USS Kidd (DD-661)

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USS Kidd (DD-661)
The USS Kidd (DD-661)
Career United States Navy Jack
Laid down: 16 October 1942
Launched: 28 February 1943
Commissioned: 23 April 1943
Decommissioned: 19 June 1964
Struck: 1 December 1974
Fate: museum ship
General Characteristics
Displacement: 2,050 tons
Length: 376.4 ft (114.7 m)
Beam: 39.6 ft (12.1 m)
Draft: 13.8 ft (4.2 m)
Propulsion: 60,000 shp (45 MW);
2 propellors
Speed: 38 knots (70 km/h)
Range: 6500 nmi. (12,000 km)
@ 15 kt
Complement: 329
Armament: 5 × 5 in/38 guns (12 cm),
10 × 40 mm AA guns,
7 × 20 mm AA guns,
10 × 21 in (63 cm) torpedo tubes

USS Kidd (DD-661), a Fletcher-class destroyer, was the 1st ship of the United States Navy to be named for Rear Adm. Isaac C. Kidd, Commander of Battleship Division 1, who died on the bridge of his flagship USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Adm. Kidd was the first flag officer to die during World War II.


World War 2

Kidd (DD-661) was launched 28 February 1943 by Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Kearny, NJ; sponsored by Mrs. Isaac C. Kidd, widow of Rear Admiral Kidd, and commissioned 23 April 1943, Cmdr. Allan Roby in command. During her initial cruise to the Brooklyn Naval Shipyards, she sailed across New York Harbor flying the skull and crossbones of the Jolly Roger on the foremast. Subsequently, during outfitting, her crew adopted the pirate captain William Kidd as their mascot, and commissioned a local artist to paint a pirate figure on the forward smokestack.

After shakedown out of Casco, Maine in June, Kidd cruised in the Atlantic and Caribbean escorting large combatant vessels until she departed for the Pacific in August 1943 in company with USS Alabama (BB-60) and USS South Dakota (BB-57). Arriving Pearl Harbor 17 September 1943, she got underway 29 September escorting aircraft carriers toward Wake Island for the heavy air attacks 6 October and returned to Pearl Harbor 11 October 1943.

Mid-October found Kidd underway with a formidable task force to strike Rabaul and to support the Bougainville landings. Upon reaching a strike position south of Rabaul on the morning of 11 November, the task force struck hard at Japanese positions on the island. Kidd dropped astern of her formation to rescue the crew of a plane from aircraft carrier USS Essex(CV-9) which had splashed as the American carrier launched a strike at Rabaul. A group of planes from an extremely heavy Japanese counterattacking force dove at the destroyer in an attempt to sink her while she was on her own. Striking back hard, she splashed three Japanese planes and successfully completed the rescue while skillfully maneuvering to dodge torpedoes and bombs. Cmdr. Roby, her commanding officer, received the Silver Star for gallantry during this action. The destroyer returned to Espiritu Santo 13 November.

Kidd next screened carriers making air attacks on Tarawa during the Gilbert Island invasion from 19 to 23 November. On the 24th she spotted 15 low flying enemy bombers heading toward the heavy ships, gave warning, and shot down two "vals." After Tarawa was secure, Kidd remained in the Gilbert Islands to support cleanup operations before returning to Pearl Harbor 9 December.

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

From 20 March to 14 April Kidd guarded an airstrip under construction on Emirau and supported the occupation of Aitape and Hollandia in New Guinea 16 April to 7 May. She fought in the Mariana Campaign 10 June to 8 July and helped soften up Guam for invasion 8 July to 10 August.

In need of repairs, Kidd sailed for Pearl Harbor, arriving 26 August 1944. On 15 September she departed Pearl, reached Eniwetok 26 September, and arrived Manus 3 October. There she became part of the giant Philippines invasion fleet and entered Leyte Gulf 20 October. Here she screened the initial landings and provided fire support for soldiers who fought to reconquer the island until she sailed 14 November for Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, arriving 19 November. On 9 December Kidd headed toward Mare Island Navy Yard for overhaul and moored at Mare Island Christmas Day.

Kidd sailed 19 February 1945, to join Task Force 58 for the invasion of Okinawa. Trained and battlewise, Kidd played a key role during the first days of the Okinawa campaign, screening battleships, bombarding key targets ashore, rescuing downed pilots, sinking floating mines, providing early warning of raids, guarding heavily damaged Franklin, and shooting down kamikazes.

While on picket station 11 April 1945, Kidd and her division mates, USS Black (DD-666), USS Bullard (DD-660), and USS Chauncey (DD-667), with the help of Combat Air Patrol, repelled three air raids. That afternoon a single enemy plane crashed Kidd, killing 38 men and wounding 55. As the destroyer headed south to rejoin the task group, her effective fire drove off enemy planes trying to finish her. Stopping at Ulithi for temporary patchwork, she got underway 2 May for the West Coast, arriving Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard 25 May.

On 1 August 1945, Kidd sailed to Pearl Harbor and returned to San Diego, CA 24 September 1945 for inactivation. She decommissioned 10 December 1946 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Korean War

When North Korea attacked South Korea, the United States called up a portion of its reserve fleet. The Kidd was a part of that call and was recommissioned 28 March 1951, Lt. Cmdr. Robert E. Jeffery in command; sailed to the Western Pacific 18 June; and arrived Yokosuka 15 July. She joined Task Force 77 and patrolled off the Korean coast until 21 September when she sailed for the East Coast of Korea. From 21 October to 22 January 1952, Kidd bombarded targets of opportunity from Wan-Do Island to below Koesong. She then sailed with Destroyer Division 152 to San Diego, arriving 6 February 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 off North Korea. Shortly thereafter, truce talks began. Kidd continued to patrol the Korean coast during negotiations. She departed the Far East 3 March 1953 via Midway and Pearl Harbor and arrived San Diego for overhaul 20 March.

Post Korean War

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

From late 1953 to late 1959 Kidd alternated Westpac cruises with operations on the West Coast making stops at Pearl Harbor and various ports in Japan, Okinawa, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

She visited Sydney, Australia, 29 March 1958 and later that year patrolled the Taiwan Strait.

Kidd got underway 5 January 1960 for the East Coast via the Panama Canal, arriving Philadelphia, PA 25 January. From there she made Naval Reserve training cruises to various East Coast ports. She joined fleet operating forces during the Berlin Crisis in 1961. December 1961 found Kidd patrolling off the Dominican Republic in a "show-of force" patrol to provide an element of security in the troubled Caribbean.

Kidd arrived Norfolk, VA 5 February 1962 and joined Task Force Alfa for ASW exercises. On 24 April she was assigned to the Naval Destroyer School at Newport, RI. After a cruise to the Caribbean, on 1 July 1962 she resumed Naval Reserve training. Kidd decommissioned 19 June 1964, entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, and berthed at the Philadelphia Shipyard.

The Navy set aside three Fletcher-class ships for use as memorials; USS The Sullivans (DD-537), USS Cassin Young (DD-793), and USS Kidd. Louisiana congressman William Henson Moore selected Kidd to serve as a memorial for Louisiana World War II veterans. Kidd was towed from Philadelphia and arrived in Baton Rouge on 23 May 1982, and opened to the public on 27 August 1983 as part of the Louisiana Veterans Memorial. Over the years, Kidd has been restored to her August 1945 configuration and armament, culminating on 3 July 1997, when her torpedo tubes were reloaded.

The Kidd's special dock in the Mississippi River is designed to cope with the annual change in river depth, which can be up to forty feet; for half the year she floats in the river, the other half of the year she is dry-docked out of the water.

Kidd has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Kidd received four battle stars for World War II service and four battle stars for Korean service.

See USS Kidd for other ships of the same name.


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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