USS Thetis Bay

CVHA-1 History


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CVHA-1 Commissioned

On July 20, 1956, USS Thetis Bay was re-commissioned as CVHA-1 (carrier helicopter assault) at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard under the command of Captain Thomas W South II. Following the commissioning, she sailed to Long Beach Naval Station, her new home port. On April 26, 1957 Captain James R. Compton relieved Captain South as Commanding Officer. Captain Norman C. Gillette, Jr. relieved Captain Compton on May 29, 1958. In April, 1959, Captain Charles E. Gibson assumed command from Captain Gillette.

Westpac cruise 1959

Thetis Bay departed Long Beach on April 22, 1959 for a 6 month Westpac deployment. The first stop was the San Francisco Navy Yard to pick up some aircraft destined for the West Pacific area. The Yokosuka Naval Base in Tokyo Bay was the first and most frequent West Pacific port of call. The next port of call was Okinawa. After leaving Okinawa, Thetis Bay made a long  southerly cruise to the island of Borneo for a Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) exercise. After completing "Operation Saddleup", she steamed north for a liberty call in Manila on Luzon, Philippines. Crewmen were amused to see and ride in Jeepneys, WWII military Jeeps converted into taxis. Toward the end of July, the ship returned to Japan and made a liberty call in Kobe, one of the World's major shipping ports. During the deployment, Thetis Bay dropped anchor twice in the port of Hong Kong. During one of these visits, a Typhoon caused the worst flooding in the history of Formosa, now Taiwan. Thetis Bay immediately left Hong Kong at flank speed with its complement of Marine helicopters aboard. She arrived at the disaster area on August 14 and immediate began to render assistance. The helicopters delivered food from the ship's storerooms.

To be continued..............


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