USS Hull (DD-945)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Hull.
The USS Hull underway off the coast of Southern California, 21 October 1971.
Career (US)
Namesake: Isaac Hull
Builder: Bath Iron Works
Laid down: 12 September 1956
Launched: 10 August 1957
Acquired: 25 June 1958
Commissioned: 3 July 1958
Decommissioned: 11 July 1983
Struck: 15 November 1983
Fate: Sunk as a weapons test platform, 7 April 1998
General characteristics
Class & type: Forrest Sherman class destroyer
Displacement: 2,800 tons standard.
4,050 tons full load.
Length: 407 ft (124 m) waterline, 418 ft (127 m) overall.
Beam: 45 ft (14 m)
Draft: 22 ft (6.7 m)
Propulsion: 4 x 1,200 psi (8.3 MPa) Babcock & Wilcox boilers w/Bailey 'Iowa type' ACC, General Electric steam turbines; 70,000 shp (52 MW); 2 x shafts.
Speed: 32.5 knots (60.2 km/h)
Range: 4,500 nautical miles (8,300 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h)
Complement: 15 officers, 218 enlisted.
Armament: 3 × 5 in (127 mm) 54 calibre dual purpose Mk 42 guns; 4 × 3 in (76 mm) 50 calibre Mark 33 anti-aircraft guns; 2 × mark 10/11 Hedgehogs; 6 × 12.75 in (324 mm) Mark 32 torpedo tubes.

USS Hull (DD-945), named for Commodore Isaac Hull USN (1773 to 1843), was a Forrest Sherman class destroyer built by the Bath Iron Works Corporation at Bath in Maine. Laid down on 12 September 1956 and launched 10 August 1957, by Mrs. Albert G. Mumma.

History[edit]

She was commissioned 3 July 1958 and transited the Panama Canal a few months later to begin a long career with the Pacific Fleet. Between April and August 1959 Hull conducted the first of her fifteen deployments to serve with the Seventh Fleet in the Western Pacific. She made three more cruises in that area in 1960, 1961–1962 and 1963-1964. During October and November 1962 the destroyer escorted Pacific-based amphibious forces to the Panama Canal Zone as part of the US Navy's Cuban Missile Crisis operations. Hull's 1965 Seventh Fleet tour was the first of six Vietnam War deployments, during which she fired tens of thousands of five-inch shells in support of forces ashore and helped rescue several downed U.S. aviators. Additionally, Hull served as plane guard for carriers on Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf, participated in Operation Sea Dragon operations, and patrolled on search and rescue duties and carried out Naval Gunfire Support missions during the Vietnam War.

In April 1972 the USS Hull was scheduled to deploy to Vietnam in July, but when the North Vietnamese overran the DMZ in April she and several other ships were quickly mobilized in San Diego harbor and dispatched, on seven days notice, to provide naval gunfire support to the South Vietnamese forces on the DMZ. Her transit was in the company of three other destroyers and destroyer escorts. In order to expedite the transit she was refueled underway by a light cruiser. After two days in Subic Bay she then proceeded to provide gunfire support off I Corps, in South Vietnam. During the 1972 deployment she fired 20,000 5" rounds and an unknown number of 3" shells from her twin 3" 50 mount. She operated as far south as Qui Nhon and as far north as the mouth of the Red River, in North Vietnamese waters. She spent several weeks in operations off the coast of North Vietnam, bombarding shore targets and interdicting North Vietnamese craft transporting supplies into the mouth of Red River from Chinese merchant ships that had been trapped by the American mining of North Vietnamese waters. The USS Hull provided gunfire support to two amphibious operations, one of which involved the use of landing craft off Quang Tri. The first was a shore launched helicopter assault that fly from south, landed its forces, who then swept south. This particular operation was intended to sweep south and pick up any civilians that were trapped in that region by the North Vietnamese invasion. During this period she was commanded by Commander Harry S. Quast, later rear-admiral. During this deployment the USS Hull still carried hedgehogs and depth charges, obsolete World War II vintage weapons. It is possible that the hedgehog pattern that she fired during an exercise may have been the last use of this weapons system in the US Navy.

Hull made her eleventh WestPac cruise in 1973, after the direct U.S. role in the Vietnam War had ended. During this deployment she initially operated with the USS Long Beach (CGN-9) in the Gulf of Tonkin. The USS Long Beach was the PIRAZ (Positive Identification Radar Advisory Zone) ship and her function was to maintain the "air picture" over North Vietnam. As the USS Long Beach's weapons were principally anti-aircraft, the USS Hull was to deal with any surface threat, such as the torpedo boats that provoked the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

During her major overhaul in 1974-75, her forward 5 in./54 Mark 42 gun mount was replaced with an 8 in./55 Mark 71 gun mount. This Major Caliber Lightweight Gun ("MCLWG") was the result of a project dating back to the 1960s, when it was realized that heavy gunfire support for amphibious operations would die with the existing force of heavy cruisers unless a big gun could be developed for destroyer-size ships. A prototype gun and mounting had been built and tested ashore during the early 1970s. Hull was its test ship for seagoing trials, after which it was expected that several of these guns would be installed on board destroyers of the new Spruance class.

Hull's eight-inch gun began firing tests in April 1975. These lasted into the following year, and were reportedly partially successful. Unfortunately, when the gun was fired as far to the rear as possible, the shock was too great and some strakes were broken. The ship carried the Mark 71 mounting during her 1976-77 twelfth and 1978 thirteenth Seventh Fleet deployments to the Western Pacific, and conducted more firing tests during that time. However, the MCLWG project was cancelled in 1978. The prototype gun was removed from Hull during her 1979-80 overhaul and she spent the rest of her days with the three five-inch gun mounts that were typical of her class.

In February–September 1981 Hull served again in Asian waters. She began her final deployment in September 1982, steaming to the Western Pacific by way of Alaska, rescuing five Vietnamese refugees at sea in October and then moving further west to serve in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea as part of the battle group built around the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Enterprise.

Fate[edit]

Returning to the U.S. West Coast in April 1983, she immediately commenced inactivation preparations. USS Hull decommissioned 11 July 1983, stricken 15 October 1983. During a weapon and tactics test, she was sunk on 7 April 1998. The test was designed around a Harpoon missile fired from a S-3B Viking, but many different weapons were used throughout the exercise. Her final resting place is 32° 35'00.9" N, 120° 32'00.3" W, 2,096 fathoms deep.

References[edit]

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Coordinates: 32°35′00.9″N 120°32′00.3″W / 32.583583°N 120.533417°W / 32.583583; -120.533417