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Hull Number: DD-710

Launch Date: 02/18/1945

Commissioned Date: 05/03/1945

Decommissioned Date: 07/02/1973

Call Sign: NKHI

Voice Call Sign: TIGHTGRIP (60s) NAILHEAD (50s), PERISCOPE(48-49)


Class: GEARING

GEARING Class

Data for USS Gearing (DD-710) as of 1945


Length Overall: 390’ 6"

Beam: 40’ 10"

Draft: 14’ 4"

Standard Displacement: 2,425 tons

Full Load Displacement: 3,479 tons

Fuel capacity: 4,647 barrels

Armament:

Six 5″/38 caliber guns
Two 40mm twin anti-aircraft mounts
Two 40mm quadruple anti-aircraft mounts
Two 21″ quintuple torpedo tubes

Complement:

20 Officers
325 Enlisted

Propulsion:

4 Boilers
2 General Electric Turbines: 60,000 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 34.6 knots

Namesake: GEARING

GEARING

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1968)

Gearing (DD-710) was named for three generations of naval men. Henry Chalfant Gearing, born 9 June 1855 at Pittsburgh, PA, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1876. Gearing served on various ships of the Navy during his early years, including Lackawana, Tuscarora, and Essex. He spent tours of duty at the Naval Academy and on board Glacier. After being promoted to Commander in1905, Gearing commanded the naval stations at Cavite and Olongapo, P.I., until his retirement in 1909. He died 16 August 1926 at Charlottesville, Virginia.

Henry Chalfant Gearing, Jr., born 22 January 1887 at Boston, Massachusetts, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1907. He served on California, Illinois, and other ships besides commanding a long list of destroyers, among them Woolsey, Dobbin, and Maury. He was appointed Captain in 1934. Subsequently, he commanded Destroyer Squadron 4 and Naval Training Station, San Diego, before his death 24 February 1944 at San Diego Naval Hospital.

Henry Chalfant Gearing III, born 16 August 1912 at Vallejo, CA, and graduated from the Naval Academy. After serving several ships as a young officer, he joined Juneau as a lieutenant in 1942, and was lost with his ship when it was torpedoed and sunk in the Solomon Islands 13 November 1942.


Disposition:

Fram I. Sold to Aardvark Intl. 11/1974. Scrapped.


A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History

USS GEARING DD-710

The Tin Can Sailor, January 1999

The USS GEARING carried on the proud tradition of three generations of navy men. Commander Henry Chalfant Gearing (1855-1926) served on a variety of navy ships in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. His son, Henry Chalfant Gearing Jr. (1884-1944), was a navy Captain who spent most of his career in command of destroyers. Lieutenant Henry Chalfant Gearing III (1912-1942) was aboard the cruiser USS JUNEAU (CL-52) when she was lost in the Solomon Islands. He and all but ten of the crew, including the ship’s captain and the five Sullivan brothers, were lost.

Fittingly, Mrs. Thomas M. Foley, daughter of the first Henry Gearing, sponsored the destroyer when she was commissioned on 3 May 1945. The ship’s shakedown cruise took her into waters off Cuba, where at a later date she was the first ship to intercept a Soviet bloc vessel during the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962.

For most of her career, the GEARING served with the Atlantic fleet. She participated in a wide variety of U.S. and Allied exercises from the Arctic Ocean to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and the Persian Gulf. She sailed out of home ports that included Casco Bay, Maine; Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; Newport, Rhode Island; and New London, Connecticut. Operations took her through the Red Sea, up the Saint Lawrence Seaway, and into the South Atlantic.

Nicknamed ‘Dux,’ meaning leader, the new long-hull version of the SUMNER set the standard for the rest of the ships of her class. She joined the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean for the first time in 1951. Her crews kept the ship at the ready as part of the U.S. Navy’s arsenal of anti-submarine weaponry. For her first quarter-century, the GEARING fulfilled far-ranging duties in the nation’s defense, sailing for most of that time as part of Destroyer Squadron Twenty out of Newport, Rhode Island, and as a unit of Destroyer Squadron Twenty-four in the Mediterranean.

Whatever sea they sailed, the men of the GEARING honed their skills in antisubmarine and antiaircraft warfare. They also maintained their proficiency in ship-handling, underway replenishment, engineering, damage control, and the many other operations necessary to keep the ship at fighting trim. Their Mediterranean deployments fulfilled the U.S. government’s commitments to NATO and gave the GEARING and other destroyers of the Atlantic Fleet the best training available short of actual combat. Stateside, the GEARING’s crew provided invaluable practical training to Destroyer, Sonar, and Officer Candidate School students, U.S. Naval Reservists, NROTC trainees, and U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen.

On 11 July 1959, the GEARING made the pages of The New York Times. Sailing near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay not far from Norfolk, she collided with the coal steamer MALDEN of Mystic, Connecticut. Damage to the MALDEN was minor, and no one aboard either ship was hurt, but the collision left the GEARING with a gaping hole in her starboard side. The destroyer’s damage control team swung into action as she headed for port and repairs.

In 1962, the GEARING underwent Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM I) conversion at the Boston Naval Shipyard. In mid-1966, an overhaul at the Boston Naval Shipyard gave the GEARING improved sonar, engineering, and DASH capabilities. Because subsequent operations demonstrated the ASROC system’s superior stand-off capability, her DASH system was removed three years later.

Beginning during operations in the Mediterranean in 1968, the GEARING and her crew were the subjects of the TV documentary ‘Destroyerman.’ A combat camera crew spent the summer aboard recording everything from shipboard routine to plane-guarding drama at sea. In August 1968, the GEARING was on duty when one of the USS FORRESTAL’s (CVA-59) F-4 Phantoms went down. The pilot was lost and the destroyer’s crew shared in the sad recovery of the plane’s wreckage.

A year later, on 10 May 1969, the GEARING was in the Mediterranean participating in NATO exercises. She continued to show her stuff, scoring more submarine ‘kills’ than all other friendly surface units combined. The accomplishment proved to be bittersweet. One of her simulated strikes during those exercises was the USS SCORPION (SSN-589), which disappeared with all hands less than a month later crossing the Atlantic.

In April 1970, the GEARING entered the Boston Naval Shipyard for a major overhaul to upgrade and renovate her shipboard systems. She spent her twenty-fifth anniversary in the yard’s Dry Dock Number 2, but that did not stop her crew from gathering for a ceremony on the flight deck. Following her overhaul, the GEARING reported to New London, Connecticut, in August. As part of Reserve Destroyer Squadron Thirty, she because the first FRAM I destroyer to enter the Naval Reserve Training program, once more living up to the nickname ‘Dux.’ Her crew plunged whole-heartedly into the job of training a steady stream of reservists.

After twenty-seven years of service to the fleet, the GEARING was beginning to show her age. In September 1972, the navy’s Board off Inspection and Survey found that she could not meet the navy’s requirements without costly repairs. As a result, the Chief of Naval Operations ordered the USS GEARING to be struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 July 1973. Over the ensuing months, her crew began the sad and tedious process of stripping the ship of usable equipment. On 2 July 1973, the USS GEARING was decommissioned and sold for scrap.

USS GEARING DD-710 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1968)

Gearing (DD-710) was launched 18 February 1945 by the Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Kearny, NJ: sponsored by Mrs. Thomas M. Foley, daughter of Comdr. Gearing; and commissioned 3 May 1945, Commander T. H. Copeman in command.

After shakedown off Cuba, Gearing reached Norfolk; 22 July 1945 and trained precommisioning crews for other destroyers until putting in at Casco Bay, Maine, 5 October. Celebration of Navy Day from 26 to 29 October at New London, CT, gave 5,000 citizens the chance to board the powerful destroyer. Subsequently Gearing put in at Pensacola, FL, 4 November to screen carrier Ranger during carrier qualification operations.

Returning to Norfolk 21 March 1946, she conducted peacetime operations along the Atlantic coast of North and South America, in the Caribbean, visiting Montevido, Uraguay; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Gearing sailed 10 November 1947 on her first Mediterranean cruise, calling at Algeria, Malta, Italy, and France before mooring again at Norfolk 11 March 1948.

Peacetime operations along the eastern seaboard and in the Caribbean prepared her for a second cruise to European waters; the destroyer visited most of the nations washed by the Mediterranean from 10 November 1947 to 11 March 1948, and duplicated this long voyage from 4 January to 23 May 1949.

During the fall of 1949 Gearing took part in Operation Frostbite, an Arctic cruise test and development of cold weather techniques and equipment. She continued operations off the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean through 1950. Another voyage 10 January to 17 May 1951, brought her from Norfolk to the Mediterranean and return; the remainder of the year was occupied by training cruises as far north as Halifax and south to Cuban waters.

By now Gearing had established the pattern of peacetime operations she followed well into the 1960’s: “Med” cruises usually once a year, and exercise in the Atlantic and Caribbean. These kept her in fighting trim for the ceaseless duties of seapower. She was modernized and overhauled late 1961 through early 1962 at Boston.

In October 1962 Gearing took part in the American “quarantine” patrol against Cuba as the world trembled on the brink of war. This swift and classic use of power at sea solved the crisis. On 1 November Gearing returned to Norfolk. Through the remainder of 1962 she continued operations in the Atlantic.

After participating in Operation “Springboard-63” early in 1963, Gearing sailed for the Mediterranean in March serving with the 6th Fleet during the summer. She returned to Newport in September for a “FRAM I” overhaul. Following operations in the Caribbean and North Atlantic in the spring and summer of 1964, Gearing entered the Mediterranean 4 October to rejoin the 6th Fleet. After returning home early in 1965, she continued operating in the Atlantic Fleet into 1967.