Make your own free website on Tripod.com

USS VIREO MSC 205

History

Page 1
Page 2
Photos

coatsea.jpg

COMMANDING OFFICERS

LT Leland E.Mench
Jun 1955-Aug 1956
Add your content here
Add your content here
Add your content here
Add your content here
LT C.M.Plumly
Add your content here
Add your content here
Add your content here
Add your content here
Add your content here
Add your content here
Add your content here
Add your content here
Add your content here
LT Bruce Gescheider
SEP 1970-MAR 1972
LT Sparrow
1972
Add your content here
Add your content here
Add your content here
Add your content here

tgyc.jpg

207ribbonsnew.jpg

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals (5) ,Combat Action Ribbon (1) ,Navy Meritorious Unit Citation (1) ,Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citations (2) and Vietnam Service Medals (7).

Vireo (MSC-205) was laid down as AMS-205 on 14 September 1953 at the Bellingham Shipyards, Bellingham, Wash., launched on 30 April 1954, sponsored by Mrs. Arvin E. Olsen, redesignated MSC-205 on 7 February 1955, and commissioned at the naval station at Tacoma, Wash. on 7 June 1955, Lt. (jg.) Leland E. Mench in command.
After completing tests and trials at Seattle, Vireo moved south at the beginning of July for shakedown training out of San Diego. The cruise occupied her until the second week in September at which time she began preparations for final acceptance trials to be conducted early in November. Upon passing those tests on the 4th, Vireo became an active unit of Mine Squadron (MinRon) 7. She operated from Long Beach, Calif., until 1 March 1956 when she stood out of that port bound for the western Pacific. En route, she stopped at Pearl Harbor and, for the remainder of March and the entire month of April, the minesweeper conducted training operations in Hawaiian waters. She resumed her voyage westward on 9 May and arrived in Yokosuka, Japan, on the 31st.
Vireo served at Sasebo, Japan, as a unit of MinRon 3 for almost a decade and one-half. Her 14 years and 4 months in the Far East can be divided into two easily discernible periods. The first eight years, from June 1956 to July 1964, were devoted entirely to peacetime operations out of Sasebo. These included minesweeping exercises with other ships of the United States Navy and with units of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force as well as with navies of the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. She visited such diverse places as the Sea of Japan, the coast of Korea, the Philippine Islands, Okinawa, and the East and South China Seas. She punctuated her operations with port calls at Hong Kong, Okinawa, Keelung and Kaohsiung on Taiwan, Subic and Manila Bay in the Philippines, and at a host of Japanese ports including— among others—Beppu, Kobe, Kagoshima, Sasebo, and Yokosuka. The visits allowed her crew to rest after operations at sea, to replenish stores and supplies, and to refurbish the ship. During the crisis in 1958 over the Nationalist-held islands of Quemoy and Matsu located just off the communist Chinese mainland, Vireo rushed from Japan to join American forces in the area and spent the months of September and October patrolling near the islands. In November, she resumed her routine peacetime minesweeping exercises, port calls, and occasional salvage or rescue operations. Activities such as these characterized her duty until mid-summer 1964.
The war in Vietnam dominated Vireo's final six years in the Far East. In July 1964, just before the Tonkin Gulf incident gave impetus to an ever-widening American participation in combat in Vietnam, the minesweeper headed for Southeast Asian waters for a series of "special operations." Though she resumed her normal schedule early in August, the minesweeper began regular tours of duty on station off the South Vietnamese coast the following spring when an inshore patrol was established—under the code name Operation "Market Time"—to interdict the waterborne flow of arms to the Viet Cong insurgents. In carrying out her "Market Time" duties, Vireo patrolled stretches of the South Vietnamese coast relatively close inshore and stopped suspicious-looking craft—mostly junks but occasionally trawlers—to check their identity and to inspect cargoes and crews for illicit arms and communist infiltrators. During her first year on the patrol, she conducted five tours of duty of about two or three weeks duration—on junk surveillance assignments uncomplicated by any combat. Those periods were punctuated by port visits to her old haunts, normal mine exercises, and periods in port for upkeep and repair.
The year 1966, however, proved a different story altogether. After completing an overhaul at Sasebo Vireo departed that port on 10 April to resume "Market Time" patrols off the coast of South Vietnam. Exactly one month later, while engaged in those operations, the minesweeper received her baptism of fire. At about 0430, USCGC Point Guard encountered a steel-hulled trawler trying to make a landfall near the mouth of the Cua Bo De River. The Coast Guard cutter received heavy .50-caliber gunfire when she tried to force the trawler to heave to for inspection but, while requesting assistance in the form of Brister (DER-327) and Vireo succeeded in forcing the enemy ship aground. At a hasty conference on board Brister, it was decided to attempt to salvage the grounded gun runner. While USCGC Point Grey approached the trawler with a towline from Vireo, Brister launched her motor whaleboat to assist. The Coast Guard cutter received a withering machine gun fire from insurgents ashore as she neared the enemy. She answered that fire promptly and Vireo joined in with 150 rounds of 20 millimeter. Brister, her battery masked by the cutter, could not bring her 3-inch guns to bear on the enemy. Ultimately, the Coast Guard cutter had to break contact and move off in order to get her wounded crewmen medical assistance. Vireo covered her retirement with 20-millimeter fire and provided a haven for Brister's motor whaleboat while air strikes were called in to silence the enemy machine gun emplacements. Further air strikes eventually destroyed the trawler, and Vireo returned to "Market Time" duty. For participation in the action at Cua Bo De River, Vireo won the Navy Unit Commendation, and her commanding officer received the Bronze Star Medal.
Over the next four and one-half years, Vireo maintained her schedule of "Market Time" patrols alternated with unilateral and multilateral mining exercises and port visits at various places throughout the Orient. On 1 August 1970, Vireo learned that her home port had been changed from Sasebo to Long Beach, Calif., where she was scheduled to begin duty as a Naval Reserve training ship on 1 October. She departed Sasebo on 17 August and, after stops at Yokosuka and Pearl Harbor, arrived in Long Beach on 17 September. On 1 October, the minesweeper was placed out of commission. That same day, she departed Long Beach for her Naval Reserve duty station, Seattle, Wash. After four years and six months of operations along the northwest coast of the United States, Vireo began deactivation preparations on 1 April 1975. Three months later, on 1 July 1975, her name was struck from the Navy list. Though scheduled for disposal by sale at the time of her striking, as of May 1978, no such action appeared to have taken place.

chainbrd.gif

Members of the minesweeping community; The Lucid MSO-458 Foundation was formed by a group of minesweeper crewmen who served aboard US Navy MSO's. MSO's are a class of wooden hull oceangoing minesweepers that are now decommissioned and fading from public memory. The group has obtained the USS Lucid MSO-458 and has her docked at Bradford Island, California. Work has begun! The organization is restoring her and a public museum is established. The MSO is a little known and poorly documented, extremely interesting facet of Naval history. The USS Lucid Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the minesweeping men and their wooden ships, the last all wooden US Naval ships, to navigate the oceans. We will be telling the stories of Mine Recovery and UDT teams, Floating Pigs, Hammer Boxes, Magtails, Aluminum Engines and Towed Sonar. The little known stories of Contact, Magnetic and Acoustic minesweeping as well as the mystery of Magnetic Countermeasures will be told through the displays, narratives and museum media. Typhoons, tiny ships and ice-clad superstructures are only a small part of the "Wooden Ships and Iron Men" story. From sweeping the Mekong Delta in Viet Nam, observing the final Nuclear blasts on Johnston Island to sweeping the Persian Gulf, "Where the Fleet Goes, We've Been" will be clearly illustrated. Since there is no other Naval Museum that even attempts to tell the story of the MSO the USS Lucid is an important and living detail of US Naval History. First, Lucid must undergo a restoration. Previous civilian owners for commercial use have modified her. She needs hull repairs and painting and re-outfitting to be brought back to her former Naval dignity and glory. The Lucid MSO-458 Foundation has a workforce of planners, engineers and volunteer manpower who are vested and committed to this grand and worthy project. Bringing her to life is a large financial undertaking. We’re looking for tax-exempt gifts from the Military Industrial sector and individuals to help with this extremely valuable endeavor. Of course, all donors will be properly and prominently acknowledged aboard the vessel. Your donation will help preserve this vital part of Naval History. Please join us in telling the MSO story by sending a tax-exempt gift to Lucid MSO-458 Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit foundation through our website. http://www.usslucid.org
W.W."Mike" Warren EN2

CREW ROSTER