|Name||USS Welch (PG-93)|
|Namesake||Welch, West Virginia|
|Laid down||8 May 1967|
|Launched||25 July 1968|
|Commissioned||8 September 1969|
|Decommissioned||31 January 1977|
|Stricken||9 October 1984|
|Fate||on donation hold|
|Class and type||Asheville-class gunboat|
|Length||164 ft 6 in|
|Beam||23 ft 11 in|
|Draft||5 ft 4 in|
The second USS Welch (PGM-93/PG-93) was a Asheville-class gunboat in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War.
Welch was laid down on 8 May 1967 by Peterson Builders, at Sturgeon Bay, Wis.; launched on 25 July 1968; sponsored by Mrs. Roy G. Anderson; and commissioned at the Boston Naval Shipyard on 8 September 1969, Lt. Paul F. Woods in command.
The gunboat completed her outfitting at Boston, Massachusetts on 13 October 1969 and sailed for her first home port, San Diego, California. She arrived there on 12 November and, after about a month of upkeep, began operations in the southern California operating area for the remainder of the year. Welch's service at San Diego proved to be brief. On 1 August 1970, she departed the continental United States and, in company with USS Paul Revere LPA 248 and USS Tacoma (PG-92), headed for the Marianas Islands. She paused at Pearl Harbor from 8 to 15 August and then continued on to Guam, where she arrived on the 28th.
Welch operated from the base at Guam for the next four years. During the first two, she alternated duty patrolling the Trust Territories in the Central Pacific and with combat assignments along the coast of Vietnam. After two weeks at Guam, she departed the island on 12 September for her first tour of combat duty. En route, trouble with one of her main engines forced her to remain at Subic Bay in the Philippines until 24 October. She finally reached the coast of Vietnam on the 28th and began three months of operations with Task Force (TF) 115, the Coastal Surveillance Force. Her main mission was the interdiction of communist coastwise logistics operations—dubbed Operation Market Time. Welch completed her first Vietnam tour on 31 January 1971 and, after stops at Hong Kong and Subic Bay, reentered Apra Harbor on 20 February 1971. She began her first regular overhaul on 1 March and completed it on the last day of May. From then until early July, she completed sea trials and a restricted availability at Guam.
On her way back toward Vietnam, Welch had to return to Guam to evade a typhoon. She finally reached Subic Bay on 30 July and remained there until 18 August. On the 20th, she relieved USS Gallup at Camranh Bay, South Vietnam, and resumed Market Time patrols with TF 115. Those operations—broken once by a visit to Bangkok, Thailand, early in October— lasted until 29 November. On that day, USS Asheville relieved her of Market Time duty. Welch's voyage back to her base took her to Singapore, to Zambpanga and Subic Bay in the Philippines, and to Koror in the Palau Islands, before she arrived in Guam on 10 January 1972. Between 18 and 22 January she and USS Marathon conducted a surveillance patrol in the Marshall Islands and then resumed local operations out of Guam.
On 22 April, Welch departed Guam in company with USS Crockett and USS Impervious, bound initially for Subic Bay and ultimately the coast of South Vietnam. After almost two months of operations in the Philippines, the gunboat departed Subic Bay on 16 June and arrived off the coast of South Vietnam three days later. Instead of Market Time patrols, Welch spent the first 25 days on station in the Gulf of Tonkin, testing the gunboat's capabilities for sustained operations at sea. After a two-day voyage south, she resumed her Market Time assignments on 17 July. Her ensuing three months of service laboring to stop the flow of communist supplies were broken but once when she departed Vietnamese waters for a three-day visit to Bangkok. On 25 October, the gunboat departed Vietnam for visits to Singapore and Davao in the Philippines before reentering Apra Harbor on 16 November. In the following month, Welch conducted a surveillance patrol in the northern Marianas between 11 and 18 December and then ended the year in port at Apra Harbor.
Early in February 1973, the warship deployed to the Philippines where she spent the middle of the month engaged in high-speed missile boat attack exercises with larger ships of the Pacific Fleet. She departed Subic Bay on 20 February for a three-day visit to Hong Kong after which she put to sea to return to the Philippines. En route, she joined Tacoma in another series of high-speed missile boat exercises before re-entering Subic Bay on the 26th. On 1 March, the gunboat headed back to Guam, arriving there on the 6th. Six days later, she entered the Naval Ship Repair Facility at Guam for an overhaul. Problems with her gas turbine engine, found during this repair period, affected her operations for most of the remainder of the year. She completed the overhaul—save repairs to her gas turbine—on 20 May.
In order to be available upon arrival of the parts needed to repair her gas turbine, Welch remained in the immediate vicinity of Guam until the end of October, but for three brief interruptions. On 24 May, she put to sea to rescue Yukiko Maru and towed the disabled Japanese ship into Apra Harbor the following day. A week later, she began a week-long, round-trip voyage to Ulithi Atoll in the Caroline Islands for a public affairs visit. The last of these three periods away from Guam came between 30 July and 5 August when she made another surveillance patrol of the northern Marianas. The parts for her gas turbine finally arrived in mid-October, and Welch's repairs were completed early in November. On the 5th, she got underway for her first extended cruise of 1973—a three-week surveillance patrol of the Pacific Trust Territories in the Central Pacific. She returned to Guam on the 24th but, after two weeks of upkeep, departed again for another brief patrol of the northern Marianas. She reentered Apra Harbor on 15 December and remained in the immediate vicinity for the remainder of the year.
Late January and early February 1974 brought interim refresher training in preparation for a four-month deployment. On 11 February, the gunboat departed Apra Harbor in company with two of her sister ships, Tacoma and Marathon. En route to Subic Bay, the three ships participated in a high-speed missile boat attack exercise with USS Midway and her escorts. They then joined the carrier's task group to observe air operations. On 18 February, Welch entered Subic Bay and,while there, put to sea briefly for another missile boat exercise, this time with the USS Oriskany task group. On 4 March, Welch departed Subic Bay with Tacoma for a month of diplomatic port visits in southeast Asia. On her itinerary were Singapore, Port Klang and Penang in Malaysia, and Bandar Seri Begewan on the island of Borneo. On 2 April, she returned to Subic Bay whence she participated in a series of training exercises during April. She got underway from Subic on 4 May bound for Taiwan to visit at Kaohsiung and Keelung. She reentered Subic Bay on the 15th, but she headed back toward Guam on the 21st and arrived there on the 27th.
On 21 June, Welch departed the Mariana Islands, bound for her new home port, Little Creek, Virginia. After stops at Pearl Harbor, San Diego, Acapulco, and Rodman in the Panama Canal Zone, she transited the Panama Canal on 21 August and headed for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She made a one-night stop at Guantanamo Bay on 24 and 25 August and resumed her voyage. Following brief stops at Port Everglades and Mayport, Florida, she reached Little Creek on 2 September. During the remainder of 1974, she operated out of that base undergoing various inspections and availabilities in preparation for her assignment to Naval Reserve training duty. Early in 1975, she began Naval Reserve training operations put of Little Creek. Interrupted only by an overhaul in the summer—that duty continued until 1 November. At that time, she was designated a training ship for the joint American-Saudi Arabian program for the expansion of the Royal Saudi Navy. Welch served as a training ship for officers and men of the Royal Saudi Navy.
Welch earned two battle stars and the Meritorious Unit Commendation for service in the Vietnam War.
Welch was transferred to Colombia in 1983.She was struck from the Navy List on 12 April 1995.
USS Brinkley Bass (DD-887) was a Gearing-class destroyer in service with the United States Navy from 1945 to 1973. She was then transferred to Brazil where she served as Mariz e Barros (D-26) until 1997. The destroyer was finally sunk as a target in 2000.
USS Turner Joy (DD-951) is one of 18 Forrest Sherman-class destroyers of the United States Navy. She was named for Admiral Charles Turner Joy USN (1895–1956). Commissioned in 1959, she spent her entire career in the Pacific. She participated extensively in the Vietnam War, and was one of the principal ships involved in the Gulf of Tonkin Incident.
USS Barb (SSN-596), a Permit-class attack submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the barb, a kingfish of the Atlantic coast.
USS Abnaki (ATF-96) was the lead ship of the Abnaki class of fleet ocean tugs in the service of the United States Navy, named after the Abenaki tribe of Native Americans. She was laid down on 28 November 1942 at Charleston, South Carolina by Charleston Shipbuilding & Drydock, launched on 22 April 1943, sponsored by Mrs. James Mayon Jones, and commissioned at the Charleston Navy Yard on 25 November 1943 with Lt. Dewey Walley in command. Abnaki earned three battle stars for service during the Korean War and 10 battle stars during the Vietnam War.
USS Wedderburn (DD-684), was a Fletcher-class destroyer of the United States Navy.
USS Albert David (FF-1050) was a Garcia-class destroyer escort, later reclassified as a frigate, in the United States Navy. She was named for Lieutenant Albert David, a Medal of Honor recipient. His was the only Medal of Honor awarded to a member of the Navy in the Atlantic Theater of Operations in World War II. Laid down on 28 April 1964 and commissioned on 19 October 1968, the Albert David served in the Pacific, including performing gunfire support operations in Vietnam during the 1970s. She was briefly deployed to the Arabian Sea in September and October 1982. On 18 September 1989 she was leased to the Brazilian Navy, and then sold to Brazil where she served as the destroyer Pará until 12 November 2008 when she was decommissioned and put in reserve.
The first USS Yosemite was an auxiliary cruiser of the United States Navy. Built as El Sud in 1892 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, in Newport News, Virginia for the Southern Pacific Railroad's Morgan Line. The Navy acquired El Sud on 6 April 1898, at the beginning of the Spanish–American War and renamed her Yosemite. It commissioned her on 13 April 1898 under Commander William H. Emory.
USS Walton (DE-361) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort in the United States Navy. It was named after Merrit Cecil Walton, a Marine Corps platoon sergeant with the U.S. 1st Marine Division, who died on Gavutu during the Battle of Guadalcanal and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for "extraordinary heroism".
USS Badger (FF-1071) was a Knox-class frigate in service with in the United States Navy from 1970 to 1991. She was sunk as a target in 1998.
USS Tacoma (PG-92) was an Asheville-class gunboat of the U.S. Navy and the fourth ship to be named after the city of Tacoma, Washington. Tacoma was the first in a series of revised Asheville-class gunboats. Some sources call these revised boats Tacoma- or PG-92-class, but the U.S. Navy officially designates them as Asheville-class. The keel of Tacoma was laid 24 July 1967 at the Tacoma Boatbuilding Company, in her namesake city. She was launched on 13 April 1968, sponsored by Mrs. Arne K. Strom, and was commissioned on 14 July 1969, with Lt. Frank H. Thomas, Jr., in command.
USS Kretchmer (DE-329) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She served in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and provided destroyer escort protection against submarine and air attack for Navy vessels and convoys.
USS Advance (AM-510/MSO-510) was an Acme-class minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for the task of removing mines that had been placed in the water to prevent the safe passage of ships.
USS Marathon (PGM-89/PG-89) was an Asheville-class gunboat acquired by the U.S. Navy for the task of high speed patrolling in shallow waterways.
USS Asheville (PGM-84/PG-84) was an Asheville-class gunboat acquired by the U.S. Navy for the task of high speed patrolling in shallow waterways. The third ship to be named Asheville by the Navy, the vessel was laid down on 15 April 1964 at Tacoma, Washington, by the Tacoma Boatbuilding Company and launched on 1 May 1965, sponsored by Mrs. R. E. Harris. Asheville was commissioned on 6 August 1966, Lt. Henry Dale in command.
USS Brunswick (ATS-3) was an Edenton-class salvage and rescue ship in the service of the United States Navy from 1972 until her decommissioning in 1996.
USS Beaufort (ATS-2) was an Edenton-class salvage and rescue ship acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1972 and maintained in service until struck in 1996. Beaufort spent her entire career in the Pacific Ocean, based out of Pearl Harbor and then Sasebo, Japan, and provided salvage and rescue services where needed from the Western Pacific to the North Pacific.
The second USS Wandank (ATA-204), originally USS ATA-204, was a United States Navy auxiliary ocean tug in commission from 1945 to 1947 and again from 1952 to 1971. The ship is possibly best known for supporting scientific operations in the Marianas, in particular serving as communication relay and support ship for the bathyscaphe Trieste in Project Nekton; she towed the bathyscaphe some 260 nautical miles from Guam to the vicinity of the Challenger Deep, where, on 23 January 1960, Trieste descended to a record 10,911 metres.
USS Antelope (PGM-86/PG-86) was an Asheville-class gunboat in the United States Navy.
The second USS Ready (PGM-87/PG-87) was a Asheville-class gunboat in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War.
USS Snohomish County (LST-1126) was an LST-542-class tank landing ship built for the United States Navy during World War II. Named after Snohomish County, Washington, she was the only U.S. naval vessel to bear the name.