George Fleming Davis, born on 23 March 1911 in Manila, Philippine Islands, was appointed midshipman from the U.S. Naval Reserve on 1 July 1930. At the U.S. Naval Academy, his classmates nicknamed him "Red" and noted his love for lacrosse; he was also known for his "sunny disposition and sense of humor," motivated by his trait of "looking for the good in everything." He graduated from the Naval Academy on 31 May 1934, and received his commission as ensign on 1 June. On 2 July, Davis reported on board heavy cruiser Tuscaloosa (CA-37), then fitting out at the New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N.J.; the ship went into commission on 17 August 1934. Detached from Tuscaloosa on 30 June 1935, he received orders to Scouting Squadron (VS) 12-S the same day, "for duty involving flying as [an] aircraft gunnery observer." He remained attached to that squadron until 30 June 1936, when he was assigned to VS 14-S, in which he served until 1 February 1937, a tour punctuated by treatment at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Mare Island, Calif. (24 November-21 December 1936). Returning to VS 12-S in a change of organization, he received promotion to lieutenant (j.g.) on 2 August 1937 (to rank from 31 May of the same year).
Detached from VS 12-S on 13 June 1939, Davis reported on board the destroyer Broome (DD-210) the next day, and served in that ship for almost a year. Detached on 3 May 1940, he reported to Broome's sistership Hopkins (DD-249) the same day, and served through that ship's conversion to a high speed minesweeper (DMS-13) at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard. After having served as first lieutenant and gunnery officer, and, later, as communications officer, he was detached from Hopkins at San Diego, Calif., on 10 September 1941. Assigned thence to battleship Oklahoma (BB-37), he reported on board that ship the next day. He received promotion to lieutenant on 8 October (to rank from 11 July).
Davis had been in Oklahoma for a little over a month when the ship was conducting exercises in the Hawaiian Operating Area on the night of 22 October 1941; during his watch, his ship collided with battleship Arizona (BB-39). The Court of Inquiry, convened by Commander Battleships, Pacific Fleet, five days later, ultimately recommended that Davis be reprimanded by the Secretary of the Navy for negligence in performance of his duty and disregard of his obligations and responsibilities as officer of the deck. Davis was still serving in that ship, however, when torpedoes, launched from Japanese Nakajima B5N2 Type 97 carrier attack planes that swept in early in the attack, ripped open Oklahoma 's port side and sank her as she lay outboard of Maryland (BB-46) in berth F-5 on 7 December 1941.
In the wake of Oklahoma's loss, Davis, on 11 January 1942, received assignment to the light cruiser Honolulu (CL-48), which had suffered minor damage in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Less than a month later, on 6 February, the Judge Advocate General of the Navy wrote that the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation had recommended, and Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox had approved, that there be "no matter of interest," related to Davis's record in the matter of the Arizona-Oklahoma collision. Davis served in Honolulu for a little over two and a half years, receiving his promotion to lieutenant commander on 1 March 1943, and earned the Legion of Merit for his services as damage control officer and, later, as first lieutenant and damage control officer, in operations that included the bombardment of Kiska, in the Aleutians (August 1942), the Battle of Tassafaronga (December 1942), action at Guadalcanal (January 1943), the bombardment of Kolombangara (May 1943), the fighting around New Georgia (June 1943) and the Battles of Kula Gulf and Kolombangara (5-13 July 1943). He had proved "an exceptional officer of the deck" in battle with the enemy, and his shipboard division "had successfully met every emergency and contributed in large [part[ to the highly successful operation of his ship." Detached from Honolulu on 18 August 1944, with orders to the Operational Training Command, Pacific, and the West Coast Sound School , for instruction, he was promoted to commander on 7 September 1944 (to rank from 1 February 1944). He relieved Lt. Comdr. John C. Zahm as commanding officer of destroyer Walke (DD-723) at Ulithi, Caroline Islands , on 26 November 1944. The next day, Walke sailed for the Philippines.
Walke entered Leyte Gulf on 29 November 1944, joining Task Group (TG) 77.2 later that same day. After initial duty as a radar picket, she then transported wounded men from battleship Colorado (BB-45) to a hospital ship for further treatment, then underwent a period of logistics in San Pedro Bay, after which time she sailed for Ormoc Bay. Assigned to TG 78.3, Davis's destroyer provided gunfire support on 7 December, briefly shelling a beached and abandoned Japanese landing barge. Japanese air attacks, however, soon materialized; kamikazes crashed high speed transport Ward (APD-16), then, moments later, destroyer Mahan (DD-364), starting uncontrollable fires on board both ships. Davis took Walke, despite the danger posed by the doomed ship's exploding magazines, to Mahan's assistance, and she stopped to rescue her survivors from the water. Informed that the burning destroyer lay beyond salvage, Rear Admiral Arthur D. Struble, Commander, TG 78.3, ordered Walke to scuttle her "using a torpedo if necessary." Davis's ship rescued 22 officers and 216 of Mahan's complement, then fired 30 rounds of 5-inch into the doomed destroyer. One torpedo from Walke struck Mahan beneath the bridge, proving the coup de grace. Later, Walke's gunfire, during the retirement phase, "aided materially in bringing down at least 14 enemy planes." She returned to San Pedro Bay the next morning. For having "fought his ship with the highest skill and courage" during the action in Ormoc Bay , Davis would be awarded the Silver Star.
In company with her sisterships O'Brien (DD-725) and Laffey (DD-724), Walke then rendezvoused with, and screened, light cruisers Phoenix (CL-46) and Boise (CL-47) in Leyte Gulf, on 10 December 1944; later in the day, she went to the assistance of Hughes (DD-410), that had been kamikazied in Surigao Strait . While Laffey took the damaged destroyer in tow, Walke screened the evolution, reaching San Pedro Bay the next morning. Davis's ship then covered the landings at Mindoro, during which time she witnessed a kamikaze crash nearby light cruiser Nashville (CL-43) and near-miss destroyer Hopewell (DD-681) on 13 December. Covering the actual assault two days later, Walke investigated the beached and scuttled Japanese destroyer Wakaba, driven ashore on 24 October, setting her afire with 114 5-inch rounds. On 17 December, the destroyer's guns drove off what lookouts had identified as a Frances (Yokosuka P1Y Navy bomber). Proceeding thence for San Pedro Bay for another logistics period, she arrived there on 19 December, remaining there through Christmas of 1944.
During the mid watch on 3 January 1945, Walke stood out of San Pedro Bay, setting course for Lingayen Gulf, to provide fire support for the landing of assault troops there. Taking station in an antisubmarine station in the van at 0630, Davis's command entered Surigao Strait a little under two hours later, then delivered officer messenger mail to various units in TG 77.2. She completed her assigned rounds at 1345, less than an hour after entering the Mindanao Sea, taking her position in the inner screen of the van soon thereafter. Reports of unidentified planes came in on several occasions as the invasion force neared its destination on 4 January. That same day, Walke rescued a downed pilot from the escort carrier Hoggatt Bay (CVE-75), then fueled from oiler Salamonie (AO-26); she later observed kamikazes crash two escort carriers in proximity: Lunga Point (CVE-94) and Ommaney Bay (CVE-79), the latter fatally. During the mid watch on 5 January, the ship could see antiaircraft fire in the distance. She performed another stint of messenger mail that day, returned the Hoggatt Bay pilot to his ship, completed her mail deliveries, and logged more alarms reflecting the presence of enemy planes in the vicinity. Soon, kamikazes struck nearby heavy cruiser Louisville (CA-28) at 1713, destroyer escort Stafford (DE-441) at 1748, destroyer Halligan (DD-584) at 1753, escort carrier Manila Bay (CVE-61) at 1755. Proceeding in company with the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Shropshire, Walke received orders at 1940 to take station in the outer screen of the rear formation.
Walke stood into Lingayen Gulf at 1022 on 6 January 1945 to cover minesweeping operations. After 1135, the ship sighted three enemy planes in the vicinity, one crashing four miles away. At 1155, however, Walke spotted four Japanese aircraft approaching low on the water, bearing 190 degrees (T), six miles distant, and opened up at 1156 with 5-inch and all starboard 40-millimeter guns. The lead plane disintegrated at 1157, with control immediately shifting to the second: 500 yards from the ship, the pilot of that aircraft apparently lost control, for his plane climbed, then passed over the ship's Mk.12 radar antenna, disintegrated, and crashed into the sea, close aboard to port. At 1158, the third plane came inexorably nearer, strafing as it came; all of Walke's port side machine guns commenced firing. A moment later, however, at 1159, the kamikaze crashed the port side of the bridge, aft, bursting into flames upon impact and knocking out all communications, radars, gyro repeaters and electrical circuits on the bridge and in the forward superstructure. "Repair parties," wrote Walke's war diarist, "fought the fire with unusual efficiency and ability." While the damage control people tackled the blaze, the gunners grimly stood to their weapons on board the stricken ship: the fourth plane commenced its attack from the starboard beam at 1201; all undamaged machine guns and Mount 53, on local control, set the enemy afire and the plane crashed close aboard on the port quarter.
Such able and efficient exertions battling the blaze forward undoubtedly reflected the personal presence of the ship's mortally wounded commanding officer. Having spurned his subordinates' pleas to take cover as the kamikaze attack unfolded and a crash appeared imminent, Davis stayed on the exposed open bridge. Although initially drenched with gasoline and then horribly burned, he remained at the conn. Rallying and exhorting those around him, he had refused medical treatment until the fires were controlled and "the safety of the ship assured." Ship control was shifted aft to secondary conn at 1206; the firefighters had the fires under control by 1215, completely out by 1230, just a little over a half hour after the kamikaze had hit. Lt. John S. Burns, USNR, the executive officer, assumed command, shifting control back to the bridge at 1340 as the ship proceeded to her station to screen the bombarding units. "The outstanding skill of the Walke in controlling the damage not only minimized the damage to the ship," wrote an observer with admiration, "but rendered her capable of remaining in action."
Davis died of his grievous wounds at 1630 on 6 January 1945. Later that day, at 1905, Walke transferred eight critical casualties to heavy cruiser Minneapolis (CA-36). At 2230, the destroyer conducted burial services for her late commanding officer, two other officers who had died, and of nine enlisted men. For his "example of valor and his unhesitating self-sacrifice," that "steeled the fighting spirit of his command into unyielding purpose in completing a vital mission," Davis was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously. His "extraordinary heroism, his conspicuous ability and his outstanding leadership" had inspired "the personnel of all destroyers present, as well as to his subordinates in the Walke, who continued to fight the ship with valor and effectiveness at every opportunity," reflecting the Navy's "most cherished traditions of courage, determination, and devotion to duty."
(DD-937: displacement 3,807; length 418'5"; beam 45'1"; draft 14'2"; speed 33 knots; complement 311; armament 3 5", 4 3", 4 21" torpedo tubes, 1 depth charge track; class Forrest Sherman)
The unnamed Forrest Sherman-class destroyer DD-937 was laid down on 1 February 1955 at Quincy , Mass. , by Bethlehem Steel Co.; named Davis on 5 December 1955; launched on 28 March 1956; sponsored by Mrs. George F. [Shelagh J.] Davis , widow of the late Comdr. Davis; departed her building yard on 28 February 1957 and arrived at Boston (Mass.) Naval Shipyard, where she was commissioned on 6 March 1957, Comdr. George G. Ball in command.
After fitting out and undergoing preparations for sea, Davis departed the Boston Naval Shipyard on 23 April 1957 for trials off Brenton Reef, returning on 25 April. She sailed for Newport, R. I., her assigned home port, on 2 May, arriving at her destination the same day. After undergoing an administrative inspection there (10 May), she got underway for Cuban waters. She paused at the Washington Navy Yard (17-20 May) for Armed Forces Day celebrations, then embarked the Harbor and Rivers Commission for a cruise down the Potomac River. After stopping briefly at Norfolk, Va. (21-23 May), Davis pushed on for Guantanamo Bay, reaching her destination on 26 May. She conducted her shakedown cruise from those waters through mid-July, punctuating that training with visits to Kingston, Jamaica (15-16 June) and Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic (4-7 July).
Davis departed Guantanamo Bay on 15 July 1957 for a post-shakedown cruise to northern European waters, visiting Culebra (17 July) and San Juan, Puerto Rico (17-19 July) en route to the Azores. Pausing only briefly at Punta Delgada (25 July), the new destroyer then visited Rotterdam, Netherlands (29 July-2 August), Copenhagen, Denmark (12-17 August), and Edinburgh, Scotland (19-22 August). She returned to Boston Naval Shipyard on 29 August for post-shakedown availability that kept her in yard hands (except a brief period at sea on 5-6 November) until 8 November, when she got underway to return to her home port (Newport), arriving the following day. She became flagship for Capt. Harry G. Moore, Commander, Destroyer Squadron (ComDesRon) 12, in November upon completion of that yard period.
Sailing for the Mediterranean and operations with the Sixth Fleet on 29 November 1957, Davis exercised and trained at sea until standing in to Cannes, France, on 16 December, where she remained through the Christmas and New Years' holidays. Sailing on 3 January 1958, the destroyer operated with the Sixth Fleet into the spring, punctuating her at-sea periods, during which time she participated in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and air defense exercises and plane guarded a succession of attack carriers: Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42), Saratoga (CVA-60), Essex (CVA-9) and Randolph (CVA-15), and with visits to Pollensa Bay, Majorca (5-7 January), Valetta, Malta (11-16 January), Piraeus, Greece (18-22 January), Iskendron (29-30 January) and Izmir (1-4 February), Turkey, and Rhodes, Greece (11-18 February), Genoa, Italy (22-28 February), Barcelona, Spain (10-17 March and 18-21 March). After pausing briefly at Gibraltar, British Crown Colony (1-3 April) as she left the Mediterranean, homeward-bound, Davis returned to Newport on 12 April.
Following post-deployment upkeep, the ship remained at her home port through early June 1958, logging a port call to New London, Conn., between 16 and 19 May. Davis then paused briefly at Boston (10-12 June) before she sailed for northern Europe on a midshipman cruise. During the course of that period of training, the destroyer visited Kiel, Germany, for Kieler Wolke (Kiel Week) (25-30 June), Bergen, Norway (9-16 July) and Rotterdam (19-24 July). She ultimately returned to Boston on 4 August, disembarking midshipmen and beginning a period of post-deployment repairs and alterations that included the strengthening of her aluminum deckhouses and the installation of new expansion joints.
Emerging from the yard on 14 October 1958, Davis returned to her home port the following day, but remained there only a short time, sailing on 20 October to operate as part of Anti-Submarine Defense Forces, Atlantic, conducting advanced anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training, until setting course to return to port on 3 November, standing in the following day. Sailing again on 1 December, she reached Norfolk the next day, and remained there, members of her crew given the opportunity to attend ASW Tactical School there, until her departure on 8 December for another stint of operations at sea. Heading for home on 15 December, she arrived on the 16th. She remained there into the first week of January of the following year.
Davis sailed from Newport on 7 January 1959, then participated in Operation Springboard in the Caribbean operating areas, completing type training requirements and interspersing those evolutions with port visits to San Juan (11-12 January), Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico (13-14 January), Ciudad Trujillo (16-21 January), San Juan (23-26 January) and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands (30 January-2 February). Returning to her home port on 9 February, Davis remained there until 26 February, when she stood out en route to Washington, D.C., which she visited between 28 February and 5 March. Visits to Mayport, Fla. (8-10 March), Charleston, S.C. (11-13 March) and Norfolk (14 March) followed; then, after unloading ammunition at the Naval Ammunition Depot, Earle, N.J., (15-16 March), the ship then entered the Boston Naval Shipyard on 17 March.
Following an extensive upkeep and overhaul period, Davis departed Boston on 17 June 1959, and paused at Newport (19-23 June) before steaming to Portsmouth, N.H., where she took part in Independence Day observances during her stay (3-5 July). Proceeding thence to Guantanamo Bay for refresher training, the destroyer reached her destination on the morning of 11 July, but before the day was out, stood out to sea to patrol off the western and southern coasts of Haiti. Operating under Commander Caribbean Sea Frontier during her time off the island (12-16 July), Davis and her squadron-mates performed a deterrent mission, preventing neighboring nations from interfering in the internal affairs of Haiti during President Francois Duvalier's recovery from a heart attack. "The presence of the U.S. Navy bolstered the internal fortitude of Haiti," wrote one observer, "and was a major factor in maintaining peace in the Caribbean area." Davis visited Port au Prince, Haiti (1 August), returned to Cuban waters on 3 August, after which time she operated off Culebra, Puerto Rico, then conducted "special operations." Upon completion of that work, Davis stood out, bound for Newport, which she reached on 17 August, continuing her work to prepare for, and take part in, the annual competitive exercises. Subsequently, from 26 October 1959 the ship participated in Operation Tralex 4-59, evaluating "convoy procedures and amphibious assault operations," upon completion of which she returned to her home port on 7 November, for a tender overhaul before resuming operations with the Anti-Submarine Defense Force, Atlantic, beginning in December.
Davis again headed southward, bound for the Caribbean, on 18 January 1960. After providing support for Operation Skyhook, an Office of Naval Research project, part of activities undertaken during the International Geophysical Year, "measuring...cosmic radiation at high altitude over the Caribbean area," the ship then spent the remainder of her one-month cruise engaged in extensive ASW operations. During that time, she and the other units of DesRon 12 received the nickname "Dragon Killers" in reference to one of their adversaries in the training evolutions being the new nuclear submarine Seadragon (SSN-584). A five-day visit to San Juan, Puerto Rico, capped the cruise in that region, and she ultimately returned to Newport on 18 February. After operating as part of an ASW Ready Group (7-21 March) in the North Atlantic, practicing "hunter-killer" operations, Davis completed her competitive exercises (March-April 1960) earning seven gunnery "E" awards for outstanding shooting. She spent May 1960 engaged in upkeep alongside a tender, and spent June and July in extensive operations as part of the Second Fleet, participating in LantFlex 2-60. In mid-July, Davis received word that Commander, Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, had designated her as the winner of the Battle Efficiency "E" for "outstanding performance in all areas of endeavor."
On 4 August 1960, DesRon 12 sailed for the Mediterranean, and upon joining the Sixth Fleet "were assigned to various Task Units. Subsequently, wrote one squadron chronicler, none of DesRon 12's ships operated together again in 1960, although Davis and Harlan R. Dickson (DD-708) proceeded into the Black Sea "on a special assignment," the third and fourth U.S. warships to enter that body of water since World War II. "Considerable publicity" ensued as the Soviet Union protested what it termed "provocative action." As the year 1960 ended, Davis had returned to the western "Med."
Davis and DesRon 12 departed Pollensa Bay and the Sixth Fleet for Rota, Spain, and thence, to the continental United States on 13 February 1961, and reached their home port eleven days later to begin leave periods and pre-yard tender availabilities. Davis departed Newport on 4 April for Boston Naval Shipyard, where she received a scheduled overhaul to machinery and equipment. Upon completion of that period of yard work on 5 July, Davis took ammunition on board, then visited New York City; returning to her home port to prepare for refresher training. She operated daily off Newport, getting ready for the slated work in Cuban waters. She sailed on 24 July for Guantanamo Bay, arriving on 28 July whence she conducted "long and difficult, yet extremely valuable, training...liberally spiced with patrols and exercises, in view of the existing Cuban situation..." that included taking part in an exercise (25 August) that featured a "simulated Atomic underwater burst..." Davis sailed for Key West, Fla., on 8 September, there to provide services for the Fleet Sonar School.
Standing out from Key West on 14 September 1961, Davis paid a visit to Norfolk en route back to her home port. Hurricane Esther, however, compelled a change in plans. When the storm forced the evacuation of the crew from Texas Tower No.3, Davis received orders to guard the facility. Ultimately, the abatement of the hurricane-force winds permitted the ship to return to Newport on 22 September. During October 1961, the destroyer then took part in a two-week training evolution as part of Task Force 22, of the Second Fleet, off the Virginia capes. During November, Davis and Compton (DD-705) deployed twice with TF-140, supporting the recovery operations of Enos, the chimpanzee. During the first deployment, on 14 November, Davis transferred her hospital corpsman to the Swedish oil tanker Seven Skies to aid an injured crewman. She returned to Newport on 1 December 1961 for upkeep that included a tender availability, and remained in her home port through the beginning of the new year.
On 7 February 1962, Davis (Capt. Newell Thomas, ComDesRon 12, embarked) cast off her lines and charted a course for the Med in company with Harlan R. Dickson, Gainard (DD-706), Hyman (DD-732), Beatty (DD-756) and Purdy (DD-734); Compton, delayed by last-minute repairs at Newport, caught up with them at Gibraltar. Becoming a part of the Sixth Fleet on 17 February, DesRon 12 relieved DesRon 22 two days later, its ships, including the squadron flagship, Davis, deployed among various task forces as before.
During her time in the Sixth Fleet, the ship continued the type of work performed in the past, exercises punctuated by port calls. In July, she received word that she had won gunnery and supply department “E”s for 1962, as well as her third consecutive Battle Efficiency “E.” During that deployment, Davis and her squadron mates “participated in Operation Full Swing, MidLandEx, and RegEx 62...commended at varying times for signal bridge work to their fine shooting, from smart seamanship to the spreading of good will ashore. Operations at sea consisted primarily of plane guarding and [ASW] exercises…”
DesRon 12 reassembled at Gibraltar on 19 August 1962 and sailed for home, reaching their home port on 30 August. Davis entered a leave and upkeep period, followed by a two-week tender availability and a restricted yard availability at the Boston Naval Shipyard. Tensions with the Soviet Union over their deployment of missiles to Cuba, and the consequent establishment of a quarantine of that Soviet satellite, however, cut that period of repairs and alterations from six weeks to five. “All ships worked overtime,” wrote DesRon 12’s chronicler, “and got to sea in time to participate in the Cuban Contingency Operation.” On 12 November, Davis sailed for her station on the quarantine line. While thus deployed, she visited Santo Domingo as part of the American effort to “demonstrate…support for forthcoming free elections in that country.” During her two-day visit to the capital of the Dominican Republic, the ship hosted President Raphael Bonnelly, and gave a party for the children at a local orphanage.
Returning to Newport on 29 November 1962, Davis put to sea as part of the holiday ready-duty ASW task group, steaming to Bermuda and operating with antisubmarine warfare support carrier Wasp (CVS-18) over Christmas. Returning to her home port on 29 December, the ship remained there into the following year, in a leave and upkeep status.
On 21 January 1963, Davis, and all (except Purdy) of DesRon 12, sailed from Newport for Norfolk, where, along with other units of Task Group Bravo, they attended ASW Tactical School. After conducting ASW evolutions (28 January-9 February), followed by an upkeep period at Newport, Davis operated with Task Group Bravo as it covered the visit of President John F. Kennedy to Costa Rica in March, remaining with Wasp and in company with Compton and Gainard. Following that assignment, the ship conducted the annual Springboard operations, interspersed with visits to St. Thomas (“two fun-packed days,” her historian noted), San Juan, and Santo Domingo, ultimately returning to Newport on 3 April.
Following a tender availability, Davis got underway on 19 April 1963 for Norfolk for work at the ASW Tactical School, honing her skills for future coordinated ASW operations, “putting theory into practice” for a five-day period that concluded with her return to Newport on 2 May. Soon thereafter, the destroyer sailed on 11 May, along with her squadron-mates, “deployed as standby recovery stations” for the Mercury IX space flight of Maj. Gordon Cooper, USAF, in the capsule Faith VII. Upon the successful conclusion of that mission, Davis returned to Newport.
Subsequently, Davis sailed on 4 June 1963 with 26 NROTC midshipmen on board, as Task Group Bravo began a six-week cruise, beginning with visiting a succession of Gulf Coast ports, Galveston and Houston, Tex., Mobile, Ala., Gulfport, Miss., Port Arthur, Tex., and New Orleans, La., proceeding thence to La Ceiba and Puerto Cortes, Honduras, Santo Domingo, Curacao, Montego Bay and Kingston, Jamaica, San Juan and Ponce, Puerto Rico. The Honduran government, noted Davis's historian, especially appreciated the generosity of the ship's crew in sharing their "beans and franks" with villagers along the route of the "picnic train." Notwithstanding the pleasant memories of the cruise, one destroyerman noted, “it was a happy occasion when the Newport Destroyer Piers appeared on the horizon on 28 July.”
Davis spent much of August and September 1963 moored at Newport, with the exception of a weapons demonstration for students at the Naval War College (12-16 August), highlighted by a surface-to-air missile shoot by the nuclear-powered guided missile Bainbridge (DLG(N)-25). Following that period, Davis and the rest of DesRon 12 got underway for Norfolk on 23 September for a week of evolutions with the ASW Tactical School, followed by ASW operations at sea on 30 September. She carried out further ASW work with her squadron-mates and a target submarine, ultimately returning to Newport on 11 October.
Following participation in a "combined demonstration" for students of the National War College (28 October-1 November 1963), the ship continued her work as part of Task Group Bravo, first with Wasp and then with sistership Lake Champlain (CVS-39), work punctuated by a three-day visit to Bermuda in mid-November.
Operating from Newport, Davis began the year 1964 with four weeks of ASW exercises with the ships of her squadron, during January and February. Following her regular overhaul (for which she had departed her home port on 27 March) at Boston Naval Shipyard, she carried out refresher training at Guantanamo, along with Hyman and Purdy. Effective 1 July, DesRon 12 became part of Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla (CruDesFlot) 10. The destroyer operated with the Second Fleet Gold Group in October, and the following month received an annual administrative inspection by Capt. Burdick H. Brittin, ComDesRon 12, and his staff. On 27 November, Davis and her consorts sailed for the Med, and arrived at Gibraltar to join the Sixth Fleet on 8 November. The squadron then visited a succession of Spanish ports Palma de Mallorca, Pollensa Bay, Valencia and Alicante, French Toulon, Cannes and Golfe Juan, and Italian Naples and Livorno.
Returning from the Med on 14 March 1965, Davis remained in her home port only a relatively short time, for she soon returned to the Caribbean area due to troubled conditions in the Dominican Republic. Davis, ComDesRon 12 embarked, departed Newport at 1047 on 10 June in company with Stickell (DD-888). After fueling from oiler Sabine (AO-23) on 13 June, she rendezvoused with Myles C. Fox (DD-829), and soon thereafter began patrolling off the coast of Santo Domingo. Steaming independently, she fueled from Sabine again on 19 June, resuming her patrol upon completion of the underway replenishment. On 26 June, ComDesRon 12 assumed duties as CTF-124. The destroyer fueled from Aucilla (AO-56) on 30 June, then resumed patrol, sighting Dominican patrol craft on 1 July. She refueled from Aucilla a second time, on 6 July, then patrolled in area P-3 on 9 July. ComDesRon 12 shifted his flag to Bordelon (DD-881) at 1055 on 10 July, then a little less than three hours later Davis took departure for San Juan, standing in the next morning. On 15 July, she proceeded to the gunfire range at Culebra to conduct NGFS practice. Davis fueled from Essex (that had been redesignated as an antisubmarine warfare support carrier, CVS-9) en route back to Newport on 19 July, then conducted ASW exercises with TG 83.3 on 20 July, and then participated in gunnery exercises. She fueled from Neosho (AO-143) on 21 July; manuevered again with Essex, and ultimately arrived back at Newport , mooring at the destroyer base at 0820 on 22 July.
Davis departed Newport on 3 January 1966 and reached the Naval Ammunition Depot, Earle, the following day. After taking on a full load of ammunition, she returned to her home port “and continued the myriad preparations for the scheduled deployment to the western Pacific.” A little over a fortnight later, on 19 January, Davis sailed for Panama on the first leg of her journey, carrying out drills en route. Transiting the Panama Canal on 25 January, she reached San Diego, Calif., on 4 February for “limited boiler repair” before continuing on her voyage. Underway the following day, she pushed on for Hawaii. Following a brief stop at Pearl Harbor (11-15 February) (“a liberty…much enjoyed by the crews which by now had been almost a full month at sea”), Davis, along with Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 121, reached Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, on 28 February (DesDiv 122 proceeded to Kaohsiung, Taiwan).
On 4 March 1966, Davis sailed from Subic Bay. Following operations with the attack carrier Ticonderoga (CVA-14) (4-8 March), she proceeded to the waters of IV Corps, the southern-most military region in South Vietnam to provide NGFS for Vietnamese forces and their American advisors (8-14 March). Following that period, she returned to the attack aircraft carrier strike group and alternated between serving as a unit of the protective screen or as plane guard, with “everyone from the bridge lookout to the burnermen in the firerooms…on the alert in order to respond immediately in the event of a downed flyer…” The hours proved long, the ship’s historian wrote, “and the routine arduous with the ship running at flank speed 65 per cent of the time…” Davis accompanied the attack carriers Ticonderoga (15-31 March) and Hancock (CVA-19) (1-10 April) as they launched daily air strikes against targets in both North and South Vietnam. “The carrier operations were demanding on destroyers,” her chronicler continued, “with launches and recoveries being conducted around the clock.” Noted entertainers Danny Kaye and Vikki Karr visited the ship, via a Kaman Seasprite helicopter, to entertain the crew with comedy and music, during that period.
Davis sailed for Sasebo, Japan, on 10 April 1966, mooring in port three days later alongside the repair ship Ajax (AR-6). Following a fortnight in that city, her crew taking advantage of the opportunity for sight-seeing in Nagasaki, Fukagawa, and Takashima during the ship’s stay, the destroyer returned to Subic Bay for a brief tender availability alongside Markab (AD-23). Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Force, Pacific Fleet, paid the ship an informal visit to present the ship with the Admiral Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy for 1965, awarded “for achieving the greatest improvement in battle efficiency during the competitive year” to one ship in the Atlantic, and one in the Pacific. Ironically, the high speed transport Cook (APD-130), the winner of the trophy in the Pacific Fleet, lay moored nearby. Each commanding officer visited the other ship and exchanged plaques. A further touch of irony lay in the destroyer Hopewell (DD-681), the Pacific Fleet runner-up, lying moored alongside Davis.
Following her second sojourn at Subic, Davis sailed for Hong Kong, arriving on the afternoon of 7 May 1966. Underway once more on 11 May, the destroyer sailed for the coast of South Vietnam and her second NGFS tour, that time off the shores of I Corps, the northernmost military region in that embattled country. Operating off the province of Quang Ngai, Davis fired missions against the Viet Cong (VC), supporting the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN)’s Second Division, and U.S. Army Ranger Second Advisory Group, providing NGFS almost daily, and on numerous occasions during the night to assist ARVN troops and their advisors in preventing outposts from being over-run by the enemy. “With such effective support,” Davis’s historian noted, “the 2nd ARVN [Division] outposts were able to maintain their positions along the coastal plain of Quang Ngai and to keep [the strategically important] Highway One open through the area. Ranging the full length of I Corps…Davis alternated between loading ammunition by underway replenishment and," her chronicler wrote with a touch of wry humor, "unloading ammunition ‘through the bore.’” For over a month, the ship also provided NGFS for USMC (among them the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines) units in the vicinity of Chu Lai and Da Nang.
Illustrative of the nature of the routine Davis often followed, on 24 May 1966 she fired 13 rounds of NGFS during the afternoon watch, then stationed the special sea and refueling detail at 2158 as she began maneuvering to go alongside the underway replenishment ship Sacramento (AOE-1). She received 46,281 gallons of Navy Standard Fuel Oil (NSFO) between 2223 and 2312, then took her first load of powder on board as 2340, and completed the re-ammunitioning (234 rounds of flashless powder) a half hour into the mid watch on 25 May, after which she broke away from the big auxiliary. She then fired 20 rounds of NGFS during the forenoon watch before commencing a vertical replenishment (vertrep) from Sacramento between 1254 and 1338, taking on board 228 rounds of 5”/54 anti-aircraft common projectiles. A little over two hours later, she began firing an NGFS mission consisting of two rounds, but fired a second during the first watch, commencing at 2100, firing an illumination round every fifteen minutes for the remainder of the watch. Continuing her operations in the “hostile fire pay zone” on 26 May, she fired an NGFS mission during the forenoon watch, firing 135 rounds of 5-inch and 42 rounds of 3-inch. She conducted a second mission that day that proved essentially a duplicate of the one the night before; beginning at 2100, she fired one illumination round every fifteen minutes.
Davis departed the war zone on 10 June 1966 for Kaohsiung, and moored alongside destroyer tender Dixie (AD-14) for “repairs necessitated by the long period of operations under combat conditions.” The stay proved “productive but all-too-short,” as one observer in Davis later wrote, and the ship sailed on 20 June to return to the waters off I Corps. She continued to respond to calls for NGFS in a timely manner, and also “found time to respond to an emergency request for blood” from the hospital ship Repose (AH-16). By the time Davis left the firing line, she had expended over 5,000 rounds of 5”/54 and over 1,000 of 3”/50, and as her historian observed proudly, “never once during this period was a supported unit overrun or annihilated although they were many times under attack by a mostly superior enemy force.” As an example of the favorable expressions of thanks for her work, the ship received a message from the I Corps Naval Gunfire Liaison Officer: “It’s been a real pleasure working with you and I can say that Davis is the best damned shooting tin can in Uncle Sam’s Navy and the best one we’ve worked with in our time here. You’re a real credit to the Navy…Wish you a real nice trip home. There’s no place like the U.S.A.”
Following a third upkeep period at Subic (3-6 July 1966) where DesRon 12 reassembled after their individual deployments parceled out with the Seventh Fleet, Davis and her consorts sailed for “the U.S.A.” on 6 July. They crossed the equator on 9 July with “a large group of ‘slimey [sic] pollywogs’…initiated into the ‘royal order of shellbacks,’” Davis and the ships of DesDiv 121 fueled at Penang, Malaysia (11-12 July) (DesDiv 122 fueled at Port Dickson), the squadron reassembling again on 12 July. They visited Cochin, India (16-18 July), then pushed on for the British Protectorate of Aden, where they fueled “under the watchful eye of a Russian trawler…” Given British “experiencing difficulty with terrorists,” however, the officers and men of DesRon 12 experienced no liberty there.
Davis and her squadron mates continued their voyage, “proceeding individually up the Red Sea” to the southern end of the Suez Canal, then transited that waterway (27 July 1966) on the way to Greece. After visiting Pireaus, the seaport for Athens (29 July-1 August), DesRon 12 split up again, with Davis and DesDiv 121 visiting Barcelona (4-7 August), DesDiv 122 calling at Palma de Mallorca. Both divisions got underway on 7 August, paused at Gibraltar for fuel (9 August), then began their crossing of the Atlantic, enjoying a “smooth” voyage and a “grand” homecoming to Newport on 17 August as “fireboats sprayed streams of water, a light plane towed a welcome home sign, and hundreds of wives and children filled the pier.” Word of the ship’s being awarded the Battle Efficiency “E” in DesRon 12 crowned Davis’s successful circumnavigation of the globe.
Davis sailed from her home port on 22 September 1966 for Boston Naval Shipyard, arriving there the following day for “extensive work on her engineering plant,” after which she returned to DesRon 12 for active operations on 26 November. She rounded out the year participating in LantFlEx 66 (28 November-16 December), then finished the year in holiday leave and upkeep status that lasted into the following year.
Following a period alongside the destroyer tender Grand Canyon (AD-28), Davis got underway for a stint of ASW operations on 23 January 1967, upon completion of which she returned to her home port (29 January). Underway again on 13 February, the ship participated in Springboard evolutions that included ASW, antiaircraft and surface gunnery exercises, punctuated by visits to San Juan. Davis carried out surveillance of a Soviet intelligence-gathering trawler on 4 March, then proceeded on to Miami, Fla., arriving there for a brief visit (9-12 March). Returning to Newport on 15 March, she remained in port until her departure for the Med on 2 May, with the exception of local operations (20-21 March) and a dependents' cruise (24 April).
Davis stood out of the waters off Newport on 2 May 1967, bound for the Med. She arrived at Gibraltar on 11 May, then sailed two days later to begin operations with TG 60.2 of the Sixth Fleet. Ominously, "about [that] time tension in the Arab-Israeli area became critical," one observer wrote, "and DesRon 12, along with the other units in the Sixth Fleet went on increased alert status and remained at sea..." The Sixth Fleet received orders to move into the eastern Mediterranean on 23 May, four days after the United Arab Republic (UAR) had ordered the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) to withdraw from the Sinai. Three days later, as Egypt remilitarized the Sinai and declared a blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba off the Israeli port of Eilat, U.S. dependents de-planed in Athens and Rome, having been flown in from Cairo, United Arab Republic (UAR), and Israel, respectively. An increased Soviet naval presence appeared soon thereafter, as the first Soviet warships transited the Dardanelles from the Black Sea and began more aggressive shadowing of U.S. naval movements. On 5 June, in the wake of those increasing tensions, "The Six Day War" opened with a dramatic pre-emptive attack by Israel on Egypt and spread to include Jordan and Syria over the next few days.
Rendezvousing with TG 60.1 at 1432 on 8 June 1967, Davis assumed her place in the screen of the attack carriers America (CVA-66) and Saratoga (CVA-60), along with guided missile light cruisers Little Rock (CLG-4) and Galveston (CLG-3). At 1719, however, Davis and Massey (DD-778) received verbal orders to proceed at once to the assistance of the technical research ship Liberty (AGTR-5) (Comdr. William L. McGonagle), that had, earlier that day, been tragically attacked in international waters by two Israeli Dassault Mirage IIICJ and two Super Mystere IVB jet aircraft, each making three passes, and by three motor torpedo boats from Motor Torpedo Boat Division 914, approximately 15 miles north of the Sinai port of Al 'Arish, UAR. Davis conducted a brief helo transfer "of two people and equipment from USS America" between 1806 and 1808 and increased speed.
While Liberty ("alone, battered, and scarred but unvanquished") steamed slowly away from the coastline, her bloodied captain remaining on the bridge to inspire his crew, and his well-trained men toiling to minimize her damage and keep her afloat, her "black gang" keeping her underway and her providentially spared medical department succoring the wounded, Davis (Capt. Harold G. Leahy, ComDesRon 12, embarked) and Massey raced to her aid. Davis worked up to 30 knots during the first watch on 8 June, and maintained that speed during the mid watch on 9 June 1967. The two destroyers reached the limping Liberty during the morning watch on 9 June, finding her listing to starboard, while the plethora of shell and fragment holes topside, the burned and scarred paintwork, and the gaping torpedo hole in her hull bore mute testimony to the unbridled ferocity of the attack of the day before.
Davis rang down "all stop" at 0632 on 9 June 1967 and lay-to, launching her motor whaleboat; the boat then made runs between Davis and Liberty, transferring medical and damage control parties, the former including Lt. Comdr. Peter A. Flynn (MC), from America, and Lt. John P. Utz, Jr. (MC), DesRon 12's medical officer, from Davis. Massey contributed a corpsman to help treat the wounded. Davis moored alongside Liberty between 0725 and 0942 to continue the process, transferred men (including in their number "leading petty officers from the damage control, electrician, interior communication, and boilerman groups...") then cleared the side while helicopters evacuated the seriously wounded, and the bodies of the slain, to America, which, along with Little Rock, arrived shortly thereafter. The cruiser transferred Lt. John C. Cockram, her damage control assistant, in addition to two corpsmen, to Liberty, and took on board some of the less seriously wounded men. Later, after Davis had transferred two photographers to the ship by helicopter at 1402, Ens. David P. Breuer, Davis's main propulsion assistant, was transferred to the battered auxiliary vessel by helo at 1606. As the destroyer's ship's historian later noted proudly, "Davis...established vital ship functions, assisted in cleaning up the ship and provided hot food for the Liberty's crew..." and handled all communications. Lt. Comdr. William R. Pettyjohn, chief staff officer, ComDesRon 12, assumed the duties as Liberty's executive officer (9-14 June) replacing Lt. Comdr. Philip M. Armstrong, who had died of his grievous wounds suffered in the Israeli attack of 8 June.
Davis's 20-man team played important roles in righting the ship, aided by the unwounded or less seriously injured Liberty crewmen, raising steam and getting the badly damaged technical research vessel underway for Malta, accompanied by the fleet tug Papago (ATF-160), whose presence freed Massey to return to the fleet. During the passage to Valetta, Davis's and Liberty's sailors gradually restored "most of the ship's vital systems, including the main gyro, sound-powered phone circuits, and a main fire and flushing pump." Ultimately, Liberty, convoyed by Davis and Papago, after a sometimes anxious passage, stood in to Valetta harbor during the morning watch on 14 June 1967. "Due to the outstanding professional knowledge and undaunted spirit of her valiant commanding officer, officers, and crew, and still carrying many who gave up their lives for their country," Capt. Leahy (ComDesRon 12) reported subsequently to Commander, Task Force 60, "Liberty safely reached port after steaming one thousand miles with critical damage that would have sent most ships of her type to the bottom." Seventeen Davis men received commendations for their work in aiding the technical research ship in her travail; as then-Lt. Paul E. Tobin, Jr., Davis's engineering officer and one of the 20-man party, later reflected: "...The men of the Liberty and Davis knew what was required and carried out their hazardous and unpleasant tasks in a dedicated and professional manner. An ability to contemplate, confront, and overcome catastrophic damage at sea," he wrote with conviction borne of personal experience, "must remain an integral part of our trade."
The destroyer departed Malta on 19 June 1967 to conduct ASW operations, then stood in to Souda Bay, Crete, on 23 June for a brief period of upkeep alongside destroyer tender Tidewater (AD-31). While at Souda Bay, she embarked several midshipmen for summer training. Putting in to Civitavecchia, Italy, on 7 July, she returned to sea ten days later to continue her routine of drills and operations. Then, following visits to Porto Contini, Sardinia, Golfe Juan, France, and Ibiza, Spain, interludes interspersed with operations at sea, Davis picked up a sonar contact on 24 August and evaluated it as a Soviet submarine. Destroyer Fred T. Berry (DD-858) joined Davis in prosecuting the contact, that attempted, unsuccessfully, to evade the Americans. The submarine crept eastward at speeds varying from one to three knots. Destroyers Massey and Basilone (DD-724), and escort ships Brumby (DE-1044) and Lester (DE-1022), joined to assist, while the anti-submarine controllers on board Davis and Fred T. Berry conducted over 1,200 MAD [Magnetic Anomaly Detection] verification runs on the submarine, utilizing aircraft from Essex. "Finally," wrote Fred T. Berry's historian, "after 105 hours of being bombarded by the sonars of [Fred T.] Berry and Davis, a Russian Foxtrot class submarine [F.966] "surfaced to the delight of the entire Sixth Fleet" (30 August). After calling at Palma de Mallorca (30 August-5 September 1967), Davis got underway for the last ASW operations in the deployment to the Med on 5 September, upon completion of which she put in to Rota for turnover procedures, on 10 September. Two days later, she sailed for home, and reached Newport on 21 September.
Following a period of local operations out of her home port, Davis dropped down the coast to Norfolk, where she "received personnel from school" (22 October 1967), conducted further work at sea, then returned to Norfolk, where she remained until 1 November. Returning to Newport, the ship prepared for her next stint of operations at sea, and during that time served as the venue (3 November) for the ceremony in which Capt. Leahy received the Navy Commendation Medal for his leadership in the evolutions that led to the 105-hour hold-down, and consequent surfacing, of the Soviet Foxtrot class boat in the Med in August 1967. Davis then operated with the Royal Canadian Navy in a joint ASW exercise, Operation CanUS SilEx, from 6 November, then visited Halifax, Nova Scotia (17-20 November). Returning to Newport on 22 November, Davis prepared for a yard period at Boston to receive an interim overhaul of boiler superheaters, economizers, and other portions of the engineering plant.
Ready for sea by early February 1968, Davis underwent dock trials on 6 February, then got underway on 8 February. "The icy New England winter," wrote her historian, "greeted the Davis with rough seas and biting cold wind," with even "the ship's 'old salts'" having "a hard time eating lunch that day." Transiting the Cape Cod Canal on 10 February, the ship paused only briefly at her home port, for she sailed on 13 February, headed for the Caribbean in company with old consorts Massey and Stickell to participate in Operation Springboard.
"As the temperature rose," an observer on board Davis wrote later, "so did the tempo of training." A slate of ASW and AAW exercises, shore bombardment drills off Culebra, and a "tough and exacting Operational Readiness Inspection" then followed, punctuated by four visits to San Juan and one to St. Thomas for recreation. Upon completion of Springboard evolutions, Davis returned to Mayport on 8 March 1968 for a three-week stay. Underway again on 30 March, the ship returned to warmer climes, for a stint of "special operations." Classified briefings at Key West followed, on 2 April, describing her duties.
Over the next three weeks, punctuated only by three one-day visits to Key West, Davis, as Commander TG 138.2, provided support for USNS Sgt. Joseph E. Muller (T-AG-171) as she operated in the Florida Straits, the destroyer's presence occasioned by the North Koreans' seizure of the defenseless environmental research ship Pueblo (AGER-2) three months before. Davis operated at round-the-clock Condition III watches, the destroyer on occasion scrutinized by Soviet-built Komar-class missile boats out of Havana, as she essentially rode shotgun for Sgt. Joseph E. Muller as the auxiliary vessel carried out her "research." Relieved on 22 April, the destroyer returned to Newport for a brief visit (25-29 April).
Returning to warmer climes once more in company with Stickell and the escort ship Dealey (DE-1006), Davis participated in ASW exercises as part of TG 83.1, formed around Wasp. Liberty at Bermuda punctuated the "hectic" training and the "long hours," after which another week of ASW evolutions ensued. She returned to her home port on 22 May 1968.
Soon thereafter, on 1 July 1968, Davis was reassigned from DesRon 12 to DesRon 20, again designated as flagship. That same month, she conducted short cruises off the Virginia capes, carrying out a busy slate of AAW, ASW, and surface gunnery work, in addition to basic seamanship. Sailing on 22 August in company with Hugh Purvis (DD-709), Davis put in to Norfolk on 23 August, and there embarked Capt. Robert E. Williams, ComDesRon 36, as the ship was assigned temporarily to DesRon 36 for the impending WestPac deployment. She sailed for Panama the same day.
Transiting the Panama Canal on 28 August 1968, Davis got underway for Long Beach Naval Shipyard on 1 September. Remaining there for five days (5-10 September), the ship paused at Pearl Harbor (15-18 September), Midway (21 September), and Guam (28 September). After transiting San Bernardino Strait, Davis arrived at Subic Bay on 2 October for a final period of shipyard work before she would report to the war zone. During that time, Capt. Pleasant L. Murphy relieved Capt. Williams as ComdesRon 36 (7 October). Underway on 8 October, Davis arrived on station two days later.
During her first gunline tour of that deployment, Davis, ComDesRon 36 and his staff receiving NGFS briefings at Danang and Dong Ha on 10 October 1968, operated off the northern coast of South Vietnam, just below the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). She supported the 1st Air Cavalry (Airmobile) from 10-14 October, and the 3rd Marine Division from 14-29 October. During the second stint, Davis, with ComDesRon 36 as Gunline Commander, Commander, Task Unit (CTU) 70.8.9, began softening up the territory south of Ben Hao, along the DMZ, for a joint 3rd MarDiv-ARVN operation. Davis took some 70 targets under fire, including 24 "active artillery sites," killing 112 enemy troops and destroying over 30 bunkers and structures; 3rd MarDiv observers considered the operations on 23-24 October successful, "due primarily to the excellent preparation and call for fire by naval guns prior to and during the sweeps."
Such operations, however, proved not at all one-sided as the shoot-out at high noon on 26 October 1968 proved. Communist guns opened up from Hon Gio [Tiger Island], while Davis stood off the DMZ awaiting an NGFS assignment, pumping out 25-30 rounds in ten minutes' time, bracketing the ship with the first two rounds and putting the third one close astern, spraying fragments on the destroyer's stern but hurting no one. Davis's guns spoke in reply, and some 160 rounds silenced the enemy battery. On the night of 28-29 October, three more "enemy-initiated incidents" resulted in some 22 rounds of "hostile fire" being fired in Davis's direction, all from the vicinity of Cape Lay, with the destroyer responding in kind each time. She received hostile fire again on 1 November, as she continued support of the 3rd MarDiv, but emerged unscathed from the encounter once more, and provided call fire for the Marines between 8-13 November, before she departed the gunline for Sasebo, Japan, on 16 November, ending her first line deployment.
After visiting Sasebo (22 November-1 December 1968), Davis visited Pusan, South Korea (2-5 December) and Hong Kong (8-14 December) before she returned to the gun line on 16 December, reporting "on station and ready to fire" in the waters off I Corps. The next day, she began NGFS work in support of the 1st MarDiv, and on the 18th fired in support of Operation Victory Dragon VI; she continued support of the 1st MarDiv until 21 December, then shifted back to Victory Dragon VI (21-24 December). Firing no missions on Christmas Day, she resumed the next day, firing once more in support of Victory Dragon VI; she rounded out the month (27-31 December) in support of Operation Valiant Hunt, an amphibious landing south of Danang.
As Davis steamed off Danang as the mid watch began on 1 January 1969, Ens.William S. Eggeling, USNR, the officer of the deck, began the 0000-0400 log entry in ryhme. "The start of this new year, nineteen sixty nine," he wrote in the opening stanza, "finds us hard at work, along the gun line, as a tribute at midnight in lieu of a toast, the Marines requested we shoot up the coast" as Valiant Hunt, a "search and clear operation...south of Hoi An in support of the Accelerated Pacification Program" continued. Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/6, put ashore from the ships of Ready Group Alfa (TG 76.4) ultimately corralled 3,431 detainees for questioning, killed 33 VC and identified 40 VC "infrastructure personnel", turning the latter over to the South Vietnamese for "further disposition." VC ground fire damaged eight USMC Sikorsky UH-34 helicopters during the withdrawal, but USMC casualties proved light: 2 killed in action and 14 wounded. Although Davis's principal missions during the concluding portion of Valiant Hunt (1-5 January 1969) involved harassment, suppressing sniper fire, causing one secondary explosion and destroying three enemy outposts, it had also evidently inflicted heavy casualties, as Marines discovered mass graves in the area. When questioned, the local populace attributed the 20-30 dead VC buried en masse to the ship's harassing fire.
With Capt. Murphy's relief as CTU 70.8.1 by ComDesRon 5 on 6 January 1969 upon the conclusion of Valiant Hunt, Davis conducted a succession of "R and R" [rest and recreation] visits, to Kaohsiung; Cebu City, Philippines; and Subic Bay. The destroyer departed the latter place on 26 January to return to the gun line, with Capt. Murphy resuming his duties as its commander the following day (27 January). During the last three days of January, Davis provided NGFS for the 27th Marines and the Republic of Korea (ROK) 2nd Marine Brigade in Quang Nam province, "the destroyer's 5"/54 projectiles [accounting] for four enemy KIA, five more probably killed, 28 structures or bunkers destroyed, 18 damaged, two secondary explosions and three secondary fires." Davis continued her NGFS duties until 15 February, after which time she returned to Subic (16 February) to prepare for the voyage back to the United States.
On 18 February 1969, DesRon 36 sailed for home, Davis, accompanied by DuPont (DD-941), Power (DD-839) and Hugh Purvis. The squadron visited Sydney, Australia (1-3 March), Wellington, New Zealand (8-10 March), Pago Pago, American Samoa (16 March), and Pearl Harbor, where ComDesRon 36 shifted his broad pennant from Davis to DuPont on 22 March. Transiting the Panama Canal on 6 April, Davis reached Newport soon thereafter. Over the next five months, the ship operated between Newport and the Caribbean, participating in exercises, and "special operations" in the latter region. She departed her home port on 17 October and entered Boston Naval Shipyard soon thereafter, where she was decommissioned during the forenoon watch on 30 October 1969.
Recommissioned at her conversion yard on 17 October 1970, Comdr. William J. Sweet in command, and with Comdr. Davis's widow and son in attendance at the invitation of the crew, Davis remained at Boston, completing her fitting-out, then conducted her Board of Inspection and Survey (InSurv) trials in the Boston Operating Areas on 26 October, putting back into the yard the following day. Moved to the South Boston Naval Shipyard Annex, cold-iron, on 2 December, she shifted to the operational control of Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, as a unit of Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla 10 and DesRon 12 two days later.
Rejoining the fleet, Davis conducted tests of her sensors and weapons systems on the Fleet Operational Readiness Accuracy Checks (FORACS) range off Cape Cod (7-8 December 1970) then proceeded, via the Cape Cod Canal and Buzzards Bay, to Earle, to load ammunition (9 December). During the two-day evolution, however, the ship's inspectors rejected over 200 projectiles ("improper gas check seals"), a rejection that would, in time, lead to the Bureau of Ordnance's re-evaluating its inspection procedures and providing better ammunition service to the Fleet. She then returned to her home port, after an absence of more than a year, on 11 December.
Shifted from DesRon 12 to DesRon 20 on New Year's Day 1971. Davis sailed for Guantanamo on 12 January 1971, then conducted various training evolutions off the Virginia capes, including a surface gunnery shoot with fleet tug Papago (with whom Davis had worked during the salvage of Liberty in June 1967) towing the target. After taking on supplies, fuel, and stores at Norfolk Naval Base (19-21 January), the ship got underway for Port Everglades, where she conducted "pre-weapon system accuracy test alignment and calibration checks. From Port Everglades, Davis proceeded to the Tongue of the Ocean, off Andros Island, Bahamas, where she undrewent "acoustic sensor and ASW weapons system testing on the AUTEC range (27-30 January), firing her first ASROC test missile on 29 January as well as several tube-launched weapons. A "minor engineering casualty" and the ensuing wait for parts to enable her to make the necessary repairs at Port Everglades (31 January-2 February) delayed the ship's proceeding to Guantanamo Bay.
Arriving at her destination on 6 February 1971, Davis began her post-overhaul shakedown five days later, conducting drills that range from low visibility piloting, general quarters, air tracking, and submarine tracking with Tirante (SS-420). Less than a week after embarking upon her shakedown, Davis received orders to conduct surveillance off the Cuban port of Cienfuegos. After she took on fuel on the evening of 16 February, she sailed under orders of Commander, ASW Forces, Atlantic (ComASWForLant) and arrived off her destination, effecting a rendezvous with destroyer Charles P. Cecil (DD-835) and radar picket escort ship Calcaterra (DER-390) the following evening, the three ships setting up a "barrier patrol...to observe all shipping." During Davis's watch, no ships entered or exited the harbor without being positively identified. Destroyer Mullinnix (DD-944) relieved her on 19 February.
Following further shakedown training, Davis visited Ocho Rios, Jamaica (5-7 March 1971), successfully conducted a mid-term battle problem (11 March), then operated as assist ship for Koelsch (DE-1049) as the escort ship carried out a test of "convergent zone techniques," using her AN/SQS-26 sonar, working with submarine Amberjack (SS-522) (18-19 March) as her target, before resuming her shakedown. Only moments after getting underway for the day's evolutions on 26 March, however, Davis received orders to return to the pier and refuel. Returning to Cienfuegos for a second surveillance operation under ComASWForLant, the destroyer took up a station to seaward of old consort Calcaterra and resumed a patrol off the entrance to the harbor, identifying shipping standing in or out of Cienfuegos as before. On 31 March, she returned to Guantanamo.
Setting the sea and anchor detail and sailing for Newport on 7 April 1971, Davis returned to her home port on 10 April for her men to obtain "some rest, relaxation and recover from the preceeding [sic] long arduous training period." Fueling on 5 May, the ship stood out for European waters two days later, hosting William J. Ziegler, Vice President (Marketing) of the Goodyear Rubber Co., "to help better acquaint him, as a prominent member of the civilian world, with the activities of the U.S. Navy," disembarking him at the ship's first stop, Bermuda (9-10 May). Steaming thence to Punta Delgada, Azores (14 May), Davis steamed to Terceria, Azores, where 2,500 people "took advantage of the opportunity to visit and look around the first American warship to visit Terceria in 25 years," and hosted the Naval Commander, Azores, and the U.S. Consul, the ship's visit highlighting Armed Forces Day observances. At the start of the mid watch, Davis sailed for the Netherlands.
After a deliberate passage through the English Channel amidst a virtual parade of shipping, Davis reached Amsterdam (19-24 May 1971), then visited Hamburg, Germany (25-28 May), and Copenhagen, Denmark, where she arrived on 29 May. Departing that Danish port four days later, she received a message "implying that the trip home might not follow the same route as the journey to Northern Europe..." As had occurred earlier in the year off Cuba, Davis received the call to embark upon "special operations."
Her mission, to "locate, photograph and gain all possible visual, acoustical and electronic intelligence" on a new Soviet guided missile destroyer (known only as DDGM 500) steaming in company with the oiler Boris Chiliken. Armed with only sketchy information at the outset, Davis utilized some "educated guesswork and...alert ESM operators" to pick up the Soviet ships late at night on 3 June 1971. "Dawn [of 4 June] confirmed the identity of the two vessels" and the destroyer became their shadow as they transited the English Channel. "The two Russians," wrote Davis's historian later, "were not inclined to give away intelligence information, but outstanding camera work and the same alert ESM operators earned Davis much praise...for photographic and electronic intelligence..."
Breaking off the surveillance effort during the forenoon watch on 5 June 1971, Davis fueled at Punta Delgada (8 June) and Bermuda (12 June), and reached her home port on 14 June. Underway for the ammunition anchorage off Prudence Island, the destroyer off-loaded all ammunition prior to going into the yard for her post-shakedown availability. Standing out of her home port on 25 June, she returned to Boston on 1 July to wrap up her ASW modernization, yard workers toiling on projects that ranged from major boiler work to the installation of variable depth sonar (VDS) and AN/WSA-1C and a secure voice system, as well as modifications that would allow the ship to have a vertical replenishment (vertrep) capability. Returning to Newport on 4 October 1971 upon conclusion of the yard work at Boston, Davis on-loaded ammunition at Prudence Island on 6 October, and a little over a week later, put out into Narragansett Bay on 14 October for another test of the recently installed VDS, but gyro problems within the system precluded a successful test. The ship showed her versatility and adaptability, however, by standing in for another ship to participate in the U.S. Naval Destroyer School cruise, serving as a venue for training prospective engineering officers, in company with guided missile destroyer Charles F. Adams (DDG-2) and destroyer Fiske (DD-842).
Beginning on 1 November 1971, Davis, again in company with Charles F. Adams and Fiske, got underway for the operations and weapons portions of the underway curricula, conducting maneuvering drills, gunfire support training, surface target shoots, antiaircraft shoots, and navigation training, as well as ASW exercises with submarine Clamagore (SS-343), a replenishment drill with the underway replenishment oiler Milwaukee (AOR-2), general quarters drills, and "practical instruction in every facet of the jobs of prospective Destroyer Operations and Weapons Department Heads." The trio of ships punctuated that training regimen with a visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia, beginning on 5 November. Returning to Narragansett Bay on 12 November, Davis provided her embarked students with ship-handling experience, mooring to a buoy or going alongside a pier, thus concluding her Destroyer School work.
Less than a week later, on 17 November 1971, the ship got underway once more for the Narragansett Bay operating areas, and conducted another VDS sea trial, finally accepting the installation as complete, as well as taking a group of officer candidates to sea. As the month of December came, a Nuclear Weapons Assistance Team visited the ship, and Davis participated in Exercise Snowtime 72-3. She also hosted an open house for dependents and friends, and gave an early (11 December) Christmas party for the children of Davis's crewmen. Four days later, when William R. Rush (DD-714) found her return delayed, Davis exemplified the spirit of the holidays, providing shelter from the cold weather and hot drinks and a snack for her waiting dependents.
Underway on 4 January 1972 for Cuban waters, Davis visited New Orleans (8-11 January) en route. Arriving at Guantanamo on 14 January, however, she hastily refueled and stood out, returning to sea for another stint of "special operations," occasioned by the report by the small Panamanian-flag motorship Johnny Express that she had been fired upon off the eastern tip of Cuba in mid-December 1971, and that a Cuban gunboat had attempted a boarding. Consequently, Davis received "Express Tasking" -- escort duties and patrol of the Windward Passage and "Northern Choke Point" areas. She escorted the merchantman Omar Express to Port au Prince, Haiti, without incident (16-17 January), then, relieved on station by destroyer Basilone on 19 January, returned to Guantanamo. After refueling, Davis effected a rendezvous with the Bahamas Line motorship Lincoln Express, and convoyed her safely to the Caicos Passage. Returning to Guantanamo on 21 January, Davis completed her refresher training in subsequent days, including NGFS training at Culebra.
Davis returned to Newport on 4 February 1972, then got underway to conduct type training off the Virginia capes in company with the guided missile escort ship Julius A. Furer (DEG-6), and participated in ComPTuEx 72-8. Pausing from her training long enough to visit New York City (17-19 March), Davis, with ComDesRon 20 embarked, conducted more type training, including towing drills, and carried out extensive ASW exercises with submarine Skipjack (SSN-585) (20-25 March). Returning to her home port on 25 March, the ship underwent tender repairs alongside Grand Canyon, as well as prepare for LantReadEx 4-72 prior to her slated deployment to the Mediterranean. Underway on 28 April, Davis, along with other Newport-based ships, participated in LantReadEx 4-7, then put back into her home port on 10 May after a "rough" passage "with high winds and heavy seas being the rule," and continued preparations for sailing for the Med. Soon thereafter, however, DesRon 20 received word that it was not to join the Sixth Fleet, but the Seventh. "Due to the short notice," DesRon 20's historian noted, "hasty WESTPAC [Western Pacific] preparations had to be made: publications had to be obtained; OPORDERS had to be modified; RPS [Registered Publications System] materials had to be drawn; new transit tracks had to be worked out."
Davis and guided missile frigate Dewey (DLG-14) departed Newport on 4 June 1972, rendezvoused with America off Cape Henry, Va., and set course for the Philippines; six days later, Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, the Chief of Naval Operations, sent a message to the Vietnam-bound ships. "The intensified aggression by the North Vietnamese has required expeditious augmentation of Yankee Station forces to protect U.S. lives in SVN [South Vietnam]. The enemy has increased the level of hostilities and has embarked on a campaign designed to disrupt Vietnamization effoirts. It is our job to hold the line. The following weeks will require the fullest of your professional competence. Many teammates are in position and await your arrival."
Joined on 15 June 1972 by the oiler Waccamaw (AO-109), slated to provide "refueling services until it was certain that the ships had sufficient fuel to [enable them to] arrive in Subic Bay with a 30 per cent reserve," the ships rounded the Cape of Good Hope on the "first day of the South African winter, but the cloudy skies and blustery seas," wrote Dewey's historian, "did not prevent America's COD [Carrier On-board Delivery] aircraft from flying several tons of much-awaited mail from Cape Town out to the ships..." On the same day Waccamaw was detached (26 June), the ships "chopped" to the Seventh Fleet. Consequently, America, Dewey, and Davis reached the Philippines on 6 July 1972, "completing a 13,000 mile transit remarkable for the degree of cooperation and coordination among the ships involved..." Upon her arrival at Subic, Davis received .50-caliber machine guns, Redeye missiles, and filled her magazines (4-8 July), then sailed for her first gunline deployment in the waters off Quang Tri, South Vietnam.
While "gunfire support, rearming and refueling" characterized the routine of a destroyer off the coast of Vietnam, rescue operations broke the routine. On 19 July 1972, 37-millimeter antiaircraft fire hit Gunny 01, the McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II out of Thakli Royal Thai Air Force Base, flown by Capt. Harvey D. Wier, Jr., USAF, 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 49th Tactical Fighter Wing, during a mission to destroy enemy bunkers near the DMZ, forcing both Capt. Wier and 1stLt Kenneth G. Edwards, USAF, his weapons systems officer, to bail out offshore. Davis and Eversole (DD-879) proceeded to the scene; Davis rescued 1stLt. Edwards, Eversole rescued Capt. Weir.
Detached from the gunline on 23 July 1972, Davis stood to the south, proceeding to Military Region II, where, as part of TU 70.8.2, she provided NGFS for ARVN troops near Bong Son. She served as flagship for the task unit from 30 July to 1 August. On 10 August, an in-bore explosion tore off two feet of the barrel of Mt. 51, injuring four men; fragments penetrated the deck in several places, prompting Davis's detachment from TU 70.8.2. Proceeding to Subic, the ship received a low-pressure modification to Mt. 51 (13-25 August) that slowed the firing rate from 40 to 20 rounds per minute but increased its reliability. While in port, however, the ship's sounding and security patrol found water in compartment 3-44-4-E. After the de-watering process, investigation revelaed a defective fire plug; damage to the sonar equipment resulted in its being left behind for repairs when Davis returned to the gunline on 25 August.
After transporting ComDesRon 20 out to the destroyer Sarsfield (DD-837) on 27 August 1972, Davis relieved Eversole on that date as plane guard for the attack carrier Midway (CVA-41). Returning to the gunline on 1 September, Davis joined other units of TU 75.9.1 in evading a passing typhoon, returning to the gunline soon thereafter (4-11 September). "Chopping" to TU 77.1.2 to participate in Linebacker operations, the destroyer pounded targets along the coast of North Vietnam over ensuing days, taking hostile fire upon occasion, the closest rounds splashing 50 yards from the ship. Following an unsuccessful search and rescue (SAR) attempt (14-18 September), Davis operated on the gunline (19 September), then resumed Linebacker operations on 19 September. A second SAR operation proved more successful three days later, when a helicopter reached the downed airman when Davis was within a few miles of him.
Detached from Linebacker on 26 September 1972, Davis proceeded to Sasebo via Subic, and underwent a restricted availability (RAV) in that Japanese port (1-9 October) while dependents flew in to visit men serving in the ship. She resumed Linebacker raids as a unit of TU 77.1.1 on 12 October, carrying out nightly shellings and maintaining surveillance of merchantment from the People's Republic of China lying off Hon La, and standing ready to prevent any cargoes from reaching the beach. On 15 October, Davis conducted the first of several operations wherein she launched air-filled plastic bags that contained "mini-radios" that "when winds and tides permitted, floated ashore to enable the North Vietnamese people to hear non-Communist radio programming.
With ComDesRon 20 embarked, Davis became the flagship of TU 77.1.1 on 17 October 1972, and in that capacity she conducted her final strike mission of the deployment, when, on 21 October, she shelled North Vietnamese railroad sidings, highway bridges, and coastal defense sites in company with guided missile light cruiser Providence (CLG-6), the guided missile destroyer Hoel (DDG-13), and destroyer James E. Kyes (DD-787), 25 miles south of Thanh Hoa. While James E. Kyes and Hoel provided suppressing fire, Davis and Providence closed to within 12,000 yards of the beach, pounding four primary targets. Coastal defense guns located on Hon Me took the cruiser and destroyer under fire, but hit neither ship. Davis, taking station astern of Providence during the retirement phase, shelled the offending batteries for 15 continuous minutes, counting 31 secondary explosions and encountering no more firing from the Communist guns.
Relieved of Linebacker duties, Davis rendezvoused with escort ship Joseph Hewes (DE-1078), and the latter's LAMPS helo spotted for the two ships' bombardment of North Vietnamese batteries on Hon Gio, Davis firing the last of the 8,315 rounds of 5"/54 of the deployment. The ships then proceeded to Hong Kong for two days of "R and R." After outchopping at Subic (29-31 October), Davis, with Capt. Claiborne S. Bradley, ComDesRon 20, embarked, then visited Singapore in company with Dewey and Joseph Hewes, the trio becoming TU 27.8.4 for the homeward voyage.
Dropping anchor at Sitra, Bahrain, on 15 November 1972, Davis and her consorts then took part in Midlink XV, an exercise with U.S., British, Iranian, and Pakistani naval forces, then enjoyed liberty at Bandar Abbas, Iran (18-20 November). Detached from Midlink XV, the task unit refueled from the British RFA Plumleaf on 25 November. Crossing the Equator later that same day, and observing the usual ceremonial pursuits that transformed "pollywogs" to "shellbacks," Davis spent the night at Mombasa, Kenya (26 November). En route to Recife, Brazil, RFA Tidereach accompanied TU 27.8.4 (29 November-5 December), earning praise from Capt. Bradley for their "professionalism" (during the underway replenishment on 29 November -- to which Tidereach responded: "Any time you want a tanker call on us") as did the anti-submarine frigate HMS Brighton (F.106) (4-5 December). After visiting Recife (10-12 December), Davis arrived at Port of Spain, Trinidad, on 16 December, then got underway to proceed independently for Roosevelt Roads the next day. Preceded by more than 36 of her crew who obtained "earlybird" flights to the U.S., Davis departed Roosevelt Roads on 19 December 1972, rendezvoused with TU 27.8.4 on 20 December, then steamed into Newport on the morning of 22 December to begin a post-deployment stand-down period and upkeep that lasted through the end of the winter.
Davis departed Newport on 26 March 1973, and reached Charleston, S.C., on 2 April. Returning to her home port on 3 July, she sailed on 4 August for Guantanamo Bay, arriving there four days later. Operating out of Guantanamo, the destroyer shifted to Roosevelt Roads, making port on 20 August, then headed north, pausing at Earle (23 August) before continuing her return voyage to Newport, arriving there on 24 August. Dropping down to Earle, ariving on 20 September, Davis returned to Newport on 22 October, then sailed soon thereafter for Norfolk, arriving the following day. She returned to her home port on 3 November, then conducted operations at sea before returning to Earle on 12 December, returning thence to Newport, arriving on 13 December and remaining in port through the end of the year 1973.
Underway on 4 January 1974, Davis formally joined the Sixth Fleet ten days later at Rota (14 January), then sailed, with ComDesRon 24 embarked, on 16 January in company with escort ships Donald B. Beary (DE-1085) and Voge (DE-1047), passing through the Strait of Gibraltar and entering the Med. She then visited a succession of ports: St. Tropez, France (19-21 January), San Remo, Italy (25-31 January), and Valencia, Spain (1-4 February), cutting short the latter visit to get underway on eight-hour notice to carry out "special operations" in the Gulf of Hammamat (5-7 February). After visits to the Sicilian ports of Agusta (8-9 February) and Taormina (9-13 February), Davis then participated in International Week exercises (13-24 February). Another succession of port visits ensued, to the Italian ports of Rapallo (24 February-2 March) and Naples (4-18 March), where she received a tender availability alongside Cascade (AD-16), Corfu, Greece (19-24 March), and Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia (25-29 March).
Departing Dubrovnik on 29 March 1974, Davis rendezvoused with Amphibious Task Force 503 and took part in Dark Image, an amphibious assault exercise in the Adriatic complete with NGFS drills. Upon the conclusion of Dark Image, Davis returned to Valencia (9-22 April), then called at Port Mahon, Minorca (23-27 April), before she took part in exercise Dawn Patrol (27 April-5 May). Following a visit to Rhodes (9-12 May) bookended by time spent at Athens (5-8 May and 13-19 May), the ship carried out a period of underway operations, testing her sonar (19-25 May). After anchoring off Milos, Greece (25-29 March), Davis visited Iraklion (29 May-3 June) and Souda Bay (3-6 June), Crete. After participating in another International Week exercise (6-8 June), she returned to Souda Bay (8-9 June), then the Greek locales of Mykonos (10-13 June) and Elefsis (14-16 June). Davis wound up her Med cruise with participation in exercise Flaming Lance (19-23 June) before putting in to Rota (23-24 June) for turnover with her relief.
Davis returned to Newport, her home since she first joined the fleet, on 3 July 1974, but lingered only a short time (3-9 July), for her home port, along with the other units of DesRon 20, to Charleston, South Carolina. On 11 July, the destroyer arrived at her new base. She operated thence through mid-December, carrying out two successive periods of underway operations (9-13 September and 1-4 October) followed by participation in ComPTUEx 3-75 (21-26 October). Following an InSurv inspection (4-7 November), Davis conducted one more period of underway operations for 1974 (9-12 December), then visited Port Everglades (12-14 December). Offloading weapons at the Naval Weapons Station, Charleston (17-18 December), Davis entered Charleston Naval Shipyard on 19 December 1974, where she remained for the next year, undergoing a regular overhaul that concluded on 19 December 1975.
Underway on 28 January 1976, the ship proceeded to Guantanamo Bay, whence she conducted refresher training (12 February-11 March), after which time she underwent a SMORE inspection (22-26 March), then a tender availability (27 March-23 April) at Charleston. Following sea trials (24 April), Davis underwent her nuclear weapons inspection (3-4 May), then a series of Operational Propulsion Plan Examination (OPPE) evolutions (13-14 May, 19-21 May and 27-28 May), before she carried out preparations for her next deployment (29 May-30 June).
Davis, with ComDesRon 14 staff and a VC-6 drone detachment embarked, stood out of Charleston on 10 July 1976, and proceeded south in company with guided missile frigate MacDonough (DLG-8) and frigate Thomas C. Hart (FF-1092). Over the next four months, Davis and her consorts participated in UNITAS XVII, operating with units of the Brazilian, Uruguayan, and Argentine navies, and visiting Rio de Janeiro, Argentina, Montevideo, Uruguay, and Recife, Brazil. Arriving at Punta Arenas, Chile, on 14 September, Davis transited the Strait of Magellan, then exercised with ships of the Chilean, Peruvian, Colombian, and Venezuelan navies, and visited Valparaiso, Chile, Lima, Peru, Cartagena, Colombia, and Caracas, Venezuela. Passing under the span of the Cooper River Bridge on 23 November, the ship returned to her home port, then entered a tender availability period on 10 December, alongside Sierra (AD-18).
Wrapping up her availability alongside Sierra on 14 January 1977, Davis got underway on 17 January to participate in CaribREx 1-77. Earning the "Top Gun" award for surface, antiaircraft, and NGFS shooting, as well as the "Top Hunter" kudos for her ASW work, Davis returned to her home port for largely concurrent restricted (23 February-20 May) and tender (23 February-5 April) availabilities, the latter again alongside Sierra. Following a naval technical proficiency inspection (NTPI) (3-4 May), the ship underwent another period of tender repairs, alongside Yosemite (AD-19) (25 May-15 June), a part of which overlapped her restricted availability (3 June-20 October) at her home port, at the conclusion of which she sailed for Africa.
Operating under ComDesRon 14, Davis visited Conakry, Guinea (1-2 November 1977), and Lagos, Nigeria (7-9 November), fueled at Dakar, Senegal (14 November) before she proceeded to Rota (19-20 November). Fueling at Cagliari, Sicily (23 November), then from USNS Pawcatuck (T-AO-108) on 25 November, the destroyer stood in to Port Said on the 26th, and transited the Suez Canal the next day. Visited Aqaba, Jordan, where she relieved guided missile destroyer Sellers (DDG-11) (28 November) and became a part of the Middle East Force (MidEastFor). Following fuel stops at Djibouti (5 and 8 December), the ship then visited Hodeida, Yemen, a purely "diplomatic" call with no liberty for the crew (10-12 December). After a third stop at Djibouti for fuel (14 December), Davis crossed the Equator on 17 December, then continued on for Mombasa, arriving on 20 December to begin a visit that would last a little over a fortnight.
Sailing for Mombasa on 5 January 1978 with Rear Adm. Samuel H. Packer, ComMidEastFor, embarked, Davis steamed in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, into late February, punctuating those periods underway with weekly fuel stops at Djibouti and a visit to Muscat, Oman (25-28 January). After a period of upkeep at Bahrain, the ship conducted turnover with her reliefs, guided missile destroyer Barney (DDG-6) and frigate Glover (FF-1098), at Jiddah, Saudi Arabia (9 April). Transiting the Suez Canal on 13 April, Davis reached Rota on 20 April and began her transatlantic passage. Fueling in the Azores (23 April), the destroyer visited Hamilton, Bermuda (28-29 April), and stood up the Cooper River on 2 May.
Davis remained at Charleston into the summer of 1978, logging an NWAT assist visit (14-16 June) and a TSI/NTPI inspection (19-20 June). She embarked midshipmen for training (18 July-18 August) that extended into the ship's cruise to the Great Lakes. Departing Charleston on 3 August in company with destroyers William C. Lawe (DD-763) (Capt. William D. Daniels, ComDesRon 34, Naval Reserve Force, embarked) and Robert A. Owens (DD-827), Davis visited a succession of ports, acquainting residents with the U.S. Navy and aiding in recruiting efforts in that region. In company with William C. Lawe and Robert A. Owens, she visited Quebec (8-10 August) and Montreal (10-11 August), Canada; and the New York ports of Ogdensburg (12-14 August), Oswego (14-16 August) and Buffalo (17-20 August). While the other destroyers visited Erie, Penn., (20-24 August), Davis called at Ashtabula, Ohio (20-24 August), rejoining William C. Lawe and Robert A. Owens for a visit to Toledo, Ohio (24-28 August). The three ships then visited Detroit, Mich. (28 August-1 September) and Cleveland, Ohio, arriving on 1 September. Robert A. Owens departed that port on 5 September, Davis and William C. Lawe the next morning. The task unit reassembled at Buffalo on 6 September, where Capt. Billy B. Traweek relieved Capt. Daniels as ComDesRon 34 NRF. Resuming the Great Lakes cruise, the destroyers visited Toronto, Canada (7-9 September); Davis stopped at Oswego for a CHT pump-out while the other two ships proceeded to Ogdensburg for the same purpose. After another pause at Montreal, the ships steamed up the St. Lawrence Seaway. While William C. Lawe and Robert A. Owens paused at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Davis continued on for her home port, reaching Charleston on 17 September. There, she then underwent a restricted availability (1 November- 2 December) for necessary engineering repairs, then carried out an underway period for certification (11-16 December), after which time she remained in port for the remainder of 1978.
Underway once more on 16 January 1979, Davis took on stores and received turnover briefs at Rota (28-30 January), then proceeded into the Med to begin her deployment. After a visit to Livorno, Italy (6-11 February), the destroyer participated in exercises at sea, capped by a visit to Dubrovnik (19-24 February). Clearing that Yugoslavian port to participate in National Week exercises, Davis soon found herself, at 2230 on 25 February, in receipt of orders to proceed to Middle East. Reaching Port Said on 28 February, she transited the Suez Canal (1-2 March), then operated in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden until 15 March. Having gone from the Second Fleet to the Sixth, thence to MidEastFor, the ship became a part of the Seventh Fleet, operating with a part of its carrier force, until 9 April. Visiting Djibouti again (“for the 19th time,” her historian noted, “in two years”) (9-11 April), Davis then stood into Port Said on 15 April to transit the Suez Canal.
Reaching Catania, Sicily, on 19 April 1979, to begin a four-day visit, the destroyer then spent 17 days at Athens (30 April-15 May) for upkeep “amid rumors of yet another trip to the Middle East…” Sure enough, twelve hours after departing Athens on 15 May, Davis indeed received orders sending her back to the Suez Canal. Transiting that waterway on 18 May, she fueled at Port Sudan (21 May), then spent two days at Berbera, Somalia (26-27 May), where she hosted “many interesting visitors” who included the U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Donald K. Petterson, and military attaches from China, Egypt, and Italy. The officials of Berbera gave the ship six goats. After crossing the Equator for the fourth consecutive year (4 June), Davis visited Mombasa (6-12 June), then Djibouti (19-20 June). After a passage through the Suez Canal (25 June), she reached Rota (1-2 July) before standing out for her homeward bound voyage, arriving at her home port on 14 July. Off-loading ammunition (16-17 August), Davis then commenced a regular overhaul at Charleston Naval Shipyard on 28 September, and entered drydock on 8 November.
Completing her overhaul on 10 December 1980, Davis remained in port into late January 1981, punctuating that time with local operations and independent ship exercises (6-14 January), steaming thence to Port Everglades to carry out weapons systems accuracy trials (27 January-7 February) and then returning to her home port. Departing Charleston for Guantanamo Bay on 13 March to begin five weeks of refresher training, visiting Port au Prince during a breather in the work, the destroyer next headed for Roosevelt Roads to conduct NGFS exercises, climaxed with a visit to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. Returning to Charleston on 3 May, Davis underwent an IMAV/NWAI. Departing her home port on 12 June, the ship operated as part of the Nimitz (CVN-68) Battle Group in ComPTUEx 2-81, conducting extensive ASW and AAW exercises during that time, after which she enjoyed "R and R" at Fredericksted, St. Croix. Detached from the Nimitz Battle Group upon conclusion of that period, Davis returned to Charleston on 30 June to prepare for her next extended deployment.
Sailing for the Med on 13 August 1981, Davis reached Rota on 22 August and joined the Sixth Fleet. After departing Rota on 24 August, she transited the Strait of Gibraltar, then proceeded along the Spanish coast to Cartagena, which she visited (26-30 August), providing "hotel services" while anchored out to submarine Whale (SSN-638) as the latter moored alongside. Moving on to Naples (2-5 September), she then conducted a War-At-Sea exercise with the Nimitz Battle Group (6-8 September) before conducting calling at Alexandria, Egypt (9-11 September) and Ashdod, Israel (13-23 September), receiving a tender availability alongside Puget Sound (AD-38) at the latter port. Proceeding thence for the Suez Canal, Davis, accompanied by Voge, prepared for trouble in the wake of the recent signing of an accord between Libya, Ethiopia, and Yemen, but accomplished the passage of the Bab-el-Mandeb "with no confrontation" on the night of 27 September.
After pausing for fuel at Djibouti (28 September 1981), Davis joined the America Battle Group for operations in the Arabian Sea (29 September-18 October). Carrying out high-priority ASW and AAW, as well as surveillance, evolutions, the ship also carried out an exchange program with the Australian guided missile destroyer HMAS Hobart (D.39) exchanging six people with her "down under" opposite number over each of the three days. Participating in a Gonzo Regatta at the conclusion of that period, competing in both gig and motor whaleboat events, Davis won the former race, with Rear Adm. Bryan W. Compton, Commander, Carrier Group 6, presenting the award to the boat officer.
Transiting the Strait of Hormuz on 19 October 1981, Davis entered the Persian Gulf for what would become "nearly constant underway time," punctuated by fuel stops and liberty at Bahrain and Jubayl, Saudi Arabia. At the former place, Rear Adm. Charles E. Gurney, III, Commander, MidEastFor, presented 57 members of Davis's complement with Navy Achievement Medals "for meritorious performance during the deployment," while at the latter, the ship hosted the commanding officer of the King Abdul Aziz Naval Base and the Amir of Jubayl. Upon completion of the "surveillance and showing the flag tour" on 16 November, the destroyer headed west, made a high-speed passage of the Bab-el-Mandeb and Red Sea, then moored at Jiddah (23-25 November), hosting U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Richard W. Murphy, as well as 200 Royal Saudi Navy students during that visit (24 November).
Departing Jiddah on 26 November 1981, the ship transited the Suez Canal the following day. Encountering heavy seas upon entering the Med, she then carried out exercises off the coast of Libya, transited the Strait of Messina, and visited Marseilles, France (2-5 December). After a transit of the Strait of Gibraltar, Davis visited Rota for turnover procedures (9-11 December), then sailed for home with ComDesRon 20 embarked. She reached Charleston four days before Christmas, to begin the first of three shifts of leave for her people upon arrival and ending the year in "normal inport routine."
Following her post-deployment stand-down, and sea trials off Charleston, Davis departed her home port on 25 January 1982 for operations in the Caribbean and NGFS exercises off Vieques. After visiting San Juan (1-5 February), she proceeded thence for a port call upon Port Everglades (7-11 February), where she embarked a group of sons of her officers and men for the cruise back to Charleston, where she arrived on 13 February. Following an InSurv inspection (1-3 March) and sea trials in the operating areas off her home port, the destroyer got underway on 8 April to participate in ReadEx 2-82 and Ocean Venture 82, rendezvousing with elements of Amphibious Group 2 off the North Carolina coast, proceeding thence to screen those ships and provide NGFS support for the landings at Vieques, earning a score of 86.4 in the latter role and destroying two target sleeves during another phase of the evolutions. Punctuating her participation in the exercises by a visit to Charlotte Amalie (16-19 April) and two to Roosevelt Roads for fuel (24-25 April and 6-8 May), Davis returned home on 12 May.
Following two NWAT visits (19-21 May 1982 and 7-9 June) and an ammunition onload at the Naval Weapons Station, Charleston (21-22 June), Davis conducted ASW exercises in the operating areas off her home port, utilizing the services provided by two submarines and ASW Lockheed P-3C Orions. Over the ensuing months (July-August), Davismen learned of "growing evidence to expect de-commissioning in late December..." but the ship deployed on 23 August to participate in United Effort/Northern Wedding-82, "an operation of NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] forces larger than any peacetime exercise before." Joining the America Battle Group off the Virginia capes, Davis steamed across the North Atlantic, conducting exercises and replenishing from NATO warships off the Irish coast, steaming into the region of the Shetland Islands and into the North Sea, where the group disbanded and Davis proceeded independently into the English Channel (15 September), and mooring at Southampton, England, on 16 September, the first U.S. Navy warship in recent memory to visit that port.
Underway on 22 September 1982 for the short transit to Brest, France, Davis found her visit (23-26 September) cut short by growing tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, in and around the strife-torn country of Lebanon. The destroyer rejoined the America Battle Group to conduct "contingency operations" and transited the Strait of Gibraltar, then proceeded immediately into the Ionian Sea to exercise with elements of the Turkish and Greek Navies ("the first such joint effort," Davis's chronicler noted, "between [those] two navies in recent times") as well as other NATO units during exercise Display Determination 82.
After escorting America back to the northern waters of the Caribbean Operating Area, Davis returned to her home port on 20 October 1982, and commenced "the decommissioning process...in earnest." After an ammunition offload at the Naval Weapons Station, Charleston, the ship underwent an Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility inspection (16-17 November).
Decommissioned on 20 December 1982 and accepted for lay-up on 27 January 1983 at the Inactive Ship Facility, Philadelphia, Pa., Davis was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 27 July 1990, and disposed of, by sale for scrapping, by the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service, on 30 June 1994.
Home Port Assignments:
Newport, R.I., 22 May 1957
Charleston, S.C., 15 Mar1974 [Effective Date]
Cdr. George G. Ball 6 Mar 1957
Cdr. Lefteris Lavrakas 2 May 1958
Cdr. Robert K. Rosemont 13 Oct 1959
Cdr. John W. Smith 22 Nov 1960
Cdr. Allan P. Slaff 29 Sep 1961
Cdr. George Birdt 2 Mar 1963
Cdr. Herman H. Niehaus Jul 1964
Cdr. Robert P. Hilton 14 Oct 1965
Cdr. Edward J. Mountford 12 July 1967
Cdr. William J. Sweet 17 Oct 1970
Cdr. Loren W. Lewedag 7 Mar 1972
Cdr. James W. Hamrick 10 Jul 1973
Cdr. Donald H. Gunderson 19 Jul 1975
Cdr. Alan B. Flanagan 17 Jun 1977
Cdr. Gerald W. Dunne 31 Aug 1979
Cdr. Robert D. Jones 17 May 1982
Meritious Unit Commendation 26 Sep 1968 - 9 Mar 1969
10 Jul 1972 - 21 Oct 1972
Vietnam Service Medal ["Battle Stars"] Five
Robert J. Cressman, 10 August 2007