(DDG-3: dp. 3,370; l. 437'; b. 47'; dr. 22'; s. over 30 k.; cpl. 354; a. Tartar missiles, 2 5", ASROC, 2 21" tt.; cl. Charles F. Adams)
John King, born in Ireland 7 February 1865, enlisted in the Navy as a coal passer in Vermont 20 July 1893. He served on board Massachusetts in the Caribbean during the Spanish-American War, and in 1900 was transferred to Vicksburg for service during the Philippine Insurrection. King received the Medal of Honor while in Vicksburg "for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession at the time of the accident to the boilers... 29 May 1901." Eight years later, while a water tender in Salem, King received a second Medal of Honor during another boiler explosion 13 September 1909. Advanced to Chief Water Tender 1 October 1909, he continued to serve at sea until discharged in 1916. The beginning of World War I, however, brought Chief King back on active duty; he served at New York until 20 August 1919. He lived in retirement until his death 20 May 1938.
John King (DDG-3) was laid down by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine, 25 August 1958; launched 30 January 1960; sponsored by Mrs. Paul J. Kilday, wife of Representative Kilday of Texas; and commissioned 4 February 1961 at Boston, Comdr. A. M. Sackett in command.
Following shakedown training out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, John King carried out weapons tests on the East Coast before arriving Norfolk 7 September 1961 for regular duty. One of a new class of guided missile destroyers, she featured latest hull design with all-aluminum superstructure and mounted the very latest in modern armament and electronic equipment. Departing 27 November 1961, the ship cruised to England and Northern Europe until 1 January 1962, when she sailed from Dublin for the Mediterranean. There, John King joined the 6th Fleet in its constant role of peacekeeping in this troubled region. After her return to Norfolk in April, the ship conducted missile firing exercises and training in the Caribbean. She arrived Washington 10 July 1962 for a 4 day stay, entertaining a group of Senators and Congressmen as well as Secretary of the Navy Korth.
Following additional exercises, John King entered Norfolk Navy Yard 11 October. Soon afterward, the introduction of offensive missiles into Cuba precipitated a crisis; and, as Navy ships placed a quarantine around the island, the ship quickly finished her repairs and joined the blockade 6 November. After the crisis eased, the ship remained in the Caribbean operating with the Navy's newest and biggest carrier, the nuclear-powered Enterprise. She returned to Norfolk 8 December.
John King departed for her second Mediterranean cruise 6 February 1963. After visiting various ports on 6th Fleet maneuvers, she steamed to Kiel, Germany, 23 June, then returned to Norfolk 17 July. The next twelve months were spent on training and readiness exercises off the Virginia Capes and in the Caribbean, including a week at the Antisubmarine Warfare School, Key West, in April.
The destroyer sailed for the Mediterranean once more 3 August and joined the 6th Fleet 16 August near the strife-torn island of Cyprus. She remained in the Mediterranean until the end of 1964.
John King returned to Norfolk 29 January and operated along the East Coast until sailing for the "Med" 14 October. Following 4 months of operations with the 6th Fleet, she returned to Norfolk 7 March 1966. In the summer she visited the Mediterranean and recrossed the Atlantic on NATO Exercise "Straight Laced." Back at homeport in the fall she operated out of Norfolk until sailing for another 6th Fleet deployment 10 January 1967. Her movements were concentrated in the Western Mediterranean until she sailed for home 11 May. Arriving Norfolk on the 19th, John King entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard 27 June for an overhaul to prepare for future service.