Sea History 100 - Spring 2002

Page 19

and 40mm anti-aircraft guns and radars for detecting and tracking targets and co ntrolling 5" gunfire. Agai nst enemy gro und emplacemem s, soldiers and marines grew to cover the quick response and accuracy of gunfire support called in from the offshore destroyers. ManyGls at No rmandy's Omaha Beach owe their lives to the Destroyer Squadro n (DesRon) 18 "tin cans" that steam ed almost up to the beach line to engage German fortifications. Against Japanese warships, the exploits of D esRon 23 led by Arleigh "3 1-Knot" Burke in the South Pacific in the fall of 1943 captured the public imaginatio n. "The Little Beavers," as the squadron was called, demonstrated that ably led American warships could fight with superior ferocity and Captain Arleigh ''3 1-Knot" Burke was the most famous of America's destroyermen. As skill at night, long thought of as a Japanese commander ofSquadron 23 in the Pacific during WWII, he pioneered destroyer tactics that hallmark. revolutionized naval strategy and command structure. H ere, he reads on the bridge wing of Serving in all theaters, World War II his flagship, USS C harles Ausburne (DD 570) during operations in the Solomons in 1943"tin cans" contributed to the final victory, 44. The squadron's "Little Beaver" insignia is painted on the side of the bridge, and an bur not without cost. Ar Normandy, three impressive scoreboard is evident on the side ofthe Mark 37 director over the bridge. destroyers were lost to mines and enemy gunfire. In the Pacific, Japanese kamikaze (FRAM) refirs. Unde r FRAM I, 79 Wo rld (DD 7 12) roa proto type missile ship (DDG aircraft plunged imo dozens of destroyers War II vi ntage destroyers had a section 1) proved unsatisfactory, as the Terrier performing radar picket duties off Okinawa added berween engine compartments to missile system was too cumbersome for the in the final months of the war, causing high host Anti-Submarine Rocker (ASROC) ship to handle. Co nsequently, the C harles loss of li fe. It was most firring that 39 launchers, a flight deck aft for the un- F. Adams class and larger Farragut cl ass American destroyers were present in Tokyo manned Drone Anti-Submarine Helicop- entering service in the early 1960s incorpoBay on 2 September 1945 to observe the ter (DASH ), and a modern hull-mounted rated hull and engin eering features of the sonar. Less extensive FRAM II conversio ns Forrest Sherman and Mirscher classes. Arformal surrender of the Japanese Empire. Flushed with victory and with no im- rook another 52 wa rtime destroyers and guably some of the finest-looking warships mediate threat, the Navy scrapped and laid added a rowed variable depth sonar. So the Navy has ever built, the 4,5 00 ton up hundreds of destroyers. T he dras tic refirred, these des troyers proved capable of Charles F. Adams class co uld meet chaldecline came to a halt on 25 June 1950 tracking Soviet submarines during the lenges posed by submarine, surface and air when No rth Ko rea invaded So uth Korea, C uban missile crisis and providing gunfire threats with an array of sensors and weapprompting a UN response. Naval Reserv- support during the Vietnam War. When the "Fram-Cans" returned to ists joined with active du ty sailors to bring many World War II tin cans back to life. service after their modernizations, they augOnce on station in the Western Pacific, mented a destroye r fo rce that included destroyers co nducted sho re bombardment, 3,900-ton Forrest Sherman-class destroyscreened carrier task forces, and performed ers and larger 7,200-ron Mirscher-class dem yriad other chores. With a Soviet bomber stroyer leaders. Enterin g service in the threat looming, the Navy moumed large air 195 0s, these warships feat ured new 5" 54search radars on some of the ships, desig- caliber rapid-fire single-mount guns. However, their weak anti-air defenses nating them radar picker destroyers (DD R). With the post-war development of jet influenced the deployment of these WWII aircraft and rhe improvements to subma- and post-war destroyers during the crisis as rines, surface ships became more vulner- naval commanders feared that moving the able during the early Cold War. Improve- quarantine line closer to Cuba wo uld make ments were made to the WWII destroyer the ships vulnerable. As the crisis unfolded, fleet that fo rmed the backbone of the Navy the Navy was in the process of introducing from the late 1940s into the '70s. For a new destroyer type carrying a surface-roexample, many of the Allen M. Sumner- air missile system-the DDG. An attempt to address the problem and Gearing-class destroye rs underwe nt Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization thro ugh the conversion of the USS Gyatt