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Mystery of the “Scrubbed Mission” Unfolds


In an early addition of the Daly News a story was published on the Mystery of the “Scrubbed Mission”, a shore bombardment assignment for the USS Daly which was aborted. The following is information obtained from two Fire Controlmen who were part of the Shore Observer Team providing new details on the incident.


Korea, Early July 1953;

Roger Froelich FC3 Merle Van Gieson FC3 -USS Daly DD519

Roger; “As part of a USS Daly Shore Fire Control Team, we were transferred to the Marine Base Point Silver on the East Coast of North Korea in the Taebaek Mountains as observers. The assignment was to spot enemy targets for bombardment by the ships of the task force operating in the East Sea off the coast of Korea.”

“The USS Daly was one of the ships that had been assigned to partake in the bombardment however prior to embarking on this mission we were informed that the Daly would not be participating; the Daly gunnery mission was aborted.”

“ As we learned later, the reason was that the Mark 25 Radar which controlled the accuracy of the 5 inch guns was not operating properly. A vacuum tube, a large diode approximately 6 inches long by 3 inches in diameter, was defective. The tube was in the radar console in the back of the Mark 37 Director. The tube was replaced but the replacement was also defective. It was our understanding that this was why the bombardment mission was scrubbed.”

July 10th the Daly was re-assigned to patrol Cheju-do Island, where prisoners of the Korean conflict were detained.

“During this time Merle Van Gieson and myself along with other Naval Personnel and several marines were put ashore and occupied a mountain top over looking the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) where we maintained contact with ships in the Task Force.”

A Marine Captain drove 3 of us a considerable way in a jeep through very rugged mountain terrain to an observation post located high in the Taebaek Mountains. There were large tanks at the observation post as well. It amazed me how they ever got such large heavy equipment to the top of that mountain. Van Gieson saw that one of the tanks had a hatch open. He was inquisitive and climbed up on the tank to look inside. Quickly two South Korean soldiers came running toward the tank hollering in Korean . Both had their rifles pointed at him and fingers on the trigger. He got the message and jumped off the tank. This left him annoyed, after all it was an American made tank.

We stationed ourselves in special bunkers with powerful binoculars where we could observe the movement of North Korean personnel and equipment across the large open space of the DMZ north of the 38th parallel. We had a beautiful view from our high vantage point.

One of the men in the group commented “Why are we fighting over this useless land?” A marine replied with, “We are helping this guy Syngman Rhee protect this land because there is gold in these mountains”.

During the early days of July there was a continual on-off cease fire. We had no idea which way the conflict would go. Each day the cease fire was questionable.

An Armistice was formally signed on July 27th, 1953. With a cease fire in effect, their role as observers was terminated and they returned to the Daly

The Daly returned to Sasebo, Japan August 5th and departed November 10th for the return trip home to the USA.


Photo – Froelich, Gieson, - Fire Controlmen

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