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USS WHIPPOORWILL MSC 207

History

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Photos

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COMMANDING OFFICERS

LTJG Tom L.Kolstad
1955-1956
LT Porter E.May
1956-1959
LT J.E.Paulk
1959-1960
LT H.B.Kuykendal
1960-1962
LT M.E.Seiler
1962-1964
LT D.E.Morgan
1964-1966
LT L.R.Malopy
1966-1968
LT M.H.Loy
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LT W.F.Mellin
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LT Robert D'Allesio
1971-1972
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Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals (3) ,Combat Action Ribbon (1) ,Navy Meritorious Unit Citation (1) ,Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citations (4) and Vietnam Service Medals (8).

The second Whippoorwill (MSC-207) was laid down on 7 January 1954 at Bellingham, Wash., by the Bellingham Shipyards Co. as AMS-207, launched on 13 August, 1954, sponsored by Mrs. Walter A. Yatch; reclassified MSC-207 on 7 February 1955, and commissioned at Tacoma, Wash., on 20 October 1955, Lt. (jg.) Tom I. Kolstad in command.
On 7 November, the mine countermeasures ship reported for duty with the Commander, Mine Force Pacific Fleet. Over the next 10 months, she first conducted shakedown training along the west coast and then began normal duty with the Mine Force out of Long Beach, Calif. That duty lasted until 1 August 1956, when she departed Long Beach for her new home port, Sasebo, Japan. After stops at Oahu and Midway, the coastal minesweeper arrived at Sasebo on 21 August and reported for duty to the Commander, Mine Flotilla 1.
Whippoorwill was based in Japan for the next 14 years; and, during the first eight of those years, her duties centered upon training. She participated in numerous 7th Fleet mine exercises as well as many multinational mine exercises with units of the South Korean, Royal Thai, Japanese, Philippine, and Nationalist Chinese Navies. She also participated in several large amphibious training exercises conducted in Korea, the Philippines, and at Okinawa in the Ryukyus.
Her one brush with less than peaceful duty came in the fall of 1958 when the Chinese communists began and continued their bombardment of Nationalist-held islands - Quemoy, Little Quemoy, and Matsu - located just off the mainland. Whippoorwill earned the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for her service in the Taiwan Strait during the crisis there that fall. Her service in the Taiwan Strait lasted from 10 September until 4 November when tension in the area finally began to cool. Upon concluding her service in the Taiwan Strait, she resumed her more peaceful employment in training missions with the 7th Fleet and units of Allied navies.
The year 1964 brought the ship still closer to actual "hot war" operations. From 16 July to 2 August 1964 Whippoorwill joined a barrier patrol established in the South China Sea off the coast of South Vietnam to assist the South Vietnamese Navy in preventing waterborne infiltrators and logistics from North Vietnam from reaching the Viet Cong rebels in the south. During that phase of American involvement, the Navy's role remained essentially passive in nature. While American ships such as Whippoorwill stopped no craft themselves, they vectored South Vietnamese ships in on suspicious contacts.
Though the barrier patrols were dissolved on 2 August, and Whippoorwill resumed her familiar training schedule, events occurred in the Gulf of Tonkin that same day which increased American involvement in the Vietnamese civil war and eventually brought Whippoorwill into intimate association with that conflict over the next six years. After nine months of normal 7th Fleet operations, the minesweeper returned to Vietnamese waters on 18 April 1965 as one of the American ships assigned to Operation "Market Time". That operation consisted of continuous patrols along South Vietnamese coasts in an effort to interdict the increasing volume of arms and supplies being smuggled from the north into South Vietnam in support of Viet Cong guerrillas.
In many respects, Whippoorwill's "Market Time" duties resembled the barrier patrols she had conducted the previous summer. However, they differed from those patrols in two major respects. First, as a result of the increasingly direct involvement of American forces in the Vietnam conflict, ships on "Market Time" station actively participated in stop-and-seizure operations rather than limiting themselves to surveillance and passive assistance to the South Vietnamese Navy. Secondly, as a result of the increased communist logistic effort from north to south, "Market Time" operations became a continuous and intensive assignment. Until she returned to the United States in the fall of 1970, Whippoorwill's sole mission in the Vietnam conflict consisted of "Market Time" patrols. She alternated month-long tours on station in Vietnamese waters with assignments of variable duration at other points in the Orient. Most often these missions away from Vietnam consisted of mine warfare exercises, upkeep and liberty calls in Japanese ports, and periodic overhauls. Less frequently, they consisted of port calls at other places in the Far East.
On 1 September 1970, Whippoorwill concluded her final tour of duty along the coast of Vietnam. She steamed home via Sasebo, Subic Bay, and Pearl Harbor and arrived in Long Beach, Calif., on 12 November. After voyage repairs, she moved to San Francisco where she was decommissioned on 15 December 1970 Decommissioning, however, did not end her active naval service, for she joined Thrasher (MSC-203) and Reaper (MSO-467) as a reserve training ship in Reserve Mine Division 52. For almost five years, she operated out of Treasure Island Naval Station training naval reservists during their annual active duty periods. On 2 May 1975 Whippoorwill moved from San Francisco to the Inactive Ship Facility at Vallejo, Calif., where she was deactivated completely by 30 June 1975. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 July 1975, and she was sold to the Republic of Singapore. As of August 1979, she served the Republic of Singapore Navy as RSS Jupiter. Whippoorwill received six battle stars and the Meritorious Unit Commendation for Vietnam service.
 

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

UNIT PAGE WITH COMMAND HISTORY