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[i]On 17 March 1966, Gemini VIII had to initiate an emergency landing southeast of Okinawa (25 degrees, 13.8 minutes North, 136 degrees, 0 minutes East). Mason was operating with the USS George K. MacKenzie (DD-836) over one hundred eighty miles to the North of the splash down site when the ship was dispatched to rescue the crew and recover the capsule. The ship initiated a full power run, with all four boilers placed online in record time. The crew of Gemini VIII, Major David R. Scott, USAF, and Neil A. Armstrong, an ex Naval Officer, were lifted aboard the Mason. The Gemini VIII capsule was then hoisted on board. Mason then headed for Kadena Air Base, Naha, Okinawa, where her distinguished passengers and cargo were offloaded the next day. The ship then proceeded to Yokosuka, Japan, arriving 20 March 1966.
January of 1969 saw Mason operating as a Search And Rescue (SAR) unit in the Gulf Of Tonkin, returning to Yokosuka at the end of the month to prepare for duties as Apollo 9 standby recovery station in the Pacific. From 3 March to 13 March 1969, Mason was part of the Apollo 9 recovery force. Afterward, she was detached and headed across the equator for gunfire support duties in Vietnam.
On 1 April 1971, Mason became a unit of Destroyer Squadron 17. During the first week of July 1971, Mason participated in a mid-ocean spacecraft recovery exercise with a USCG Cutter from Long Beach, California. The two ships launched from their respective home ports - the Cutter from Long Beach and Mason from San Diego - and proceeded to race to the simulated location of the downed spacecraft. The Cutter won.[/i]
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