U. S. S. REEVES DLG/CG-24


 

 

 

Welcome to the Reeves video view page.  On this page you will be able to access a seven minute streaming video with audio of the sinking of the U. S. S. Reeves on 31 May 2001.  The video was provided by Mr. Brian Langshaw, Video Editor and Tech Support, Digital Media, with the Australian Department of Defense.

In order to view the video you will need a copy of the RealPlayer Basic or the RealPlayer Plus.  A free copy of the RealPlayer Basic can be downloaded by double-clicking on the link labeled "Visit the real.com web site to get a free copy of the RealPlayer Basic" below.  You will then be taken to the Real.com web site to download the RealPlayerAfter you have downloaded and installed the player, then return to this page and double-click on the View the Reeves Video link below.

Finally,  in keeping with Naval tradition, it is only fitting that we have an officer share a few comments with us. Following this message Mr. James Arnold (former LT, USN), a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy (Class of 1970), who served on the U. S. S. Reeves DLG/CG-24 in 1972-1974 and served in several key engineering positions on the Reeves as the DCA and MPA,  including "M," "B," "R" and "E" Division Officer, and served as acting Chief Engineer for a short period, will share some of his memories of the Reeves

In closing, please feel free to call me if you have any problems viewing the video or any questions.  I can be reached by telephone at: (removed).  Or contact me via e-mail by double-clicking the following address: (removed)

Best regards,

John H. White, Ed. D.
(USS Reeves 1972-1974, EM3)

 

 

Former Shipmates and Friends of U. S. S. REEVES,

 

When John White first wrote to me about the fate of our old ship, I was greatly disappointed that I would never see her again.  When John wrote again to ask me to write something for the Web Site, I began to think about it more.  As I did so, I experienced a tremendous sadness and deep sense of personal loss.  I felt like a close friend or family member had just died unexpectedly, without my having had the chance to see him "one more time. "

Old Navy men are like that when the subject of their former ships is brought up in conversation.  They get excited and melancholy and will tell you that they plan one day to go back and see "her."  Or they will recall with striking clarity and vivid detail the last time they did see her, even if it was a half-century ago.  They want to go back and walk her decks, poke around in old familiar spaces, and reminisce with like souls about their time on board - a time when both they and their ship were young and they were certain that neither would ever die.  My father was that way about the small amphibious ship he served on during and after the Normandy invasion from 1944-45.  I am no different when it comes to the Reeves and the two years of my life that I served aboard her almost thirty years later.  I had always assumed I would get back to Hawaii one of these days and would have the opportunity to go aboard the Reeves one more time and say "Goodbye," before she met whatever ultimate fate the Navy had in store for her.  Like most of us, I never got to do that, and I deeply regret that fact.  For those of you who did get to see her "one more time," I am envious.

I was on the Reeves from 1972 until 1974 and took her on the last WestPac cruise of the "fighting" war in Vietnam, from September 1972 when we departed Pearl Harbor until April 1973 when we departed Subic for home.  That period saw the beginning of the final stages of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, including the January 1973 cease fire that effectively ended hostilities in the Tonkin Gulf.  I was OOD on the 8-12 watch that morning in January when we received the message that the cease fire had come into effect.  I still have a copy of the unclassified message that the Radioman brought me on the bridge. At that moment, when hostilities officially ceased for the first time in over 10 years, the Reeves was the northernmost ship in the Tonkin Gulf, the ship closest in harm's way, located at what we then called "NORTHSAR" station, about 60-90 miles southeast of Haiphong Harbor.  Up until the moment we received that message, we were steaming in Condition 3 and ready to fight on a moment's notice, having been in the northern Gulf of Tonkin for several preceding weeks in support of the round-the-clock B-52 bomb raids over North Vietnam that were designed to bring us "peace with honor." Within a very short time, however, we were headed back to Subic Bay and then on back home to Pearl Harbor.  A phase of American history, and of the life of the warship U. S. S. Reeves and those who served on her, was over.

That same morning when we received notification of the cease fire, we also received a message that the Reeves was to be over flown by two RA-5 photo recon aircraft who, for some reason known only to the Navy, were going to take pictures of the Reeves as she steamed slowly around on NORTHSAR station.  The Captain ordered 1st Division to scour the main decks to insure everything was ship shape for the photo op.  The two RA-5's flew over about 1100 hours that morning and circled us several times, making a few low passes.  We waved from the bridge wing and convinced ourselves that we could see the pilots waving back.  I have always wanted to believe that the reason for this over flight was that the Navy wanted a picture of the ship closest to the war at the moment hostilities ended, but I never saw any of those photographs, or don't even know if they exist, despite having attempted to track them down on several occasions over the years.  If any of you out there know what happened to those photographs, or actually have copies of them, the Lieutenant in khakis with the big grin on his face standing out on the starboard bridge wing is me!

I will remember the Reeves for many other reasons but will not attempt to recall them all here.  Some, however, must be said. It was the last time I would ever go to sea in the Navy.  During my two years on board, I made a lasting friendship with John White that has survived to this day. I had the honor to serve under the late ADM Lee Baggett, Jr., for whom the Reeves was his last command at sea.  My second son was born shortly before Christmas in 1972 while the Reeves was at anchor in Hong Kong harbor.  I still remember the Duty Radioman bursting into my stateroom at 3:00 a.m. and handing me a message from my wife, informing me that my newborn child, whom the doctors told us would be a girl, was instead to be named Scott Patrick.  So many memories.

For those of you who have been fortunate enough to attend a U.S. Navy Ship commissioning ceremony, you will recall that when the speeches are all over, the prospective Commanding Officer steps up to the podium, faces the officers and crew who are assembled on the pier alongside the new ship, and gives the command:  "Officers and Crew of the USS _____, BRING THE SHIP TO LIFE!" In response, the crew double time up the gangway, spread out over the ship, and light everything off and the career of that ship begins.  It is a truly memorable moment in the life of a ship. I wish there were a similar customary order for putting an old ship to rest at the end of her life, but there is not. It seems like there ought to be. It is fitting, however, that the Reeves has been laid to rest at the bottom of the ocean.   After her long and faithful years of service to the U.S. Navy and those who served on her, that is where she belongs. We no longer have to fear the vision of her beached on some shipbreakers' yard, being slowly cut into small pieces destined to become fodder for a steel mill.  Rather, she will rest peacefully for all time at her final port of call, 12,000 feet down in the waters of the Pacific, her dignity intact. I can see her now, sitting upright on the ocean bottom at the end of her final voyage.  I can hear the forced draft blowers winding down for the last time. All lines are doubled up.  The gangway is down. Liberty call has commenced. The Captain has left the ship.

I am thankful to John White for preserving the Reeves' final moments and making them available to us.  I am proud to have served on the U. S. S. Reeves and happy to be able share that pride with all of you.

 Regards,

Jim Arnold

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

 

 

U. S. S. Reeves Specifications

Entry on the U. S. S. Reeves from Jane's Fighting Ships: 1972-1973

(Blackman, R. V.  1972.  Jane's Fighting Ships:  1972-1973.  Janes's Yearbooks, London. p.454)

                                                  

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