Kansas veteran talks about keeping U.S. Navy ships in pristine condition – Wichita, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas 2022-05-18 22:55:00 –

Wichita, Kansas (KSNW) — Keeping three US Navy vessels pristine is certainly a difficult order. The work that Gary Rogers was working on during the Vietnam War.

In April 1966, a 17-year-old child from the Valley Center joined the company. Marine sanctuary With the delayed entry program. A year later, Rogers’ first ship, the USS Porterfield, set sail across the Pacific Ocean for Vietnam.

Aerial view of Haiphong, Vietnam, May 15, 1972. Shows Haiphong Harbor. (AP photo)

“We left for Vietnam the day after Mother’s Day,” Rogers said.

Just 35 miles from Hai Phong Port in northern Vietnam, Rogers has worked on maintenance to meet the day-to-day needs of keeping Porterfield in top condition.

Formerly a World War II Fletcher-class destroyer, the ship was diverted to protect ships in and near Tonkin Bay.

“There was another ship there with what they called a” radar picket “ship. I think they said they had one gun, but that wasn’t enough to protect themselves, so we were there to protect them, “Rogers said. ..

In addition to protecting the ship, USS Porterfield protected the plane and ensured that enemy fighters could not get close enough to bomb a US aircraft carrier.

“Their purpose was to screen the planes when they were on a bombing mission. They are displayed differently than they are displayed on the radar, so we are now there to sort them out. “I did,” Rogers said.

Porterfield also provided assistance to USS Forrestal after the death of 134 seafarers in a catastrophic fire aboard a ship in the summer of 1967.

The USS Forrestal with a burning plane on the deck is shown in this 1967 file photo. (AP photo)

“One of the planes, the missile, was clearly not properly mounted on the plane and fell from the plane to the deck,” Rogers said.

In April 1968, Rogers was transferred to USS Maddox, another former World War II destroyer involved in the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident. This time, the ship headed for southern Vietnam.

“In Maddox, they fired at us. They were close enough that there were some flaws in the main deck and our bridge got wet,” Rogers said.

After two cruises in Vietnam, Rogers was transferred to USS Norton Sound, a former World War II seaplane tender used to test new weapons.

“They translate this into weapons and missile research, mounting missiles on new or reconstructed vessels, solving all possible bugs, and all possible problems. I tried to solve it, Rogers said.

Rogers was dismissed from active duty in 1970. He entered the Navy Reserve. He retired as Haltech First Class in 1993.

“That’s what I did because I wanted to see the ship and travel the world,” Rogers said. “I won’t change that. I’ll do it again. I’ll do it again.”

Rogers and his wife are currently active in the local American Legion and are part of an organization that helps affected people. April 2022 Andover tornado.

If you would like to recommend a veteran for a veteran salute, please email KSN Reporter Hannah Adamson. hannah.adamson@ksn.com..

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