A Tin Can Sailors
Destroyer History

by Robert F. Sumrall

The Terrier was one of the original “T” missiles of the Bumblebee program, which also included the Talos and Tartar. The program was headed by Captain Russell S. Crenshaw, USN a distinguished destroyer sailor and captain. He is best known for his service as gunnery officer of the USS MAURY (DD-401) in the Battle of Tassafaronga and as the first commanding officer of the USS FORREST SHERMAN (DD-931).

An original requirement of the Terrier system was that it could be mounted in destroyers. To examine the feasibility of this provision, the long-hulled GEARING class destroyer GYATT (DD-712) was selected for conversion in 1955. Although the installation was successful, the Terrier proved to be too large for destroyer use, and the magazine capacity - just 14 missiles - was very limited. A practical destroyer installation came with the Terrier’s successor, the Tartar, in the CHARLES F. ADAMS (DDG-2) class.

The austere conversion of the GYATT consisted of a special weapons direction system, the Guided Missile and Gun Fire Control System Mark 72, and the Guided Missile Launching System MK 8. The main structural changes in the conversion consisted of the removal of the after 5-inch/38 caliber Mark 38 twin gun mount and the after portion of the first superstructure deck. It was replaced with a magazine structure that was wider and higher than the original deckhouse, and contained two Mark 3 rotating missile magazines and rammers. A twin Mark 5 Terrier launcher was fitted aft of the magazine structure so that the launcher arms could be aligned with the rammers for loading through a set of blast doors. Other improvements made to the GYATT at the time of her conversion included a pair of 3-inch/50 caliber twin gun mounts and a Mark 56 Gun Fire Control System. Radar improvements included the addition of the SPS-6 air search and SPS-10 surface search sets atop a new tripod mast.

After conversion, the GYATT was designated as DDG-712 until April 1957 when she was reclassified as DDG-1. The Terrier installation was removed in 1962, and the GYATT was redesignated as DD-712. She was assigned to the Naval Electronics Facility at St. Inigoes, Maryland and served as a radar test ship. She had a heavy pole electronics mast installed aft, atop the former Terrier-missile magazine. Between July 1964 and January 1965 the GYATT tested the SPS-49 (XN) prototype radar on her reinforced tripod foremast.



From The Tin Can Sailor, January 1999

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