USS FORREST ROYAL DD-872
History
 

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USS FORREST ROYAL
(DD-872)
 

Forrest Royal (DD-872) was launched 17 January 1946 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Staten Island, N.Y. sponsored by Miss Katharine K. Royal, daughter of Admiral Royal and commissioned 29 June 1946, Commander J. M. Clute in command.

Forrest Royal's operations in the period prior to the Korean War illustrated the varied capability of the modern destroyer, and the wide range of missions which such ships are assigned. She conducted special tests for the Bureau of Ships in the Caribbean, served as plane guard and escort for carriers, took part in the development of antisubmarine warfare and fired in shore bombardment exercises. Usually based at Pensacola, she visited many ports in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

On 26 September 1950, Forrest Royal sailed from Guantanamo Bay for duty in the Korean War, arriving at Sasebo 27 October. Her first assignment was as flagship for the minesweeping at Chinnampo, a port essential to supply operations for the 8th Army. The destroyer's other activities included shore bombardment, blockade, and escort all around the Korean coast, and extensive operations with carrier task forces conducting air strikes.

Her first assignment was with the minesweeping force clearing the waters around Chinnampo, a port essential to supply operations for the Eighth Army. She was off Chinnampo again on 5 December with several Australian, Canadian, and British destroyers to cover the evacuation of American and Korean soldiers and civilians. To reach them in time, the ships had to enter the port at night without lights and in a blinding snow storm, avoiding treacherous mud flats and islands and staying within the swept channel marked by buoys that couldn’t be detected by radar. With a few minor mishaps, they stood into the port at about 2250 and were anchored off the city by 0240. The FORREST ROYAL took station farthest up the river and once the army reported all personnel off the beach, she and the other destroyers began shelling port installations. When they left at 1842, the port was ablaze.

Between 20 and 24 December DD-872 engaged in the bombardment of Hungnam during X-Corps evacuation. She delivered call, interdiction, illumination, and harassing fire. Also on the gun line were the St. PAUL (CA-73), ROCHESTER (CA-124), NORRIS (DDE-859), ENGLISH (DD-696), BORIE (DD-704), WALLACE L. LIND (DD-703), HANK (DD-702), ZELLARS (DD-777), MASSEY (DD-778), and CHARLES S. SPERRY (DD-697). Upon completion of the mission, she joined the blockade off Korea’s northeast coast, and turned her guns on shore positions near Kisamon Tan. She continued in her fire support and bombardment roles in the vicinity of Kingnang and Sachonjin Ni until 1 February 1951. On 4 February, she served as plane guard for the BATAAN (CV-29) during air strikes off the west coast of Korea. In March she was back on the gun line off Chumunjin and at mid-month conducted shore bombardment at Wonsan with additional bombardment missions against Kansong, Yangyang, and Haku. The destroyer also engaged in shore bombardment, blockade, and escort duty along the Korean coast, and extensive operations with carrier task forces until the end of May. She sailed for home 6 June 1951, returning to Norfolk 2 July.

Forrest Royal's next deployment, between 26 August 1952 and 29 January 1953, was for a combination of NATO exercises off the coast of Norway, visits to principal ports in northern Europe, 2 months with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean, and antisubmarine exercises with British ships off Northern Ireland. Through the next year and a half, the destroyer sailed out of Newport, R.I., for exercises along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean, often serving with carriers out of Pensacola, Fla.

During a cruise round the world between 2 August 1954 and 14 March 1955, Forrest Royal sailed westward to serve with the 7th Fleet in Japanese and Philippine waters, thence onward to the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal to join the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean, returning across the Atlantic to Newport. She made her next visit to the Mediterranean between 14 September 1956 and 3 April 1957, and during the Suez Crisis, patrolled along the Egyptian and Levant coasts. Assigned to service in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, and Gulf of Suez, Forrest Royal made the long voyage around the African continent for this duty, since the Suez Canal was still blocked.

Forrest Royal took part in a midshipman cruise to South America in the summer of 1957 as well as the International Naval Review in Hampton Roads on 12 June. NATO operations took her to European waters once more that fall, and on 11 July 1958, she sailed from Newport for Morehead City, N.C., where amphibious ships of her force embarked marines for landing exercises at Puerto Rico. This task force cleared San Juan 1 August to land the marines at Beirut, Lebanon, 20 to 28 August, reinforcing the troops earlier landed in the Navy's immediate response to the outbreak of Middle Eastern trouble. Forrest Royal sailed on through the Suez Canal to bring her additional strength to the 7th Fleet as it intensified its activities in the Taiwan Straits in response to renewed Communist shelling of Quemoy and Matsu through September. Her homeward bound passage was by way of Capetown, South Africa, and she returned to Newport 18 November.

A highlight of Forrest Royal's operating schedule in 1959 was her participation in Operation "Inland Sea," the movement of a major naval task force into the Great Lakes in connection with the ceremonial opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. She joined in the naval review on Lake St. Louis 26 June taken by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, and called at United States and Canadian ports to greet thousands of visitors. In March 1960, she sailed once more to the Mediterranean to serve with the 6th Fleet and added a brief tour with the Middle East force prior to her return to the States in October. She operated out of Newport for the remainder of the year. The following spring she entered the Boston Naval Shipyard for her FRAM I conversion during which she received the Antisubmarine Rocket (ASROC) and Drone antisubmarine helicopter (DASH) systems.

She was operating out of Mayport and Key West, Florida, in October 1961 when President Kennedy ordered the quarantine of Cuba and was one of the first destroyers to arrive in the area. When the crisis ended, she returned to testing her new weapons systems until August 1963 when she deployed to the Mediterranean. Early in 1964, she participated in Polaris test firings at Cape Kennedy, Florida, followed by a midshipman cruise to Northern Europe. January 1965 found the ROYAL midway between Florida and Africa as part of the recovery team for the unmanned test flight of Gemini II. A year later, she was in the Mediterranean and when her deployment with the Sixth Fleet ended, she conducted a midshipman cruise to the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. In September 1966 she was part of the recovery force for the two-man Gemini XI space flight and took part in LANTFLEX-66, one of the largest fleet exercises in ten years.

The ROYAL joined the WARE (DD-865), BARNEY (DDG-6), and DAHLGREN (DLG-12) in February 1967 for the transit to the Western Pacific and operations off the coast of Vietnam. In mid-April she was on Yankee Station plane guarding the BON HOMME RICHARD (CVA-31) when her guns were needed by U.S. forces ashore at Da Nang in South Vietnam. She covered the 150 miles to her destination in less than eight hours. She became flagship for DesRon 16, commanding all naval gun fire support ships in the area. From 23 April to 6 May the ROYAL expended some 2,600 rounds of 5-inch projectiles in missions in the I and II Corps area and night harassment and interdiction fire in Da Nang Harbor. Following operations on Yankee Station and plane guarding the BON HOMME RICHARD and HANCOCK (CVA-19), the ROYAL joined Operation Sea Dragon on 20 May and twice in five days received intense counterbattery fire and heavy shrapnel but no direct hits. On 29 May the destroyer moved south to the Demilitarized Zone, again serving as flagship for DesRon 16 during a nine-day operation along the entire length of the Vietnam coastline from the DMZ 570 miles south through all four corps areas to the Gulf of Siam. While plane guarding the CONSTELLATION (CVA-64) on 2 August, the ROYAL recovered a downed pilot who had been forced to eject from his A-4C Skyhawk in the Tonkin Gulf. She began her trip home the following day and arrived in Mayport on 19 September 1967.

Operations out of Mayport and in the Caribbean, ASW exercises off Puerto Rico with the AULT (DD-698) and McCAFFERY (DD-860) in 1968, duty as Sonar School Ship at Key West, midshipman cruises, and plane guarding filled her schedule until her decommissioning on 27 March 1971. She was transferred to the Turkish government, renamed the ADATEPE, and struck from the navy’s list on 1 February 1973. She served there for an additional twenty years.

From The Tin Can Sailor, October 2002

Stricken February 1 1973 and sent to Turkey March 27 1971, where she was renamed Adatepe. Stricken and scraped in 1993.

Forrest Royal received four battle stars for Korean War service.