Calendar year 1972 began with USS OKLAHOMA CITY (CLG-5) in her homeport of Yokosuka, Japan completing an upkeep period coupled with the Christmas/New Year holiday. On 3 January the ship left Yokosuka steaming south toward Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. During the Subic Bay stay, the ship and staff received visits by RADM GRAVELY, Commander Naval Communications Command; the Honorable John CHAFFEE, Secretary of the Navy; and RADM COOPER, Commander Task Force SEVENTY-SEVEN. After a nine-day stay in Subic the ship proceeded to Hong Kong for a seven-day protocol port visit followed by special operations in the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of Vietnam. Special operations continued throughout February except for a brief return to Subic Bay for supplies, repairs and crew's relaxation. On 27 February ADM ZUMWALT, Chief of Naval Operations visited the ship at sea via heli- copter. OKLAHOMA CITY returned to Yokosuka from the gunline on 6 March where she remained in an upkeep and maintenance status at the Yokosuka Ship Repair Facility until 2 April. Special visitors to the ship during March were RADM LACY, Commander Submarine Pacific; VADM HOSHINO, JMSDF, Commander Japanese Self Defense Fleet; VADM NAKAMURA, JMSDF, Commander Fleet Escort Force. On 23 March Commander Joseph D. FAIRCHILD, USN relieved Commander Rodney L. STEWART, USN as Executive Officer. On 2 April the ship returned to the gunline and was assigned to Task Unit 70.8.9 to provide gunfire support for ARVN forces in the DMZ area. OKLAHOMA CITY was then assigned to TU 77.1.1 with Commanding Officer, OKLAHOMA CITY assuming the duties of CTG 77.1.1 conducting cruiser-destroyer strikes against military targets in North Vietnam. The ship and embarked staff personnel earned the Combat Action Ribbon during these operations when the ship received hostile fire from shore batteries located north of the Cua Viet River, the first time at 1853, 7 April. Hostile fire was received on numerous occasions and from varied coastal postions during the month of April. The ship participated in the first naval gunfire strike north of 19 degrees North against Than Hoa on 14 April 1972, the "show of force" incursion north of 20 degrees North on 15 April and a major strike on Vinh on 17 April. Further, OKLAHOMA CITY participated in the first naval gunfire strike against Haiphong on 16 April and in the Battle of Dong Hai Gulf on 19 April in which a MIG aircraft was shot down while attacking the task unit. Provisions to keep the ship on the line were provided by replenishment ships USS CALIENTE (AO-53), USS VESUVIUS (AE-15), USS PYRO (AE-24), USS WHITE PLAINS (AFS-4) and numerous other Service Force units.
On 19 April OKLAHOMA CITY received slight antenna damage from air bursts and one ship in company, USS HIGBEE (DD-806) was hit by a bomb in her after gun mount. "Operation Line- backer" as the missions were called, provided gunfire strike
Originator Declassified December 1978