USS Duncan (DDR - 874)

" Galloping Ghost of the Korean Coast ".

USS Duncan Pacific Operations - 1958-60

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USS Brown, USS Duncan and USS Brinkley Bass at Midway in early May of 1958.

USS Duncan Command
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Peter S. Smith, Commander, USN
Commanding Officer

Cdr. Peter S. Smith, USN, was born in Kansas in 1919.
Following graduation from high school he attended Kansas City Junior College until 1938 at which time he entered the U. S. Naval Academy.
Following commissioning as an Ensign in December 1941, Commander Smith was assigned to the USS Winslow for the first of many tours in destroyers
He next served as an instructor at the Naval Academy until 1948 at which time he shifted from "cans" to cruisers, serving in the Providence and the Salem. The Korean conflict found the skipper on the small boys again, this time as Commanding Officer of the McCoy Reynolds, where he served for one year.
Then, following a tour at the Naval War College, and a tour on the Pacific Fleet Training Command Staff, in June 1956, the boss was again home in the destroyers as the commanding officer of the DUNCAN. Cdr. Smith served as Commanding Officer of Duncan from June of 1956 until September of 1958.

Brand W. Drew, LCDR, USN
Executive Officer

Lieutenant Commander Brand W. Drew, the Executive Officer, has served more than twenty years in the Navy --from apprentice seaman to his present rank.
Mr. Drew was born in North Dakota on August 20, 1918 and entered the Navy in December of 1936 at Cincinnati, Ohio. The outbreak of World War II found Commander Drew at Pearl Harbor as the personal yeoman for Admiral Kimmel.
After a tour in the White House and another in North Africa, Mr. Drew returned to the Pacific Campaign in 1943 to serve on aircraft carriers.
He has served on various types of ships including cruisers, carriers, destroyers, amphibious ships and had his own command in 1953-54, and for two and one half years prior to joining DUNCAN, was on the Staff of Commander Naval Forces, Far East and the Joint Staff of the Commander-in-Chief, Far East as an Intelligence Officer.
Mr. Drew wears a total of 14 medals and decorations including the Bronze Star Medal.

Duncan Officers

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Duncan Scenes

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The 1958 Westpac cruise actually beganImage XEquator58
with departure from San Diego on 9 November, 57 with stops in Pearl Harbor, Pago Pago, Sydney, Australia, and Manus en route to Subic Bay, P.I. During this long transit, Duncan crossed the Equator in late November, early December and was visited by that Denison of the deep, Davy Jones and his boys. Full shellback initiation was conducted on all pollywogs aboard. Fun was not had by all!

1958 began with USS Duncan conducting various training exercises in Philippine waters. On January 27th, she departed Manila, P.I. for Yokosuka, Japan arriving there after a five day transit on the 1st of February. The crew enjoyed a two week rest and recreation period and on February 15th, Duncan departed Yokosuka for more training exercises in Japanese waters and then joined up with the USS Hornet (CVA 12) for plane guard duty until 24 February.

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Three days later Duncan joined up with USS Ticonderoga in Philippine waters for duty on picket station. A week later on March 4th the Duncan joined DESDIV 52 and steamed to Kaohsiung, Taiwan where she patrolled the Formosa Straits until the 1st of April. Next came a port call in Hong Kong following which she returned to Japan, and the port of Sasebo, arriving there on April 13.

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Following 12 days of R & R, Duncan once more set sail for the two day trip to Yokosuka, arriving there on April 27tt to replenish and refuel. Two days later, Duncan departed the western pacific for her home port of San Diego, via Midway Island and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Duncan sailed past Point Loma and into San Diego harbor on the morning of May 14, 1958 for a well deserved leave and upkeep period.

Six weeks later on June 23rd, Duncan began FLETRNGRU operations off the California coast prior to entering Dry Dock at Long Beach Naval Shipyard for a four-month overhaul period. She returned to San Diego on 13 October and conducted continuous refresher training while assigned to ComFleTrnGru for the remainder of 1958.


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This new year began with the crew making final preparations for getting underway for another 6 month cruise to the Western Pacific. Every nook and cranny was filled with stores, supplies and fuel and Duncan got underway on the morning of January 10, 1959, making the port turn out of San Diego harbor and sailed past Point Loma, to her Starboard quarter and steamed out into the Pacific and kept going for the nearly week long haul to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, arriving there on the morning of 16 January.

Duncan operated in Hawaiian waters for the next 10 weeks, conducting drills, training the new members of the crew, fine tuning the crew's fire control, damage control and weapons skills to a fine edge.

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On April 2nd, Duncan sailed past the Arizona Memorial and out of Hawaiian waters for her 10 day transit to Yokosuka, Japan, arriving there on April 12th. The crew enjoyed 8 days of R & R in Yokosuka before transiting to Po Hang Hong, Korea for a three day stay there as a part of Operation Sea Turtle.

Once again it was back to Japan, this time to the Southern port city of Sasebo for a two day refuel and replenish period. Three weeks of patrolling the Taiwan Straits followed until the 26th of May when Duncan steamed into Hong Kong harbor, arriving there on May 27. Hong Kong was always an interesting port to visitů.as both English and Chinese cultures were present, the girls were lovely, the food great and oh!, those hand made clothes. Sites to see as well! The Tram ride up Mount Victoria, Repulse Bay, shopping at the China Fleet Club, touring the bars in the Susie Wong districtů.or venturing across the harbor to the mainland for a visit to the Merchant Mariners Club or ritzing it up at the Presidential Hotel.

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Money spent, sleep lost, hearts broken, Duncaneers sailed out of Hong Kong enroute to Subic Bay, Philippines where 874 arrived on June 3rd at 1745, just in time for those rating liberty, to have dinner ashore. Duncan spent a week in Subic, provisioning for her long return trip stateside.

At 0502 on the morning of June 10 , Duncan departed the P.I. for Guam, arriving there on June 13, and Midway Island six days later. Then came a final stop in Pearl Harbor for one day on June 22nd to make one last refueling and food replenishment for the final leg home to San Diego. She docked at the destroyer piers area of the U.S. Naval Station, San Diego at 1357 on the 29th of June, 1959. A long leave, and upkeep period began and Duncan remained stateside for the remainder of the year, preparing to embark new crewmembers to replace those leaving, and beginning the training cycle all over again.


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USS Duncan began the decade of the 60's with Thornhill_CO
an ever increasing level of training, exercises and drills, preparing the new crewmembers and honing the skills of the old salts aboard. Life aboard a destroyer is a non-stop routine of cleaning, chipping, painting, and gunnery exercises. Long hours at General Quarters, fire fighting drills, on the job training in all the various departments, long hours each day, with periodic respites for the nightly movie call, liberty while in port. The daily comings and goings of officers and crew, is all a part of the preparation for setting sail across the ocean to Asian waters once more.

At 0952 on the morning of March 5, 1960, USS Duncan untied from Buoy 21 in San Diego harbor and transited past Point Loma, as she had so many times before, and was off across the waters for another Westpac cruise.

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On the 12 of March she arrived in Pearl, on the 16th, Midway, and on the 23rd, Duncan tied up at the U.S. Naval Station, Yokosuka. Her time there was only two days, then it was on to the historic A-Bombed city of Nagasaki, in southern Japan for three more days, before departing Japanese waters for a week of patrolling in the Taiwan Straits and a visit to Kaohsiung, from May 3rd until the 9th.

Next came a four day visit to Hong Kong, followed by a nearly three week period patrolling the Taiwan Straits keeping the peace in those waters between the ROC and PRC, and always on the lookout for communist Chinese patrol boats.

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On the 4th of June, Duncan sailed out of Taiwanese waters and returned to Sasebo, Japan. Then on June 11th, she headed for Po Hang Hong, Korea and a three day visit there. Once more it was back to Sasebo, and then on June 25, to Bunker Bay, Okinawa, arriving there the 27th. Then it was on to Subic Bay one last time for a lengthy 8 day visit. It was time then to prepare for the long voyage home. But not before one last stop in Yokosuka from August 9th to the 15th for final shopping by the crew, provisioning, and fueling.

At 0818 on the morning of August 15th, Duncan set sail on her return to San Diego, via Midway and Pearl Harbor. She tied up at Pier 1, US Naval Station in San Diego at 1130, August 29. She would remain stateside until October when her homeport changed to Yokosuka and she remained there for several long years from 1961 to 1964.

Many thanks to Ed Truitt, and Gary Jaacks for providing the photos to build this section; and to Jim Mead for a cronological log of Duncan's movements that made it possible for a narrative text detailing this three year period.


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Created: Wednesday, October 02, 2001
Last update: Wednesday, October 02, 2001

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