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Hull Number: DD-719

Launch Date: 12/22/1945

Commissioned Date: 03/19/1949

Decommissioned Date: 12/01/1975

Call Sign: NTGT, PLNU

Voice Call Sign: Partridge, Hula Dancer


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: HAROLD GLENN EPPERSON

HAROLD GLENN EPPERSON

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1963)

Harold Glenn Epperson, born 14 July 1923 in Akron, Ohio, enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserve 12 December 1942. Private Epperson served with distinction in the assaults on Tarawa and Saipan, sharing in the Presidential Unit Citation awarded his organization for its service at Tarawa. He was killed in action on Saipan 25 June 1944, and received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his great courage and self-sacrifice in throwing himself on an enemy hand grenade to save his comrades from the effect of its explosion.


Disposition:

Stricken 12/01/1975. Transferred to Pakistan as PNS Taimur (D-166). Probably used as missile target March 2000.


A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History

USS EPPERSON DD-719

The Tin Can Sailor, January 1999

The USS EPPERSON (DD-719) was named in honor of Harold Glenn Epperson, a U.S. Marine Corps private killed on Saipan on 25 June 1944 when he threw himself on an enemy grenade to save the lives of his comrades. The ship was launched on 22 December 1945, but the navy halted construction until 28 January 1948 when she was redesignated DDE-719.

She was then completed by the Bath Iron Works Corporation, Bath, Maine, and was commissioned 19 March 1949.

Following intensive antisubmarine warfare exercises off Key West, Florida, she sailed for Pearl Harbor in September 1950. Operating out of Pearl Harbor as the flagship of Commander, Escort Division 12, the ‘EPPE’ entered the Korean War in June 1951. There, her duties included carrier screening and coastal patrol and bombardment. Her second Korea tour, from November 1952 to May 1953, found her performing similar duties, as well as patrolling the Taiwan Straits and shelling enemy shore batteries from Wonsan Harbor. In addition to serving with Task Force 77, she worked with the cruisers USS ROCHESTER (CA-124) and USS MANCHESTER (CL-83) at Wonsan.

She began a different but no less dangerous patrol in January 1954 when she joined the Surface Security Unit for the detonation of six nuclear devices at the Bikini and Eniwetok test sites. Well out of fallout range during the first test, the EPPERSON’s monitors showed her receiving fallout after the second detonation. The ship quickly left the area and her crew activated her wash down system to further reduce contamination.

Deployments in the Western Pacific with antisubmarine warfare groups filled much of the next four years. In 1958, she was again engaged in securing the area for nuclear tests, this time at Johnson Island. Over the next several years, the EPPERSON was one of the ships stationed on stand-by in the mid-Pacific for the possible splash down of a Gemini or Apollo space capsule.

In 1964, the ship received the latest antisubmarine warfare weapons during her FRAM I conversion at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. In September 1965 while on her way to the Western Pacific she suffered a collision with the USS HORNET (CVS-12) that sent her to Yokosuka for repairs. She then proceeded to Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf and later performed Naval Gun Fire Support off South Vietnam. Following eight months at home in Pearl Harbor, she returned to the Western Pacific in December 1966. In addition to picket and search and rescue duty, her crew kept an eye on Chinese Communist and Soviet vessels, provided gun fire support for troops ashore, and refueled helicopters in flight.

For three nights in February 1967, the EPPERSON’s five-inch guns shelled a Viet Cong staging and assembly area prompting messages of appreciation from U.S. spotters ashore. Later, she joined the Taiwan Patrol and antisubmarine exercises with the Nationalist Chinese Navy. She concluded the year with her first visit to the West Coast since 1950.

The EPPERSON’s 1968 WestPac cruise included supporting the Third Marines in Quang Tri Province during the Tet Offensive and the shelling of North Vietnam during Operation Sea Dragon. She expended a total of 16,110 rounds and came under hostile fire on several occasions.

During an April 1969 training period at Pearl Harbor, the ship developed shaft problems that put her in dry dock. Yard workers labored day and night to remove and repair the 107-foot starboard shaft in time for the ship’s deployment to the Far East in June. She made the June deadline and was in the Tonkin Gulf in July riding plane guard for the USS KITTY HAWK (CVA-63). Still in the Tonkin Gulf in August, the EPPERSON provided gun ship support for the USS KING (DLG-10), USS CHICAGO (CG-10), and USS BIDDLE (DLG-34). Frequently, she prowled among the huge fleets of Chinese and Vietnamese junks, as her crew watched their every action for possible smuggling or threat to U.S. ships.

In the fall of 1969, the EPPERSON was in the Sea of Japan, steaming in lifeguard station astern of a refueling destroyer and oiler. When a seaman from the oiler was knocked overboard into the icy waters, the crew of the EPPE had him out of the water in eight minutes. After giving him dry clothes and a steak dinner, they returned him by high line to his ship. On her way to Yankee Station in late October, the EPPERSON suffered rudder problems that sent her to the shipyard at Subic Bay. After eight days in a floating dry dock, she joined the gun line off the coast of South Vietnam. Between 11 and 19 November, the destroyer’s gun crews fired over 1,200 rounds during twenty-five call-for-fire, nightly harassment, and interdiction bombardment missions.

The Eppe spent the first half of 1970 in local operations out of Pearl Harbor and then she headed for the Western Pacific, fighting rough weather all the way. Riding shotgun for the USS MAHAN (DLG-11) in the Sea of Japan, an August typhoon sent her racing for shelter at Sasebo. Operations off Taiwan and in the Tonkin Gulf and multiple repairs in between occupied the EPPERSON through October 1970. She then moved into position off the western coast of Vietnam to support allied forces fighting in the area of the U Minh Forest. Her gun crews fired 790 five-inch rounds.

A May 1971 multi-threat exercise in Hawaiian waters became serious business when the EPPE joined in the fruitless search for a pilot forced to bail out of his disabled jet fighter. Local operations occupied her crew until mid-August and another deployment in the Western Pacific. By September, her gunners were firing in support of the South Vietnamese in the swampy U Minh Forest. The troops fighting ashore repeatedly called on the Eppe’s guns, which never failed to deliver needed support. In November, the EPPERSON was the gun line commander in operations near Vietnam’s DMZ, stopping in Danang and Cam Rahn Bay. She ended the year on plane guard duty for the USS CORAL SEA (CVA-43). Routine operations with the Seventh Fleet and at Pearl Harbor carried the Eppe through 1972, her seventh Far Eastern deployment, and gun line duty off South Vietnam. Arriving on station on 26 January 1973, the destroyer’s gun crews fired 530 five-inch rounds before the general cease fire went into effect two days later. Thereafter, she served as a surface gunnery support ship during mine clearing operations in North Vietnamese waters.

On 1 August 1973, she became a Naval Reserve Training ship and shifted her home port to Seattle, Washington. Her decommissioning took place on 1 December 1975. She remained in the mothball fleet at Bremerton, Washington, until 29 April 1977, when the USS EPPERSON was sold to the Pakistani navy. Following an overhaul, she began her second career as TAIMUR (D-166).

USS EPPERSON DD-719 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1963)

Epperson (DD-719) was launched 22 December 1945 by Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Kearny, NJ, sponsored by Mrs. J. B. Epperson, mother of Private Epperson; redesignated DDE-719 on 28 January 1948, completed by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine, and commissioned 19 March 1949, Commander T. H. W. Connor in command.

Epperson conducted training along the east coast, on 10 December 1949 she arrived at Key West for intensive antisubmarine warfare exercises. On 22 August 1950 Epperson sailed for Pearl Harbor, her home port, arriving 10 September. She operated in the Hawaiian Islands with her squadron and ships of other types, and on 7 November 1950 became flagship of Commander, Escort Division 12.

Epperson sailed from Pearl Harbor 1 June 1951 for service in the Korean War. She screened the carrier task force off Korea, patrolled and bombarded the coast, and joined in hunter-killer exercises off Okinawa before returning to Pearl Harbor 14 November. Her second Korean tour, from 10 November 1952 to 29 May 1953 found her performing similar duty, as well as patrolling the Taiwan Straits, and entering the dangerous waters of Wonson Harbor to bombard enemy shore batteries.

During the first 4 ½ months of 1954, Epperson patrolled in the Marshalls during thermonuclear weapons test, and in June sailed for duty in the Far East once more, an annual part of her employment schedule through 1962. In 1958 and 1959, her western Pacific cruises included visits to Manus, ports in Australia and New Zealand, and Pago Pago, Samoa.

Epperson received five battle stars for Korean War service.