The EUGENE A. GREENE (DD-711) was named for navy fighter
pilot, Eugene Allan Greene, an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Three
months after reporting aboard the USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6), Ensign Greene
was shot down leading a dive-bombing attack against Japanese forces
during the Battle of Midway in June 1942.
Launched 18 March 1945, the GREENE was commissioned at
the New York Navy Yard on 8 June 1945. Mrs. Anita M. Greene, widow of
Ensign Greene, was her sponsor. During her early career, she was
homeported in Norfolk and operated in the Atlantic and Mediterranean
with the Second and Sixth Fleets and served as flagship for commanders
of Destroyer Divisions 42 and 62.
Known as the 'Steamin’ GREENE,' she was capable of
ranging farther than her shorter-hulled sisters in searching for,
detecting, and destroying enemy submarines. In December 1952, the GREENE
was recommissioned as Destroyer Radar Picket, DDR-711. As such, she was
fitted out with the latest electronic equipment and devices. When
working with an especially equipped carrier plane, she could extend a
task group’s radar horizon to a distance of about 200 miles.
In July 1956, the crew of the GREENE found their
Mediterranean deployment anything but routine. Arriving shortly after
Egypt’s seizure of the Suez Canal and a build-up of British and French
military forces in the area, the GREENE’s crew spent several anxious
weeks patrolling the eastern Mediterranean. In October, Israel invaded
the Sinai Peninsula, and Britain and France attacked Egypt. A cease fire
finally brought an uneasy peace on November 7, and the GREENE headed for
Several times in the following years, the GREENE’s
crew proved the worth of their training and their ship’s advanced
radar and electronic search equipment. Operating again in the eastern
Mediterranean in the summer of 1957, the destroyer’s crew braved rough
seas for the nighttime rescue of two survivors of a downed plane from
the USS FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (CVA-42). Early in 1958, the GREENE
participated in a massive, eight-day air/sea search for a navy patrol
plane lost in the vicinity of the Azores. Later that year, they rescued
the pilot of a downed navy F4D northeast of Cape Hatteras.
The GREENE moved from Norfolk to Charleston, South
Carolina, in July 1959, and as part of the Manned Spacecraft Recovery
Force, she participated in operations off Cape Canaveral, Florida.
International tensions shifted to the Caribbean in October 1962, and the
GREENE served as part of the United States blockade during the Cuban
Missile Crisis. In December, she headed for the Boston Naval Shipyard
and Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM I) conversion.
Homeported again in Norfolk in December 1963, the
GREENE assumed duty as the flagship of Destroyer Squadron 28, and in
1964 joined the "Anywhere-Anytime" Destroyer Squadron 32 and
Task Group Alfa. She took part in the January 1965 recovery of the
GEMINI space capsule following astronaut Edward White’s historic space
On 6 June 1966, the GREENE transited the Panama Canal
for duty in the Seventh Fleet, entering the Pacific for the first time.
By August, she was operating in the Tonkin Gulf as escort and rescue
destroyer for the USS CONSTELLATION (CVA-64) during air strikes against
North Vietnam and later, supporting friendly forces in the Republic of
Vietnam’s I Corps area. She fired more than 450 rounds of ammunition,
killed between twelve and twenty-five enemy troops, annihilated an enemy
base camp, provided starshell illumination for friendly outposts, and
destroyed a number of enemy supply buildings. Before leaving North
Vietnamese waters, the GREENE rejoined the attack carriers CONSTELLATION
and CORAL SEA (CVA-43).
She was steaming at 27 knots east of Taiwan on 19
October 1966 when the ship’s port shaft parted in the stern tube and
slid aft coming to rest against her port rudder. Her divers quickly
immobilized the propeller, and the GREENE limped into Tse Ying, Taiwan,
for a quick fix that would get her to Subic Bay, Philippines. There, she
went into dry dock for installation of a new intermediate and tail shaft
and a port propeller. Upon her return to Norfolk in December 1966, the
Steamin’ GREENE had completed a 205-day around-the-world deployment.
The GREENE began 1967 with an overhaul of her major
systems and installation of new equipment at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
In the fall, she embarked on a seven-month goodwill cruise with the U.S.
Middle East Force, stopping at several ports along the east coast of
On 3 February 1968, the GREENE was the first U.S. ship
to enter the new Iranian port of Bander Abbas. After a grounding in the
uncharted harbor, her crew set about rectifying the situation. Before
leaving, they had charted the entire harbor. Continuing on to Karachi,
Pakistan, the destroyer again had trouble with her drive train and
became the first U.S. Naval vessel of her size to be dry-docked in a
Mid-East port. Following the replacement of both screws and shafts, she
steamed non-stop to Port Louis, Mauritius, in record time-2,682.5 miles
in six days.
Returning stateside in May 1968, the GREENE joined the
valiant search for the missing submarine SCORPION (SSN-589), lost in the
Atlantic with all hands. October found her operating with the Manned
Space Craft Recovery Force for the recovery of the three Apollo 7
astronauts following their eleven-day flight.
For most of 1969, the GREENE was assigned to Cadre
status, operating with less than half of her normal crew. When she
finally put out to sea in June, her activities were curtailed because of
a recurring propeller shaft problem, but by year’s end, the Steamin’
GREENE was fully operational again.
During a NATO exercise in June 1970, the destroyer’s
helmsman lost steering control, and the GREENE suffered minor damage
when she collided with the fuel oil tanker, USS WACCAMAW (AO-109).
Routine operations took her into the spring of 1972 and preparations for
her decommissioning. The USS EUGENE A. GREENE was stricken from the
Naval Vessel Register on 31 August 1972 and entered service in the
Spanish navy as the CHURRUCA (D-61). Her service with the Spanish navy
ended in 1989, and in December 1991, she was sunk as a target.