New Orleans was celebrating its Sesquicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans (1815-1965) and NEWPORT NEWS was present to represent the US Navy for the occasion. The British Frigate HMS WHIRLWIND was on hand to represent the British. After a 10-hour trip up the "muddy" Mississippi, NEWPORT NEWS pulled alongside Governor Nichols Wharf at 1545 hours on 5 January. A four day visit, with all hands participating in the many and varied activities ended on 9JAN as the ship began its return transit of the Mississippi, south to the Gulf of Mexico.
During the return trip to Norfolk, NEWPORT NEWS guns were given a thorough workout, shooting various exercises against both surface and air targets. Hampton Roads came into view on the early morning of 15JAN, and the ship returned to Norfolk for upkeep and preparation for the pending shipyard overhaul period.
After one month in port, the ship set sail once again on 15FEB for the Caribbean, and Operation Springboard. On the transit south NEWPORT NEWS participated briefly in Lantflex 65. San Juan was the port of call for this tour. NEWPORT NEWS reached the American territory on Saturday, February 20th and spent the weekend, including Washington's birthday. Early on 23FEB the ship left port for Vieques Island and a week on Firex. The ship's big guns barked day and night in simulated gunfire support missions. NEWPORT NEWS returned to Norfolk on 5MAR to prepare for the annual Operational Readiness Inspection which was to take place on 5-9 April.
In the early evening hours of 28APR, all hands attached to NEWPORT NEWS were suddenly recalled from liberty. All leaves were cancelled. The President of the United States ordered Marines landed in the Dominican Republic. The flagship was put on two-hour standby. After a tense wait, which lasted until the following morning, NEWPORT NEWS sortied from Norfolk for the Caribbean and the Dominican Republic, after a high speed run, where NEWPORT NEWS assumed the role of flagship for Commander Joint Task Force 122 and his staff of Army, Air Force and Marine officers. It was at this time NEWPORT NEWS landed the first detachment of Marines, under the command of Captain Jim Toth, USMC, to perform a special security mission for CJTF122.
While the Navy busied itself in performing humanitarian tasks,--removing American citizens from the troubled area, delivering medical and food supplies and other necessary acts which arise during a crisis, NEWPORT NEWS was performing its flagship mission for VADM K.S. Masterson who headed JTF122.
NEWPORT NEWS communicators handled an average of 700 messages a day, while the ship's flight crew had a taste of the pace of carrier flight operations. An average of 53 daily landings and take offs by helicopters were logged. More than 253 landings were recorded during the ship's assignment.
On 7MAY ADM Masterson disbanded JTF122 and turned command over to Major General Palmer of the US Army ashore. With the Flagship mission in the area accomplished, the NEWPORT NEWS returned to Norfolk for two days before leaving for an Armed Forces Day visit to Boston. The ship arrived on a sunny 13th of May. She departed the New England city four days later for her homeport. During the transit she complete her final gunnery exercise for the year. Arrival in Norfolk was on 19MAY and she began extensive upkeep in final preparation for the shipyard overhaul.
VADM Masterson and his SECOND FLEET staff transferred to the USS LITTLE ROCK on June 19th, prior to the NEWPORT NEWS's scheduled summer overhaul.
NEWPORT NEWS entered the NEWPORT NEWS Ship Yark on 28JUN to undergo a number of alterations designed to augment fighting capabilities. On 6AUG, during the four-month yard period, Captain Theodore L. Balis relieved Captain Robert D. Quinn as commanding officer. Captain Quinn went on to the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Washington, from which Captain Balis was just graduated.
After returning to Norfolk from the shipyard in October, NEWPORT NEWS departed for Guantanamo Bay on 29NOV to complete an extensive Refresher Training program. During the six-week period Newsmen celebrated the holiday season under clear Caribbean skies.