USS STERETT (DD 407) Chronological History

1936

December 2 – DD-407 is laid down at the Charleston Navy Yard.  She is one of ten Benham class destroyers being built at six different shipyards, the STERETT being the only one built at the Charleston Navy Yard.

1938

October 27 – The second USS STERETT (DD 407) is launched, sponsored by Mrs. Camilla M. Ridgely Simpson.

1939

August 15 – DD-407 is commissioned with LCDR Atherton Macondray in command.

October 28 – DD-407 departs Charleston, SC, in company with Hughes (DD 410) and Mustin (DD 413), which were also newly-commissioned, for shakedown in the Gulf of Mexico. She visited Vera Cruz, Cristobal, Mobile and Guantanamo Bay before returning to Charleston on 20 December 1939.

1940

May 4 – Assigned to Destroyer Division 15, DD-407 rendezvous with Hammann (DD 412) at Guantanamo Bay, and the two destroyers steam for San Diego, via the Panama Canal.

May 23 – DD-407 arrives in San Diego and for a month dividing her time between training and plane guarding Enterprise (CV 6).

June 24 – DD-407 sails for Hawaii with Enterprise (CV 6) and five other destroyers arriving 02 July. She operates out of Pearl Harbor for the next 10 months, participating in a number of exercises and patrols.

1941

May 2 – LCDR Atherton Macondray is relieved by CDR Jesse G. Coward becoming DD-407’s second Commanding Officer. CDR Coward rose to the rank of Rear Admiral and is awarded the Navy Cross twice – while in command of DD-407 and as Commander, Destroyer Squadron FIFTY-FOUR.

May 14 – When Mississippi (BB 41) exits Pearl Harbor on this day, DD-407 was in her screen sailing eastward transiting the Panama Canal and arriving in Norfolk, VA, on 28 June 1941.

December 8 –  After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, DD-407 sails from Bermuda with Wasp (CV 7) and an assortment of cruisers and destroyers to counter possible action by Vichy French ships anchored at Martinique.

1942

January 15 – DD-407 sails to Argetia, Newfoundland, to meet Task Force (TF) 15 and escort a convoy to Iceland.

February 9 – Leaving Hvalfjordur, Iceland, DD-407 returns to the United States at New York on this day and gets underway 15 February to meet the liner Queen Mary off the Boston breakwater and escorts her into the harbor.

April 4 – As part of Wasp (CV 7) task group, DD-407 enters Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, performing escort duty with the British Home Fleet.

April 14 – DD-407 earns her first battle star on her African-Middle Eastern Campaign Ribbon for her service in the Reinforcement of Malta (14 April – 16 May 1942).

June 5 – After returning to Norfolk on 27 May 1942 from duty with the British Home Fleet, DD-407 is put to sea bound for San Diego arriving on 19 June.

July 1 – As part of Task Force 18, DD-407 steams via Tongatabu to the Fiji Island where she assimilates into Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turner’s South Pacific Amphibious Expeditionary Force and practices invasion techniques until 1 August 1942.

August 7 – DD-407 earns her first of 12 battle stars on her Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon for her service during the Guadalcanal-Tulagi Landings (7 – 9 August).

September 14 – DD-407 earns her second of 12 battle stars on her Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon for her service during the Capture and Defense of Guadalcanal (14 September – 12 November).

September 15 – Wasp (CV 7), DD-407’s long-standing companion, was sunk to the bottom of the Pacific after being hit by three torpedos from the Japanese submarine 1-19. Her wreck was found on 14 January 2019 by the research vessel Petrel 14,225 feet below sea level.

November 12 – On the evening of 12 November 1942, DD-407 begins participating in the Battle of Guadalcanal (12 – 13 November) earning her third of 12 battle stars on her Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon for her service during the Guadalcanal – Third Strike (12 – 15 November) operation. Her extraordinary heroism in action against an enemy Japanese Task Force earns her crew the Presidential Unit Citation. During the surface engagement, 28 Shipmates are killed in action (KIA) and two were missing (subsequently declared KIA).

 

1943

January 18 – During the overhaul at Mare Island, California, CDR Jesse G. Coward is relieved by LCDR Frank G. Gould as DD-407’s third Commanding Officer.

February 10 – After two months at mare Island, California, DD-407 sets sail joining Nassau (CVE 16) at Pearl Harbor, and together they enter Espiritu Santo on 8 March. STERETT resumes her original assignment guarding convoys to the Solomons-Bismarks area and patrolling the area to prevent reinforcement from being moved into fray.

February 25 – DD-407 conducts a crossing the line ceremony somewhere in the South Pacific.

March 20 – DD-407 earns her fourth of 12 battle stars on her Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon for her service during the Consolidation of the Southern Solomon Islands (20 March – 07 April).

April 7 – Just north of the eastern tip of Guadalcanal, DD-407 was attacked by over sixty Japanese Val dive-bombers injuring six Shipmates including Lieutenant Charles R. “Cal” Calhoun, author of Tin Can Sailor, Life Aboard the USS Sterett 1939-1945.

August 6 – DD-407 participates in the Battle of Vella Gulf (6 – 7 August) earning her fifth of 12 battle stars on her Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon for her service during the New Georgia Group Operation (6 – 7 August).

October 8 – DD-407 arrives in Sydney, Australia, escorting Cleveland (CL 55).

November 1 – DD-407 participates in the Treasury-Bouganville Operation (1 – 11 November) earning her sixth of 12 battle stars on her Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon for her service in the Buka-Bonis Strike (1 – 2 November), First Rabaul Strike (5 November), and the Second Rabaul Strike (11 November).

November 20 – DD-407 participates in the Gilbert Islands Operation (20 November – 08 December) earning her seventh of 12 battle stars on her Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon.

December 29 – After completing an availability at Havannah Harbor, Efate Island, New Hebrides in the South Pacific, DD-407 received a SECRET dispatch from Com Third Fleet ordering to rendezvous with USS WARRINGTON (DD 383) and SS Matsonia (ID 1589) and proceed to Guadalcanal.

1944

January 14 – LCDR Frank G. Gould is relieved by CDR Francis J.L. Boulin as DD-407’s fourth Commanding Officer while the ship is inport Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Eventually, CDR Francis J. Blouin rises to the rank of Vice Admiral.

January 29 – DD-407 participates in the Marshall Islands Operation (29 January – 8 February) earning her eight of 12 battle stars on her Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon during the occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls.

February 16 – DD-407 participates in the Asiatic-Pacific Raids earning her ninth of 12 battle stars on her Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon during the Truk attack (16 – 17 February) and Mariana attack (21 – 22 February).

June 11 – DD-407 participates in the Mariana Island Operation earning her 10th battle star on her Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon for her service in Capture and occupation of Saipan (11 – 24 June), First Bonin Island raids (15 – 16 June), Battle of the Philippine Sea (19 – 20 June), Capture and occupation of Guam (12 – 15 August), and Palau-Yap-Ulithi raid (25 – 27 July).

December 11 – Two weeks before Christmas, DD-407 enters Leyte Gulf in the Philippines for patrol and convoy duty.

December 28 – On her way to Mindoro, Philippines, DD-407 is attacked by three Japanese kamikazes. Antiaircraft fire splashes the first, but the second and third succeed in crashing into merchantmen. The ship endures the onslaught of the “Divine Wind” until the task unit is dissolved on New Year’s day 1945.

1945

January 4 – DD-407 participates in the Luzon Operation earning her 11th battle star on her Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon during Lingayen Gulf landing (4 – 18 January).

January 27 – After being transferred via highline in the Philippine Sea, CDR Francis J.L. Boulin is relieved by Gordon B. Williams as DD-407’s fifth and last Commanding Officer. CDR Williams in awarded the Navy Cross while in command of DD-407.

April 1 – DD-407 participates in the Okinawa Operation earning her 12th and final battle star on her Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon during Assault and Occupation of Okinawa (1 – 19 April).

April 9 – While conducting Carrier Air Patrol in the Northern Radar Picket One, DD-407 is hit by a kamikaze plane off the coast of Okinawa. The plane hit the ship just above the waterline and directly below the bridge, exploding into the mess hall. It made a ten-foot hole in the ship’s side, bashed in the diesel generator, and did some damage to the fuel oil tanks directly below. Fortunately, there we no dead and only minor injuries. STERETT was able to steam towards Kerama Reto under her own power. For his performance during and after the kamikaze attack, CDR Gordon “Gordy” Williams was awarded the Navy Cross.

September 28 – DD-407 arrives in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, after receiving extensive repairs in Bremerton, Washington, from her kamikaze attack.

October 8 – DD-407 begins her transit through the Panama Canal enroute to Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone, for a three-day stay.

November 2 – DD-407 is decommissioned in New York City, N.Y.

1947

February 27 – DD-407 is stricken from the Navy list.

August 10 – DD-407 is sold to the Northern Metal Company of Philadelphia for scrapping.

2003

September 18 – DD-407 begins it’s 22nd and last reunion at Springfield, IL, which was hosted Debbie A. Sterett & her father Larry S. Sterett (18 – 22 September).

Maintaining the objective of the Association by educating the public on the maritime heritage of all ships named STERETT as to the roles these ships played in the United States history, and the importance of preserving the ship’s historic data for future generations (2013 Bylaws, Article II).

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