MSC-207 General Specifications
Class: Redwing-class minesweeper
Complement: 40 Officers and Enlisted
Displacement: 412 tons
Length: 145 feet
Beam: 28 feet
Draft: 12 feet
Final Disposition: Sold to the Republic of Singapore August 1979
USS WHIPPOORWILL (MSC-207)
The second Whippoorwill (MSC-207) was laid down on 7 January 1954 at Bellingham
by the Bellingham Shipyards Co. as AMS-207
launched on 13 August
sponsored by Mrs. Walter A. Yatch; reclassified MSC-207 on 7 February 1955
and commissioned at Tacoma
on 20 October 1955
Lt. (jg.) Tom I. Kolstad in command.
On 7 November
the mine countermeasures ship reported for duty with the Commander
Mine Force Pacific Fleet. Over the next 10 months
she first conducted shakedown training along the west coast and then began normal duty with the Mine Force out of Long Beach
Calif. That duty lasted until 1 August 1956
when she departed Long Beach for her new home port
Japan. After stops at Oahu and Midway
the coastal minesweeper arrived at Sasebo on 21 August and reported for duty to the Commander
Mine Flotilla 1.
Whippoorwill was based in Japan for the next 14 years; and
during the first eight of those years
her duties centered upon training. She participated in numerous 7th Fleet mine exercises as well as many multinational mine exercises with units of the South Korean
and Nationalist Chinese Navies. She also participated in several large amphibious training exercises conducted in Korea
and at Okinawa in the Ryukyus.
Her one brush with less than peaceful duty came in the fall of 1958 when the Chinese communists began and continued their bombardment of Nationalist-held islands - Quemoy
and Matsu - located just off the mainland. Whippoorwill earned the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for her service in the Taiwan Strait during the crisis there that fall. Her service in the Taiwan Strait lasted from 10 September until 4 November when tension in the area finally began to cool. Upon concluding her service in the Taiwan Strait
she resumed her more peaceful employment in training missions with the 7th Fleet and units of Allied navies.
The year 1964 brought the ship still closer to actual "hot war" operations. From 16 July to 2 August 1964 Whippoorwill joined a barrier patrol established in the South China Sea off the coast of South Vietnam to assist the South Vietnamese Navy in preventing waterborne infiltrators and logistics from North Vietnam from reaching the Viet Cong rebels in the south. During that phase of American involvement
the Navy's role remained essentially passive in nature. While American ships such as Whippoorwill stopped no craft themselves
they vectored South Vietnamese ships in on suspicious contacts.
Though the barrier patrols were dissolved on 2 August
and Whippoorwill resumed her familiar training schedule
events occurred in the Gulf of Tonkin that same day which increased American involvement in the Vietnamese civil war and eventually brought Whippoorwill into intimate association with that conflict over the next six years. After nine months of normal 7th Fleet operations
the minesweeper returned to Vietnamese waters on 18 April 1965 as one of the American ships assigned to Operation "Market Time". That operation consisted of continuous patrols along South Vietnamese coasts in an effort to interdict the increasing volume of arms and supplies being smuggled from the north into South Vietnam in support of Viet Cong guerrillas.
In many respects
Whippoorwill's "Market Time" duties resembled the barrier patrols she had conducted the previous summer. However
they differed from those patrols in two major respects. First
as a result of the increasingly direct involvement of American forces in the Vietnam conflict
ships on "Market Time" station actively participated in stop-and-seizure operations rather than limiting themselves to surveillance and passive assistance to the South Vietnamese Navy. Secondly
as a result of the increased communist logistic effort from north to south
"Market Time" operations became a continuous and intensive assignment. Until she returned to the United States in the fall of 1970
Whippoorwill's sole mission in the Vietnam conflict consisted of "Market Time" patrols. She alternated month-long tours on station in Vietnamese waters with assignments of variable duration at other points in the Orient. Most often these missions away from Vietnam consisted of mine warfare exercises
upkeep and liberty calls in Japanese ports
and periodic overhauls. Less frequently
they consisted of port calls at other places in the Far East.
On 1 September 1970
Whippoorwill concluded her final tour of duty along the coast of Vietnam. She steamed home via Sasebo
and Pearl Harbor and arrived in Long Beach
on 12 November. After voyage repairs
she moved to San Francisco where she was decommissioned on 15 December 1970 Decommissioning
did not end her active naval service
for she joined Thrasher (MSC-203) and Reaper (MSO-467) as a reserve training ship in Reserve Mine Division 52. For almost five years
she operated out of Treasure Island Naval Station training naval reservists during their annual active duty periods. On 2 May 1975 Whippoorwill moved from San Francisco to the Inactive Ship Facility at Vallejo
where she was deactivated completely by 30 June 1975. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 July 1975
and she was sold to the Republic of Singapore. As of August 1979
she served the Republic of Singapore Navy as RSS Jupiter. Whippoorwill received six battle stars and the Meritorious Unit Commendation for Vietnam service.