Official US Navy History
Built by the Bath Iron Works, her keel was laid on April 9, 1945, and she was
launched on September 8, 1945. She is the second ship of the United States Navy
named in honor of Rear Admiral Bradley A. Fiske, USN, a noted scientist and
The FISKE was commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard at 1500 on 28 November 1945, with Commander C. H. Smith as its first Commanding Officer. Following her shakedown cruise, she was based at Portland, Maine, serving as engineering ship for Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet. Upon completion of this assignment, the FISKE won inter-ship competition, the Battle Efficiency pennant in 1948, 1949, and 1950; The Marjorie Sterett Battleship Prize in 1949, and the DESLANT Basketball Championship.
On January 3, 1951, the FISKE sailed to join the United Nations Forces operating
off the coast of Korea, where she was under communist fire. She arrived in
Newport, Rhode Island on August 8, 1951, after circumnavigation of the globe.
She was de-commissioned at the Boston Naval Shipyard in early 1952 to undergo conversion to a specialized destroyer. In November 1952 the FISKE was re-commissioned as a Destroyer Radar Picket (DDR) and spent the next ten months on shakedown training, and as a DESLANT Gunnery Ship in Newport, Rhode Island. In September 1953, she participated in OPERATION MARINER, which took her to points north of the Arctic Circle. Upon completion of this exercise, the FISKE prepared herself for the Mediterranean, departing on January 4, 1954. While operating as a unit of the Sixth Fleet, she earned a Battle Efficiency Plaque for her performance as a Radar Picket Destroyer.
Upon returning the United States in June 1954, she became part of Hunter Killer Force, Atlantic Fleet. After a yard period in Boston Naval Shipyard and six weeks of refresher training in the Caribbean she participated in advanced air defense exercises and spent four months as a unit of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. In January 1956, she departed for OPERATION SPRINGBOARD in the Caribbean and in May left for a four month Mediterranean cruise. The FISKE underwent refresher training in the fall of 1956. From May until August 1957 she operated with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. In September 1957, she left for the North Atlantic to participate in a large NATO exercise. After a successful cruise, and a crossing of the Arctic Circle, she returned to her home port. From February to July 1958, the FISKE was part of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. After a year of local operations and upkeep, the FISKE again made preparations to join the Sixth Fleet for a seven month tour. This deployment began on August 3, 1959 and ended on February 26, 1960. She was presented with the Battle Efficiency Award for 1959. The FISKE returned to Newport, RI in February of 1960 and in May moved to Boston Naval Shipyard for yard work. She returned to Newport briefly that summer in preparation for a change in homeport.
Her homeport was changed to Mayport, Florida in August 1960, after a period in the Boston Naval Shipyard, and participation in the LANTFLEX 60 off the east Coast of the United States. In November 1960, ten days of Fleet Operations were interrupted when the FISKE and other units of Destroyer Division EIGHT TWO were ordered to the Caribbean Patrol. In February 1961, she once again became a member of the Fast Carrier Strike Force with the Sixth Fleet, returning to Mayport in August of that year.
November 1961 found the FISKE south of the Canary Islands as part of the project Mercury recovery force. She returned to her homeport in December 1961, and made preparations for a shipyard overhaul at Charleston Naval Shipyard, commencing in January 1962. On April 23, 1962, Commander Cyrus H. Butt relieved Commander Clifford E. Hunter as Commanding Officer. At the completion of this overhaul, she was sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for six weeks of refresher training. The FISKE returned to Mayport late in July 1962 and participated in local operations while waiting to join the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean in February 1963. Another change of home port took place after this period. The Fiske returned to Newport, Rhode Island once again.
January 19, 1966 the Fiske started an around the world cruise. This information taken from the USS Fiske Cruise Book. Underway from home port, Newport, Rhode Island on the 19th of January. On the 25th of January, she transited the Panama Canal and Moored at the U.S. Naval Station, Balboa, Canal Zone. On 27 January, underway and entered the Pacific Ocean. On 11 February moored at the U.S. Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On 18 February, crossed the International Dateline, 28 February moored U.S. Naval Station, Subic Bay, Philippine Islands, 11 March underway for first War Patrol. On 12 March entered Combat Zone at 1022 hours. 13 March, Qualified for income exemption, and Vietnam Service Metal. 14 March, Rendezvous with U.S.S. Ranger (CVA-61) for plane guard duty. 18 March Qualified for hostile fire pay. 21 March, Detached from Ranger and attached to the U.S.S. Enterprise (CVAN-65). April, Detached from the Enterprise and assigned duties as Search and Rescue ship, SAR Station, Tonkin Gulf. 4 April came under direct fire from North Vietnam's coastal batteries. 10 April detached from SAR duties. 12 April, moored Subic Bay. 24 April, second war patrol. 12 May, Moored U.S. Naval Station, Yokosuka, Japan. 25 May entered third war patrol. 10 June, Anchored Hong Kong, BCC. On 14 June, entered fourth war patrol. 25 June, moored Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Formosa. 5 July Moored at Subic Bay. 6 July Underway. 11 July Moored ESSO Fuel Piers, Penang, Malaysia. 16 July anchorage at Cochin, India. 18 July underway and entered the Red Sea on 23 July. 26 July anchored at Port Suez. 27 July transited Suez Canal and anchor at Athens, Greece the 29th of July. Stopped at Barcelona, Spain 4 August. Left Gibraltar, BCC on the 9th of August and returned to Homeport U.S. Naval Station, Newport, R.I. on 17 August.
U.S.S. Fiske's Naval History taken from U.S.S. FISKE LOG © 1963
From The Ship's Historian
Gil Beyer, has compiled a good deal of information about the Fiske. Some you can read below. Some has just recently been discovered. To read this interesting account from the Navy and Ship's Crew, click here→ Historian's Research
2009 Reunion E-mail From Ship's Historian
Historian’s Report 11/16/2009
Here it is seven weeks after our gathering in Idaho and I just realized that only about 8 of you that attended the Reunion fulfilled my request to complete your ‘Blue Books’ with stories of your time onboard. Either I’m as dense as a post or I’ve had other things on my mind – your choice.
To those of you that did give me, or send in, your stories I am deeply indebted as you have given me some much needed details of the years you were onboard. Your stories have given texture and depth to the bare details of deck logs and operations reports.
I’ve also received a great DVD from Shipmate Lou Nigro (1956-1960) that he put together from his 8mm movie he took during his time onboard. Shipmate Ernie Starcher is shown working on a UHF antenna on the yardarm of the forward mast and dozens of other scenes of shipboard life and liberty ports. This is the type of material that gives life to our time onboard Fiske.
There is another DVD that I received from Shipmate Bernie Cobetto of the Fiske’s first Around the World Cruise when she went to Korea in 1951 and crossed the Equator. There are some excellent scenes of King Neptune’s initiation of the Pollywogs.
Dr. Cobetto was the Squadron Medical Officer during that cruise and treated the 13-14 Fiske crewmen that came done with polio after visiting one of several Far Eastern ports on the way back to Newport. Dr. Cobetto turned After Officers Quarters into a quarantine ward for those infected. The Fiske was denied access to Marseilles because of this infection and those shipmates infected were transported off the ship at Gibraltar to be airlifted to the States. Anecdotal information seems to indicate that all but one of these shipmates recovered completely – a not insignificant number in those days – with only one shipmate suffering permanent disability. Does anyone have any further information on this event?
All of these little vignettes are what give life and breathe to the Fiske. I want to preserve these stories and only you can help me do that. All of you that attended the Reunion received a ‘Blue Book’. I ask that you complete the task I asked you to do at the Reunion – tell me a story. A story about anything that happened while you were onboard Fiske. Be it funny, sad, scary or simply one of the ways that we used to fill the hours and hours of boredom that was routine steaming.
I don’t want to be too depressing but I’ll say the same thing now that I’ve said previously – we aren’t getting any younger and when we go these stories go with us if they aren’t written down and filed somewhere. I have been in contact with the Navy Historical Foundation and they will happily receive and archive anything we choose to send them. I’ve already just about doubled their photo collection of the Fiske with copies from the Association files.
So as not to leave out any one that wasn’t fortunate enough to attend the Reunion in Post Falls I have limited number of Blue Books available for those that wish to help me complete my quest to full all the gaps and holes that currently exist in our history and maybe, just maybe, give me some material for the book that Sandie and I are trying to put together. Drop me a line or an email and I’ll send out one of the books I have left for you to fill up with whatever you want.
Ship's Crew History
Received the following information regarding the more recent history of the
Fiske, from Herb Foy:
In reading the history of the USS Fiske at the time of the Korean War, I see an error in their time in Korea. The Fiske did leave for Korea in Jan '51 and on arrival relieved the destroyers there and spent a tour of 6 months in combat and returned through the Med. It arrived in Newport in the fall of 1951 and then went to Florida and docked in New Orleans for the Madigra in Feb 1952 and returned to Newport after that in March 1952.. I have some of the crew members names if you need more info. I should add that in that 1951 tour the Fiske made the trip into an around the world trip. We started in Newport and stopped in Panama, the Hawaii, the Pacific Islands, Japan, six months off Korea. To return home we went to Hong Kong, China, ports, India, Saudi Arabia, Naples and back to USA.
Here is some additional background of the Fiske's activity in the 1967 time
frame. This came to us from H. L. Foster:
In May 1967 Fiske departed Newport, RI for an extended Med Cruise. The first stop along the way was a routine service stop at Gibraltar. Next came Malta for Liberty Call. Due to an escalating situation between Egypt and Israel over control of the Suez Canal Fiske was ordered to traverse the Suez Canal. After a day in Port Said we formed up with the other ships including the USS Dyes (DD-880) for our trip through the Suez Canal. It was a tense time while at Port Said. Two Russian destroyers kept watch over us to make sure we didn’t get out of line. This occurred at the beginning of the Six Day War between Egypt and Israel.
The purpose of our presence was to protect US shipping interests in the area. We were monitoring all ship traffic into and out of the Persian Gulf. In some cases boarding these ships became necessary. On occasion we were called upon to perform rescue missions when ships ran into trouble as in one case when a freighter ran aground. We brought her crew aboard and transferred them to civilian assistance when it arrived. We remained in the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Straits of Hormuz areas until August. Liberty Ports of Call were unusual for US warships. They included Djibouti, French Somaliland, Massawa Ethiopia, Bahrain, Karg Island, Madagascar, Diego Suarez, and Mombasa Kenya. We treated Massawa as our “homeport” away from home. Stationed in Massawa was a British ship named HMS Nubiam. Some of us managed to get ourselves invited over for “Rum Call” once or twice. Something the US Navy never embraced for our ships. Sometimes we even shared Liberty with them. The place to go in Massawa was the Oasis Bar. They actually had American beer and hamburgers.
The plan for our return to Newport was to include a stop at Caracas Venezuela. These plans were quickly changed when the carrier USS Forrestal (CVA 59) suffered numerous explosions and fires on July 29, 1967 while operating in Viet Nam. Our new orders were to rendezvous with Forrestal off the coast of South Africa and provide an escort for her to Mayport Florida. The Fiske was accompanied on this escort duty by the fleet oiler USS Nantahala (AO60). Forrestal spent eight months in the yards undergoing extensive repairs. Fiske finally returned to Newport, RI in September 1967.
And after a few months Fiske was sent to Boston Naval Shipyard for a complete overhaul. She remained in the yards until May or June 1968. Late summer she again deployed for another Med Cruise returning early in 1969.
Additional information will be added, over time, by the Ship's Historian as it is gathered from the crew.
Click the porthole to visit the USS Fiske picture gallery!
About Admiral Fiske
Addition dated August 10, 2006 from Ship's Historian, Gil Beyer
Additional information about Admiral Fiske can be found at the end of this
While burrowing around in all the stuff I got when I became the Association Historian I started reading a little about our ship’s namesake, Admiral Bradley Allen Fiske. It soon became apparent that we should be proud to have served onboard a ship named for this stellar individual. His list of inventions and patents issued is lengthy and diverse.
Admiral Dewey, after the Battle of Manila Bay, recognized then Lieutenant Fiske for his contribution in defeating the Spanish Fleet. What did he contribute you ask? Well it seems that Lt. Fiske invented a device that allowed our gunners to very accurately determine the ranges to the units of the Spanish Fleet. The device was still being used when I last served onboard ship in 1979 – 80 plus years after that action. That device – the stadimeter! What he did was use information that was known – the mast height of the Spanish ships – and by using a little trigonometry he could accurately determine how far the ships were from his ship. This information enabled the U. S. Fleet to decimate the Spanish Fleet. Fiske’s next invention improved naval gunnery even more. Again by using trigonometry and optics he is credited with those optical rangefinders you see in all those old ‘Victory at Sea’ shows. They look a lot like really huge binoculars that have been spread really far apart.
Between the Spanish-American War in 1898 and the start of World War I Fiske, and
others, are credited with increasing the effective range of naval gunnery from
6000 yards to almost 20,000 yards. But he didn’t stop there. He also was one of
the first proponents of naval air power. He held a patent for the first aerial
torpedo to be launched from an aircraft. This support for airpower put him at
odds with the then Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels. This animosity,
compounded by many other opposing views, lead to Admiral Fiske retiring in June
1916 after serving for 41 years after his graduation from the Naval Academy. He
was active in naval affairs through the 1920’s and died in April 1942 at the age
Admiral Fiske is also credited for creating the Naval Districts as we know them and helped to establish the office of Chief of Naval Operations and was a strong advocate of navy preparedness. So, if anyone asks you what you think about having served onboard the Fiske I for one would answer that I’m honored to have served on ship named for a true naval hero and visionary. Also, he didn’t agree with Secretary Daniels about removing alcohol from all naval ships.
Admiral Fiske wrote a number of books. Click on this link to view the titles.