25 February 81
1. As required by reference (a), the following report of significant events for USS ELLIOT (DD-967) during 1979 is submitted.
2. The year 1979 was the year when ELLIOT first flexed her muscles and put to the test all her training and preparation. It would be a successful year, one in which ELLIOT established her "hard-charging, can do" style of operations.
3. Significant events during the period January - December 1979 are as follows.
a. The year was started inport at San Diego. The ship was preparing not only for its first deployment, but also for a Nuclear Weapons Acceptance Inspection (NWAI). NWAI was held the 22nd and 23rd of January. The ship successfully completed the inspection with no major deficiencies. It seemed a fitting way for the ship to celebrate her second birthday.
b. February 16 was ELLIOT's first change of command. Her Commanding Officer, Commander Donald L. GURKE, USN, transferred the responsibility and accountability for ELLIOT and her crew to Commander Stephen S. CLAREY, USN (see enclosure (1)). Change of command was quickly followed by another major event. ELLIOT's maiden deployment began 21 February. SHe left for a 7 month WESTPAC deployment as flagship for Destroyer Squadron THIRTY-ONE commanded by Captain John M. Poindexter. Along with ELLIOT were the other ships in Carrier Battle Group (TG 37.9): USS RANGER, USS BUCHANAN, USS BROOKE, USS DOWNES, USS CAMDEN and USS MAUNA KEA. Embarked on ELLIOT was HSL 33 Detachment 1, with LCDR Michael Coumatos as officer-in-charge. Accompanying the Battle Group were Canadian units HMCS PROVIDER, HMCS TERRA NOVA, HMCS RESTIGOUCHE and HMCS GATINEAU.
c. The transit was conducted in three phases: 1. Open ocean transit to Hawaiian operating areas; 2. MIDPAC OPS; 3. Open Ocean transit and SEVENTH Fleet Chop. On the 2nd of March the ship moored at its last U.S. port, Pearl Harbor, HI. March 5th she left Pearl Harbor to continue the transitex with an opposed sortie with the USS LOS ANGELES (SSN 688). With ELLIOT in AAW picket station on 16 March, the group was overflown by a Soviet Bear "D", ELLIOT's first encounter with the Soviets. Subic Bay first hosted ELLIOT on March 20. Here the ship made repairs and stocked up supplies and parts for her Indian Ocean operations. She departed for the I.O. on 31 March with a one day detour to Leon Creek for NGFS. A Z-42-G and Z-43-G were fired. ELLIOT joined with TG 77.5 on 1 April which consisted of RANGER, ENGLAND, ROBISON, DOWNES and CAMDEN. At 0455G on 5 April in the Malacca Straits, ELLIOT was leading the RANGER when the carrier collided with the oil tanker M. V. FORTUNE. It was necessary for RANGER to return to Subic for repairs.
d. The next stop was Diego Garcia from 12-16 April. After a rendezvous with the USS MIDWAY and another stop at Diego Garcia, ELLIOT got underway for the Gulf of Aden as part of TG 77.4. The primary purpose of the battle group was to maintain a U.S. military presence in the area. Encounters were made with both Soviet and French naval units in the Gulf of Aden. (For details of Indian Ocean operations, see enclosure (2)).
e. ELLIOT's second port of call in the Indian Ocean was Port Victoria in the Seychelle Islands 8-12 May. This was a 5 day liberty port followed by a second session of I.O. operations. From the I.O. and on the return sail to Subic Bay, the ship stopped in Singapore from 7-11 June. The first half of ELLIOT's deployment ended when she returned to Subic Bay 15 June for a two week upkeep period. From there on 1 July she left for Hong Kong. Later, USS ELLIOT was awarded the Navy Expeditionary Medal for Indian Ocean contingency operations.
f. ELLIOT dropped anchor in Hong Kong harbor on July 3rd for an intended 4 day stay. Typhoon ELLIS, however, caused the ship to leave on July 4th, 20 hours later. She returned to Subic Bay.
g. From Subic Bay on July 10th ELLIOT transitted towards Okinawa to participate in MISSILEX 2-79 and ASUWEX 2-79 with other units in WESTPAC. An ASROC, SVTT, Helo launched torpedo and a NATO SEA SPARROW missile were fired. The ASROC and torpedoes were rated as hits. The SEA SPARROW scored a skin to skin hit. ELLIOT also served as recovery ship for the drones used in the exercise. During the transits, ASW, AAW and opposed UNREP formations were used to further practice and gain experience. The ships were divided into SAG's and joined in an exercise with a transit group from Yokosuka.
h. After an all-around successful exercise, ELLIOT returned to Subic Bay for her final stop before starting the journey home via the South Pacific. Departure from the Philippines was on July 28th with the following ships: BUCHANAN, DOWNES and CAMDEN.
i. The first SOPAC port of call was Noumea, New Caledonia, the country capital, often referred to as the little Paris of the Pacific. During the three day stay, August 7-10, ELLIOT crewmembers took advantage of a basketball game and picnic sponsored by the French forces stationed there. A banquet was held onboard for various dignitaries in Noumea. Included on the guest list were: Secretary General of the Colony, M. LAUFINBERGER; Mayor of Noumea, M. LAROQUE; and the Commanding Officer of the French Naval Forces, Captain MIOCHE. The ship was also open for public tours. In two days over 2500 visitors came aboard.
j. Second on ELLIOT's South Pacific sojourn was Auckland, New Zealand. Auckland was to be a dual purpose stop. Not only was the long anticipated liberty available, but plans and assignments were finalized for Exercise TASMANEX 79. Along with ELLIOT were the BUCHANAN and DOWNES. Ships from the British, Australian and New Zealand navies were present for the exercise. All together, these ships were part of the largest gathering of warships in New Zealand since WWII.
k. In Auckland, tours, parties and other social functions were arranged for the visiting ships. Interservice athletic competitions were held August 15 and 16. One of ELLIOT's Gunner's Mates took 2nd place in one of the marksmanship events. ELLIOT also hosted the Chief of Naval Technical Service of the Royal New Zealand Navy, Captain A. David NELSON, RNZN, for the purpose of familiarization with USN systems for possible use in their navy. The ship again opened up her decks to the public and proudly displayed herself to over 3000 people.
l. On 1 August ELLIOT and a majority of the other ships departed Auckland to commence TASMANEX 79. It was to be a multifaceted exercise. Various areas of naval warfare were to be tested (ASW, AAW, ASU). The Navy's policy, procedures and tactics for operating in conjunction with allied forces were also to be practiced. The first major event was 18 August. ELLIOT engaged a British Shellduck drone with guns using VTNF projectiles. On 19 August a towing exercise required ELLIOT to demonstrate her procedures with the HMS FALMOUTH. This was done quite successfully. All during the exercise there were events involving ASW and ASU operations under variouis EMCON conditions. Communications, and link exercises were practiced. The group was divided into blue and orange forces and conducted over-the-horizon (OTH) targeting and night encounters. SAG's and SAU's were utilized throughout. An UNREP was attempted with the HMS BLACK ROVER; however, a compatible coupling for the fuel lines could not be provided so the event was not completed. TASMANEX ended August 24th.
m. The morning of August 27th saw ELLIOT arriving in Apia, Western Samoa. This was an overnight stop and the last foreign port of call of the deployment. While there a luncheon was hosted on board for the Charge d'Affairs of the Peoples Republic of China, Zhang ZHANWI. The ship also gave tours to approximately 600 people during the afternoon.
n. While transiting to Pearl Harbor, ELLIOT outchopped the SEVENTH Fleet and inchopped THIRD Fleet on 30 August. The ship stopped at Pearl Harbor on 3 September for a brief six hours to take of stores and to pick up the relatives and friends of the crew who were participating in the Tiger Cruise. ELLIOT departed Pearl Harbor in company with ships of DESRON THREE ONE and the USS ENGLAND and USS CAMDEN for the final leg home. Sunday 9 September at 1658T ELLIOT shifted colors as she moored starboard side to at pier seven in San Diego. Some of the statistics are: Miles travelled-45,000+, Days at sea-195, Days inport/anchored-55, Ports of call-7, UNREPs-37, Helo landings-620 (344 flight hours). ELLIOT was the first gas turbine ship to return from deployment with all seven original turbines and the first to enter the Indian Ocean.
o. Upon return the ship commenced a 5 day standdown and 6 week upkeep period. She next went to sea October 22 for local operations. One of her tasks was to plane guard for USS RANGER. The ship also fired an ASROC and a SVTT at the USS GUDGEON (SS-567) on 25 October, who was providing ASW services. Both shots were evaluated as hits. The ship returned to Broadway Pier Friday 26 October to be San Diego Visit Ship. ELLIOT hosted approximately 3500 people over the weekend.
p. ELLIOT departed 29 October for more local operations. She successfully completed a Z-10-AA air shoot exercise on November 1st. The ship returned to pier 7 on 2 November. The 8th and 9th of that month were taken up by battery alignment in preparation for NGFS later in the month. San Francisco was ELLIOT's next stop when she left port on 13 November. She moored port side to pier 45 on the Embarcadero the morning of 16 November. While there, ELLIOT opened up her brow to over 3600 visitors. The stay in San Francisco was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
q. ELLIOT departed the Bay City the morning of 19 November for NGFS qualifications off San Clemente Island and the return trip home. Tuesday 20 November was spent firing five required exercises. A total of 167 rounds were fired during requalification. The ship returned to San Diego on 21 November.
r. A PRAV period started 26 November which continued into January of the next year. During this time ELLIOT hosted the USS HARRY W. HILL (DD 986) when she arrived in her homeport from Pascagoula, Mississippi for the first time on 4 December. On 10 December a 3 day NWAT (Nuclear Weapons Assist Team) visit began to review ELLIOT's procedures and training before its Defense Nuclear Surety Inspection in January. The remainder of the month was used as holiday leave periods.
D. B. QUELCH