James Iredell Waddell
- born on 13 July 1824 in Pittsboro, N.C. - was appointed a midshipman on 10
September 1841 and began serving in ship-of-the-line Pennsylvania the
following December. During the Mexican War, he took part in the blockade at
Vera Cruz while assigned to the brig Somers; and he subsequently saw sea duty
along the coast of South America in sloop-of-war Germantown and completed a
tour of duty as an instructor at the Naval Academy. In July 1859, he reported
on board Saginaw and later returned from a tour of duty in the Orient with
the East Indies Squadron, in John Adams, shortly after the outbreak of the
Civil War. As his sympathies lay with the Southern States, he resigned his
commission in the Navy, and his name was struck from the Navy rolls on 18
Waddell secretly entered the service of the Confederacy by way of Baltimore,
Md., and received an appointment as lieutenant in the Confederate States Navy
on 27 May 1862. The Confederate Navy, however, had few ships to which these
officers could be assigned. Naval officers were, as a result, assigned to
artillery units. Thus employed, Waddell participated in the attempt to stop
the Federal Fleet from investing New Orleans; helped man a gun battery in
repulsing the Union flotilla in the Battle of Drewry's Bluff, Va., and
performed nearly identical service manning a gun battery in the defense of
Charleston, S.C., until March of 1863. At that time, he sailed for France in
a steamer acquired by Confederate naval agent James D. Bulloch.
On 19 October 1864, near Funchal, Madeira, Waddell took command of an
iron-hulled screw steamer - Sea King - a Clyde-built merchantman which had
earlier sailed, ostensibly, for Bombay, India, on a trading voyage. It was
off Madeira, however, that Sea King underwent the transformation from
merchantman to man-of-war. Fitted out secretly, Sea King was armed and
renamed Shenandoah, and set course for the Pacific.
Under orders to concentrate on the previously unmolested Union whaling fleet
in the Pacific, Shenandoah put five ships to the torch en route to the Cape
of Good Hope, and bonded a sixth to carry prisoners to Bahia, Brazil.
Proceeding through the Indian Ocean, Waddell paused at Melbourne, Australia,
long enough to repair a defective propeller shaft in January 1865 and enlist
the aid of 42 "stowaways" who appeared on deck soon after departure
to swell the ranks of what had previously been an under-strength crew.
Shenandoah captured four Yankee whalers en route to the Sea of Okhotsk, and
later operated in the Bering Sea - capturing two dozen prizes between 21 and
29 June. One of the latter prizes carried a choice find - relatively recent
newspapers. But the news which the Southerners read was not good - General
Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Va., while President
Jefferson Davis had issued his defiant "Danville Proclamation"
calling for a continued vigorous prosecution of the war against the Union
Waddell and his crew sighted no additional sails until 2 August 1865, when
his ship fell in with British merchantman Barracouta. The Briton informed
Shenandoah that the Confederacy had completely collapsed and that Shenandoah
was thus no longer a man-of-war, but a "pirate" ship without a
country. This made the erstwhile raider subject to seizure under
A thousand miles west of Acapulco, Mex., and 13 days from San Francisco,
Calif., Waddell disregarded advice to beach his ship or sail to the nearest
British colonial port where his men would be forced to shift for themselves.
Subsequently, courage and seamanship brought Shenandoah through a remarkable
17,000-mile voyage, via Cape Horn, to England. On 2 November 1865, Shenandoah
stood proudly into Liverpool, England, where she was surrendered to British
authorities for eventual turnover to the United States government.
Waddell remained in England until amnesty was offered in 1875. He then
returned to his native land after an absence of nearly a decade and became a
captain in the Pacific Mail Company steamship line. Given command of steamer
City of San Francisco, Waddell sailed to the South Pacific near waters where,
nearly 10 years before, his name and that of his ship had been feared.
Calling at Honolulu in 1876, the arrival of the erstwhile raider-skipper
went, apparently, unnoticed. Or so it seemed. As City of San Francisco stood
out to sea the next day, the Royal Hawaiian Band played "Dixie" -
farewell music with a different "twist." Waddell dipped his flag in
Subsequently, the sea captain became commander of the Maryland State Flotilla
for the policing of oyster beds. While thus employed, Waddell died at
Annapolis, Md., on 15 March 1886.
(DDG-24) was laid down on 6 February 1962 at Seattle, Washington, by Todd
Shipyards Corp.; launched on 26 February 1963; sponsored by Mrs. Howard W.
Cannon; and commissioned on 28 August 1964, Comdr. Carl J. Boyd in command.
Following trials from October 1964 to May 1965, the new guided missile
destroyer conducted shakedown off the west coast into July, before she
participated in antiaircraft and electronic warfare Exercise "Hot
Stove" from 26 August to 3 September. During this time, while serving as
plane-guard for Ticonderoga (CVA-14), Waddell rescued Comdr. C. H. Peters,
whose plane had ditched off the coast of southern California.
On 28 September 1965, Waddell - in company with Ticonderoga and three
destroyers, and acting as flagship for Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DesRon)
132 - departed her home port, Long Beach, Calif., bound for her first tour of
duty in the Western Pacific (WestPac). After stopping at Pearl Harbor, she
proceeded on toward the Philippines.
While en route on 31 October, the American task group received a radio
message reporting that Japanese merchantman Tokei Maru had suffered an
explosion on board. Detached to render assistance, Waddell sped to the scene
and lowered her motor whaleboat containing the squadron doctor. The ship's
rescue party arrived on board to find three men of Tokei Maru's complement
already dead and another seriously burned. After providing medical assistance
which saved the man's life and having left Tokei Maru a supply of medicine to
suffice until the Japanese ship could make port, Waddell rejoined her
Only one day after reaching Subic Bay, Waddell got underway on 2 November for
the coast of Vietnam and her first deployment to "Yankee Station"
W-5, in the Tonkin Gulf. On station with Task Unit (TU) 77.0.2 until the
14th, the ship returned to Subic Bay for brief local operations before
sailing back to the combat zone to take her post on the northern search and
rescue station (SAR) from 29 November to 29 December.
On 7 December, Waddell steamed alongside Sacramento (AOE-1) conducting an
underway replenishment on the oiler's port side; while Brinkley Bass (DD-887)
replenish to starboard of the oiler. During the operation, Brinkley Bass
reported a man overboard; and Waddell executed an emergency break-away and
doubled back to pick up the man.
Upon completion of this SAR tour, the destroyer sailed via Sasebo to Buckner
Bay, Okinawa. She conducted a missile shoot in Ryukyu waters and then visited
Hong Kong. On 31 January 1966, she sailed for Danang, en route to a second
deployment to the northern SAR area.
At 1410 on 3 February 1966, Waddell was notified that a pilot was possibly
downed in their vicinity. While proceeding to investigate, the ship noted
"surface action" to port and commenced shore bombardment at 1501.
Communist guns replied 14 minutes later. Waddell then trained her guns on the
communist batteries. At 1545, while still shelling the communist gun
positions, Waddell was straddled by the enemy guns which had found the range.
Radical maneuvers enabled the destroyer to retire without damage, and she
emerged from the action unscathed.
The following day, after receiving fuel from Sacramento in an underway
replenishment while on station, Waddell collided with Brinkley Bass. The
damage which Waddell sustained forced her to return to the Philippines for
Back in Vietnamese waters in late February, Waddell provided gunfire support
in the III Corps operating area from 27 February to 11 March, as part of TU
70.8.9. She then returned - via Subic Bay, Guam, Midway, and Pearl Harbor -
to her home port, Long Beach, where she arrived on 8 April.
Following a yard period - during which the ship underwent structural repairs
- Waddell participated in various fleet and independent exercises off the
California coast. Two days after Christmas of 1966, the ship got underway for
another WestPac deployment.
Early in 1967, Waddell was again busily engaged off the Vietnamese coastline.
From 2 March to 21 May 1967, the ship displayed "exceptional readiness
and effectiveness in all tasks assigned," including gunfire support off
South Vietnam; interdiction of North Vietnamese supply traffic along the
coast; and gunfire against selected targets in North Vietnam. Coming under
hostile fire from shore on one occasion, Waddell returned the fire and
inflicted maximum damage on enemy shore batteries while emerging without
harm. During her second WestPac deployment in Vietnamese waters, the
destroyer fired some 2,000 rounds of ammunition while winning the reputation
of being "the busiest ship in the Tonkin Gulf" before heading home.
Waddell made port at Long Beach on 29 May 1967 and operated briefly off the
southern California coast. She entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard on 4
August and commenced an extensive overhaul which lasted through the end of
the year 1967 and into February 1968.
She returned to WestPac that summer - with logistics stops at Pearl Harbor
and Midway en route - and arrived at her new home port of Yokosuka, Japan, on
1 August 1968. She conducted three tours on the "gun line" off
North and South Vietnam into the fall, as well as one tour as plane guard for
the attack carrier strike group based around Coral Sea (CVA-43) and Ranger
On 22 September while operating off the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in company
with St. Paul (CA-73), Waddell participated in a SAR operation. At 0145, an
attack bomber splashed near the ship. Both crew members had previously
ejected from their stricken jet and parachuted to the sea. Waddell closed to
within 5,000 yards of the mouth of the Cua Vet River and rescued the
navigator/bombardier, while St. Paul picked up the pilot.
After completing an overhaul at Yokosuka toward the end of December 1968,
Waddell got underway on 7 January 1969, bound for the "gun line."
Between 17 and 30 January, she fired two gunfire support missions in the I
Corps area for the Army's 101st Airborne Division and one for the 7th and 9th
Divisions of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) units. After a quick trip via
Buckner Bay to Yokosuka, Waddell sped back to the "gun line" in
late February and resumed her gunfire support duties on 1 March. There, in
the II Corps area, she fired 12 support missions with Task Force
"South." She subsequently conducted 79 more gunfire support
missions including 12 for Australian units, 11 for ARVN units, and 15 in
support of Operation "Sheridan" - in which the United States Army
101st Airborne and an ARVN regiment participated.
During the first week of April, the downing by North Koreans of a Navy EC-121
Connie early-warning intelligence aircraft in the Sea of Japan greatly
increased tension in the Far East. Waddell departed the "gun line"
at 22 knots, refueled at Buckner Bay, and arrived in the Strait of Tsushima
to screen aircraft carriers Ticonderoga and Ranger. She operated in the Sea
of Japan until the crisis abated enabling her to head for Yokosuka on the
afternoon of 28 April.
Returning to the "gun line," Waddell then lobbed shells at Viet
Cong (VC) camps and infiltration points from waters off Phu Quoc Island in
the Gulf of Siam in support of Operation "Javelin," before she was
assigned to the Mekong Delta region. There, supporting two ARVN divisions,
she conducted 19 bombardments against VC structures, bunkers, rest sites, and
Subsequently returning to "Yankee Station," she screened Enterprise
(CVAN-65) in June, as the big carrier conducted strike operations, and
returned to waters near the DMZ in mid-July for gunnery support duties.
In 1970, Waddell's home port was again changed - this time to San Diego,
Calif. During her next WestPac deployment, the destroyer continued her busy
task of supporting ground units and standing by as a plane guard and a picket
destroyer on "Yankee Station." In addition, she conducted
occasional surveillance missions, watching Russian warships operating near
the American task forces on not-so-subtle intelligence gathering missions of
their own. One such mission took place as the Russians conducted Operation
"Okean" in the Philippine Sea.
Returning to the west coast in the late summer of 1970, the ship operated off
southern California and participated in underway exercises and plane-guard
details through the end of that year and into 1971. She underwent an extended
period of refresher training through the summer of 1971, operating off Seal
Beach, San Diego, and San Clemente Island, Calif., until she got underway on
12 November for Danang, South Vietnam.
Waddell returned to the "gun line" on 12 December near the DMZ to
resume gunfire support operations in the southern half of the zone. She also
performed interdiction and night harassment duties. Returning to Danang on 30
December, she got underway on the last day of the year to participate in TF
74's operations in the Indian Ocean.
Hostilities between India and Pakistan had caused the flurry of activity, as
contingency plans were drawn up to rescue Americans caught in the area, if
the need arose. However, the crisis soon passed; and Waddell returned to
Subic Bay on 15 January 1972. Two days later, the ship was picked to
represent the United States at the Imperial Ethiopian Navy Day celebration at
Massawa, Ethiopia. After hasty preparations, Waddell stood out of Philippine
waters and entered the Indian Ocean soon thereafter - for the second time in
After a brief stop at Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 28 January, Waddell arrived at
Massawa on 4 Februaryand fired the prescribed 21-gun salute while her crew
smartly manned the rail. During the visit, Waddell's athletic teams competed
with those from visiting Russian, French, British, Sudanese, and Ethiopian
ships. One high point of the brief stay was a visit by Emperor Haile
Selassie. Another was a graduation exercise at which the Emperor requested an
encore performance of Waddell's precision drill team - which had been first
formed and trained while en route to Massawa!
Waddell's respite from the war was a short one, for she returned to the
"gun line" on 1 April. Although her tour was scheduled to end on
the 14th, stepped-up communist ground activities resulted in her remaining
From 3 to 9 April, Waddell encountered daily counterbattery fire from
communist guns ashore. The ship's gunfire, in turn, was credited with
knocking out several counterbattery sites. Most missions during this period
fell in the area of the Cua Viet naval base and in Quang Tri province north
of the Cua Viet Kiver. At times, the range was so short that Waddell could
observe her own fall of shot.
Late on the afternoon of 8 April, Waddell took a "high priority"
target under fire, and received heavy counterbattery fire in return. A
secondary explosion ashore attested to the fact that Waddell's shells had hit
something - but the enemy stubbornly kept up the fire, landing a shell very
close to the destroyer's bow. A surface burst damaged the ship's ASROC
launcher, and shrapnel littered the destroyer's deck.
On 9 and 10 April, the ship fired so many missions that she needed two
underway replenishments of her ammunition. From the 11th through the 21st,
the pace continued to be rapid. On one occasion, Waddell destroyed several
sampans detected ferrying Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops across the
Ben Hai River. In addition, the ship's guns blasted antiaircraft sites and
coastal gun emplacements.
After renewing her guns at Subic Bay - they had been so worn by combat
operations during April - Waddell returned to Vietnamese waters to join TU
77.1.2 in Operation "Linebacker." For two weeks, Waddell made
continuous gunnery strikes at night and sometimes encountered the fiercest
return fire she had thus far experienced. She silenced some enemy batteries
while picking up some shrapnel in return from near-misses by the communist
guns - before she shifted to waters off the DMZ, where she supported ARVN
operations until 26 June. Her final two weeks of this WestPac deployment were
spent on "Yankee Station" planeguarding for Coral Sea.
After sailing back to the United States - via Yokosuka - the ship underwent
an extensive yard period. She spent the waning days of 1972 preparing for
another deployment to the Far East, one which was different from the previous
ones. For by this point, American land, sea, and air forces were no longer
committed in active combat roles in Vietnam. Thus, she conducted only
training operations in the Gulf of Tonkin in February 1973, before she
visited Beppu and Sasebo, Japan.
Waddell then took part in supervising parts of Operation "End
Sweep," the clearance of minefields which had been planted in North
Vietnamese coastal waters and off key ports. She conducted her first tour of
"End Sweep" from 19 March to 13 April and was at sea again with
"End Sweep" from 27 to 30 June. In between these deployments,
Waddell performed screening duties for Coral Sea and Constellation (CVA-64)
and visited Hong Kong; Subic Bay; Penang, Malaysia; and Singapore.
Returning to the west coast on 2 August, Waddell spent the remainder of the
year in exercises and local operations off the southern California coast
before again sailing for the Orient on 23 April 1974. Following the usual
stops - Pearl Harobor, Guam, and Midway - she arrived in the Philippines on
16 May to conduct local operations out of Subic Bay.
Subsequently, the ship participated in Exercise "Kangaroo I" near
Shoalwater Bay, Australia, with units of the Royal Australian Navy. Following
local operations out of Subic Bay and Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Waddell got underway
for the west coast on 28 September 1974 and made port at San Diego on 18
Remaining at San Diego until 22 January 1975, she was towed by Tawasa
(ATF-92) to the Long Beach Naval Shipyard where she underwent an extensive
overhaul from 24 January to 3 December. As of 1979, Waddell actively served
with the Pacific Fleet.
Waddell received 11 engagement stars for her service in waters off Vietnam
and two Navy Unit Commendations
-- more USS Waddell history wanted --
USS WADDELL was sold to the Hellenic Navy and renamed HS NEARCHOS (D-219).
There she remained in service until decommissioned on July 18, 2003. Finally
sunk as a target on May 29, 2003.