12/24/1941 Cony was Laid Down by the Bath Iron Works Corporation of Bath, Maine. 10/30/1942 Cony Commissioned in Boston, Massachusetts. 8/30/1942 Cony (DD-508) was launched 30 August 1942 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine, sponsored by Mrs. William R. Sleight; and commissioned 30 October 1942 in Boston MA, Lieutenant Commander Harry D. Johnson in command. (DD-508: dp. 2,050; 1. 376'6"; b. 39'7": dr. 17'9"; s. 36 k.; cpl 273; a. 5 5", 10 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Fletcher)
Upon Commissioning, and after shakedown the Cony left Boston (Dec. 25, 1942) for the South Pacific and reported for duty on the 27th of January 1943, where she was to remain until the end of World War II.
10/30/1942 USS Cony DD-508 Commissioned....
Click on Button
8/25/2001 The following email is from Russ Poe.
I just read the subject with considerable interest. I served aboard CONY from Nov 9, 1942 (nine days after first commissioning) until April 1, 1945. I went aboard as FC3/C just out of the Advanced Fire Control School at the Naval Gun Factory, Washington Navy Yard. I left the ship as FC1/C to go to Princeton for V-12 training. I happen to have the complete war diary of the CONY on microfilm plus most of the special after action reports. I have some comments on the subject chronology. First, with regard to the night raid on Vila, I remember it very well. It was our first sortie deep into Jap territory. There had been a coconut plantation (pre-war) at Vila Stanmore is on the island of Kolombangara not New Guinea. The ships mentioned in your chronology are correct. That night, we were assigned to deal with any small craft who might be present. I believe we were the lead ship going in. We had to pass within range of Jap shore batteries. Fortunately, we took them by surprise so we were not fired at going in. When we entered the harbor, two Jap destroyers were discovered not known to be there by earlier coast watcher intelligence. When this discovery was made, all of our ships concentrated fire on the two Jap ships and they were put down within minutes. Then, all of us made a sweep of the area firing at shore installations as we made our way out. On the way out, the shore batteries opened up on us, but fortunately, none of our ships were hit. There were several near misses and rounds were reported as having passed between our stacks. It was later discovered that one man had been killed aboard one of our cruisers because he ventured too close to one of their main battery turrets and was killed by muzzle blast. I'll never forget that night action because I remember we discussed what we would do if we had to abandon ship and go into the water. Having heard that those islands were inhabited by cannibals and headhunters, not to mention Japs, opinion was about equally divided as to whether to swim for shore, or to stay out hoping to get picked up by our own ships. I have other comments which I'll save for later.
1/27/1943 Cony escorted a troop convoy from Norfolk to Noumea, New Caledonia, where she arrived 27 January 1943. She patrolled between Espiritu Santo and Efate, and on 6 March joined in the bombardment of the Vila-Stanmore area on New Guinea, the island of Kolombangara (per Russ Poe) continuing her patrol and escort duties until clearing for overhaul at San Francisco 28 April. She returned to action waters at Espiritu Santo 1 August, and after screening a group of transports to Guadalcanal, she brought fire support and was flagship for the landings on Vella Lavella on 15 August. She continued patrols and escorted supplies to Vella Lavella until returning to Espiritu Santo 8 September.
2/1/1943 Cony (DD 508) and Strong (DD 467 escorted a convoy bound for Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides.3/5/1943 First Battle of Kula Gulf , March 5, 1943
by Vincent P. O'Hara
Japanese destroyers Minegumo and Murasame had sailed from Shortlands on a routine mission to deliver supplies to Vila on the southern tip of Kolombangara Island. At 2330 on March 4, they arrived safely off Vila and discharged their cargo into barges. As they began their run home, bearing northeast into Kula Gulf, Murasame’s lookout saw white flashes on the horizon. These flashes were the guns of light cruisers Montpelier, Cleveland, and Denver screened by destroyers Conway, Waller and Cony. This force had set out to bombard and harass the Japanese forces at Vila. Enroute they received news that two cruisers had been sighted departing Shortlands and were in their vicinity. "Black Cat" PBY Catalina spotter aircraft picked up the Japanese vessels followed by American radar at 0057 at a range of 15,200 yards.In this action the American commander, Stanton “Tip” Merrill, did not agonize over opening fire like Scott, Callaghan or Wright did in their battles off Guadalcanal. At 0101, just four minutes after the radar data had been received and interpreted, the American light cruisers had their initial salvo in the air from a range of 10,000 yards. Waller followed with torpedoes one minute later.
Murasame was straddled by the first salvo. Within a minute the sixth salvo of concentrated 6” radar directed cruiser fire hit home, causing serious damage. Then Waller’s torpedoes struck Murasame, the first torpedo hits achieved by an American warship other than a submarine or PT boat in the Pacific since the battle of Balikpapan. The Japanese destroyer exploded and sank by 0115. Fire was shifted to Minegumo at 0106. She returned fire and tried to escape, but was hit repeatedly and sank at 0130. The Americans did not suffer any damage in this engagement.
After dispatching the two destroyers they proceeded to complete their bombardment mission. Montpelier fired 1,800 5” and 6” shells in fifteen minutes during the surface engagement and 700 more during the shore bombardment following.While this engagement was brief and completely one-sided, it is significant in several respects. The Americans demonstrated improvements in their use of radar, their destroyers finally managed to add torpedoes to their arsenal and their commander acted promptly and decisively. While the Americans had an overwhelmingly superior force, this was no guarantee of success as the Japanese had shown at Tassafaronga.8/15/1943 Landing at Vella Lavella9/20/1943 From 20 September 1943, Cony patrolled through the Solomons, and from 1 to 3 October joined in a sweep against Japanese barges attempting to evacuate Kolombangara. On 27 October, she sailed to cover the landings on the Treasuries. Here complete surprise was achieved, but Japanese reaction came quickly, and later that day about 25 enemy bombers attacked Cony and another destroyer. Aided by American fighter aircraft, Cony and her sister splashed 12 of the enemy planes, but Cony received two bomb hits on her main deck, and these with a near miss killed 8 of her men, wounded 10, and caused considerable damage. She was towed into Port Purvis for emergency repairs, and sailed on to Mare Island for a complete overhaul.
10/1/1943 Evacuation of Kolombagara10/27/1943 Wed. Troops land on Mono and Stirling Islands in the Treasury Island Group, Solomon Islands; pre-invasion bombardment and covering for the landings are provided by United States naval vessels and aircraft. United States naval vessels damaged: Destroyer CONY (DD-508), by horizontal bomber, off Treasury Islands, 07 d. 23' S., 155 d. 27 ' E. LST 399 and LST 485, by coastal mortar, Solomon Islands area, 07 d. 25' S., 155 d. 34' E.
October 27th, 1943: The following is a first hand account of the attack on the Cony as described in the Journal of rear gunner Stanley Baranowski, sent to me by his granddaughter Valentina Baranowsk. Oct. 27, 1943
From "Landing Craft Flotillas, South Pacifice Force, Office of the Commander:
The performance of Cony in shooting down four, or possibly five, enemy planes during this attack is highly commendable.
Signed G.H. Fort Commander Task Group Thirty-one Oct. 27, 1943
From: Commander Destroyer Squadron Twenty-Two J.E. Hurff
To: Comander-inChief, U.S. Pacific Fleet:
Subject: USS Cony Action Report October 27, 1943
1. The Cony was alert in picking up the impending attack and gave timely warning to other ships present. The ship was skillfully handled and ably fought during the attack. The handling of damage was particularly gratifying. Only a ship thoroughly drilled and organized in damage control could have met this sistuation.
2. In separate correspondence it has been recommended that the Navy Cross be awarded to the Commanding Officer, Commander Harry D. Johnston, U.S. Navy. Oct. 27, 1943
We got up at 3:30AM and at 5:00AM we went into GQ. We were laying off from island "Treasury" because we were fighting dereutor for our planes. Nothing happened all morning. Everything was going good, then at 3:00PM got contact with a lot of planes - enemy. Then at 3:15PM, they came at us. So many of them. We started to fire everything we had. Bombs dropping all around us. 17 of them missed us. Then at 3:25PM we got 2 direct hits on port and starboard. Shrapnel flew everywhere. Lots of men were hit. 3-4-5 guns went out. Fire broke out on engines, they went out of order. We started to leave Treasury at 4:00PM. Worked on fires. Was up all night taking care of wounded.
Oct. 28, 1943
Still working on fires. Everyone was ordered to lighten ship so we started to throw ammo over the side. Ship was listing to port. Everybody getting ready to jump over side. Japs are still after us. We are going on one engine. Then at 11:15AM port engine gave out. tug came along and started to tow us and at 12:00PM or later, fire was out. Then at 9:30PM we we entered nets of Port Pervis. At 11:00PM moored to tanker "Oragon" and we took off wounded men.
Oct. 29, 1943
Got up at 6:0AM. Worked like hell and at 1:35PM took off 2 dead fellows burned to death - what a horrible sight. There are 4 men in number, 3 magazine we can't get at them too much pressure on hatch. Admiral came aboard to look things over, said its a State side job and at 5:30PM a show started named "Accidents Will Happen."
Shipmates that died on this day of October 27th, 1943.
Mario Earl Balistreri S2/C
Benard Barney S2/C
Howard William Bunting S1/C
Claude Ballentine Denton S1/C
Herman Matthew Johnson StM2/C
Charles Francis McClosky SF1/C
Benjamin Clay Mott GM1/C
Harry Edward Nelson S2/C
I have made a page with the incident of the "Cony Under Attack" on 10/27/1943 and HIGHLY recommend you take a look at it by clicking
(Per Don Paul of North Easton, Massachusetts who is the son of now deceased Pierre Paul (EM2) that other destroyer was the USS Philip DD-498). Aided by American fighter aircraft, Cony and her sister splashed 12 of the enemy planes, but Cony received two bomb hits on her main deck, and these with a near miss killed 8 of her men, wounded 10, and caused considerable damage. She was towed into Port Purvis for emergency repairs, and sailed on to Mare Island for a complete overhaul.3/27/44 Returning to Port Purvis 27 March 1944, Cony patrolled along the southwest coast of Bougainville, hunting Japanese barges and submarines, and giving fire support to troops ashore in the Empress Augusta Bay area. She sailed from Port Purvis 4 May for Majuro and Pearl Harbor where she joined the screen of a transport group bound for Eniwetok and the Saipan landings on 15 June. Cony screened the transports as they unloaded and carried out antisubmarine patrol until 14 July, when she sailed to replenish at Eniwetok. Six days later she sailed for preinvasion bombardment on Tinian, remaining to patrol in the antisubmarine screen when the landings themselves began on 24 July.
5/13/44 Commander Harry D. Johnston, USN, was relieved as Commanding Officer of the Cony by Lieutenant Commandor Allen W. Moore, USN. She then joined in the Marianas Campaign and acted as anti-submarine patrol vessel at Saipan, Tinian and Guam. Later during reconnaissance at Loyto, she helped rid Southern Surigao Straits of Japanese Fleet units trying to break up our landing operations inthe Philippines. (per material from Robert Barry)
3/8/2006 I received an inquiry from Anthony Tully (author of the book “Shattered Sword” The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway) asking for first hand accounts of the battle of Surigao Straits and the Japanese destroyer the Asagumo. This is a reply that I received from Raymond L. Quinn.
In response to your inquiry about the battle of Surigao Straits, in the Philippines . I remember it well and I think in a folder that I kept I have an article from Life Magazine which describes that battle. I think that I will be attending the reunion to be held in June in Buffalo and I intend to bring the folder, and maybe a copy of a diary that I kept for about 2 years on the Cony. I will try to relate some of the details of that naval battle
The navy had advance notice of the approach of the Japanese task force into the Surigao Sea through the Surigao straits. The torpedo boats were set up under the cover of the shore line on either side of the straits. They were to make torpedo runs on the Japanese fleet as they entered the straits, which they did, causing some confusion and destruction to the Japanese ships. We were in a formation which was described later as crossing the T. As my battle station was first loader on sky 44 which was located port side of the number two stack I had a clear view of the happenings although the whole battle took place in the dark of night. We were up in the front line and I didn't think too much of it until the Japs put up star shells and the whole ocean around us was alive with shrapnel hitting the water. That made me consider the shells going over us and those hitting near us. One thing I will always remember is that one Jap battleship was firing over us and she evidently had a worn barrel as there was one shell of the group going over us that was spinning end for end and making a thud=thud noise. The destroyers were then ordered to commence their torpedo runs and we picked up speed. We had our torpedo tubes trained out but it seems that the battleship we were running at sand before we got within range to release the torpedoes, so we didn't release any torpedoes. We made a run at flank speed through the Jap remaining ships, with all of our guns firing and rejoined our big stuff as screens. We got the word later that the Jap fleet had all been destroyed that night. There was plenty said about out having radar and the Japanese having to depend on visual contact. All the big ships were firing over us, both ours and the Japanese. No picnic is how I always will remember.
You can forward this information to the people who are doing the History of the Battle of Surigao Straits and I plan to be around for a little while to answer and questions that they may have.
Raymond L. Quinn, Sk3c, USS Cony (DD508) Note from Roger, Ray Quinn passed away Feb. 17th, 2007
This is another account I received from Russ Poe
I was present in the main battery gun director during the battle. When daylight came, we came up to the Asagumo which was a floating wreck. We put several 5-inch rounds into her which finished her off. In the distance we could see swimmers (probable crew survivors) making for the island. Word came up from the bridge to put some rounds into their midst, which we did. In today's world, this probably would be considered an atrocity. Most likely, if they had gotten ashore, they would have been a problem for the Filipinos who most likely would have killed them with their bolos.
This is what I remember. Vincent Courtright, who was our radar range operator, may have some recollections of this incident.
Russ Poe FC1 42-45
And another from Tom Clark
Thank you for the E mail I was the 40MM director on the port side of the #2 stack just above him for he was my loader he mentioned the projectiles going over us it was like a freight train rumbling over head we did go out to the two vessels burning from stem to stern a great battle but I need no more of it.
From Dick Bonheim
I am doing research for former crew members of the USS Robinson DD562. A submarine contact incident took place on the night 14-15 June 1944 off Saipan.
USS Robinson member recalls dropping of depth charges. In the midst of the run remembers being called off the contact to return to escort duties and being replaced on the run by another DD. Trying to determine if The Cony was indeed that ship on station that night. There is a strong possibility that Japanese voices were heard indicating that the vessel may have surfaced. IJN records indicate that one Submarine designated I-5 as unaccounted for. Acknowledging this event would be greatly appreciated. Please include a telephone # so I might respond.
My # is 254-547-6337. I live in Copperas Cove, TX adjacent to Fort Hood. I'm retired AF/Army ..... but please don't let that get in your way!!!!!!!!! Thank you for your service to "our" country!
The email was responded to by Bob Beauparlant.
I was on the Cony and that was our ship. The Cony was part of the task force group on the way to Saipan and had a submarine contact. We made 5 runs and dropped 46 charges. Then an oil slick was seen on the surface of the water so we knew we had gotten the sub. On June 15 we picked up a Jap Survivor (merchant seaman) out of the water.
My battle station was in the director. My rate was Fire Controlman 3rd class.
My Phone Number is: 906 - 863 - 6082 Hope this helps you and looking forward to hearing from you.
Then this insert as quoted by Jack Smith and passed to me from Dick Bonheim:
I was a signalman on the USS Cony and recall that night---we may have been the destroyer dispatched to relieve the Robinson that night. I do know that we picked a Japanese sailor out of the water that night and held him until morning or possibly for several days and turned him over to the Senior Officer Present Afloat (SOPA) at Saipan for their interviewing him for possible information. Never heard anything further about the incident as far as I can recall.---We had a Boatswains Mate 1/C aboard who resembled the prisoner and he took a lot of ribbing about the incident. I don't recall the BM1?c name but do know he was from San Antonio Texas---perhaps others will recall his name. My name is EJSmith telephone number (412)-221-2897 (home and office phone) if you need to contact me. Best time is 9:00AM to 11:00AM & 2:00 to 5:00PM Monday thru Friday.
Note from Roger Rieman
Dick Bonheim, who was not a USS Robinson shipmate, but did extensive research on the sinking of a certain Japanese submarine enroute to the invasion of Saipan in June of 1944 of which the USS Robinson and the USS Cony took part. This was a part in a book that he published in 2002 titled "Heroes".
Over the years, Dick and I have kept in contact and have exchanged information of the histories of the Fletcher class, mostly in the WWII era.
Dick was invited to attend the USS Robinson reunion this last September 2006, in San Antonio. He contacted me and asked me to write a message to the crew of the Robinson which I did in the form of a tribute. When Dick attended the reunion, he read my tribute.
When I re-read the tribute, I can't help but feel that there must be "thousands" of our shipmates that feel that kinship, not only to their own vessel, but to all who served in the wars. A common bond that cannot be broken.
You can read the tribute to the USS Robinson from the USS Cony by clicking the button.
Outstanding coverage of Cony's participation in the war from 1944 to 1946.
8/24/1944 Cony returned to Guadalcanal 24 August 1944 to prepare for the assault on the Palau Islands. She screened carriers as they launched air raids supporting the landings on Peleliu between 15 and 30 September, then put in to Manus to replenish. The destroyer put to sea once more 12 October, screening and providing fire support for underwater demolition teams and bombardment groups in Leyte Gulf between 19 and 21 October as the landings began. As Japanese forces entered Leyte Gulf on 24 October to begin the Battle of Surigao Strait phase of the epic Battle for Leyte Gulf, Cony took her station with the battleships and cruisers in the battleline, joining in the furious firing of the night action, and pursuing and constantly dueling with Japanese destroyer Asagumo, finally sunk in the morning of 25 October with the aid of fire from another destroyer and two cruisers.11/16/1944 To read the exciting battle of Ormoc Bay which included Cony click the button:
After voyaging to Manus for replenishment, Cony returned to Leyte Gulf for patrol duties 16 November 1944. On the nights of 29-30 November and 1-2 December she joined in sweeps of Ormoc Bay, hunting Japanese shipping. Targets were few, but her group sent a barge to the bottom on their second foray, and bombarded enemy positions on the shores of the bay in preparation for the landings in Ormoc Bay a few days later. Cony put in to Kossol Roads from 4 to 10 December, then sailed to screen carriers providing air cover for attack groups passing from Leyte to Mindoro, returning to Kossol Roads 19 December.12/23/1944 Cony arrived at Manus 23 December 1944 and sailed 8 days later to screen transports to the Lingayen Gulf landings on 9 January 1945. She cleared the Gulf 11 January to screen empty transports and cargo ships to San Pedro Bay, Leyte, and then took up patrol duty in Lingayen Gulf. The destroyer covered the reconnaissance and sweeping of Baler Bay between 26 February and 10 March, and stood by to provide fire support during the landings on Caballo Island in Manila Bay on 27 March. She bombarded Parang between 14 and 19 April, and patrolled in Davao Gulf early in May. On 7 June she sailed from Subic Bay to cover the landings at Brunei Bay, Borneo, on 9 June, and sailed on a fire support mission aiding minesweeping operations and underwater demolition teams near Balikpapan, Borneo, from 13 June to 2 July.3/1/1945 Task unit consisting of destroyer Cony (DD-508), destroyer escort Formoe (DE-509), minesweepers Sentry (AM-299) and Salute (AM-294) and two infantry landing craft (LCI), begin minesweeping and reconnaissance of Baler Bay and Casiguran Sound, Luzon, to investigate a possible fleet anchorage and determine composition of Japanese forces in the vicinity. Army scouts and interpreters are embarked for use ashore.3/21/1945 The Cony joined Commander Cruisers, Seventh Fleet, and participated in the landings on Caballo Island, near Corregidor Island. During April she engaged in the amphibious landings on Mindanno, after which she proceeded to Subic Bay. It was here on April 29, 1945, that Commander Allen W. Moore, USN, was relieved as Commanding Officer of the Cony by Lieutennant Commander T. C. Siegmund, USN. (per Robert Barry) 3/27/1945 One battalion of army troops (Second Battalion, 151st Infantry, 38th Division), supported by destroyers Conway (DD-507) and Cony (DD-508) and three rocket-equipped motor torpedo boats, lands on Caballo Island near Corregidor, preceded by an air strike.6/7/1945 The Cony reported to the Distant Covering Force, underway from Subic Bay for Borneo minesweeping and support operations. She engaged in several anti-aircraft actions during this operation, but with no damage to the vessel, although she narrowliy escaped being sunk in a surprise moonlight torpedo attack. Upon returning to Leyto, the Cony was transferred to the Seventh Amphibious Force for duty, where she carried out minor support missions at Sarangani Bay in Philippine mop-up operations by the 24th Division, before the end of hostilities with the Japanese.
The Cony is credited with five battle stars for her participation in: the consolidation of the Southern Solomons: New Georgia - Vella LaVella Campaign: Treasury -Bougainvillo Campaign: Mariana Campaign, and the assult and occupation of Palau Island. In addition she is credited with two stars for her participation in the Philippino Liboration. (prepared November 10 1949, by Press Section, First Naval District Public Information Office) Donated by Robert Barry.7/11/1945 Returning to San Pedro Bay, Cony sailed on 11 July 1945 to escort transports to landings at Saragani Ray, Mindanao, providing fire support to the forces ashore until 13 July. Through August, she made an escort voyage between Leyte and Ulithi, and on 8 September, arrived in the approaches of the Yangtze River to act as navigational ship during minesweeping operations. Between 29 September and 6 October, she called at Shanghai, then sailed to investigate the compliance with the surrender terms of Japanese troops on Raffles Island in the Chusan Archipelago just off the China coast south of Shanghai. After making a mail run to Okinawa, she served as harbor entrance control ship at Shanghai until 19 November, when she sailed to Taiwan to serve as navigational ship for minesweeping operations in the Taiwan Straits. She sailed for home from Shanghai 20 December, and after calling at San Diego and New York, arrived at Charleston, S.C., 13 March 1946.1/1/1947 USS Cony inactivated (Decomissioned) and assigned to the U.S. Atlantic Reserve Fleet.
11/17/1949 The following Navy News release, introduction, J.F.K.Speach, and linked page of the 1949 crew was donated by Bob Barry LTJG 63-65
USS Cony Famous World War II Destroyer, to be Re-Commissioned in Boston November 17, 1949
The World War II destroyer USS Cony, which saw action as Flagship for the Commander of the Navy's Third Amphibious Force during Pacific campaigns and later laid in "mothballs" as part of the Navy's "Zipper Fleet," will be re-commissioned in Boston on November 17, 1949, as an experimental destroyer. Named for Joseph S. Cony, Civil war naval hero from Eastport, Maine, the USS Cony is a 2050-ton Fletcher class destroyer, built at Bath Iron Works Corporation, Bath, Maine, and originally completed in October 1942. The Cony left Boston in December 1942 for the South Pacific area, where she fought until the end of World War II, during which time she earned battle stars for participation in operations against the Solomon Islands; New Georgia-Vella-Levella operation the Cony was flagship for the late Vice-Admiral Theodore S. Wilkinson, USN, Commander of the Third Amphibious Force.On January 1, 1947, the Cony was inactivated and became a part of the Reserve Fleet. She is being re-commissioned as an experimental destroyer and will specialize in anti-submarine warfare operations
The Following is the Commissioning Cermony
Captain R. Watt, Jr., USN reads order to commission USS Cony
Ship is placed in commission. Ensign, Jack, and Commission Pennant are hoisted as Band plays the National Anthem.
Address by the Honorable John F. Kennedy
Address by the Commanding Officer
First Watch set
Added Feb. 2013, the original Program, indeed worth looking at and saving.
This is a scanned text searchable pdf file of the actual Commissioning program from 1949.
This Commissioning Program was received from the U.S.S. Little Rock Association. It was from the naval memorabilia collection of Mr. Walter A. Nebiker, SN1/C, USS Little Rock CL92, 1947-48 passed on to me from Art Tilley.
Next is John F. Kennedy's introduction by Captain R.M. Watt, JR. Commander, Boston Naval Shipyard at the Commissioning of the USS Cony DDE-508 Thursday November 17, 1949
We are extremely fortunate today to have as our guest of honor a young man who has packed a perfectly incredible amount of life, action fighting, and useful and effective pubic service into the short span of 32 years.
Assured of a life of ease and luxury if he had cared to follow it, he chose instead to throw himself in where the going was toughest. He has worked and fought faithfully and well in war and in peace for the Untied States and for the welfare of the average citizen.
As a boy at Harvard, he dug in and graduated with high honors. He then graduated from the London School of Economics.
In September 1941, without waiting for Pearl Harbor, he joined the Navy and became a PT boat sailor. He ended up a full Lieutenant wearing the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for heroism in action and saving the lives of several of his men. He also wears the Purple Heart and other ribbons.
Somehow, along the way, he has found time to be a successful journalist, a successful author, and an indefatigable worker for charity, civic projects, and improved housing.
Today, we of the Boston Naval Shipyard family give him an especially warm welcome, not for these worldly honors and achievements, but because in these difficult days of the new weapons and changing techniques of warefare he has proven himself a staunch friend of the Navy in general of Boston Naval Shipyard in particular. All of us who work here know that he one of the truest and best friends that Boston Naval Shipyard has ever had.
I am proud and happy to present to you Congressman John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts.
Here is Congressman J.F. Kennedy's speech for the Cony's re-commissioning.
It is a great honor for me to join with you today in recommissioning the USS Cony as an experimental destroyer.
The Cony, like many of us here today, is a veteran of the last war. She rendered distinguished service in the Solomon Islands Campaign, the hardest and the most dangerous duty that destroyers encountered in the Pacific. The Cony won her battle stars in some of the Great actions of World War II.
The Cony was built in Bangor, Maine, (Bath Iron Works, Bath Maine as noted above in (Navy News release of Cony re-commissioning on 11/9/1949) she was named for Joseph S. Cony, of Eastport, Maine and her new Commander Lt Commander John B. Mutty, who also hails from Bangor. A ship with that strong connection with the state of Maine, the State which has in the past sent great sailors and great ships down to the sea, is fortunate.
I believe that it is a good symbol that there are many members of the crew from the other New England states which border on the great Atlantic Ocean, and I am particularly pleased to see that there are some men from Bunker Hill.
Joseph Cony served with distinction in the war between the states specializing in amphibian landings along the southern coast. His commanding officer once wrote of him “the manner in which my orders were carried out is highly creditable to Mr. Cony, who is, I beg leave to state, a good officer and seaman."
The Cony as you can see had a complete renovation. Her original superstructure has been replaced, has been given all of the latest equipment for her new role in anti-submarine warfare.
As submariners have become more effective, the job of the submarine hunter has become more difficult, more complicated. I know that in the difficult days to come the USS Cony of the Fletcher Class, newly commissioned anti-submarine destroyer, will continue to carry on the highest tradition of the United States Navy.
To see the roster of the officers and crew that manned the Cony after her re-commissioning in 1949
3/26/1949 Cony was reclassified DDE-508 and was converted to an escort destroyer, specially equipped for antisubmarine warfare, and recommissioned 17 November 1949.
After training and operations along the east coast and in the Caribbean, she sailed from her home-port, Norfolk, on a cruise round the world, during which she operated in the Korean war zone from 18 June to 28 October, returning home by way of the Suez Canal, and arriving at Norfolk 20 December 1951.
September 1953, she again cleared on a distant deployment, taking part in North Atlantic Treaty Organization Operation "Mariner," then exercising with the Royal Navy in antisubmarine operations off Northern Ireland before continuing to a tour of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean.
In 1955 and 1957, she again served in the Mediterranean, and in September and October 1957, joined in NATO antisubmarine exercises in the English Channel. Local operations and cruises to the Caribbean marked 1958, and in 1959 and 1960, Cony joined TF Alfa, an experimental tactical group concentrating on antisubmarine warfare, in its operations along the east coast. With this group, she visited Quebec City, Canada, in June 1960.
.NOTE ! If you served aboard the Cony when she participated in the Communist China Spring Offensive or Summer / Fall offensive from June of 1951 through October of 1951 you may be eligible for a metal.
Check it out at : http://www.history.navy.mil/medals/kormedal/korea-c.htm11/15/1951 The following is from an email that I received from Robert F. White (XO, 51-54)
1951 - ? to about 15 November - Gunfire support Korea. Captain Joe Dodson. RFW duty Ops Officer & eventually XO.
1951 - About 15 Nov - enroute in division, Korea to Norfolk, with port calls in Singapore; Aden; La Spezia; Gibraltar (where attached to carrier task force enroute to Norfolk (through hurricane at sea). Arrive Norfolk, about 24 December.
1951 - 1952 The following are excerpts from a letter that was addressed to Ken Cox from Wm. Poindexter Moore, Jr. (dated 4/12/08)
It was my pleasure to serve on the CONY during her tour of duty during the Korean War. I was commissioned only at the end of WWII and was assigned in mine sweeps to prepare for the invasion of Japan. Fortunately President Truman ordered "the bomb"
to be dropped which ended the Navy's operations for all purposes.
After completing our tour in Japan and another year in the Philippines before being released, I paid little attention to the Navy until the Korean War broke out. At that time I was working for the L S Foreign Service of the U S Dept of State in Finland. Although my position exempted me from being recalled, I volunteered to serve again and soon afterwards received orders to report to the CONY in Norfolk, VA. We sailed shortly afterwards on what turned out to be an around the world cruise. Our Captain was Cmd. Joseph A. Dodson, Jr. who graduated from the U S Naval Academy in the class of 1937. Cdr. Dodson was a native of Maysville, KY and I learned from the Alumni Office at the Academy, he died of natural causes in 1993 at the age of 76 years. During this tour in the years of 1951 - 1952, we had some interesting times. We spent time in Korean waters engaged in normal shore bombardment as directed in support of military operations on shore. Perhaps some of the crew might be attendance who were on the CONY at that time. Undoubtedly they will remember slipping in and out of Wonsan Harbor. Perhaps someone might also remember an unusual assignment we received sometime during the summer months.
We were ordered to assist the U S Marine Corps in an intelligence gathering effort in northern Korean coastal port of Swatow, or something like that. My memory is not so good after 50 years. I am now in my early 80s but certain aspects of that endeavor stand out pretty clear in my memory. We moved in within five miles of the coast and our MWB then undertook to tow two sanpans under the cover of darkness into the beach. Each sanpan held six to eight Marines. One of U S Marines and the other South Korean Marines. As 1st Lt, it was my duty to command the MWB. Accompanying me was our Chief Boatswain Mate, a Radio Operator, a Gunner's Mate and of course, a Coxswain.
We visited the ship's armory before boarding the MWB and armed ourselves as if we were making an invasion. I selected a BAR., Our machine shop outfitted us or with a metal radar reflector so they could direct us by radio into the harbor where we were to let the Marines proceed on their own to do their thing. We were ordered to drop back and await their return from their intelligence gathering mission. As you might imagine, we waited anxiously in the darkness when our radio communications with the Marines was lost. There was some shooting ashore but we were unaware what was happening.
After waiting until almost dawn and with no Marines showing up, we reluctantly begin to move back out to sea hoping not to be discovered by any North Korean patrol boats. Fortunately the CONY moved in to sight soon after sun up and we were picked up. After such a long time awake, we turned in and it was not until sometime that afternoon when I awoke and went out on deck did I learn that we had picked up some of the Marines who had managed to escape after being shot up. Unfortunately three of them were killed Their bodies were brought back aboard the CONY and I remember them being buried at sea. It was quite an impressive ceremony. Overall, our tour in Korean waters was perhaps less exciting than that of other ships but we did what we were ordered to do. Incidentally, I never could figure out why the Navy sent a DDE to Korean waters. Although they had removed
our number two 5" gun mount and replaced it with a Weapon "Able" mount, they never provided us with any such rockets. None of us would have known what to do with one even if it was on board because none of us had been trained to operate it. I ended up being the Gunnery Officer so I know what I am writing about.
Finally we were given orders to proceed back to the states via the Mediterranean. I remember that we sailed south after leaving Singapore to cross the Equator. Us "pollywogs" got the royal treatment and it was in keeping with navy traditions with King Neptune being piped aboard. It was all in great fun.' On the way home, we unexpectedly received orders to proceed up into the Persian Gulf. We stopped to take on fuel at Aden, the same spot where a U S Navy ship was bombed two or three years ago. We then proceeded up thru the Straits of Hormuz into the Gulf. We tied up at Bahrain Island, There were two docks that could accommodate four ten thousand ton tankers. Today tankers hold 500 thousand tons! This was at the beginning of the Anglo-Iranian Petroleum Company disagreement. Oil was selling around $5 per barrel. We were the only U S Navy ships available to make a show of strength, There were no U S ships in either the Indians Ocean or elsewhere close by. Goodness knows how many ships we have dispatched to that part of the world since then. I also remember that when we passed thru the Suez Canal we moved thru at about 12 knots-at battle stations! when the usual speed is 3 or 4 knots.(This is to keep from losing the sand and filling in the canal) As I remember, we made stops at Spezia in Italy, Marseille, France and Gibraltar, we made it back to Norfolk in time for Christmas.
1952 - Engaged in hunter-killer ops out of Norfolk. Participated in CONVEX III; 5 April. Captain William Manning assumes command. Shipyard overhaul July-August.
1952 The USS Cony won the Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet Effiency "E" in 1952.
Memories of Korea by Wayne Clements. This is how the Cony 'captured' a North Korean and held him as a POW for several days. In the fall of 1952 we were assigned to blockade duty along the East Coast of North Korea. When we left Sasebo for our northern patrol we often had a sampan aboard along with two South Korean officers. Somewhere along the coast at night, under darkened ship conditions, we would stopand lower a motor whaleboat. Theofficers, dressed as peasants, would depart in the whaleboat with an armed crew and their sampan in tow. Obviously their duty was to gather intelligence behind enemy lines. I often wondered if any of them ever made it back toSouth Korea.
Winter comes quickly to Korea and it was probably October when we spotted a sampan several miles off the coast. Weclosed and stopped a few hundfred feet away. A man wearing a loincloth was sitting in the boat and shaking from the cold. Captain Dodson ordered the whaleboat, with an armed crew, lowered for a closer look.There were no mines under the sampan, so our very cold 'captive' was brought aboard and the sampan was sunk..
Our Korean officers questioned him. He was about 14 years old and the only remaining older male in his village. Because food was scarce, he decided to paddle out to sea to die. Fortunately for him, the Cony changed his plans. The whaleboat crew that rescued him"adopted" him. He got woolen blues and joined our mess. I recall that he had never seen an orange and did not know how to peel it. Although we had a huge language barrier, his smiles showed his gratutude. After we put our 'spies' ashore, we had a rendezvous with the cruiser Helena. Our young prisoner of was was high lined to the cruiser and probably ended up in a South Korean POW camp.
1953 - August 27- Captain William Manning relieved by Captain Don Dertien.
CONY underway 16 September for NATO exercise Operation Mariner as part of DesDiv 21. Sept. 29 crossed Arctic Circle in Straits of Denmark; all crew members now "Bluenoses".
1953- Oct. 5:
Arrived at Plymouth, England.
October 10:, CONY attached to RN AS School Londonderry, Northern Ireland for joint ASW exercises with RN and RAF.
Ordered to Sixth Fleet, arriving Suda Bay, Crete. Departing Nov. 4. Attached to Fast Carrier Task Force.
Nov. 4 - Nov. 10 Fleet Exercise.
Nov. 10 - 16,
At La Spezia, Italy for shore leave.
Nov. 16 - 21, Fleet Exercise
Nov. 21 - 29, Toulon, France
Nov. 29, at sea enroute Taranto, Italy, for ASW exercises with Italian fleet.
Nov. 30 - Dec. 4, Taranto, Italy
Dec. 5 -10, Naples, Italy
Dec. 10 - 19, Fleet Exercise
(December 10, in Gibralter dry dock for repairs to the sonar Dome).
Dec. 19 - 28,
shore leave in Golfe Juan, France
Dec. 28 - Jan. 4, 1954 at Leghorn, Italy, for shore leave.
Jan 4 - 8 exercising with Sixth Fleet.
Jan 9 - 18, at Cartagena, Spain.
19 - 23, steaming for Trieste.
24 enroute Norfolk, with refueling stop at Gibraltar on 29 January.
1954, Feb. 8,
26 - Captain White transferred to CO USN&MC Training Center, Jackson MI.
Note from Roger: Some of the dates and material from the above came from Bob Auchincloss Ensign / LTjg 1953 - 1954.
Message from Robert F. White LCDR 52-53. I have a copy of the CONY's cruise book for the period 9/53 to 2/54. It contains pictures of the crew, by division, and a number of shots taken during the cruise. Would this be of help in any way?
Late 1950's I am including the text from a blog of Si Daugherty LTJG (1958 - 1960) mostly because I have never heard a better or more detailed description of what it is like to have sailed the North Atlantic. Although my period of time was in the early 60's and one time in particular was in the winter time when the deck force had to chip ice off so that we wouldn't become more top heavy. Anyway here is an excerpt from Si's blog.
The Cony was part of what in the late 1950's was called Task Force Alpha. Our squadron would go out to Point Pete in the Atlantic with a carrier and some of our subs (that was Task Force Alpha), winter and summer, calm or storm. We would be on station for two weeks and then be replaced by Task Force Bravo, and then back again to replace them. The point was that we would be in position to intercept Russian submarines should they try to approach. No boomers yet. The early Cold War. We spent our time doing ASW exercises, plane guarding the carrier aircraft, and just plain survivng in the North Atlantic. At that point, we had a couple of nuclear boats but most submarines were diesel pig-boats.
Survivng in the North Atlantic in a smallish sort of ship is an event in itself. I can remember the Cony crawling up one side of a wave. The screws straining to push it up the mountain of water. At the top, the sonar would be out of water and we could hear it scream. Then down the other side. The flat bottom of the bow would slam against the water as she fell forward. As the screws came up out of the water, they would race in the air. And then at the bottom, green water looming overhead and washing over the bridge. We ate sandwiches and drank coffee. Eating at a table was impossible. Normal sleeping meant ending up on the floor. I spread myself out face down on my bunk with my arms and legs spread-eagled as much as I could to keep my center of gravity as low as possible and to hold on in my sleep as best I could. No one ventured outside unless there was an emergency and then only with safety lines. And we survived. Cony did not lose anyone. Mother Nature is a cruel, mean bitch and we beat her.
Plane guarding meant being stationed close in front of and behind the carrier in case an aircraft had to go down in takeoff or landing.
We would replenish our fuel and supplies by high-lining. That meant steaming about ten or twenty feet beside the carrier or a huge transport and pass oil, supplies, people across suspended by a rope. And the ships had to go fast for better stability. Water would race and boil between the ships. I highlined to the carrier one time to go home when our Dan was born. It is a memorable event. The Bos'n thought it amusing to almost dunk the new JG. Great seamanship, no spills and no accidents.
September of 1955 she visited several popular ports while serving in the Mediterranean, and in September and October 1957, joined in NATO antisubmarine exercises in the English Channel.1957 Robert A. Bogardus took Command of the USS Cony. For those from that time period and wondered whatever happened to him, I have found this information.
Click on this link Robert Bogardus Also if you would like to look at a Christmas Dinner Menu for the time period that Commander Bogardus was aboard click on this link Christmas Menu 1958 In April 1958 Cony joined Task Force "ALFA" for operations in improving and developing ASW tactics. She remained with "ALFA" until January 1962 with the exception of shipyard periods and refresher training.7/1/1959 The following is added per Bill McCabe Midshipman on cruise in summer of 1959.7/1/59 - 8/14/59 CONY exercised off the East Coast as part of an ASW task group, participating in NROTC Midshipman Cruise LANTMIDASWEX 3-59.
During this period she made a week port call to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in July and a week port call to Bermuda in early August, berthing at the U.S. Naval Air Station Annex at the southwestern end of the island. During this period her commanding officer was CDR B.E. Glendinning, USN
1956 Newspaper article from 12/16/05 on one of our own USS Cony shipmates Navy Seal Durwood Hunter White SM2 56-59. Click
1/17/1961 THE BAY OF PIGS
1961, an unsuccessful invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles, supported by the U.S. government. On Apr. 17, 1961, an armed force of about 1,500 Cuban exiles landed in the Bahía de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) on the south coast of Cuba. Trained since May, 1960, in Guatemala by members of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with the approval of the Eisenhower administration, and supplied with arms by the U.S. government, the rebels intended to foment an insurrection in Cuba and overthrow the Communist regime of Fidel Castro. The Cuban army easily defeated the rebels and by Apr. 20, most were either killed or captured. The invasion provoked anti-U.S. demonstrations in Latin America and Europe and further embittered U.S.-Cuban relations. Poorly planned and executed, the invasion subjected President Kennedy to severe criticism at home. Cuban exile leader José Miró Cardona, president of the U.S.-based National Revolutionary Council, blamed the failure on the CIA and the refusal of Kennedy to authorize air support for the invasion. In Dec., 1962, Castro released 1,113 captured rebels in exchange for $53 million in food and medicine raised by private donations in the United States.
The U.S. Navy Memorial Log Entry for David A. Barker
Since 1977, I have represented veterans in their claims before the Department of Veteran Affairs.
To lesser extent, the Social Security Administration, the military and naval services.
As most sailors, my Navy experience will live with me throughout my lifetime. In my experience as a Veterans Service Officer, I do realize we have a tendency to remember the best of times and forget those days of struggle and woe.
I wish to leave my thoughts of our involvement in the infamous Bay of Pigs, Cuba incident. I served aboard the USS Cony DDE 508. We were one of seven destroyers of DESRON 28, Task Group Alpha serving with the USS Essex CV-9 and the USS San Marcos LSD-25, in the actual waters off the coast of southern Cuba. The event was from Monday, April 17th to Friday April 21, 1961. But not just another workweek.
This story is true; but it almost falls into a "sea story" category. We were not given any indication, of any change in our normal "out to sea" for ASW exercises. We all expected to be out for our normal two weeks and return for two weeks in port. As our DESRON was two in two out. When the ship Quartermasters were ordered to no longer log our position and no longer to use the sextant. We all became suspicious.
Our Captain (CDR. Frank Dunham) who with our XO (Lt. Jack Wilson) did all of the readings and logs. None of the crew had access to any logs or equipment to allow us to figure out where we were. We did know for sure we were not in our usual patrol areas and it was getting hot, in temperature as well as pressure. Neither the Captain nor the XO spoke of what was going on. When we asked we only received a smile. Fortunately for the Cony sailors we had two outstanding leaders, both were very crew oriented. The smiles were seemingly sincere; but we understood.
The seven destroyers were chosen to go into the bay , they were the Bache, Beale, Cony, Conway, Eaton, Murray and the Waller. The Essex and San Marcos remained further at sea. At this time, I was a leading seaman and in charge of the side cleaners. We were instructed to go over the side and paint off the five of our hull number. We became the 08 rather than 508. We then painted off the name Cony on the stern. Then our Commission pennant and U.S. Flag were removed; there was no longer any question of what we were going to do. We still didn't know where or why. We had unknown (to us) civilians come aboard, VIA our motor whaleboat. Although I was a member of the boat crew, we were not to speak to them at any time, for any reason.
As documented by author Peter Wyden in his book THE BAY OF PIGS, THE UNTOLD STORY (Simon & Schuster 1978), our ships did meet some resistance. It is further documented in the VFW Magazine (September 1993), "a whaleboat carrying sailors heavily armed with Browning automatic rifles, from the Cony, was beached at one stage. While rescuing Brigade survivors, it was fired on by a Cuban helicopter." Actual small arms fire struck the Cony. A round from a Cuban artillery piece was fired over the bow of at least one of the destroyers. We went to GQ. It seemed as if GQ lasted for the entire five days, but I am sure we had breaks in the time or at least went to a relaxed battle condition.
Several times during the invasion we were certain we were at war with Cuba. However we were unaware that the President of the United States had altered the plans of the invasion. Of course we sailors, other than the Captain and XO had no idea of where we were, or what we were doing. In an amusing fact, it is a lot of what we experience today, from the layman's perspective. While underway to our port, we were instructed by the Captain, not to discuss any event we had observed or heard about. After our return to port, one of the crew members of the USS Conway had written a poem of the Bay of Pigs, the poem was briskly distributed throughout the DESRON and retrieved just about as quick. We were again instructed not to discuss the events with anyone.
When I first read the book BAY OF PIGS: THE UNTOLD STORY, I called Captain Dunham and asked him if we could finally discuss that event. The skipper told me we were now declassified and could tell the world. For the first time in my life in 1978 I told family and friends, not one seemed impressed at all. Too little, too late.
1959/1961 The following notes are from Bill Gordon FT2 59/61 The actual dates are only approximate.
Here are the details of the two new recollections that I mentioned in the previous email.
1. I was on watch on the bridge (the FT's were bridge talkers) when CIC notified me "chicken in the drink" which meant that an aircraft had gone down. It was one of the ASW aircraft from the carrier. I don't recall the date of this incident. The Cony was directed to the site of the crash. In the meantime, one of the flight crew was rescued by helicopter, but another crew member was too badly injured to be pulled into the helicopter. The Cony arrived on site and threw the injured man a lifeline, but he was not able to hold on. Then, one of the Cony's rescue team members (I don't recall who) dove into the water and swam out to the injured man and brought him on board. At the time, I understood that one crew members went down with the aircraft and the other two were saved (one by the helicopter and the other by the Cony).
Note to the (I don't recall who in the above paragraph).
It was BM3 Keith Logan who many years later retired as a Chief Boatswains Mate. Keith was presented the Lifesaving Medal by Captain Frank Dunham in a special presentation later in the year.
2. Access to Radar 31 (the 56 system radar and computer room) was via a small passageway with access to the main deck and the 01 level. The passageway had access to the main deck via a watertight door, and to the 01 level via a watertight hatch. The passageway accessed the forward fireroom via a hatch, and Radar 31 via a non-watertight door. One of the FT gang had artistic talent (unfortunately I don't recall who this was) and we all agreed to have him paint the cartoon character BC - the prehistoric man - on the regular access door to Radar 31. The BC character was shown aiming a bow and arrow at a target and a thought balloon over his head showed various mathematical, fire control calculations that were taken from one of our fire control manuals. We never asked for permission to perform this task, but no one ever objected. I hope that this door and the cartoon painting went down with the Cony.Another memory of the Bay of Pigs is that when we departed Norfolk, we knew something was up since the carrier had jets and not ASW prop aircraft on board. We also headed for the Caribbean and not the North Atlantic as was our usual area of operations. We also highlined and Admiral from a marine troop transport to the Cony at one point. Prior to the invasion, all of the destroyers in the squadron painted out the first digest of their hull numbers (the Cony's hull number was then 08), and a canvas cover was placed on each destroyers stack to hide the squadron emblem. Of course, we still flew the American flag, so I am not sure that we were fooling anyone. The day before the invasion, we were told that we were to accompany a survey ship that was to map the waters around Cuba outside the 3 mile limit; but that Cuba claimed a 10 mile limit, so we might expect some trouble. The night of the invasion, being on the main fire control IC network, I was able to keep up with what was going on (ships burning, tracers, artillery, etc.). During the invasion, I remember the Gunnery Officer reporting that “this is just like the movies, I can see tracers coming at us”. Later, he requested permission to load hoppers on the 3” gun mounts, and permission was granted. Although we were prepared to fire, permission was never then granted by the U.S. Government. On several occasions, on the night of the invasion, a Cuban helicopter gunship poked its head above ground level, Radar 31 locked on and the helicopter ducked for cover. The day after the invasion, we picked up some survivors in an inflatable raft, and our whale boat, with armed crew went ashore in search on survivors. None were found. A very sad situation. When we returned to Norfolk, were were sworn to secrecy under threat of court martial. However, a few weeks after we returned, my parents sent me an article about the invasion from the Denver Post that stated a witness saw an American ship with the hull number 08. My parents, of course, wondered if that was by any chance the Cony. At the time, I said that it was not. Thanks again. Bill Gordon
1958/1959/1960 Local operations and cruises to the Caribbean marked 1958, and in 1959 and 1960. 1958 Cony joined Task Force Alfa, an experimental tactical group concentrating on antisubmarine warfare, in its operations along the east coast. With this group, she visited Quebec City, Canada, in June 1960. Cony received 11 battle stars for World War II service, and two for Korean war service.5/1960 Cony was assigned to servey the action of the "UEGA", one of the many Russian trawlers that are cruising the Western Atlantic. 2/1961 Cony was sent to Boston Massachusetts to conduct surveillance for the polaris submarine Abraham Lincoln SSBN-602. The following is from http://userpages.aug.com/essex/bop.html
Trouble in the nations backyard "pond" the Caribbean
In early January 1961, U.S. Navy vessels began taking up station off Cuba. By April 19, 1961 the invasion to overthrow Fidel Castro was under at the Bahia del Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) on the islands southern coast: Cuban exile Brigade 2506 (some 1,300 men) had landed.
On scene for the operation was the Carrier ESSEX, escorted by the Destroyers CONWAY, CONY, EATON, MURRAY and WALLER, who was designated Task Force " Alpha."
The diesel powered Sub U.S.S. COBBLER (SS-344), along with another Sub of the Atlantic Fleet's Antisubmarine Development Force, were part of Task Force Alpha. So were the Destroyer escorts BACHE and BEALE, according to veterans.
Aboard the ESSEX was VA-34, a jet fighter squadron called the "Blue Blasters" and 1,200 Marines. All told probably 6,000 American servicemen covered the invasion. (In addition, the CIA had recruited at least 18 U.S. civilian aviators as pilots, navigators, radio operators and flight engineers to fly B-26 bomber missions for the exiles.)
Directly involved was the landing ship dock SAN MARCOS (LSD-25) with a complement of 326 men. Under the cover of darkness, we picked up a contingent of Cuban freedom fighters and transported them to the Bay of Pigs, recalled David M. Scott, a machinist's mate the SAN MARCOS. One of the non-U.S. ships was sunk but our ship was not hit. But other U.S. ships came close to being hit. The EATON led the invasion flotilla into the Bay of Pigs. It received fire from the beach, and was bracketed by two stray shells from Cuban tanks positioned along the Bay.
Jose Knoblock, a radarman on the U.S.S. CONY, remembered: Small arms fire started dinging off the ship so we moved out of range during the invasion. During one patrol we picked up a sub contact. On our way back to Norfolk the crew was told to keep quiet about where we were and what we did. Moreover, a whaleboat, carrying sailors heavily armed with Browning Automatic rifles, from the CONY, was beached at one stage. While rescuing Brigade survivors, it was fired upon by a Cuban helicopter. ESSEX put up a recon flight, and its unmarked AD-4s drew fire over the beaches on April 19. Carrier aircraft also attempted to protect the vulnerable B-26 bombers. Volunteer U.S. training advisers flew four of the B-26s.
Tragically, all four Alabama's lost their lives that day.
One bomber was brought down by anti-aircraft fire over Castro's headquarters at the central Australia sugar mill. Both pilots survived the crash. But were subsequently shot. The other plane was pursued by a Cuban T-33 and shot down over the sea with the loss of both men. These American deaths were not officially admitted Feb. 25, 1963.
CIA's clandestine operation failed, and as a consequence the Cuban exile brigade lost 114 KIA and 1,189 captured. In repulsing the aborted invasion Communist troops sustained 106 killed.
U.S. Navy vessels remained in Cuban water up through the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. (The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal kicked in October 24.)
April 30, 2011, David Dean sent this article on the Bay of Pigs invasion to Jim Knapp and Jim forwarded it to me.
Click on the button
Wayne: I have more good news for you. Besides every Cony sailor in the Bay of Pigs earning the Navy Expedition Medal. Your records were not burned in the fire in St. Louis unless you joined either the Army or Air Force. There indeed was a fire at the National Personnel Record Center in 1973.
Many Army and Air Force records were burned. However many were reconstructed and many were not damaged severely.
There were no Navy, USMC or Coast Guard records involved. Now you may ask how do I know these facts. In the past 25 years I have represented multiple thousands of veterans in their claims with the VA and fortunately with a very high success rate. We assist veterans in obtaining their rightful entitlements and benefits from the VA, military and naval services.
I have authored three books in the Library of Congress they are: In Search of the Truth for Vietnam Veterans, The Combat Veteran From World War II to the Present and Desert Storm the Untold Story. The first two are supposed to go on the Ohio AMVETS web site in the near future. However they are free to anyone who requests copies. The first two listed are over 165,000 each distributed over the past ten years.
Formerly I was employed by the Veterans Service Commission in Columbus Ohio.
I served as the Senior Veterans Service Officer until I retired. Our main thrust was assisting veterans in VA benefits and Social Security. Prior to my moving to the AMVETS (American Veterans). many veterans came to me to assist them in discharge upgrades and correction to military records. Now the AMVETS do not do discharge upgrades; but, we do assist veterans in correcting their military and naval records. The AMVETS do not do Social Security hearings either, as we do not have the time required. I think the Bay of Pigs is an issue beyond comprehension for nearly all other veterans, as they are all stuck in their own grooves and do not realize what affects them today is what we did in April 1961. We were the very first American force to walk (steam) away and leave our souls behind. When we were ordered to leave the Bay of Pigs and leave behind the Brigade 2506 we had been committed to those fine people. If you recall we were all upset and bothered by those tragic events. Remember the poem from the Conway about the Bay of Pigs? It did not take the Skipper long to get those out of circulation! Remember when a GM# on our ship talked about it while in a bar on the beach and the SP's brought him back? Spooky. We were the first of the modern day to do a spook operation.
This set the stage for Vietnam, commit, fight and leave unfinished. This in no way can be blamed on any of us that were in the Bay of Pigs; or our commanding officers; this is the responsibility of the same man who led us into the depths of Vietnam. Mr. Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense, who called off the air support AFTER we had had already gone into the total support of Brigade 2506. We even had leaders of the Brigade on the Cony. Gunners Mate Stokes and others cleaned their weapons. We carried them on our 26' motor whale boat like a taxi service and then left them stranded,
based on Mr McNamara's change of mind after the event was totally in motion. If you want to place a face to my name go into the Navy Memorial on line, it is: lonesailor.org then go to the Nay Log and type in Barker, David there are two listed at this time, my middle initial is A. My comments of the Bay of Pigs are recorded on that site as well.
If I can be of assistance to you or any other Cony sailor from any period I will do all within my ability to assist. We are really brothers to the highest degree possible in my book! If you wish to share this with any Cony sailor feel free to do so.
Sincerely, David A. Barker 59-61
You may be eligible for a medal if you participated in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Check it out http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq90-3.htm2/2/1962 Cdr. William H. Morgan assumed command of the USS Cony. At the time Capt. Morgan assumed command, the Cony had 15 Officers and 240 Enlisted.6/30/1962 This is one of Captain Morgans Conygrams that he so graciously sent to family members of the Conymen donated by Gary Weaver SM3 1961-1964. Thank you Gary.
To see the Conygram
Click here to see just what the Russians were planning and how close we came to disaster.
10/27/1962 The Cuban Missile Crisis
The following is from the book "October Fury" published 2002 by CAPTAIN PETER A. HUCHTHAUSEN, U.S. Navy (Retired), served as Electronics Materials Officer and a watch officer aboard the USS Blandy when it took part in the blockade of Cuba in 1962, mere months after his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy. In a distinguished career, Captain Huchthausen served as a Soviet naval analyst and as a naval attaché in Yugoslavia, Romania, and Moscow, where he met Russian submariners who had been involved in the Cuban encounter at sea. He is now a consultant and writer living in Maine.
OCTOBER 27, 1962
Carrier Randolph Finds Savitsky's B-59 Submarine CAPTAIN VITALI SAVITSKY B-59
NORTH ATLANTIC 380 MILES SOUTHEAST OF BERMUDA One hundred seventy miles northeast of the Essex group hunter-killer group, called HUK Group Alfa, made up of t USS Randolph (CVS-15) and escort destroyers USS Bache, Be Eaton, and Murray, picked up solid sonar contact on C19 the quarantine line. The contact turned out to be Captain B-59. After receiving orders from the Moscow Main Navy Staff to cancel the transit to Mariel, Cuba, Captain Savitsky in his B-59 had been assigned a patrol area in the Sargasso Sea to the east of Dubivko's B-36 and about 170 miles north of Shumkov in B-130. After weathering a severe storm south of Bermuda on October 25-27, B-59, with two captains aboard Captain Second Rank Vitali Savitsky, the commanding officer, and Captain Vasily Arkhipov, the brigade chief of staff- continued their strained relations but worked an effective sharing of the top watch in central command. Their first contact with U.S. antisubmarine hunter-killer groups was in mid-Atlantic after passing south of Bermuda. The USS Randolph carrier group, with the escorting ASW destroyers, were their first contact. The hunter-killer group held B-59 in an iron grip, and by using combined tactics - destroyers, S2F Tracker aircraft, and Sea King helicopters with dipping sonars-they finally locked onto B-59 and wouldn't let go. The destroyers closed in with groups of three and four and had a picnic with their sonars pinging away in active mode. Savitsky couldn't break away. The Americans knew they held contact on a real submarine, and despite using decoys and false target cans, the Soviet submariners were unable to shake the destroyers. The USS Cony began to drop practice depth charges, in accordance with the U.S. notice to mariners. Savitsky had received the notice on the submarine broadcast two days earlier. To the Russians, more than a hundred meters below the surface, the grenades sounded like regular depth charges when they exploded. Savitsky was maneuvering at sixty to a hundred meters and had no isothermal layer to hide beneath. The destroyer dropped its grenades in series of five at a time, which was in accordance with the warning notice. At B-59's depth the grenades exploded more than sixty meters above them. It scared the submariners, mostly because their first impression, that they were under attack, was hard to dispel, despite the warning they now held. The first contact with the hunter-killer group was at about ten in the morning, and by four the next morning the Russians were practically suffocating and had thrown in the towel. After nearly a day of those simulated attacks, Savitsky was finally forced to surface amid his hunters to charge batteries. Savitsky surfaced slowly and carefully on the prescribed easterly course. The Russians felt defeated in a way, and Chief of Staff Arkhipov was not very pleased with Savitsky, but there was little else they could do. They were heavily outnumbered by ships and aircraft. USS Cony DD-508 Chased and surfaced Russian submarine USS CONY (DDE-508)
THREE HUNDRED MILES SOUTH OFF BERMUDA The destroyer USS Cony had gained solid contact at about 10:00 A.M. on October 27 and was directed to drop practice depth charges ( See Phil Michel's (Cony SM3 63-64) account of this immediately following this article) in accordance with the notice to mariners. (Ensign Gary Slaughter was aboard Cony, and ironically was IJS talker on the bridge at the time, the same position I was in aboard Blandy. Cony chased the submarine contact for nearly twelve hours. The submarine had set his course to the northeast and was on economy electric drive at slow speed. When he finally broke the surface late on October 27, Cony communicated with him by flashing light. Ensign Slaughter had studied some Cyrillic transliteration tables they had aboard, and they passed the Soviet submarine a message with flashing light. Cony's Signalman First Class Jessie challenged the submarine with flashing light shortly after it broke the surface. Cony signaled: "What ship?"
Savitsky answered: "Ship X'
Cony: "What is your status?"
Savitsky: "On the surface, operating normally."
Cony: "Do you need assistance?"
Savitsky: "No, thank you." The next morning Savitsky permitted his signalmen to ask Cony for bread and cigarettes. The destroyer moved in to about eighty feet alongside the submarine to set up a light line transfer. Then Cony's bosun mates fired a shot line to the sail of the submarine (the shot line is fired from what appears like a sawed-off shotgun, which projects a weighted “monkeyfist" which is made up to another line, a considerable distance. When the bosun fired the line gun the Russians in the sail cockpit ducked and scampered below. They thought the Americans had opened fire on them. When the Russians realized what Cony was trying to do, they settled down. Apparently the Russian submariners had never seen a shot line gun-they instead used bolo lines with a good, strong arm. Cony steamed for hours on parallel courses on the submarine's port beam at five hundred yards. The submarine had no illusions about who was in control. Earlier as the two ships were steaming northeast together, a U.S. Navy P2V Neptune suddenly swooped out of the darkness and dropped several small incendiary devices, presumably to activate its photoelectric camera lenses. The explosions stunned the bridge watches aboard both ships. The Cony officers looked out after regaining their night vision and saw to their horror that the submarine had wheeled toward the destroyer to unmask her forward torpedo tubes and looked about ready to launch. The Cony's commanding officer immediately called the nearby task group commander aboard the carrier Randolph to let someone on the end of the radio line have an earful of old-fashioned navv invective, to be relayed to the pilot and squadron commander of the guilty P2V for their conduct. Cony's captain then sent a flashing light message to the submarine apologizing for the pilot's conduct. According to Ensign Gary Slaughter, who was on Cony's bridge at the time, it was a pretty exciting moment.
The following is a quote from USS Cony shipmate Phil Michel SM3 63-64 in an email to me referring to the grenades dropped on Russian Sub B-59
Roger, I don't remember all the details but I will attempt to put together a few of the pieces.
We had been shadowing a contact for a couple of hours and nobody was very sure as to what it was. There was speculation that it was possibly a whale or perhaps a submarine and we needed to be sure. I don't know what gunner brought up the idea of grenades but I remember seeing a box of percussion grenades brought to the bridge. A gunner than began throwing them over the side at short intervals. I do not remember how many were actually tossed over. After about what seemed a short time the word came from sonar that it appeared the contact was surfacing. We came within about 1000 yards to her side and That is when Jessie attempted to communicate. As far as me speaking Russian that would be a negative, we were attempting to translate by using an English/Russian letter chart we received before we sailed. The sub as I recalled remained surface for a brief period, (I'm thinking maybe about and hour or two) and than we parted. It is extremely hard to recall details of a brief incident that happened 40 something years ago. I only remember we were part of history that day and nobody has acknowledged it.
It still is as bitter to me as the Bay of Pigs (For not being recognized for Cony's participation) (. Phil Michel
From ABC News.com Washington, D.C., Oct. 11
Saturday, Oct. 27, 1962 was the most dangerous day of what may have been the most dangerous week in American history.Bad news kept streaming in during the day," said Ted Sorensen, a member of President John F. Kennedy's crisis team. "The worst news was that our U2 high flying reconnaissance plane for Cuba had been shot down."
Gen. Maxwell Taylor and the Joint Chiefs of Staff urged an all-out attack on Cuba, but Kennedy resisted the pressure.
No one in the Cabinet Room knew that, at the same time, U.S. destroyers were playing a perilous cat and mouse game with a Soviet submarine, Sub B-59, heading towards Cuba.
Documents released today by the National Security Archive confirm that late that Saturday afternoon, the USS Beale and the USS Cony lobbed 10 concussive grenades at Sub B-59. The American crew was unaware of the Soviet's secret payload.
"It felt like you were sitting in an empty barrel and somebody's constantly beating it with a stick," said Vadim Orlov, an intelligence officer aboard Sub B-59.
The American crew was unaware that the Soviet sub was carrying nuclear weapons.
"I don't think we even speculated that they were nuclear armed because our ships were not," said Capt. John Peterson, who was deck officer on the USS Beale.
Grenades Almost Triggered Nuclear Strike
The grenades were designed to scare the sub to surface. Instead, they almost triggered a nuclear strike. As Orlov recounts, his commander, Valentine Savitsky, lost his composure.
"The situation was becoming so difficult that Commander Savitzky was extremely stressed out and at one point decided to assemble the nuclear torpedo," Orlov told ABCNEWS. "When that order was given, we realized that if the nuclear weapons were used it would have meant death for every one of us."
And death for maybe millions more. U.S. war plans called for a nuclear response to any nuclear strike and official documents also released today reveal that the Pentagon already had depth charges on Guantanamo that were ready to be armed with nuclear warheads.
"Both sides would have gone up that nuclear ladder of escalation very quickly and very soon there would be nothing left," said Sorensen.
Cooler heads prevailed and the nuclear torpedo was disarmed. "Commander Savitsky just calmed down," said Orlov.
That gave President Kennedy time to send his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to Russian Ambassador Anatoly Dobrinyn with a secret deal for Khrushchev: If Soviet missiles were removed from Cuba, U.S. missiles would later be removed from Turkey.
Sunday morning, Radio Moscow reported that Khrushchev would dismantle the missiles. And President Kennedy went to church.
2/26/1963 Captain W.H. Morgans Last CONYGRAM (compliments of Gary Slaughter LTJG 62-63)
26 February 1963 To The Families of CONYMEN. It is with a feeling of sadness that I sit down to write my last CONYGRAM to you. I have received my orders and will be leaving the CONY in a few days. My relief, the new "skipper" of the CONY is CDR T. B. BRENNER who comes to the CONY from duty as Executive Officer of the USS ROCKBRIDGE (APA 228). I have received orders to overseas shore duty in Columbia, South America. I will take over the duties of Sub Chief of the O.S. Naval Mission based at Cartegena, Columbia, My wife and son will accompany me to Columbia and we are all looking forward to our new assignment. Right now we are busily preparing for the trip and among many other things are starting to learn to speak Spanish. Our new duty sounds quite interesting and challenging and will certainly be quite different from past assignments,
Although a captain always feels sad about turning over his ship to a new commanding officer I can turn the CONY over to CDR BRENNER with the knowledge that she will be in good hands. He has previously served on board the USS WALLER a sister ship of ours and is quite familiar with this class of destroyer, In additions CDR BRENNER has had command of a mine hunter and thus is no stranger to command.
The sadness of leaving the CONY is mixed with pride in the record of past accomplishments and present high state of operational readiness made possible by the hard work and ability of your men who man her. I can look back on a year which has seen the CONY carry out all of her assignments in a highly creditable manner. If you remember I took command while the CONY was undergoing an extensive shipyard overhaul at that time, we were lacking in training and experience in working together as a team for the common goal of making the CONY battle ready. Six weeks of refresher training in Guantanamo, Cuba welded us together and the "can do" spirit of the CONY started to emerge. This was brought about by hard work and long hours of training that produced great demands on all hands. We left Guantanamo with a very creditable record which was highlighted by our making the highest mark in communications received by any destroyer in the previous 18 months. In addition we received marks of outstanding in Engineering and Seamanship exercises.
Upon completion of refresher training we were ready to join the fleet which we did in a cruise to Quebec, Canada. The men of the CONY proved they could be worthy ambassadors of America and conducted themselves in the same excellent manner ashore as they do on board. After this cruise, we settled down to normal at-sea operations with the Anti Submarine Forces, conducting training operations to maintain our readiness to carry out our mission. This training paid off when the CONY along with many other ships of our Navy was called on during the recent Cuban Crisis, The men of the CONY met this assignment in a calm efficient runner and performed with distinction.
Since then the CONY has continued to carry out her assignments as part of our Anti-Submarine Warfare Forces in a smart and efficient manner, All commitments have been met and the reputation of the CONY continues to improve, You can well understand my pride in her and in you’re your men who make up my crew. They have given much of themselves in hard work and ability to make her the fine ship she is.
CDR BRENNER will officially relieve me as commanding officer of the CONY on the 28th of February. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been the Captain of the CONY for this past year. Commanding a destroyer is an honor that only a few are privileged to get to do; my privilege has been made even greater by getting to command the CONY. I will close by extending to each of you my sincerest best wishes and thanks for your interest in the CONY. Your support is of great value to all of us in keeping the CONY great.Very Sincerely,
Commander, U.S. Navy
Captain Morgan turns over command to Commander Brenner as Captain of the Cony.
2/28/1963 Commander Thomas Bachelder Brenner assumed command of the Cony from Commander William H. Morgan. 1963/1964/1965
The following is from Robert Barry LTJG 1963-1965 and his account from the years he was on the Cony. Thanks Bob
Robert W. Barry Chronology:
09-12 Jul: VaCapes Ops
29-13 Jul: Vacapes Ops
07 Aug-09 Sep: N.Atlantic Ops
10-12 Aug: moored in Bermuda
20-31 Aug: moored at Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Is., Azores
27-30 Sep: VaCapes Ops
08-12 Oct: VaCapes Ops
13-14 Oct: VaCapes Ops
15-17 Oct: VaCapes Ops
28-30 Oct: VaCapes Ops *****note: TDY ashore 12 Nov 1963-20 Feb 1964 1964:
24-26 Feb: VaCapes Ops
02-06 Mar: Chesapeake Bay Ops
09-28 Mar: Caribbean Ops
12-16 Mar: moored in San Juan, P.R.
20-22 Mar: anchored at St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.
07-16 Apr: Onslow Bay Ops
05-15 May: VaCapes Ops
03 Jun-24 Jul: North Atlantic Cruise
18-25 Jun: moored at Cherbourg, France
* I remember in Cherbourg an open house day on the ship, and we got
about 8 visitors, of whom four came from the USS Little Rock moored nearby.
These were the days when the French president was DeGaulle.
29 Jun-03 Jul: moored at Copenhagen, Denmark
* I remember in Copenhagen an open house day on the ship, and we got
literally thousands of people coming aboard. It was the same in Aalborg.
03-06 Jul: moored at Aalborg, Denmark
09-13 Jul: anchored at Portland, England
* At Portland the Brits wanted to employ some men running shuttle boats,
so we anchored instead of moored. Hence, there was no open house there.
01 Sep-08 Oct: Key West & Guantanamo Bay Ops
03-15 Sep: moored at Key West; day exercises
22-23 Sep: moored at Key West
26 Sep-05 Oct: moored at Guantanamo Bay; day exercises
19-30 Oct: West Atlantic Ops
21-22 Oct: anchored at Bloodsworth Is., Chesapeake Bay
23-26 Oct: moored at Pier 40, New York City
23-25 Nov: VaCapes Ops
30 Nov-04 Dec: Naragansett Bay Ops (foul winter weather)*****
07 Jan-07 Feb: Caribbean Ops
12 Jan: moored at St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.
13-14 Jan: anchored at Frederiksted, St. Croix, U.S.V.I.
14 Jan: anchored at St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.
15-18 Jan: anchored at St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.
18 Jan: anchored at St. Croix, U.S.V.I.
20 Jan: anchored at St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.
22-25 Jan: moored at St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.
29 Jan-04 Feb: moored at San Juan, P.R.
08 Mar-10 Apr: N.Atlantic Ops in support of Project Gemini launch
(went 32 days without seeing another USN ship)
10 Mar: moored at Bermuda
19-22 Mar: moored at Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
23 Mar: Gemini launched; our mission completed after six minutes of flight
25-30 Mar: moored at Lisbon, Portugal
01 Apr: moored at Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Is., Azores
07-08 Apr: moored at Bermuda
19-23 Apr: VaCapes Ops
06-07 May: anchored in Hampton Roads to off-load ammunition and fuel
01 Jun: towed from D&S Piers to NNSY
22 Jun: towed into NNSY drydock
Hi Roger, Do you remember this? November 22nd 1963 - We were operating off the coast of Jacksonville Florida aboard the Submarine Killer U.S.S. Cony DD-508 when President Kennedy was assissinated. We were immediately dispatched back to Norfolk Virginia. Catch you later ----- Roy DeBoy 63-65 Yes/No Roy. I did remeber the radio men telling us of the news when we were out to sea, but didn't remember just where we were.
6/1964 These entrys are from Roy De Boy Cony 1964/1965. 3/6/64 thru 3/8/64 in St. Thomas, virgin Islands.
3/12 to 3/16 San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Then the Midshipman cruise along coast of Europe.
6/18 thru 6/25 in Cherbourg France,
6/29 thru 7/3 in Copenhagen, Denmark,
7/3 thru 7/6 in Aalborg, Denmark, 7/8 thru 7/13 in Portland, England, (and also Weymouth, England I think, (Roger).
9/22/64 thru 9/25/64 we were in Key West, Florida.
9/27/ thru 9/29 Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
!0/23 thru 10/25 New York City.
1/8/65 (only) Charlston, So. Carolina.
1/12/65 (only) St Thomas, Virgin Islands.
1/13/65 (only) St. Croix, Virgin Islands.
1/15 thru 1/18 St, Thomas, Virgian Islands.
1/21 thru 1/25 St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
1/29 thru 2/4 San Juan, Puerto Rico.
3/10 thru 3/11 Bermuda. 3/19 thru 3/23 Punta De La Luz, Canary Islands.
3/25 thru 3/30 Lisbon, Portugal. 4-1 thru 4-2 Azores, Islands.
4-7 thru 4-8 Bermuda.
Thanks Roy for all the info. Being as I was on board at all the times listed above I have often wondered what the time periods were. It's a good thing that somebody kept notes. (Roger)
This entry is from the LANTMIDTRARON-64 North Atlantic Cruise book that I have from my time period (Roger Rieman)
During March 1964 Cony visited San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands while operating in the Caribbean. Then in June and July, Cony participated in the 1964 Midshipman Training Squadron visiting Cherbourg, France, Copenhagen and Aalborg, Denmark and Portland, England. Making this Northern European Cruise was an experience that everyone on board is sure to remember. We left on June 3rd and our crossing to Europe was smooth with many training opportunities available both to the midshipmen and to the crew itself. The officers on board for our cruise were:
Our Captain Cdr. Thomas B. Brenner
Our Exec. LCDR. Henry R. Jones
Operations officer Lt. Earl H. Russell, Engineering Officer LTGJ Thomas S. Tollefsen, Weapons Officer LTJG George Taft, CIC Officer LTJG John W. Overstreet, Communications Officer LTJG Marcus B. Slater, ASW Officer ENS. Gregg R. Giese, Damage Control Assistant ENS. Robert W. Barry, Second Division Officer ENS. Daniel F. Mangin, First Lieutenant ENS. George R. Sullivan
Note! I have added the pictures of both the Officers and the Crew to my pictures page on this website.
Our first port of call was Cherbourg, France. For many it was our first look at Europe. Cherbourg was typical of many European towns with its narrow streets, small shops, and many bicycles. Excellent tours were available to Paris and to the Normandy Beaches.
The next port was Copenhagen, Denmark where we were all able to get a good look at life in Scandinavia. The famous Tivoli Gardens proved to be a very popular attraction as well as the Hydrofoil boat rides to nearby Sweden. In addition, the people proved to be very friendly and we found that just about everyone could speak English with varying degrees of proficiency.
Aalborg a small city in Northern Denmark was our next stop. We arrived in time to take part at the July 4th celebration at Rebuild National Park. This festival commemorates the American Independence Day. Its purpose is to help reunite the many Danes who have immigrated to the U.S. with their relatives and friends still living in Denmark. Overall, we all found the Danish countryside to be beautiful, the people attractive and friendly, and the beer as good as it's supposed to be.
Our final port was Weymouth, England. Here tours were available to London and to Stonehenge. While in England we were once again exposed to the European style of living. There were the ever present bicycles and motor scooters and the different ways of preparing food. Finally, after having been away from Norfolk for nearly six weeks we left for home. The trip back took ten days and we arrived on July 24, all well seasoned travelers.
1965-1968 The following was added 10/4/01 by Dick Kelbaugh LTJG 1965-1968 I served on Cony between September 1965 and late spring 1968 (I think). Ensign - JG; Auxiliaries Officer and DCA.
1966 Cony served in Red Sea observation of Boat activity. (NB 1967 was 7 days war.) Ports, Jitta, Saudi Arabia; Ethiopia and the port where Cole was recently bombed (in for fuel). Crossed the line July 1966 enroute to Diego Suarez, Madagascar.
Summer 1967 - Early spring 1968 - Vietnam primarily in III Corps area (southern part of country.)
All this is off the top of my head. I need to do some serious thinking to become more precise.
The following was added 3/26/03 by James Oker BMSN 66-68 Here is an addition that will refresh Mr. Kelbaugh's memory. WESTPAC CRUISE 5 JULY 1967 - 30 JANUARY 1968 SILVER ANNINERSARY The first half of 1967 was spent in type training in the Atlantic, "Springboard" Operations in the Caribbean and the fleet exercise " Clove Hitch III". On July 5, 1967 Cony joined U.S.S. Leary(DD879),Waldron(DD699),and Damato(DD871) and departed for assignment to Vietnam. Damato was the squadrons flagship.
Port of calls enroute were, Panama City. Manzanillo, Mexico (fuel). Acapulco, Mexico, San Diego, San Francisco, Pearl Harbor on 10 JAN 67. Then Midway, Yokosuka Japan, Okinawa, Kaaohsiung Taiwan, Subic Bay Philippines.
From 28 AUG until 24 SEP Cony provided Naval Gunfire Support for the First Air Cavalry's operatioins in the II Corps area. Upon completion of our first assignment Cony departed to Hong Kong for 4 days of shore leave. Hong Kong was the best because no-one was allowed to do any topside work. The British Admiralty would not allow it for fear of upsetting the Com. Chinese across the harbor.
For Cony's second assignment she returned to II Corp for Naval Gunfire Support. Calls for her support were received from the adjacent I and III Corps areas. At night Seal Teams operating in the Mekong Delta would request fire support from the Cony. Because the Cony was just drifting, awating call for fire, many River Rats (Swift Boat Crews) would tie up along side and join us for meals on the mess decks. Upon completion of her second assignment Cony returned to Kaohsiung, Taiwan for shore leave and a ships party.
Cony's third assignment was as part of Task Group 77.8 operating at Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin as plane guard for the USS Oriskany(CVA-34) from 27 NOV through 14 DEC.
In the fall of 1965 Cony was at Cullebra firing range for gunfire support exercises. That was the "virtual oven" on the south shore of Puerto Rico which is the subject of contention even today. Seems the PRs want it back and certainly want us to stop bombarding the place. Anyway, you might want to stop reading this memo at this point and return to the Cony Homepage to examine the animation that Roger provided to the Cony's image at mount 51. Those old guns do have a mind of their own sometimes, and on that fateful day in 1965, the incorrigible mount 51 decided on its own to break the silence of a mid-exercise lull with a spontaneous round that whistled right through the legs of the USMC observation tower (or so the story goes). Cony's fate, I believe, was sealed that very day. The marines began screaming "cease fire" over the radio at us and panic ensued. Captain Karl Theile ran down from the bridge into CIC and grabbed the radio and began alternately trying to placate the marines while screaming death threats at all of "G" division (and their ancestry). Alas, the marines sounded very conciliatory and accepted our captain's "thousand apologies", and the exercise resumed. But the date was marked and the vengeful plot began that moment I'm sure. The Cony now rests at the bottom of the sea, not far from that long-ago place; a victim of "Grunt" revenge. Cony, a target herself, has paid the ultimate price. I'll bet that even today when some unfortunate destroyer drops one a little off the target at Cullebra, some marine gets on the horn and says "hey!, you better watch that--remember what happened to the Cony?"
Rudy Rudolph, RD3 65-67
1965 The following is from Rich Bergeron's diary while he was on board the Cony from July, 1965 through December 1966.
I am grateful to Rich for sharing this information with the Cony Chronology. 1965 July 10 - Reported aboard USS Cony (DD-508) for duty at NNSY Portsmouth.- Captain: Guthrie, Cdr
- XO: Hinkley, LCdr
- Weps: Black LT(jg)
- Fox Div: Haarberg LT(jg)
- - - then Lynch, Ens
- Leading FT: Joe Madercic, FTG1
- FT Gang: Rich Bergeron, FTG2; George Mancuso, FTG3; Al Larson, FTG3; Hastings, FTG3; Ron Gangle, FTG3; Steve Bovee, FTG3; Byron “Tex” Lowder, FTGSN; Rademaker, FTGSN; Jackes, SN (later went to Supply); “Speedy” Gonzales, FTGSN; Gallavan, FTGSN; Peters SN (OJT); Vitek, FTGSA.Some time in July-August I went to school: Battery alignment, one week; Mark 56 Gunfire Control System (GFCS) Maintenance, two weeks, U. S. Navy, Fleet Training Center, Dam Neck, VA.September 1965 -
16 - Out for sea trials
17 - In port NNSY.
27 - Moved to D&S Piers, NORVA.
28 - Departed NORVA. Arrive Yorktown. Load ammo.
29 - Left Yorktown. Arrived NORVA.October 1965 -
4 - Departed NORVA for Craney Island Deperming Station. Out for ISE, Vacapes.
5 - Z-21-G practice shoot.
7 - Z-6-G practice shoot. Shot down the sleeve. Returned to NORVA.
15 - Departed NORVA.
18 - Arrived Guantanamo, Cuba. Commenced Refresher Training. Rough times for the crew: the “Peanut butter conspiracy.”
28 - Departed Gitmo.
29 - Arrived Montego Bay, Jamaica. One wild liberty. A bunch of us, including Madercic, found a bar and house of prostitution. We would have a few drinks while looking over and making friends with the ladies. Madercic just drank, swearing that he was happily married. He would get drunk, look at the ladies and talk with them, but never go with them And I never saw him break his faithfulness. After we talked and made friends, then up to a room or to her specific place outside on the rooftop. We made a full day of it. We returned to the ship relatively early because it was still daylight (and sunset was about 6 pm). As we walked back to the ship, we were laughing and drinking. I turned to say something to some of the guys behind me, lost my balance, and went head over heals down an embankment. I crashed through some poor woman's fence and into her garden. Her kids rushed over to see how badly I was hurt. I got up laughing, waving my bottle of beer high in the air. The kids ran away screaming and I climbed back up to the street with my friends.
30 - Departed Montego Bay.November 1965 -
1 - Arrived Gitmo.
5 - Change of command. Cdr. Thiel assumed command. The new captain immediately liberalized our liberty hours. The whole crew breathed a sigh of relief.Gitmo was a tough place to have liberty. Having the duty was rough because everyone on liberty had one thing to do - get drunk. There were no women, no one to dance with, little else to do but drink. Being on shore patrol got you some great meals - Gitmo always fed the guys well
- but then we had to help load drunks onto huge slatted trailer trucks, called cattle cars, used to transport the guys back to the piers.One weekend Lowder and another guy from Texas got me out to the riding range. It was the first time I was ever on a horse. The horses had old style cavalry saddles, two slabs of leather, connected at the front and the rear, with stirrups hanging. There was no cradle to hold you, and there was no saddle horn to hold onto. It was probably the most difficult way to learn how to ride a horse. But I had a blast. We went out riding three times during the rest of our Gitmo stay. We spent a long time finding many nooks and crannies of the riding area, a pretty large plot. One time, upon returning, the guys started to race back. I was taken by surprise and wound up riding directly behind my friends. I reined my horse over to the other tire track of the road we were on, and the horse decided I was giving it free rein. So he ran, fast, and indeed, I beat my friends to the top of the hill, holding onto the front edge of the old cavalry saddle for dear life - But it was still exhilarating.30 - Passed Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) with a score of 70%. Departed Gitmo.December 1965 -
2 - Arrived Culebra for GFS. Qualified with the following scores Z-42-G = 90.0%, Z-46-G = 78.7%, Z-44-G = 80%. Departed Culebra.
3 - Arrived Rosevelt Roads PR. Loaded ammo. Departed Rosy Roads. Arrived St. Thomas. One of the officers stayed during the day to place our orders for duty-free liquor. Included in my gallon were two quarts of Courvoisier Grand Fine Champagne Brandy, some precious stuff. The prices were ridiculously cheap. Departed St. Thomas. Arrived Culebra. Shot SPOTEX. Departed Culebra. Arrived St. Thomas.
4 - Departed St. Thomas. Arrived Culebra. Shot SPOTEX. Departed Culebra. Arrived St. Thomas.
5 - Departed St. Thomas. Arrived Culebra. Shot SPOTEX. Departed Culebra. Arrived St. Thomas.
6 - Departed St. Thomas. Arrived Rosy Roads. Loaded ammo. Departed Rosy Roads.
10 - Arrived NORVA, D&S Piers.January 1966 -
12 - Departed NORVA for Springboard.
15 - Arrived San Juan, PR. Hotel casinos and sightseeing.
17 - Departed San Juan.
22 - Arrived San Juan.
24 - Departed San Juan.
27 - Arrived Fredericksted, St. Croix, VI.
29 - Departed St. Croix. Arrived Rosy Roads. Liberty. After drinking a lot, we had a night of fights with other ships, especially with sailors from the USS Meredith DD-890.
31 - Departed Rosy Roads.February 1966 -
3 - Arrive NORVA, D&S Piers. ? - Recommended for advancement. Took exam for FTG1.March 1966 -
3 - Departed NORVA.
4 - Arrived Davisville RI. Went into floating drydock (ARD-16) to replace sonar dome. Liberty in Providence.
7 - Departed Davisville.
8 - Arrived NORVA, D&S Piers.
10 - To Craney Island for deperming. Back to NORVA at night.
14 - Underway for the Caribbean.
20 - In port St, Thomas. Underway for Mediterranean deployment.
29 - Transited Straits of Gibraltar. Very heavy seas for us, right behind the USS Samson DDG-10
30 - Relieved USS Owens of Med Duty at Polencia Bay, Mallorca, Spain. Officially in the 6th Fleet.April 1966 -
6 - Arrived Istanbul, Turkey.
14 - Celebrated my making FTG1. One of the most insane liberties I ever had. I'm lucky to be alive. Thank you Tilley and Quindry.
15 Departed Istanbul.
16 - Advanced to FTG1 - one month early! (First advancement increment not until May.)
19 - Arrived Naples, Italy. One liberty there four of us were in a club drinking and a sailor passed us by and noticed our ship's patch. “You guys from the Cony? Really?” “Yes, why?” He motioned to his buddies and called out “Hey guys, there's a bunch of Cony sailors over here!” We thought they were going to pick a fight or something, and got ready with fists clenched under the table. Three more guys came over “Really? You're from the Cony?” “Yeah, what of it?” “Man, we want to shake your hands. You guys are REAL sailors. We were sitting on the fantail of the Samson going through Gibraltar, watching you guys' sonar dome come out of the water and your bridge going under. We've never seen a ship pitch like that before. You guys gotta be REAL sailors!” And we shook hands all around.
23-24 Tour of Rome.
30 - Departed Naples.May 1966 -
6 - GFS at Filfli, near Malta.
9 - Arrived Beirut, Lebanon.
14 - Departed Beirut.
15 - Began transit of Suez Canal.
16 - Arrived Bir Suweis (Port Suez), Egypt.
17 - Departed Port Suez.
18 - Arrived Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. Ship's party some 20 miles up the coast in the desert. Lot's of barbecue and 2 (count them) cans of 3.2 beer.
19 - Out for demonstration for the Emir of Yanbu.
20 - Departed Yanbu
23 Happy Birthday! Received word that my father had died evening of 22 May.
24 - Cony arrived Aden, South Arabia.
26 - Cony departed Aden. I obtained passport and visa from the American Consulate and South Arabian authorities. Had to wear civvies - which was illegal for us to have aboard ship. Wore a shirt I had bought from some boat merchant in Port Suez, and cut & hemmed a pair of uniform whites into shorts. Stayed overnight in the British Seaman's Club, which was barricaded against hand grenades - the South Arabians were protesting their colonial status vs. Britain. I spent the remainder of the Med-Red cruise on emergency leave and on the USS Sierra (AD-18) for TAD.August 1966 -
12 - Returned to USS Cony (DD-508).September 1966 -
12 - Out for Ops in Vacapes area.
15 - In port NORVA.
19 - Out for OPS Vacapes.
23 - In port NORVA
26 - Out for Ops, Vacapes and Bloodsworth
29 - In port NORVAOctober 1966 -
10 - Underway for ASW Ops.
15 - In port NORVANovember 1966 -
4 - Underway for Key West
6 - Arrived Key West
7 - Mon. Sonar School Ship. Out in morning, in at night.
8 - Tue. Sonar School Ship. Out in morning, in at night.
9 - Wed. Sonar School Ship. Out in morning, in at night.
10 - Thur. Sonar School Ship. Out in morning, in at night to drop off students. Underway for Miami.
11 - Fri. In port Miami.
13 - Sun. Depart Miami. Underway for Key West.
14 - Mon. Arrive Key West. Picked up students. Sonar School Ship. In port Key West at night.
15 - Tue. SSS. In at night.
16 - Wed. SSS. In at night.
17 - Thur. SSS. In at night.
18 - Tue. SSS. In at night to drop off students. Underway
20 - Arrived NORVA in morning.Dec. -
15. Transferred to Shore duty. Began 30 days leave, then went to Instructor Training and Leadership Schools, Norva. Served almost 3 years as an instructor at FTC Newport RI.
Sept. 1966 - June 1969 (The following is an account of
Frank Getz for his years on the Cony)
I was onboard CONY from Sep 1966 – Jun 1969 (decommissioning).
My Navy career started while she was moored in Norfolk. I went thru boot camp in Great Lakes, IL and traveled to Norfolk via train.
Upon arriving at the D&S piers, CONY was moored outboard USS CONWAY (DD-507). Being brand new at this, I went onboard CONWAY, the watch checked my orders and called for the duty YN to check me in. Well, I followed him to the forecastle, put my loaded seabag thru a hatch and went down 3 levels. He showed me my bunk and locker and departed. I started to unload my seabag into a locker. I was about finished when he came back again and said hey, you are onboard the wrong ship. You are ordered to the CONY who is moored outboard us. I loaded back up and proceeded to the CONY quarterdeck. That’s the way my career started on CONY and the Navy.
I was assigned to the deck force, as all new sailors were. In 5 July 1967 we left port for a deployment to Vietnam. I was assigned as the Captain’s phone talker (CAPT William P. St. Lawrence) on the bridge. Well, as all the other squadron ships left port, we backed out into the channel and lost all power. They had to bring tugs alongside to hold us steady for 3 hours before we got power back. The other squadron ships waited in the Chesapeake Bay for us. We finally met up with them and we were on our way to WESTPAC.
During our deployment I was assigned to gun mount 51 where I placed explosive powder into the ram for firing. While moored in Subic Bay, Philippines Petty Officer John Ferrara (EM2) was electrocuted. That was a sad day. After doing our job in Vietnam we proceeded home. We had two January 1st as we spent the day on Midway Island, with just the gooney birds. We arrived home in early 1968.
Upon return to Norfolk, we were put into reserve status. We made local deployments while embarking various reserve units and changed homeport to Philadelphia, PA until decommissioning in 1969. I was decommissioning Yeoman and as such prepared and took the final diary to the post office.
Upon leaving CONY, after 3 years onboard, I was assigned to another destroyer. Following this assignment in 1970 I went to the USS ACCOKEEK (ATA-181) (ocean going tug). ACCOKEEK (strangely enough) was ultimately assigned the task of going to Philadelphia, towing CONY to the Caribbean and ultimately fired upon and sunk by other naval forces to be part of a natural ocean reef.
YNCS Frank Getz, USN (Ret.)
Jun ‘66 – Sep ‘89
1967 The following was made available by Herman W. Stevens GMG2 1965 - 1968 Thank you Herman I was able to locate the at the:
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
They are located in Room 470/row 84 (in the back of the stack)
It cost $.50 per page plus postage. The staff there seems to be very polite and helpful of the phone and on line.
I would like to pass along this information that I have gained from the research I have just completed, of which, may be of some assistance to other Cony sailors who went to Vietnam. I have the Deck Logs from 14 August 1967 to 25 December !967 which takes in the period of time the ship left Japan, sailed to Vietnam, and back to Japan.
Cony anchored at these and other ports or locations:
Kaoh Siung, Taiwan................
Cam Ranh Bay, Republic of Vietnam
Thursday............19 October 67..............time(anchored--1229)
Cam Ranh Bay, Republic of Vietnam
Thursday............02 November 67...........time(anchored--1527)
Cape Saint Jocques, Republic of Vietnam
Friday................03 November 67...........time(anchored--0913)
Saturday............04 November 67...........time(underway--0409)
Vung Ganh Rai, Saigon River, Republic of Vietnam
Monday.............06 November 67...........time(anchored--0544)
Tuesday............07 November 67...........time(underway--1804)
Vung Ganh Rai, Saigon River, Republic of Vietnam
Tuesday............07 November 67...........time(anchored--2258)
Wednesday.......08 November 67...........time(underway--0856)
Mui Ba Kiem, Republic of Vietnam
Wednesday.......08 November 67...........time(anchored--1607)
Thursday...........09 November 67...........time(underway--0800)
Mui Ba Kiem, Republic of Vietnam
Thursday...........09 November 67...........time(anchored--1619)
Kaoh Siung, Taiwan
Wednesday.......15 November 67...........time(moored-----1316)
Thursday...........16 November 67...........time(underway--1551)
Kaoh Siung, Taiwan
Saturday............18 November 67..........time(moored------1453)
Saturday............25 November 67..........time(underway---1143)
Cony also made ports of call at:
Buckner Bay, Okinawa
Subic Bay, Philippine Islands
Kaoh Siung, Taiwan (3 times)
I have also ask the National Archives for some information from the QUARTER DECK LOGS, but they recently informed me the quarter deck logs were not retained(quote: "All other logs are disposed after a brief retention period"). There might be some shipmate out there who may have some of the quarter deck logs from the Vietnam cruise. If so, let it be known!!!
I do not know if any of this will be of any assistance to any of the other shipmates but I thought it might be anyway, especially if they have a VA claim pending. One other thought, some shipmates went ashore at these ports of call in Vietnam. If you know of anyone who remembers this would you please ask them to email me at email@example.com. I especially would like to communicate with some of the gunners who went ashore with me and I think it was in Cam Ranh Bay on ammo detail.
It is really great to be able to communicate with others from the Cony.
Sincerely yours and a special thanks!!!!
Herman W. Stevens
I sent out an email to the shipmates that were on the Cony near the time she was decomissioned to see if I could findinformation on the Cony's deactivation and the following are some of the replys.
I was on board from December 1968 to July 1969. I believe that the July 2, 1969 date is the Decommissioning date. In the early spring we left Phily for Norfolk. While in Norfolk it was determined that we had a bent shaft. That’s when plans were made to be decommissioned. I don’t know the exact date.
Hope this helps. I had a plaque but lost it in “Navy Moves”
Sorry this couldn’t give you something more concrete. Woody (Terry Woods) 1968 - 1969
1969 Steve Turi Ensign. The Cony was my first and only sea assignment, if you can call dockside the sea. I reported aboard the USS Cony for duty as an Navy Supply Corps Ensign on 7 April 1969. On 17 April 1969, I relieved Ltjg Winston Worthen as Supply Officer. My major duty for the ship was to assist in the decommissioning, thus I was the last Supply Officer for the ship. I was detached from the ship on July 2, 1969 to report to the Shipyard for temporary duty before continuing on to Argentia Naval Air Station in Newfoundland, Canada. So, I think July 2 was the actual decommissioning date. I remember vividly the drizzly, cold day the Cony was moved by tugs to the part of the shipyard reserved for dead ships. Previously, we had been inspected by a Mexican Admiral a short time before being moved, but I guess the Mexican Navy didn't want her either. When I visited your website today, I saw with sadness how the Cony was sunk in the Caribbean. While I was there, the Mexican visit was about the high-water mark. Our Captain, the last one for the Cony was Lcdr Paul Smith. Serving on the Cony was instructive and impressing, even though we were in a strip down phase. Officers and crew were allowed to take anything the Navy didn't want, which included open boxes of food or supplies. I had just graduated from the US Navy Supply School in Athens, Georgia, and I knew nothing about ships. So the Cony was a unique experience for me. Because of the situation, though, I never slept aboard ship My first son was born on June 16, 1969 at the Navy Hospital in Philadelphia, and I think I took this picture of the Cony on June 15th. It was at the shipyard, and we were only a few weeks away from the decommissioning. Unfortunately, many of my records, the last Cony cruise book, and ship items I was permitted to have are all gone. Recent theft and other difficulties led to that. I also lost a photo of Senator John Kennedy addressing the crew on its recommissioning. It had been on the wardroom wall. I'm happy to send you this information. If I think of anything else, I'll pass it along. Sincerely, Steve Turi Note from Webmaster, I am also adding this bit from another email from Steve.
I left the Navy as a Lieutenant, having served the Cony, Argentia Naval Air Station, and Quonset Point Naval Air Station.
Funny thing. The Cony was decommissioned with me aboard. Argentia was substantially downsized with me there. And Quonset Point was closed just after I left.
Indeed, it was a cold, drizzly day when the tugs moved Cony to the mothball area of the shipyard. That's where I left her, expecting either the Mexican Navy to take her or for our people to put her in mothballs.
I wasn't really surprised to find out she had been sunk in the Caribbean. I'm glad to know how she ended her days. After all, she was my only ship duty station.
Matt Donahue, BT3, 68-69 mentions that a bent shaft kept Cony pierside in Philadelphia during her final months. He was part of the skeleton crew of approximately 35 men that were assigned to clean up the ship for decommissioning. They worked on the ship during the day and bunked in the shipyard barracks at night. The ship was turned over to reservists on the weekends for training purposes, so the decommissioning crew had weekends off. He referred to it as ―good duty.
7/2/1969 Cony Decomissioned per Terry Woods FTG3 68-69 and Stephen Turi ENS 1969 3/20/1970
When the Cony DIDN'T sink !
As a little trivia I am including an excerpt from a "Naval Message" to the CNO from CINCLANTFLT that was issued on Feb. 20th, 1970 about the day before (Feb. 19th, 1970) when they were going to sink the Cony.
Units assigned rendezvoused in Vacapes Op area 9 at 190700 Feb. 70 (Feb. 20th 1970 at 0700 hours). 25-30 kt winds and 8-10 ft. seas precluded boat transver of UDT PERS to ex-Cony to emplace charges, however, decision made to conduct exercises without charge emplacement,. USS Utina made preparations and commenced ops to disconnect ex-Cony. Heavy rolling and yawing of ex-Cony caused tow wire to knock CWO Walter J. Stansell overboard from Utina. Man Recovered by USS Chilton. Man uninjured but cold. Utina Recommended cease efforts to disconnect tow. Cancelled exercise at this point.
When the Cony DID sink !
The following description of the Cony's demise from "The Gator News April 10, 1970" published from Little Creek, VA, was donated by Earl Boyer who was an IC-2 on board the USS Plymouth Rock LSD-29 from 2/70 to 12/71.
An Atlantic Fleet amphibious task force blasted the former U.S. World War II destroyer Cony to the bottom of the Caribbean waters March 20, 1970.
The 2100-ton destroyer was the victim of a "one-sided" gun shoot.
The amphibious ships downed the ex-Cony 60 miles off the coast of Puerto Rico. The destroyer had been towed the by the fleet tug Luiseno.
Under the command of Rear Admiral Philip A. Beshany, Commander Amphibious Group Four, the amphibious cargo ships Charleston and Rankin, the dock landing ships Hermitage and Plymouth Rock, and the Walworth County formed a column astern of Admiral Beshany's flagship, the amphibious transport Francis Marion, to take the Cony under fire as soon as the tug slipped the tow line.
When the command "batteries released" was given by the admiral, the Cony was immediately engulfed in a hail of projectiles as the Francis Marion led the column into firing position.
Even the Luiseno eased into the column to contribute her bit from her single three-inch mount.
As the column completed its initial firing pass, Cony began listing heavily to starboard and seas began breaking over her forward five-inch mount. Before the formation could be repositioned, the destroyer heeled over to starboard, dipped her mast into the blue waters, majestically began a dive to the depths of the sea.
As the formation passed the last position of the sunken ship, taps and "attention to starboard" were sounded in tribute to the proud man-of-war, which served for a time as flagship for Rear Admiral T. E. Wilkinson, Commander Third Amphibious Force, during World War II.
NOTE! I have pictures of the Cony being sunk in the Photo section of this web site.The following information was received from Gary Slaughter LTJG 1962-1963
From Document of CINCLANTFLT March 1970
Target Ship Destruction1. Target Ship, Ex-Cony, sank in a dignified manner at 2011280, position 18 48.9N, 65 08.4W in 850 fathoms under Amphibious Force Naval gunfire of fleet tug Luiseno.
2. Target was sunk by all local control firing using 3 in, 50 batteries, plus one 5 inch 38 gun over a period of 1 hour 15 minutes at range of 4000 yds.
3. Force involved included six amphibious type ships and one ATF.
4. Ammo expended as follows: 3 IN 50 468 RDS
5 IN 38 16 RDS
From Admin COMASWFORLANT: It was addressed to a number of interested parties including the attachment of ships actually involved in the sinking.
"The imminent sinking of “our” ship brings to mind the pride and fond memories we have for this valiant greyhound. As you go about your notable task, we would have you remember the many fine men who sailed the good ship Cony and view your task as far more than a gunnery exercise. Sink her fast for that is the only speed she knew, and salute her stout hull as she finds her grave. Signed by former Commanding officers of the Fletcher number 508
Capt. F.C. Durham
Capt. K. R. Thiele
Cdr. W.P. St. Lawrence
Cdr. P. Smith