The "Coral Maru"... as we who lived aboard affectionately called her. I added the text to this official US Navy photo, which was taken after her modernization at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, WA, completed in 1960.
I first came on board May 1967 at Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard, CA, while she was in dry dock undergoing hull repairs. Home port was NAS Alameda, CA, across the bay from San Francisco - "Bagdad By the Bay" - where the ship was adopted as San Francisco's Own. I lived aboard on active duty until October 1969.
While on sea duty, ports 'o call were San Diego, Seattle, Honolulu, Yokosuka and Sasebo (Japan), Subic Bay (Philippines), Hongkong, and Singapore. While diverting around typhoon Emma on my first call to Hongkong, the Liberian freighter, Loyal Fortunes, was stranded aground, breaking apart on Pratas Reef, 170 miles southeast of port. Coral Sea's helicopters executed a dramatic rescue mission in 70-knot winds with 30-foot high seas, saving a crew of 37 seamen.
February 7, 1965, 3:00pm, 20 aircraft launched from Coral Sea joining other Naval avaitors from the carriers Ranger and Hancock in the initial Naval air strikes into North Vietnam. Coral Sea's aircraft led the strike in a bombing run over the Dong Hoi military barracks.
I made two deployments to the 7th Fleet in the western Pacific, participating in combat operations off North Vietnam (pre-Tet offensive) and South Vietnam (post-Tet offensive). In January 1968 we steamed from tropical waters in the Gulf of Tonkin to the mid-winter weather in Sea of Japan operating off the coast of North Korea in support of the United States response to the U.S.S. Pueblo crisis.
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