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)
If you have anything to add to the Cony Chronology and have at least approximate dates, please email the info to me so I can add it.
Click on Button
8/25/2001 The following email is from Russ Poe.
P.S. from Roger Russ passed away 5/25/2011
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
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
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.
(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.
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
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.
And another from Tom Clark
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.
The email was responded to by Bob Beauparlant.
Then this insert as quoted by Jack Smith and passed to me from Dick Bonheim:
Note from Roger Rieman
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
.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.
1951 - ? to about 15 November - Gunfire support Korea. Captain Joe Dodson. RFW duty Ops Officer & eventually XO.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1956 Newspaper article from 12/16/05 on one of our own USS Cony shipmates Navy Seal Durwood Hunter White SM2 56-59. Click
The U.S. Navy Memorial Log Entry for David A. Barker
To see history of Desron 28 click Here.
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, 1961, 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
4/10/1961 Decision for Cony to participate in the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
Original from http://www.fas.org/irp/ops/policy/docs/frusX/76_90.html
4/10/1961 From Tin Can Sailors website on Bay of Pigs Invasion and Cuban Missile Crisis:
You may be eligible for a medal if you participated in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Check it out https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/a/armed-forces-expeditionary-medals.html
Hannah Tsay is currently a high school student who has chosen to take part in the National History Day competition this year (2016).
The title of her project, presented in the form of a website, is "USS Cony: Taking a Stand on the Brink of Nuclear War." Through this project, she wishes to raise more awareness of the USS Cony's confrontation with the Russian submarine B-59 at the peak of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
During Hannah's research process, she contacted several of the Cony crew men to gain a better understanding of the events that occurred that day. Additionally, she explored various primary source documents in the National Security Archive, hoping to make her website more interactive and engaging to the viewer.
Hannah has won 1st place at the Arizona State National History Day competition in the category of Senior Individual Website. She would like to thank her teacher, Stacey Trepanier, for providing invaluable guidance throughout her entire National History Day process. Hannah will be competing at the National level of the National History Day competition at the University of Maryland, College Park in June.
10/27/1962 The Cuban Missile Crisis
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
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:
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
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)
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
1969 ---- 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
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.
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.
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.