Date: 19 March 1999
Name:Dunes George Thompson
Where are you from?: Beaumont, TX
Years aboard Gurke: 1945-46
Comments: This is my dad......he told me he served aboard ship just as the war ended, and then either served just before or just after on a ship called the Lyman K. Swenson. I would appreciate any information on either of these two ships as well as any information on anyone who knew him at that time......his name is Dunes George Thompson.


Date: 15 March 1999
Name:Bob Furner
Where are you from?: Ingleside, IL
Years aboard Gurke: 1968 - 1970
Comments: I just got in contact with a former shipmate after 30 years. Rehashing the good and bad times while on the GURKE was one of the most enjoyable evenings I have had in a long time. I would appreciate any information anyone has about my former boss YNC Dudley Hovey.


Date: 14 March 1999
Name:Max R. Noel
Where are you from?: Littleton , CO
Years aboard Gurke: 1972-1974
Comments: FTG3 Weapons Division. Lots of good times, good people. Saw the world like they promised on the recruiting posters, or at least a lot of it. Great web site!


Date: 9 March 1999
Name:Lane H. Judson No Email
Where are you from?: , WA
Years aboard Gurke: 1956-1957
Comments: I came aboard in late 1955. Worked in the machine shop as an MR3. Every one hung out there. Great bunch of guys Left the ship in March of 1957 and was in and out of the Navy Reserve and retired as an MRC in Dec.1995. At this time I dont have a computer or "e" mail but you can write to me at the following address.
Lane H. Judson
4329 South Junett
Tacoma WA. 98409


Date: 8 March 1999
Name:E. Keith Payne
Where are you from?: Sugar Land, TX
Years aboard Gurke: 1949-52
Comments: When I left the ship in 1952 I was GM2. After leaving the Gurke, I stayed in the reserves and reached the rank of Lt. Cdr., Naval Intelligence. I stayed in the naval reserves for a period of 32 years and am retired at this time.

I enjoy the reunions very much.


Date: 6 March 1999
Name:George Cooper
Where are you from?: El Cajon, CA
Years aboard Gurke: 1971-1972
Comments: I just received the February 1999 PEPCO Newsletter having been just added to the USS GURKE mailing list. I served in GURKE during 1971-1972 as XO to CDR D. T. Holly while the ship was forward deployed to Japan to support Vietnam Operations.

The GURKE was an exceptional ship and there are a lot of memories from the 1971-1972 period. One very interesting aspect of the period was the introduction of major changes to everyday Navy life brought on by the infamous Z-Grams. All of the sudden, haircut regulations were a bit obscure and lower ranking sailors could store civilian clothes aboard ship and wear them ashore. Some of the senior persons perceived that the traditional Navy chain of command had been abandoned. Everyone had a different impression on the impact of Z-Grams. Also during this period, the Navy became very aware that the drug problems of civilian life were also a major issue aboard ships, and that the problems had to be addressed. The Navy was also pressed into addressing a variety of race relation issues that had unfortunately been ignored up to that time. I recollect the GURKE tropical hour inport work routine which contributed to very efficient, effective and relatively enjoyable San Diego inport periods. It took a very dedicated crew to be able to maintain the tropical hour inport work protocol. Other ships were sincerely envious of the GURKE early liberty calls that were announced each day in port on the 1MC.

The period 1971-1972 was very busy operational period for GURKE. During the summer of 1971, GURKE participated in a Midshipman Training Cruise to Hawaii. In late 1971, GURKE changed homeports from San Diego to Yokosuka as a part the forward deployment of Destroyer Squadron 15 to Japan. The five DESRON 15 destroyers involved in the homeport shift were USS GURKE (DD783), USS ROWAN (DD782), USS BAUSELL (DD845), USS RICHARD B. ANDERSON (DD786), and USS PARSONS (DDG33). The homeport change may seem insignificant; however, there was only a 2-month advance warning for the quick-reaction DESRON 15 deployment, and the Navy requirement was for all crew members to be “volunteers” for the Japan duty. About 40 percent of the crew did not volunteer for the forward deployment, mostly because of the requirement to relocate dependents to Japan, or consequences thereto. So, the crew underwent a 40 percent turnover in a very short period and a large group of new GURKE sailors boarded just prior to departure from San Diego for Japan. The consequent requirement was to re-train the crew which would be required to participate in Vietnam War operations, almost immediately upon arrival in WESTPAC. The entire GURKE crew responded with great energy and the ship was fully ready for combat operations when called on to do so a month or after deployment.

While forward deployed to Japan, GURKE participated in a special Sea of Japan maritime patrol operation with USS WORDEN off Korea. GURKE was later tasked to cut short a Christmas stand-down period and make a quick-reaction deployment to support a naval build-up in the Indian Ocean because of an India/Pakistan incident. More important, GURKE was subsequently involved in the significantly increased Vietnam War operating tempo in the SOUTH CHINA SEA, particularly in 1972 when the United States made a concerted effort to press North Vietnam for a conclusion to the Vietnam War. The overall operating tempo of GURKE in WESTPAC exceeded 75%. During the April-May 1972 Easter Offensive, GURKE was involved in an unending cycle of scheduled or on-call naval gunfire missions, refueling, rearming, and replenishing. The most trying of GURKE’s tasks were naval gunfire support operations off the coasts of South Vietnam and North Vietnam while particularly in Operation FREEDOM TRAIN and Operation LINEBACKER. The principal naval gunfire targets in North Vietnam were railroad yards, coastal highways, surface-to-air Missile sites, early warning radar sites, loading docks, warehouses, troop barracks, storage depots and other logistical areas used to sustain the North Vietnamese offensive in South Vietnam. The gunfire support operations often involved attacking targets as far north as Haiphong Harbor. The daily GURKE schedule usually included participating in a night-time gunfire strike missions with 2-3 other destroyers or cruisers against specific North Vietnam targets. Thereafter, the ship would have to locate and rendezvous with the replenishment group and re-arm the 200-400 5”/38 rounds expended during the naval gunfire strikes, refueling (because of the constant requirement to conduct high-speed destroyer operations), and replenishing stores. The rest of the day was generally used for repositioning GURKE for a follow-on night-time gunfire mission, a harassing/interdiction mission, or conducting a “shotgun ship” support task for the YANKEE STATION aircraft carriers, or the Search and Rescue (SAR) Station ship positioned near YANKEE STATION. GURKE was the target of intense hostile fire during many of her naval gunfire missions in close proximity to the North Vietnam coast. During some of the missions, GURKE received numerous hits from shrapnel, and fortunately, no crew member was wounded. When not at GENERAL QUARTERS for gunfire strike missions the crew stood continuous CONDITION 3 watches in the South China Sea. These intense naval gunfire missions and replenishment operations required the crew to use a lot of ingenuity in getting a little rest each day in order to be ready for the next assigned task. During this period, GURKE successfully participated in more than 100 naval gunfire support and gun-ship support missions and met every single assigned commitment. During one night-time mission, a strike group consisting of the USS OKLAHOMA CITY, USS GURKE and USS ANDERSON, was involved in a gunfire mission where it was assessed that several North Vietnam torpedo boats operating near the task group were neutralized. During another period, GURKE was ordered to report off-shore South Vietnam to provide naval gunfire support to troops ashore that were involved in a major North Vietnamese offensive against the Citadel at Hue City. Upon arrival, GURKE joined an armada of about 30 destroyers and cruisers that were lined up offshore at 1000 yard intervals and pounding targets as directed by ashore spotters. The sights and sounds of this many warships in this single engagement was unforgettable . During one quick turn-around trip to Yokosuka from the South China Sea for repairs, GURKE was fitted with a SHRIKE Anti-Radiation Missile Launch system atop the ASROC launcher which was intended to be used against North Vietnamese SAM sites. Additionally, GURKE was fitted with a SIDEWINDER heat-seeking missile launcher system on the helicopter flight deck. So, at least for a short period, GURKE was a DDG!. Every single GURKE crew member performed superbly during this period of intense combat operations and GURKE consequently received many commendatory messages as a top performer from CINCPACFLT, COMSEVENTHFLT, COMMANDER TASK FORCE 75, and various other TG/TF Commanders. At least two of GURKE’s officers were later selected for the flag rank of admiral; they are LT Bill Center (Engineering Officer) and ENS Tony Lengerich (Communications Officer).

Participating in the 1971-1972 period aboard GURKE genuinely represented what it means to be dedicated to DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY.

George Cooper
2032 Hills Lake Drive
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 448-6088


Date: 2 March 1999
Name:Fred Kogin
Where are you from?: Hoquiam, WA
Years aboard Gurke: None
Comments: I was aboard the "Bugle Blowin'" Rowan DD782 1952-53. Our squadron was the best in WesPac, with no small thanks to the crew of the Gurke. Have a great reunion.


Date: 2 March 1999
Name:J. Michael Knight
Where are you from?: Mililani, HI
Years aboard Gurke: 1973-1976
Comments: It is great to see so many friends on this network. It's been a long time and I am sure glad to see we can now all keep in contact after so many years. Sure hope to hear form some of you, feel free to send me an email or drop into the web site and e-mail me. Good luck to all of you and maybe someday we can all have a reunion and talk old times. Sure was a lot of fun!!!


Date: 1 March 1999
Name:James R. Jones (Jimmy)
Where are you from?: San Diego, CA
Years aboard Gurke: 1951-1955
Comments: Hi Tom, just checking out your home page. You sure have a lot of neat entries. Jimmy Jones


Date: 24 February 1999
Name:J.R. (Bobby) Hollingsworth
Where are you from?: Camden, TN
Years aboard Gurke: Sept. 1955-June 1957
Comments: I Was a sfp-3 worked in the pipe shop in rear of ship. I was in R Div. I would like to hear from any of my ship mates.

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