The Gleaves Class Destroyer, KEARNY, was built by the
Federal Shipbuilding Co. in Kearny, N.J. She was 348’ 4" long and
displaced 1630 tons. Trial speed was 37.4 knots. Wartime crew totaled
276 men. She carried 4 5" guns and 10 21" torpedo tubes plus
AA armament. Her 4 Babcock and Wilcox boilers sent steam to two general
electric turbines to produce 50,000 shaft horsepower. Her complement of
oil was 2,928 barrels. Cost was $5,082,000. The contract was signed on
17 August 1938, keel laid on 1 March 1939, launched 9 March 1940 and
commissioned 13 September 1940. The sponsor was Miss Mary Kearny,
descendant of Commodore Laurence Kearny, who distinguished himself in
capturing slave-trading ships and in fighting Greek pirates in the
Mediterranean. Kearny died at his birthplace, Perth Amboy, N.J. in 1868
at 79 years of age. DD-432’s first CO was Cdr. Anthony L. Danis.
After shakedown she started neutrality patrol in the
Caribbean. April and May 1941 saw KEARNY escort THE RANGER, WASP and
Cruiser QUINCY. The ship left Bermuda on 9 Sept. for Newfoundland and
escort duty, which began on 23 Sept. While escorting convoy on the 24th,
she was hit in the forward fire room by a torpedo at 10 past midnight.
Quick action confined the flooding to the forward fire room. Casualties
were 11 killed and 22 injured. The after power plant pushed the ship
along at three knots. Repairs were soon made to the forward engine room
and speed increased. The ship tied next to the repair ship VULCAN in
Iceland on 19 Oct. On 22 Nov., Lt. Com. A.H. Oswald assumed command. The
ship left Iceland on Christmas Day 1941 and arrived in Boston on New
Years day for repairs.
She picked up 123 survivors of the SS FAIRPORT on 16
July 1942. She escorted HMS QUEEN MARY in August. In Oct. she left for
the North Africa invasion with TF 34. During the invasion, KEARNY fired
1192 rounds of 5" fire. On 4 Dec. ‘42, Lt. Cdr. Lindsey
Williamson assumed command. The first three months of ‘43 saw #432
patrolling off Brazil. She made convoy runs to Gilbraltar until the end
of Nov. Thereafter, she joined USS Core Hunter-Killer group and fired 64
rounds on 1 Jan. 1944 at subs. She screened the USS BROOKLYN in March
‘44 in the Med. Both ships supplied fire support for the 5th Army. Due
to their many trips, they became known as the "Anzio Express".
Gen. Mark Clark commended both ships for this duty.
KEARNY was inner support ship for the invasion of
southern France in August and fired 528 rounds of 5" gunfire in
support. KEARNY was straddled on 24 Aug. while screening QUINCY. During
Sept., Oct. and Nov., she escorted troops and patrolled in the
Mediterranean. On 1 October 1944 Cdr. F.K.B. Wheeler assumed command.
The ship arrived in New York on 1 Dec. 1944 and trained until February
when again she went into escort duty to Oran as flagship. The ship
overhauled and trained from May to Aug. 1945. DD-432 went through the
Panama Canal on 6 August 1945. In September she screened transport
squadron 18 loaded with occupation troops. She sailed from Japan on 29
October 1945 and arrived in Charleston, S.C. on 5 December 1945. She was
decommissioned on 7 March 1946.
KEARNY received 3 Battle Stars for WW II service.
USS KEARNY was struck from the naval register on 1
June 1971 and sold for scrap to Luria Bros and Co. Inc. of Cleveland,
Ohio for $67,916.
Here is an example of the awards given as a result of
the October 1941 torpedoing. The Navy Cross was awarded to the
engineering officer, Lt. Robert J. Esslinger, after the 17 Oct. 1941
torpedoing because, after a quick and accurate analysis of the
situation, he, while working under extremely hazardous and difficult
situations, coolly and skillfully surmounted all obstacles and kept both
engines operative, permitting the KEARNY to proceed out of a danger zone
and make port.
Capt. Danis also received a Navy Cross for keeping his
Many thanks to former DD-432 crewmember Donald E. Lake
of 116 Pelham Dr., South Kettering, Ohio 45429, for contributing to this