56 Years Ago Today: Sumner-class destroyer USS Mansfield (DD 728) letting rip her 5″/38 DP Naval Guns at water-borne craft off the coast of North Vietnam, north of the demilitarized zone.
Named for Marine Sergeant Duncan Mansfield of circa 1804 “Shores of Tripoli” fame, Mansfield (DD‑728) was laid down 28 August 1943 by the Bath Iron Works and commissioned just short of eight months later on 14 April 1944.
Earning five battle stars in the Pacific– including downing 17 Kamikazes in one day off Okinawa and later taking part in a daring high‑speed torpedo run with DesRon61 into Nojima Saki, sinking or damaging four enemy ships — she witnessed the formal Japanese surrender ceremony in September 1945 in Tokyo Bay.
Picking up a further three battle stars for Korean service while almost breaking her back on a mine off Inchon, Mansfield would be FRAM II’d in 1960, trading in her WWII kit for Cold War ASW work, and ship off for the 7th Fleet.
Rotating through four deployments off Vietnam between 1965 and 1969, she also had enough time to serve as an alternate recovery ship for Gemini XI (and slated for the Apollo 1 mission).
Her Vietnam “Top Gun” Results, 1965-69:
- 5″ Rounds Fired: 40,001
- Days on Gun Line: 220
- Times Under Hostile Fire: 8
- Enemy KIA: 187
- Active Artillery Sites Silenced: 30
- Secondary Explosions: 59
- Structures/Bunkers Destroyed: 495
- Ships/Junks/Boats Sunk: 224
Decommissioned on 4 February 1971, Mansfield was disposed of and sold to Argentina on 4 June 1974 where she was mothballed at Puerto Belgrano and scavenged for spare parts to support that country’s other American surplus tin cans, then was eventually cut up for scrap in the late 1980s.