Cordon on Steel at 60

No less than 102 assorted American “greyhounds”– destroyers, destroyer escorts, destroyer radar picket ships, guided missile destroyers, destroyer leaders, and destroyer group leaders– received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for participating as part of the extended Naval Quarantine task force in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, with the period extending from 24 October to 31 December.

In other words, a period starting some 60 years ago this week.

Cuban Missile Crisis, October 1962 The Lebanese freighter MARUCLA is boarded by a party from the USS JOSEPH P. KENNEDY JR. (DD-850), on 26 October 1962. The MARUCLA is an old “liberty” USN 711187

Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 USS MULLINIX (DD-944) and the Venezuelan destroyer ZULIA (D-21) leave the US Naval Station Trinidad, on the first mission of the joint US-Latin American quarantine task force on 12 November 1962. MULLINIX is the force flagship. USN 1063363

Cuban Missile Crisis, October 1962 Soviet freighter VOLGOLES carrying missiles away from Cuba on 9 November 1962. USS VESOLE (DDR-878) is alongside. The wingtip of the photo plane, an SP-2 Neptune is also visible. USN 711204

The oldest of the lot was the soon-to-be-disposed-of Fletcher-class destroyer USS Saufley (DD/DDE/EDDE-465), which was laid down in January 1942– and earned 16 battle stars during World War II, making her one of the most decorated ships of World War II– while the newest included the Charles F. Adams-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sellers (DDG-11) which had only just finished her post-shakedown yard period a couple of months prior to the Crisis and would still have 28 years of service ahead of her.

Abbot (DD 629), 11 – 22 Nov 62.

Allan M. Sumner (DD 692), 24 Oct – 21 Nov 62.

Bache (DD 470), 25 Oct – 5 Nov 62.

Barry (DD 933), 24 Oct – 1 Nov 62.

Barton (DD 722), 24 Oct – 30 Nov 62.

Basilone (DD 824), 24 Oct – 18 Nov 62.

Beale (DD 471), 25 Oct – 5 Nov 62.

Bearss (DD 654), 4 – 16 Nov 62.

Beatty (DD 756), 16 – 24 Nov 62.

Biddle (DDG 5), 24 Oct – 21 Nov 62.

Bigelow (DD 942), 24 Oct – 21 Nov 62.

Blandy (DD 943), 24 Oct – 1 Nov 62.

Bordelon (DD 881), 24 Oct – 22 Nov 62; 3 – 21 Dec 62.

Borie (DD 704), 24 Oct – 1 Dec 62.

Bristol (DD 857), 4 Nov – 3 Dec 62.

Brough (DE 148), 25 Oct – 1 Dec 62.

Brownson (DD 868), 28 Oct – 18 Nov 62.

Calcaterra (DER 390), 31 Oct – 14 Nov 62.

Charles F. Adams (DDG 2), 24 Oct – 30 Nov 62.

Charles H. Roan (DD 853), 27 Oct – 24 Nov 62.

Charles P. Cecil (DDR 835), 29 Oct – 6 Dec 62.

Charles R. Ware (DD 865), 24 Oct – 21 Nov 62.

Charles S. Sperry (DD 697), 24 Oct – 1 Nov 62.

Claud Jones (DE 1033), 24 Oct – 22 Nov 62.

Conway (DD 507), 25 Oct – 5 Nov 62.

Cony (DD 508), 25 Oct – 5 Nov 62.

Corry (DDR 817), 24 Oct – 12 Nov 62; 18 – 21 Nov 62.

Dahlgren (DLG 12), 27 Oct – 11 Nov 62.

Damato (DD 871), 24 Oct – 4 Nov 62.

Davis (DD 937), 13 – 24 Nov 62.

Decatur (DD 936), 4 Nov – 7 Dec 62.

Dewey (DLG 14), 24 Oct – 12 Nov 62.

Dupont (DD 941), 26 Oct – 22 Nov 62.

Dyess (DDR 880), 3 – 23 Dec 62.

Eaton (DD 510), 25 Oct – 5 Nov 62.

English (DD 696), 24 Oct – 24 Nov 62.

Eugene A. Greene (DD 711), 24 Oct – 20 Nov 62.

Fiske (DDR 842), 24 Oct – 1 Dec 62.

Forrest B. Royal (DD 872), 24 Oct – 21 Nov 62.

Furse (DD 882), 24 Oct – 22 Nov 62.

Gainard (DD 706), 18-20 Nov 62.

Gearing (DD 710), 24 – 30 Oct 62.

Hank (DD 702), 24 Oct – 26 Nov 62.

Harlan R. Dickson (DD 708), 4 Nov – 5 Dec 62.

Harwood (DD 861), 24 Oct – 21 Nov 62.

Hawkins (DDR 873), 24 Oct – 1 Dec 62.

Haynsworth (DD 700), 24 Oct – 14 Nov 62

Henley (DD 762), 27 Oct – 22 Nov 62.

Hissem (DER 400), 24 Oct – 5 Nov 62.

Holder (DD 819), 1 – 18 Nov 62.

Hugh Purvis (DD 709), 28 Oct – 18 Nov 62.

Ingraham (DD 694), 6-10 Nov 62.

John King (DDG 3), 7 Nov – 6 Dec 62.

John Paul Jones (DD 932), 4 Nov – 5 Dec 62.

John R. Perry (DE 1034), 24 Oct – 22 Nov 62.

John R. Pierce (DD 753), 24 Oct – 2 Dec 62.

Johnston (DD 821), 10-31 Dec 62.

John W. Weeks (DD 701), 24 Oct – 14 Nov 62.

Joseph P. Kennedy Jr (DD 850), 24 Oct – 5 Dec 62.

Keppler (DD 765), 24 Oct – 1 Nov 62.

Kretchmer (DER 329), 27 Nov – 20 Dec 62.

Lawrence (DDG 4), 24 Oct – 6 Dec 62.

Leary (DDR 879), 24 Oct – 22 Nov 62.

Lowry (DD 770), 24 Oct – 8 Nov 62; 17-30 Nov 62.

Mac Donough (DLG 😎, 24 Oct – 20 Nov 62.

Maloy (DE 791), 6-29 Nov 62.

Manley (DD 940), 24 Oct – 24 Nov 62.

Mc Caffery (DD 860), 24 Oct – 21 Nov 62.

Mills (DER 383), 24 – 31 Oct 62.

Mullinnix (DD 944), 24 Oct – 6 Dec 62.

Murray (DD 576), 25 Oct – 5 Nov 62.

New (DD 818), 2-19 Nov 62.

Newman K. Perry (DDR 883), 24 Oct – 22 Nov 62; 3-21 Dec 62.

Norfolk (DL 1), 24 Oct – 21 Nov 62.

Norris (DD 859), 4 Nov – 5 Dec 62.

O’Hare (DDR 889), 24 Oct – 3 Dec 62.

Peterson (DE 152), 25 Oct – 1 Dec 62.

Purdy (DD 734), 17 – 24 Nov 62.

Rhodes (DER 384), 24 Oct – 26 Nov 62; 21 – 31 Dec 62.

Rich (DD 820), 2 – 18 Nov 62.

Richard E. Kraus (DD 849), 29 Oct – 21 Nov 62.

Robert A. Owens (DD 827), 27 Oct – 20 Nov 62.

Robert L. Wilson (DD 847), 24 Oct – 3 Nov 62.

Roy O. Hale (DER 336), 14-16 Nov 62.

Rush (DDR 714), 24 Oct – 1 Dec 62.

Samuel B. Roberts (DD 823), 24 Oct – 3 Nov 62.

Saufley (DD 465), 24 Oct – 22 Nov 62.

Sellers (DDG 11), 24 Oct – 21 Nov 62.

Soley (DD 707), 24 Oct – 2 Dec 62.

Steinaker (DDR 863), 24 Oct – 14 Nov 62; 20-22 Nov 62.

Stickell (DDR 888), 24 Oct – 6 Dec 62.

The Sullivans (DD 537), 17 Nov – 17 Dec 62.

Thomas J. Gary (DER 326), 15-27 Nov 62.

Vesole (DDR 878), 24 Oct – 22 Nov 62; 3 – 21 Dec 62.

Wallace L. Lind (DD 703), 24 Oct – 22 Nov 62.

Waller (DD 466), 25 Oct – 5 Nov 62.

Willard Keith (DD 775), 24 Oct – 15 Nov 62.

William C. Lawe (DD 763), 24 Oct – 21 Nov 62.

William M. Wood (DDR 715), 28 Oct – 24 Nov 62; 10 – 24 Dec 62.

Willis A. Lee (DL 4), 7 – 21 Nov 62.

Witek (DD 848), 24 Oct – 1 Nov 62; 16 – 20 Nov 62.

Zellars (DD 777), 24 Oct – 21 Nov 62.

For a deeper dive into the Crisis from a Navy point of view, check out the digitized 57-page “Cordon of Steel: The U.S. Navy and the Cuban Missile Crisis” by Curtis A. Utz. No. 1, in The U.S. Navy and the Modern World series, 1993.

Fittingly, the cover of the piece included a destroyer in the foreground, the old Fletcher-class USS Eaton (DD-510), which earned 11 battle stars in WWII and then served on Caribbean duty through the early 1960s, including standing off Cuba during the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Eaton also earned the AFEM for the Quarantine, serving on the line from 25 Oct – 5 Nov 62.

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