DD-783 General Specifications
Class: Gearing-class destroyer
Named for: Henry Gurke
Complement: 336 Officers and Enlisted
Displacement: 3460 tons
Length: 390 feet 6 inches
Beam: 40 feet 10 inches
Flank Speed: 35 knots
Range: 4 500 Nautical Miles
Final Disposition:Transferred to Greece 17 March 1977
USS GURKE (DD-783)
Gurke (DD-783) was launched 15 February 1945 by the Todd-Pacific Shipyards
sponsored by Mrs. Julius Gurke
mother of Private Gurke; and commissioned 12 May 1945
Cmdr. Kenneth Loveland in command.
After shakedown along the West Coast
Gurke sailed for the Western Pacific 27 August 1945
reaching Pearl Harbor 2 September. From there she continued west to participate in the occupation of Japan and former Japanese possessions. Returning to her home port San Diego in February 1946
Gurke participated in training operations until 4 September 1947 when she sailed for another WesPac cruise. Two further WesPac cruises
alternating with operations out of San Diego and a cruise to Alaska in 1948 to aid in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Yukon gold rush
filled Gurke's- schedule until the outbreak of the Korean War.
Gurke departed San Diego 5 August 1950 and arrived at Yokosuka 19 August to screen fast carrier task forces off the west coast of Korea
25 August 6 September. She shared with five other destroyers the award of the Navy Unit Commendation to Task Element 90.62 for extraordinary heroism in support of the landing at Inchon
13 15 September 1950. Steaming up Flying Fish (So Sudo) Channel at flood tide the first day
Gurke bombarded Wolmi Do and the Inchon waterfront. Communist fire concentrated on three of the "sitting duck" destroyers
Gurke taking three hits that caused no casualties and only minor damage. The destroyer's 5 inch batteries opened in a prelanding shore bombardment 15 September 1900 until the first assault wave of Marines crossed the line of departure for Wolmi Do which was secured by high noon. Wolmi Do was no longer a dominating threat over approaches into Inchon by landing assault craft that would be borne in on the incoming afternoon tide. After this initial landing General of the Army Douglas MacArthur made visual signal: "The Navy and Marines have never shone more brightly than this morning."
After the Inchon landings
Gurke screened fast attack carriers launching powerful strikes against enemy positions and supply lines. She also patrolled the narrow Formosa Straits to prevent Chinese Communist invasion of Formosa and to insure that Formosa was not used as a base for military operations against the Chinese mainland. During the first year of war Gurke frequently served as flagship of Vice Admiral Struble and the 7th Fleet's Carrier Task Force 77.
Two interludes in the States for repairs and training interrupted Gurke's Korean conflict service. But she continued
when deployed with the Seventh Fleet
to screen attack carriers and bombard enemy coastal supply routes and installations
once destroying a Communist train through accurate gunnery. She again drew fire from Communist shore batteries 25 June 1953
but escaped without serious damage from two direct hits and the shrapnel of five air bursts.
When the shooting stopped in Korea in August 1963
Gurke continued patrols in the Far East to help keep the peace. Six to eight month deployments to the Western Pacific were alternated with stateside overhauls and training in a full peacetime routine. During 17-18 June 1960
she was a unit of the escort for cruiser St. Paul carrying President Eisenhower on a fast Manila-Taiwan cruise. She also participated in nose-cone recovery work as America's space effort rolled into high gear
facilitated by seapower.
In June 1962
Gurke participated in a series of nuclear tests off Christmas Island. She entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard 11 July 1963 for modernization overhaul
emerging 1 May 1964 with new equipment ranging from antisubmarine rocket launchers to the latest in air
search radar and electronic detection devices. She arrived in her new home port of San Diego 15 May for fleet operations along the western seaboard until 21 October When she again sailed for the Far East. She arrived in Yokosuka and Joined the 7th Fleet 16 November 1964 to begin her duties as a unit of Fast Carrier Task Force 77.
The first day of 1965 found Gurke with Task Group 77.7 in the South China Sea. Long hours were spent on station
plane-guarding for attack carriers Ranger (CVA 61) and Hancock (CVA-19). As the Vietnam conflict became "hot" in late January she served as one of the escorts for an amphibious task group in the vicinity of Da Nang
South Vietnam. Long stretches at sea with fast carriers were punctuated by liberty calls at Subic Bay and Hong Kong. On 20 April 1966 the destroyer sailed in company with Ranger (CVA-61) for return to San Diego
7 May 1966. The remainder of the year was filled with a rapid succession of coastwise training exercises ranging north to Seattle
which continued until she sailed for the western Pacific 12 May 1966. After visiting Hawaii
and the Philippines
Gurke was stationed in the Gulf of Tonkin late in June for search and rescue duty. On 1 July three North Vietnamese PT boats were detected 11 miles away from Gurke and three sister destroyers and closing at high speed. Fighter aircraft from Constellation intercepted the raiders and sank all three within minutes. The destroyers picked up 19 survivors for questioning.
While in the Gulf of Tonkin
Gulf refueled helicopters by a new in-flight refueling process enabling them to rescue American pilots downed in hostile territory.
After a brief respite in Hong Kong
and the Philippines in August
Gurke resumed duty in the Gulf of Tonkin in September and set a record in completing 113 in-flight refuelings. On this assignment she bombarded Viet Cong positions in the Mekong and Saigon River delta. After being relieved early in the fall
the destroyer returned home
via Okinawa and Japan
arriving San Diego 16 November. In 1967
she operated along the West Coast and prepared for future action.
Gurke received seven battle stars for service in the Korean conflict.
[Note: The above USS GURKE (DD-783) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS GURKE (DD-783) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]