A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History
USS EVERETT F. LARSON DD-830
The Tin Can Sailor, January 2002
The EVERETT F. LARSON (DD-830) was launched on 28 January at Bath, Maine, and commissioned on 6 April 1945. Following conversion to radar picket destroyer DDR-830, she left Boston for the Far East, arriving in Tokyo Bay in September 1945. She covered U.S. Marine landings at Taku, China, in October 1945 and helped sink twenty-four captured Japanese submarines in April 1946. She was back in the U.S. in Newport, Rhode Island, in March 1947.
Routine operations and ASW exercises in the Atlantic, deployments to the Mediterranean, patrol missions during the Palestinian crisis, and NATO training cruises took her into 1956. That June the LARSON arrived at Long Beach to begin fleet operations along the West Coast. During four Far East tours, she operated off Taiwan, Okinawa, and the Philippines; served as escort and plane guard for the carriers of Task Force 77; and visited several South Pacific islands. In 1962 she underwent Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM-II) conversion, emerging as a state of the art antisubmarine fighting ship.
The LARSON began 1963 with operations in the Pacific Northwest and then, in April joined the “Little Beavers” squadron, DesRon 23. The following month, she became the second ship in the Pacific Fleet to receive the DASH weapons system. In June, she demonstrated her DASH capabilities for President John F. Kennedy and top Pentagon personnel. Later that month she joined a hunter-killer group composed of the HORNET (CVS-12) and DesDiv 231. In October 1963, she began a seven-month WestPac deployment operating with fast attack carriers, amphibious and Nationalist Chinese forces, and the LARSON’s hunter-killer group. She ended 1964 with operations along the West Coast.
In June 1966, she was back in the Western Pacific and on 2 August began a brief period in the Tonkin Gulf followed by Taiwan patrol and ASW exercises in the South China Sea. In October 1966 off Danang she completed thirty-three missions, killing or wounding sixty-three Vietcong and destroying sixty-two structures and other enemy positions. She ended her tour with duty on Yankee Station and in the Taiwan Straits. The LARSON returned to WestPac in August 1967 with ASWGROUP-5, which included the WALKE (DD-723), FRANK E. EVANS (DD-754), and JAMES E. KYES (DD-787) plus the JOHN W. THOMASON (DD-760) and LYNDE McCORMICK (DDG-8). By October she was in the Tonkin Gulf plane guarding for the CORAL SEA (CVA-43), ORISKANY (CVA-34), and KEARSARGE (CV-33). The LARSON was off South Vietnam on 30 November for the first of ten gunfire support missions in the IV Corps area where her guns destroyed or damaged seventy-five structures, thirty-one bunkers, nineteen sampans, and two bridges and wounded two Vietcong. On 11 December 1967, with DesDiv 231, she delivered an unusual cargo to Danang, entering the harbor just long enough to unload 2,000 frisbees, hula hoops, and super balls for U.S. Marines to use in their pacification programs. The LARSON returned to Yankee station until ASWGROUP-5 left for Sasebo, Japan. On Christmas Day 1967, twenty-five members of the LARSON’s crew helped save a Japanese bulldozer driver buried under a landslide.
Following duty in the Tonkin Gulf, her visit to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, was abruptly cut short by orders to proceed to the Sea of Japan. There on 31 January, she was among the first U.S. units to arrive after the capture of the USS PUEBLO and its crew by the North Koreans. The LARSON remained in the Sea of Japan plane guarding the CANBERRA (CAG-2) until 2 March 1968 then returned home.
In March 1969, the LARSON left for WestPac with the SCHOFIELD (DEG-3) and was off South Vietnam in early May, providing gunfire support near Danang. During SEATO exercises in June, HMAS MELBOURNE and the FRANK E. EVANS (DD-754) collided, leaving only the after half of the EVANS’s hull afloat. The LARSON sent a salvage and recovery team aboard what was left of the bisected destroyer to make it watertight and ready for towing to Subic Bay by the tug TAWASA (ATF-96). She went on to Yankee Station and plane guard duty with the ORISKANY and KITTYHAWK (CVA-63). Following operations in Taiwan and off Japan, the destroyer returned to the Tonkin Gulf and in August joined the gun line northeast of Saigon. Repairs to a propeller cut short her third tour on the gun line, after which she tracked three Soviet ships in the Guam area and then headed for home.
The LARSON spent 1970 in routine operations and on 5 January 1971 got underway for WestPac with the EVERSOLE (DD-789) and HEPBURN (DE-1055). Supporting troops in the II and III Corps areas of Vietnam and carrier escort duty on Yankee Station occupied her into July when she returned to Long Beach. Following operations in Southern California, the LARSON left Long Beach with the KITTYHAWK and BUCHANAN (DDG-14) for her final WestPac deployment in February 1972. She was in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, when the North Vietnamese invaded South Vietnam and spent April and May conducting gunfire raids against enemy positions in North and South Vietnam to protect the forces remaining in country as the U.S. worked to bring a satisfactory end to the war. After fifty-five days at sea, she had a week’s respite and returned to the gun line off North Vietnam until 4 July 1972. She left WestPac for home at the end of July having contributed significantly to disruption of North Vietnamese offensive operations.
The EVERETT F. LARSON was decommissioned on 30 October 1972, transferred to South Korea as the JEONG BUK, and struck from the U.S. Navy’s list on 2 June 1975.