Personal Account of Events for
I reported aboard the McCormick at the 32nd Street Naval Station in San Diego, California as a Boiler Technician Fireman Apprentice on 19 May 1981 and I was assigned to Number 1 Fireroom. About two weeks after reporting aboard, we made first underway period off the coast of California. I remember getting very seasick. This was not helped by the fireroom personnel egging me on to watch the water in the bilge. As a newbie “boot”, I became very familiar with the bilge area of the fireroom as I was there so much of the time.
My first deployment was very interesting and eye opening . We sailed to the Western Pacific or WestPac in Feb 1982. As usual with West Coast ships, we made Pearl Harbor Hawaii our first stop. We were able to tour most of the island with highlights being the USS Arizona Memorial and the beaches of Wakiki.
On that Cruise, I experienced many countries that I had only read about. We visited Subic Bay, Philippines, Sasebo, Japan, Hong Kong (where I got my first and only tattoo), Singapore, Chinhae Korea, and Pattaya Beach, Thailand. It was during the transit from Thailand back to the Philippines that we were involved in a skirmish with the Vietnamese Navy. We were skirting the coast of Vietnam in International Waters when a Vietnamese Patrol Boat opened fire us while steaming with the USS Turner Joy DD-951. We were at General Quarters for many hours while we engaged this Patrol Boat. The Turner Joy took a round from the Patrol Boat and we both made it safely back to the Philippines. Later, we read about the incident in the Stars and Strips newspaper.
The next Cruise for the McCormick was in July of 1983. We sailed with the USS Ranger Battle Group. Our first stop was off the coast of El Savador where we participated in the blockaide of that country as ordered by President Reagan. After about six weeks, we were off to our normal cruise, so we thought. The Cruise took us to the usual stops of Hawaii and the Philippines. Then we were off to the Persian Gulf.
We patrolled that region for what seemed like months. Later, we left and set sail for two port visits in New Zealand and Australia. But enroute, we were ordered back to the Gulf of Oman after the Marine Barracks in Beirut Lebanon was bombed. We spent a total of 121 straight days at sea, which put a strain on all hands both physically and mentally. After spending Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s at sea, we briefing pulled into the Philippines and Hawaii enroute to our homeport of San Diego, arriving in Feb 1984.
I can say that the Lynde McCormick was one of my best duty stations in my 24 years of Naval Service. There was just something about serving on a Adams Class Destroyer that instills pride even to this day. Throughout my Naval career, I have always said with pride and honor that I served on the Lynde McCormick, an Adams Class Destroyer.