USS Hanson (DD-832)

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Career (United States)
Name: USS Hanson (DD-832)
Namesake: Robert M. Hanson
Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
Laid down: 7 October 1944
Launched: 11 March 1945
Commissioned: 11 May 1945
Reclassified: DDR-832, 8 March 1949
Struck: 31 March 1973
Homeport: San Diego, Ca.
Honors and

8 battle stars (Korea)


7 battle stars (Vietnam)


Meritorious Unit Commendation


Combat Action Ribbon


National Defense Service Medal


Armed Forces Expeditionary


Vietnam Service Medal


Vietnam Campaign Medal

Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg

Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal

China Service Medal ribbon.svg

China Service Medal


Korean Service Medal

United Nations Service Medal for Korea Ribbon.svg

UN Service Medal for Korea

Army of Occupation ribbon.svg

Navy Occupation (Japan) Medal

American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg

American Campaign Medal

World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg
WW II Victory Medal (U.S.)
Fate: Transferred to Republic of China, 18 April 1973
Career (Republic of China)
Name: ROCS Liao Yang (DD-21)
Acquired: 18 April 1973
Reclassified: DDG-921
Decommissioned: 1 June 2004
Fate: Sent to the bottom of the South China Sea. She is now resting as an "artificial reef".
General characteristics
Class & type: Gearing-class destroyer
Displacement: 3,460 long tons (3,516 t) full
Length: 390 ft 6 in (119.02 m)
Beam: 40 ft 10 in (12.45 m)
Draft: 14 ft 4 in (4.37 m)
Propulsion: Geared turbines, 2 shafts, 60,000 shp (45 MW)
Speed: 35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph)
Range: 4,500 nmi (8,300 km) at 20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Complement: 336
Armament: • 6 × 5"/38 caliber guns
• 12 × 40 mm AA guns
• 11 × 20 mm AA guns
• 10 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
• 6 × depth charge projectors
• 2 × depth charge tracks

USS Hanson (DD/DDR-832) was a Gearing-class destroyer of the United States Navy, named for First Lieutenant Robert M. Hanson (Feb 4,1920 - Feb 3,1944),

Fighter ace Marine 1st Lt. Robert M. Hanson

United States Marine Corps of Marine Fighting Squadron Two Fifteen, a quintuple ace who was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.

Hanson was launched on 11 March 1945 by the Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. Harry A. Hanson, mother of Lt. Hanson; and commissioned on 11 May 1945, Commander John C. Parham in command.

Service history[edit]


After shakedown in the Caribbean and conversion to a picket destroyer at Boston Navy Yard, Hanson sailed for the Pacific on 7 November 1945. She spent most of the following year operating in support of occupation forces in Japan, with a September period of fleet maneuvers off the China coast. Reporting to the Atlantic Fleet at the Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia on 6 February 1947, Hanson trained along the East Coast until sailing in late January 1948 for her first tour of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. She was designated DDR-832 (radar picket destroyer) on 8 March 1949. During her second deployment to the Mediterranean in the summer of 1949 Hanson took part in two of the most important steps toward peace taken in that tension-wracked region. As station ship to the United Nations General Assembly at the Isle of Rhodes, she was the only American warship present as Greece received control of the long-contested Dodecanese Islands. On her next important duty Hanson carried United Nations mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche, later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (Dec 10, 1950), to Beirut, Lebanon, for peace negotiations on Israel. He was the first African American to ever win the prestigious award.

Korea, 1950–1953[edit]

World crisis shifted from Europe and the Mediterranean to the East in 1950, and Hanson joined the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on 12 July to prepare for her role in the Korean War. Her first duty off the war-torn country saw Hanson participating in the amphibious operations at Inchon on 15 September 1950 as well as providing fire cover for the successful evacuation of Hŭngnam and Wonsan just before Christmas that year. Hanson's second combat cruise to Korea, September 1951 to May 1952, took her along the east coast as a member of the fleet bombarding strategic shore targets in support of ground troops where her accurate fire was most effective. In December she also participated in the important Formosa Patrol and visited Hong Kong. After a respite at San Diego, Hanson returned to the Korean bombline in December 1952 for task force operations, screening the fast carriers as they launched their jets against enemy supply lines and positions. The battle-hardened destroyer also participated in shore bombardment, search-and-rescue (SAR) operations, and Formosa patrol before returning to the United States on 20 July 1953, shortly before the end of the war in Korea.


Subsequent years found Hanson making annual six-month deployments with the 7th Fleet to strengthen American defenses in the Pacific and to prove American determination to keep the peace to possible aggressors. In addition to patrol, major portions of Hanson's Pacific cruises were devoted to tactical maneuvers and battle exercises with United States and allied ships as well as intensive antisubmarine hunter-killer training. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, and even Australia provided familiar ports of call for the destroyer on these cruises. Hanson was patrolling the Straits of Formosa virtually within sight of Communist mainland China in the fall of 1958 as shelling of the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu precipitated a major international crisis. In the spring of 1962 and again in 1963 Hanson took part in the annual Australian celebration of the Battle of the Coral Sea, World War II's first carrier naval engagement in the Pacific.

When not deployed to the western Pacific, Hanson trained out of her home port, San Diego. Much of this training was centered on Hanson's role as a radar picket destroyer, designed to provide early warning of approaching enemy air, surface, or submarine forces. On 1 April 1964 she was redesignated DD-832 and entered the San Francisco Naval Shipyard to undergo a Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) conversion designed to prolong her effective life as a fighting ship for many years.

Vietnam, 1965–1968[edit]

Conversion completed on 6 December 1964, Hanson rejoined the Pacific Fleet early in 1965 as a unit of Destroyer Squadron 11 (DesRon 11), with sister ship Dennis J. Buckley (DD-808), which was also a recent converted from DDR configuration. She operated along the West Coast until heading for the Far East early in the summer to join the fight against Communist aggression in Southeast Asia. In July she shelled enemy targets ashore and, but for brief respites, she patrolled and fought in troubled Vietnamese waters until late in the autumn.

Returning to San Diego in December, she operated along the coast of California and Mexico until getting under way for the Orient on 17 July 1966. She steamed via Hawaii, Midway, Guam, and Subic Bay for Vietnam and anchored in the Saigon River on 13 September. But for short visits to Hong Kong, Formosa, and the Philippines, Hanson operated in the fighting zone until relieved on 6 January 1967. During the deployment, her 5-inch guns fired over 9,000 rounds at Communist targets, mostly in direct support of ground forces. She also performed plane guard duty, patrolled close ashore to stop infiltration of supplies and men from the north, and refueled helicopters.

Back at San Diego on 11 February 1967, Hanson operated along the West Coast preparing for her next WestPac deployment. During the period, six months were spent in Long Beach Naval Shipyard undergoing repairs and overhaul.

Hanson's third deployment to Vietnam covered March through September, 1968. Notably, deployment was moved up in order to steam quickly to the Sea of Japan, where North Korean naval forces had recently (23 January 1968) intercepted and captured USS Pueblo in international waters off the coast of North Korea. Hanson's appearance in the area did not elicit any material response from the Communists, and after several days, the ship sailed south to join the rest of the United States 7th Fleet off Vietnam in the South China Sea. Hanson returned to San Diego in the following September.

Cold War & Vietnam Era, 1969–1971[edit]

The Hanson was in port until 23 June 1969. On that date, in company with USS Buckley DD 808 and USS Hull DD 945, the ship was underway for her Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI). Upon satisfactory completion, she returned to San Diego and remained there until her departure for the Western Pacific.

On 2 August, under the command of CDR Robert Joseph Raffaele (Mar 1 1968 - Sept 16 1969) USS Hanson was steaming on the first leg of her Western Pacific deployment, accompanied by USS Dennis J. Buckley DD 808, USS Jouett DLG 29 and USS Boyd DD 544 . The four ships left San Diego Harbor in a diamond formation, steaming under the new San Diego-Coronado Bridge during the opening ceremonies. Early on 3 August, the ships rendezvoused with USS Hancock (CVA-19). COMCARDIV NINE in Hancock became SOPA. The three destroyers and the guided missile frigate comprised Task Unit 17.4.2.

For her first 1969 WESTPAC assignment, the Hanson steamed out of Subic Bay in company with USS Hancock CVA 19 and USS Dennis J. Buckley DD 808 as Task Group 77.4. The Task Group arrived at YANKEE Station on 1 September and the carrier immediately began flight operations with the two destroyers in plane guard stations. USS Dennis J. Buckley was given a brief assignment in the II Corps Tactical Zone area of - the Republic of Vietnam for Naval Gunfire Support duties. The ship followed USS Hancock for a total of eight days. On 13 September, she again detached to assist in the transfer of a UPI correspondent to an ATF keeping surveillance on a Soviet trawler. September 16, Hanson gets a new Captain, Cdr. Richard J. Fleeson (16 Sept 1969 - 29 July 1971). USS Hanson departed YANKEE Station on 17 September and USS John W. Thomason (DD-760) assumed duties as Commander Task Unit 77.4.2.

On 24 January 1970, USS Hanson (DD 832) in port Subic Bay with USS Jouett (DLG 29), USS Floyd B. Parks (DD 884), and the USS D.J. Buckley (DD 808), which together formed TU70.0.3. On 25 January TU70.0.3 was underway for San Diego via Guam and Pearl Harbor, OTC was COMDESRON ONE embarked in Jouett. The four ships navigated the San Bernardino Straits on 26 January and arrived on the morning of the 28th at Guam for a brief refueling stop. Within four hours the four ships were underway again on an easterly course for Pearl Harbor. On 31 January the Task Unit Chopped to Commander First Fleet becoming TU15.9.2. On 1 February USS HULL (DD 945) joined the formation. The five vessels moored in Pearl Harbor on 5 February for two days before beginning the final leg of their homeward voyage. On the morning of 12 February Hanson, Buckley and Hull and other units of TU15.9.2 moored at U.S. Naval Station, San Diego.

Hanson enters Dry dock for maintenance period.

July 10, 1970 USS Hanson enters dry dock #3 at Hunter's Point Shipyard San Francisco, CA with the USS Dubuque LPD 8 and remains there until 21 August 1970. While Hanson was in dry dock one night sometime around 2230 hours, the berthing compartment below the main deck level, around mount 52 ammo handling room started flooding due to a cracked/broken water main. The water rose to knee deep in berthing space and half way filled the after magazine. This caused the entire duty section to work all night until about 0430 hours pumping out water from the after magazine and berthing compartments then mopping up the mess. On Hanson's shakedown cruise out of the dry docks, a fire broke out in a boiler room causing the ship to go to general quarters to fight the fire. This happened about 8 hours into the shakedown cruise while steaming off San Francisco. B division handily and speedily put out the fire using purple K (PKP) fire suppressor.

USS Hanson, October 1970 entering San Diego harbor after completing yard period.

The Hanson arrived in San Diego on about 18 October for a short two day - stay before getting underway for Independent Steaming Exercises on around 20 October. On about 21 October the ship underwent sonar tests at the Fleet Operation Readiness Accuracy Check Site (FORACS) Range at Wilson Cove, San Clemente Island. The ship was then in port San Diego from 22 October to mid November with a tender availability with a tender, probably the USS DIXIE (AD-14) from 23 October to 5 November. Hanson participated in six weeks of Refresher Training commenced on 9 November and the ship was in and out of port almost daily as a unit of TU54.l.l until about 18 December. Gunnery personnel conducted shore bombardment on San Clemente Island, and air and surface firings at towed targets. Deck division conducted several underway replenishments with USN Oiler. The Anti- Submarine team fired exercise ASROC (Anti Submarine Rocket) and Mk 32 torpedoes at the USS Salmon SS 573. Operations conducted numerous exercises with USS Buckley DD 808 and USS Gray DE 1054. The rest of the year was spent as leave and upkeep inport San Diego with a tender availability probably the USS PRAIRIE (AD 15).

Hanson heads to 1971 Westpac

February 5, 1971, under the command of Cdr. Richard J. Fleeson (16 Sept 1969 - 29 July 1971), USS Hanson DD 832, USS Buckley DD 808 and USS Floyd B. Parks DD 884 depart San Diego, CA for a 6 month WestPac (Western Pacific) cruise, her 5th Vietnam tour. The three ships in transit between San Diego and Pearl Harbor encounter a large floating buoy or pipe sealed on its ends floating upright picked up on all three ship's radars seemingly the sail of a surfaced submarine about 3 days out from San Diego, CA. 12 February 1971 Hanson enters Pearl Harbor just in time for a weekend stay. But while mooring, the Hanson closes faster than expected into her berthing space and strikes the USS Carpenter DD 825. 1st Div or deck crew is then obligated to paint over the scuffed paint of the Carpenter, port side front hull and her bulworks, also Hanson's paint job must be tidied up on her starboard side. Hanson leaves Pearl Harbor on February 15 for Midway Island. A few days later Hanson along with the rest of Desron 1 moor at Midway Island, refuel and spend about 4 hours playing softball before getting under way for Guam. 18 February 1971, while steaming between Midway Island and Guam, the three ships encounter a heavy typhoon creating 25 foot waves sometimes reaching 70 feet. Just at crew's breakfast, a Hanson crewman who was on the signal bridge, gets swept overboard. Another crew member, a port bridge lookout just happened to see the man falling by the bridge wing window and he immediately sounded the alarm and threw a life ring into the sea where the man was floating. All three ships responded but the Hanson got to him first rescuing him in just about record time, less than 15 minutes. The Hanson steams on to Guam and releases the rescued crew member to be sent to a hospital, refuels and is underway for Subic Bay. Hanson then steams on to Subic Bay for a short stop over.

Hanson ports of call included: Pearl Harbor, HI, Midway Island, Apra Harbor in Guam, Subic Bay,Philippines, Da Nang, South Vietnam, Bangkok, Thailand, Buckner Bay, Okinawa, Japan, Sasebo, Japan, Pusan, South Korea, Yokusuka, Japan, Shimoda, Japan and British Colony of Hong Kong.

Notable events of Hanson WestPac cruise:

The Hanson then heads out unto the Philippine sea to ride out a Typhoon (storm raged March 9, 1971 during Ali-Frasier fight) and then to move unto Da Nang to meet with advisors there to receive orders/instructions to participate in NGFS (Naval Gun Fire Support). Hanson stays in Da Nang harbor for about 4 hours and then heads on to her position along the coast where she spent about 1 to 1 1/2 weeks of NGFS. Most, if not all firing took place at night and not more than 20 shots were fired during each evening or session. Hanson then gets the word to head to Bangkok, Thailand for a week of R&R. After 1 week in Bangkok, Hanson heads back to Subic Bay for a short stay and to ready for a trip northward toward Taiwan, Ryukyu's and then Japan and Korea.

Russian Riga class frigate Ryukyu islands 1971

The Hanson, while transiting from Subic Bay, Philippines to Okinawa, Japan through the Ryukyu island chain encounter a Russian Riga Class Frigate (hull number 807) moving at a good speed ( 22 kts. or more). When the Hanson makes Buckner Bay, Okinawa, she refuels then heads for Sasebo, Japan. Once in Sasebo, Hanson stays for a few days.

Hanson leaves Sasebo and heads for Pusan. Transiting from Sasebo to Pusan, the Hanson meets with the USS Truxtun CGN-35 and lowers its motor whale boat to transfer a Commodore and his staff from the Truxtun to the Hanson prior to entering Pusan, South Korea. The Commodore was piped aboard, sideboys were stationed on the quarter deck. About 26 April, the Hanson steams into Pusan Korea for a 2 1/2 day stopover. Hanson stays for the 2 1/2 days and then heads back to Sasebo, Japan.

USS Hanson, Yokosuka, Jpn. Russian tug Diomede wood from its railing clearly jammed into the Hanson's anchor.

Hanson stays in Sasebo for 2 days then heads out unto the Korean Strait and Sea of Japan to observe and report on Soviet and North Korean ship movements. For about 3–4 days Hanson activities go along smoothly until she comes upon a group of fleet tugs towing dry docks headed in a northerly direction. On 6 May 1971 Hanson collides with one of the Soviet Union fleet tugs. Hanson was following the Russian tugs (at least 4) towing floating dry docks, some of the dry docks within other dry docks. The tugs were headed north perhaps to a Russian port when one of the tugs said to be the Diomid, fell back and came along the starboard side the Hanson. The two ships were then at about 12 knot of speed and about 150 feet apart. Officers on the Hanson's bridge attempted to talk to the tug's pilot house where the captain was present via a bullhorn, but the captain of the tug wasn't interested and within 20 minutes the tug veered toward the Hanson and struck at about her anchor. The Hanson sustained only a buffed paint job and perhaps a dent about the starboard anchor. The Russian tug lost at least 30 feet of its port side main deck railing or life line. The Hanson immediately went to general quarters and all camera film taken of the incident was confiscated by ships command as evidence of the international incident. There were no injuries. This was a third and final collision that occurred prior to signing of the Incidents at Sea Agreement in 1972 and was officially between the U.S. destroyer USS Hanson (DD 832) and the Soviet tug Diomede in the Korean Strait on May 5, 1971. This minor collision, which was caused by the Soviet tug violating the nautical rules of the road, did not have serious repercussions for Soviet-American relations. The Hanson then made way for Yokusuka, Japan for repairs and cooling of Soviet/US Navy tensions. She remained in Yokusuka for about 1 1/2 weeks. During her stay in Yokosuka, a marching group composed of at least 2 crew members per division was selected and the group, in the command of one of the ship's officers practiced for about half a day on the pier to ready for the Black Ship Festival in Shimoda, Japan.

Around 14–16 May, after the tug collision, USS Hanson DD 832, USS Preble DLG-15 and JDS Ariake DD 183 (formerly the USS Heywood L. Edwards DD 663), participated in the Black Ship Festival held about mid May yearly in Shimoda, Japan. Each ship participated by entering marching units that marched through the narrow streets of Shimoda, Japan in that city's parade. After her time in Shimoda, Hanson heads to Sasebo for ship maintenance.

Hanson also conducted NGFS (Naval Gun Fire Support) off Vietnam, refueled helos in need of JP-5 for at least 2 weeks, followed and reported on the doings of USSR Navy ships in the Sea of Japan and participated in plane guard duty at Yankee station in the Tonkin Gulf off Vietnam.

Hanson heads home.

USS Hanson returning to San Diego, CA after 1971 Westpac cruise.

On 16 July, the USS Hanson DD 832 in company with the USS Buckley DD 808 departed Subic Bay, her tour of duty completed, destination San Diego, California. In Guam, USS Buckley and USS Hanson were joined by the USS Floyd B. Parks DD 884. An under water investigation revealed that one of the blades on the starboard propeller of the Parks had broken off so the Parks set a course for Guam on one propeller. In Guam divers removed the damaged propeller and at midnight on 22 July USS Parks proceed to Pearl Harbor on one shaft in company with USS Hanson DD 832 and USS Buckley DD 808. Due to bad weather and schedule commitments, Midway was bypassed in favor of a great circle track to Pearl Harbor, HI. The long journey was highlighted by an underway replenishment on the International Date Line with a fleet oiler on its way to WestPac.

1971 USS Hanson SAMID installation as viewed from SPS-37 radar platform. Electronics package contained within HUT (AN/SLQ19-B), 2 antennas per side or 4 total, two CHAFFROC launchers with blast shields.

USS Hanson, USS Buckley and USS Parks arrived in Pearl Harbor on 29 July. USS Parks received a new propeller and at midnight 30 July began a great circle route for San Diego in order to catch up to USS Buckley and USS Hanson who left ahead of the Parks. USS Parks met the other destroyers at the entrance to San Diego Harbor after a four day chase and arrived home on schedule on 4 August. USS Hanson officially returned to San Diego, CA on 4 August 1971 after a full 6 month deployment.

The next month was spent in a "stand down" status with the crew working half days while most took some leave. The only major work was a change in her EW (Electronic Warfare) configuration. The SAMID Immediate Package Program or SAMID (Ship's Anti-missile Integrated Defense) (designed by RCA) consisting of 2 ASROC deck mounted CHAFFROC launchers with blast shields, ASROC deck mounted SAMID HUT (AN/SLQ-19 B) electronics package, and support antennas mounted on port and starboard sides at the ASROC & after-ECM 02 deck level, was removed from the Hanson. In November, USS Hanson followed USS Hancock CVA 19 just out of San Francisco,CA, for plane guard duties lasting about 1 week before Thanksgiving Day of November 1971. After her plane guard duty with the USS Hancock of about 1 week, USS Hanson returned to San Diego, CA.

Vietnam, 1972[edit]

In the early part of 1972, Hanson engaged in refresher training, readiness inspections, repair and maintenance. The Captain at one point decided to have a crew and dependents fish fry on the fantail at a spot off San Diego, Ca. The ship at a later date sailed to Acapulco, Mexico for a time that took at least two weeks, one week in Acapulco and 1 week travel time, to and fro. On the return trip Hanson was hailed by radio from a hospital in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico requesting some medicine of which they were in short supply. The Hanson entered the Mexican port and met a small boat and gave them the medicine. Hanson then continued on her way to San Diego, Ca.

Transit to the Gulf of Tonkin.

On 10 April 1972 with only 3 days notice and under the command of Cdr. Ian M. Watson (29 July 1971 – 31 March 1973), Hanson got underway for WestPac. Accompanying the Hanson en route were USS John S. McCain DDG-36 and USS Dennis J. Buckley DD 808, to fight the Nguyen Hue or Easter offensive in Vietnam as its 6th and final tour of Vietnam service. This final tour of duty would also be Hanson's most engaging wartime effort as a U.S. Naval vessel. The Destroyer squadron made Pearl Harbor about April 15, entered port, refueled and then left the harbor within three hours of arriving. When leaving the harbor, the ships encountered the USS Providence CLG-6, which had left San Diego, CA, April 11, one day after the Hanson, steaming off Waikiki beach. She headed toward the three ships and seemingly into Pearl Harbor, but veered off westward and headed to Guam at a good pace of at least 22 knots. Hanson headed westward to Guam arriving by April 23. The three ships refueled within three hours and then headed to Subic Bay, PI. During transit between Guam and the Philippines, a USSR recon bomber (Bear) flew over at a low altitude (due to low cloud cover) and passed abeam (starboard side of the three ships) within about 200 yards. Hanson arrived in Subic about April 26, 1972.

Hanson, 1972 Tonkin Gulf M2 50 cal machine gun used for warding off PT boats and IBGB's.

Once the Hanson arrived at Subic Bay, decisions were made to add some armament to protect the ship from hazards in the Tonkin Gulf. Mainly, two M2 50 Cal machine guns mounted on the bridge wings (for IBGB's armed with rockets) and a TAD (Temporary Assigned Duty) Navy Seal (SA W. Allen) trained & armed with shoulder launched Redeye missiles, an early version of modern stinger missiles. The Hanson had no reliable way to ward off MIG attacks and a lone Navy Seal would be that defense. This added precaution arose primarily due to an event on 19 April: The Battle of Đồng Hới.

Hanson enters Gulf of Tonkin.

30 April 1972 Hanson entered Tonkin Gulf off Vietnam and received orders from CincPacFlt to proceed to the waters off North Vietnam. When transiting to the Northern part of the gulf, Hanson met up with the USS Richard B.Anderson DD-786 and the Anderson steamed at Hanson's port side. The Anderson's four barrels in their gun mounts were completely blackened and the front part of her mounts were black with red lead exposed. Only the after part of both the gun mounts were still painted in USN haze gray. The Hanson crew could now see what they were getting into as displayed by the condition of Anderson's guns. On 4 May 1972 Hanson moved further north for front line combat action in Operation Freedom Train (later called "Operation Linebacker") and engaged in a series of daring raids on the Haiphong complex, which included support for Operation Pocket Money on 9 May 1972.

Hanson firing mount 51 near sunset. From both Mnt 51 & 52 Hanson fired 14,486 rounds of 5" 38 HC, RAP & WP ammo.

Operation Custom Tailor

On 10 May 1972, Hanson participated in Operation Custom Tailor, along with Myles C. Fox DD-829 (the Fox protected the armada's northern flank from possible N. Vietnamese PT boats), USS Buchanan DDG 14, USS Newport News CA 148, USS Providence CLG 6, and USS Oklahoma City CLG 5, at Do Son Peninsula, Haiphong, a follow up of a similar raid made the night before on May 9. This was the most formidable cruiser/destroyer armada assembled in the Western Pacific since World War II. During this strike, Hanson entered the harbor and military targets within four miles of Haiphong, North Vietnam were hit, and enemy opposition was heavy. Hanson was also the last US Naval vessel to enter Haiphong harbor prior to the mining of the harbor and she was the last ship out. No other US Naval vessels entered Haiphong harbor during the remainder of the war.

How the Operation was carried out

Around 0100 the next morning, DESRON 31, now comprising the Buchanan (DDG-14), Fox (DD-829), and Hanson (DD-832), spotted the Newport News about 45 miles south of the Do Son Peninsula. The cruiser, whose call sign was “Thunder,” had arrived in the Gulf of Tonkin the previous day after setting out from Norfolk on 13 April. Two other warships that would participate in the mission cruised nearby, the USS Providence (CLG-6) and USS Oklahoma City (CLG-5). At around 1600 on the 9th, two of Admiral Robinson’s staff officers had flown aboard the Newport News to brief the cruiser’s commanding officer, Captain Walter F. Zartman. They brought the waterlogged duplicate operation plan carried by Commander McCulloch in the previous day’s helicopter crash. Having already been informed by Admiral Mack that he would be responsible for the mission, Zartman called for his executive officer, Commander Robert Leverone, and they and the two staff officers began to study the plan and discuss how they were to accomplish the attack mission with the forces assigned.Later, when the Buchanan and the other two destroyers hove into view, Zartman called over “Navy Red,” the Navy’s secure UHF radio circuit, to his close friend Commander Thearle. Asked if he had any recommendations, Thearle advised his friend to “follow me,” and swung the Buchanan and the two other destroyers to the north and increased speed to 25 knots. Zartman, as officer in tactical command, then formed a column with the USS Newport News in the lead followed by the USS Oklahoma City, with Admiral Mack embarked as senior officer present afloat, and the Providence in the rear. The destroyers were on a line of bearing 057T from the Newport News, the cruiser being the guide. At around 0200, Zartman ordered the formation into a line abreast, the Hanson to the far left, then the Providence, Newport News, Oklahoma City, and Buchanan.

"Thunder" with "King City", 1972, Pt. Allison. 77 of the Newport News’ massive 8-inch shells slammed into the military installations around Cat Bi.

The USS Myles C. Fox was ordered farther to the northeast to act as a blocking element in case of enemy patrol-boat activity and to cover the rear of the formation when it would eventually turn to the west and onto a firing course. At 0345, Captain Zartman came over Navy Red and simply said “Mark Point Alpha,” upon which all five warships turned to the firing course of 240T, roughly parallel to the longitudinal axis of the Cat Bi airfield. At the extreme range of Newport News’ 8-inch guns,the Cat Bi military complex was the raid’s primary target. The completely darkened warships together commenced firing at 0347, and the night exploded into a flash of blinding white light (none of the ships were using flash less powder). Seventy-seven of the Newport News’ massive 8-inch shells slammed into the military installations around Cat Bi with earth-shaking rapidity, while hundreds of rounds from the 6-inch guns of the two light cruisers and 5-inch guns of the cruisers and two destroyers pounded enemy targets on the Do Son Peninsula. When shore batteries opened up, effective cruiser-destroyer counter battery fire silenced them. Less than 30 minutes later, the action was over. Enemy fire had been somewhat more sporadic than the day before, and none of the ships was hit. Quite possibly the overwhelming fire from the cruisers and destroyers caused most of the North Vietnamese gunners to run for cover, and by the time they re manned their positions, the task group was retiring. Still, the enemy had fired numerous 152-mm shells at the column of ships as they steamed past in the darkness, and the Sailors in all the ships felt the shells’ explosions. What is most amazing about the bombardments on 9 and 10 May is that they were successfully conducted without the benefit of their command staff, most of whom were killed on the 8th. The disparate warships from different fleets were able to work together as if they had been practicing many weeks for the mission. According to Rear Admiral Kenneth Haynes, commanding officer of the Providence, the professionalism of all the crews—from skippers to seamen—during the operation highlighted the skill of the U.S. Navy at that point in time.

Hanson daily routine in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Hanson 1972 receiving or sending mail, parts or personnel via CH 46 Sea Knight helicopter.

The raids continued from sunset to sunrise throughout May into June and sporadically at other times while Hanson took on fuel, supplies and ammunition during the day. Rearming and replenishment usually took from 2 to 4 hours every one and a half to two days. Nonetheless, ships routine had to continue; meals, cleanup, maintenance and repair of equipment subjected to long hours of continuous gun fire. The continual combat missions and replenishment kept her crew awake approximately 22 hours per day and the two hours of sleep the crew did get basically consisted of 5 or 10 minutes here and there. The ship remained on water hours during this long combat period in order to relieve the engineering department of making feed and drinking water. The only showers authorized were for those personnel working below decks in the engineering spaces. The rest of the ship's crew could only take "bird baths". Nightly, there were typically 2 to 5 General quarters periods usually lasting between one and two hours each usually under stress of possible or actual hostile fire. Every crew member was involved; Engineering department tending 4 steam boilers, powering Hanson's twin engines, gun crews loading heavy projectiles (55 lbs) and gunpowder (15 lb.) stored in magazines loading into hoists taking it up into the gun mounts where they are hand loaded into the gun breeches, ready to be fired. Gun director crews, plotters, navigators, CIC crews, and bridge lookouts straining their eyes watching for hostile surface or air contacts. Such times seemed to never end. At one point during Hanson's numerous firing engagements, her rear gun mount barrels had to be changed out in Da Nang by a repair ship (USS Hector AR-7) anchored in the harbor. Of course many other vessels of the fleet were present carrying out the same maintenance.

Hanson high line unrep of ammunition 1972 Tonkin Gulf. Vertical unreps were much faster.

May 22 thru 28, Hanson on three occasions moved into position and fired upon an area 30 to 35 miles northwest of Qui Nhon (in MR II or the Central Highlands Area) in support of 2nd ARVN division and was credited with destroying 2 enemy emplacements, damaging 15 other enemy emplacements and on one bombardment the inflicted damage was inconclusive. USS Bausell DD-845 accompanied the Hanson during at least one of these bombardments.

On 24 May, as part of Song Thanh (6-72), the Hanson, along with other 7th Fleet ships took up position near U.S. Navy amphibious assault ships, mainly the USS Duluth LPD 6, USS Cayuga LST 1186 near Quang Tri, "Wunder Beach" southeast of the city. The two ships were part of the amphibious group which included the USS Schenectady LST 1185 and the USS Manitowoc LST 1180. After an intense arc light raid by B-52s on the beach the ships launched amphibious tractors to land VNMC battalions. The USS Duluth and the USS Cayuga came under fire from a North Vietnamese shore battery. The battery was immediately fired upon by the Hanson and other ships in the support group joined in to silence the batteries. The USS Duluth then moved out of range under its own "black smoke".

Chicom rocket hit on Hanson Gulf of Tonkin 1972

In June 1972 during night raids, Hanson dueled with North Vietnamese 152 millimeter coastal batteries near Hon La and Hon Mat islands. Hanson was struck twice during these duels on two separate occasions. The shells used by the North were anti-aircraft, so most of its battle damage was shrapnel punctures to the aluminum superstructure. The Hanson took one such hit (night raid) which created at least 140-plus holes/breaks; on the starboard side from the after shower room (main deck level) forward up to the bridge on the 02 level. The HT's reported patching/repairing about 145 welds. During one early morning daylight raid the Hanson was struck on the port side through the ASROC deck into a life jacket locker mounted in the overhead main deck by a 3" Chicom (Chinese Communist) rocket its armor piercing warhead nearly hitting a damage control party in the main deck passageway. There were no injuries or loss of life aboard Hanson. During one tense night raid, the Hanson was expecting trouble from IBGB's and the 50 cal gun crews were put on the alert for any such threats. During the raid the port bridge wing gun crew opened up on Hanson's port side at what they thought was an IBGB, but it turned out to be a crew member of another destroyer smoking a cigarette. No one was injured and damage to the other destroyer was not significant. Friendly fire does happen in tense situations.

Hanson firing on North Vietnamese forces near Quang Tri.

29 June 1972 the Hanson was sent to Quang Tri to support the movement of 1400 South Vietnamese Marines (VNMC 4th & 1st battalions) along with USMC 9th MAB (Operation Lam Son 72 I) from Tam My to Quang Tri to be conducted totally by CH46s & CH53s. Hanson arrived at just about midnight. There was an overcast and the moon and stars were not visible. At least 16 other US Navy cruisers, destroyers and destroyer escorts were present. Also present but to the east on the horizon were two LPH's (USS Tripoli LPH 10 & USS Okinawa LPH 3) and the USS Blue Ridge LCC 19, ready for a dawn launching of helicopters to the Tam My and Quang Tri city areas. B-52s (most likely from U-Tapao, Thailand & Andersen AFB, Guam) were arriving every 20 minutes over a location northwest of the Hanson to unload tons of bombs that flashed and thundered throughout the night until the scheduled operation to occur at 0800 on 29 June. Prior to the dawn launching of helos from the LPH's, a Hanson Supply Division crew member, CS3 Medlin (nicknamed "Indian" by the crew), was injured while preparing breakfast for the hungry Hanson crew. He was immediately helo'd off to another ship or the Da Nang facility to be cared for and did not return to the ship until Hanson returned to San Diego. The armada of ships then went to General Quarters (as published in Plan Of the Day) and the two LPH's launched their helo's to fill the sky with dark green double propped CH-46's that headed inland at a low altitude (about 200 feet). About two hours into the operation, Hanson went to a relaxed General Quarters condition. All the ships were then available for Naval Gun Fire Support roles as the day (29 June) progressed. Hanson remained at the Quang Tri & Pt. Allison locations until just before 4 July. The Hanson later steamed to just outside Da Nang harbor and met with a South Vietnamese (ARVN PTF- no709) which tied up alongside for the transfer of beer unto the PBR for a July 4 celebration (1st Hang Loose - Do Your Own Thing Day).

1972 Hanson view of B52 Arc light, Quang Tri

July 1 thru 4, & 12 thru 23, Hanson, in support of 1st VNMC Division and 3rd ARVN Division destroyed 49 structures and caused 14 secondary explosions.

In July 1972, Hanson lost her main gyro and steering engine and put in at Subic Bay in the Philippine Islands for repairs and returned to the combat theater. It is believed the replacement parts came from another destroyer (USS Warrington DD-843) that had been damaged beyond repair by a river launched mine.

August 8 thru 21 USS Hanson supported the VNMC in the south of DMZ MR I destroying 11 structures, damaging 11 structures and causing 28 secondary explosions.

September 1, USS Hanson along with the USS Saratoga CVA 60 steam out of Subic Bay to return to the war zone. But Hanson's escort duties were brief as Hanson was relieved one day after leaving Subic to steam to a WBLC (Water Borne Logistics Interdiction) station off the coast of North Vietnam. However her arrival on station was temporarily delayed due to heavy seas and storm evasion that sent her south to avoid typhoon Elsie. Hanson weathered the storm and returned to her station on September 5. Hanson's WBLC duties turned out to uneventful and short lived. September 8, the USS Hollister DD 788 arrived on the scene and relieved Hanson. She headed south to the Quang Tri area where heavy fighting still raged.

With an end to Hanson's WBLC surveillance and interdiction, she moved on to participate in other operations including combat missions in Quảng Trị Province and plane guard for the USS Midway.

September 13, Hanson was directed to proceed further south to the Chu Lai area to support ARVN forces and territorial forces. Soon another typhoon was headed in Hanson's way and she was forced to move out to ride out typhoon Flossie. After the worse of the storm Hanson returned to the Chul Lai station on the evening of September 16. Once on station, Chu Lai spotters informed Hanson that Mộ Đức was under siege and in dire need of gun fire support.

Mount 51.
The Meritorious Unit Commendation was awarded to the crew of USS Hanson for saving the lives of 21 of 120 ARVN soldiers and one of two Americans who were being overrun by 1,000 enemy troops in Mộ Đức District; and its participation in a daring raid on Haiphong in 1972 during Operation Custom Tailor.

“ Battle of Mộ Đức or Maj. Collier’s Alamo” -- lasted 54 hours.

September 17, Hanson received a report from Chu Lai spotters indicating Mộ Đức District was being overrun by some 1,000 (regiment size) enemy infantry. An Army detachment of 120 ARVN & two Americans were in Mộ Đức District defending their position, with the help of 20th TASS FAC Air Force Captains Richard L. Poling and Joseph Personnett (reconnaissance pilots flying an armed OV-10), and desperately needed heavy artillery support to prevent its garrison from being over run.

Hanson was the only gunship in the area (about 40 miles away), so it was ordered to get to the "center arena" of Mộ Đức as rapidly as possible. However, Hanson would need to travel as quickly as possible to arrive in a timely manner. The situation became so desperate that the ground commander requested friendly artillery to fire on his position. Throughout the remainder of the night, Poling and Personnett strafed and rocketed muzzle flashes, directed Navy and ARVN artillery, and marked targets for the Navy A-7s that arrived on schedule at 6:30 a.m. The FACs' OV-10 was under heavy AA fire on each pass, with one of many hits passing through the canopy, showering both pilots with splinters. Due to Hanson's timely arrival, Captain Joseph Personnett (seated behind Captain Richard L. Poling), in their OV-10 was able to effectively direct Hanson's 5"/38 artillery rounds onto enemy troops, thus saving the lives of 21 of 120 ARVN soldiers. Staff Sgt. Carroll Jackson, the only other American at the headquarters, was killed in the fighting. The ground commander, Maj. Collier (awarded the Silver Star), later counted 265 enemy bodies on the perimeter fences and credited Poling and Personnett with saving his remaining troops from annihilation. In seven hours of sustained combat, two gallant captains flying a lightly armed recce plane were primarily responsible for defeating a reinforced enemy regiment. For that extraordinary feat, both men were awarded the Air Force Cross. The Hanson for its part was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation, details in photo.

Evening of September 17, Hanson was forced to move from Mộ Đức to the Da Nang facility to transfer a crew member with symptoms of appendicitis. While transferring the ill crew member to the Da Nang facility, the Hanson was hailed by a flashing light, "S-O-S" indicating assistance needed. This happened at total nightfall and when the Hanson was moving into an anchorage within the harbor. The Hanson lowered its motor whale boat and proceeded in sending the sick crew member ashore in the company of 6-man team. After the MEDEVAC transfer, the motor whale boat headed toward the troubled ship but no one seemed to be on board. No mines as reported were spotted so the harbor authorities were then notified. Just then a small boat approached the ship with the Master of the troubled vessel aboard and said his crew jumped overboard on seeing what they thought was a mine. A demolition team later arrived and took care of the situation. The motor whale boat and its 6-man team returned to the Hanson.

Sunday, September 24, the Captain declares it is time for a second "Hang Loose - Do Your Own thing Day" to let off steam from the previous arduous months. It was to be a "Hanson Olympics" or athletic events for the enlisted men, also some competition in the form of Tug O'War for officers and chiefs. Food was provided by Supply division in the form of a great meal. Winners of the Hanson Olympic events to be awarded a night stay in a restful Hotel in Hong Kong with Hanson's scheduled R&R.

October 1, supported the 11th Ranger group, probably around the Mộ Đức area. October 2 thru 3 Hanson, relieved of gun line duties, participated in WBLC north of DMZ by participating in nine surface raider strikes against transshipment points, storage areas, and other military targets along the coast of North Vietnam.

14 thru 20 October, the Hanson gets some well deserved R&R in Hong Kong. She arrives at just about the time of the Chung Yeung (or ascending heights) festival where she stays for about 6 days. Family members were flown over by charter flight and all celebrated the end of Hanson's final WESTPAC deployment.

Hanson's final journey home.

Battle Flag
Hanson's underway ensign that flew from the forward mast the entire time in the Gulf, 1972.

The Hanson then put into Subic Bay for a short stay to ready for the long trip home. There was an opportunity for the ship to make a port stop in Australia and a vote was made among the crew to make the trip down under or return home to San Diego, CA. The vote was in favor of returning to the USA. On 23 October she departed, along with USS Hull DD 945 and USS Dennis J. Buckley DD-808 steaming through the Philippine Islands and the San Bernardino Strait. Upon hitting open water and heading east, the weather began to turn rough. In Guam on the 26th, it was decided to continue to Pearl Harbor bypassing the intended stopover at Midway Island due to the typhoon in the vicinity. Storm evasion was effective and despite heavy seas, all ships reached Pearl Harbor on 3 November without incident. The next morning USS Buckley and USS Hanson set out for San Diego, CA. USS Hull was sent ahead by 10 hours. The USS Hull was gradually overtaken, and by 0700 10 November, the USS Buckley led USS Hanson and USS Hull the last few miles into home port.

On 10 November 1972, Hanson, in the company of USS Dennis J. Buckley DD-808 and USS Hull DD-945 entered San Diego harbor where she moored for her post-deployment stand-down, an INSURV inspection and decommissioning preparation.

All told, USS Hanson 1972 cruise statistics:

  • Number of Nautical miles steamed..39,717
  • Number of gallons of fuel consumed..3,467,104
  • Number of underway Helo transfers..224
  • Number of underway replenishment..97
  • Days out of San Diego..186
  • Days at sea..158
  • Port calls. . Pearl Harbor, HI, Apra Harbor, Guam, Subic Bay, PI, Da Nang, S. VietNam, Sasebo, Jpn, Hong Kong, B.C.C.
  • Number of typhoons endured..3 (Flossie, Elsie,& Lorna)
  • Number of rounds of 5"/38 rounds of ammunition expended..14,486

Hanson actions during 1972 Vietnam tour:

Hanson participated in a myriad of typical destroyer operations: Naval Gunfire Support, carrier escort, search and rescue, surface raider strikes and WBLC (Water Borne Logistics Craft Interdiction).

Hanson's participation north of the DMZ, 4 separate occasions, 42 strikes.

  • Operation Linebacker (orig. Freedom Train)- starting May 4, 1972
-Hanson subjected to over 300 rounds of hostile fire
-Hanson sustained minor damage on two separate occasions from N.Vietnam batteries
  • Operation Custom Tailor - May 10, 1972
  • WBLC or Water Borne Logistics Craft Interdiction. .Sept. 2 thru 8, Oct. 2 thru 3.

Hanson's participation south of the DMZ, 5 assignments on the gun line.

  • Operation Song Thanh (5-72)- May 13, 1972
  • Operation Song Thanh (6-72)- May 24, 1972
  • Operation Lam Son 72 I - June 29, to July 11, 1972
  • Operation Lam Son 72 II - July 11, to July 22, 1972
  • Battle for Mộ Đức - September 16 – 18, 1972

Following the Christmas holidays, Hanson went through tender and DATC availability and came to her final resting place at Quaywall South Six, U.S. Naval Station, San Diego, CA.

Decommissioning, 1973[edit]

Hanson in Taiwanese service as Liao Yang (DDG-921), in 1993.

Hanson was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 31 March 1973.

The ship was transferred to the Republic of China (Taiwan) on 18 April 1973. She served in the Republic of China Navy as Liao Yang (DDG-921). After 31 years of service in the Republic Of China (Taiwan) Navy, she was decommissioned on 1 June 2004 at Kaohsiung, Taiwan. In July 2006, the ROC/TW conducted a national joint armed forces Han-Kung Exercise. The Hanson participated as a target ship and was sent to the bottom of the South China Sea. She is now resting as an "artificial reef".

Hanson's Commanding Officers[edit]

Commanding Officers

Rank Commanding Officer Dates in Command
Cdr John Calhoun Parham Jr. May 11 1945 - Jan 8 1946 (Later RADM)
Cdr Hazlett Paul Weatherwax Jan 8 1946 - Apr 4 1947 (Later RADM)
Cdr William Anthony Ellis Apr 4 1947 - Sep 25 1948
Cdr Alva Wright Dinwiddie Sep 25 1948 - Mar 8 1950
Cdr Cecil Rice Welte Mar 8 1950 - Dec 31 1951
Cdr William Jelfs Henning Dec 31 1951 - Dec 24 1952
Cdr William Paul Toran Dec 24 1952 - Sep 20 1954
Cdr Keith Griffen Nichols Sep 20 1954 - Feb 11 1956
Cdr William Sergeant Busik Feb 11 1956 - Jul 6 1957
Cdr John Warren Sedwick Jul 6 1957 - Jul 25 1959
Cdr Milton Edwards Stewart Jul 25 1959 - Jun 26 1961
Cdr Earle Thomas McFarland Jun 26 1961 - Dec 21 1962
Cdr Charles Shuford Swift Dec 21 1962 - Jan 29 1964
Lcdr William George McKeown Jr. Jan 29 1964 - Oct 29 1964
Capt Ardwin Godfred Franch Oct 29 1964 - Mar 27 1966
Cdr Lawrance Joseph Curtin Mar 27 1966 - Mar 1 1968
Cdr Robert Joseph Raffaele Mar 1 1968 - Sep 16 1969
Cdr Richard James Fleeson Sep 16 1969 - Jul 29 1971
Cdr Ian McEwan Watson Jul 29 1971 - Mar 31 1973

From Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves


The USS Hanson served for more than 27 years. Some awards were awarded on previous cruises. The Hanson displayed two plexi glass (about 3'x 5') placards from the bridge wings, on port and starboard sides, forward with all her decorations clearly visible. At least 12 were displayed after 1972 cruise. More information is needed for all of the Hanson's many other awards.

8bs.jpg 8 battle, campaign, or service stars. (Korea)

7bs.jpg 7 battle, campaign, or service stars. (Vietnam)

Bronze star

Combat Action Ribbon -Korea and Vietnam

Meritorious Unit Commendation -Vietnam 1972

Bronze star

National Defense Service Medal -2 Conflicts

Hansons final ribbon placard. Two mounted, one just below each bridge wing, forward.
Silver star
Bronze star

Vietnam Service Medal -7x Served


Vietnam Campaign Medal

Bronze star

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal -Quemoy, Matsu Islands and Korea

China Service Medal

Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal

Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star

Korean Service Medal -8x Served

UN Service Medal for Korea

Army of Occupation ribbon.svg

Navy Occupation (Japan) Service Medal

American Campaign Medal

World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg

World War II Victory Medal (United States)

Efficiency awards; i.e. White "E" for Command & Control, red "E" for Engineering, and Green "E" for (CIC), black "E" Excellence for Maritime Warfare, etc.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entries can be found here and here. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29]

External links[edit]