USS Douglas H. Fox DD779
Image contributed by Howard Longstreth to the archive at http://www.navsource.org/
On May 14th I met Andy KB3IFK on 40 meters CW. Andy is retired and lives in Baltimore, Maryland. I was excited to learn as I decoded the beeps in my headphones that Andy was once a Radioman in the US Navy. I am always amazed and honored at the chance to work these professional radio operators on the amateur bands.
Andy enlisted in the Navy in 1961 and spent six months in "Radioman A" school where he learned Morse Code and RTTY (radio teletype). With training complete he began his career aboard the Destroyer USS Douglas H. Fox. The Fox had recently been outfitted with the days latest anti-submarine warfare equipment. After an honorable discharge in 1965 Andy settled into civillian life and never gave ham radio a thought as he had morse code ringing in his ears for years after leaving the service. He became a licensed radio amateur in 2002.
Being the ever curious history buff I looked up Andy's ship online and discovered some very interesting history. The Fox was already 15 years old when Andy went aboard. Commissioned in 1944 the Douglas H. Fox first saw action in May 1945 during the final campaign of the Pacific war. During the Battle of Okinawa she successfully thwarted a number of kamikaze attacks but not without extensive damage and the loss of ten brave crewmen.
During 29 years of dutiful service The Fox saw action in three wars, WW2, Korea and Viet Nam. The Douglas H. Fox was decommissioned in 1973.
It was a unique and rewarding experience to use ham radio to communicate with someone who served as a radio operator aboard this destroyer. Particularly cool to use Morse Code I might add.