in SAINT PAUL. As a result of this personnel program, over 80 per cent of the crew was exchanged.
After completing refresher training the "Fighting Saint" headed for Japan. The heavy cruiser arrived in Yokosuka on May 26 and made final preparations to take aboard Commander SEVENTH Fleet, Vice Admiral Frederick N. Kivette, and his staff. On June 2 COMSEVENTHFLT's personal flag was hoisted and SAINT PAUL became the first major U.S. combatant ship to be home ported in the Orient since before World War II.
In subsequent months Commander SEVENTH Fleet directed the heavy cruiser to a variety of ports throughout the Far East. Some of the less frequented spots visited were Kobe, Otaru and Sasebo, Japan; plus Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Cebu and Zamboanga in the Philippines; and Djakarta, Indonesia.
After visiting Manila and Subic Bay in the Philippines, the cruiser Joined other units of the SEVENTH Fleet to participate in Operation "Blue Star", a major combined amphibious operation with naval and ground forces of the Republic of China. Shortly afterward Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, President of the Republic of China, boarded the flagship for an on-the-spot view of Operation "Blue Star".
On March 7, 1960, Vice Admiral Kivette was relieved as COMSEVENTHFLT by Vice Admiral Charles D. Griffin.
Following a brief visit home, SAINT PAUL departed Yokosuka May 16, bound for Shimeda, Japan, to join with other U.S. Navy ships and the citizens of the semi-isolated community in celebrating their annual "Black Ship Festival" commemorating the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry and his "Black Ships" in Japan over 100 years ago.
On June 16 SAINT PAUL was bound for Manila, where she embarked the President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and his party for a cruise that would take the Chief Executive to Taiwan and a meeting with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.
President Eisenhower took advantage of the day and a half respite from his hectic Far East tour to relax. He came on deck, however, to watch special anti-submarine sonar operations and to shoot skeet. The Chief Executive left SAINT PAUL by helicopter for Taipei on June 18, after the flagship arrived ar a point off Tan-Sui, Taiwan.
On July 4, during special change of colors ceremonies, SAINT PAUL became the first U.S. Navy ship to raise the United Stales' new 50-star flag.
In one of her most important port visits since her deployment in Westpac, SAINT PAUL steamed 45 miles up the winding Saigon River to moor in Saigon, Republic of Vietnam, for a four-day stay from October 24-28.
Highlight of the visit, which was keyed primarily to the capital city's celebration of the Republic's Constitution Day, came on October 26 when Ngo Dinh Diem, President of the Republic, boarded the flagship to greet Commander SEVENTH Fleet, The head of state was accorded full honors including a 21-gun salute and the crew manning the rail both on arrival and departure.
After a short home stay, SAINT PAUL again proceeded to the high seas, visiting Nagoya, Japan; Jesseiton, British North Borneo, and Port Swettenham, and the capital, Kuala Lumpur,
Back in Yokosuka after the seven week cruise, crew members participated in the Mikasa Festival, held in honor of the restoration of the famed Japanese battleship which was instrumental in defeating the Russian fleer just after the turn of the century.
The SAINT PAUL then visited Otaru on the island of Hokkaido, where all previous records for general visiting were broken as more than 25,000 residents rourcd the cruiser.
On September 23 she threaded her way down the treacherous approaches of Inchon and set a course for the Straits of Shimonoseki. Averaging 20 knots, the "Saint" followed the main traffic route through Japan's fascinating and beautiful inland sea. It was a sunny warm Sunday and every man who owned a camera was on deck photographing the exquisite scenery. The ship passed by the busy port of Kobe at dusk, finally safe from the jagged coastline.
On October 28, 1961, Vice Admiral William A. Schoech relieved Vice Admiral Griffin as Commander SEVENTH Fleet in ceremonies aboard the USS RANGER (CVA-61) and SAINT PAUL broke Admiral Schoech's three star flag.
The heavy cruiser served as SEVENTH Fleet flagship from June 2, 1959, until December 26, 1961. During those 30 months, she steamed 138,906 miles, made 70 port calls outside her homeport, welcomed 141,594 visitors, and played host to top government and military leaders throughout the Far East. But, most important of all, her crew spread goodwill and won friends for our country in every port visited.
The year of 1962 found SAINT PAUL moored at berth eight in her homeport, Yokosuka, as the transfer of COMSEVENTHFLT TO USS OKLAHOMA CITY (CLG-5) was completed. After 22 days in Yokosuka, the ship transited to the Philippines to begin an extended series of exercises outside Subic Bay. In March she picked up Rear Admiral Elliot Loughlin, COMCRUDESFLOT NINE. and his staff in Sasebo.
After completing operations with Task Group 77.4, the heavy cruiser took part in a weapons demonstration for Japanese businessmen and political dignitaries. She visited various Japanese ports until the middle of May, when she was diverted back to the South China Sea and operations with the task group.
Such exercises begin when the word comes to "take in all lines," and the men start heaving around to bring in the heavy nine-inch manila mooring lines. It will be a couple of minutes before the telephone talker on the bridge can relay to the Officer of the Deck, "All lines on deck, Sir." At that instant the quartermaster makes a note in his log and the United States Ship SAINT PAUL is officially underway.
Once SAINT PAUL is free of land, she is back in her own element, the sea. The ship rakes on a different atmosphere. Now she is an entity requiring no aid from an outside source to perform the assigned mission. The time will come in a week or two when SAINT PAUL will pull alongside a replenishment ship to stock up on fuel, provisions, or ammunition, but she need not sacrifice Strategic mobility by returning to port.
Every man on board has his job to do. Some spend most of their time keeping the ship clean and habitable, or preparing food for the 1200 officers and men of ship's company. In the enginerooms and firerooms, men work around the clock everyday, keeping the huge steam turbines turning. In the radio rooms, teletype machines eat roll after roll of yellow paper and fill the paper with a never-ending flow of messages. Every few minutes the ship's position is fixed on a chart by the watch in CIC or by the Navigator on the bridge. All these men and many more are providing services which enable the Officer of the Deck to keep SAINT PAUL headed toward a designated rendezvous.
Plowing through a wave, the heavy cruiser puts on extra speed to make a rendezvous. A task group is out at sea practicing the myriad of human skills it needs to accomplish an assigned mission. Without this drill and repetitive exercise, the SEVENTH Fleet would be nothing more than a roll call of ships. As a result of these periods at sea, the Fleet becomes a powerful force in the Far East.
From September to February the heavy cruiser underwent overhaul in Long Beach Naval Shipyard, where three 3-inch and one 5-inch mount were removed to accommodate the staff of Commander FIRST Fleet.
On February 18, 1963, the cruiser departed Long Beach for five weeks of refresher training. In May rehearsals began for a Presidential Naval Demonstration scheduled for early June off the Southern California coast. The demonstration, witnessed by President Kennedy, involved 23 Pacific Fleet ships.
After training NROTC midshipmen during the summer and conducting a one-day dependents' cruise, on August 16 SAINT PAUL left San Diego for Pearl Harbor with COMFIRSTFLT embarked. There she conducted shore bombardment exercises at Kahoolawi Island Range and entertained various military and civilian dignitaries.
Returning to San Diego in early September, the ship took part in two anti-air warfare exercises, as well as paying a short visit to San Francisco.
While at sea conducting gunnery exercises on November 22, 1963, the ship received news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The national ensign was immediately lowered to half-mast and the heavy cruiser returned to San Diego. Formal memorial services were conducted on the fantail to coincide with the late President's interment in Arlington National Cemetery on November 26.
The first two weeks of 1964 saw many crew members returning from holiday leave. During the week of January 13 the ship participated in Operation "Turk's Head," an exercise designed to increase the readiness of the fleet in anti-air warfare and strike force operations. On February 13 SAINT PAUL paid a short visit to San Francisco before steaming to Pearl Harbor.
Between March and July the ship took part in two more FIRST Fleet operations, "Red Cloud," and "Bird Dog," in addition to attending the Portland Rose Festival from June 8-15. During her stay in Portland the ship set a record by hosting about 33,000 visitors, including the Governor of Oregon and the Mayor of Portland,
After a dependents' cruise on July 31, the ship sailed for Seattle on August 11 to attend Sea Fair. It was there that the crew from Paramount Studios began bringing aboard equipment for the filming of the movie, "In Harm's Way." The producer, Otto Preminger, and actors John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Tom Tryon, Tod Andrews, Burgess Meredith and Carroll O'Conner came aboard as the ship
made ready to sail to Pearl Harbor. The five days en route to Hawaii were spent in filming; many members of the crew filled minor parts.
"In Harm's Way" opens with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack is observed from sea by then-Captain John Wayne and Kirk Douglas, while a submarine silently moves in on their destroyer flotilla, which has been at sea on a practice gunnery mission.
Later, after the submarine attack, Wayne is removed from his command for allegedly failing to protect his ships. While he is "beached", he meets Navy nurse Patricia Neal at a party high on an Oahu hilltop.
But Wayne is vindicated and receives an important appointment to head a major Pacific Fleet task force by CINCPACFLT, Henry Fonda. Already at Wayne's new forward command post is his former aide, Douglas, who finds the local customs much to his liking.
Also in the war zone arc nurses Neal and Jill Haworth, who has become engaged to Wayne's son, who gave up a job as a public affairs officer to serve on a PT boat.
On the eve of a crucial strike on a Japanese flotilla, Douglas assaults nurse Haworth, who kills herself. Douglas attempts to atone for his crime by flying a suicidal reconnaissance mission against the Japanese. He is able to warn Wayne that the Japanese are about to mount their own attack.
In a long battle the next day, the Japanese flotilla is crushed, although Wayne's flagship SAINT PAUL is shot out from under him, his son killed, and most of his other ships are either sunk or suffer major damage. But eventual Allied victory is assured by the crucial campaign.
The ship returned to San Diego on August 27 to participate in shore bombardment and independent ship's exercises until after the first of the new year. On December 16 the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral David L. McDonald, visited the ship.
SAINT PAUL took part in the largest Naval operation ever held in peacetime—Operation "Silver Lance"—in February 1965. During April and May she was busy preparing for administrative inspections and inspection by the Board of Inspection and Survey.
The heavy cruiser sailed to Portland in June to attend the Rose Festival again. She entertained the Rose Queen and her court, members of the Western Governors' Conference, and 10,000 other visitors. A month later, the cruiser visited Seattle and Vancouver,
Canada. After several FIRST Fleet exercises and a short visit to San Francisco on September 22, SAINT PAUL entered Long Beach Naval Shipyard on October 8 for a four-month overhaul.
Upon completion of her overhaul in February 1966, the "Fighting Saint" underwent refresher training and took part in Operation "Gray Ghost" to prepare herself for her first WestPac deployment in four years.
On May 11 she got underway for the Far East, making her first stop in Yokosuka where she relieved USS CANBERRA (CAG-2) of her duties as naval gunfire support ship. After a short stop in Subic Bay to unload "Project Handclasp" materials, the ship headed for the coast of Vietnam to take up her station on the firing line on June 5.
A gunfire mission begins with a call for fire from a Marine spotter in the mountainous coast of the Republic of Vietnam. He. spots enemy movement, or a suspected bunker site, and begins a chain-reaction which leads to the mighty guns of SAINT PAUL.
This spotter, whether in a small plane circling overhead, or entrenched on a mountain top, calls a naval gunfire support group nearby. The target is cleared for fire, if there are no friendly troops in the area.
Within seconds after the call for fire comes in, the "Fighting Saint" is ready. Down in the gun turrets, a projectile man strains to load the breach of an eight-inch gun. In Combat the target is plotted and the brains of the ship, the walls of computers in Main Plot, set the guns at the precise bearing and range of the target.
Then comes the order—"Fire." Boom . . . Boom.
More than half the targets the heavy cruiser fires on are bunkers and trench line. Their destruction is important, since the infiltrators use them as shelter and hiding places, and for the storage of ammunition and supplies.
Many American "ground stompers," as the infantry is called, feel that by destroying one bunker, which may house three to five Viet Cong, the life of one American fighting man is saved.
During a six-month war cruise in 1966 SAINT PAUL participated in Operations "John Paul Jones," "Deckhouse I, II, III, and IV," "Hastings," "Emerson," and "Colorado," firing almost 10,000 rounds ac the enemy. Pulling into her home port of San Diego on November 8, the ship took aboard the staff of Vice Admiral Bernard F. Roeder, Commander FIRST Fleet.
In early 1967 the heavy cruiser took part in Operation "Snatch Block" off the Southern California coast and paid a goodwill visit to Acapulco.
March found the ship being prepared for a second Vietnam deployment, as her 8-inch guns were badly needed for gunfire support- On April 3 the ship left San Diego and headed for the gun line, with short stops at Pearl Harbor and Subic Bay.
Patrolling off the coast of Vietnam in Operation "Sea Dragon," SAINT PAUL fired upon enemy supply routes and troop concentrations. On May 17 the cruiser participated in Operation "Beau Charger," one of the largest amphibious landings made at the Demilitarized Zone.
The ship steamed to Sasebo on May 22 to prepare for a visit to Nagasaki, where the cruiser helped the city celebrate the 397th anniversary of the opening of the port to foreign trade. SAINT PAUL welcomed aboard more than 14,000 Japanese visitors.
Returning to Da Nang, the heavy cruiser took aboard Rear Admiral Mark W. Woods, Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Group SEVENTH Fleet. After nine days on the gunline, the ship steamed to Subic Bay, where Rear Admiral Woods was relieved by Rear Admiral Waiter V. Combs on June 14.
The "Fighting Saint" was back on the firing line June 23, attacking enemy installations and coastal defense sites in Operation "Calhoun" ten miles south of Da Nang. On July 1, Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations Designate, accompanied by Admiral John C. Hyland, Commander SEVENTH Fleet, came aboard to discuss "Sea Dragon" operations with Rear Admiral Combs.
On July 3, SAINT PAUL took part in Operation "Buffalo" in support of the Third Marine Division and then proceeded to "Sea Dragon." The ship steamed south to Singapore on July 12, where the crew spent three days of rest and recreation. SAINT PAUL made a side trip to the equator where she entered the domain of Neptunus Rex, Ruler of the Raging Main.
On July 21, after her detour below 00° latitude, the ship returned to the gunline. During the next month her fire destroyed the Dien Highway-Bridge Approach, three waterborne logistics craft and two coastal defense sites- On September 25, the cruiser left the line at flank speed in answer to an emergency call from USS FORRESTAL (CVA-59). While the carrier was on fire, SAINT PAUL handled the stricken ship's radio traffic.
After 17 days in Subic Bay re-gunning, the cruiser returned to the gunline to hammer at enemy positions. On September 1 the ship came under intensive enemy artillery fire, suffering one hit above the water line. Damage to the starboard bow was slight, and there were no personnel casualties. After completing her mission, the ship retired to the open seas to make repairs.
After permanent repairs at Subic Bay, SAINT PAUL returned to "Sea Dragon", where she destroyed six more waterborne logistics craft, two concrete blockhouses, and two coastal defense sites, as well as heavily damaging the railroad yards at Cong Phu and the shipyard at Phuc Doi.
Heading for home by way of Hong Kong and Yokosuka, the ship arrived in San Diego on November 6. Most of the deployment had been spent in Operation "Sea Dragon," designed to interdict the flow of enemy troops and supplies southward. The ship also fired in support of Marines fighting along the DMZ and in northern I Corps. In a total of 209 combat missions, the ship fired more than 20,000 rounds.
Back in San Diego, the ship embarked Rear Admiral John B. Davis Jr., COMCRUDESFLOT NINE.
SAINT PAUL spent the spring of 1968 preparing for another Vietnam cruise; on March 20 she was underway for the gunline.
On April 12 the heavy cruiser fired on targets in the Dong Hoi area and then moved up to Da Nang to fire in support of allied troops. Following a brief upkeep period in Subic Bay, the ship returned to the gunline to play a prominent role in continuing "Sea Dragon" operations, silencing North Vietnamese Army gun positions and sinking three 30-foot logistics craft while damaging two 50-foot motorized tugs.
On June 1 twenty-seven crew members were initiated into the Seafarers' Club. The only requirement for membership was 15 years of sea duty. The presentation of certificates took place on the forecastle; the 28 members in this unique organization had served a total of 425 years on sea duty. Among the members was Rear Admiral S. H. Moore, embarked on board as COMCRUDESGRU-SEVENTHFLT.
Leaving "Sea-Dragon", SAINT PAUL steamed to the DMZ to fire in support of Marines operating ashore. Finally, after 49 days on the gunline, the cruiser put into Yokosuka for rest and upkeep. Then it was back to the line for another 29 days, during which the crew fired more rounds than had been expended during the entire six-month cruise the year before.
July 31 found SAINT PAUL back in Subic Bay for re-gunning. While her worn barrels were being replaced, the ship was visited by the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, who congratulated the crew on "their outstanding job of naval gunfire support." Leaving Subic on August 18, the ship paid a short visit to Hong Kong before returning to the gunline.
On September 11 the heavy cruiser pulled into Keelung, Taiwan, for five days of rest and recreation. Then, after three days on the line, she was relieved by the battleship USS NEW JERSEY (BB-62). After a stop in Yokosuka, the "Fighting Saint" returned home to San Diego on October 20.
During her 1968 Vietnam deployment SAINT PAUL spent 102 days in combat operations, firing over 64,000 rounds of 5 and 8-inch ammunition at enemy positions. In over 1300 missions, the ship was credited with 380 enemy killed and 800 military structures destroyed or damaged. On December 27 SAINT PAUL was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for exceptionally meritorious service during the cruise.
Back in the States again in October, the ship became flagship for Vice Admiral Bernard F. Roeder, Commander FIRST Fleet. After a short visit to San Francisco on November 14, the ship returned to San Diego to take part in a FIRST Fleet training exercise, Operation "Beef Trust," off the coast of Southern California.
On January 4,1969, Vice Admiral Bernard F. Roeder, Commander FIRST Fleet, in a ceremony on SAINT PAUL'S forecastle, ordered all dress ship lights of FIRST Fleet units in San Diego Harbor turned on simultaneously in honor of San Diego's 200th Anniversary year. The ship acted as the Navy's official representative during the festivities.
On January 6 the heavy cruiser got underway to participate in Operation "Bell-Curve". The crew spent the remainder of the month getting ready for a Commander, FIRST Fleet, goodwill visit to Acapulco, Mexico, on January 30. Highlights of the visit were a cocktail party for the ship's officers at the Las Brisas Hotel and an orphans' party on board for a local Catholic orphanage. The cruiser returned to San Diego on February 4.
In late February SAINT PAUL underwent refresher training and shore bombardment qualification off San Clemente Island before re-arming in Seal Beach in preparation for her fourth Vietnam deployment in four years.
On March 21 the "Fighting Saint" was off for the Western Pacific, saying farewell to her home port of San Diego for a seven-month cruise to the Far East.
En route to Subic Bay, the ship stopped in Pearl Harbor for three days, where key crewmembers were briefed by the staff of Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. On April 6 when SAINT PAUL passed near the island of Iwo Jima, the ship's Marine Detachment honored the 4,300 Marines who were killed while taking this strategic island from the Japanese during World War II.
On April 10 the ship arrived in Subic Bay for a scheduled 10-day re-gunning period. But on April 15, after North Korean jets shot down an unarmed Navy EC-121 reconnaissance plane off the coast of Korea, the cruiser received orders for emergency sortie and was underway at first light the next morning for the Sea of Japan to join Task Force 71, the largest Naval force assembled since the Korean Conflict.
Ten days later SAINT PAUL left Task Force 71, en route to the gunline off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam. The ship relieved USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA-148) on April 29 and took up her station off the Demilitarized Zone.
During the next 27 days, the heavy cruiser operated primarily in Northern I Corps, just south of the Demilitarized Zone. The ship's five and eight-inch guns fired upon Viet Cong bunkers and fortifications, and helped keep the pressure of threatening large enemy troop buildups off the Marines ashore. The first of a total of 337 war-weary soldiers and Marines were welcomed aboard for a hot shower, a warm meal, and a soft bed.
On May 9 Rear Admiral Mason B. Freeman, Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visited the ship in Da Nang harbor. The same night, during one of the most successful missions, the heavy cruiser fired all night on targets south of Da Nang. Spotters gave SAINT PAUL credit for damaging or destroying 20 enemy bunkers and causing 43 secondary explosions, indicating hits on ammunition caches.
On May 25 Rear Admiral Thomas J. Rudden, Jr., Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Group, SEVENTH Fleet, shifted his flag to SAINT PAUL and the next day the ship departed the gun line to Sattahip, Thailand, for a five-day visit.
On June 8 SAINT PAUL was back on the gun line. That day Vice Admiral Walter H. Baumberger, Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, and Vice Admiral William F. Bringle, Commander SEVENTH Fleet, arrived on board via helicopter from Da Nang to discuss current operations with Rear Admiral Rudden.
Two days later the heavy cruiser fired her main and secondary batteries throughout the night and compiled an impressive list of gun damage assessment: 76 structures and 44 bunkers damaged or destroyed. From June 16 to 18 SAINT PAUL fired in support of the Third Marine Division engaged in Operation "Virginia Ridge" in Quang Tri Province. The cruiser's gunfire blocked the way of 33 North Vietnamese Sapper units (groups of highly-trained infiltrators) and kept them from escaping back into the DMZ. Fifty-six enemy troops were killed.
The heavy cruiser departed the gun line on June 28 for Hong Kong. After five days of shopping and sightseeing the ship moored at the Sasebo Ship Repair Facility on July 7 for a 13-day upkeep period. On July 19, SAINT PAUL left Sasebo and headed for Pusan, Korea, for a three-day goodwill visit. By July 27, the ship was back on her naval gunfire support station off the coast of Vietnam.
On August 19 the Under Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable John W. Warner, spent a night on the heavy cruiser to observe operations.
On August 31 in Subic Bay Rear Admiral Herbert H. Anderson relieved Rear Admiral Rudden as COMCRUDESGRUSEVENTHFLT embarked on SAINT PAUL. Rear Admiral Anderson shifted his flag to USS BOSTON (CAG-1) and SAINT PAUL was underway for home at last.
During her transit of the Pacific, the ship stopped off for three days in Subic Bay, an afternoon in Guam to refuel and a day in Pearl Harbor. SAINT PAUL arrived back in her home port of San Diego on October seventh, 201 days and more than 39,000 miles after she had said goodbye in March.
The ship served as flagship for Rear Admiral Robert L. Baughan Jr., Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla NINE, in October before she tied up at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard on November 7 to begin a three-month overhaul.
SAINT PAUL spent the spring of 1970 completing her overhaul and preparing for a fifth WestPac deployment. On February 17—the 25th anniversary of the ship's commissioning—there was a reunion and open house on board the "Fighting Saint" at United States Naval Air Station, North Island, Coronado, California. Seventy-six crew members were awarded Navy Commendation and Achievement Medals, and Letters of Commendation from CINCPACFLT and COMSEVENTHFLT, for their outstanding service during the heavy cruiser's recently-completed deployment.
THE MERITORIOUS UNIT COMMENDATION
For the Secretary,
Chief of Naval Operations
USS SAINT PAUL'S ASSOCIATION
A dependents cruise was conducted on April 9, 1970. One week later, SAINT PAUL pulled away from the pier at North Island for what was to be her last deployment. En route to the gunline off Vietnam, the "Fighting Saint" stopped off at Pearl Harbor for briefings by Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. In addition to the nightlife in downtown Honolulu, the crew enjoyed the outer fringes of the island. Sunny beaches and bikini-clad girls were in evidence everywhere.
On May 11, the ship reached the gunline off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam. With her arrival, gun watches were manned, ammunition and stores replenishments became the rule, and the hours in the working day doubled. The sounds of the big guns became part of the daily routine. Between long periods of intense shelling, brief visits were made in Subic Bay, Philippines and Keelung, Taiwan. COMCRUDESGRUSEVENTHFLT (and COMCRUDESFLOT NINE), Rear Admiral Robert L. Baughan, Jr. embarked on June 20. He was relieved by Rear Admiral Thomas E. Bass, III on July 25. In late July, SAINT PAUL paid her last port call to Hong Kong, and then headed northward for Yokosuka.
To celebrate her 25th year of active duty in a grand manner, SAINT PAUL sponsored a Silver Anniversary Flight which brought wives and loved ones winging to Japan for a reunion with their "Fighting Saints". The nine-day visit was a welcome break from the rigorous combat operations. Some traveled to Osaka to take in Expo '70. On August 8, while in Yokosuka, word was received that the ship was to be decommissioned. Crew members^ found it hard to believe.
On August 25, SAINT PAUL reported back to the gunline for the last time, and resumed her duties as a combat support ship for the allied troops ashore. The sounds of her heavy guns once again echoed throughout the South Vietnam countryside. Occasional trips were made to Danang Harbor to replenish stores, receive mail and to host military dignitaries. The ship departed Vietnam waters and combat operations forever on September 20, with stops at Subic Bay, Guam and Pearl Harbor. All nine 8° gun barrels were replaced during the Subic Bay visit. As well as earning two more battle stars, the heavy cruiser also received the Navy Unit Commendation for her accomplishments on this final deployment.
On October 16, 1970, the "Fighting Saint" arrived home in San Diego. Deactivation activities commenced the next day. The Executive Officer, Commander Donald W. Knutson, Sr., relieved Captain Hugh D. Nott as commanding officer on December 15. SAINT PAUL got underway for the final time on February 1, 1971, bound for Bremerton, Washington. Among those aboard was Mayor Charles McCarty of Saint Paul, Minnesota. The final ship maneuvering order, 'All Stop", was given on February 4 by LT Richard Morse, the ship's first lieutenant. USS SAINT PAUL was decommissioned on April 30, 1971 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The guest speaker was RADM Thomas E. Bass, III, COMCRUDESFLOT NINE.
SAINT PAUL rested at her moorings at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Bremerton for nearly nine years. On December 13, 1979, she was sold for disposal for $1,300,000 to National Metal and Steel Corporation. In March 1980, she was towed to the firm's scrapping facility at Terminal Island, San Pedro, California. By the end of the year she was gone.
In more than a quarter century of service to her country, SAINT PAUL earned 18 battle stars in three wars, fired more rounds of ammunition than any U,S, cruiser in history, and was home for over 14,000 men. She hosted six heads of state, including President Dwight D. Eisenhower. A total of 18 of her commanding officers and executive officers ascended to flag rank. Three of them - Roy A. Gano, John S. McCain, Jr., and Claude V- Rickects - culminated their careers as four-star admirals. The "Fighting Saint" was truly a cruiser among cruisers. Her likes will not be seen again.
But the story of SAINT PAUL does not end here, only the chapters on her active service. Her crew members continued to hold her in their hearts. In 1983. two of them decided the time had come to share and celebrate those memories. Frank "Ike" Alliger, a baker, and Cloyd "Bud" Tuttle, a bosun mate, each unaware of the other's efforts, set about locating former shipmates to hold a reunion, Ike's idea was to get the plank owners together, but he quickly found that men who had served aboard during all of her 26 years were anxious to join. Bud's plan was for a one-time reunion to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the ship's commissioning, Ike's work led to the first reunion, in Clearwater Beach. Florida in October 1984. It was here that the USS SAINT PAUL Association was established, with Ike as it's first president. By this time, the two groups had become aware of each other. Bud's celebration took place in Reno, Nevada in April 1985. There were 103 people at the Florida reunion and 60 in Nevada. The two groups joined together, and by the end of 1985, the membership rolls had swelled to 250. The next reunion was a return to Clearwater Beach in October 1986. A total of 137 attended. There, Arthur "Kal" Kalogeros was elected president to succeed Ike.
Over the next two years, the Association's membership increased to more than 500. A crew member, Alien Starr, donated a beautiful bronze plaque to the memory of his 30 shipmates killed in the tragic turret explosion in 1952. In September 1987, the plaque was presented to the U.S. Naval Academy at a mini-reunion in Annapolis, for display at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The next reunion was held in San Diego in August 1988, with 198 shipmates and their wives in attendance. Reunion highlights included visits to Navy ships and the many attractions in and around the city. At the conclusion of the reunion, CAPT Channing Zucker (Ret) was elected president.
Membership continued to grow, reaching the 1,000 mark by late 1990. The fifth reunion was held in San Antonio, Texas that October, with 310 attending. A feature activity was dedication of a plaque at the Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg in memory of the 54 crew members who died while serving on board. Another high point was a SAINT PAUL Spectacular at the Convention Center basin on the River Walk at which a 7 foot radio-controlled model of the ship made a grand entrance and circled the basin to the strains of "When the Saints go Marching In." Bill Brodniak was elected president for the next two years.
The sixth reunion took place in Virginia Beach, Virginia in September 1992, with 364 crew members and mates on hand. USS MINNEAPOLIS-SAINT PAUL (SSN 708) performed host ship duties. Their C.O., Commander Neil Rondorf, addressed the Association at the welcoming dinner; and many "Saints" visited the submarine during the week. The SSN also provided the memorial service color guard at the MacArthur Memorial. At the Association business meeting, Michael Thyberg was elected president.
Saint Paul, Minnesota was the site for the seventh reunion in September 1994, with 509 in attendance. The highlight was a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the ship's christening and launching. It took place on September 16, 1994, at Harriet Island where one of the ship's anchors is on display.
The ship's sponsor, Marie (McDonough) Middlecon, again broke a bottle of champagne, this time on the anchor. Eight SAINT PAUL high school students, top sellers of war bonds and stamps, had earned a trip to the 1944 launching in Quincy, Massachusetts. All were located, and seven returned as the Association's special guests for the commemoration ceremony and all the other reunion activities- Each of them was made an honorary plank owner. Tom Bolan was elected president.
In July 1995, at the commissioning of the Aegis cruiser USS PORT ROYAL (CG-73) in Savannah, Georgia; SAINT PAUL'S hull number "73" was bequeathed by the Association co PORT ROYAL. Also, the two silver service sets from the State of Minnesota and City of Saint Paul that had been carried by the "Fighting Saint" were presented to PORT ROYAL. The City's silver was originally presented by the S.iiiu Paul Winter Carnival's 1951 Queen of the Snows, Audrey Sheahan to Captain Roy A. Gano, while the ship was at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco. Audrey (Sheahan) Sager again presented the silver in Savannah, 43 years later, this time co PORT royal's commanding officer. Captain Nicholas L. Richards.
USS SAINT PAUL Association membership reached 1,600 in 1996. The eighth reunion of the Association took place in Seattle, Washington in September 1996. More than 400 crew members, families and friends attended. A memorial ceremony aboard USS MISSOURI (BB-63) at the Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, a dinner cruise on Puget Sound, and a banquet address by RADM William Center, Seattle Naval Base Commander were among the highlights. Bob Kolh was elected president to lead the Association for the next two years.
In October 1998, the ninth reunion took place in Charleston, SC. More than 500 members, wives and guests attended. John Cooper was elected president for the next 2 years. At the time of the reunion, our membership was just over 1800 and a membership goal of 2000 was set for the 2000 reunion- In August 2000, the tenth reunion was held in Colorado Springs, CO. More than 400 members and wives were in attendance. Bob Board was elected president and we set sail for our next reunion located in Portland, OR in August 2002. At that reunion we had nearly 500 in attendance and our membership had reached 2500. Joe Cooper was elected president and Boston was the city of choice for 2004.
USS SAINT PAUL COMMANDING OFFICERS
World War II Victory Medal American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one star Third Fleet Operations against Japan
Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia Clasp
China Service Medal (extended)
National Defense Service Medal - two awards
Korean Service Medal with eight stars
Communist China Aggression
First United Nations Counteroffensive Communist China Spring Offensive
United Nations Summer-Fall Offensive
Second Korean Winter
Korean Defense Summer-Fall 1952
Third Korean Winter
Korea Summer-Fail 1953
United Nations Service Medal
Korean Presidential Unit Citation
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal - three awards
Combat Action Ribbon
Vietnam Service Medal with nine stars
Vietnamese Counteroffensive Campaign
Vietnamese Counteroffensive Phase II
Vietnamese Counteroffensive Phase III
Vietnamese Counteroffensive Phase IV
Vietnamese Counteroffensive Phase V
Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969
Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase VII
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device
Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross)
Meritorious Unit Commendation - two awards
Navy Unit Commendation - two awards
Credit- Naval Historical Center
Captain Zucker served aboard the SAINT PAUL from 1960 to 1963.
Credit- Bob Guy
The first SAINT PAUL was a steel passenger liner chartered for U.S. Naval Service as an auxiliary cruiser in 1898 during the Spanish American War. She was decommissioned the same year and returned to her owner. The SAINT PAUL was again taken over by the Navy in 1917 and was used as a transport ship during World War I. She was returned to her owner in 1919 and was scrapped in 1923. The second SAINT PAUL (CA-73) was a heavy cruiser, built by Bethlehem Steel in Quincy, Mass, and commissioned in 1945. She operated as a screen for carriers as they delivered air strikes on Japan. The SAINT PAUL was later involved in the Korean Conflict. In July 1953, the SAINT PAUL had the distinction of firing the last round at sea in the war. She saw action during the Vietnam War and was decommissioned in 1971 following 26 years of continuous active service. The SAINT PAUL (CA-73) earned 1 engagement star for World War II service, 8 for Korean War service and an additional 9 for Vietnam service.
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