- USS Gatling (DD-671)
USS "Gatling" (DD-671) was a sclass|Fletcher|destroyer of the
United States Navy, named for Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling, the inventor of the Gatling gun.
"Gatling" was laid down
3 March 1943by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Kearny, N.J.; launched 20 June1943; sponsored by Mrs. John W. Gatling, wife of the inventor's grandson; and commissioned 19 August1943 at New York Navy Yard, Lieutenant Commander Alvin H. Richardson in command.
World War II
19 November1943 "Gatling" proceeded to Trinidad, British West Indies, to escort aircraft carrierUSS|Langley|CVL-27|2 to Norfolk. "Gatling" stood out from Norfolk 3 December, escorting USS|Intrepid|CV-11|2 through the Panama Canalto San Francisco, California, arriving 22 December. The next day she sailed for Pearl Harbor.
16 January 1944"Gatling" sortied with the Fast Carrier Task Force(then Fifth Fleet's TF 58, also known as Third Fleet's TF 38) to support the forthcoming invasion of the Marshall Islands; thereafter, "Gatling" was continuously with the carrier task forces as they struck Japanese outposts and finally hit the heart of Japanitself.
In February the first carrier strikes against
Trukoccurred. "Gatling" provided fire support during the raid and screened the flattops during raids on the Marianas a few days later. In March she joined in the attack on Emirau Islandand at the beginning of April in the air strikes against the Palau Archipelago. Steaming south to strike Hollandia, Wakde, Sawar, and Same, New Guinea, the task force supported Army landings at Aitape, Tanahmerah Bay, and Humboldt Bay from 21 to 26 April. During this action, "Gatling" stood radar picketduty and directed fighter planes. After new attacks on Truk late April 1944, "Gatling" supported the invasion and occupation of the Marianas from 10 Juneto 5 July. In the Battle of the Philippine Sea, 19 and 20 July, "Gatling" was credited with shooting down or aiding in the destruction of six Japanese planes.
Late that month, carrier task forces again struck the Palaus and blasted
Yapand Ulithi. In early August the Bonin Islandsbecame targets for "Gatling" guns, and in September the carriers she guarded repeatedly struck Japanese targets in the Philippines.
October saw attacks against
Okinawaon the 10th and against Formosa, Luzon, and the Visayasfrom the llth to the 23d. On 24 October, after enemy bombs had sunk the USS|Princeton|CVL-23|6 in the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, "Gatling" rescued over 300 of the light carrier's survivors. For heroism in saving these men, four "Gatling" crewmen were awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, and 16 others received the Bronze Star.
"Gatling" landed the survivors at Ulithi and rejoined the carrier task force for November and December strikes against the Philippines. After powerful
Typhoon Cobra, in which three destroyers capsized, "Gatling" searched for survivors and helped to save over 100 men from the sea.
At Christmas 1944, the destroyer returned to Ulithi. The task force sortied
29 Decemberto strike Formosa and Luzon during January 1945. Hoping to locate and destroy a Japanese fleet in that area, Admiral William Halseytook the task force into the South China Sea 10 Januaryand hit targets in Indochinaand on the Chinacoast.
In the middle of February, the carriers launched initial attacks against
Honshūwith Tokyoas their main target. As part of a picket line over 30 miles in advance of the main forces, "Gatling" was once within 40 miles (75 km) of Honshū. On 19 and 20 February, as part of Destroyer Division 99 (DesDiv 99), she escorted USS|North Carolina|BB-55|2 and USS|Indianapolis|CA-35|2 to Iwo Jimato support the gallant Marines who were fighting to wrest that volcanic fortress from Japan to become a base for B-29s damaged over the home islands. Rejoining the carrier task force, "Gatling" aided in new strikes against Honshū and Okinawa in late February and early March. She returned to Iwo Jima independently and throughout March blasted Japanese shore batteries to support the invasion. During this duty, the versatile and busy destroyer saved the entire crew of a B-29 forced down while returning from a mission against Nagoya.
29 March 1945, she stood out from Iwo Jima, escorting transports carrying victorious marines to Guam. The destroyer then sailed to the United States for well-earned overhaul and repairs, arriving San Francisco 18 April.
After repairs and refresher training, "Gatling" escorted USS|New Jersey|BB-62|2 and USS|Biloxi|CL-80|2 to
Eniwetok, bombarding Wake Islanden route. Continuing to escort "New Jersey", she arrived at Guam 9 August. There the news came that Japan had accepted the provisions of the Potsdam Declarationand agreed to surrender. "Gatling" now headed for Japan escorting transports bearing the 4th Marine Division as the 3d Fleet rendezvoused off Japan. On 3 September1945, "Gatling" steamed into Tokyo Bayas a unit of the Allied Naval Occupation Forces of Japan.
During her aggressive career in
World War II, "Gatling" traveled over 175,000 miles (320,000 km) and fired 77 tons of high explosives from her guns. She sank two enemy ships and splashed eight Japanese planes, either as kills or assists. In addition to her other rescue missions, preserving the lives of over 400 sailors, she saved 37 aviators forced to ditch at sea. Finally, these heroic exploits through two busy battle-filled years were accomplished without the loss of a single man from enemy action, sickness, or accident.
16 July 1946and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleetat Charleston, South Carolina
1951 – 1960
After Communist aggression erupted in
Korea, the veteran destroyer recommissioned 4 June 1951at Charleston, South Carolina, Commander W. J. Keating in command. Until August 1952, she operated off the Atlanticcoast and in the West Indiesbefore proceeding to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyardfor modernization.
In the fall of 1952, "Gatling" (as a unit of the
NATOforces) stood out of Newport, R.I., bound for Europe; she visited Scotland, Norway, and Belgiumin Operation Mainbrace. Later she was active in Operation Springboard, calling at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean Sea. Returning to the Far Eastern waters she knew so well, "Gatling" arrived at Tokyo 3 June 1953, and joined Task Force 77. supporting United Nations forces in Korea. Then, following the sun, she steamed to Manila, Saigon, Singapore, Colombo, and, passing through the Suez Canal, called at Franceand Portugal. She returned to Philadelphia in late summer 1953.
After repairs and training in
New Englandwaters, "Gatling" sailed to Portugal, France, and Italy. Recrossing the Atlantic and transiting the Panama Canal, the destroyer arrived Guayaquil, Ecuador, 7 October 1955. The following year she visited France and Cubaas a part of her varied operating schedule.
In 1957 "Gatling" again took part in NATO exercises, calling at
Spain, Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon. Further operations brought her to England, to Spain again, and in 1958 to San Juan and Cuba. Her last major operations took her to Mediterraneanports of call, Pakistanand Iran, after which "Gatling" returned to her home base at Rhode Island 11 October 1959.
"Gatling", after distinguished service in war and peace, again decommissioned
2 May 1960and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Norfolk. She was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register 1 December 1974, sold 22 February 1977and broken up for scrap.
"Gatling" received eight
battle stars for World War II service and one battle star for Korean Warservice.
* [http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/g2/gatling.htm history.navy.mil: USS "Gatling"]
* [http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/671.htm navsource.org: USS "Gatling"]
* [http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd671txt.htm hazegray.org: USS "Gatling"]
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