The USS Newport News CA-148 - call sign during her time on the gunline in Viet Nam was "THUNDER"
"keeping The Memories Alive"
SA Herman Carol Acker • SN Jack Stephen Bergman Jr. • BM3 William Clark Jr. • GMG3 Charles Wayne Clinard • SA Ronald Paul Daley • SR Raymond Rance Davis • SN Terry Wayne Deal SN Joseph Grisafi • SA Wm. Harrison III • GMG2 Tommy Hawker • SA Robert Kikkert • SN Edward McEleney Jr. • SA Robert Moore • SA Stanley Pilot Jr. • SN Ralph Robinson 
GMG1 Wesley Rose • SA Richy Rucker • SA Jeffery Scheller • SN David Lee Scott • SA Richard Tessm
Joseph V. Balzano  •  Stephen M. Brumfield  •  James J. Sansone
Official USS Newport News CA-148 Facebook Group
CA-148 Ships Patch
Operational and Building Data:
Keel laid on 1 NOV 1945 by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, VA
Launched 06 MAR 1948
Commissioned 29 JAN 1949
Decommissioned 27 JUN 1975
Stricken 31 JUL 1978
Fate: Sold for scrap to Southern Scrap Material Co., Ltd, New Orleans 25 FEB 1993
Displacement 17,000 Tons, Dimensions, 717' 6" (oa) x 76' 4" x 26' (Max)
Armament  9 x 8"/55, 12 x 5"/38AA, 24 x 3"/50, 24 x 20mm, 4 Aircraft
Armor  6" Belt, 8" Turrets, 3 1/2" Deck, 6 1/2" Conning Tower.
Machinery 120,000 SHP; G. E. Geared Turbines, 4 screws
Speed 33 Knots
Crew 1799
The Heavy Cruiser USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA 148) is named in honor of the shipbuilding city of southern Virginia. The last and largest of 18 cruisers built by the NEWPORT NEWS Shipbuilding and Drydock Company between 1902 and 1949, NEWPORT NEWS was commissioned on January 29, 1949.

USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA-148) served as the flagship for the SIXTH FLEET on eight occasions during its early years of service. The cruiser responded to the Syrian crisis in 1957 and again, in 1958, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent U.S. Marines into Lebanon. In 1960, when an earthquake shattered the city of Agadir, Morocco, and left 12,000 dead and missing, NEWPORT NEWS raced more than 1,200 miles in 40 hours to aid the stricken city.

In 1962, NEWPORT NEWS became permanent flagship for the SECOND FLEET. In that same year and with the Commander, SECOND FLEET onboard, she headed the blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1965, NEWPORT NEWS served as flagship and landed the first detachment of U.S. Marines in the Dominican Republic when a revolt broke out that spring.

NEWPORT NEWS was the last naval vessel in the world with rapid-fire weaponry of heavy caliber. Her fire-power includes three turrets, each housing three rapid-fire 8-inch/55 caliber guns. A secondary gun battery is composed of 12 dual purpose 5-inch /38 caliber guns.

During three deployments to the waters of North and South Viet Nam, NEWPORT NEWS called on all of her combat capabilities. From October 1967 to April 1968, the ship supported the SEVENTH FLEET's effort to stem the flow of enemy supplies and war goods into South Viet Nam. Firing more than 59,000 rounds, the ship earned the Navy Unit Commendation. For support of Allied Forces in South Viet Nam from December 1968 to June 1969, the cruiser earned the Meritorious Unit Citation. The third, longest and most demanding tour in Vietnamese waters lasted from April to December 1972. During this time, NEWPORT NEWS lead the first cruiser-destroyer surface actions against the Haiphong Harbor complex on two occasions. She also made record-breaking performances in firing and at-sea replenishment of 8-inch ammunition.

NEWPORT NEWS has deployed on countless occasions to the waters of Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, North America, South America, the Caribbean and Asia. The cruiser has hosted tens of thousands of visitors, from the man on the street to Kings and Queens. NEWPORT NEWS will end her active service on June 27, 1975, after 26-years of naval service. -USN- NO. 127-75
Disclainer: Most of the information on these pages was gathered from the book “CRUISERS of the US NAVY; 1922-1962” by Stefan Terzibaschitsch. Published and distributed in the US by the Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland 21402 - All Photos on CA-148 remain property of the original owner(s) unless otherwise stated.
Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon - Navy Unit Citation (2) - Meritorious Unit Citation
Second Row - Navy Expeditionary Medal - World War II Occupation Medal- National Defense Service Medal (2)
Third Row - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (2) - Vietnam Service Medal (6) - Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
Fourth Row - Republic Of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation - Republic of Vietnam Civil Action 1st Class Unit Citation - Republic Of Vietnam Campaign Medal
USS Newport News CA-148 Awards, Citations, Campaign Ribbons

* On July 4 weekend 1968, Newport News was awarded its first Navy Unit Commendation, presented to Captain Snyder by Rear Admiral John Wadleigh on behalf of the Secretary of the Navy "for Exceptionally meritorious service from 2OCT67 to 26APR68 while engaged in operations against enemy aggressor forces in the waters contiguous to the hostile coastline of both North and South Vietnam."
* The ship was awarded the "Top Gun" award for support of the allied forces during the 1969 deployment.
* In 1969, Newport News was awarded the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation for performance during operations
against hostile enemy forces during the ship's second deployment to Vietnam during 1968 and 1969.
* Newport News received the Battle Efficiency "E" for CIC/Operations for Fiscal Year 1972. The occasion marked the 24th commissioning anniversary of Newport News. COMSECONDFLT VADM Finneran was guest speaker at the ceremony. (Twenty-nine January is the official anniversary of Newport News.)
* On 13 July 1973 Newport News was awarded its second Navy Unit Commendation, presented to Capt Kelly by VADM Finneran on behalf of Secretary of the Navy John W. Warner at a ceremony which was also attended by Capt Zartman, who had been Commanding Officer for the 1972 Vietnam deployment, during which the award was earned.
Oct. 1, 1972 LOGO
This web site is dedicated to our Brothers who made the ultimate sacrifice on 1 Oct. 1972 while on the gun line off the coast of North Viet Nam
- listed below in alphabetical order, top to bottom, left to right -
** This information was found in the USS Newport News’ Ship’s history file at the Naval History Center the Navy Yard in Washington, DC.  These documents have been declassified.  The various reference documents listed in the report were not available.  Also, any follow recommendations or procedural changes can not be confirmed.
From:  Vice Admiral K. S. Masterson, USN (Retired)
Vice Admiral L. M. Mustin, USN (Retired)
To:     Chief of Naval Material
Via:     Commander, Naval Ordnance Systems Command
Subj:   USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA-148) Turret Explosion, 1 October 1972
Ref: (a) Conference 2 Oct 72 in HZ NAVORDSYSCOM among Admiral Kidd (CNM), Vice Admiral Sappington (COMNAVORDSYSCOM) and others
Encl: (1)  Conf details comments

1. (U) Pursuant reference (a) we have inquired informally into the subject explosion, to assist the Chief of Naval Material, and other officers and officials as requested, in matters related thereto.

2. (U) The explosion resulted from the high-order detonation of a projectile in the fore of the center gun of turret two, which vented mainly to the inside of the turret.  By some mechanism not clearly apparent, this ignited additional powder charges in all three hoists.  The resulting high-energy flame propagated downward almost instantly from charge to charge in the hoists, blowing apart the hoist casings between decks in the way of ignited charges, until for some reason also not apparent, the propagation stopped just above the handling room level.  Some 720 pounds of powder burned in the hoists.  Twenty men died.

3. (C) If flame propagation down the hoists had extended a few feet further, into the handling room level below the armor deck, the extent of possible further damage and casualties might have been catastrophic.  The loading scuttles at the bottom of the hoists would have been no protection if the hoists themselves had blown apart, as they did in the levels above.  Events could then have led to a magazine explosion, from which the survival of the ship herself would have been in question.

4.(C) In our judgment this casualty was not caused by inadequate manning, training, experience, maintenance, or operating procedures in NEWPORT NEWS; nor by defective design of the material involved.  Rather, we conclude that it was caused by the premature functioning of the projectile’s auxiliary detonating fuze, which resulted from defective fuze manufacture and inadequate product acceptance inspection.

5. (C) The NEWPORT NEWS casualty adds emphasis to what, in our judgment, has become an unsatisfactory present situation with respect to Navy gun ammunition, specifically ammunition safety for fleet users.  Since 1965 there have been 23 shipboard in-bore projectile explosions, which have cost millions of dollars, degraded combat readiness, and taken 24 lives.  The rate per shot fired at which these explosions have occurred since that date has increased by a factor of more than 25 over the rate for the preceding nineteen years since the close of World War II.  The hardware defects which cause such explosions are documented and wide-spread.  Statistically, the next fleet in-bore projectile explosion could occur at any moment.  It could cost us a ship.

6. (C) In our further judgment, the correlation is clear between the foregoing situation and the organizational changes of recent years which have degraded command management and control over ammunition technical matters.  The chain of that command is now so diffuse that effective hard-nosed control, with authority, responsibility, and accountability, does not appear to exist.  It once did.  We consider that it must be reestablished.  More lives are hostage until it is.

7. (U) Enlosure (1) contains additional details, including recommendations for consideration by the Chief of Naval Material and COMNAVORDSYSCOM.  Also is the enclosure are certain recommendations which appropriate levels of fleet command may wish to consider.

8. (U) This report is classified CONFIDENTIAL for administrative security pending release of the formal investigation.  It may be declassified thereafter.

K. S. Masterson
L. M. Mustin