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Fletcher Class -2100 tons-Launched April 16th-1942-Boston Navy Yard-Commissioned 2-9-43 in Charleston , MA, Navy Yard-by Mrs. Floyd Bennett, wife of Pilot Floyd Bennett, who flew Adm. Byrd to North Pole. Commanding officer, Cdr. Edmund B. Taylor, USN. Former CO of USS Duncan DD485, sunk in battle of Cape Esperance, Guadalcanal-Oct. '42. The Bennett crew was composed of members of the USS Duncan, USS O'Brien and a contingent of Boots from Newport Naval Training Station. Bennett had shakedown cruise to Casco Bay, Me and Guantanamo Bay , Cuba, where she rescued survivors of a sunken merchant ship.
Bennett became member of DesRon 45-DesDiv 89. In all operations Bennett operated with other members of DesRon 45. Co. Cdr.Ralph Earle, USN-commanding.
After shakedown Bennett and Anthony , escorted USS Essex CV 9- from Norfolk, VA to Pearl Harbor. At Pearl Harbor we operated with USS Washington BB 56, practicing with the new 5"/38 VT fuse. In July "43, Cdr. Taylor, was relieved by LtCdr Philip F. Hauck, our Exec. Lieut. R.R.Carter, replaced Hauck as our Exec.
We left Pearl Harbor and crossed the Equator on Aug. 10th, l943. Most of us became new Shellbacks. Stopped in American Samoa, escorted convoy from there to just west of Neumea, New Caledonia, where the Australian Navy took over. From there, to Havana Harbor , Efate, Espiritu Santos and Purvis Bay, Florida Island, across from Guadalcanal, this was to become our operating base and anchorage.
Liberty consisted of two beers, swinging on vines , swimming and a walk in the jungle. Some previous DD residents had built a bamboo hut, "Club Des Slot". We did a lot of patrolling, and as most DD's, performed many tasks including hauling six" ammo for cruisers. We also were allowed a short visit to the beach on Guadalcanal. On November 1st, 1943, we escorted Marines to the invasion of Bougainville, at Empress Augusta Bay. We fired many shore bombardments, had many air raids, and were alongside the transport Fuller when she took a bomb in her after hatch, and were credited with shooting down two Japanese planes.
DesRon 45 became known as "Earle's Cans", after our CO Cdr. Ralph Earle. Bennett made many trips up and down the slot, bringing supplies to Bougainville. In January and February of '44, we raided Green Island and Emirau. Guest and Hudson sank a Japanese submarine; Bennett was strafed by Japanese plane, No casualties. We rescued a downed P-38 pilot. Bennett then proceeded to Rabaul Harbor, and Kavieng, where we conducted shore bombardments and wrecked the "Kavieng Yacht Club". From there, we went on a shipping sweep toward Truk. Island. Nothing to report. . On Easter Sunday, April "44, we arrived in Sydney, Australia, for seven days. On returning to Solomon Islands, in May, Bennett and Halford were searching for Japanese submarines in the Shortland Islands. On Poporang Island an unknown crew member observed what looked like a bamboo watch tower which some one was climbing, we fired the 5" ready gun to knock down the tower, three Japanese Guns replied. They had us straddled and we were doing some excellent maneuvering. Halford Opened fire and they shifted fire to Halford. We commenced to make a smoke screen and Retired in good order. A photo taken by the Halford showing the Bennett under fire is in the Book "Destroyer Operations in WW II" published by US Naval Institute, Annapolis, Md.
In June of '44, Bennett escorted Marines from Solomon Island bases to Saipan and the Mariana's campaign. Did some shore bombardment , and then down to Guam to prepare the beach for the invasion. Fired support for UD teams.
DesRon 45 was directed to leave Guam to screen 10 battleships and cruisers of task force 58 in the First Battle of the Phillipine Sea (Mariana's Turkey Shoot), June 19-21. Bennett assisted in shooting down the plane that hit the South Dakota with a bomb- Only ship in fleet that was hit.
Bennett then returned to Guam for the Invasion-worked with USS Pennsylvania suppressing fire from Orote Peninsula. Returned to Tinian Island for more shore bombardment and Radar Pickett duty. During the Marianas Campaign Bennett was at sea for close to 90 days. We left Mariana's for Solomon Islands and escorted Marines from there to the Caroline Islands for the Invasion of Peleliu Island in the Palau Islands. Our first assignment was assisting the Mine Sweepers in sweeping Kossol Passage-they cut them and we blew them up. On September 15 USS Wadleigh relieved us and shortly thereafter She fouled amine on her starboard side. The blast shattered Her forward Engine Room, her rudder was damaged ; all power was lost. Three Men were killed and 15 injured. We went alongside and assisted with our pumps and a tow. We continued to assist mine sweepers in the Straits of Babelthaup. We left the Palaus and proceeded to Manus Island in the Admiralty Islands and on my 19th Birthday left to return to the States through Pearl Harbor and to San Francisco, Hunters Point for overhaul and 21 Day leave. Captain Hauck was replaced as CO, by Cdr. J.N. McDonald.
We left San Francisco for return to Pacific in December '44 and spent New Years Eve in Pearl Harbor-some Phantom blew the Steam Whistle at Midnight and all hands were required to report topside.
From the Hawaiian Islands we escorted Marines to the invasion of Iwo Jima. We did night illumination and call fire -broke up one Banzi charge for the Marines-silenced a shore battery that was firing on a transport that had steamed to the wrong side of the Island. Went North to HaHa Jima-ChiChi Jima as Radar Picket. Upon our return to Iwo we were on call fire at night and were surprised by a Jap Plane making a low run on us-he flew over the forcastle and our #3 Forty Millimeter shot him down going away. The following morning water was discovered in some forward lockers-further inspection disclosed a hole in our port side The Japanese plane had dropped a dud bomb or torpedo that had not armed and failed to explode. Temporary repairs were made and we continued on call fire. We left Iwo to Tacloban on Samar Island in the Phillipine Islands and were repaired in a Floating Dry Dock. When repaired we did Submarine Patrol until it was time to invade Okinawa.
While escorting convoy to Okinawa shot down 1 attacking Japanese plane. On April 1, 1945 the invasion began, Bennett was assigned Radar Picket Station #4,East China Sea where we ,as a Fighter Director Ship, had control of the Cap .Bennett had numerous bogie contacts and over the next couple of days expended much ammunition. We proceeded to Keramo Retto for Ammunition and on 4-6 were proceeding to our new station and for the next 36 hours were under continuous attack by Kamikaze planes. One flew over the ship missed and dropped a 500# bomb off the port quarter. Another came at us in a steep dive from starboard , missed us and crashed in the water 40 yds off the Port side. We shot down a few and the CAP a lot. Bennett was directed to Relieve USS Calhoun on Picket Station #2 so she could go to the assistance of USS Bush who had been hit by several Kamikazes and was in danger of sinking. Calhoun was Tied up to Bush and she was hit .We were ordered to report to Picket Station #1 to assist Bush and Calhoun as per USS Cassin Young who was removing crew from Calhoun-Bush had sunk. We proceeded to area where Bush had sunk to search for survivors. Cassin Young had removed crew from Bush and Calhoun and sunk the Calhoun with gun fire. She proceeded to Okinawa with the survivors. We continued to search and spotted a man in the water with our search light and called an LCI (Pall Bearer) to rescue him. We kept searching with our light and turned it off when bogies were picked by radar. We were assisted by USS Sterett until she had to leave to assist in the sinking of the Emmons and help the Rodman.. We continued to be attacked for the rest of the night and at 0800 we were attacked by six bogies, Cap shot down all but one which he chased out of the clouds - Japs left wing was on fire , we told the plane to pull off so we could open fire-we got off 45 rounds and he was then under range. He circled the stern of the ship and our 20mm &40mm were taking pieces out of him and he managed to hit us on the starboard side at the water line and a five hundred pound bomb he was carrying penetrated the hull and hit the steam drum in the forward fire room and blew the bulkhead in the forward engine room. 7 Men were killed and 14 wounded including the Engineering Officer. USS Sterett screened Bennett while repairs were made and we proceeded to Kereamo Retto . Temporary repairs were made to our hull and we left Kereamo escorting LST's full of wounded to Saipan. And then to Bremerton ,Wa. Navy Yard for repairs. 30 Day leaves were given to all.
After our repairs were done we going out to the Pacific again when the war ended. We met a High Speed Transport , USS Coral in San Diego and escorted her through the Aleutian Islands to Petropavlovsk, Kamchata Peninsula,Russia to establish a weather station. Bennett stayed 5-7 days and then left to return to US and encountered a Pacific Storm that kept us out of Kodak, Alaska for three days. Seas were heavy and we were picking up a lot of ice. When we entered Kodiak we had damage to the whale boat and the forward superstructure and were covered with ice. To our great surprise the other 4 ships of DesDiv 89 were there. We were the first warship to enter Sitka, Alaska and represented the US Navy on Oct 27,'45 Navy Day. We were directed to report to the 19th Fleet Reserve , San Diego for Decommissioning. On April 18 we were officially Decommissioned. There were 32 Plank Owners still on the ship. We were 2 days short of being 4 years in commission. In 1958 Guest and Bennett were Sold to Brazil. DesRon45 had 3 Navy Unit Commendations and One Presidential Unit Citation. PU -Bennett, Hudson and Anthony-PUC Wadsworth. Bennett citation was for our service at Okinawa-between us and CAP we destroyed 17 planes.