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  USS Kidd DD-661
USN
Fletcher class destroyer

2,050 Tons
376' x 39' 8" x 17' 9"
5 x 5" guns
10 x 40mm AA guns
7 x 20mm AA guns
10 x 21" torpedo tubes
6 x depth charge proj
2 x depth charge tracks

Ship History
Built by Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Kearny, New Jersey. Laid down October 16, 1942. Launched February 28, 1943. Commissioned April 23, 1943 with Commander Allan Roby in command.

World War II History
During her initial cruise to the Brooklyn Naval Shipyards, she sailed across New York Harbor with a Jolly Roger on the foremast and the crew adopted pirate captain William Kidd as their mascot with a a pirate figure painted on the forward smokestack. Kidd had a shakedown cruise out of Casco Bay, Maine.

During June 1943 served in the Atlantic and Caribbean escorting cargo ships. During August 1943 steamed for the Pacific with USS Alabama and USS South Dakota arriving at Pearl Harbor on September 17, 1943.

On September 29, 1943 departed escorting aircraft carriers to attack Wake Island on October 6, 1943 then returned to Pearl Harbor on October 11, 1943. During the middle of October, Kidd joined a task force.

On November 11 was south of Rabaul supporting air strikes and rescued the crew of an aircraft from USS Essex (CV-9) that ditched astern of the task force. During this rescue, a group of Japanese aircraft attacked the destroyer; Kidd shot down three attacking aircraft and completed the rescue while maneuvering to dodge torpedoes and bombs. Cmdr. Roby received the Silver Star for gallantry during this action. Afterwards, Kidd returned to Espiritu Santo arriving November 13.

During November 19-23, screened the carriers during the attacks on Tarawa. On November 24, she spotted 15 low flying enemy bombers heading toward the heavy ships, gave warning, and shot down two Aichi D3A Val dive bombers. After Tarawa was secure, Kidd remained on station until leaving for Pearl Harbor arriving on December 9.

On 11 January 1944 Kidd sailed for the forward area at Espiritu Santo, then sailed the next day for Funafuti, arriving 19 January. During the invasion of the Marshall Islands during January 29 to February 8, Kidd screened heavy ships and bombarded Roi and Wotje, then anchored at Kwajalein on February 26.

During March 20 to April 14, Kidd guarded Emirau while Emirau Airfield was built then supported the occupation of Aitape and Hollandia during April 16 to May 7. She participated in the Marianas campaign during June 10 to July 8, and performed shore bombardment at Guam on July 8 and 10 August.

Kidd went to Pearl Harbor, arriving August 26 1944 for repairs then departed on September 15, arriving at Eniwetok on September 26 then to Manus arriving October 3 and joined the Philippines invasion fleet and on October 20, 1944 was in Leyte Gulf performing screening for the initial landings and provided fire support until departing on November 14, 1944 arriving at Humboldt Bay. On December 9, 1944 Kidd departed for Mare Island for overhaul arriving on Christmas.

Kidd departed on February 19, 1945 and joined Task Force 58 (TF 58) for the invasion of Okinawa and performed duties including screening battleships, bombarding shore targets, rescuing downed pilots, sinking floating mines, providing early warning of raids, guarding damaged USS Franklin (CV-13), and helping to shoot down kamikazes.

On April 11, 1945 off Okinawa, USS Kidd along with USS Black, USS Bullard, and USS Chauncey, with Combat Air Patrol (CAP) aerial cover repelled three air raids. That afternoon, a single Kamikaze plane crashed into Kidd, killing 38 men and wounding 55. As the destroyer headed south to rejoin the task group, her fire drove off further enemy planes that were trying to finish her off. She departed the area stopping at Ulithi for temporary repairs departing May 2 then reaching Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard on May 25, 1945.

On August 1, 1945, Kidd departed for Pearl Harbor and returned to San Diego on September 24, 1945 for inactivation. Decommissioned on December 10, 1946 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Korean War History
Recommissioned on March 28, 1951 with Lt. Cmdr. Robert E. Jeffery in command for the Korean War. On June 18, 1951 departed for Yokosuka arriving on July 15, 1951. Assigned to Task Force 77 and patrolled off Korean. During October 21. 1951 to January 22. 1952, Kidd bombarded targets of opportunity from Wan-Do Island to Koesong. Afterwards, she departed for San Diego with Destroyer Division 152 on February 6, 1952.

Kidd again got underway for Korea 8 September 1952; joined the screen of a hunter-killer group near Kojo; and, in November, was back on bombardment missions of targets in North Korea during peace negotiations. She departed the area on March 3, 1953 traveling via Midway and Pearl Harbor before arrived at San Diego for overhaul on March 20.

Once the overhaul was completed, Kidd proceeded to Long Beach, California on 20 April 1953. The next day, the Swedish freighter Hainan collided with Kidd in Long Beach harbor requiring repairs that lasted until May 11, 1953.

From late 1953 to late 1959 Kidd alternated West Pacific cruises with operations on the West Coast making stops at Pearl Harbor and various ports in Japan, Okinawa, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. On March 29 1958 visited Sydney then patrolled the Taiwan Strait.

On January 5, 1960 departed via the Panama Canal the arrived at Philadelphia on January 25 and made Naval Reserve training cruises along the east coast. In 1961, joined fleet operating forces during the Berlin Crisis. December 1961 Kidd patrolled off the Dominican Republic in a "show of force" patrol.

On February 5, 1962 arrived in Norfolk, VA and joined Task Force Alfa for Anti-Submarine warfare (ASW) exercises. On April 24, 1962 assigned to the Naval Destroyer School at Newport, RI then did a cruise to the Caribbean and returned on July 1, 1962. The vessel was decommissioned on June 19, 1964 and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet and berthed at the Philadelphia Shipyard.

Display
Finally, Kidd was towed from Philadelphia and arrived in Baton Rouge on May 23, 1982 and transferred to the Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission as the USS Kidd Veterans Museum. Over the years, Kidd has been restored to her August 1945 configuration and armament.

Artifacts from the kamikaze attack are displayed in an exhibit at the United States Naval Academy Museum (USNA Museum).

References
USS Kidd Veterans Museum - Official Website

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Last Updated
January 10, 2018

 

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