Christmas Scene in Mallorca, or Maybe Not

What a great Cold War image!

The GUPPY’d fleet boats USS Sirgao (Tench-class Guppy II) (SS-485) and USS Piper (Balao-class Fleet Snorkel) (SS-409) and the Cleveland/Galveston-class cruiser USS Little Rock (CLG-4, former CL 92) of the U.S. Sixth Fleet stand draped with lights while moored during the late evening hours at Palma, Mallorca, Spain.

As noted, “All sailing units deployed with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean displayed such lights while in port.”

DANFS notes that Little Rock visited Palma several times while in the Med: 30 July-3 August 1969, 25-30 May 1970, 28 February-3 March 1974, and 2-24 September 1974. This would seem to dispel the possibility of the above being a Christmastime image, although it does seem very “Feliz Navidad.”

Nonetheless, comparing the records for Sirgao, which was decommissioned on 1 June 1972, and Piper, which transitioned to a pierside training hulk in 1967, would point towards a more likely date of December 1963, when the latter was last in the Med, and Little Rock was just wrapping up a stint as VADM William E. Gentner Jr.’s Sixth Fleet flagship, relieved at Rota by sistership USS Springfield (CLG-7) on 15 December that year. This becomes solidified when you look at Little Rock’s more detailed chronology on her veterans’ association page, which notes she was at Palma 11-14 December, just prior to leaving the Med.

So maybe it is a Christmastime image, after all.

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