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HMAS Brisbane Returns

13 OCT 1969: Viet Nam, and HMAS Brisbane returns to Sydney. This was the end of the Brisbane’s first deployment to Vietnam. Brisbane was the second vessel of that name to serve in the Royal Australian Navy. She was the third of the RAN’s American-built “Charles F. Adams” class guided-missiles destroyers. (The other two were HMAS Hobart and HMAS Perth.) These ships cost $40 million each (or $50 million with missiles) and were the first major Australian warships designed and built in America.

They carried a complement of 20 officers and 312 sailors. Apart from the 5-inch/54 calibre guns, they were armed with Ikara missile systems and anti-submarine torpedoes.

Brisbane undertook two tours of duty with the United States Seventh Fleet off Vietnam, in 1969 and again in 1971, and was the last ship of the RAN to serve there.

On each occasion, she fired approximately 8,000 rounds of ammunition while on the gunline. As successive destroyers went on the gunline, they were passed “the weight”. “The weight”, comprising the bases of two 5-inch powder cases, symbolised the responsibility imposed on RAN destroyers that served with the Seventh Fleet.

It is inscribed on the lower section with the names, dates and call signs of the destroyers that served with the fleet. While on a firing mission on 22 July 1969, her forward 5-in gun (Mount 51) suffered an inbore explosion. One sailor was slightly injured. She spent the next 15 days with only one operational gun before retiring to Subic Bay in the Philippines for repairs. A turret from HMAS Brisbane is on display outside the Australian War Memorial. More;

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