Figure 2: USS Hawkins (DDR-873) plowing through heavy seas, circa 1960. The original photograph bears the rubber stamped date 15 June 1960. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: USS Hawkins (DDR-873) underway at sea, 30 October 1962. Photographed by Clements, of USS Enterprise (CVAN-65). Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: USS Hawkins (DD-873) steams alongside USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) during refueling operations in the South China Sea, 19 February 1966. Taken by PH2 W.R. Mosier, USN. Official US Navy Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: USS Hawkins (DD-873) underway on 30 May 1965. Photographed by PH3 Henry Craig Hensel. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: USS Hawkins (DD-873) steaming toward Norfolk, Virginia, for a visit by the Standing Naval Force Atlantic, 6 July 1970. Photographed by PHC B.M. Anderson. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: USS Hawkins (DD-873) jacket patch of the ship's insignia, as used in 1967. Courtesy of Captain G.F. Swainson, USN, 1969. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after US Marine Corps Medal of Honor winner William Deane Hawkins (1914-1943), the 2,425-ton USS Hawkins (DD-873) was a Gearing class destroyer that was built by the Consolidated Steel Company at Orange, Texas, and commissioned on 10 February 1945. The ship was approximately 390 feet long and 41 feet wide, had a top speed of 35 knots, and had a crew of 367 officers and men. Hawkins was armed with six 5-inch guns, 12 40-mm guns, 10 20-mm guns, 5 21-inch torpedo tubes, and depth charges.
Hawkins was converted into a radar picket ship before steaming to the Pacific in June 1945 to begin combat operations. But Japan surrendered before she reached the war zone, so Hawkins spent the rest of the year, as well as the first few months of 1946, in peacetime service in the western and central Pacific. After briefly returning to the United States and based at San Diego, California, in October 1947, Hawkins was again deployed to the Far East from 1948 to 1949. The destroyer steamed back to San Diego and was re-designated DDR-873 in mid-March 1949. Hawkins was then transferred to the Atlantic Fleet.
Hawkins made her first regular deployment to the Mediterranean Sea in mid-1950. But the ship was sent to the Pacific in early 1951 to participate in the Korean War. While serving four months off the coast of Korea, Hawkins screened the mobile carrier forces during strikes on enemy positions and supply lines, provided antisubmarine protection, and controlled jet aircraft during combat air patrols. She also acted as plane guard during operations in the Formosa Straits, which were designed to discourage Communist aggression against the island of Formosa (later Taiwan). Departing the Far East in June 1951, the destroyer returned to the east coast of the United States via the Mediterranean.
After serving in the Korean War, Hawkins spent the bulk of the rest of her career in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. She completed a total of sixteen cruises with the US Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean and was present there during the 1956 Suez Crisis. From 1961 to 1963, Hawkins supported space flight operations, took part in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and assisted with the testing of the submarine-launched “Polaris” ballistic missile.
Hawkins was extensively overhauled and modernized in 1964 and was re-designated DD-873. She completed the Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM I) program and received a new superstructure, an antisubmarine rocket (ASROC) launcher, and facilities for operating drone helicopters. In September 1965, Hawkins returned to the western Pacific for her fifth (and final) cruise in those waters. The ship steamed back to America’s east coast in April 1966. Two Sixth Fleet deployments followed from 1966 to 1967 and in 1968. In 1969 and 1971, Hawkins supported the Apollo space missions. In 1970, she operated with the Standing Naval Force Atlantic in northern European waters. Three more Mediterranean cruises followed from 1972 to 1973, from 1975 to 1976, and in 1977. The only break in this routine came in 1974, when the ship completed a long voyage around the Cape of Good Hope for operations in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.In December 1977, Hawkins was used for Naval Reserve training at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That mission lasted until the beginning of October 1979, when the destroyer was decommissioned, stricken from the Naval Vessel Register, and placed in the “mothball fleet” at Philadelphia. But Hawkins still had plenty of life left in her. Hawkins was sold to Taiwan in March 1983 and was re-named Tsu Yang. She remained in service with the Taiwanese Navy until 1998, when the ship was scrapped, ending a career that lasted almost 53 years.