A great Sea Story

     This page is dedicated to the guys on the USS Constellation CVG64 who to this day probably do not know what Wetsu 66 means. The USS Richard B. Anderson after serving as station ship in Hong Kong for the month of October 1964. We tied up on October 4th but it was short lived because we got underway on October 11th 1964 and rode out Typhoon Dot which came ashore in Hong Kong On October 13th. For great digitized film footage of Dot click on http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/64.htm After our station ship duties we sailed to Subic Bay Philippine Islands for upkeep. Due to the heavy tempo of operations in the Western Pacific, this period was cut short, however, and the Anderson got underway on November 11, 1964 to screen a ready amphibious task group off of Vietnam on Yankee Station as part of the Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club. The Anderson did not return to port until January 15, 1965. This was an unprecedented 66 days at sea in a Gearing Class Destroyer. Throughout this record period Anderson demonstrated the sea power attributes of mobility, flexibility, and reliability. She served with six different task organizations, including four ready amphibious organizations off Danang and Saigon, two fast carrier striking groups off Yankee Station, and independent duty off picket and watchdog stations plus a survey of certain hostile islands. Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day were all celebrated underway, largely in unfriendly waters.
     The Anderson steamed a distance nearly equal to a circum-navigation of the globe during this 66 day period, relying solely upon the mobile logistics of the Pacific Fleet and her own self-sufficiency. For her exceptional performance and reliability during this phase of her cruise, Anderson received "bravo zulus" from all of her task organization commanders.
     During the 66 day period much of the Anderson's operations were with the USS Constellation CVG64 the flagship of conventional powered fleet carriers in that day. The Constellation was our "gas station" out there and every other day consisted of a time when we would take on fuel oil, and swap movies. Captain Langille put a sign up on the port side of the bridge that said WETSU 31 on our 31st day at sea, two days later the sign would read WETSU 33, then WETSU 35. Finally our fellow sailors on the Constellation became curious and would send messages wondering what WETSU meant. They would hold up signs what does WETSU mean? WETSU 51, WETSU 53 and so on. We never told them. Captain Langille also would break from the norm when the Anderson would pull away from Underway Replenishment. He would have the ASROC siren sounded, and started playing the William Tell Overture because our call name was "MASKED RIDER." It was a great morale builder. This writer was very moved when I read the decommissioning report for the Anderson that on December 20, 1975 when they decommissioned her, they played the William Tell Overture for the last time. The William Tell Overture apparently stuck for the 11 years that followed Wetsu 66 until her decommissioning.
     To our  fellow sailors on the Constellation, the Anderson sailed into Yokosuka on January 15, 1965 with the WETSU 66 sign on the side of the bridge. When she entered Yokosuka her bow numbers were all but worn away, however, all her systems were still functioning perfectly.  The number of course was the same as the number of days underway. WETSU meant We Eat This Stuff Up (and you all know the four letter nautical term for stuff). On the scheme of the universe this 66 days was insignificant, but to the 265 crewmembers on the Anderson, it will never be forgotten. We could not have done it without the "Connie." Thanks, guys!!!!