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Related Content
  • Ordnance and Weapons
  • Operations
  • Boats-Ships--Cruisers
  • Exhibits
Document Type
  • Themed Collection
Wars & Conflicts
  • Vietnam Conflict 1962-1975
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Location of Archival Materials
  • Hampton Roads Naval Museum

Shell Casings Newport News
Caption: Brass shell casings litter the deck of USS Newport News (CA 148) after a gunfire support mission. Charlie Pfeifer, an officer aboard USS Richard S. Edwards (DD 950) , remembered the incredible rate of fire maintained on gunfire support missions: “We fired so much that we re-armed probably two days out of three. So it wasn't unusual at all for us to get back on the gunline and start getting requests for fire with pallets of ammunition still sitting on the mess decks to be struck down into the magazine. You know, you do what you have to do.” (Naval History and Heritage Command)



The Big Guns

Vietnam's long, narrow shape (especially in the North) was ideal for naval gunfire support. Cruisers and destroyers targeted inland positions through North and South Vietnam. Armed and ready, with the ability to refuel and resupply at sea, naval vessels maintained an impressive rate of fire. During the war's high point in 1968, Seventh Fleet ships fired 900,000 rounds at the enemy near the DMZ. In 1972, USS Oklahoma City (CLG 5) fired 1,000 rounds in just one night.