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 1969 Vietnam Gunline

Live From Washington: Lottery Night 1969!

USS Mullinnix Underway - Date Unknown

Click Mullinnix Welcome Aboard Pamplet (pdf file) to view
Mullinnix Welcome Aboard Pamplet from Belawan (Medan) Sumatra in 1969

Courtesty of Alfred "Al" Cammarata
Consulate Commo officer, Sumatra 1969

Al remembers, “ I was the Commo Officer at the Consulate in Medan during her Visit and the guy that sent that "well done" consulate telegram re her visit. The Indonesians wouldn't allow Mullinnix radio transmissions while in port. State dept agreed to re transmit all her traffic via our system. And at least twice some of your comms people brought a box of your teletype messages to the consulate for me to send. Since I was the lone communicator I didn't get a chance to visit her but my wife and the rest of the consulate people did. My wife brought back some pepperoni from the ship. A real treat for us. I'm Italian and hadn't eaten pepperoni in 2 years!! You can believe it was a treat. There was a hotel/bar across the street from the consulate. One afternoon I went over. The place was full with sailors (I’m shocked Al, really shocked – a bar full of Mux sailors? I can’t imagine…). Medan was not what I would consider a good liberty port. I meet two sailors and invited them to our house for dinner next day. We had traditional Indonesia satay. Grilled chicken and beef with a peanut sauce. I can’t remember their names. I believe one was married and from Illinois. They said they were anxious to get home and really appreciated visiting with a family. They enjoyed holding and talking with our 3 year old daughter. Mullinnix had just come off gun line. They didn't say much and I didn't ask. But it was obvious that combat changes people...

A BIG thanks to Al for this piece of Mullinnix history!

27 January 1969 Mux Familygram (PDF)

20 March 1969 Mux Familygram (PDF)

20 April 1969 Mux Familygram (PDF)

20 May 1969 Mux Familygram (PDF)

4 July 1969 Mux Familygram (PDF)

17 July 1969 Mux Familygram (PDF)

11 December 1969 Mux Familygram (PDF)

Vietnam Coastline viewed through a US Destroyer's Rangefinder - 1969

At 1600 PM, 16 January 1969, the last lines connecting the Mullinnix to home port were taken in and he beginning of a long, hard job had come into being. The course for the Western Pacific was now set.

Taking the last look at the homeport that the crew would not see until September, thoughts turning back on what the crew was leaving behind, but also the tasks ahead.


The 1968 holidays passed by too quickly and trouble in a far off land was the cause for the MUX to once again get underway. On her way to Vietnam the Mullinnix went through the Panama Canal again (since the fall of 1967 during the Unitas cruise to South America). She hit San Diego and escorted the USS Ranger over to Pearl. She left Pearl and headed to the gun line in Vietnam. On February 20, 1969, MUX was off the coast of Vietnam providing naval gunfire support to U.S. ground forces in the Republic of South Vietnam.

Campaigns Mux participated in:

1. Vietnamese Counter-offensive Phase VI (02 Nov 1968 - 22 Feb 1969)
2. Tet 69/Counteroffensive (23 February 1969 - 08 June 1969)
3. Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969 (09 June 1969 - 31 October 1969)
4. Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970 (01 November 1969 - 30 April 1970)

Mullinnix "Top Gun" Patch
Vietnam 1969

John Myers remembers, "During the first gunline period, Mullinnix fired numerous harassment and call fire missions, primarily in support of the First Marine Division, defending the Da Nang harbor complex, and the Third Marine Division, along the DMZ. MULLINNIX then steamed south toward the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.

USS Mullinnix in Belawan Indonesia - 1969

Two days of visits and visiting by thousands of citizens of Belawan and Medan, Indonesia were completed successfully. The official success of this protocol visit was attested to by the commendatory messages the MULLINNIX received from the American Consul, Medan, CINCPACFLT, COMSEVENTHFLT, CTG 70.8, and others. MULLINNIX returned to combat for her second gunline patrol on May 1st. Spending most of her time on station just south of the DMZ, the Mighty MUX fired in support of the Third Marine Division. The MUX completed her third and final gunline patrol during this WestPac cruise on July 15, 1969. During the 83 days on three gunline patrols in the I and II Corps areas, MULLINNIX provided naval gunfire support to Allied forces south of the DMZ, Da Nang, and in the vicinities of Cam Rahn Bay, Nha Trang, and Qui Nhen. During the "calls for fire" in three patrols, ammunition was fired at 1,627 targets at an average range of nearly 17,000 yards. For her naval gunfire support performance for fiscal year 1969, MULLINNIX was named "TOP GUN" among the gunline destroyers. A proud crew returned to Norfolk on 3 September, after having visited Kobe, Yokosuka, Pearl Harbor, San Francisco, San Diego, and Acapulco on the homeward journey.

1969 was the year the U.S. sent a man to the moon. As the Mullinnix steamed towards Pearl after completing a 4-month stint on the gun line, the ship’s crew was advised to be on guard in case the boys on Apollo strayed off course on their return to earth. Needless to say the crew was pretty excited but as luck would have it the closest the Mullinnix got to the actual landing was about 1000 miles or so.

The 3" gun mount forward had been removed before this deployment. The 3" gun forward was replaced with officers’ quarters for DesRon 14 Commander Captain S.L. Rusk. The Mullinnix fired 20,849 5-inch rounds and 83 3-inch rounds. Total missions 1,627; 229 structures destroyed, 156 structures damaged. She received credit for about 200 KIA."

Mullinnix and unknown ship anchored in Hong Kong harbor - 1969
Courtesy of Dennis Bergeron

Assignment to the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone) between North and South Vietnam made it even more evident that the war was close-by and very real.

The first patrol there brought the Mullinnix into the kinship of "BIG BROTHER" the USS New Jersey (BB-62), as the Commodore went over for a briefing before being relieved as Gunline Commander.

The patrol boats coming alongside gave us an opportunity to show the troops ashore how the Mullinnix operated and for a few Mullinnix sailors to go ashore to get the feel of life in a war zone camp.

Known to all as "Big Swifty", the Mullinnix encouraged the small patrol craft to come alongside for ice cream.

Hospital ships USS Sanctuary AH17 and USS Repose AH16 - Vietnam 1969

The first two patrols on the gunline found the Mullinnix assigned for duty in and around Danang and further north at the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Vietnam.

Being in the harbor at Danang gave the opportunity to be nearer supply sources, and to receive mail more frequently.

Life goes on in Danang even though war is near. The harbor traffic is heavy with freighters, patrol boats, and many small fishing boats. At night the lights of Danang reflect the water of the harbor, as the star shells drift slowly down illuminating the dark countryside and mountains around Danang in order to illuminate enemy troops and positions. The red machine gun tracers arching through the night complete the panorama of combat.

There did remain time for holiday routine and cookouts on the fantail.

1969 Cruise Book Cover

...some Vietnam-era Video Clips

Hover Craft in Vietnam

Swift Boats in Vietnam

USS New Jersey and Swift Boats in Vietnam

Hover Craft in Vietnam

Date Line Saigon
16 March 1969 - Washington Post (pdf)

...some Vietnam-era Music

Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation (Tom Paxton)

Going Up The Country (Canned Heat @ Woodstock)

Theme from M*A*S*H (the movie)

Good Morning, Vietnammmmmm!!!!!!

Radio Show - Clip 1
Radio Show - Clip 2
Radio Show - Clip 3
Radio Show - Clip 4
Radio Show - Clip 5
Radio Show - Clip 6
English Class - Clip 1
English Class - Clip 2
COnvoy - Clip 1
COnvoy - Clip 2
Baseball Game - Clip 1
Baseball Game - Clip 2
Goodbye Vietnam

Stars & Stripes, 21 July 1969 (pdf)
Mullinnix Finishing Her Fighting (83 days on the gunline)...for now...

Many an American soldier, hunkered down as bullets whistled through the foliage, were startled to see an old lady climbing creakily out of a jeep! "Boys, let's talk turkey," Corrie would announce. "Either you're going to survive this war or you're going to fall. If you fall, are you ready to meet God?"
The Hiding Place
Corrie Ten Boom

Go to 1969 Vietnam - Page 2
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© 2003 by Frank Wood, All rights reserved.