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 GUNLINE Vietnam 1972 

1971 USS Mullinnix Postcard

USS Mullinnix DD-944 - 1972 Vietnam Gunline
That's me, FTG3 Frank A. Wood aka "Woody" leaning up against MT52 watching Jimmy Roland and his team in MT53 pore in on the enemy
(turn your sound on...)

FTG3 Frank "Woody" Wood in Main Battery Plot - Gunline Vietnam
NOTE: "THE trigger" in my left hand
(Courtesy FTG3 Dennis "Ski" Wenske)

North Vietnam's 1972 Easter Offensive Sent Mullinnix and many other ships back to Vietnam

Click Here to watch why the 'boots on the ground' needed Mullinnix
(scene from the hit TV show JAG)

n April 8th Mullinnix was ordered made ready from immediate deployment to the Southeast Asia combat zone. On Wednesday, 12 April, Mullinnix got underway from D&S Piers with USS Biddle (DLG-34) for its deployment. The two ships were joined on 14 April by USS Glennon (DD-840) from Charleston, South Carolina and USS Sarsfield (DD-837) from Mayport, Florida. The OTC of the Transit Group was Captain T. Hughes, Commander Destroyer Squadron 32, embarked in Mullinnix. The group transited the Panama Canal on 16 April, and began the Pacific crossing after a fuel stop at the U.S. Naval Station, Rodman, Canal Zone that same day. On 26 April the Transit Group stopped overnight in Pearl Harbor for Fuel and supplies at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Hawaii. The group was off Midway Island on 30 April. The group proceeded via Guam, for fuel stop on May 7th, and arrived Subic Bay, Philippines on 11 May.

Mullinnix Enemy Splash Vietnam 1972uesday, 16 May 1972: At 0357 Mullinnix commenced maneuvering on various courses and speeds to affect rendezvous with USS Vesuvius AE-15. At 0512 she commenced to receive pallets of 5”/54 powder. Next, she commenced approach to USS Hassayampa AO-145 at 0638 to talk on fuel. At 0754 the ship secured the refueling detail and set the “Gold Team”. Until she’d leave the gunline, the ship’s company was broken into two teams – Gold Team and Blue Tam – 6 hours on watch, 6 hours off – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Mullinnix arrived at Point Allison at 0810.

Let the gunline be known, the “Mighty Mux” had arrived!

16 May 1972 1307: This picture was taken on her 1st day on the gunline off South Vietnam. The Mullinnix was ordered up north for plane-guard duty a few times but spent most of her tour off the coast of South Vietnam in gunfire support, pounding targets with her 4 gun mounts – 24/7.

he had been there just under 5 hours, hot as hell (about 115F), everyone out on the decks with their shirts off, drifting at .3-.5 knots less than 1 mile off shore.

Crew catching a few rays, taking pictures, etc. When WHAM, this shell hits just off the starboard side. FTG2 Thomas F. Hoddinott had just loaded his camera (he was the designated photographer for the cruise book) and snapped this picture.

s you can imagine it was pandemonium on the decks as GQ was sounded and the IMC screaming "counter battery, counter battery!!" Our Captain, "Boom Boom" Cannon, yelled, "Get us a course so we can get on a horse and get the hell out of here!" The Mighty Mux got her guns firing in a matter of seconds and the 'counter battery' went silent for the rest of the day. In a blink of an eye it went from 'fun-and games' to the real-deal.

fter hearing secure from general quaters for the last time that day, I wrote the following letter home after the 1st day on the gunline at about 6:30PM:

"Dear Mom, Dad, and 'Sis'; Today was our 1st day on the gunline. They got us up at 3:30AM in the morning to load 1400 rounds of powder which took about 3 hours. Then we had to refuel. I had the noon to 6 o'clock watch. We fired 89 rounds on 2 separate missions. I pulled the trigger the 1st time to start the war for the Mullinnix...On our first mission they shot back at us. It landed about 300 feet away; we got the hell out of there fast. About a half-hour later there were 2 radars locked onto us, but no missiles were fired. About an hour later we spotted a gunboat, but it turned out to be South Vietnamese.

We have 4 marines on board to operate missiles we loaded on board. They fire them from their shoulder like a bazooka. We'll use them against MiGs as they are heat seeking - going up the exhaust system.

We are supposed to (the gunline) leave 4 June. But more than likely we'll be here at least a month and a half. That's just the 1st line period. We'll probably get about 4 or 5 periods after that. Well, I've got the midnight to 6AM watch. So I'd better go to bed - were standing six on/six off. Love, Frank"

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, at times."
Daryl Wright

Mullinnix had 1 of 1st Marine Redeye Missile Teams (PDF File)

n 1972, the USS Mullinnix DD-944 made her 3rd trip to the gun-line off Vietnam. The Mullinnix deployed from Norfolk, Virginia on 96 hours notice along with 3 other destroyers. This was part of President Nixon's actions in response to the North Vietnamese Easter Offensive of 30 March 1972. He ordered the mining of North Vietnamese ports. He also augmented the already considerable Naval forces in Vietnam with additional 5 aircraft carriers, 1 heavy cruiser (USS Newport News), 4 cruisers, and 44 destroyers. She arrived off the coast with one twin-barrel 3-inch/50-caliber gun and three modern single-barrel 5-inch/54-caliber guns. During the cruise she adopted the DOORS song, "Riders on the Storm", due to the fact the Mullinnix had to deal with several typhoons.

USS Mullinnix DD-944 Frank and Mates Vietnam 1972 ullinnix participated in the campaign to retake Quang Tri and the campaign to defend Hue. These campaigns involved the largest assembly of gunfire support ships in the Vietnam War and the largest amphibious landing since Inchon and Wonsan in the Korean War. In support of Vietnamese Marines, U.S. ships fired 289,963 rounds, at the highest monthly rate since 1968.

icture left to right: GMG3 Kenneth "Maggot" Klan, FTG3 Frank "Woody" Wood, GMG3 Danny Perrine, BM2 Thomas Diaz.

he Mighty MUX arrived off the coast of Vietnam on 16 May. In the first few hours on the gunline, the MULLINNIX fired over 500 projectiles. With highly accurate precision and an experienced crew, MULLINNIX was able to provide successful gunfire support for U.S. and South Vietnamese ground troops. This performance was later recognized in a formal presentation of the Gunnery E for excellence to the Weapons Department.

What it must be like to be on the wrong end of "INCOMING!!!"
(video clip from Iraq - Get'um Boys!)

Vietnam Map lick on the map to the left and you will be taken to an 'image map' that will allow you to find additional information on the major battles in 1972 and their relationship with the Mullinnix during her 1972 campagin in Southeast Asia.

Go to 13 April 1972
Go to 24 May 1972
Go to 1972 Major Battles
Go to 17 October 1972
Go to 27 October 1972
Back to Ship History

s the order came down from the bridge, "Five minutes to break away," the BT started to insert the high-speed burners and stood waiting for the next order. MMs stepped to the valves that they would soon open as fast as they could to allow more steam into the turbine engines. The next order came down more tense now: "one minute to break away, standby to answer bells!" As the last cable was returned to the BT the order came: "break away, break away!" The engine order telegraph bells instantly sprang to life signaling a flank speed and the dials began to turn as the desired R.P.M.'s required for thirty knots were set from the bridge. Instantly Mullinnix shuddered as the water began to churn and boil from the twin screws pounding it angrily for moving too slowly between the blades of the propellers. Her fantail dropped into the water as the bow jumped up and she shot forward while the two stacks began bellowing black smoke as the boilers strained to maintain steam pressure for the engines. At the same instant topside, signalman quickly raised the bleach-white flag with a fiery red heart in its center while screaming from the IMC came the haunting sounds of the Doors "Riders On The Storm". As the Mighty Mux cleared the Oiler she started her full power turn and the ship seemed to lean unusually hard as if straining to stay upright. As the crew on the other ship jerked their heads around to see what was happening, Mullinnix came out of the turn and was headed back down the line of ships as a Signalman high above the bridge struck down the "Virginia Is For Lovers" Flag. The crew of the Oiler had just witnesses one of the most unique events in the Vietnam War - the arrogant and flamboyant announcement that the most powerful destroyer ever built by the U.S. Navy was prepared to re-entry combat action...to deal the enemy another mortal blow. Long live the Mullinnix!

On 9 October Mullinnix rendezvoused with Biddle, Glennon, and Sarsfield for the transit back to the East Coast by way of San Diego (import 13-15 October) and the Panama Canal (22 October). Biddle arrived in Norfolk on 26 October. Mullinnix was due the same day but was delayed for refueling in Central America.

The Mullinnix arrived home in Norfolk flying the "Virginia is for Lovers" flag, to the sound of a Navy band, Ronald McDonald, the welcoming tears of waiting relatives, and being called by some "Baby Killers". For those people who called us names, I say "fuck'um"!

If you can read a bumper sticker, thank a teacher. If it is in English, THANK A SAILOR!!"

Ships that served with USS Mullinnix in Vietnam 1972
USS America CVA-66USS Gurke DD-783USS Berkeley DDG-15USS Everett F. Larson DD-830
USS Sarsfield DD-837USS Saratoga CV-60USS Glennon DD-840USS John R. Craig DD-885
USS Rowan DD-782USS Newport News CA-148USS Richard S. Edwards DD-950USS Constellation CV-64
USS Coral Sea CV-43USS Hancock CV/CVA-19USS Midway CV-41USS Kittyhawk CV-63
USS Ticonderoga CV-14USS Okinawa LPH-3USS Oklahoma City CLG-5USS Providence CLG-6
USS Chicago CG-11USS Long Beach CNG-9USS Bausell DD-845USS Charles P. Cecil DD-835
USS Eversole DD-789USS Miles C. Fox DD-829USS Hamner DD-718USS Hanson DD-832
USS Hull DD-945USS John Paul Jones DD-932USS George K.Mackenzie DD-836USS John S. McCain DL-3/DDG-36
USS Ozbourn DD-846USS Somers DD-947USS Benjamin Stoddert DDG-22USS Joseph Strauss DDG-16
USS Lloyd Thomas DD-764USS Waddell DDG-24USS Davidson DE-1045USS Albert David DE-1050
USS Whipple FF-1062USS Biddle DLG/CG-34USS Sterett DDG-31/CG-31USS Blue Ridge LCC-19
USS Denver LPD-9USS NobileUSS St. Louis LKA-116USS Port Defiance LSD-31
USS Juneau LPD-10USS Anchorage LSD-36USS Schenectady LST-1185USS Manitowoc LST-1180
USS Tuscaloosa LST-1187USS Alamo LSD-33USS Sumter APA-52USS Cayuga LST-1186
USS Duluth LPD-6USS Vesuvius AE-15USS Kilauea AE-26USS Standley DLG/CG-32
USS Albany CG-10USS Detroit AOE-4USS Dennis J. Buckley DDR-808USS Waccumaw AO-109
USS Savannah AOR-4USS Lawrence DDG-4USS Higbee DD-806USS Worden CG-18
USS Cleveland LPD-7USS Morton DD-948USS Davis DD-937 

Reflections in Poetry
By Richard Nash
Ardmore, OK
28 January, 2005

The Navy's Big Guns (USS Newport News CA-148)

Comdesron 36
Thomas J Hughes Jr
Picture taken in 1983

...some Vietnam-era Music

The Sinking of the Reuben James - The Highwaymen (Willy, J Cash, Waylon, Kristofferson)

Still in Saigon - Charlie Daniels Band

Theme from M*A*S*H (the TV series version)

BONUS: Bob Hope Christmas Show Video Clips!

Bob Hope - Introduction
Bob Hope - Subic Bay
Bob Hope - USS Midway
Bob Hope - B-52

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


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 1972 Vietnam Page 2
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Go to 1972 Vietnam Page 4
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© 2001 by Frank Wood, All rights reserved.