Gearing Class Destroyer
Displacement 3460 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 390' 6"(oa)
x 40' 10" x 14' 4" (Max)
Armament 6 x 5"/38AA (3x2), 12 x 40mm AA, 11 x
20mm AA, 10 x 21" tt.(2x5).
Machinery, 60,000 SHP; General Electric Geared
Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 36.8 Knots, Range 4500 NM@ 20 Knots
I was an STGSN
(E-3) and did my overseas processing at Treasure
Island, CA. I was then sent to Travis
AFB to catch a C-135
to the Philippines Islands (PI).
Laid down by
Todd Shipyards, Seattle. May 31 1945.
Launched March 8 1946 and commissioned June 21
Stricken March 31 1973.
Sold to Taiwan April 18 1973, renamed Lao Yang.
Decommissioned by Taiwan on Mar 6, 1999 and as of Nov
2002 is to become an artificial reef.
My Duties with USS Shelton
- Oct 1966
The flight to PI was a picture of extremes. C-135s (Boeing 707) were Air Force
cargo planes and not built for creature comfort. During the
flight, all of the Air Force guys, who were in short sleeves,
froze. They huddled and shivered under blankets while
sailors were very comfortable in our dress blues. (notice - I did
not say Cracker Jacks. Modern Cracker Jacks and Dress
Blues are completely different uniforms, but that's another
story) Then we landed at Wake Island - My
first experience in the tropics - Wow! It was hot!
But, then again, sailors prevailed. We just rolled up our
bell bottom trousers and cooled off in the surf.
We finally arrived at Clark AFB,
on Luzon Is. PI. and had a long bus ride - still in dress blues -
Bay. It was a long, hot ride, but, the driver stopped
periodically for some San Miguel beer and sweet Philippine
In the '60's, Subic Bay was not yet set up to handle transit
personnel. We were billeted in what used to be a WWII POW
camp. There were no lockers, so we lived out of our sea bags
hanging from our bunks. The only running water was just a
pipe that had holes every couple of feet, set over a trough. These
streams of water was what one used for everything - washing,
brushing teeth, etc., and the water had only one temp -
cold. Our Boy Scout summer camp wasn't all that much
different, so for me, it was summer camp all over again, just
We were allowed liberty in town, but we had to be back by midnight
(Cinderella Liberty) In those days we were required to wear
uniforms on liberty and the main streets of Olongapo were not
paved. Everyone came back with red clay of the streets all
over their whites. I often went to the Enlisted Club and
learned to enjoy Singapore Slings. I didn't think the
bartender stirred them quite enough and used my finger to stir
them up. It was sort of embarrassing to come to morning
muster with my index finger stained bright red. I
waited in transit for about 3 weeks.
The USS Shelton pulled into Subic Bay and nested alongside the, USS
Piedmont. I reported aboard on Halloween Day, Oct 31,
Shelton left for Hong Kong and I experienced my first
Typhoon. It was scary seeing the other ships completely
disappear from view behind a wave and having the ship roll so far
you're not sure if it will come back upright, but we we survived
just fine and pulled into Hong Kong where I found that I had won
the anchor pool by picking the exact mooring time. I had won
a 4 day pass which I could use when ever I liked. Wow!
The Shelton then went to Vietnam as escort for the aircraft
Bon Homme Richard. In Dec '65 we returned to Hong Kong
for R&R over Christmas followed by two weeks as Station
Ship. After New Years 1966 we returned to Vietnam, providing
coastal gunfire support along Yankee
Shelton was an early FRAM and
the aft 5"/38 gun mount had been removed. During gunfire
support we did not go to full GQ. Instead, the only the gun
stations were manned and condition Zulu was set forward of frame
74. Every one else went about their regular routine.
There was almost always a sight seeing group on the fantail.
removed the second fwd gun mount and leaving the aft gun mount for
Shelton earned welfare/rec money by holding a weekly bingo
game. Numbers were announced over the 1MC so sailors on
watch could play as well. We even played during gunfire support
missions and folks manning the gun mounts played as well. (They
once called for someone to relieve the powder passer in gun mount
52 so they could check his bingo card.)
Spring of '66 Shelton returned to San Diego.
Shelton was in and out of San Diego and in Aug '66 was part of the
Sea Fair Fleet in Seattle. I went home, using the 4 day pass
I had won in the in the anchor pool in Hong Kong.
In Sept my Division Officer told me told that Shelton was planning
a mini cruise to Mexico and that I would have to extend my
enlistment in order to go. Since I did not want to extend my
active duty for the cruise and I was transferred to USS John A. Bole
(DD-755) in Oct 1966.