The Reserve Years

1964 To 1969

Calendar Year Index

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1964 1965  1966 1967 1968  1969


As the new year began, Soley continued operations with Task Group ALFA of the Antisubmarine Forces in the Western Atlantic, which included a visit to Bermuda. March 1 saw Soley's homeport changed from Norfolk to Charleston, South Carolina. During that month the ship continued to operate in the Virginia Capes area as a unit of COMASWFORLANT's Task Group 83.4. By mid-March, the ship was in port for upkeep alongside a tender in Norfolk and on April 1 was officially reassigned to Naval Reserve Training under Commandant, Sixth Naval District in Charleston. Soley was designated as flagship of Reserve Destroyer Squadron 34 and arrived in Charleston for duty on May 19th.

Soley's first Reserve Training cruise began on June 13 with operations at Guantanamo Bay for refresher training and a week-end visit to Montego Bay, Jamaica. During July visits were made to New York where reservists took in the World Fair and while enroute back to Charleston participated as gunfire support ship for amphibious landings off Virginia Beach.

On August 18 a visit was made to St. John, Canada after transiting the Cape Cod Canal. The ship participated in a coast wide ASW exercise, and on August 25th made a stop in Miami, Florida. Before returning to Charleston in late August, the ship was able to observe a Polaris missile launching by USS James Madison (SSBN-627).

In late 1964 CDR William H. Crosby relieved CDR Harmon as Commanding Officer. CDR Crosby was born in Lawton, Oklahoma, attended the University of Oklahoma, and graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1946.

Soley proceeded to Jacksonville, Florida on November 14 to commence her regular shipyard overhaul at the Aero-Jet General Shipyard. During her first full year of duty as a Naval Reserve Training Ship, Soley trained 30 officers and 485 enlisted reservists.

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Post shipyard sea trials were conducted on April 6, after which Soley made a brief visit to Charleston. The ship then proceeded to Davisville, Rhode Island for an availability to overhaul her armament. When work was completed the ship headed for her homeport with a brief stop in Norfolk. She arrived in Charleston on May 19th. Underway again on May 28th, Soley proceeded to Guantanamo Bay for refresher training with a liberty port visit again to Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The remainder of the summer was occupied with weekend Reserve Cruises to New York City, Kingston, Jamaica, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During these cruises, 25 officers and 269 enlisted personnel were embarked.

On November 5 Soley was assigned to the Fleet Sonar School at Key West, Florida for one week before returning to Charleston for an extended in-port period lasting until February 1966.

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An Administrative Inspection was successfully passed with a grade of Excellent in January, and on January 29 CDR Robert D. Provost relieved CDR Crosby as Commanding Officer. CDR Provost was born in Houston, Texas and graduated from the University of Virginia in 1949 where he received his commission through the NROTC program. He had had previously been a cadet in the V-12 program in 1944.

Early 1966 saw Soley participating in Operation Springboard in the Caribbean involving the training of more than two hundred Reserve personnel. The operation included a liberty port visit to San Juan, Puerto Rico. In April Soley proceeded to Davisville, Rhode Island for hull repairs and, upon returning to Charleston, made additional reserve cruises to West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. While in West Palm Beach, Captain E.J. Zimmerman USNR, Commander Reserve Destroyer Squadron 34, presented the Navy Commendation Medal to Thomas W. Walk, EM3, USN for heroism displayed while assisting in the rescue of seven persons trapped in a sinking yacht off the coast of New England.

Soley underwent refresher training again in Guantanamo Bay during July and upon her return to Charleston participated in a change of command as CDR Thomas W. Nielson, USNR-R, relieved CAPT Arthur W. Wilcox, USNR-R as Prospective Commanding Officer and Commanding Officer of the Soley's Selected Reserve Crew. One week later Soley hosted the ceremony in which CAPT Edwin J. Zimmerman' was relieved as Commander Reserve Destroyer Squadron 34 by CAPT William J. Hepfinger, USNR-R.

Two weeks of Reserve Training in July and August were followed by a visit to Washington D.C. to serve as host ship during the annual convention of the American Legion. The final months of 1966 were spent operating in the Charleston area on local reserve cruises. A total of 83 officers and 989 enlisted personnel came from as far west as Seattle, Washington and from every Southern and Eastern seaboard state to serve aboard Soley for training during 1966.

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During the first three months of the year Soley spent more time underway than in any other comparable period of the year. Following a leave and upkeep period in January, the ship was underway for San Juan and St. Thomas, VI, for Operation Springboard '67, returning to Charleston on February 10th. Ten days later Soley was again at sea enroute to Tampa, Florida with a stopover at Key West before returning to Charleston.

On March 19th Soley was at sea enroute to Fort Lauderdale and Key West for her most memorable cruise of the year. Her arrival at Fort Lauderdale was on the Easter Weekend when college students traditionally flock for "Spring Retreat" on the sunny beaches. For the remainder of the cruise Soley served once again as ASW School Ship for the Fleet Sonar School in Key West.

The ship returned to Charleston briefly in April but was underway again on April 24th for her fourth cruise of the year, and after a weekend visit to Mayport, Florida she returned to Charleston. The pace picked up again in June with two cruises and a Selected Reserve Crew weekend scheduled to fill the month. On June 7, CAPT. D.M. Richards, USNR-R, relieved CAPT William J. Hepfinger as Commander Reserve Destroyer Squadron 34 in ceremonies onboard Soley. A trip to Nassau, Bahamas rounded out the month. A dependent cruise and a trip to Onslow Beach, N.C. kept Soley busy during July.

On August 3, Soley embarked her Selected Reserve Crew for the longest cruise of the year (seventeen days). Three other ships of the squadron joined Enroute to Key West, San Juan, and St. Thomas, Soley for Division Tactics and Operations. Arriving home on August 20th, Soley had only three days rest before departing for Norfolk for a five-week tender availability in preparation for shipyard overhaul. The ship returned to Charleston on October 1 and entered the Charleston Naval Shipyard for her regular overhaul.

On October 28, CDR T.N. Pstrak, USN, relieved CDR Provost as Commanding Officer of Soley. CDR Pstrak was born in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. He received military training in the NAVCAD program in 1944 and NROTC in 1945. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1948 and commissioned as an Ensign.

Year's end found the crew hard at work preparing Soley for a month of refresher training at Guantanamo Bay and another busy year of training Naval Reservists. A glimpse at Soley's log reveals that during 1967 she spent seventy one days at sea and a total of 124 days away from home port in nine operating months. Soley trained fifty-seven officers and 738 enlisted personnel and, in so doing, traveled 16,421 miles.

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Upon completion of her yard period, Soley embarked her Selected Reserve Crew for a weekend of operations in the Charleston operating area. On June 16 she was underway for the Norfolk operating area to provide services for USS Trout on which was embarked a class of prospective submarine commanding officers. In addition, the ship participated in antisubmarine warfare exercises with USS Requim and the nuclear submarine USS Lapon. In all, Soley was involved in 41 hours of ASW operations and was on station for five of the nine days she was underway. After refueling while underway from the Norfolk based tanker USS Telfair, Soley proceeded to her liberty port in Savannah, Georgia for a restful weekend.

Soley returned home on June 29th and the first weeks of July were spent conducting a one-day dependents cruise and gunfire support operations at Bloodsworth Island. In July CAPT A.N. Wilcox relieved CAPT McQuinlin as Commander Reserve Destroyer Division Sixth Naval District in ceremonies onboard Soley.

On July 22 Soley left Charleston and proceeded to Camp Pendleton, Virginia where she rendezvoused with USS Ruchamkin (APD-89) to participate in a simulated amphibious and air assault operation with various units of the Atlantic Amphibious Force. From there Soley was in Norfolk for three days of schooling, then on to Bloodsworth Island with fifteen Navy and Marine spotters embarked for gunfire support training. During the next three days the ship expended 900 rounds of ammunition. Soley returned to Charleston arriving on August 2nd.

Next came two weeks at Guantanamo Bay for selected refresher training, arriving on August 12 in company with other reserve training ships English, Darby, and Tweedy. Soley was complimented on her readiness to commence refresher training and completed all of her requirements over the next two weeks. After another visit to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Soley arrived back in Charleston on August 25th. After a week of upkeep in Charleston, she was underway for Key West to conduct gunnery exercises with USS Hyman and to provide services to the Fleet Sonar School. A liberty visit to Nassau was made before returning home on September 13th.

Soley successfully completed another Administrative Inspection in September and at month's end departed Charleston for New York where she held an "Open House" to the public and welcomed almost 1,000 visitors in a two day period. She returned home on October 10.

On October 21st Soley departed for Key West to provide services for the Fleet Sonar School, and the weekend was spent in Fort Lauderdale to celebrate Navy Day. Soley dressed ship and was open to the public for visits. The ship returned to the Charleston operating area for exercises with USS Henley when she suffered an engineering casualty and was required to return to Charleston for one day to complete repairs. Upon returning to the operating area Soley learned that USS Chukawan had lost a man overboard; this resulted in a two-day unsuccessful search operation before returning to homeport.

During a Selected Reserve Crew cruise on November 16 & 17, Soley encountered a dense fog that completely paralyzed Charleston Harbor. The ship entered port in the fog requiring the crew to remain at "sea detail" for more than four hours while she acted as a guide to numerous small craft who were lost in the fog.

During 1968 Soley was away for 150 days and trained 1,317 enlisted men, 123 officers and numerous officer students at both Key West and Bloodsworth.

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On January 7 Soley got underway for the Jacksonville operating area with reservists embarked. She rendezvoused with USS Bristol with whom she conducted gunnery exercises. USS Kaskaskia was also on the scene and provided underway replenishment services for both destroyers. After visiting Fort Lauderdale for liberty, Soley conducted underway replenishment exercises with USS America and ASW operations with USS Bristol and USS Trout, returning to Charleston on January 16th. Additional ASW exercises were conducted on January 18-19 with USS English and USS Trout in the Charleston area.

Soley made a three-day visit to Washington, D.C. on February 7th before proceeding to the Virginia Capes operating area for gunnery exercises and then on to the Charleston area for ASW training and replenishment exercises with USS Keith, USS Harder, and USS Kaskaskia.

The remainder of February and March were spent on selected reserve cruises, upkeep, a four day visit to Savannah, and gunnery exercises in the Jacksonville area.

Upon her return to Charleston Soley was alongside the USS Everglades for tender availability until April 29th, followed by a four-day visit to Washington D.C. Refueling and ASW exercises were conducted while enroute to Charleston, arriving on May 8th.

On May 18, Soley was underway for the Norfolk area for two days of training at the ASW Tactical Trainer followed by an 8-day Opposed Sortie exercise in the Virginia Capes area with the destroyers Keith, Healy, Hank, and USS LaSalle (LPD-3). While in port at Norfolk, CDR Robert A. Baldwin relieved CAPT Pstrak as Commanding Officer. Upon completion of operations Soley returned to Charleston arriving on May 30th.

The month of June saw Soley in upkeep in Charleston with the exception of the selected reserve cruise on June 21-22 when she conducted gunnery exercises and ASW with the submarine Darter. During July Soley conducted gunnery exercises in the Virginia Capes area followed by a visit to Wilmington, N.C. and then additional operations in the Charleston area with the nuclear submarine Sunfish. A selected reserve cruise was conducted during July followed by an upkeep period in Charleston lasting until August 10th.

August saw the ship conducting replenishment exercises with USS Severn (AO-61) and inter-ship evolutions with destroyers English, Gyatt, and Hyman before an enjoyable weekend visit to New York, and returning to Charleston on August 24th. September was spent alongside the tender USS Everglades and underway for a selected reserve cruise in late September.

On November 3, Soley got underway for the Jacksonville operating area to rendezvous with the destroyers Mullinnix and English and the carrier Forrestal to conduct gunnery and ASW exercises. Upon completion of the operations Soley proceeded to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a weekend of liberty. While entering the channel at Fort Lauderdale, Soley struck an underwater object that severely damaged the sonar dome. In her attempt to maneuver clear of the obstruction, the ship struck a coral ledge causing damage to her port propeller.

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