Tag Archives: Naval History and Heritage Command

The Gray Ghost arrives on Yankee Station

Official Caption: “The biggest and fastest guns operating in the Tonkin Gulf belong to the USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA-148). Her 8-inch/55 caliber rapid-fire guns rake North Vietnamese targets daily during Operation Sea Dragon. The NEWPORT NEWS arrived on Yankee Station in October 1967 to enter combat for the first time in her 19 years, 11 October 1967.”

Photographer, Journalist First Class Willard B. Bass, Jr. USN, Wed, Oct 11, 1967, 1127808 National Archives

Commissioned 29 January 1949, “The Gray Ghost from the East Coast,” was a 21,000-ton Des Moines-class heavy cruiser. The pinnacle of U.S. big-gun cruisers, only eclipsed by the ill-fated Alaska-class battlecruisers, Newport News and her sisters Des Moines and Salem (CA-139) carried nine 8″/55 cal Mk 16 RF guns in three 450-ton triple turrets that used automatic shell handling and loading to produce a rate of fire three times greater than that of previous 8″ (20.3 cm) guns.

They could zip out an impressive 10 rounds per minute, per gun, or 90 x 260lb shells in 60 seconds.

Oof.

Forward 8-inch main guns of the heavy cruiser USS Newport News and spent cases after a mission off Vietnam.

Newport News would fire more than 50,000 shells on her 1967 deployment including one incident on 19 December when she exchanged fire with as many as 28 separate North Vietnamese shore batteries, simultaneously, being bracketed by 300 enemy shells without taking a hit.

Newport News would return to Yankee Station two more times before she was decommissioned in 1975, the last all-gun heavy cruiser in US service. She was scrapped in 1993.

This week, however, a model of the Gray Ghost was moved into the gallery of the Hampton Roads Naval Museum by a contingent of sailors from the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG-64). The model is incorporated into a larger exhibit, “The Ten Thousand-Day War at Sea: The US Navy in Vietnam, 1950-1975.”

The new exhibit opened on Wednesday.

Vintage machine gun saved from the torch and put on display

LaSalle County Sheriff Tom Templeton and Jane Sullivan-DePaoli pose with the Japanese Type 99 light machine gun recovered by her father from a pillbox on Iwo Jima. (Photo: Livingston County War Museum)

LaSalle County Sheriff Tom Templeton and Jane Sullivan-DePaoli pose with the Japanese Type 99 light machine gun recovered by her father from a pillbox on Iwo Jima. (Photo: Livingston County War Museum)

An Illinois military museum has managed to save a historic machine gun, captured by an area Marine during World War II– but only after a local sheriff rescued it from the ATF first.

The Livingston County War Museum in Pontiac last week placed their newly-acquired Type 99 light machine gun on public display, surrounded by photos and memorabilia that once belonged to the man who brought it home from Iwo Jima.

That Marine, John Sullivan, helped silence the weapon in 1945– attested by the damage visible on the bipod and carrying handle of the 23-pound 7.7mm machine gun. And its a pretty interesting tale of how the gun got from the sands of Iwo to the museum.

Read the rest in my column at Guns.com