Lloyd Thomas

(DD-764: dp. 2,425; l. 390'9"; b. 41'; dr. 18'6"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 336; a. 6 5", 12 40mm., 10 20mm., .', 21" tt., 2 dct., 6 dcp.; cl. Gearing)

Lloyd Thomas (DD-764) was laid down by Bethlehem Steel Co., Shipbuilding Division, San Francisco, Calif., 26 March 1944; launched 5 October 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Lloyd Thomas, widow of Lieutenant (]g.) Thomas and commissioned 21 March 1947, Comdr. J. I. Cone in command.

After shakedown off San Diego and a training cruise in Hawaiian waters, the new destroyer departed the west coast 16 January 1948 tor a round-the-world training and good will voyage. In company With the mighty aircraft carrier Valley Forge (CV-45) and three other destroyers Lloyd Thomas visited Sidney, Australia, Hong Kong, and Tsingtao, China. After Tsingtao, Lloyd Thomas, William C. Lawe (DD-763), and Valley Forge proceeded westward, touching Singapore, Ceylon, ,and Saudi Arabia transited the Suez Canal and the Straits of Gibraltar, then steamed north for calls at Bergen, Norway, and Southhampton, England. The formation left England 13 March 1948, spent 5 days in New York City, and arrived at home port San Diego 11 June, having steamed 46,168 nautical miles during the 5-month voyage.

During the rest of 1948, the destroyer trained reserves. In 1949. after conversion to a hunter-killer type destroyer at San Francisco Navy Yard, the ship joined the Atlantic Fleet at Newport, R.I., in October and steamed north with the 2d Task Fleet for cold weather exercises in the Arctic

Returning home from the Arctic. the versatile destroyer operated between Bermuda and Puerto Rico during the first 2 months of 1950. She was redesignated DDE-764 on 4 March 1950. Following 4 months of antisubmarine exercises and a midshipmen cruise early in July, the ship departed Newport 15 July for a 5-day call at Koykavik, Iceland. Returning from Iceland in early August, she left Newport for Norfolk 6 September in company with three other destroyers. Just off Norfolk the destroyers rendezvoused with Coral Sea (CVB-43) and escorted the big carrier to the Mediterranean. After rigorous operations with the 6th Fleet and calls at Sardinia, Sicily, and Golfo Juan, France, Lloyd Thomas and her sister destroyers departed Gibraltar 1 November to escort Midway (CVB-41) home. They arrived Norfolk 9 November and the destroyers made Newport the next day.

During the next 2 years, the ship conducted antisubmarine operations in the Caribbean and made yearly voyages to the Mediterranean. The 1952 voyage included a NATO amphibious landing on the coast of Denmark (operation "Mainbrace") and port calls in Scotland in England. During 1953 she again operated with NATO, this time in the Mediterranean, and visited Cannes and Naples.

In early 1954, Lloyd Thomas checked out the new canted-deck carrier Antietam (CVS-36) in the intricacies of antisubmarine warfare. From August to January 1955 the destroyer again operated with NATO units in the Mediterranean. Except for a quick run to Lisbon, Lloyd Thomas spent the rest of 1955 operating in home waters. The highpoint of 1956 was a summer midshipman cruise to Spain and the British Isles in company with the famous battlewagon Wisconsin (BB-64).

On 4 January 1957 the ship departed Newport with Destroyer Division 242 and submarine Batfish (SS-310) for South America to acquaint our good neighbors in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile with the newest techniques in antisubmarine warfare. Returning to Newport from Chile 18 March, she conducted local operations until departing 12 August for 5 months of patrol duty in the Mediterranean and Red Seas.

She spent most of 1958 in the Caribbean, with operation "Springboard" that spring and refresher training during September and October. In 1959, besides hunter-killer training off Norfolk and a summer midshipman cruise to Quebec, Lloyd Thomas again operated with NATO in European waters. During 1960, the ship returned to the Mediterranean, spending June through September with the 6th Fleet. Between exercises she visited Palma de Majorca, Barcelona, and Naples.

From March to December 1961, Lloyd Thomas underwent a FRAM II conversion, a rehabilitation and modernization program designed to add years of service to destroyers built shortly after World War II. After leaving New York Naval Shipyard she commenced 6 weeks of refresher training at Guantanamo Bay. Redesignated DD-764 on 30 June 1962, the destroyer operated along the east coast until departing 7 September .1962 for a 6-month tour to the Mediterranean and Middle East. During her duty with the Middle East Force in January and February 1963, the ship visited Ceylon, crossed the equator, and called at the Indian Naval Base in Visakhaptnam. She arrived Newport early in March and resumed operations from her home port.

The ship returned to the Mediterranean in My 1964 for the Joint French American amphibious operation "Fairgame II." Then after a brief call at Athens, she spent June and July in the Near East, showing the flag and promoting good will in the nations bordering the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.

From 10 October to 19 November 1964, Lloyd Thomas escorted 28,000 marines from Little Creek to the coast of Spain during operation "Steelpike I", the largest peacetime amphibious operation ever conducted. "Steelpike I" demonstrated that the Navy could quickly and convincingly thwart aggression anyplace in the world.

During 1965 the destroyer, after installing new electronic gear to update her antisubmarine capabilities, trained in Guantanamo, then participated in the late summer antisubmarine operation, CANUS-SILEX, with the Royal Canadian Navy in the western Atlantic. On 15 February 1986 she deployed from Newport again to the Mediterranean. Here during the ensuing months she made an important contribution to the mighty 6th Fleet's influence for peace and order.

Returning to Newport 8 July, the destroyer entered drydock for 3 weeks beginning 29 July, at Bethlehem Shipyard, Boston. Resuming operations on 22 August, she was plane guard for Wasp (CVS-18) during the recovery phase of the Gemini XII operation, 4 through 18 November.

On 1 March 1967 Lloyd Thomas, with the rest of Destroyer Squadron l0, departed Newport for another cruise to the Mediterranean. During this deployment the Arab Israeli tensions rose to war level; and the 6th Fleet, including Lloyd Thomas was a vital force in keeping the hostilities localized.

The ship arrived back at Newport 20 July and operated out of her home port the remainder of the year. On 7 May 1968, after a brief tour of exercises in the Caribbean, DD764 entered Boston for overhaul. Back in full fighting trim in the fall, she returned to local operations out of Newport into 1969.