USS Newport News CA-148 Naval Research - CONGA Combat Naval Gunfire Support File
"Thunder" USS Newport News CA-148 off North Vietnam October 1967 / image adapted from photo by John Glass  
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USS Newport News CA-148 off North Vietnam
( image from photo by John Glass October 1967 )

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Combat Naval Gunfire Support File (CONGA) 3/1966 - 1/1973

The US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) maintains a web site called AAD Access to Archival Databases at which one can browse and download selected archival data files.

In particular,  the Combat Naval Gunfire Support File (CONGA), 3/1966 - 1/1973 contains a record for every naval gun fire mission during that period of the Vietnam War.  Each record contains the date, time, target coordinates, rounds expended, etc.

Thanks to shipmate Bob Chase,  who scrubbed the raw .csv file into a much more readable .xls spreadsheet and plotted USS Newport News CA-148 targets on MGRS charts from the period.

Charts with plotted CONGA Data

Summary of Mission Totals

Summary of Ordinance Codes and Totals

Summary of Target Codes and Totals

Spreadsheet of scrubbed data  (monthly html files)

Spreadsheet of scrubbed data   (230KB .zip file)   (900KB .xls file)
(In Internet Explorer, right-click one of the links above and choose "Save Target As ...")

If you're looking for particular data and have a fast enough Internet connection to download and save the spreadsheet,  you should explore the pull-down selection menus that Bob Chase placed on each column heading.  What a slick feature !

Bob's PDF version of the spreadsheet   (170KB .zip file)   (240KB .pdf file)
(In Internet Explorer, right-click one of the links above and choose "Save Target As ...")

Thanks to shipmate Leon Fair for helping us understand why CONGA times appeared to be off by an hour.  Leon explained:

"As you know Vietnam is in the time zone +7h 30min of Zulu  (something to do with the way the convention set up the system of longitude in 1884).  Because of the 30 min period,  ships operating off Vietnam were instructed to follow some op-order dating back to WW2,  and to set their clocks to +8h of Zulu,  which in effect had them operating in the Chinese/West Australia time zone.  If you will recall,  if you visited Hong Kong there was no time shift.  Nor was there one when you went back to the Philippines.  The sole purpose was to eliminate errors in time keeping  (on the ship and in the world wide military system).  The funny thing is that because of the convention,  as large as it is,  all of China is in the same time zone. "

AAD has four files with data relevant to USS Newport News CA-148.  To view them:

1.  Go to the AAD website,
2.  Select "Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975" in the Subject pulldown,
3.  Select "Submit".

The four files of interest in the resulting selection are:

Naval Bombardment File, 10/25/1966 - 4/5/1970 (HOSTA)
Combat Naval Gunfire Support File, 3/1966 - 1/1973 (CONGA)
Combat Area Casualties Database, ca. 1967 - ca. 12/1998
Unit Information for Vietnam Casualties Database, ca. 1983 - 6/19/2002

The first file,  HOSTA,  is mentioned elsewhere on this web site.  It contains data for contains data for every incident of hostile fire against naval ships during the period.

The third and fourth files contain information about our lost shipmates.  I have not yet downloaded that data nor carefully reviewed it all,  but my initial look leaves some doubt about how complete it is.

Carl W. Cole
James Island SC
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