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Hull Number: DD-873

Launch Date: 10/07/1944

Commissioned Date: 02/10/1945

Decommissioned Date: 10/01/1979

Call Sign: NBHG (DDR)

Voice Call Sign: DAILY NEWS (DDR)

Other Designations: DDR-873


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: WILLIAM DEANE HAWKINS

WILLIAM DEANE HAWKINS

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, April 2016

William Deane Hawkins was born 19 April 1914 in Fort Scott, Kansas, and enlisted in the Marine Corps 5 January 1942. He accepted a battlefield commission in the Solomons 18 November 1942, and was killed 21 November 1943 in the assault on Tarawa. First Lieutenant Hawkins received the Medal of Honor for his gallantry during the bloody assault on Betio in which he gave his life. The citation reads in part: “Fearlessly leading his men on to join the forces fighting desperately to gain a beachhead, he repeatedly risked his life throughout the day and night to direct and lead attacks on pill boxes and installations with grenades and demolitions. . . . Refusing to withdraw after being seriously wounded in the chest during this skirmish, First Lieutenant Hawkins steadfastly carried the fight to the enemy, destroying three more pillboxes before he was caught in a burst of Japanese shell fire and mortally wounded. His relentless fighting spirit in the face of formidable opposition and his exceptionally daring tactics were an inspiration to his comrades during the most crucial phase of the battle and reflect the highest credit upon the United States Naval Service.”


Disposition:

Reclass to DDR-873 3/18/1949; sold to Taiwan 3/13/1983 (Shao Yang); towed to Taiwan 4/83


A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History

USS HAWKINS DD-873

The Tin Can Sailor, July 2001

The HAWKINS (DD-873) was commissioned at Orange, Texas, on 10 February 1945, and after shakedown, proceeded to Norfolk for conversion to a picket destroyer. She was bound for the Pacific with the CHEVALIER (DD-805) and DUNCAN (DD-874) in June. Hostilities had ended by the time the HAWKINS reached Iwo Jima where she picked up mail, freight, and passengers on 25 August and headed for Japan. Included in the freight were a saddle, boots, gloves, and spurs from the citizens of Colorado, which she delivered to Admiral Halsey aboard the MISSOURI (BB-63).

The destroyer operated off the coast of Japan as part of DesRon 10. In November, she was operating off Honshu with the carriers LEXINGTON (CV-16) and INTREPID (CV-11) and rescued a crashed pilot. Her picket duty was interrupted for a quick trip to the China Sea to escort the carriers ANTIETAM (CV-36) and BOXER (CV-21) back to Yokosuka and on to Saipan, Guam, and Manila. She operated in the Philippines and Marianas until March 1946 when her destroyer squadron, including the MYLES C. FOX (DD-829), CHEVALIER, FRANK KNOX (DD-742), and BENNER (DD-807), was ordered to San Diego carrying marines bound for home.

Following operations in the San Diego area, the ship served in the Far East during 1947 and 1948 with patrols off Korea and in the Tsingtao area supporting marine units attempting to stabilize the explosive China situation. While stationed off Hong Kong, she joined the MYLES C. FOX (DD-829), HMS HART, and the Russian SS NAHODKA to assist the steamer HONG KHENG, which was grounded on a rocky island shore and breaking up. The steamer was flooding rapidly and as the British boarding party maintained order among frightened crew and passengers, the HAWKINS’s and FOX’s motor whaleboats and pulling boats from the HART braved the rough seas to carry passengers to safety. The three ships delivered between 1,800 and 2,000 passengers to Hong Kong. Back in the U.S. in 1949, the HAWKINS was home ported in Newport, Rhode Island.

War in Korea took her back to the Far East in January 1951. In May, the HAWKINS’s captain took command of Task Group 95.21, which consisted of the LEONARD F. MASON (DD-852), DUNCAN, JOSEPH P. KENNEDY, JR. (DD-850), and various smaller craft. The group began a steady day and night bombardment of shore batteries and troop concentrations in the Wonsan area, shelling the gun caves at Kalmagak that had hit the BRINKLEY BASS (DD-887) and NEW JERSEY (BB-62) at an earlier date. With planes and helicopters to spot their fire, the destroyers made several successful bombardment missions in the area around Wonsan. In June, the FECHTELER (DD-870) replaced the MASON, and the NEW JERSEY escorted by the BLUE (DD-744) and FRANK E. EVANS (DD-754) joined the gun line. On 8 June, the HAWKINS left Wonsan and was back in Newport in August. Operations in the Caribbean and Florida and patrol duties during the 1956 Suez Crisis while on her annual Mediterranean deployment took her through 1959.

Between 1960 and 1962, she engaged in NATO exercises, patrolled the coast of Central America, deployed to the Mediterranean, stood by for space capsule recovery, underwent overhaul, and conducted Sonar School operations. From 20 October until 3 December 1962, she was at sea with Task Force 135 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. A Mediterranean cruise, Polaris missile tests, Sonar School duties, and rescue duty with the LEXINGTON highlighted 1963. She underwent FRAM I conversion in 1964 and in September 1965, deployed with DesRon 24, the first East Coast destroyer squadron to serve off Vietnam. While on station in Vietnam, she served with the ENTERPRISE (CVAN-65), screening Seventh Fleet forces in the South China Sea and Gulf of Tonkin and supporting troops ashore with her gunfire.

She fought a forest fire while visiting Eastport, Maine, in 1967, returned to the Mediterranean in 1968, and in 1969 was involved in Polaris missile tests. She supported the 1969 Apollo 12 Lunar Mission and in 1970, engaged in NATO operations and recovered the remains of a pilot killed after his plane crashed on take-off from the FORRESTAL (CVA-59).

Training, routine operations, and Sixth Fleet deployments carried the HAWKINS into 1973 when she, the SAMPSON (DDG-10), and WILLIAM M. WOOD (DD-715) engaged in surveillance operations in the Black Sea. She was the first U.S. surface combatant to photograph the Soviet guided missile cruiser, KARA. In 1974, the HAWKINS was en route to the Red Sea when several crew members were injured on deck by a freak wave that hit during an underway replenishment. Following medical care at Diego Suarez, Malagasy Republic, all but two sailed with the destroyer for Red Sea surveillance operations. Her 1975 Sixth Fleet deployment included surveillance of Soviet ships and in 1977, she was the last GEARING-class destroyer to complete a Mediterranean cruise. In December of that year, she was transferred to the Naval Reserve Force in Philadelphia. She was struck from the navy’s list on 1 October 1979 and was transferred to Taiwan on 17 March 1983 and renamed the TSU YANG. She has since been retired.

USS HAWKINS DD-873 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, April 2016

Hawkins (DD-873), originally Beatty but renamed 22 June 1944, was launched by Consolidated Steel Co., Orange, Tex., 7 October 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Clara Hawkins, mother of First Lieutenant Hawkins; and commissioned 10 February 1945, Comdr. C. Iverson in command.

Following shakedown training in the Caribbean, Hawkins arrived Norfolk 23 March 1945 to undergo conversion to a radar picket ship. Emerging 26 May, she conducted training exercises before sailing 18 June from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for San Diego and Pearl Harbor. After her arrival 8 July Hawkins prepared to enter the last phase of the Pacific War, but 3 days after her 12 August departure from Pearl Harbor for Eniwetok the Japanese surrendered. The destroyer continued from Eniwetok to Iwo Jima and Tokyo Bay, arriving 27 August, and assisted in early occupation operations. She then escorted ships to and from the Marianas, remaining in Japanese waters until 3 January 1946. Hawkins then steamed to the Philippines and Saipan, finally arriving Pearl Harbor 3 April.

Arriving San Diego 11 April, the destroyer took part in training operations off the west coast until sailing again for the far east 0 January 1947. During the months that followed she steamed between Chinese and Korean ports, assisting and supporting American Marine units in their attempts to stabilize the explosive Chinese situation and protect American lives. Hawkins also took part in rescue operations off Hong Kong 19 July 1947, when giant steamer Hong Kong sank with over 2,000 passengers on board. She returned to the United States 8 October 1947.

After a year of operations out of San Diego the ship sailed again for the troubled Far East, arriving Tsingtao, China, 29 October. Following operations off the China coast Hawkins got underway from Tsingtao C December. On this long voyage, completing a circuit of the globe, the destroyer visited Ceylon, Turkey, Gibraltar, New York, and Panama before arriving San Diego 10 March 1949.

Hawkins was reassigned to Atlantic Fleet soon afterward, arriving her new home port, Newport, 23 May 1949. For the next year she took part in reserve training cruises and readiness exercises in the Caribbean. The ship had been reclassifled DDR-873 18 March 1949. Hawkins departed 2 May 1950 for a cruise with 6th Fleet in the strategic Mediterranean.

While there she and the world were shocked by the Communist invasion of South Korea. After NATO maneuvers she returned to Newport 10 October and prepared to become part of the nation’s far flung bulwark in the Korean conflict. Sailing 3 January via the Panama Canal she arrived Pusan 5 February. During her 4 months of Korean duty Haickins screened the mobile carrier forces during strikes on enemy positions and supply lines, provided antisubmarine protection, and controlled jet aircraft in combat air patrols. She also acted as plane guard during operations in the Formosa Straits designed to discourage Communist aggression against the friendly island. Departing the Far East in June, the destroyer returned to Newport 8 August via the Mediterranean.

For the next few years the veteran ship alternated picket duty and training operations in the western Atlantic with periodic cruises to the Mediterranean with the (6th Fleet. She was in the Eastern Mediterranean during the summer of 1950 when the Suez crisis threatened the security and peace of the area. Hawkins arrived Mayport, Fla., her new homeport, 18 August 1960, and soon resumed her pattern of cruises to the Mediterranean. In 1961 she operated with a special Task Group in connection with American space experiments and missile tests off Cape Canaveral, now Cape Kennedy. When the introduction of offensive missiles into Cuba in 1962 threatened the security of the United States, Hawkins joined with other ships in quarantining that Caribbean country, cruising the Caribbean from late October until December in a modern demonstration of the power of forces afloat. In 1963 the ship returned to the Mediterranean in the Spring and in August took part in Polaris missile tests in the Caribbean with submarine Alexander Hamilton. During the next 5 months Hawkins operated with carriers off Florida and in the Caribbean. Following additional Polaris missile tests with Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619) in February 1964, she steamed to Boston 21 March and was placed in commission, in reserve, prior to undergoing FRAM I overhaul.

Reclassified DD-873 on 1 April, Hawkins completed FRAM late in 1964. Assigned to Destroyer Squadron 24, she operated out of Newport until departing 29 September for duty in the Far East. Steaming via the Panama Canal and the West Coast, she joined the 7th Fleet 23 November as part of America’s powerful naval commitment to thwart Communist aggression in Southeast Asia. For the next 3 months she guarded hard-hitting carriers in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin and provided gunfire support for ground troops along the coast of South Vietnam. She departed Subic Bay late in February 1966, steamed via the Suez Canal, and arrived Newport 8 April.

Hawkins maintained the peak readiness of her crew and equipment over the next few months with exercises off the East Coast and in the Caribbean. Departing Newport 28 November, she joined the 6th Fleet at Gibraltar 8 December and became flagship for ComDesRon 24. For more than 3 months she cruised the Mediterranean from Spain to Greece before returning to Newport 20 March 1967. Into mid-1967 she operated along the Atlantic Coast from New England to Florida, prepared as always to cruise in defense of the United States and the free world. Hawkins received two battle stars for Korean service.