book cover
Cover Page




Aircraft Carriers






Torpedo Boats

Liberty Ships

Foreign Warships

Warships Associated With
World War II in the Pacific


Fletcher class

  8. USS Kidd (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
  9. USS Cassin Young (Boston, Massachusetts)
10. USS The Sullivans (Buffalo, New York)

Allen M. Sumner class

11. USS Laffey (Charleston, South Carolina)

Gearing class

12. USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (Fall River, Massachusetts)

Destroyers in World War II were general all purpose ships ready to fight off attacks from the air, on the surface, or from below the sea. They could be called upon to give fire support to troops, deliver mail and people to other ships, rescue pilots, and serve as the distant early warning eyes of the fleet in hostile waters.

Fletcher class destroyers are particularly significant and played a major role in the defeat of Japan in the Pacific. Fletcher class destroyers were the first to break with design practices that had developed as a result of the London Treaty of 1930. They were large ships that carried sufficient food, fuel, ammunition and stores for extended operations in the Pacific. With 175 built, Fletcher class destroyers were the largest class of destroyers constructed by the United States in World War II. USS Kidd, USS Cassin Young, and USS The Sullivans are all Fletcher class destroyers. USS Kidd is in excellent condition and retains her World War II integrity. USS Cassin Young and USS The Sullivans are in good condition and retain most of their World War II integrity. All three appear to meet the criteria for designation.

USS Laffey, an Alan M. Sumner class destroyer, also appears to meet the criteria for designation. The Alan M. Sumner class was an interim design between the Fletcher class and the much improved Gearing class. USS Laffey is particularly significant because of her action on April 16, 1945, when she fought one of the most famous destroyer-kamikaze duels of the Pacific War. In the space of 90 minutes she was attacked by 22 Japanese kamikazes and bombers. During this action USS Laffey managed to shoot down 11 of the attacking planes while being hit by five kamikazes and two bombs killing 32 and wounding 71 of her crew. USS Laffey was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for this action.

USS Laffey is the only Alan M. Sumner class destroyer surviving today in the United States. She is in fair condition and has lost some of her World War II integrity.

USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., a Gearing class destroyer, appears to meet the criteria for designation. The Gearing class was a late World War II design and represents the ultimate development in World War II destroyer design. USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. is in good condition and, although modernized, retains much of her World War II integrity. She is the only surviving Gearing class destroyer today in the United States.

USS Stewart, a World War II DET class destroyer escort, was also examined during the course of this study. USS Stewart is in Galveston, Texas displayed with the submarine USS Cavalla at Sea Wolf Park.

Although USS Stewart is the last surviving destroyer escort dating from World War II she does not appear to meet the criteria for designation because of her poor condition. It is recommended that USS Stewart be examined again in the future and, if her condition is improved, that she be considered for possible designation because she is the last representative of an important class of warship that saw service in the Pacific.


Last Modified: Fri, Aug 25 2000 12:00:00 pm PDT

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