USS Warrington DD-843

USS Warrington DD-843

On 15 July, USS Warrington DD-843 put into port at Danang briefly and then headed for the coast of North Vietnam to participate in Operation “Linebacker.” On 16 July, she relieved Hamner (DD-718) of “Linebacker” duty and began her primary blockade and interdiction mission—the destruction of North Vietnamese small craft and observation of communist Chinese merchant shipping. The following morning, while operating in company with Hull(DD-945) and Robison (DDG-12), Warrington came under the rapid and heavy fire of enemy shore batteries; but she took prompt evasive action and avoided damage.

Struck by an underwater explosion

That same afternoon, however, luck abandoned her. At 1316, two underwater explosions close aboard her port side rocked the destroyer.[1] She suffered severe damage in her after fireroom, after engine room, and in the main control room. Her crew rose to the occasion, and their efforts enabled her to retire from the area at 10 knots. Hull maneuvered alongside to transfer repair personnel, pumps, and shoring equipment to Warrington to address continuing flooding. Before returning to her station , Hull also transferred feedwater to help maintain boiler operation, along with several movies for the slow trip. Later, the damage forced her to shut down her propulsion plant and ask Robison for a tow.

Through the night of 17 and 18 July, her crew struggled against flooding caused by ruptured fuel oil and freshwater tanks, but she remained afloat the next morning when Robison turned her over to Reclaimer (ARS-42) for the first leg of the trip to Subic Bay. Tawakoni (ATF-114) took over from Reclaimer on the 20th and towed Warrington safely into Subic Bay on the 24th. Throughout the six-day voyage, Warrington’s ship’s company worked magnificently to keep their ship afloat. Around 1 December 1972, the Navy announced that Warrington had struck two American Mark 36 mines after finding fragments of a specific fuse on the ship. At the time, officials speculated that the mines had been jettisoned from an aircraft, but apparently, the location had not recorded to warn ships of the location.[3] According to the account of a retired chief mineman, who worked at Naval Magazine Subic Bay converting Mk 82 bombs to Mk 36 mines during that time period, the ship disregarded warning messages and entered a known area where aircraft jettisoned bombs and mines.

Unfit for further Naval service

For a month after her arrival, Warrington received the special attention of the ship repair facility at Subic Bay to improve her habitability and ensure watertight integrity. However, at the end of August, a board of inspection and survey found her to be unfit for further naval service. Accordingly, on 30 September 1972, Warrington was decommissioned at Subic Bay, and her name was struck from the Navy list. On 24 April 1973, she was sold to the Taiwan Navy for cannibalization and scrapping.