U.S.S. Gallup (PG-85)
Gallup was an Asheville-class patrol gunboat. She served with distinction in Viet Nam.
The boat was laid down at Tacoma, WA by the Tacoma Boatbuilding Co. on April 27, 1964. She was commissioned on October 22, 1966.
Gallup reported to Amphibious Group 3 in the Pacific for her shakedown. Immediately following this, she was transferred to Viet Nam. Like her sisters, she was heavily armed and fast for a ship of her size and her shallow draft allowed her to operate in coastal waters and rivers. Her sister Asheville got a head start on Gallup, but engine problems that would plague her for the rest of her career tied the former up in Guam, and Gallup became the first patrol gunboat in Vietnamese waters.
Arriving on April 30, 1967, the gunboat U.S. Coast Guard and Navy forces operating under Operation Market Time, the ongoing battle against Viet Cong supply vessels. She bridged the gap between larger destroyers and destroyer escorts and small patrol boats, providing a fast, hard-hitting ship that could dart quickly between both groups. Her first action came in July.
On the 11th, a Navy P2V Neptune patrol plane spotted a suspicious trawler sailing along the coast towards Chu Lai. Gallup was in the vicinity, along with the destroyer escort Wilhoite, coast guard cutter Point Orient, and swift boat PCF-79. The group stalked their prey until the night of the 13th, when she left her anchorage for a mad dash to the shore. PCF-79 shot after the fleeing trawler and caught up to her, pummeling the boat with machine gun and mortar fire.
One of her shots hit the pilothouse, disabling the trawler. Gallup and company then closed the range and blasted the enemy boat, holing her hull and quieting any remaining resistance aboard. Gallup’s gunnery was better than expected, and after being towed to a nearby American base, the trawler sank at the dock.
After refloating, the trawler was found to have hundreds of rifles and over one million rounds of ammunition, all destined for Viet Cong bases. Gallup’s record continued to improve as she operated off Viet Nam, and she was nominated for several prestigious awards within the fleet, including the coveted Arleigh Burke award for battle efficiency.
A long and fruitful career in U.S. Navy service was capped off by a tour of the South Pacific after the end of the Viet Nam war. Gallup then returned home.
Decommissioned on January 31, 1977, the veteran gunboat languished in reserve until October 9, 1984, when she was struck from the Navy List. She was scrapped in 2007.
Risk of Asbestos Exposure
Gallup was powered by a combined diesel or gas turbine (CODOG) system. Consequently, she did not require the heavy insulation that steamships of her era did. This insulation was made from asbestos, and while her engines did not require it, the gunboat may have had other machinery with asbestos in it. Asbestos was also used in vinyl deck tile and fireproof products such as gloves and fire suits.
When damaged or worn, asbestos releases tiny fibers. These fibers are a proven cause of mesothelioma, a malignant cancer of the lungs. There is no cure for mesothelioma, but treatments such as chemotherapy can fight the disease.
If you or someone you know served aboard Gallup or worked on her in a shipyard and has contracted mesothelioma, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page to receive free information regarding your rights to compensation.