CAPT Currie was relieved 16 May 1960 by CAPT Leslie S. Robinson. Troops were loaded at Morehead City 17 May and CHILTON proceeded to the Mediterranean Sea with units of PHIBRON 2. Ports visited included Mallorca, Savona, Naples and Aranie Bay among others.
CHILTON was selected to support the Bay of Pigs operation when Cuban nationals planned to land on the south coast of Cuba for an invasion in early 1961 utilizing the plans formulated by the CIA during the Eisenhower Administration. The ill fated invasion took place within 2 months of the Inauguration. It turned into a fiasco and a slaughter due to poor intelligence and planning and lack of air cover claimed to have been promised by the President of the United States then withdrawn at the last minute.
Fortunately, CHILTON was not directly involved but remained near Guantanamo Naval Base in the event civilians needed evacuation from the island. The CHILTON was commanded at that time by CAPT George Lawrence Block.
Note from John Cronkhite March 21, 2004: THE CHILTON DID MORE THAN STANDBY AT THE BAY OF PIGS, ON THE THIRD NIGHT WE WENT IN TO DO AN EVACUATION OF THE WOUNDED AND DYING CUBANS. THEY WERE LOADED IN NO.3 HOLE ON THE MESS DECK THEN WE TRANSPORTED THEM TO ANOTHER SHIP IN COVER OF DARK TO BE THEN TRANSPORTED TO A MEDICAL FACILITY .I WAS BELOW DECKS AT THE TIME BUT EVEN LATER TOPSIDE YOU COULDN'T IDENTIFY THE SHIPS BECAUSE THE HULL NUMBERS WERE PAINTED OUT. THE NEXT DAY THEY ASKED FOR VOLUNTEERS TO TAKE A MIKE BOAT AND GO IN TO SEARCH FOR MORE SURVIVORS. I OFFERED BUT WAS TURNED DOWN AS NOT EXPENDABLE.
During the Mediterranean cruise of 1961-62 CHILTON visited the ports of Athens, Naples, Alicante, Barcelona, Genoa, Reggio and Cannes. COM J. W. Thompson, flag of COMPHIBRON TWO and COMTASK FOR 61, was aboard on this cruise and CHILTON was commanded by CAPT Robert M. Brownlie and Executive Officer CDR Vie J. Vaughan.
CHILTON's 1963 cruise to the Mediterranean Sea allowed her crew to visit Naples, Cadiz, Capri, Rome, the Vatican, Rhodes, Izmir, Athens, Piraeus, Nice, the Riviera, Monaco, Monte Carlo and Barcelona where CAPT George Lawrence Block turned over command to CAPT Robert Good Smith on 18 May 1963.
CAPT George C. Talley was Commanding Officer and CDR W. W. Miller was Executive Officer in the spring of 1964 as the good ship USS CHILTON got underway once more on just a few hours notice for the revolution-torn shores of the Dominican Republic where, for over a month, the officers and men worked long, hard hours landing supplies and vehicles on the beaches of this small island in support of Marines and Paratroopers striving to quell riots there.
In 1965-66 CHILTON was commanded by CAPT Clarence Columbus Brock and his Executive Officer was CDR John L. Smeltzer.
CAPT Chester L. Petersen was the skipper when CHILTON took part in "STEEL PIKE I" of 1966, the largest peacetime amphibious exercise in history. Executive Officer CDR Smeltzer was replaced by CDR Homer C. Ragsdale on 18 March 1967.
On 16 January 1967 CHILTON departed Norfolk for an Operation FIREX 68 in the Caribbean with Marines of the Tenth Division who embarked at Morehead City on 17 January. On 18 January an accompanying vessel, the TACONIC, lost her helicopter and detached from GROUP TWO to do a search. They recovered all but the medical officer and one man of this medivac helicopter. CHILTON became SOPA and OTC temporarily. Marines were landed at Viequest VI on 24 January and, following stops at San Juan and St. Thomas, CHILTON arrived back at Norfolk 15 February. At this time the aft 5 inch mount was permanently removed from the fantail. April through July saw local operations, a cruise for seminarians, Marine officer training and midshipment training. On 4 August CAPT Petersen was relieved by CAPT Wayne Stuart Nelson. CHILTON left Norfolk 16 August for the Mediterranean where she took part in PHIBLEX 5-68 at Timbakion then a five day visit to Izmir from the 25th of September. Following an Aegean Sea Cruise to Saros Bay and Corfu she proceeded to Naples. Interspersed with PHIBLEX 7-68 and CARBOLANDEX I (PHIBLEX 8-68) were visits to Melieha Bay and Valletta, Malta and Valencia and to Carboneras, Spain. CHILTON spent 8 days at Toulon, France preparing for PHIBLEX 9-68 at Lovo Santo, Corsica. The holidays were spent at Genoa, Italy where the crew enjoyed tours to Paris, Rome, London, Switzerland and Germany.
Following turnover at Gibralter 21 January 1968, CHILTON headed home to Norfolk arriving 3 February and had her main engine overhauled until 1 May. Following a visit to New York City from 11 to 13 May, CHILTON underwent inspection and a shakedown cruise to Onslow Beach, NC.
On 12 July CAPT Nelson was relieved by CAPT William F. Cantwell, Jr. who took his ship on 26 July to the Mediterranean with BLT 3/2 of Marines. From July to December 1968 CHILTON took part in four different exercises with PHIBSTRIKFORSIXTHFLT in the Mediterranean Sea. Leaving Norfolk 24 July and visiting Almeria, Valletta and Malta enroute, OP "DEEP FURROW" took place at Nea Peramos 17-28 August. After visiting Izmir, Navplion and Naples enroute, Saros Bay was the scene of the second exercise 7-12 October. After another stop at Valletta the next exercise took place at Porto Scudo 26 October to 5 November. A stop at Barcelona preceded the last exercise at Carboneras 20-27 November. CDR Joshua Jacob Nelson replaced CDR Ragsdale as Executive Officer on 18 November 1968.
Thanksgiving was celebrated enroute to our home port of Norfolk which was reached 11 November 1968. All hands had Christmas leaves at home in Norfolk this year.
"I Remember.............Richard D. Berg, DC3 1967-1969. After the last amphibious operation of 1968 we proceeded to anchor off the City of Carboneras, Spain and I had the anchor detail on the foc'sul as "chain clanker." Both of the anchors had been dropped and we were paying out chain when a serious lack of communication became apparent. The main brake was as tight as the engineer and the electrician could turn it and it was smoking. The electric winch motors were in full reverse and not doing anything. when the Chief Bos'n yelled "Clear the Foc'sul!" we hightailed it fast, but not before I hard the Lieutenant scream into his sound-powered phone to the bridge. "You had better stop this damned ship or we are going to lose the anchors!" Shortly we felt the ship stop and begin its forward lunge as they reversed the engines. All of the color guides of the anchor chains had passed over the windlass with the red links coming to rest on top of the windlass. The Chief Bos'n told me that there were perhaps 20 fathoms of chain left below those red links and he wasn't even sure if they were attached to anything below. If the chain had come all the way out it would have whipsawed around and cleared everything and everyone off that foc'sul for sure."
16 January 1969 saw CHILTON underway from Norfolk for BASCOLEX 3-69, Apollo training 29 January, BASCOLEX 4-69 and on 6 February, and BASCOLEX 5-69 on 13 March. On 8 May 1969 CHILTON took station as a primary launch recovery ship for the 18 May launch of the Apollo X space mission. She remained on station until the translunar injection was declared successful, then returned to Norfolk 27 May. She then spent four days at Newport RI and, after arriving back at Norfolk, as a change in command when CAPT R. F. Stanton relieved CAPT R. C. Gibson as COMPHIBRON TWO. Guests witnessing the ceremony were RADM McKinney, COMPHIBGROUP TWO, and VADM Heinz, COMPHIBFORLANT. CHILTON had 15 days in drydock at Berkeley VA, followed by a general overhaul until 22 November at Newport News. It was during this period on 3 October that CAPT Macon St. Clair Snowden relieved CAPT Cantwell as ship's commanding officer. On 15 December CHILTON was underway for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Beginning 19 December CHILTON underwent the customary Arrival Readiness Inspection and Operational Readiness Inspection with flying colors, very unusual for a ship of her vintage. USS CHILTON APA-38 became USS CHILTON LPA-38 in 1969 as nomenclature was updated for all naval vessels.
From December 1969 until August 1970 CHILTON's commanding officer was CAPT J. Haslip and her executive was CDR J. J. McAdams.
On 1 July 1972 CHILTON was surveyed and on that same date she was struck from the Registry of Ships. When she was removed from active shipping, she was put into "mothballs" in the James River storage area. It wasn't until 1 July 1974 that she was sold by the Navy to Ships Incorporated of Camden, NJ. She was towed down the James River 6 August 1974 out of the spare ships anchorage known as the "Ghost Fleet" off Fort Eustis. Nothing more is known of her subsequent fate but our best research would indicated that the USS CHILTON was finally towed to a dock in Camden, NJ where she was cut up and sold as scrap by a firm known as Ship's Inc. which no longer exists. It is entirely possible that the bulk of her metal found its way to Kaosiang, Taiwan where so many of our best ships finally found a new life in some other form. And so..........
.......here ends the saga of the USS CHILTON APA/LPA-38.
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