The Seventh Fleet was formed on 15 March 1943 in Brisbane, Australia, during the Second World War. On 11 February 1950, just prior to the outbreak of the Korean War, the force assumed the name United States Seventh Fleet, which it holds today. Task Force 77 was the aircraft carrier battle/strike force of the United States Seventh Fleet in the United States Navy (USN) since the U.S. Seventh Fleet was formed.
During the Vietnam War, Task Force 77 conducted carrier strike operations from the Gulf of Tonkin and South China Sea for nine years, from 1964 to 1973. The nickname Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club came to be associated with US carrier operations off Vietnam. Operating primarily from Yankee Station off the north coast of Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin and the aptly-named Dixie Station off the south coast of Vietnam in the Gulf of Siam.
USS Coral Sea conducted operations from both stations during deployments in the South China Sea. The neighborhood waters we sailed are pictured above.
My Time in the Fleet
This document content focus is only on the time I spent in the United States Seventh Fleet. It displays only a few significant events while I was aboard CORAL SEA on two Vietnam Combat deployments.
6th WESPAC Deployment (26 July 1967 to 6 April 1968)
3rd Vietnam Combat Cruise
|July 26, 1967||Last deployment cruise in the US Navy for tactical propeller driven aircraft Attack Squadron VA-25.|
|October 10, 1967||During underway replenishment, the USS CORAL SEA collides with the USS MOUNT KATMAI (AE 16).|
|October 25, 1967||The USS CORAL SEA suffers a Zuni rocket mishap while operating off Vietnam, injuring nine.|
|November 7, 1967||USS CORAL SEA helicopters saves 37 crew of sinking Liberian LOYAL FORTUNES near Hong Kong|
|December 22, 1967||Bob Hope USO Christmas Show aboard ship underway off coast of Vietnam.|
|January 21, 1968||Battle for Khe Sanh and I Corp begins day and night Alpha Strike missions.|
|January 23, 1968||USS Ranger leaves the line to join USS Enterprise supporting US response to USS Pueblo crisis.|
|January 31, 1968||Tet Offensive increases pressure on in country need for round-the-clock air cover support.|
|February 20, 1968||Last combat sortie for A-1 Skyraider in Vietnam: VA-25 modex NL 405.|
|February 20, 1968||Sailed north to the Sea of Japan to relieve USS Ranger supporting US response to USS Pueblo crisis.|
|March 27, 1968||Departed Yokosuka, Japan sailing east to continental United States and home port at NAS Alameda, CA.|
7th WESPAC Deployment (7 September 1968 to 18 April 1969)
4th Vietnam Combat Cruise
|September 7, 1968||First deployment of Attack Squadron VA-52 with A-6A aircraft.|
|August 31, 1968||USS Coral Sea designated best aircraft carrier in Pacific Fleet and awarded Battle "E".|
|November 1968||Martha Raye comes aboard to deliver the missing slice of cake taken by the "Phantom."|
|December 1968||Evangelist Billy Graham visited the ship while moored in Yokosuka, Japan during the Christmas season.|
|April 15, 1969||EC-121M aircraft shot down by North Korea while USS Coral Sea & USS New Jersey sail for home port..|