Cruise Story 60-61

WESTPAC 1960 " All engines back two-thirds." The last line had just been taken in and the HOPEWELL was easing out of her berth at the San Diego Naval Station, setting upon a new WESTPAC cruise. To many it was the start of an adventure; but to all it was the beginning of a long separation from family and friends and home. With Commander Destroyer Division ONE HUNDRED FIFTY TWO, Capt. O. D. Mac Millan., embarked, and in company with the destroyers UHLMANN (DD-687), BROWN (DD-546) and ROGERS (DDR-876) we set a course for our stepping off point, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Hopewell60_DHead.JPG (143381 bytes)

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Our departure from Pearl Harbor on 8 August marked the start of the hard work phase of the deployment. Underway with the Attack Carrier HANCOCK (CVA-19) we worked under a tight schedule of drills and more drills as we headed for Guam, in the Marianas Islands, the next stop in our track westward. Each day was marked by tactics and flight operations. Before we left "the States" we had been warned that the Seventh Fleet is a fast moving unit that maintains a top readiness condition .... schedule be damned ; this was our first taste of it.
On 24 August we arrived in Subic Bay, in the Philippines. As you might imagine (the Philippines in August) it was hot! But we were glad to be there for the rest the ship and the crew needed and the cooling effect " San Miguel Beer ". On I September we were underway again to rejoin the HANCOCK for a fleet-wide readiness exercise, Exercise " Square Knot ". By 7 September we were back in Subic Bay, only to get underway again on the 12th, this time for Buckner Bay, Okinawa. After a two day stop-over. we were underway again, this time for Sasebo, Japan.

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On 26 September we arrived in Japan. Japan offers a world of things for " white hats". During the first stop-over the crew had a chance to taste some of them: trips to Nagasaki, to Japanese-style report hotels, trips in suicide taxi cabs and spending sprees at the fabulous ship's store afloat. Part of the time in Sasebo, HOPEWELL spent in dry dock undergoing repairs.

No two people will agree about the next phase of our cruise. On 12 October the ships of Destroyer Division ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-TWO relieved the ships of DESDIV I I as the " Formosa Patrol" group. From then until 21 November (with a few days off in Hong Kong) HOPEWELL operated in an out of Kaohsiung, Formosa, maintaining a patrol of the Formosa Straits. Most of the time the seas were rough under a 35-45 knot wind ; usually the routine was dull and monotonous. To some it was the most restful part of the trip ; to others it was sickening ; to the radio shack it was the most demanding. Hopewell60_KoaBar.JPG (271215 bytes)
19 December through 27 December was spent in Sasebo. On the 25th, just as Americans everywhere around the world we took time out for a king-sized Christmas Dinner, We may have been half way around the world from where the custom started, but as far as food went, we didn't miss a thing.

In Sasebo, the crew took time out from shopping, which turned out to be each man's primary mission of the time, in order to celebrate Christmas. To help make this a truly merry Christmas, the crew invited some thirty-five mentally retarded Japanese children to the party. Days before the party, presents were bought, and wrapped, and the ship decorated. The children, the crew .... everybody .... enjoyed Christmas : the children, because someone made them laugh and showed they cared ; ourselves, because in giving, in playing Santa (FATOUT), and in singing about Christmas, we found the true meaning of Christmas.

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Hopewell60_Japan4.jpg (146796 bytes) Shortly after setting underway from Sasebo for a quick run to Yokosuka, Japan, a report was received of a Japanese fishing boat in distress somewhere in the general vicinity. HOPEWELL was sent out to assist in the search that had been going on for the past hours. In the early hours after dawn of the next day the boat, the MIFUKU MARU #5 was found, its
crew of seven Japanese rescued, and the boat taken in tow until a Japanese Coast Guard Ship arrived to take over. For this "well done" messages were received from CTF77, Commander Naval Forces Japan, the Japanese Maritime Shipping Board, and Commander Seventh Fleet.
From 2 January to 7 January HOPEWELL, together with UHLMANN, participated in an ASW exercise .... the last exercise of the WESTPAC cruise, And that's the story of this Cruise. Ahead of us now is a few more days in Yokosuka, and the long trip home.
This is, to many, the worst part of the trip. Ask any man how many days to go, and he'll tell you; some can even tell you the hours. It will be good to be home again.