The other day I was looking around the forum at the site “The Veterans Association of Sailors of the Vietnam War” ( http://vasvw.org ). I found that the National Archives now has the gunline records for every ship involved in NGFS. The Combat Naval Gunfire Support File (CONGA), 3/1966 – 1/1973 contains a record for every naval gun fire mission during that period of the Vietnam War. Each record contains the date, time, target coordinates, rounds expended, etc.
Some comments about the table. I’m not sure how to read the mission start and end times. At first I thought they were regular military time with hours, mins, secs, but then there were some starting with “29”. I suspect they are some sort of minute counts. With some simple math you can figure out how long some of the missions were. Yeah, I remember some of those 5 hour periods at General Quarters! Note that I color coded the left column so you can easily see the months of April, June and July. These 70 missions are not totally inclusive of all of our time on the gunline. There were many times we were there, but no ordnance was expended, meaning that no report was filed to show in these records. There were the times that we were there acting as a decoy or running interference for the guided missile light cruiser USS Oklahoma City (CLG-5), while they pounded inland targets with their 5″/38 and 6″/47 guns. Note that we fired a total of 4043 rounds. Another concern is the last column that shows range to target in thousands of yards. Those numbers cannot be right. I saw some other ships records displayed this way, too. I suspect the zero on the end needs to be dropped or maybe was intended to have a decimal point preceding the zero. Anyway, drop the zero and the distances will make sense, as I recall. Maybe a weapons guy can confirm this. Read the rest of this entry »