1960 - 1993
DLG-11 International call sign NZOC
The third MAHAN (DLG-11) was laid down 31 July 1957 by the San Francisco Naval Shipyard; launched 7 October 1959; sponsored by Mrs. H. P. Smith, wife of Vice Adm. H. Page Smith; and commissioned 25 August 1960, Comdr. Wm. S. Busik in command.
During the first year and a half of her commissioned service, MAHAN’s primary assignment was the testing and evaluation of her weapons systems, ASROC and Terrier missiles. A unit of the Pacific Fleet’s Cruiser-Destroyer Force, she operated out of San Diego, participating in local and fleet exercises off the West Coast and in Hawaiian waters. Leaving San Diego 6 June 1962, she commenced her first western pacific deployment. For the next 6 months she cruised with other units of the 7th Fleet, taking part in antisubmarine, antiaircraft, and amphibious exercises as well as making good will calls on ports in the Far East. Included in these latter visits was a stop at Saigon 24 to 28 October for the Republic of Vietnam’s Independence anniversary celebrations.
1963 brought MAHAN’s entrance into the standard schedule of the Pacific Fleet, beginning with a shipyard overhaul at Long Beach Naval Shipyard. Following her yard period, she conducted training exercises off the Wes t Coast. She then departed San Diego 6 August for deployment in the western Pacific. In addition to assignments in Japanese and Philippine waters, she spent, on this tour, a total of 4 weeks cruising off South Vietnam before returning to California 10 March 1964.
Remaining on the West Coast until late 1965, the guided missile destroyer underwent a 5 1/2 month overhaul. 1 May to 20 October, followed by test and training exercises and a demonstration of her antisubmarine warfare capabilities before members of the United States-Canadian Military Cooperation Committee 9 December. During the summer of 1965, she embarked midshipmen from the Naval Academy and various NROTC units for summer training. Departing San Diego 19 October, she sailed to Pearl Harbor for antisubmarine training operations and then continued on to the western Pacific, arriving at Subic Bay 22 November. MAHAN operated with the 7th Fleet, spending alternate monthly periods on patrol off Vietnam, until returning to California in April 1964.
Upon arrival at San Diego 28 April, MAHAN continued her previous west coast activities, local and fleet training operations, missile firing exercises at the Pacific Missile Range, and, as during the summer of 1965, the training of midshipmen during June and July. August brought the installation of a helicopter flight deck.
The period 1 December 1966 through 4 June 1967 again saw MAHAN in the western Pacific where, as before, she operated off Vietnam, patrolling and providing gunfire support in the fight to prevent the aggressive spread of communism. Arriving back at San Diego 17 June. MAHAN sailed on 31 July to represent the Navy at Seattle’s Annual Sea Fair. Following further coastal operations, she entered Long Beach Naval Shipyard 1 November for overhaul. This was completed late in April 1968 and MAHAN remained off the West Coast until departing for the western Pacific in August. She was homeported in Yokosuka, Japan from September 1968 to September 1970. During that time Mahan engaged in countless challenging and often dangerous operations in the Gulf of Tonkin and the Sea of Japan, operating continuously in close proximity to North Vietnam, Communist China, North Korea and the Soviet Union.
During this time the men of Mahan built a reputation for professional ability and dedication unexcelled by any other guided missile frigate in the Pacific Fleet.
Together they spent 584 days at sea during those two years. Duty as PIRAZ in the Tonkin Gulf and PARPRO in the Sea of Japan as a picket station accounted for 347 of those days. She was also home to a rescue helicopter ready to pick up downed pilots.
After 2 years home ported in Japan, she returned to the Naval Shipyard in Long Beach. After workup she went back to Vietnam in January 72 for another tour and was the Gun Fire Support ship of choice. She burnt the paint off of the barrel of the 5" more than once. When she returned to San Diego she was the first ship to undergo the new engineering inspection, and the first to require PQS and ESW Quals.