DD-859 General Specifications
Class: Gearing-class destroyer
Complement: 288 Officers and Enlisted
Displacement: 2425 tons
Length: 390 feet 6 inches
Beam: 42 feet 6 inches
Flank Speed: 31 Knots
USS NORRIS (DD-859)
Norris (DD-859) was laid down 29 August 1944 by Bethlehem Steel Corp.
Calif.; sponsored by Mrs. Benjamin Norris
widow of Major Norris
Mrs. Charles Browning; and commissioned 9 June 1945
Comdr. T. A. Nisemann in command.
After shakedown off California
Norris served three months with the Pre Commissioning Training Center Treasure Island
then sailed for duty off Hawaii and Far eastern patrol operations
for which she arrived Hong Kong 7 February 1946. Much of this deployment was spent preventing smuggling and privateering along the Chinese and Korean coasts. She returned San Diego 22 February 1947
but was on the China coast again from 8 January to 16 July 1948.
After an overhaul at Mare Island Naval Shipyard which included extensive alterations enhancing her antisubmarine capability
Norris joined the Atlantic Fleet at Newport
in October. Reclassified escort destroyer (DDE-859) 4 March 1950
she trained for her first Mediterranean deployment
for which she sailed 5 July
just after the outbreak of the Korean Conflict. She was accordingly ordered on through the Suez Canal to join the 7th Fleet in the combat area.
Joining in blockade
and screening duties Norris gave gunfire support during the Hungnam evacuation in early December 1950
and while on blockade rescued 21 South Koreans from a drifting junk off North Korea. Returning to Newport early in March 1951
Norris overhauled at Boston and trained in the North Atlantic and Caribbean until sailing 19 April 1952 for her deferred first Mediterranean deployment. Duty with the 6th Fleet
mighty protector of peace in the critical areas surrounding the Mediterranean
continued until 27 June
when she returned to Newport to prepare for Operation "Main Brace"
a major NATO exercise in the North Sea 26 August-12 October. Mediterranean cruises April 1952-February 1953 and January 195 - May 1954 followed
and from 28 June she operated primarily with the Hunter-Killer Force of the Atlantic Fleet for the next 15 months. During a fleet exercise 1 November
she collided with Bergall (SS-320) when the submarine was attempting to fire torpedoes at the surface attack force.
From 2 May to 4 June 1955 she escorted replacements for the 6th Fleet to Gibraltar
then returned to antisubmarine evaluation and training in the western Atlantic and Caribbean
broken by a three-week patrol in the North Atlantic during the November 1956 Suez crisis. With Destroyer Squadron 24 she made an extended training cruise to South America from early January to late March 1957
visiting ports in Brazil Argentina
and Uruguay between antisubmarine exercises with various Latin American navies.
Returning to the Mediterranean from August to December 1957
she also served in the Red Sea during this deployment
then served in TF Bravo
an experimental antisubmarine development group
until her next 6th Fleet duty
After a FRAM II conversion at Philadelphia from March to December 1961
Norris had over a year of intensive Atlantic Fleet training operations
including a midshipman training cruise. She was Reclassified a general purpose destroyer (DD-859) 7 August 1962
and in October took station off Cuba during the Quarantine provoked by the missile crisis. With the return of quiet
she was back in Newport in December to prepare for another Mediterranean deployment
6 February-7 July 1963. In August
an experimental wire-guided torpedo system was installed by Boston Naval Shipyard
and Norris spent much of the next year testing and evaluating the new system.
Deployed again to the Mediterranean 1 October 1964 - 18 January 1965 and 19 August-7 December 1965
Norris served in Polaris support operations as a missile tracking ship 1 to 15 April 1966
and in the primary recovery force for Gemini X
12 to 23 July. Intensified operations in Vietnam called her with other ships of Destroyer Squadron 20 and they left Newport 4 October for Panama and Yokosuka
arriving 10 November. As they had in Korea
her guns supported troops ashore
first driving back Viet Cong attempting to overrun Vung Tau 21 November. After four months on the gunline giving major service in the struggle to keep South Vietnam free
Norris completed a circumnavigation by returning via Suez to Newport 25 April 1967. Following east coast and Caribbean operations
Norris returned to the Mediterranean 29 April 1968 for duty through the summer months. Returning to Newport in the fall
she deployed again from 9 May - December 1969. Into 1970 she continues on rotation between the 2nd and 6th Fleets.
Norris received two battle stars for Korean service.
[Note: The above USS NORRIS (DD-859) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS NORRIS (DD-859) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]