And this is no sh_t, we were off North Vietnam (Yankee Station) with the Big "E" (Enterprise), when the India-Pakistan War broke out (Dec. 1971). Task Force 71 was quickly assembled around the Enterprise. The Big "E" was the largest Aircraft carrier the world, along with over a dozen destroyers, a couple of oilers, and a couple of ships loaded with battle hardened marines. I later saw a newspaper that reported we snuck through the Straits of Mallaca. Snuck wasn't quite the correct word. We were steaming 25 knotts around noon through the narrow straights next to Singapore. They had their TV channel News-chopper overhead filming the largest fleet to pass into the Indian Ocean since World War 2.
We were in the Indian Ocean from 15 Dec to January 8th. After a while these HUGE Russian cruisers came into our area. They would steam between us, and we would wave the international signal at them, The bird. These cruisers had dozens of ship to ship missles, with at least one radar antenna for each missle. The amazing thing is more than once we would see a huge amount of smoke from their boilers, and their antennas would stop turning, and the ship would stop dead in the water. They lost the LOAD! If an American captain ship lost the load he would be in Alaska selling snowshoes.
January 8th the Task Force departed for Subic Bay, PI. Again we were doing 25-30 knots to keep up with the Big "E". Every couple of hours we would hear of another newer destroyer having to fall back with boiler problems (1200 psi boilers). Two days out from Subic the Enterprise skipper radioed CDR. Merget on the USS McKean ( the last destroyer with her) that they could not wait for us, that they would see us in Subic. Now you have to know there is not a ship in the world that can stay with the Enterprise when she is at top speed. Well over 45+ knots!!! Well our captain got on the 1MC and read the Enterprise Captains message to all hands on the McKean. Well we had our pride, as well as the fastest old can in the fleet (35.7 kts.) We had been at sea for 62 straight days, and we all knew what happens to Subic when the Enterprise ties up, 5000 men with over two months combat, hazardous duty, and regular pay burning a hole in each sailors pockets, and raising prices way too high. We had the best BT's and MM's, the McKean steamed at 30+ knots all night. Well the Enterprise did just barely beat us to Subic, but that huge ship takes a lot of time to moor. The McKean's Captain took the Sea and Anchor detail and personally guided the Mighty Mac next to the pier. Now normally there are several dozen bells, but we only had 3-4 bells and we were tied up. Liberty call immediately followed, and those with liberty had several hours alone in Subic before the prices went up. You can do a lot of living in a couple of hours in Subic. But that's another story.NOTE THAT ACTION WENT DOWN IN US NAVY HISTORY. IN THE DECOMMISSIONING HISTORY IT IS NOTED THAT THE MCKEAN "WAS THE ONLY CONVENTIONAL DESTROYER TO KEEP UP WITH A NUCLEAR POWERED CARRIER DURING A HIGH SPEED TRANSIT"!!!! I WISH I COULD REMEMBER HIS EXACT WORDS THAT SPURRED US ON, ANY ONE ELSE REMEMBER?