Less than a year after returning from her last deployment, HALSEY departed San Diego on July 2, 1966 for what was to be a very eventful and noteworthy second deployment.
Arriving on station in the Gulf of Tonkin, HALSEY was assigned to the Southern Search and Rescue (SAR) station off the coast of North Vietnam. The first of HALSEY's rescues came on the 18th of August when LCDR Demitrio Verich had to parachute from his damaged F8C Crusader just one and one quarter miles from the North Vietnamese coastline. Within three minutes, HALSEY's helo proceeded to the scene and despite being taken under fire from the shore, successfully hoisted the pilot aboard and returned to the Halsey. The very next day, an RA5C Vigilante was hit over Vietnam and crashed into the Gulf of Tonkin where the HALSEY's helo successfully rescued the pilot.
On August 28th, an A1H Skyrader took a hit and the pilot, CDR Gordon Smith, bailed out very close to shore. With a USAF Albatross decoying fire, HALSEY's helo again made the rescue.
On October 5th, HALSEY experimentally refueled the USS COLLETT (DD730), the first time anything like this had been done by a LEAHY class destroyer. Eleven days later, HALSEY received a message that there was a helo that had been badly shot up, was short of fuel and was not able to return to her ship. She homed in on HALSEY's TACAN, made and approach on HALSEY's flight deck, lost control and crashed into the sea. HALSEY's helo and motor whale boat were immediately dispatched to the scene and succeeded in rescuing ten people from the helo just before the helo capsized and sank.
Eighteen days later, HALSEY picked up a distress signal from a downed F4C Phantom, dispatched her helo and picked up the Phantom's pilot and Radar Intercept Officer before they even had a chance to light a distress flare.
Right before she was to be relieved by the USS REEVES (DLG-24), on Nobember 6th, HALSEY had the greatest test of her rescue capabilities. Captain Victor Vizcarra, USAF, was forced to eject from his F105 deep over North Vietnam, near the Laotian border. HALSEY immediately launched her helo and directed it to the scene as she proceeded down the coast at high speed to shorten the return flight of the helo. As nightfall approached, HALSEY's helo spotted the downed pilot's flare and picked him up. The helo, low on fuel, raced back to the HALSEY and "Cooper's Gray Ghost" landed on HALSEY's flight deck with a scant two minutes of fuel remaining.
After five and a half months of hard work, HALSEY returned to San Diego on the 21st of December, just in time to enjoy Christmas at home.
During 1967, HALSEY was awarded her first Battle "E" and was also presented the Navy Unit Commendation for her actions during the WESTPAC of the previous year. On July 6, 1967, HALSEY saw the Command change hands as Captain Vincent L. Murtha relieved Captain J. J. LeBourgeois.
After spending all of 1967 in the U.S., HALSEY once again departed on a WESTPAC on January 2, 1968 in company with the USS ENTERPRISE (CVAN-65) and the USS TRUXTON (DLGN-35). While crossing the Pacific, the three ships encountered very heavy seas, sometimes as high as 30 feet, which produced a tragic event. While walking along the signal bridge, ETR3 William W. Francis, Jr. was swept off his feet and over the side. Four hours of searching by the three ships proved fruitless as Petty Officer Francis was never seen again.
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