Perth is hit by enemy fire - Photo courtesy www.hmasperth.asn.au Photo above by USS Newport News Combat Photographer Harry Doyle
Text in red below from October 18, 1967 NN ThunderBolt newspaper - Photos by Harry Doyle
NEWPORT NEWS AIDS EVACUATION OF WOUNDED AUSTRALIANS
ON BOARD NEWPORT NEWS---NEWPORT NEWS played the key pivot position in this morning's dramatic evacuation of two wounded Australian sailors from the shell-damaged destroyer HMAS PERTH. The operation took place shortly after the two ships came under a sudden deluge of gunfire from North Vietnamese coastal batteries while patrolling 19,000 yards off shore. The two seamen aboard the Australian destroyer were injured by a projectile that penetrated the ship's fantail and exploded below decks.
The men received temporary first aid treatment before being readied for evacuation. PERTH is not equipped with a helo deck, and it was for this reason that NEWPORT NEWS came into action as a "middleman." The destroyer pulled alongside the larger ship and a highline was rapidly rigged. The wounded men on board PERTH were secured to stretchers and transferred to NEWPORT NEWS across the short, choppy stretch of sea separating the ships.
Petty Officer ET Russel "Shorty" Watson, in stretcher, gets quick check-over by NN Doc
Once on board the flagship, following a brief examination by Medical Officer Dr. C. T. Calabrese, the Australians were borne to NEWPORT NEWS' flight deck for their helicopter ride to the carrier USS ORISKANY. Both men suffered from shock and shrapnel cuts on the face and body. In addition, one of the two sailors received abdominal injuries. At press time both men were responding satisfactorily to medical treatment aboard ORISKANY. Although only in her second day on Operation Sea Dragon, PERTH had previously served as a gunfire support ship in waters south of the Demilitarized Zone.
Perth pulls away from "The Gray Ghost" after successful highline transfer