The MASSEY Nameplate

The ship was reassigned to Destroyer Squadron Twenty, homeported in Newport, Rhode Island, and departed for the SIXTH Fleet operations on 4 April 1968.

In July 1968, CDR. William V. Garcia relieved CDR W. S. Lewis as Commanding Officer.

After a routine six-month deployment with NATO Forces in the Mediterranean, MASSEY returned to Newport in the latter part of September 1968. Her inport period during the latter part of 1968 and the first few months of 1969 were interspersed mainly by local operations and short deployments to Key West, Florida and the Caribbean area.

In December of 1969, MASSEY was transferred to Destroyer Squadron Thirty. Her homeport was changed to Brooklyn, NY where she embarked on a new career as naval training ship supporting the Naval Reserve. In her new role the MASSEY continued to operate along the East Coast and in the Caribbean.

On 17 December 1969, CDR T. F. Niedbala relieved CDR. W. V. Garcia as C. O.

In September 1970, MASSEY acted as Navy’s ceremonial ship for the America’s Cup Race off Newport, R. I. After completion of that assignment the ship spent the latter part of 1970 undergoing regular overhaul at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

MASSEY served as reviewing ship for Commandant, THIRD Naval District in a parade, which commemorated National Maritime Day on 22 May 1971. In June 1971, the ship visited Fort Lauderdale, Florida in conjunction with the reserve crew annual training cruise. In August MASSEY proceeded to GTMO for two-month refresher training.

On 21 August 1971, CDR T.B. Hudgins relieved CDR T.F. Niedbala.

The MASSEY returned to a new homeport at Fort Schuyler, Bronx, New York. In December 1971, MASSEY was reassigned to the administrative command of Destroyer Squadron TWENTY-EIGHT (Naval Reserve Forces). In January 1972, MASSEY participated in the fleet exercise- Operation Snowy Beach. After qualifying in naval gunfire support in March 1972, Massey returned to Fort Lauderdale with her reserve crew. The remainder of 1972 found MASSEY operating extensively until the holiday leave and upkeep period.

In January 1973, CDR John D. Eckert relieved CDR T.B. Hudgins as Commanding Officer.

In February 1973, MASSEY completed a Board of Naval Inspection and Survey (INSURV) material inspection at Newport, RI and later qualified for naval gunfire support at Bloodsworth Island in Chesapeake Bay. MASSEY received the operations “E” and the ASW “A” in July of 1973.

In preparation for scheduled decommissioning, the Executive Officer, LCDR R.V. Paul relieved CDR John D. Eckert on 4 September 1973 as the last Commanding Officer of USS MASSEY DD 778.

On 17 September 1973, MASSEY was decommissioned at Fort Schuyler, New York by RADM William B. Phuge USN, Commander, THIRD Naval District. USS MASSEY proudly served almost 30 continuous years, over four decades and three wars in the service of her country.

The Final Hours

The ex-MASSEY was sold to Union Minerals and Alloys Corporation in 1974. This brought the ship to the north end of the Hackensack River to the former Kearney Shipyards for dismantling. Joseph Castellucci who served aboard the MASSEY and lives in Marlboro, New Jersey saw the ship at the facility tied up next to some old liberty ships. Her hull numbers had been painted out with a recent coat of haze gray. In the summer of 1975, Joe met the foreman of the facility and again walked her deck.

“I spent several hours walking throughout the ship. It brought back fond memories as I walked below decks with a flashlight and about the main deck and bridge. The only momento I was able to acquire was a nut from one of the dogging devices from a hatch, which I had made into a ring. Upon leaving I requested of the foreman that when the ship is wrecked I would like to purchase the name “MASSEY” from the fantail of the ship’s hull if they could salvage it. One day I received a call from the yard foreman who advised me he had the nameplate on the pier. This gave me a last opportunity to go on board the ship. I guess that I can lay claim to the fact that -I was the last sailor to serve on MASSEY to be on board her.”

– Joseph Castellucci

Joe refurbished the nameplate and it was on display in the George Moore Destroyer Museum aboard the USS EDSON at the Intrepid Sea Air Museum in New York City up until the time the EDSON was moved from New York. Joe has presented this 90-pound Icon to the MASSEY ASSOCIATION.

In fitting tradition, the MASSEY stern plate was transferred to our ship namesake’s son, CDR Lance Massey, at the 2010 Charleston Reunion
…and now graces their garden in Coronado, CA. 

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Jim Alibrandi

Served with bm3 schuckmann 68–70 I was in charge of paint locker.massey was well maintained during those years.

Mike ( Frenchy ) Letellier

I was on her winter of 68 to mid 70 as a stew burner called FRENCHY and was with Joe Castellucci and Mike Moore. The “snipes” would come out of there hole, around mid-nite underway , and needed cans of raisins. BT’S and snipes knew what magic was created that night. Man, what memories.

Gene Cross

That was Gene Cross in the above paragraph

Gene ross

I served aboard the Massey from December 1967 until I was released from active duty April 2, 1971. I came aboard as a QMSN and departed as a QM2. I was the Helmsman for sea and anchor detail, refueling detail and for all special operations except general quarters. I was at aft steering for that. Made the ’68 and ’69 Med Cruise and numerous other cruises down the east coast. I met and got to know a lot of great Sailors. What a time it was.

Joe Mc Gettigan / Mac

I also served with Joe Cattelluci 1967 1968 1st.div with all other Boatswains mates. Great memories !

Arthur Jensen

I served on the USS Massey in 1967 1968 when it was home ported in Newport RI and was on that med. cruise that year. I do remember Joe Castellucci and Rivera Serrano Castellucci ran the paint locker and Serrano was deck hand like I was also during that time I served with great pride.

Robert J. Hillman

Served on as a reserve crew member before and after active duty. My time in the navy was from 1969 thru 1975.

Andrew Campbell MCPO Ret.

I sailed on her in the ’70’s as a shipboard observer and evaluator with Reserve Underway Training Unit (RUTU) and FTG 202. We operated out of the Whitestone N.Y. reserve Center.

We would pick up the ship on Friday night or Saturday morning at Ft Schyler or Brooklyn and hold underway drills.

We wore the red ball caps.

Thomas H. Nye

I served on the Massey 1971/72, knew Jan McCollum, and Jim Ogle, and remember John Cherubini. When I served the Massey was at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Brooklyn Navy Yard, and finally at Ft. Schuyler, Throggs Neck in the Bronx. When we came down Long Island Sound we would pick up a Hell-Gate Pilot, who would guide the ship to her berth at Ft. Schuyler. The pilot was Jimmy Thombs a neighbor of mine at City Island. When the Massey was decommissioned he was able to get some artifacts from the ship including the Compass/Binnacle post which is in a… Read more »

SIxto Rivera Serrano

I served from 1967 to 1971, those were the best years of a great military life.Now retired I can still remember the great times during the Med cruises. Thank you all for the memories.

Jan C McCollum QM3

I served on the Massey Oct. 70 till Dec. 72. I knew Jim Ogle as I was a QM in the Ops Dept. Proud to say that Jim and I are still great friends today. Seems to me that Milazzo rings a bell. I have great memories of the Massey and her crew from my days on Board.

Mike Moore

I also served proudly on the Massey 1966-1968 with Joe
Castelluci.

Bob Schuckmann, BM3

After a routine six-month deployment with NATO Forces in the Mediterranean, MASSEY returned to Newport in the latter part of September 1968. Her inport period during the latter part of 1968 and the first few months of 1969 were interspersed mainly by local operations and short deployments to Key West, Florida and the Caribbean area. **Addition: I was aboard from Dec.’68-Feb.’70. We also had a Med. Cruise in there. I believe May – Oct. ’69. Iwouldn’t forget that; Barcelona, Spain; Malta, Rome, Athens, & anyone remembers… Sfax, Tunisia?

Richard M Milazzo

Jim or John did you serve with my brother John R Milazzo (fire control)

JOHN F. cherubini

I ALSO SERVED ON HER AS A 3RD CLASS BOATS FROM 8/72 TO 9/73, SHE STILL HAD PEP AND VIGER IN HER, WE RAN WEEKEND CRUSES AROUND LONG ISLAND FROM FORT SCHUYLER UP THROUGH N.Y. HOBOR, STOPPING N.Y’S TRAFFIC ALONG THE WAY. ONR CRUSE I HAD THE MID WATCH A CAME ALONG THE RUSSIN FISHING FLEET, WE TOLD BY THE OD TO WAKE UP THE CAPTIN, HE TOOK CONTROL OF THE BRIDGE, RANG UO ALL AHEAD FLANK..THE OLD GIRL WAS GREAT, WE ZIG-ZAG THROUGH THEM AND FLANK SPEED, WHEN WE WERE PASS THEM THE CAPTIN RETURNED TO HIS QUARTERS, WOW… Read more »

JIM OGLE

I PROUDLY SERVED ON MASSEY FROM MARCH ’69 TO JUNE ’72. I ADVANCED IN RANK FROM SEAMAN TO SM2 DURING THOSE YEARS. I AM VERUY PROUD TO SAY I WAS A MASSY SAILOR. ANYONE OUT THERE WHO SERVED WITH ME, I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. JIM OGLE SM2 USN 732-859-0697