On the evening of 26 January, we were directed to proceed to the last known position of the Israeli submarine DAKAR and to take charge of the surface search for her. TURNER was the first ship on the scene, and was later joined by Turkish and Greek destroyers. We set up the initial search plans, established communications, and coordinated all surface search activities.
It was a very busy time, particularly for our radiomen who handled an exceptionally high volume of incoming and outgoing messages during the two days that I was the "on- scene commander". We checked every oil slick and every floating object we encountered, and used every means possible to try to find DAKAR. On the night of the 28th I was relieved of that duty by the arrival of other U.S. Navy ships which had commanding officers senior to me. British, Israeli, and Lebanese ships also took part in the search.
TURNER continued in the search until it ended on the night of the 31st, and was the only ship to participate in the entire search. It is unfortunate that we were unable to locate any trace of the submarine or its crew, and can only conclude that they met a tragic end in the more than 1,000 fathom depths of that part of the Mediterranean. TURNERís Executive Officer, LCDR V. P. MC-DONOUGH, wrote the following in our Plan of the Day for 1 February to inform the crew that the search had ended, and I think it worthy of reporting here:
"At sunset yesterday, the search for the Israeli submarine DAKAR was officially ended. During the search, naval and air units of seven countries, including those historically not friendly to each other, took part. This demonstrated one of the most important laws of the seas. All ships are expected and required to give assistance to ships in distress. It is interesting to note that the news of fellow sailors missing accomplished more than all the United Nations meetings, and ambassadorial conferences. It brought together naval units of Greece and Turkey, and brought together units of the Israeli and Lebanese naval forces. We are indeed a strange breed who go down to the seas in ships. There is an almost mystic tie that binds the mariners of the world together. The loss of a ship or sailors anywhere is a personal one to us. We mourn the loss of DAKAR and give one final salute to her men. Shalom."
During this 34 days of operating, we made two brief stops for fuel at Soudha Bay, Crete. These stops were just for a few hours each, and no liberty was permitted, however, on the second stop since the weather was good, we had our noon meal as a cookout in a grove of olive trees nearby. It was another superb performance by our cooks, and enjoyed by all hands.
As you can appreciate, January was an extremely busy month for the TURNER. In typical TURNER fashion we were at sea longer than any other SIXTH Fleet Ship. We were involved in more and varied operations than any other destroyer, and last, but not least, we received more praise and "well dones" from our superiors and associates than any other ship in the Med, including personal congratulatory message from Vice Admiral MARTIN, the Commander of the SIXTH Fleet, and a letter of commendation from Rear Admiral DACEY, our Task Group Commander.
As I sit here bringing the TURNERGRAM to a close, we are moored alongside the Destroyer Tender, USS GRAND CANYON. Tender is an apt name, for she is providing tender loving care to TURNER. GRAND CANYON is helping the TURNER TIGERS repair the ravages of storm, sea, and time, by assisting us with work which requires the use of her well equipped repair shops. By the time we depart Naples on the morning of February 17th, we will again be in combat ready state, ready to answer the call-"Trouble brewing-send the destroyers."
D. E. Pauly, Commander US Navy