Between the years 1957 and 1968 the US Navy deployed destroyer escort type ships in support of Operation Deep Freeze, a multi nation
exploration of Antarctica...
From May, 1965 to June, 1967 the webmaster (Gene Spinelli) served on the following destroyer escort (radar) ships :
USS Calcaterra, DER 390 from May 1965 - May, 1966
J Gary, DER 326 from June, 1966 - June, 1967
USS Calcaterra's and Thomas J. Gary's home port was Newport, Rhode Island. While supporting Operation Deep Freeze Calcaterra and Thomas J. Gary operated out of
Dunedin, New Zealand. These ships, using their radar, communications and navigation equipment sailed to 60 degrees south latitude, 160 east longitude (midway between New Zealand and Antarctica) for several purposes:
- provide weather, and upper air conditions, for aircraft flying between Christchurch, New Zealand and McMurdo Station, Antarctica
- provide TACAN navigation beacons for these aircraft
- search and rescue operations in the unlikely event an aircraft experienced problems
- deliver and collect mail and supplies at Campbell Island, a sub Antarctic New Zealand weather station
Upon completion of their Operation Deep Freeze assignment to Campbell Island and Antarctica, Calcaterra and Thomas
J. Gary returned to Newport via the Indian Ocean, Suez Canal, The Med, and Atlantic Ocean, thus completely circling the earth during each of these 10 month deployments. Other ships that supported Operation Deep Freeze
during the 11 years were USS: Mills, Vance, Peterson, Forster, Durant, Hissem, Brough, Wilhoite, and HMNZS Endeavour, Pukaki and Rotoiti.
Countries visited during these deployments: Panama, Peru, American Samoa, New
Zealand, Australia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Greece, Italy, France, Gibraltar, Spain, England, Ireland, plus Campbell Island, Auckland Island, the Balleny Islands and countless icebergs as we sailed on picket station.