The USS PREBLE was the fifth ship to be named in honor of Commodore Edward Preble. PREBLE was commissioned on May 9, 1960 as DLG-15 and was one of the first ships built from the keel up to fire Terrier guided missiles.
PREBLE's keel was laid on 16 December 1957 at the Bath Iron Works
PREBLE was launched on 23 May 1959.
PREBLE was commissioned on 9 May 1960 and completed outfitting on 19 July. PREBLE operated out of the Boston Navy Yard and Norfolk Naval Base until 30 July. PREBLE then proceeded via New Orleans, LA, Tampico, Mexico, and Puerto Cortes, Honduras to pass through the Panama Canal on 17 August. PREBLE reported to the US Pacific Fleet on 17 August and remained in port at Rodman Naval Station, Panama Canal Zone until 20 August. While at Rodman, PREBLE received an official call by the President of the Republic of Panama. PREBLE then proceeded via Acapulco, Mexico to arrive at San Diego on 2 September. A restricted availability at Long Beach Naval Shipyard and a training period with Fleet Training Group (FTG) preceded the final acceptance trials during October. PREBLE then conducted further training with FTG and blast tests during November. The year ended with a Post-Shakedown availability at Long Beach Naval Shipyard.
During January and February 1961, PREBLE completed the Post-Shakedown availability and participated in First Fleet Operations off Southern California. On 27 February, in company with USS TOPEKA (CLG-8) with COMCRUDESFLOT SEVEN embarked, and several destroyer types, PREBLE proceeded to WESTPAC via Pearl Harbor and Midway Island. During the WESTPAC tour, PREBLE participated in various Seventh Fleet Operations and visited Yokohama, Yokosuka, Iwakuni, Beppu, Sasebo, and Ito, Japan; Hong Kong; and Buckner Bay, Naha, Okinawa. COMDESRON THREE was embarked from 29 May to 27 June. On 26 July, CDR S. T. SADLER, USN relieved CAPT E. G. FITZ-PATRICK as CO. PREBLE Returned to CONUS on 28 September and participated in local fleet demonstrations and operations for the remainder of the year.
PREBLE received the following awards and presentations during 1961:
Battle Efficiency Award
Departmental "E" Awards in Engineering and Missilery
The NEY Award
During January through June 1962, PREBLE participated in various fleet operations including Operations "AIR GUN" and "POTSHOT" and visited Seattle, WA during April to commemorate the opening of the 1962 World's Fair. The first regular overhaul period was from June - October during which the AN/SPS-48 (XN-1) three-dimensional radar was installed. From 19 October to the end of the year, PREBLE participated in O/S 62 FY 62 CNO "AA" evaluation project under the supervision of DEPCOMOPTEVFORPAC to test the new radar equipment. PREBLE's initial TERRIER and ASROC Nuclear Technical Proficiency Inspection (NTPI) were successfully completed on 18-20 December.
PREBLE received the following awards and presentations during 1962:
Departmental ASW "A" and Gunnery "E" Awards
Evaluation of the new radar continued until 29 April 1963 under O/S 62 FY 62 CNO project. COMDESRON ONE, CAPT E. H. SIMPSON, USN broke his flag on 12 January. CDR A. R. CAMERON, USN relieved CDR S. T. SADLER, USN as CO on 23 March. From 1 May through 6 June, PREBLE rehearsed for and participated in the demonstration conducted by COMFIRSTFLT for the late President John F. KENNEDY. From 10 June through 31 July, PREBLE participated in C/S 30 FY 63 CNO "A" evaluation project to further evaluate the AN/SPS-48 (XN-1) radar. CAPT E. H. SIMPSON, USN was relieved by CAPT D. S. APPLETON, USN as COMDESRON ONE on 27 July. COMDESRON ONE then shifted his flag to the U.S. Naval Station, San Diego. An extended restricted availability was assigned from 1 August to 21 October at Long Beach Naval Shipyard to remove the AN/SPS-48 (XN-1) radar and install the AN/SPS-39A radar. During October, PREBLE successfully completed the TERRIER BT(N) certification. Refresher training was conducted under the operational control of COMFLETRAGRU from 4 November to 13 December. On 17-18 December the second annual NTPI was successfully completed.
During January 1964, PREBLE conducted operations in the Pacific Missile Range area and commenced a restricted availability at Long Beach Naval Shipyard that extended to 14 February. On 26 February, PREBLE departed for a tour of duty in the Far East in company with USS SAINT PAUL (CA-73) with COMFIRSTFLT embarked. After stops at Pearl Harbor and Midway Island, PREBLE arrived at Yokosuka, Japan on 13 March. During the deployment, PREBLE visited the ports of Buckner Bay, Okinawa; Sasebo, Japan; and Hong Kong, B.C.C. On 6 July CAPT A. R. CAMERON, USN was relieved as CO by CDR A. M. BOWEN, JR, USN. PREBLE departed Yokosuka, Japan on 7 July, in company with USS KITTY HAWK (CVA-63) and USS DEHAVEN (DD-727) and arrived in San Diego on 20 July.
In August, off of the coast of Vietnam, PREBLE was called upon to provide Naval Gunfire Support, commonly called "shobom", in support of the Vietnamese Second Army Division against the Viet Cong at targets located approximately 80 miles southeast of DaNang. PREBLE fired 330 rounds of 5"/54 and 3"/50 ammunition at the targets with good results. In firing these missions, PREBLE became the FIRST missile equipped destroyer ever to fire any weapon in combat. In September, Preble had the distinction participating in the first overland rescue of a downed aviator by a sea-based helicopter in the Vietnam war.
PREBLE began 1966 moored to Pier 2 an the U.S. Naval Station, San Diego, California. On 25 January, she departed for the San Francisco Navy Yard for a scheduled overhaul. Embarked were RADM ALEXANDER S. GOODFELLOW, USN, Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Nine and CAPT JEROME H. KING, USN, Commander Destroyer Squadron One. On 26 January, PREBLE passed under the Golden Gate Bridge and moored at the Naval Ammunition Depot, Mare Island, California to offload ammunition prior to entering the shipyard. On 27 January, PREBLE departed Mare Island and moored at Berth 4, San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard, Hunters Point Division. PREBLE remained at Berth 4 until 5 February. She was then shifted to Drydock 3, where she was docked along with the USS Henry B. Wilson (DDG-7).
On 4 March a Change-of-Command Ceremony was held aboard PREBLE where CDR ALVA M. BOWEN, Jr., USN was relieved by CDR KENNETH G. HAYNES, USN as Commanding Officer of PREBLE.
On 28 June, PREBLE in the company of USS Brooke (DEG-1) conducted two successful Terrier missile firings on the Pacific Missile Range. PREBLE then headed back to San Diego arriving at Pier 4, U.S. Naval Station on 29 June.
On 7 July a Change-of-Command Ceremony was held aboard PREBLE where CAPT BRIAN McCAULEY, USN relieved CDR CARL J. BOYD, USN as Commander Destroyer Squadron One.
PREBLE remained in port until 18 July when she began Refresher Training with Fleet Training Group, San Diego.
The start of 1967 found USS PREBLE attached the U.S. Seventh Fleet and in port at Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. Embarked aboard PREBLE was CAPT A.L. KOBEY, USN, COMDESRON TWENTY ONE. On 15 January, PREBLE departed Subic Bay made a brief stop at Da Nang, Republic of Viet Nam and arrived on station in the Tonkin Gulf to perform Search and Rescue (SAR) duties on 23 January. On 18 February, RADM M. W. WOODS, USN, COMCRUDESFLOT NINE came aboard PREBLE for a visit and brief on the ship's SAR organization. On 23 February, PREBLE was relieved by USS Henry B. Wilson (DDG-7). PREBLE then returned to Subic Bay, arriving on 25 February.
On 4 March PREBLE departed Subic Bay for Buckner Bay, Okinawa for a practice missile shoot. One missile was fired with successful results. PREBLE departed Buckner Bay on 6 March arriving at Kobe, Japan on 10 March for an R&R visit of four days. On 14 March, PREBLE departed Kobe for Yokosuka, Japan, arriving on 15 March for her last port call in the Far East. On 20 March, PREBLE, in company with USS F.B. PARKS (DD-884) and USS MULLANY (DD-528) departed Yokosuka for San Diego. After a brief fuel stop at Midway Island on 25 March and an overnight stop at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 28-29 March, PREBLE arrived at San Diego on 4 April
After arriving at San Diego, COMDESRON TWENTY ONE shifted his flag To USS RICHMOND K. TURNER (DLG-20) and COMDESRON ONE, CAPT BRIAN McCAULEY, shifted his flag to PREBLE. PREBLE conducted Type Training off the coast of Southern California on 15-16 May. On 17 May, PREBLE loaded missiles and ammunition at Seal Beach, California and returned to San Diego on 18 May. On 20 May, PREBLE conducted a Family Cruise for ships personnel, family and friends. From 22-25 May, PREBLE conducted a Secretary of the Navy guest cruise which included Terrier missile firings on the Pacific Missile Range. During the firings, PREBLE scored a direct hit with a warhead shot and destroyed the drone.
On 12 June, PREBLE embarked 40 midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy and various college NROTC units throughout the United States. The weeks of 12 June and 19 June were spent at sea in Southern California waters conducting orientation training for the midshipmen in all phases of ship handling and shipboard procedures. PREBLE departed San Diego on 26 June as a unit of the Pacific Midshipman Training Squadron (PACMIDTRARON) and continued Type Training in Southern California waters which included Terrier missile firing exercises at the Pacific Missile Range on 27 June.
From 21-24 August, PREBLE acted as Host Ship for a Secretary of the Navy Guest Cruise during which the guests had the opportunity to observe missile exercises and other fleet operations. Two missiles were fired during the missile exercises at a special test drone. The first missile was a complete success and the second was no-test as the missile failed. PREBLE stopped briefly in Seal Beach, California to load missiles on 23 August and returned to San Diego.
On 16 September, CDR P.C. GIBBONS, Jr, USN, relieved CDR KENNETH G. HAYNES, USN as Commanding Officer, USS PREBLE. On 25 September, PREBLE was again underway for 5 days of Type Training. From 9-16 October, PREBLE participated in the First Fleet Exercise "MOON FESTIVAL" and demonstrated her ability in all phases of modern naval warfare. PREBLE served as Flagship for RADM JOHN. B. DAVIS, Jr., COMCRUDESFLOT Nine, who was the Chief Observer for the exercise. During the exercise, two telemetered missiles were fired. One was a success. PREBLE returned to port on 17 October for an upkeep period.
On 21 October. CAPT A. T. EMERSON, USN, relieved CAPT BRIAN McCAULEY, USN, as COMDESRON ONE in ceremonies conducted aboard PREBLE. COMDESRON ONE then shifted his flag to USS JOUETT (DLG-29).
On 6-9 November, PREBLE participated in Type Training exercises off Southern California designed to bring her to a high level of readiness for a forthcoming Far East deployment. On 11-12 November while PREBLE was "Public Visit Ship" at the Broadway Pier, San Diego, over 4000 people received a tour of the ship. On 14 November, PREBLE returned to Seal Beach to again load missiles then conducted an ORI enroute to San Diego on 15 November.
During the remainder of November and December, numerous pre-deployment inspections were conducted. As the year ended, PREBLE conducted her final leave and upkeep period and was ready for the forthcoming deployment in January 1968.
1 January found USS PREBLE at her home port of San Diego, California where she remained until 16 January when she departed in the company of USS JOUETT (DLG-29) and USS HULL (DD-945) for a six month Western Pacific tour. Enroute PREBLE stopped at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii from 21-25 January, Guam, Marianas Islands, on 3 February and Subic Bay Republic of the Philippines from 8-10 February.
Upon arrival with the SEVENTH Fleet, PREBLE was assigned as rescue destroyer for USS TICONDEROGA (CVA-14) on Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf. On 1 March, PREBLE made a port call to Sasebo, Japan for upkeep. PREBLE departed for operations in the Sea of Japan on 1 March. In late March, PREBLE returned to Yankee Station and then made a port visit to Hong Kong, B.C.C from 3-7 April. PREBLE departed Hong Kong arriving in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for upkeep and tender availability. On 14 April, PREBLE departed Kaphsiung and resumed operations at Yankee Station in support of, successively, USS KITTY HAWK (CVA-63), USS RANGER (CVA-61), USS ENTERPRISE (CVAN-65) and USS BON HOMME RICHARD (CVA-31). On 21 May, PREBLE departed Yankee Station for Subic Bay arriving on 23 May.
PREBLE was in and out of Subic Bay conducting training in preparation for SAR duties off the coast of Viet Nam. During this period, PREBLE conducted Air/Surface Gunnery, Shore Bombardment and Missile Firing exercises. During the Missile exercises, two direct hits on missile drones were achieved. PREBLE left Subic Bay on 30 May stopping briefly in Da Nang for a day of training arriving on AAW/SAR station the first week of June. Shortly after midnight on 19 June, PREBLE's embarked UH-2A Seasprite SAR helo took off on a heroic mission to rescue a downed Navy F-4 Phantom crew some 20 miles south of Hanoi. The pilot of the helo, LTJG Clyde Lassen of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron SEVEN, later received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his daring night mission, flown against intense enemy ground fire.
On 24 June, PREBLE departed for Yokosuka, Japan, Arriving on 29 June. This would be her last port visit before returning to the United States. PREBLE departed Yokosuka on 2 July, stopping at Midway Island on 8 July for fuel and arriving at Pearl Harbor on 10 July. PREBLE departed on 12 July for San Diego. While in the Western Pacific with the SEVENTH Fleet, PREBLE completed her 453rd helicopter recovery, conducted 50 underway replenishments, and cruised more than 50,000 miles. The Remainder of July and August was spent performing upkeep and allowing leave for crew members.
September, October, and November saw PREBLE under way for local training exercises and a Secretary of the Navy Guest Cruise. The Guest Cruise was highlighted by operations at the Pacific Missile Range which included two successful Terrier missile exercise firings and a port visit to San Francisco from 25-28 October.
Following PREBLE's return from WESTPAC in July, extensive preparations were made for a complete yard overhaul and AAW modernization at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard commencing in January 1969. On 27 December PREBLE departed San Diego for Philadelphia. After a brief fuel stop in Manzanillo, Mexico, PREBLE arrived in Acapulco, Mexico on 30 December.
PREBLE received the following awards and presentations during 1968:
THIRD and FOURTH Campaign Start for the Vietnam Service Medal.
The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
As part of the Navy's Anti-Air Warfare Modernization Program, PREBLE was decommissioned 31 January 1969 for an extensive conversion in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. New Radar and electronics equipment were installed to replace less effective units. The missile system was modified to allow the simultaneous firing of two missiles and to provide for operation against sophisticated enemy counter-measures. The Navy Tactical Data System was also installed, enabling PREBLE to exchange digital information by computer-to-computer radio links with similarly equipped ships and aircraft.
PREBLE was re-commissioned on 23 May 1970 (CDR K. S. MASTERSON, Commanding), and shortly afterward-left Philadelphia for her new homeport, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On 11 July 1970, PREBLE passed through the Panama Canal and returned to the Pacific. Upon her arrival at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 22 August, she became the first TERRIER and NTDS equipped ship to be based there.
PREBLE received the following awards and presentations during 1970:
Departmental ASW "A", Gunnery and Missilery "E" Awards
In March, PREBLE participated in Operational Readiness Inspections, and loaded out for a forthcoming WESTPAC deployment. On April 14, 1971, PREBLE, with COMDESRON 25 (CAPT Art Franch) and his staff embarked, deployed to WESTPAC. Accompanying PREBLE on the first leg of the transit across the Pacific were USS RATHBURNE (DE-1057), USS EDSON (DD-946) and USS O’CALLAGHAN (DE-1051). Before leaving Hawaiian waters, PREBLE successfully launched a Terrier missile shot against an aerial target drone off Kauai, then all units proceeded to Midway Island for refueling on April 17, and continued the transit to Yokosuka, arriving April 24.
In May, following upkeep and installation of additional equipment in Yokosuka, PREBLE’s WESTPAC operations commenced. Through the months of May and June, PREBLE participated in the Peacetime Aerial Reconnaissance Program (PARPRO) operations in the Sea of Japan, monitoring aerial and surface activities in the waters between Japan and the coasts of China, Korea and the Soviet Union. During this period, PREBLE paid several visits to Sasebo Naval Base and, of a more historic nature, visited the Japanese port of Shimoda in mid-May for the Black Ship Festival, the commemoration of the 1854 visit of Commodore Perry to Japan, which opened Japanese ports to the United States and the western world.
On June 15, PREBLE departed Japanese waters enroute to Subic Bay. After a brief upkeep and replenishment in Subic Bay and Olongapo City, on June 28, PREBLE headed for where the action lay: the South China Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin, off the coast of North Viet Nam. PREBLE’s first “line period” lasted for 29 days in the Viet Nam combat zone, including stints as north SAR (search and rescue) unit in the Gulf and subsequently, as PIRAZ ship (Positive Identification Radar Advisory Zone), stationed some 90 miles north of the Task Force 77 carriers (ENTERPRISE, ORISKANY and MIDWAY) operating off Viet Nam on Yankee Station. During this time, PREBLE brought to bear the full capabilities of her NTDS (Navy Tactical Data Systems) suite. The mission as PIRAZ ship included operating as a forward radar advisory unit for TF 77, reporting all contacts via data link and NTDS to task force commanders; controlling carrier-launched combat fighter aircraft patrolling further north in the Gulf of Tonkin, close in to North Viet Nam; using her embarked helicopter units to perform search and rescue for downed aircraft in the Gulf; and finally monitoring all aerial activities, including reconnaissance, throughout the Gulf of Tonkin.
The end of the first line period in the Gulf was rewarded with a seven-day visit to Hong Kong, beginning on July 27, with the first order of business being the change of command on July 29. Our outgoing CO, Commander Masterson, plankowner, who had brought the PREBLE through its NTDS modernization and recommissioning to this point, was relieved by the new CO, Commander Peveril Blundell. Phase II of PREBLE’s WESTPAC deployment commenced.
PREBLE spent the month of August and early September involved in her second line period in the Gulf of Tonkin as PIRAZ ship (squeezing in brief visits to Kaohsiung, Taiwan and Subic Bay). Again, PREBLE was involved heavily in surveillance and air control in the Gulf of Tonkin, until relieved in early September by the USS HORNE (DLG-30). Thereafter, PREBLE turned southward, and commenced an unforgettable series of show-the-flag port visits enroute home.
First stop for PREBLE was Thailand’s seaport at Sattahip on September 14, adjacent to the U. S. Air Base at U-Tapao, where B-52s were observed launching for strike missions. Ship’s company were able to visit Bangkok and the now well-developed coastal resort of Pattaya Beach, on the Gulf of Thailand. Underway a few days later, PREBLE’s next stop was at the Crossroads of the East, Singapore, for a two day visit, thence onward, through the domain of Neptunus Rex and his Trusty Shellbacks, to Djakarta, Indonesia, on September 23, the first American Navy ship to visit since 1967. The previous year (1966) had seen the Sukarno government of Indonesia overthrown by President’s Suharto’s regime, potentially friendlier to the United States. In the course of the three day visit, PREBLE hosted a “visit ship” for the general public, and PREBLE’s missileers particularly wow’ed the locals, including the Indonesian General Staff, with “birds on the rails” demonstrations of missile doors flying open and Terrier missiles racing out onto the launcher rails. The crew was warmly hosted and entertained throughout the visit by U. S. embassy personnel stationed in Djakarta.
Not through yet, PREBLE left Djakarta, sailed through the narrow straits between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra and into the Indian Ocean, down the west coast of Australia to the City of Perth, arriving at Perth’s seaport, Fremantle, on October 1. During this three-day visit, the Aussies, through their hospitality, proved up to their reputation of having enduring affection for the Yanks. Simultaneous to PREBLE’s visit, Perth was the site of Australian National Football championships and National Horse Racing events, and seemingly, for that weekend, the entire population of the Outback.
After this all-too-short visit, PREBLE headed further south, around the Great Bight and along the southern coast of Australia enroute (with a brief fuel stop at Melbourne) to New Zealand. First, however, PREBLE had to cross the Tasman Sea, the worst stretch of seas encountered in the entire WESTPAC deployment, but then, again, almost as a reward -- the port visit to Wellington, New Zealand. During this extended port visit, the ship was warmly received by the residents of Wellington and crew members enjoyed and explored the varied attractions of New Zealand, literally “from the mountains to the sea.”
On October 17, PREBLE departed Wellington for the last leg of WESTPAC ‘71; on October 21, PREBLE stopped for a brief 6-hour liberty call/refueling at Pago Pago, American Samoa, and thence headed home, arriving at Pearl Harbor on October 27, 1971. For those who were soon to leave PREBLE, memories of the ‘71 WESTPAC cruise would stay with them forever. For those remaining, WESTPAC would beckon again in ‘72.
During the spring of 1972, PREBLE participated in local exercises and continued training for her next WESTPAC deployment. On 31 July, PREBLE departed Pearl Harbor, enroute WESTPAC. PREBLE stopped at Midway Island on 3 August for fuel, 10 August at Guam for fuel and finally arriving at Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines on 13 August. PREBLE departed Subic Bay on 18 August for duties in the Tonkin Gulf.
On the night of 22 August, PREBLE sailed into the combat zone, off Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, and took station near the gun line. She was assigned picket ship duty in the Gulf of Tonkin, performing the functions of both North and Mid SAR commander, concurrently, the first and only warship to carry out such a simultaneous assignment during the entire course of the war. On 28 August, ADM ELMO R. ZUMWALT, Jr., CNO, and VADM J. L. HOLLOWAY, III, COMSEVENTHFLT visited PREBLE. On 30 August, PREBLE was assigned duties as South AAW/SAR controlling "ALPHA" air-strikes and air activity in the Hon La Anchorage. On 12 September, PREBLE's combat information center picked up a distress beeper from a downed A-7 Corsair off the USS SARATOGA (CVA-60). PREBLE vectored USS WILTSIE (DD-716), the closest rescue ship, to the exact spot for a successful recovery. Four days later, on 16 September, PREBLE picked up the beeper from an Air Force F-4 Phantom downed in the Gulf, near Dong Hoi. Within 25 minutes of the aircraft hitting the water, PREBLE had pinpointed the downed pilots, launched her motor whaleboat, and safely recovered both air crewmen.
On 19 September, PREBLE was relieved and proceeded to Subic Bay, R.P arriving on 21 September. On 23 September Martial Law was declared in the Republic of the Philippines. On 1 October, PREBLE departed Subic Bay, R. P., arriving on Yankee Station in the South China Sea on 3 October, to become plane guard for the USS SARATOGA (CVA-60). On 15 October, PREBLE was detached from SARATOGA and returned to the Gulf off Dong Hoi to resume South SAR/AAW picket duties. At times the monotony of the 'box patrol' was broken, when PREBLE was called on to maintain small arms proficiency by intercepting the tide of full rice bags which enemy supply vessels often loosed toward the shore. "Operation Pocket Money", the mining of North Vietnam's ports and rivers, had made it too hazardous for the communist freighters to get their cargo ashore otherwise.
On 2 November, armed reconnaissance aircraft under PREBLE's control spotted an enemy convoy of some 150 trucks. The ship requested additional aircraft and directed them to the target area. After the smoke cleared, the final bombs damage assessment stood at 80 per cent. Soon thereafter, combat operations against North Vietnam were curtailed, as the Paris Peace Talks progressed. PREBLE departed the Gulf of Tonkin for port visits to Hong Kong and Kaohsiung (Taiwan), before proceeding to Subic Bay for reprovisioning and repairs.
PREBLE returned to her South SAR station on 27 November. During mid-December, from the 18th on, PREBLE's forward air controllers participated in directing concentrated nighttime B-52 raids against Hanoi and Haiphong: part of "Operation Linebacker II."
As Christmas approached, PREBLE completed her third gunline period, and was enroute Japan for holiday R&R, when a change of orders directed her to take position on the gunline, off the Cua Viet River and the Demilitarized Zone. PREBLE arrived on station 25 December, and got her first fire mission. On 27 December, she encountered her first enemy shore-battery counterfire receiving 7 rounds. Fragments from 122mm shells littered the weatherdecks after each fire mission, attesting to the numerous near misses that the ship received. Equipped with FLIR (forward-looking infrared) detection, the ship's gunfire interdicted a truck convoy traveling down the coast on the night of 28 December, and destroyed several vehicles, setting off numerous secondary explosions and fires. On 29 December, after having fired 532 rounds of 5-inch/54-caliber ammunition in four days on the gunline, PREBLE was relieved and departed the Gulf for Sasebo, Japan.
PREBLE arrived in Sasebo, Japan on 1 January.Transiting the Taiwan Straits, enroute the South China Sea, on 12 January 1973, PREBLE diverted to assist in coordinating the rescue and recovery of two air crewmen from an F-4 Phantom II downed in nearby waters. From 14 through 23 January, PREBLE took up picket station between Hon Gio Island and the Dong Hoi coast. Relieved by USS WORDEN (DLG-18) on the 23rd, the ship returned to the DMZ and gunline duty in support of a South Vietnamese offensive. On 24 January, having laid down gunfire to disrupt an enemy truck convoy and suppress an attacking tank column, the ship took hits from 130-mm shore batteries. An antenna atop the aft mast was destroyed and a shell burst off the port side amidships ripped holes in the superstructure. The Commodore's Cabin was severely damaged, and the port lookout received some minor wounds. (The ship did not know it at the time, but this was the last hit on an U.S. Navy warship by North Vietnamese shore batteries in the Vietnam War.)
Over the next four days, PREBLE fired 431 rounds supporting the advance of a South Vietnamese battalion. In return, some 169 rounds of North Vietnamese counter-battery fire harassed the ship. At 0800, on 28 January 1973, the ship's 1MC announced that the Vietnam War was over. PREBLE remained on the gunline until 1 February, when she was relieved to begin her eastward transit to Hong Kong and Subic Bay, and thence to Pearl Harbor. On 20 March 1973, CDR M. E. TOOLE, USN, relieved CDR P. BLUNDELL, USN, as Commanding Officer.
PREBLE's actions during the period 8 August 1972 through 24 February 1973 would, subsequently, see her awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation. For participating in an exchange of hostile fire with the enemy on 27 and 28 December 1972 in the vicinity of the Cua Viet River, she would, also, be authorized to display the Combat Action Ribbon.
At Pearl Harbor, the ship resumed an intense rotation of maintenance and upkeep, watch qualification, and sea trials, in preparation for a fall deployment to the Indian Ocean area. On 24 September 1973, PREBLE departed Pearl Harbor for a six-month deployment. After calling at Midway Island and Guam, she reached Subic Bay on 14 October. On 19 October, after fueling and reprovisioning, PREBLE commenced her westward sail. During two months of special operations, as part of the first Attack Carrier Task Group excursion into the Arabian Sea, she crossed the South China Sea, transited the Straits of Malacca, entered the Bay of Bengal, and proceeded onward to visit the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf of Aden. Finally, retracing her route, PREBLE returned to Subic Bay on 17 December.
PREBLE received the following awards during 1973:
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
Combat Action Ribbon
With three weeks of upkeep and R&R behind her, PREBLE departed Subic Bay on 14 January 1974. She began to wrap up her deployment, with port calls at Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Manila and Singapore, interweaving two more stops in Subic Bay before returning home via Guam and Midway Island. On 22 March, PREBLE was again berthed at Pier Bravo in Pearl Harbor.
After a brief stand down, the ship resumed her local operational and watch qualification schedules. These included workups for forthcoming Propulsion Examining Board (PEB) evolutions, to be held after her ROH
PREBLE entered the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard on 24 June for a 10 month ROH which included updates to the Combat Systems along with major engineering plant refits. On 14 September 1974, CDR D. E. JEREMIAH, USN, relieved CDR M. E. TOOLE, USN, as Commanding Officer of USS PREBLE.
Sadly, the command was informed that crewmember ETN3 RICHARD A. CARSTENSON was killed in a bicycle accident on 13 November.
PREBLE received the following awards and presentations during 1974:
DESRON TWENTY FIVE Battle Efficiency "E"
Departmental ASW "A", Gunnery, Missilery, Engineering and Operations "E" Awards
PREBLE completed her overhaul in March 1975. Then began a more intense period of PEB and LOE (Light Off Exam) qualifications for the ship's underway watch officers and the engineering ratings. During the overhaul, NTDS Upgrades and TERRIER Guided Missile Fire Control System Upgrades had, also, been installed. With successful LOE behind her, PREBLE commenced a succession of refresher training and ship control and weapons system performance trials.
On 1 July 1975, USS PREBLE (DLG-15) was re-designated USS PREBLE (DDG-46). PREBLE's return to full operational readiness was certified by her performance in the ten-day underway training exercise, COMPUTEX 3A-76.
PREBLE continued building her reputation for excellence when she deployed again in 1976. Following her 1976 deployment, PREBLE conducted extensive training in the Hawaiian operations area and in June of 1978 transited to San Diego to spend five months operating her engineering plant. Returning to Pearl Harbor in November, PREBLE operated in the MIDPAC area, conducting carrier operations as well as ASW and AAW exercises.
In November of 1976 a Change-of-Command Ceremony was held aboard PREBLE where CDR D. E. JEREMIAH, USN was relieved by CDR E. E. KILLINGER, USN as Commanding Officer of PREBLE.
PREBLE received the following awards and presentations during 1976:
Departmental Communications "C" , ASW "A", Operations and Missilery "E" Awards
In July of 1978 a Change-of-Command Ceremony was held aboard PREBLE where CDR E. E. KILLINGER, USN was relieved by CDR FRED W. BAILEY, USN as Commanding Officer of PREBLE.
In February 1979, PREBLE earned her seventh consecutive Efficiency Award in Missilery, a period of almost ten years that the missile area of Preble's Weapons Department has been evaluated as excellent, an accomplishment virtually unparalleled in the Pacific Fleet. On 2 March 1979, PREBLE entered the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for a 13-month overhaul.
PREBLE received the following awards and presentations during 1979:
Departmental Communications "C" and Missilery(7th) "E" Awards
In April 1980, PREBLE departed the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard completing her 13-month baseline overhaul. New, more advanced and sophisticated equipment was added to complement Preble's basic systems.
In June 1980 a Change-of-Command Ceremony was held aboard PREBLE where CAPT FRED W. BAILEY, USN was relieved by CDR THOMAS E. STONE, USN as Commanding Officer of PREBLE. In September 1980 PREBLE said Aloha to Pearl Harbor for the last time, destination, her new homeport of Norfolk, Virginia via the Panama Canal. On the way, port calls were made in San Diego, CA, Rodman Naval Station, Panama, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Ft Lauderdale, FL. Upon arrival at Norfolk Naval Base, PREBLE began operating with Destroyer Squadron Two of the Atlantic Fleet.
On 14 April 1981, Preble, in company with USS America (CV-66) and USS California (CGN-36). departed Norfolk Naval Station for deployment to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. Enroute, the Battle Group made port calls in Cartagena and Palma de Mallorca, Spain. On 6 May 1981, PREBLE and USS AMERICA became the first carrier battle group to transit the Suez Canal in over twelve years. USS CALIFORNIA, due to being a Nuclear powered ship, was not allowed to transit the Suez Canal. Therefore she was forced to transit around Africa and meet up with the Battle Group in the Indian Ocean.
Upon arrival in the Indian Ocean, PREBLE was attached to COMIDEASTFOR and sent into the Persian Gulf to act as Radar Picket. After about 30 days of Condition-3 steaming, PREBLE left the Persian Gulf and made a Port Call in Singapore. After Singapore, PREBLE was sent back to the Persian Gulf for another month. During this month PREBLE made a one day Port Call to Bahrain. In August, PREBLE rejoined the USS AMERICA Battle group. The Battle Group proceeded Southeast where she crossed the equator on 10 Aug 1981 at 74.51 East. Many Pollywogs received cleansing that day. The Battle Group continued Southeast making Port Calls at Diego Garcia and Perth, Australia.
Upon leaving Australia, the USS AMERICA Battle group returned to the Indian Ocean where operations continued. The Battle Group was relieved and on 6 Oct within one day of a Northern Transit of The Suez Canal, Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt, was assassinated. The Battle group was immediately placed in a state of readiness in case of trouble. The transit was uneventful and the Battle group arrived back in Norfolk in November of 1981. PREBLE was on deployment for 212 days of which 190 days were at sea.
PREBLE received the following awards and presentations during 1981:
Navy Expeditionary Medal
Sea Service Deployment ribbon
SURFLANT Golden Anchor
PREBLE departed Norfolk in June to participate in UNITAS XXIII.
The deployment took the ship down through the Panama Canal and around South
America. On the way to Panama, PREBLE made port calls in St. Thomas,
Virgin Islands; Kingston, Jamaica; and Cartagena, Columbia.
On 4 August 1982, during a one day stop at Rodman Naval Base, Panama, a Change-of-Command Ceremony was held aboard PREBLE where CDR THOMAS E. STONE, USN was relieved by CDR ROBERT SUTTON, USN as Commanding Officer of PREBLE.
After transiting the Panama Canal, port calls were made in Valparaíso, Santiago, and Concepción, Chile. Over the next 2 months PREBLE operated with the Chilean Navy making many port visits along the way. While in-port, PREBLE crewmembers participated in the construction of an Orphanage. Also, while in Chilean waters, a Chilean Pilot guided the PREBLE through the Straits of Magellan. While in the middle of the straits, the ship anchored and local Indians rowed out in canoes and traded hats, belt buckles, shirts, flour, sugar, etc... for fresh seafood, which was used for a BBQ on the fantail.
Upon finishing local operations with the Chilean Navy, port
calls were made in Punta Arenas, Chile; Montevideo, Uruguay; Rio De Janeiro,
Brazil; Caracas, Venezuela; Trinidad; and Ft. Lauderdale, FL. PREBLE arrived
back in Norfolk in November.
PREBLE received the following awards and presentations during 1982:
Departmental ASW, CIC, Communications, Damage Control, Electronic Warfare, Harpoon Operations, Missilery(8th) "E" Awards
1983 found PREBLE in the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. PREBLE returned to Norfolk in February.
In November 1984 a Change-of-Command Ceremony was held aboard PREBLE where CAPT ROBERT SUTTON, USN was relieved by CDR C. F. VOTAVA, III, USN as Commanding Officer of PREBLE.
In June, PREBLE entered the Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, MS for overhaul. This overhaul included an SM-2 missile conversion.
PREBLE left the Ingalls Shipyard, Pascagoula, MS, 14 June.
In December 1986 a Change-of-Command Ceremony was held aboard PREBLE where CDR C. F. VOTAVA, III, USN was relieved by CDR PETER W. BULKELEY, USN as Commanding Officer of PREBLE
In June, PREBLE deployed with the USS Saratoga CV-60 Battle Group to the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, returning in November.
PREBLE received the following awards and presentations during 1988:
DESRON TWO Battle Efficiency "E"
Departmental ASW, Communications, Damage Control, Electronic Warfare, Engineering Navagaion, and Seamanship "E" Awards
1989 began with PREBLE moored at Pier 21, Naval Station Norfolk. All hands were preparing for deployment with the Standing Naval Force, Atlantic (SNFL). On 5 January, PREBLE embarked RADM J. SCOTT REDD, Commander, Standing Naval Force, Atlantic and his staff.
PREBLE sailed from Norfolk on 14 January. She headed south to rendezvous with the remainder of SNFL; HMS SCYLLA, FGS LUTJENS, HMCS MARGAREE, and HMNLS BLOYS VON TRESLONG. SNFL conducted several familiarization exercises which were a prelude to the more advanced and demanding events conducted as the deployment progressed.
On 20 January, the force enjoyed it's first liberty with a port visit to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. SNFL sailed from Puerto Rico on 23 January, enroute to Mobile, Alabama. During the transit, Naval Gunfire Support exercises were conducted off the island of Vieques. During these exercises, the force was joined by USS IOWA (BB-61).
From 6-13 February, SNFL visited the port of Mobile Alabama. After a brief transit, the next stop was Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale), Florida from 17-21 February. On 18 January, CDR THOMAS FROHLICH, USN, relieved CDR PETER W. BULKELEY, USN as Commanding Officer of USS PREBLE. On 22 February, SNFL departed Port Everglades enroute to Charleston, South Carolina. SNFL arrived in Charleston on 3 March for a three-week maintenance availability. During the repair period, PREBLE accomplished major repairs, including a changeout of her starboard propeller. On 21 March RADM KLAUS LAUDIEN, FGN, relieved RADM J. SCOTT REDD as Commander, Standing Naval Force, and shifted his flag to FGS RHIELAND-PHALZ which relieved FGS LUTJENS. SNFL departed Charleston on 28 March enroute for Halifax, Nova Scotia.
SNFL arrived in Halifax on 4 April for a 7 day port visit. While in port, HMCS SAGUENAY relieved HMCS MARGAREE as the Canadian representative ship within SNFL. SNFL left port on 10 April to conduct NATO Electronic Warfare exercises. SNFL returned to Halifax briefly for fuel, and began the transit of the Atlantic on 13 April.
Following an overnight stop for fuel in Punta Delgada, Azores, SNFL was underway to participate in operation OPEN GATE '89. The approaches to the straits of Gibraltar comprised the exercise area. PREBLE briefly entered the Mediterranean during work-ups for the final exercise. The exercise was designed to simulate the movement of allied replenishment forces in to the Mediterranean during wartime. Upon completion of the exercise, SNFL made a port call in Lisbon, Portugal on 3 May. SNFL departed Lisbon on 9 May for Cadiz, Spain. Enroute, SNFL was joined by NRP ROBERTO IVENS, the Portuguese representative to SNFL. SNFL arrived in Cadiz on 13 May, departing on 15 May for Portsmouth, England.
The force arrived in Portsmouth on 19 May. At this time, HMS BOXER relieved HMS SCYLLA as the English representative to SNFL. From 24 May to 6 June, SNFL was underway participating in operation VENDETTA '89, an exercise designed to simulate re-enforcing Norway during wartime. The operation was centered around training for shallow water ASW prosecution and aircraft carrier defense in the fjords. During this exercise, PREBLE conducted around-the-clock flight operations as refueling station for Royal Navy helicopters from the HMS ARK ROYAL. On 27 May, the force crossed the Arctic Circle at 010' 04.3" E Longitude. The event was marked by the traditional "Blue Nose" ceremony.
On 7 June SNFL entered the port of Tromso, Norway for a 5 day visit. On 11 June, SNFL departed Tromso traveling south to Stavanger, Norway for a one day visit. The force then made for Den Helder, Netherlands. Scheduled maintenance was performed while in Den Helder as well as celebrating Dutch Navy Day. On 3 July, PREBLE set sail for Norfolk, Virginia. After brief stops in Loch Ewe, Scotland on 4 July and St. Johns, Newfoundland on 9 July, PREBLE prepared to embark the Operational Propulsion Plant Examining (OPPE) Board to assess engineering material and training readiness prior to arriving in Norfolk. Following a successful examination, PREBLE moored Pier 25 Norfolk Naval Station ending a demanding, high-tempo deployment.
From 14 July until 14 August, PREBLE was in a post-deployment leave and upkeep period. From 21-25 August, PREBLE conducted independent operations in the Virginia Capes Operations Area (VCOA). During this time, she carried one scientist as a guest of the Navy and a Boy Scout Troop from Bethesda, Maryland. After a brief stay in Norfolk from 26 August to 10 September, PREBLE was again underway, this time for the Caribbean.
From 11-20 September, PREBLE was underway under COMDESRON TWO for Type Commander Core Training (TCCT) 5-89 exercises. Similar to exercises conducted on deployment, TCCT 5-89 exercised all facets of PREBLE's war fighting capabilities. After successfully evading hurricane Hugo and following a brief anchorage near Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico to assess storm damage to the harbor, PREBLE was detached to participate in Coast Guard Law Enforcement Operations in the Caribbean. She operated as a Radar Picket Ship in the Coast Guard's effort to interdict drug operations in the Caribbean.
Following two brief stops for fuel in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on 25 and 29 September, PREBLE headed back to Norfolk for a maintenance period. From 3-30 October, PREBLE was alongside USS VULCAN (AR-5) for an IMAV. Following the IMAV, PREBLE had two brief underway periods, 1-3 November for sea trials and 6-8 November for submarine services. Upon arrival in Norfolk, preparations were made for a command inspection and a weapons offload prior to a planned maintenance shipyard availability.
On 15 November, PREBLE was given the task of traveling to Perth Amboy, New Jersey to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Bill of Rights. Twenty Two hours after notification, PREBLE was underway. From 17-20 November, PREBLE was moored at Perth Amboy. PREBLE arrived back in Norfolk on 21 November and made final preparations for the Command Inspection on 23 November and a Combat Systems Assessment on 5 December. The Command Inspection was a complete success.
On 5 December, PREBLE set sail for weapons offload at the Naval Weapons Station in Earle, New Jersey. During the transit to Earle, COMDESRON TWO conducted a Combat Systems Assessment (CSA). PREBLE passes all phases of the CSA. On 6-7 December PREBLE offloaded weapons and returned to Norfolk on 11 December where she remained until the end of the year.
On 28 December, PREBLE departed Norfolk on what would be her final deployment. Her destination was the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.
Early 1991 found PREBLE on picket station in the northern Red Sea providing AAW cover in support of carrier strikes launched from the Red Sea carrier battle force. PREBLE was then assigned to the Maritime Interception Force in the northern Red Sea. PREBLE was later transferred to escort duty with the Red Sea battle force. In February a Change-of-Command Ceremony was held aboard PREBLE where CDR THOMAS W. FROHLICH, USN was relieved by CDR L. V. KESTER, USN as Commanding Officer of PREBLE. In mid-March, PREBLE accompanied the USS KENNEDY (CV-67) Battle Group through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean where she joined the 41st Naval On-Call Forces Mediterranean (NAVOCFORMED). During this assignment, PREBLE represented the U.S. at the 41st NAVOCFORMED deactivation ceremony in Naples, Italy.
On 11 April PREBLE rescued the crew of the Irish sailing yacht Meermin, which took on water while crossing the Mediterranean sea. PREBLE took the yacht, which had a two inch hole near her keel, under tow to Palma de Mallorca.
From Mid-April to mid-May, PREBLE escorted the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) and provided AWA protection during Operation Provide Comfort, the humanitarian relief effort assisting the Iraqi Kurds. This marked the fourth carrier battle group in which PREBLE operated during the deployment. PREBLE returned to Norfolk, VA on 14 June 1991. During this deployment, PREBLE steamed over 30,000 nautical miles, spent 109 days under way and 60 days in port visiting seven countries in the Mediterranean and Red Sea.
PREBLE was decommissioned on 15 November at Pier 21, Norfolk Naval Station, Norfolk, VA.
PREBLE received the following awards and presentations during 1991:
Navy Unit Commendation
National Defense Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
Humanitarian Service Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal with 2 Campaign Stars
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
Many thanks to Charles Arnold, Joe Patton, Keith Ford, Jim Breslin, Jay Eischen and Bill Calhoun for contributing to this page
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Copyright 1997-2016 Tom Bateman
This page was last updated on 01/16/05.