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Destroyer USS Mason Unsuccessfully Attacked From Yemen

USS Mason (DDG-87) on Aug. 3, 2016. US Navy Photo

USS Mason (DDG-87) on Aug. 3, 2016. US Navy Photo

The guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG-87) was unsuccessfully attacked with two missiles fired from Yemen on Sunday, Pentagon officials told reporters early Monday morning.

Mason was near the strait of Bab el-Mandeb in international waters when two missiles were fired from shore around 7 P.M. local time on Sunday, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said to reporters.

“USS Mason detected two inbound missiles over a 60-minute period while in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen. Both missiles impacted the water before reaching the ship,” Davis said, reported Reuters.
“There were no injuries to our sailors and no damage to the ship.”

The newswire quoted an unnamed defense official saying the first missile launched at Mason triggered unspecified countermeasures on the destroyer. The ship did not return fire.

The destroyer was operating with two other U.S. ships – USS Nitze (DDG-94) and USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) — that were tasked to the region following the attack on a UAE logistics vessel HSV Swift on Oct. 1.

Iran-backed Houthi forces claimed responsibility for the attack and warned other members of the Saudi-led coalition to stay away from Yemeni waters.

While the specific weapons used on Swift and Mason are unclear, at least one expert told USNI News last week that the strike on Swift appeared to have been Chinese-built C-802 anti-ship missile (NATO reporting name CSS-N-8 Saccade). The missile was briefly sold to Tehran by Beijing and it was reversed engineered by Iranian engineers and reproduced as the Noor missile.

The attack on Mason comes a day after a Saudi-led airstrike killed 140 and wounded more than 500 during a funeral in the Yemeni capital Sana’a. The Saudi-led bombing has prompted a review of U.S. support of the conflict fought between the coalition and the Houthis since last year, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

In addition to the attack on Mason, Houthi forces also launched two unsuccessful ballistic missile strikes against Saudi-led collation targets, according to a report in The Associated Press.

  • veej7485

    find the launcher and destoy it

    • Charles Haas

      Sounds like a good job for the SH-60R and a couple Hellfire missiles. The Target Acquisition Radar is a better target.

  • J. J. Jamison

    Used to be an attack on America – (American Ship) – was an act of war. Aggressive and needs attention. But, where’s the press conference to inform citizens – and oh, by the way – is no reaction by Washington our response. Maybe it takes a direct hit to get anybodys attention. Come on – wake up!!!!!

    • Spawn_of_Santa

      Sometimes, sneering in derision about how incapable others are IS a reaction.

      Also, just because YOU haven’t been personally informed a reaction, doesn’t mean that one isn’t in the works.

      The MV Sea Isle City was attacked by Iranian small boats on 16 October. Three days later Reagan ordered the start of Operation Nimble Archer which destroyed the retired oil platforms that were used to launch the attacks. Guess who knew about it before hand? NOT THE GENERAL PUBLIC.

    • A single sentence story on this evening’s CBS Evening News.

      One sentence.


  • Curtis Conway

    Most likely the missiles that were fired at the USS Mason (DDG-87) were of Chinese manufacture/or design, or manufactured and provided to Yemeni Rebels by the Iranians. Remember that the Iranians are now our friends via the administrations nuclear treaty agreement (?). The USS Mason and USS Nitze (DDG-94) are providing screening, AAW cover, and ESCORT operations for the USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15 in the Strait of Hormuz. This is a specific and pointed example of the requirement for an AAW capable frigate for Escort of High Value Units. The US Navy has told us this Escort mission has gone away. However, they forgot to tell the rest of the planet.

  • MarlineSpikeMate

    I bet they launched chaff, I doubt the CIWS engaged.

  • muzzleloader

    Judging from all the rust on the ship in the picture, it would seems that the Mason is sorely in need of an extended yard period.

    • MarlineSpikeMate

      Sailors don’t bust rust anymore… to many important collaterals to worry about to advance their careers.

    • sferrin

      Looks like ships in the Russian navy use to.

    • publius_maximus_III

      Harkening way back to when smoking was still permitted on airlines, and there were no smoke detectors in the lavatories. I remember reading how an unemptied ashtray on a plane translated into “poor jet engine maintenance” in the mind of the average passenger. Might rusty ships have a similar effect on the USN’s reputation abroad?


      Extended yard period? A couple hours DIW at the sea buoy on the way home, and any deck force worth its salt will have that ship ready for inspection. That’s what “paint punts” are for. Before you “armchair commodores” get your skivvies in a twist, you need to know how many days she was at sea when this photo was taken, and what sea conditions she encountered. Any sailor who has steamed a steel-hulled ship knows that at-sea inaccessible sides can quickly turn shabby. And the black smudges at the waterline boot-topping are probably black rubber from camels last time she was in port, not rust. Next time you silk hanky sailors wonder why ships arrive at the sea buoy four hours early, and then just drift, look for bos’n’s chairs over the side, and paint punts in the water full of “deck apes.”

  • Charles Haas

    The question should be, did the USS Ponce return fire via its laser cannon. While EW and decoys can be used to down a missile, a laser is a hard kill, and in many ways much more assuring.

    • Tin Bender

      Completely agree, out of the entire 5th fleet why send the Ponce unless you’re going to test the LaWS system. Two DDGs would have been fine. Seems that this was the the first active theater test for ship based laser weapons.

  • Marauder 2048

    Good to see the billions of dollars this administration released to Iran, without telling the military, are heading back our way. What a return on investment!

    • Secundius

      It was Their Money “ACE”! In 4 November 1979, when the Iranians took American Hostages at the American Embassy in Iran. Iranian Money was “Frozen” Worldwide by President Jimmy Carter. In 20 January 1981, When Ronald Reagan became President. He Released ~$8-Billion USD of that Money to Release the Hostages. All thar President Obama DID was to Release the rest…

      • Ctrot

        I don’t care if it was “their money”, we should never have released it to Iran as long as Iran remains a rogue nation.

      • Charles Haas

        The question is did we have to release the money – NO, and was it a wise idea to release it – again NO! We will undoubtably lose American lives due to that money transfer. So, all the PPresident did was to assure that more of the citizens he is charged with protection will die.

        • Secundius

          And Prevent the PRC from “FREEZING” American Assets? The USA Doesn’t have a Exclusive ONLY as far as Freezing Foreign Assets…

          • Charles Haas

            China can freeze our assets. Of course, their economy will go into the toilet, with millions of Chinese likely facing starvation without an income. Sure, let them. In fact, a world wide ecomonic collapse is likely to occur in the next few years anyway.

          • Secundius

            So Can “ANY OTHER” Country that the USA has Large Holdings In or Special Interest In…

          • ripkurva

            Freeze US assets hahahahaaaaaaaaaaa

          • Secundius

            Why is that Hard to Believe? The USA, Doesn’t Have a Exclusive Monopoly on Freezing Other Countries Financial Assets…

  • jbaldino

    I need not be told anything that would jeopardize or in any way inform the enemy of our capabilities and or counter measures. My son is on a destroyer and I am comfortable in the knowlede that they are ready for what ever comes at them!!!

  • The Houthis sunk a Saudi-flagged catamaran with all hands just last week using missiles. That’s whey the Mason was there.

    • Hugh

      Aluminium not withstanding, a photo shows it totally burnt out, but not sunk.

      • sferrin

        Yep. Going to the recyclers to be made into beer cans. It ain’t gonna be fixed.

        • Donald Carey

          The UAE has no breweries as alcohol is prohibited by Islam – recycled into beer cans no, soda cans, maybe.

          • Secundius

            Not Entirely True!/? Virtually ALL Medications that is “Liquid” Based has Alcohol in it as a Stabilizing Agent. Only Alcohol NOT Produced by Fermentation of Fruits and Grains are Prohibited. “Mead” is a Alcohol based on “Honey” (and Very Easy to Produce), which is not Prohibited by Islamic Law…

          • Donald Carey

            You are funny – (you couldm’t be that ignorant) – I was talking about alcoholic beverages. As for the rest of your post – Islam prohibits WINE ya know.
            But I was also wrong, there are two breweries in the UAE – they produce low alcohol “beer” – the best 2 rated at 2.49 and 1.49 (out of a possible 5).

          • Secundius

            Mead is not a Wine…

          • Donald Carey

            Mead is a fermented beverage, just like wine.

          • Secundius

            “Glycerol” is Vegetable based Alcohol and “Bariatric” is a Fat based Alcohol produce by Animal Fats (including Humans)…

          • Donald Carey

            And this has what to do with this thread? BTW – glygerol is a byproduct of soap making – both from animal and vegetable fats/oils – any tryglyceride containing lipid. Bariatric does not pertain to alcohol at all – Bariatric is the term for weight-loss procedures like gastric bands.
            p.s. – You left outmethanol, etc.

          • Secundius

            No I Didn’t! I Just Didn’t Feel like Sitting Up ALL NIGHT Listing ALL The Products Found in Nature. That Can Be Converted Into Alcohol…

          • Donald Carey

            You still never explained how a list of non-beverage alcohols pertains to my remarks. But it is fun (which was what my original post was all about).

          • Secundius

            There are Actually Recipes for Vegetable Based Alcohol Drinks and Even Fat (Animal) Based Alcohol’s. The Latter include Cannibals living in New Guinea, Borneo, South America and New Zealand…

    • MissNickles

      If you’re referring to the HSV-Swift 2 that is leased to the Emirati Navy (UAE) then it wasn’t sank. It has a lot of front end damage, but is still afloat with out personnel casualties. However, yes, that is why there are 3 US Naval vessels tasked with being there. I love how articles like this put out where these ships are without concern over how that information can be used to target them. So much for Operational Security (OpSec).

      • sferrin

        I hope you don’t actually think you’re going to be able to use what one reads in an article as targeting information for a missile system.

      • Horn

        Mandeb Strait is 25 miles across and is one of the most heavily trafficked straits in the world. It’s not that hard to spot a warship out there, nor is it that hard to have spotters on civilian vessels. If it wasn’t such a busy strait, our ships wouldn’t be there.

  • Bailey Zhang

    No missile launch to intercept? No ESSM or SM-2 launched? If DDG87 were hit, it’s going be the biggest joke ever.

  • Ed L

    Glad some things never change. The strait of Bab el-Mandeb was always was great place for someone to throw rockets or artillery shells at ones ships. We used to run straits in 80 and 81 in the USS Seattle AOE-3 at night completely black out. At General Quarters

    • publius_maximus_III

      Thank you for your service to your country, Ed.

      Glad these sailors survived the attack, whether due to quick action on their part or the ineptitude of their enemy, we know not. Surely having entered the area in response to a night time missile attack on another vessel, they were well aware they were going in harm’s way, and knew exactly what to do when the time came. I hope the USN, the Saudi’s, and the rest of our ME allies can keep up the pressure.

      More destroyers, more destroyers, more DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Flight III destroyers!

  • John B. Morgen

    We did return fire?

  • Donald Carey

    Somehow, I cannot not think of the Gulf of Tonkin “incident”.

  • Ron8200

    I read about missiles fired at US ships in the AP and WSJ reports no reporting that the ships fired to defend themselves? Why would the media choose not to relay those facts?

    • Secundius

      I Guess at what Point in the Flight of the Missile, the Missile was Terminated. Not Knowing EXACTLY The Range of a LaWS Laser, Could Have a Detrimental Effect on the Performance of that Missile. If the Missile was Terminated BEFORE Leaving Yemen’s Territorial Air Space. No Longer Constitutes THAT Missile as a Threat…

      • Ron8200

        We fired 2 SM2 anti-missile interceptors and a point defense missile so they were within 10 miles traveling over 500 miles an hour. The ship did the right thing the reporting is what I question.

        • Secundius

          If the “Ponce” played No Active Role in Destroying the Missiles? What is “Ponce’s” Role in the Three US Navy Ships There? Q-Ship (Intelligence Gatherer) or Possible 3C-Ship (Command, Communication & Control) for a Possible Larger US Navy Presence in the Region…

          • Ron8200

            Ponce is a LPD transport for Marines/troops was being covered by the destroyers.

          • Secundius

            Last Assault Mission by “Ponce” was in 2012. Since 2013, Ponce was Outfitted for the Role of Command Ship and in 2014 as a Secondary-Role Test Ship…

  • Jayson DeBrune

    Of course Obama will want to do as little as possible for fear of alienating Iran and thus scuttling the nuclear deal. This is what those of us who opposed the deal predicted–that it would become a cover for Iranian aggression that the U.S. could not stop because the mullahs could always blackmail us with threats of restarting their nuclear program. But if the U.S. continues to ignore Iranian aggression, the result will be to plunge the region deeper into conflict and empower extremists of both Shiite and Sunni persuasion.