Final Weeks of the Gunline

1972¬†saw the Vietnam War winding down, but the Navy’s role there was still an active one. Nixon ordered aerial and Naval bombing resumed over North Vietnam. The cruisers and destroyers of Task Force 77 poured down thousands of rounds on the enemy in the final months of the war. Throughout the war, twenty nine ships were hit by NVA shore battery, nineteen seriously enough to be withdrawn for major repairs, but none were sunk. It could be the last sailors of the war killed were the three who died aboard Goldsborough in mid December, when she was hit by coastal artillery during a combat mission north of the DMZ. The following is a partial account of GOLDSBOROUGH’s final weeks in the combat zone.

2 November
A three ship strike unit comprised of the Goldsborough, Cochrane and Bausell reported three secondary explosions after they shelled the Yen Phu Highway Bridge 39 miles north of Vinh.

19 November
A gunfire strike unit comprised of the Providence, Hoel and Goldsborough shelled enemy targets north of the demarcation line.

22 November
Goldsborough fired on enemy positions 11 miles northeast of Quang Tri City and reported destroying two enemy mortars and one bunker and damaging one enemy artillery gun and another bunker.

8 December
Five secondary explosions and a large fireball were reported by Goldsborough as she shelled an enemy position six miles northeast of Quang Tri City. Later that day she destroyed two enemy emplacements caused one secondary explosion and ignited a sustained fire in the same area.

10 December
Goldsborough reported five secondary explosions following her mission against an enemy position three miles southwest of Quang Tri City.

11 December
Goldsborough reported three secondary explosions and a sustained fire during a mission against an enemy mortar two miles north of Quang Tri City.

12 December
Two miles north of Quang Tri City Goldsborough caused three secondary explosions. Later that day she destroyed an enemy bunker during a mission three miles southwest of Quang Tri City.

13 December
Goldsborough caused three secondary explosions and ignited a sustained fire three miles north of Quang Tri City.

14 December
The three ship strike unit comprised of the Shelton, Hoel and Goldsborough received enemy artillery fire from a coastal defensive site on Hon Mat Island 20 miles east-northeast of Vinh during their gunfire strike on the Loc Tho Boat Yard and the petroleum products storage area near Vinh. None of the ships were hit.

16 December
The three ship strike unit comprised of the Hoel, Goldsborough and Shelton shelled a truck park nine miles northwest of Dong Hoi and reported two secondary explosions as their five-inch shells found their target.

19 December
Goldsborough was hit by coastal artillery fire during a combat mission north of the DMZ. The shore battery put a hole five feet wide through an upper deck. The official report said the ship continued on to carry out her combat mission, despite the damage and casualties. Temporary repairs were completed at Da Nang, and the ship was later sent to Sasebo for repairs.

21 December
Goldsborough, Richard E. Kraus and Henry B. Tucker damaged numerous enemy emplacements and caused several secondary explosions as they shelled enemy positions east and south of Duc Pho.

22 December
Goldsborough and Richard E. Kraus destroyed several enemy emplacements and reported as many secondary explosions just north of Duc Pho.

11 January
Goldsborough destroyed numerous enemy bunkers as her five-inch shells pounded enemy positions approximately five miles southwest of Quang Tri City.

13 January
Goldsborough and Rathburne pounded enemy positions approximately three miles northwest of Quang Tri City. The Navy ships reported some 10 secondary explosions as their five-inch shells found their targets.

18 January
Goldsborough reported some five secondary explosions as she conducted a gunfire support mission approximately five miles north of Quang Tri City.

19 January
Goldsborough and King destroyed several enemy bunkers and ignited numerous sustained fires as they shelled enemy targets some five miles southwest of the Cua Viet River mouth.

25 January
Goldsborough destroyed two enemy water supply craft approximately 30 miles southwest of Rach Gia.

KUDOS VIGILANCE magazine