During his off hours, Brewton enjoyed leading intense workout sessions for the unit and occasional visits to the Cho Duc Bar to relax. “Some of the SEALs could tell a good story,” recalled Keith, “but Bubba was the best, a real first-class raconteur.” HMC Erasmo “Doc” Riojas, one of the team’s hospital corpsmen, described Brewton as “one of the guys when not on duty.” At the time of his death, Brewton was engaged to marry Miss Cheryl Kurit, a Pan American Airways stewardess whom he occasionally met up with when her flights landed at Saigon.
On 24 November 1969, a platoon-size operation designed to ambush VC supply sampans on a small canal in the RSSZ, got underway, with Brewton leading the Alpha squad and Lt. (j.g.) Abram Y. Bryson, Jr., the platoon commander, leading the Bravo squad. The platoon left Nhà Bè at 1800 in Light Seal Support Craft (LSSC) to proceed to an insertion point 1.5 kilometers from the site of the planned ambush. Brewton chose to take the point position with EN2 Robert D. “Chris” Christopher, an M-60 gunner, just behind him. Christopher had volunteered for the point but Brewton denied his request fearing that the hulking blond-haired Californian presented too big of a target for the VC. In standard infantry units, officers rarely take the lead position but “SEAL officers,” Keith explained, “were always on point or as close to the point man as they could get” because of their commitment to sharing danger with their teammates and the egalitarian, small unit culture of SEALs.
Brewton’s unit set up an ambush position and surveyed the objective for six hours before packing up and leaving at dawn. Except for a 12-foot-long crocodile, nothing was seen and the unit exfiltrated through a thick mangrove swamp. Upon seeing movement during the march, Brewton immediately alerted the patrol and moved to within ten meters of an enemy bunker. After spotting two armed VC, he alerted his men with a hand signal and seconds later gave the command to fire. Instantly, Christopher opened up with the M-60 and other SEALs with their Stoner light machine guns and M-16s.
Soon, however, as Keith observed, the water erupted around Brewton “…like it was full of piranha in a feeding frenzy” as the Viet Cong took the SEALs under fire with a furious fusillade, rounds striking both Christopher and Brewton. The former, with a neck wound, lay face first in muddy water. Brewton, suffering from wounds to his hand and back, continued to return fire, killing two VC, until more rounds hit him. Doc Riojas braved a hail of fire twice to pull Christopher and Brewton to safety. He found Christopher lying in the water clutching a live grenade in his hand; in the event of capture, he had intended to detonate it.
Once Navy helicopter gunships had suppressed enemy fire, two medevac helicopters made a daring landing in a small clearing in a mangrove swamp to retrieve Christopher and Brewton. Riojas and HM1 Robert P. “Bob” Clark, the unit’s second hospital corpsman, literally had to swim across a flooded bomb crater dragging Brewton and Christopher (who would later make a complete recovery from his wounds) behind them to reach the helicopters. Hovering with their skids barely touching water, the crews of the two Hueys pulled all four men on board and flew off. SEAL hospital corpsmen share a special bond with their patients, rarely leaving their side even during hospital surgeries. Riojas’ dedication to caring for his fallen leader rendered him unmindful of his own hurt. He himself had received an AK-47 bullet wound in the thigh. Riojas, who later became a medical doctor, visited Brewton every day at the U.S. Army Third Field Hospital in Saigon until Brewton died on 17 January 1970, succumbing to infections and other complications stemming from his multiple wounds.
Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., Commander Naval Forces Vietnam (and later Chief of Naval Operations) visited him in the hospital several times. Zumwalt’s wife Mouza would eventually sponsor and christen the escort vessel named in honor of the heroic SEAL: Brewton (FF-1086) on 23 June 1971.
Brewton, promoted posthumously to lieutenant, lies buried at the Mobile Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Tillmans Corner, Alabama. His decorations include a Silver Star (for the action on 24 November 1969), two Bronze Stars with “V,” two Purple Hearts, a Navy Commendation Medal with “V,” a Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, a Combat Action Ribbon, and three Vietnam Service Awards.
(DE-1086: displacement 4,100 tons; length 438'; beam 46'9''; draft 24'9''; speed 27 knots; complement 278; armament 1 5-inch, Anti-Submarine Rocket (ASROC) system, Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) I; class Knox)
Brewton (DE-1086) was laid down on 2 October 1970, at Westwego, La., by Avondale Shipyards; launched on 24 July 1971; sponsored by Mrs. Mouza [Coutelais-du-Roche] Zumwalt, the wife of Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., the Chief of Naval Operations and one of Lt. Brewton’s commanding officers during the Vietnam War; commissioned on 8 July 1972, at the Long Beach [Calif.] Naval Shipyard, Cmdr. John W. Kinnier in command.
On 27 August 1972, Brewton got underway for her shakedown cruise. The warship underwent degaussing and deperming in San Diego, Calif., on Monday, 12 September, and then stood out to patriciate in a week of gunnery and damage control exercises with the San Diego Fleet Training Group. Brewton then voyaged up the coast to Carr Inlet, Puget Sound, Wash., to undergo a series of acoustical tests, which enhanced her Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capabilities. The ocean escort then steamed to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, for a four-day port visit.
Brewton stood out from Vancouver on 26 September 1972, and shaped a course for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After reaching Pearl a short time later, Brewton received extensive dockside preparations before getting underway for the Barking Sands Underwater Test Range, where she fired several of her ASW weapons systems. Operating in Hawaiian waters for most of the next month, Brewton conducted several underway replenishment and seamanship exercises and then participated in a graded battle problem.
Brewton made the voyage back to Long Beach, from 22 to 26 October 1972. The following month on 7 November, the warship steamed to San Diego, where she served as a training ship for the ASW Air Controller’s Course. With these duties concluded on the 10th, Brewton returned to Long Beach where she spent the next several weeks conducting ASW and gunnery drills. On 24 November, Brewton steamed out to sea to rendezvous with the attack aircraft carrier Coral Sea (CVA-43) and then acted as a plane guard and escort for the carrier off the coast of southern California. Late in the day on 3 December, Brewton pulled into the Long Beach Naval Shipyard and then, on 11 December, commenced her post-shakedown yard availability.
Brewton’s lengthy availability included a number of ASW upgrades, as well as the installation of permanent facilities for her LAMPS helicopters. This upgrade and maintenance period concluded in the spring of 1973, and upon rejoining the fleet, Brewton was assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 33 and homeported at Pearl Harbor. Armed with modern anti-submarine weaponry, Brewton’s primary mission upon joining the fleet was to provide ocean escort services for carrier battle groups, convoys, and underway replenishment forces.
In November 1973, Brewton set out on her first major deployment bound for the Western Pacific (WestPac). As of 1 January 1974, Brewton lay anchored in the deep-water port of Sattahip, Thailand. On 3 January, she proceeded to Naval Station, Subic Bay, Luzon, Republic of the Philippines, and spent several weeks there undergoing a tender availability.
With the war in Vietnam in full swing Brewton got underway on 22 January 1974, on a four-hour notice for special contingency operations in the Gulf of Siam [Gulf of Thailand]. Steaming with Task Force (TF) 76.4, Brewton maintained a “wait and watch posture,” in the area until 11 February. On the 12th, she dropped her anchor at Singapore, and her crew enjoyed a brief eight-day respite before steaming back to Subic Bay on 22 February, for another shipyard availability.
On 9 March 1974, Brewton stood out with the nuclear powered submarine Seadragon (SSN-584) and “engaged in a lively free play exercise of six hours duration.” In the course of the exercise, Brewton’s LAMPS detachment tested their mettle against the submarine. The contest ended in “a draw,” and Brewton got underway on the 11th, for a port call at Manila, Luzon. She later returned to Subic Bay on 15 March, and then on 19 March, got underway for Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
Amid some notably rough weather Brewton got underway during the first week of April 1974, and steamed to Keelung, Taiwan [Republic of China]. While transiting the Taiwan Straits the excessively heavy weather caused Brewton’s “TACAN antenna to part ways with the ship.” While at port in Keelung, Brewton received some repairs and then got underway for a port call at Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, on 8 April. Following “eight pleasant days in port,” Brewton returned to Subic Bay on 18 April, marking the final port call of her 1973-1974 WestPac deployment.
Brewton got underway from Subic Bay on 23 April 1974, bound for Pearl Harbor. After making brief re-fueling stops at Guam, U.S. Territory (26 April) and Midway Atoll, U.S. Territory (1 May), the ocean escort arrived back at her homeport on 5 May, “amid greetings from family friends and a band playing at the docks.” Brewton’s arrival at Pearl marked the beginning of her first extended stay at her new homeport—a period of yard availabilities, personnel turnovers and shipboard training and indoctrination courses.
From 13 to 14 June 1974, Brewton got underway for the first time since her deployment for a fast cruise, conducting local submarine operations with Haddock (SSN-621). The following month, Brewton prepared for and participated in Composite Training Unit Exercise (CompTUEx) 5B-74. The warship’s crew had a brief moment of respite in August, as routine portside work resumed. Then, on 6 September, Brewton received short notice orders to get underway for the first Soviet Out-Of-Area Operation since 1971, a “significant real-world operation.”
Brewton remained at Pearl Harbor through 10 March 1975, conducting local exercises and drills in preparation for another OPPE and the multi-national exercise Rim of the Pacific (RimPac) 1975. In February, the Propulsion Plant Examining Board rated Brewton “conditionally satisfactory but recommended a re-exam,” to fix a few engineering issues.
At 0745 on 11 March 1975, Brewton stood out with Blue Forces, for RimPac 75, steaming with the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk (CV-63) and engaged in a number of multi-fleet interactions. These intensive training exercises kept Brewton underway until the 21st, at which time she returned to her regular moorings at Pearl Harbor.
From 9 to 10 April 1975, Brewton satisfactorily passed a Nuclear Weapons Assistance Team Inspection. The following week she participated in a Battle Problem (14-17 April) and an Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) (18 April), earning satisfactory scores on both. These inspections were all done in preparation for Brewton’s OPPE re-exam, which took place from 28-29 April.
On 15 May 1975, Brewton got underway from Pearl Harbor for her second major overseas deployment, conducting Seventh Fleet operations in the Western Pacific. After touching at Midway (27 May) Brewton arrived at Apra Harbor, Guam, on 27 May, and underwent an availability period prior to beginning active operations.
From 17-22 June 1975, Brewton got underway to conduct special operations with Badger (DE-1071). On the first day of the voyage, Brewton crossed the equator for the first time and a few days later on 20 June “the traditional crossing of the Equator Ceremony was held with the arrival of King Neptune and his Royal Court.” On the 22nd, Brewton arrived back at Apra Harbor. She finished the month participating in local exercises, mainly gunnery drills, and on 30 June, Brewton was reclassified as a frigate, FF-1086.
Standing in to Subic Bay on 9 July 1975, Brewton spent several weeks operating locally as a plane guard for Hancock (CV-19), as well conducting numerous LAMPS training sessions and an Underway Replenishment (unrep) evolution. At sea from 18-19 July, the newly minted frigate participated in Operation Blue Sky, north of Luzon. The operation was meant to test the “Nationalist Chinese response to air attack sorties and vice versa.” Following the exercise Brewton conducted a Vertical Replenishment (vertrep) with the combat store ship White Plains (AFS-4) and then participated in an ASW exercise with Darter (SSN-576). On 26 July, Brewton arrived in Hong Kong for a short port visit.
Returning to Subic Bay for an availability on 4 August 1975, Brewton then spent the next week conducting local exercises. On 26 August, she got underway for the fleet exercise ReadiEx 1-76, as part of the Blue Forces and performed a number of evolutions in ASW and anti-surface threat protection. On 4 September, she anchored at Subic Bay and underwent several weeks of repairs.
Brewton got underway on 18 September 1975, to avoid Typhoon Alice, and then shortly after the storm passed the following day, she returned to the Boton Wharf in Subic Bay. Standing out the following month, on 9 October, the frigate proceeded independently to Chinhae [Jinhae], South Korea [Republic of Korea], to participate in Tae Kwon Do 1-75, “a coordinated ASW exercise between U.S. and Republic of Korea naval assets.” The two-day exercise “demonstrated cooperation and practical integration of ships from different navies with varying techniques and training.” After successfully completing her role in the exercise, Brewton transited to Sasebo, Japan, for a brief yard availability.
Departing the shores of Japan on 23 October 1975, Brewton steamed to Subic Bay, arriving there on the 26th. She briefly re-fueled and then got back underway later that same day en route to the Gulf of Siam. While in transit on 27 October, she rendezvoused with Bagley (FF-1069) and then a short time later, Brewton pulled into port at Sattahip, where her crew enjoyed a five-day port visit.
On 4 November 1975, the warship got underway for the ASW exercise, Sea of Siam IV operating with units of the Royal Thai Navy (RTN). This extensive exercise involved coordination by several partner nation ships as well as “an exchange of personnel for inter-navy training and observation.” The exercise was cut short on 7 November, when an RTN Grumman S-2 Tracker aircraft crashed at sea. Still steaming with Bagley, Brewton and her sister ship broke away from the exercise and voyaged back to Subic Bay, arriving there on 11 November.
With her time in theater running short, Brewton prepared to return to her homeport. The frigate got underway from Subic Bay on 14 November 1975, and after stopping for fuel at Guam (18 November) she made the final push for Pearl Harbor, arriving there on 30 November—ending her second WestPac deployment. On 12 December, Secretary of the Navy J. William Middendorf II presented the “Golden Snipe Award” to Brewton’s Engineering Department. The ship then spent the remainder of the year in upkeep status.
The year 1976, commenced with Brewton conducting regular exercises, drills and inspections. In February, from the 6th to the 7th, she participated in an Anti-Aircraft Warfare Exercise (AAWEx) as a plane guard for Ranger (CV-61). A few weeks later, Brewton also passed a Material Inspection. Despite having had some issues with her main engine, Brewton also managed to pass a Nuclear Weapons Technical Standardization Inspection during the first week of April.
From 17 to 20 May 1976, Brewton had her annual OPPE, unfortunately, she got a “Conditional Satisfactory,” due to some engineering casualties. The following month on 4 June, the frigate got underway for a Final Battle Problem. Afterwards she participated in several weekly ASW exercises until her OPPE re-exam on 2 July. Brewton received a “Satisfactory” on the re-exam and the success was celebrated with a ship’s picnic on the 3rd. From 7-8 July, the warship underwent a 3M inspection and Brewton “scored the highest of any FF in Pearl Harbor.”
On 5 August 1976, Brewton got underway with observers on board for an ORI and ultimately scored a “Satisfactory.” From 6 to 15 August, Brewton got underway for CompTUEx 1-7T, in which she joined a host of other ships from Pearl Harbor and two destroyers from the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces (JMSDF). She then finished out the month by passing a Board of Inspection and Survey (InSurv).
On 27 September 1976, Brewton was “inserted into a mini-CompTUEx,” which much to the displeasure of the crew canceled a planned dependent’s cruise. During the evolution Brewton conducted an AAWEx, a variety of unreps, and had to counter an amphibious task group conducting a surface raid exercise in the local area.
The following month on 22 October 1976, Brewton acted as the U.S. Navy’s official representative during a port visit to Hilo, Hawaii, which coincided with a state fair. From the 23rd to the 24th, the frigate opened to the public for tours and demonstrations and welcomed over 200 visitors. A few short weeks later, Brewton got underway on 5 November, for her third WestPac deployment. The warship refueled at Midway on 8 November, and then while en route to Guam, with Lang (FF-1060), conducted an EncounterEx. After stopping briefly at Guam on the 15th, Brewton arrived at Subic Bay on 19 November.
Brewton underwent a brief voyage refit and then stood out from Subic Bay on 20 November 1976, with Midway (CV-41) and shaped a course for the South China Sea. While steaming with the Midway task force, Brewton operated 24-hours a day, seven days a week, conducting numerous ASW and surface warfare exercises, for weeks on end. On 30 November, the frigate received orders to assist a distressed Panamanian vessel, however, a passing Danish freighter managed to rescue the crew of the hapless ship before Brewton arrived.
Rejoining her task group, Brewton voyaged to the coastal waters of Korean, in the Sea of Japan, and met with some “particularly chilly weather.” While operating south of the Japanese Islands several of the ships in Brewton’s task group experienced engineering casualties due in part to the extreme cold. On 15 December 1976, Brewton had to assist one of these ships by towing it to Yokosuka, Japan. While en route, Brewton encountered some extremely heavy weather, and had to turn the towing operation over to the fleet ocean tug Chowanoc (ATF-100) which pulled the vessel the rest of the way to Yokosuka. Once in port, Brewton’s crew, having been at sea for 42 straight days, got some well-earned shore leave.
During the first week of January 1977, Brewton stood out for a scheduled sortie and transit to Guam, in order to conduct various exercises and drills. Beginning on 28 February, she got underway for naval gunfire support training, during which time her SH-2 LAMPS participated in “coordinated helo Ops with a friendly submarine.”
On 12 February 1977, Brewton steamed to Taiwan, and loaded supplies from the combat store ship Niagara Falls (AFS-3) in preparation for a cruise with Midway. Setting out a few days later, Brewton spent the rest of the month steaming with the Midway task force, conducting a series of at sea exercises. The frigate later steamed into Hong Kong Harbor on 26 February, and her crew received “maximum allowable liberty,” for a short port visit.
Underway for Yokosuka on 4 March 1977, Brewton then spent two weeks in Japan before standing out for Subic Bay on the 22nd. Following some fleet readiness drills, the frigate steamed to Pusan, South Korea, on 5 April and then on 12 April, returned to Subic Bay for “an extended Subic Bay Operation Area commitment.” The following week, Brewton had several inspections and conducted an intensive ASROC handling drill.
With Brewton’s time in theater at an end, the warship got underway from Subic Bay on 27 April 1977, and steamed to Pearl Harbor, arriving there on 9 May. After a standdown period the last week of May was dedicated to organizing the various ship’s departments for an upcoming Regular Baseline Overhaul (ROH) work definition conference inspection. During the summer, on 7 June, Brewton participated in CompTUEx 2-77, which included numerous ASW, Anti-Aircraft Warfare (AAW) and surface warfare exercises. Her crew’s diligent work during these drills was rewarded the following month with a dependent’s cruise to Hilo, on 25 July.
In August 1977, Brewton commenced the first phase of her extensive ROH, the process for which shut down a number of the ship’s functions prior to her going into dry dock on the 31st. Brewton’s extensive overhaul kept her in dry dock through 23 December 1977, but work then continued on for another three months. Brewton had a successful Light Off Examination on 23 March 1978, and then in April, she commenced her first post-overhaul sea trials.
Following some additional testing and another series of sea trials in the first week of May 1978, Brewton officially rejoined the active fleet on 12 May. Given her extended absence from the operational environment, the next several months were consumed by qualifications, testing, drills and exercises necessary to get Brewton and her crew “up to speed.” The frigate passed her OPPE on 6 September, and then spent four weeks in October, conducting Refresher Training with the Fleet Training Group at Pearl—performing ship-handling, gunnery “and every other drill imaginable.” This training culminated in a successful Final Battle Problem on 27 October, and afterwards, she spent November, in an availability period.
Underway on 24 November 1978, with the guided missile destroyer Cochrane (DDG-21) and Robert E. Peary (FF-1073), Brewton made a five-day transit to San Diego. The frigate then spent the next two weeks participating in Fleet Exercise (FleetEx) 1-79, as part of the Blue Force. Following her participation in the exercise, Brewton returned to Pearl Harbor on 16 December, and stood down for the holidays.
Brewton spent the first two months of 1979, completing a flurry of training requirements, qualifications and inspections in preparation for her next deployment. On Saturday, 17 March, Brewton cast off her lines and got underway for her fourth WestPac deployment. Arriving at Guam on 27 March, Brewton joined company with the amphibious assault ship Tarawa (LHA-1) and shaped a course for Naval Station, Subic Bay. Brewton arrived at her destination on 4 April, and then remained at port for an upkeep and availability period, which was slightly prolonged by a typhoon that hammered the area for several days. From 20-22 April, the frigate participated in Anti-Submarine Warfare Exercise (ASWEx) U6-79, conducting coordinated ASW, ASROC and LAMPS exercises.
On 2 May 1979, Brewton stood out from the Subic Bay operating area and steamed to Hong Kong for a brief port call before returning to Subic Bay again on the 9th. Following a two-week re-fit, Brewton got underway with the Ranger task group and provided the carrier with plane guard services en route to Pattaya Beach, Thailand. On 4 June, the task group headed back to Subic Bay, however, while still en route on 9 June, Brewton embarked 30 Vietnamese refugees, transferred by motor whaleboat from Lynde McCormick (DDG-8). After arriving at Subic Bay on the 11th, the refugees were transferred to the custody of the U.S. Embassy.
Standing out with Badger and Rathburne (FF-1057), on 1 July 1979, Brewton, steamed to Singapore, arriving there on the 4th. Five days later on 9 July, Brewton joined guided missile cruiser Jouett (CG-29) and USNS Passumpsic (T-AO 1070) and set out to transit the Malacca Straits en route to the Indian Ocean. On 14 July, her task group pulled into Colombo, Sri Lanka, for a four-day port visit. Bound for Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brewton crossed into the Southern Hemisphere on 21 July, and a number of her crew were “greeted by Davy Jones and King Neptune,” to be inducted into “the mysteries of the deep.”
Conducting daily exercises while at sea, Brewton steamed for the southern coast of Africa. On 1 August 1979, she rounded the southern tip of Madagascar and then steered a northerly course, following the African coast to Mombasa, Kenya. Arriving there in early August, Brewton received a great deal of attention, including a visit from U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Wilbert J. LaMelle and several Kenyan dignitaries. She later steamed up the coast to Mogadishu, Somalia, and then following a brief port visit there, got underway on 12 August, bound for the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman.
Steaming east, in September 1979, Brewton entered the Straits of Malacca and shortly thereafter participated in the annual Sea of Siam Exercise with the RTN. A few days later on 18 September, Brewton steamed to Subic Bay. Brining her time in the eastern Pacific to an end, Brewton stood out on 21 September, and voyaged back home to Pearl Harbor, arriving on 4 October. Following her return home, Brewton commenced a leave and upkeep period, which lasted for several weeks. She then concluded the year with an InSurv, which happily found her “fit for further service.”
Just a week into the New Year, on 7 January 1980, Brewton reached “a major overhaul milestone,” with the commencement of her Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) I, at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. This overhaul was intended to implement a number of overhaul packages for the frigate’s propulsion plant and combat systems. Work on the ship concluded on 15 February, and drills and exercises kept the crew busy through the end of March. On 29 April, Brewton successfully passed her OPPE and then began an 18-day Ship's Intermediate Maintenance Activity (SIMA) followed by a bout of extensive training.
From 28 July to 1 August 1980, Brewton completed a Combat Systems Readiness Test, and then, on the 4th, got underway with DesRon 33 to participate in Transit Exercise (TransitEx) 19A-80, while en route to San Diego. On 18 August, Brewton got underway with a contingent of Third Fleet units for ReadiEx 4-80, and tested in all phases of fleet operations. The frigate detached from the exercise on 28 August, and from 2 to 8 September, participated in TransitEx 20A-80, during her voyage back to Pearl Harbor.
On 30 September 1980, Brewton began her Pre-Overseas Maintenance (POM) period during which, all final upkeep and repair items were completed prior to her deployment. Early on Monday 27 October, the frigate stood out from Pearl Harbor for her fifth WestPac deployment. She “chopped,” to the Seventh Fleet on 6 November, following “a rather eventful transit,” and on the 12th, arrived at Subic Bay.
Brewton got underway on 17 November 1980, for the week-long amphibious exercise Valiant Blitz 81-1, off the coast of Mindoro, Philippines. After returning to Subic Bay on 24 November, Brewton finished the month transiting to Okinawa, Japan, to participate in MultiplEx 81-1, commencing on 1 December. After the six-day exercise ended Brewton, made a port call in Sasebo, and then steamed to Korean waters. On 16 December, the frigate participated in the joint Korean/American exercise ASWEx 81-1, which included numerous ASW, tactical maneuvering and seamanship evolutions. With the successful conclusion of these exercises Brewton steamed to Hong Kong, where her crew spent the Christmas holiday before returning to Subic Bay for upkeep.
Brewton began January 1981, conducting independent exercises in the Subic Bay operating area. On 28 January, she got underway for Lae, Papua New Guinea, marking her first port call in the South Pacific; a visit, which included an “exchange of calls and a luncheon with local civilian and military officials.” From 7 to 9 February, Brewton transited the hallowed waters of the Coral Sea and the Solomon Sea, and then arrived in Townsville, Queensland, Australia. Following a brief port visit, Brewton made the two-day voyage to Sydney, Australia, where she participated in a work-up for the exercise Sea Eagle 1-81. The joint U.S., Australian, and New Zealand exercise, commenced on 23 February, and ended on 27 February “amid a spectacle of hundreds of sailboats in Sydney’s inner harbor.” On 7 March, Brewton got underway for Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, via the Thames River for a five-day port visit.
On 14 March 1981, Brewton stood out with Rathburne and steamed to Auckland, New Zealand, where shortly thereafter she participated in the joint exercise LongEx 1-81. The exercise later concluded on 3 April, and Brewton arrived that same day in Wellington, New Zealand, where she hosted U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand [and Western Samoa] Anne Clark Martindell (the first woman ever to serve in that diplomatic post) to a luncheon on board. Following another port visit, to Napier, New Zealand, on 10 April, Brewton’s deployment drew to a close and the frigate shaped a course for Pearl Harbor by way of Pago Pago, American Samoa. She touched at Pago Pago for fuel on 21 April, and then arrived at her homeport on the 28th.
After spending several months conducting local drills and sorties, Brewton, began her SRA II at the end of August 1981. With the availability completed by late October, her crew then began the arduous process of re-training and re-certifying. She ended the year underway with the fleet training group at Pearl.
On 6 January 1982, Brewton got underway on TransitEx 6A-82, bound for San Diego, with three other DesRon 33 frigates—during the transit Brewton acted as the task unit commander. Arriving on 13 January, Brewton got underway early the following day for ReadiEx 2-82, as a part of the Ranger Battle Group. During the ReadiEx, Brewton’s LAMPS detachment flew more than 57 hours and conducted 110 landings. The frigate eventually made it back to Pearl on 2 February, and not long thereafter her men had “one of the highlights of their month,” when the warship rescued the crew of the fishing vessel Pan Am, off the northeast coast of Maui, Hawaii.
In April 1982, Brewton participated in “the multi-national venture RimPac 82,” conducting joint tactical evolutions with naval units form Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. During this major exercise Brewton commanded TG 177.2, and directed a search south of Oahu for “Orange Force submarines.” The exercise concluded on 20 April, and after reprovisioning at Pearl, Brewton stood out on 30 April, for her sixth WestPac deployment.
Arriving at Subic Bay on 14 May 1982, Brewton underwent a brief availability and then on 23 May, set out for the Indian Ocean by way of the Straits of Malacca. During the early morning hours of 26 May, Brewton “rescued 81 Vietnamese Boat People” from their sinking 32-foot craft in the South China Sea, transferring them later to Fox (CG-33) for transportation to Singapore. Brewton was later awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal for this action.
On 27 May 1982, Brewton joined company with Indianapolis (SSN-688) and escorted the submarine through the Straits of Malacca. The following week on 3 June, Brewton arrived at Diego Garcia. Six days later on the 9th, Brewton stood out with the destroyer Paul F. Foster (DD-964) to join their battle group at sea. On 16 June, Brewton detached from the group with Ouellet (FF-1077) and shaped a course for Berbera, Somalia, in the Gulf of Aden. Arriving in port on 20 June, Brewton commenced a tender availability with the repair ship Ajax (AR-6). With the visit to Berbera proving to be “quite hot, dusty and windy,” leave activities for the crew were limited. On 27 June, the frigate got underway to rejoin her battle group and proceeded to the vicinity of Masirah off the coast of Oman.
In the first week of July 1982, Brewton steered north with Ouellet and eventually arrived in Karachi, Pakistan, on 5 July. Following a short four-day port visit, on 9 July, she stood out and headed back to the vicinity of the Masirah training anchorage, where she rejoined her battle group for an exercise that took place on the 11th. While conducting small boat training during ASWEx 82-10, Brewton was notably “plagued by swells and jellyfish, which clogged the ship’s sea strainers.” Despite these difficulties the frigate and her LAMPS detachment managed to complete a number of intense drills.
Brewton’s demanding operational pace slowed on 4 August 1982, with her arrival at Diego Garcia, and the commencement of a multi-week tender availability with Ajax. She later stood out from the area on 27 August, steaming with Whipple (FF-1062) and steamed to Bunbury, Australia, arriving there on 4 September. Brewton remained at port in Bunbury for a week, and then on 13 September, got underway to join Battle Group Echo, en route to Subic Bay.
Arriving on 22 September 1982, Brewton spent almost all of October, undergoing an availability. Setting out with Whipple and Rathburne on 2 October, Brewton made a port visit to Hong Kong, and then arrived back in Subic Bay on the 9th. With her deployment drawing to close, Brewton got underway with DesRon 33 on the 14th, and steamed first to Guam (arriving 19 October) and then to her homeport at Pearl on 20 October. The warship had her ammunition stores unloaded and her crew enjoyed several weeks of leave prior to the ship commencing a major overhaul.
Brewton’s extensive ROH ended six weeks ahead of schedule on 29 July 1983. Testing and qualifications for the ship’s various departments and weapons systems then kept her crew preoccupied for several more months. In November, the frigate participated in the Multi-Ship Training Exercise (MidPacTraEx) 84-1, and then going into the New Year, she successfully completed an OPPE on 10 February 1984. With her crew’s Refresher Training Phase II started shortly thereafter, Brewton participated in ComputEx 84-3, and then in March, via TransitEx 84-11, she steamed to San Diego, in preparation for ReadiEx 84-3.
Having completed fleet exercises by early April 1984, Brewton embarked a USCG Law Enforcement (LE) detachment and on 7 April, got underway with Robert E. Peary for Pearl Harbor. Anchored safely at her homeport on 12 April, Brewton spent the rest of the month conducting a POM in advance of her next deployment. During this time, Brewton received word that she would be participating in the transportation of the remains of the Vietnam Unknown Soldier.
On 17 May 1984, “sparkling and looking brand new with her fresh coat of paint,” Brewton pushed off gracefully from pier B-25, at Pearl Harbor. Not long before her departure she had embarked the body of the Unknown Vietnam Serviceman along with a U.S. Marine Corps honor guard who stood watch on the casket 24 hours a day. Following a smooth voyage, at 1000 on 24 May, Brewton “sailed majestically beneath the Golden Gate Bridge,” escorted by U.S. Coast Guard vessels and arrived at Naval Air Station Alameda, Calif., for a “short and solemn ceremony,” scheduled for 1130. After being removed from the ship, the remains of the Vietnam Serviceman were transported to Travis Air Force Base, Calif., thence to Andrews Air Force Base [Joint Base Andrews], Md., arriving the following day.
Following the ceremony, Brewton steamed across the bay to Pier 45 at Fisherman’s Wharf and her crew enjoyed a five-day port visit in San Francisco. On 29 May 1984, Brewton got underway for RimPac 84, and then afterwards, returned to Pearl Harbor, arriving there on 14 June. The next month on 2 July, the frigate stood out from Pearl for her seventh WestPac deployment. Steaming with the Enterprise (CVAN-65) Battle Group, Brewton completed TransitEx 84-14, en route, which included a number of challenging exercises, and then arrived at Subic Bay on 20 July, for a restricted availability.
Underway for the Indian Ocean on 30 July 1984, Brewton stopped at Singapore on 4 August, and then arrived off Columbo, Sri Lanka, on 9 August, before reporting for duty with the America (CV-66) Battle Group on the 12th. At the end of the month the Enterprise Battle Group arrived, and Brewton joined the task force for operations in the North Arabian Sea, keeping her underway almost constantly for the entirety of September. During this time, she participated in ASWEx 84-9, and ended the month with MultiplEx 84-6, a multi-threat free play scenario, which included jamming, war at sea, gunnery and over the horizon targeting exercises.
Departing the Masirah training anchorage on 26 October 1984, Brewton steamed to the island of Male, Maldives, where the “beautiful Indian Ocean atolls provided the crew with sun, white beaches, water skiing and scuba diving.” Remaining in the Maldives paradise through the end of the month, Brewton got back underway again on 2 November, rendezvousing with her battle group and setting a course for Subic Bay. Following her arrival at Subic Bay on 12 November, Brewton participated in FleetEx 85 (1-2 December), and shaped a course for Pearl. On 10 December, the frigate arrived back at her homeport and her crew had “a joyous reunion with family and friends.”
From 29 January to 16 February 1985, Brewton participated in ASWOps 85-2 in the vicinity of Hawaii, followed by an Intermediate Maintenance Activity (IMA) and a SIMA from 11-29 March. Beginning on 1 April, the frigate commenced a two-month SRA at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. Brewton later got underway in early June, for ASWOps 85-6, but “main condenser leaks and gyro casualties” forced her to return to Pearl for repairs. She completed the second phase of the ASWOps in early July, and during that time she visited Anchorage, Alaska, and then on 31 July, pulled into Seattle, Wash., for a four-day port visit.
Brewton headed back to Pearl Harbor on 5 August 1985, however, just as she was “preparing to enter Pearl,” on the 12th, she received orders to assist with an emergency medical evacuation of a civilian sailboat in nearby waters. The crew employed the ship’s gig to perform the evacuation and brought “the patient safely on board.” The following month, Brewton received an “Outstanding” on her Defense Nuclear Safety Inspection (17-18 September). The rest of the month was devoted to CompTUEx 85-6, which was conducted in Hawaiian waters. Of particular note during this period, Brewton also successfully completed an OPPE re-exam on 13 November.
Much like the previous year, Brewton got underway on 16 January 1986, for ASWOps 86-2, and then in early February, had another SIMA. From 21 February to 7 March, the frigate conducted refresher training, and then on 12 March, got underway with Sample (FF-1048) for San Diego. Following her arrival on 19 March, Brewton joined the Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Battle Group for ReadiEx 86-3. Making her way back to Pearl Harbor (18-25 April) with Sample, Brewton then participated in RimPac 86 from 27 May to 18 June.
After completing a SIMA (4 July to 4 August 1986), and then sea trials the following week, Brewton got underway for her eighth WestPac deployment on 12 August 1986, steaming in company with the Carl Vinson Battle Group. Brewton arrived at Sasebo, on 1 September, and then proceeded to Subic Bay for upkeep from 12-17 September. Underway on the 20th, Brewton participated in a sea power demonstration for the Sultan of Brunei and then proceeded to Singapore, from 23-27 September.
The following month, Brewton got underway for the Indian Ocean, transiting to Diego Garcia from 5-10 October 1986. On the 10th, she also took part in an Anti-Terrorism Exercise in the local area. Steaming to the North Arabian Sea (3-5 November) for exercises and operations, which kept her there for most of the month, Brewton then proceeded to Port Louis, Mauritius, (21-28 November), Diego Garcia (28 November-2 December), Port Geraldton, Western Australia, (19-27 December) and Singapore (28 December). With her deployment coming to an end, Brewton made the voyage back to Pearl Harbor between 10 and 28 January 1987.
Following a leave and upkeep period, Brewton completed an InSurv from 9-14 March 1987. A few months later, while conducting local operations in the vicinity of Pearl Harbor, Brewton also participated in a search and rescue mission from 10-13 May. Brewton located a distressed Hawaiian sailing vessel and then using a small boat embarked one of the vessel’s injured crew members for medical treatment. A week later, Brewton prepared for an extended overhaul and on 1 June, she went into dry dock.
Ready for sea again at the end of September 1987, Brewton conducted sea trials, various drills and then in November, had an OPPE. In the end of November, Brewton served as the host ship for the Federal Republic of Germany sail training vessel Gorch Fock. The year ended with the crew enjoying some holiday leave and the ship undergoing an upkeep period that extended into the New Year. For first six months of 1988, Brewton’s crew conducted refresher training and completed numerous annual tests and qualifications in preparation for the ship’s next deployment.
On 6 June 1987, Brewton stood out from Pearl Harbor for her ninth major deployment, but unlike the previous eight, this time she headed for the waters of the South Pacific. In the first phase, Brewton arrived in Pago Pago on 12 June, with the stated mission of showing the U.S. Navy “in the best light possible,” by participating in a series of humanitarian aid endeavors. The frigate steamed to Apia, Western Samoa (17 June), Vava’u, Tonga, (23-28 June), Nuku’alofa, Tonga (29 June), Townsville, Australia (6-13 July), Rabaul, Papua New Guinea (15-18 July), Lae (24-25 July), Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (30-31 July), Surabaya, Indonesia (1-5 August) and Bali, Indonesia (12-15 August). In the course of these port calls a detachment of Seabees (Naval Construction Force) on board Brewton, carried out numerous community relations building projects. Additionally, in support of Project Handclasp, Brewton delivered 30 pallets of humanitarian aid supplies.
From 21 to 25 August 1987, Brewton transited to Bunbury, Western Australia, marking the beginning of the second phase of her deployment. Steaming in company with a U.S. Navy battle group consisting of the battleship New Jersey (BB-62), Ingersoll (DD-990) and Berkeley (DDG-15), Brewton commenced making a long series of port calls in Australia to represent the United States during Australia’s bicentennial celebrations.
The Australian phase of the cruise got off to a bumpy start, when, shortly after Brewton’s arrival in Albany, Western Australia, on 1 September 1987, the frigate got “her first serious taste of Australia’s anti-nuclear protesters.” While still in port on the 3rd, one of the protesters managed to climb the ship’s mack and placed a banner on her port yard arm. The following day three more protesters in kayaks attempted to put a banner on the ship’s hull, but were “turned away with the use of firehoses and no injuries were sustained on either side.” From Albany, Brewton steamed to Adelaide, Southern Australia (7-9 September), Port Kembla, New South Wales, Australia (17-19 September) and then to Sydney on 25 September.
Brewton stayed in Sydney for twelve days and during her stay there on 1 October 1987, she participated in a Naval Salute, which saw a total of 58 ships from 13 nations pass through the harbor; the display was followed later that night by “a spectacular fireworks show.” Shortly after the naval review, Brewton got underway for her final Australian port call (8-9 October) at Burnie, Tasmania, Australia. With her deployment at an end, Brewton transited to Funafuti, Tuvalu from 17 to 27 October, and then voyaged home to Pearl Harbor from 28 October to 3 November.
During the first quarter of 1989, Brewton remained in Hawaiian waters, conducting regular drills and exercises. In early March, she participated in ReadiEx 89-28, and passed an OPPE “with flying colors.” From 28 April to 17 May, Brewton got underway for Pony Express exercises and then going into the summer she began conducting LE Operations. In July, despite rough seas and heavy weather she rescued the injured owner of disabled sailing vessel. The successful rescue was rewarded on 27 July, with a dependent’s cruise to Kona-Kailua, Hawaii.
Capping off her summer, Brewton participated in SWTW/PCOSS 89-3, from 7 to 18 August 1989, and was subsequently voted “Most Outstanding Surface Unit.” From 3-15 October, Brewton had a SRA and then greeted the New Year (1990) with a Training Readiness and Combat Systems Assessment. On 9 February 1990, Brewton got underway for ReadiEx 90-5B, followed by a week of surface warfare training. The following month the frigate stood out for San Diego (26 March--2 April) and proceeded to participate in RimPac 90.
On 9 May 1990, Brewton arrived back at Pearl Harbor. That summer, from 25 June to 3 July, she got underway for ReadiEx 90-1B, and then on 5 July, departed Hawaiian waters on her tenth deployment. Steaming with the Independence (CV-62) Battle Group, Brewton arrived at Subic Bay on 19 July. The following week, she stood out to make the transit to Diego Garcia, however while still en route the battle group received word of the invasion of Iraq and immediately commenced steaming at full speed towards the Gulf of Oman. The group’s arrival on 5 August, made them the first major U.S. fighting force on station for Operation Desert Shield.
While steaming out of Djibouti, East Africa, on 26 August 1990, Brewton detained the Iraqi vessel Al Fap, “suspected of transporting materials classified as contraband by United Nations Resolutions.” Brewton compelled the vessel to stop with .50-caliber machine gun fire and then boarded and searched the vessel “with negative findings.” A few months later on 18 September, Brewton, detained the Indian vessel Vishna Sidhi, on suspicion of transporting illegal foodstuffs. After a thorough search the goods were located and then confiscated to feed Indian hostages. From 9 to 10 October, Brewton made a port call at Muscat, Oman. Returning to her patrol again on the 11th, Brewton intercepted the Iraqi vessel Al Mutanabbi and her helicopter landed a team of U.S. Marines on board her to conduct a search, which failed to turn up any contraband.
From 21 to 25 October 1990, Brewton moored alongside the destroyer tender Acadia (AD-42) for upkeep at Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. On 26 October, Brewton got back underway to continue her support of Operation Desert Shield. A week later, on 2 November, her participation in the ongoing operations in Iraq ended and she got underway for Singapore, arriving there on 10 November. While her crew enjoyed a well-deserved liberty period at the port in Singapore, one of the ship’s company, FN Daniel Dean died as a result of an unfortunate accident while on leave in the city. Brewton transited to Hong Kong from 15-19 November, and then to Subic Bay from 24-25 November. With her time in theater at an end, the frigate stood out for Pearl Harbor on 29 November, and amid a “rousing welcome from family and friends,” arrived home on 12 December.
Between 19 and 22 February 1991, Brewton completed the first of three major engineering overhauls. The second overhaul took place from 9 to 19 March, and was followed by a brief “fast cruise.” The third phase occurred between 16-18 April, and was followed by an OPPE in May. In June, the crew completed refresher training and then on 8 July, Brewton got underway from Pearl Harbor to conduct a midshipman training cruise in the Pacific Northwest. She arrived at Esquimalt, British Columbia, on 14 July, and from 16-18 July, participated in CompTUEx 91-3. After a brief port visit at New Westminster, B.C., the frigate participated in CompTUEx 91-4, from 26 to 29 July.
Brewton pulled into Seattle, Wash., on 30 July 1991, and attended the “well known Seattle State Fair.” She steamed back to Esquimalt, B.C. (6-7 August) and then got underway for other evolutions off the Pacific Northwest (9-11 August and 12-13 August). On 16 August, Brewton arrived in San Diego, for a port visit and then from 24 August to 1 September made the voyage back to Pearl Harbor where she commenced a month-long maintenance availability.
For the next several months, Brewton’s various departments completed numerous inspections and certifications. On 23 October 1991, Brewton’s military characteristics and capabilities were put on full display for an “in-depth Foreign Military Lease presentation” made to a delegation from Taiwan. Getting underway the following week, Brewton voyaged to San Diego (28 October-2 November), and then got underway for a deployment to Latin America.
For several months, Brewton conducted Law Enforcement Operations off the coasts of Central and South America. During this time, she made port calls at Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala (9 November 1991), U.S. Naval Station Rodman, Panama (18 November), Manta, Ecuador (15 November), Rodman (6 December), the Panama Canal (17 December), Montego Bay, Jamaica (25 December), Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (27 December), the Panama Canal (30 December) and Rodman (31 December). Brewton returned to Pearl in early 1992, where she was decommissioned on 2 July 1992.
Brewton, stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 11 January 1995, received an Armed Forces Expeditionary Award, a Southwest Asia Service Medal and a Humanitarian Service Award.
Subsequently, in accordance with the Security Assistance Program, Brewton was sold to Taiwan on 29 September 1999. Renamed Fong Yang (DDG-993), she  serves as an active unit in the Taiwanese [Republic of China] Navy.
Date Assumed Command
Cmdr. John W. Kinnier
8 July 1972
Lt. Cmdr. Thomas J. Marti
14 August 1974
Cmdr. William H. Dawson
8 October 1975
Cmdr. Henderson A. Hodge III
15 October 1977
Cmdr. Owen C. Martin, Jr.
17 November 1979
Cmdr. Robert K. Bolger
26 May 1982
Capt. Ronald D. Horner
20 March 1984
Cmdr. Paul D. Mallett
27 June 1986
Cmdr. Kraig M. Kennedy
17 August 1988
Cmdr. Charlie A. Jones, Jr.
18 September 1990
John D. Sherwood (Biography), and Jeremiah D. Foster (History)
30 December 2020