Category Archives: WEST PAC 1964

Exercise Backpack – WEST PAC ’64

In early 1964 (late-Feb into early-March) the Calvert participated in Exercise Backpack. Thanks to Charlie V. who commented on an earlier post (here) which shed light on the Calvert’s participation in this exercise during West Pac ’64.

A quick search of the web resulted in the following information on this exercise (note: this was an exercise, not an “operation” in the military sense of the word, i.e, an operation takes place in a combat situation):

Wikipedia entry for USS Windham County, LST-1170: “Backpack,” was a joint American-Taiwanese practice amphibious assault which took place at Che Cheng, Taiwan, in the late-February (1964) to early-March (1964) timeframe.

Beatrice Daily Sun – March 11, 1964: Backpack was a coordinated U.S. – Nationalist Chinese amphibious exercise conducted off the coast of Taiwan. Backpack was an exercise to test the amphibious capabilities and readiness of the forces of the Seventh Fleet and the Nationalist Chinese Navy. Prior to the assault, aircraft of the Seventh Fleet “softened” the beach defense. In addition, support ships conducted anti-submarine warfare exercises and the area surrounding the beachhead was cleared of obstructions and mines. “Backpack” was similar to exercises conducted periodically of the Seventh Fleet with SEATO and other allied nations in the Far East to improve proficiency in coordinated amphibious warfare operations and to maintain working relationships with allied nations.

“A” Division – Repair & Maintenance (Landing Craft, etc.) circa 1962-64

Photographs of the Calvert’s “A” Division areas and crew.

Steve Straka (MM2, “A” Division, 1962-1965) provided these photographs from his time aboard the Calvert during the 1962 and 1964 WEST PAC deployments. Steve explains:

“A Division was part of the engineering, fresh water, air cond. steering gear, we repaired the winches for the cargo booms, and most important of all, we repaired and maintained the motors on all of the boats on board.  We also were on all the boats when they were operating, landing operations, liberty and mail runs in port.  I was in charge of the evaporators and air cond.”

Click on a picture to open a full resolution copy in a new window.

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Transferring with the USS Catamount (LSD-17) during rough seas, WEST PAC ’62 or ’64

Great photographs of the Calvert and the USS Catamount (LSD-17) in rough seas.

Steve Straka (MM2, “A” Division, 1962-1965) provided these photographs of the Calvert from his personal collection and the photos were taken either during the 1962 or 1964 WEST PAC deployment. Thanks also go to Wasey Broussard for providing the name of the Catamount and correction that this encounter at sea was not likely a refueling, but instead likely a transfer drill.

Click on a picture to open a full resolution copy in a new window.

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