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Hull Number: DD-373

Launch Date: 10/28/1935

Commissioned Date: 09/18/1936

Decommissioned Date: 10/02/1945

Class: MAHAN


Namesake: JOHN SHAW


Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, April 2020

John Shaw — born at Mount Mellick, Queens County (County Laois), Ireland, in 1773 — came to the United States in 1790, settled in Philadelphia, and entered the merchant marine. Appointed lieutenant in the United States Navy on 3 August 1798, he first served on board the converted merchantman Montezuma in Commodore Thomas Truxtun’s squadron in the West Indies during the early part of the Quasi-War with France. On 20 October 1799, he was given command of the schooner Enterprise and in his first eight months in command, captured seven armed French vessels and recaptured eleven U.S. merchantmen. By the time he was relieved of command due to ill health in October 1800, he had made Enterprise one of the most famous vessels in the Navy.

Returned to naval service during the Barbary Wars, Shaw commanded the frigate John Adams in the Mediterranean under Commodore John Rodgers (May–November 1804). Appointed captain on 27 August 1807, Shaw assumed command of the frigate United States on 3 September 1815 and departed New York for the Mediterranean. When the frigate reached Gibraltar, Shaw learned that a treaty of peace with Algiers had been signed, but, as the Barbary States had often changed their minds when no longer under duress, it seemed prudent to keep an American squadron in the Mediterranean. Thus, after both Stephen Decatur and William Bainbridge had sailed for home with their ships, Shaw and United States remained behind, within easy reach of the North African coast and ready to remind Barbary rulers of their treaty commitments.

As the senior American naval officer in the region, Shaw became commodore and commanded the squadron until Commodore Isaac Chauncey arrived on 1 July 1816 and took overall command. United States, despite losing her position as flagship, continued to serve in the Mediterranean until she sailed for home in the spring of 1819, reaching Hampton Roads, Va., on 18 May.

Captain Shaw died at Philadelphia on 17 September 1823.


Struck 10/24/1945. Scrapped 07/1946.

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, April 1998

The second MAHAN class destroyer to be built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard was laid down on October 1, 1934, launched on October 28, 1935, and commissioned on September 18, 1936.

The ship would be the second destroyer to bear the name of SHAW; Capt. John Shaw earned fame as the commander of the schooner USS ENTERPRISE in the Quasi-War with France that followed the American Revolution. Shaw ran amok in the Caribbean, capturing seven armed French merchants mail and repatriating dozens of American ships from French privateers. His naval career would also include command of the famous American frigate USS UNITED STATES during the War of 1812. Shaw died in 1823.

Following extensive pre- and post-commissioning modifications at the Navy Yard, SHAW briefly participated in two training cruises, before being transferred to the Pacific and yet another extended yard visit, this time at Mare Island. She would participate in a number of fleet exercises during the pre-war period, including the extensive Fleet Problem XXI focusing on the defense of the Hawaiian Islands against a theoretical naval power on the western rim Of the Pacific. The exercise and subsequent training kept DD-372 in Hawaiian waters intermittently until December of 1941.

SHAW found herself in floating dry dock YFD-2 on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941 along with the yard tug USS SOTOYOMO (YT- 9, later YTM-9). Fifteen of the horizontal and dive-bombers in the second wave of the Japanese attack noticed a battleship attempting to sortie from the harbor. As USS NEVADA (BB-36) steamed toward the narrow entrance, Japanese pilots realized that sinking the huge vessel in the entrance channel might well bottle up the remnants of the U.S. fleet for weeks. The first elements attacked the battleship, but NEVADA succeeded in beaching herself before sinking. Many aircraft had not dropped their bombs, so the pilots concentrated on the yard area east of Hospital point. Three heavy bombs, each over 500 pounds, struck SHAW in the bridge area and forecastle. Fires spread rapidly and even the flooding of the dry dock proved useless. In less than an hour, the conflagration was out of control and the ship was abandoned. At 9:30, SHAW’s forward magazine exploded, severing the vessel’s bow and creating a vast pyrotechnic cloud over the anchorage. The blast, captured on film by a Navy photographer, became one of the classic images of the Pacific War.

DD-373 was seriously damaged, but a survey discovered that she was repairable. The remnants of her bow were cut off and scrapped and, fitted with a makeshift replacement, along with a control station to replace her gutted bridge, she sailed for the West Coast on February 9, 1942 amid cheers from the salvage forces whose Herculean effort made the trip possible. By the end of June, SHAW, complete with a new bow and rebuilt bridge, was once again ready for war.

USS SHAW returned in time to join carrier groups headed to the New Hebrides. October 1942, found SHAW fully engaged in protecting the carriers against the continued attempts by Japan to reinforce Guadalcanal. She courageously fought off a Japanese submarine (later identified as the Japanese fleet class submarine I-26) in a successful attempt to remove the crew of USS PORTER (DD- 356) after that destroyer had been mortally wounded by the same underseas attacker. The effort was a success, although SHAW was forced to help scuttle the doomed destroyer.

For the next several months, SHAW alternated between escort assignments and support duties with the Seventh Amphibious Force as “MacArthur’s Navy” fought its way north toward the Philippines. The waters in the South Pacific held many dangers for the tin can. While entering Noumea harbor on the island of New Caledonia in January 1943 she grounded on a reef, where she remained perilously stranded for five days. Off the landing beaches at Arawe by the end of the year, SHAW was protecting the assault transport USS SANDS (APD-13) when the attack went terribly wrong. Concealed Japanese weapons blasted the assault troops. SHAW’s accurate gunfire forced the gunners to retire, allowing what was left of the landing force to be extricated. In the landing operations off Cape Gloucester the day after Christmas, SHAW, providing gunfire support and serving as a fighter direction ship, was jumped by two Aichi D3A2 “Val” dive bombers. Despite the valiant efforts of her gunners, SHAW was hit. Three of the thirty-six men wounded in the attack subsequently died. The damage done to the veteran destroyer forced a return to the West Coast for repairs in the spring of 1944.

The remainder of the war found SHAW performing the same duties she had learned so well in operations in the New Hebrides. From Saipan through the bloody attacks on Manila Bay and Palawan, SHAW provided gunfire support, screened landing forces, and fought off repeated enemy attacks.

For DD-373, the end of war came shortly after the veteran destroyer had shot up barge traffic off the island of Bohol. Cruising the area in search for more “customers”, the destroyer ran aground on an uncharted coral pinnacle. Although temporary repairs seemed to be adequate, SHAW was ordered to return to the United States, both for more lasting repairs and an extensive refit. Her anti-aircraft armament was to be increased, but the added weight of the new weapons, along with the many tons she had gained when her bow had been replaced after Pearl Harbor threatened to make her unstable. Comparatively small renovations were made, but the work was not completed until August 20, 1945. The war was reaching a climax.

SHAW was ordered to the East Coast. After reporting to Philadelphia, she was re-routed to New York for deactivation. DD-373 was decommissioned on October 2, 1945 and sold for scrapping in July 1946.

The seasoned destroyer earned eleven battle stars for her service in World War II.

USS SHAW DD-373 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, April 2020

The second Shaw (DD-373) was laid down on 1 October 1934 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pa.; launched on 28 October 1935; sponsored by Miss Dorthy L. Tinker; and commissioned on 18 September 1936, Lt. Cmdr. Edward A. Mitchell in command.

Following commissioning, Shaw remained at Philadelphia until April 1937 when she crossed the Atlantic on her shakedown cruise. Returning to Philadelphia on 18 June, she commenced a year of yard work to correct deficiencies before completing acceptance trials in June 1938. Shaw conducted training exercises in the Atlantic for the remainder of the year. She then transited to the Pacific and underwent overhaul at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, Calif. (8 January-4 April 1939).

Shaw remained on the west coast until April 1940 participating in various exercises and providing services to carriers and submarines operating in the area. In April she sailed for Hawaii where she participated in Fleet Problem XXI, an eight-phased operation for the defense of the Hawaiian area. She remained in the Hawaiian area until November when she returned to the west coast for overhaul.

Back in the Hawaiian area by mid-February 1941, Shaw operated in those waters into the autumn. Involved in a collision with the oiler Sabine (AO-25) on 21 November, she subsequently entered the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard for repairs, drydocking in YFD-2 along with the harbor tug Sotoyomo (YT-9).

On 7 December 1941, Shaw still lay drydocked in YFD-2. During the Japanese attack, she took three hits: two bombs through the forward machine gun platform, and one through the port wing of the bridge. Fires spread through the ship. By 0925, all fire fighting facilities were exhausted, and the order to abandon ship was given. Efforts to flood the dock were only partially successful; and, shortly after 0930, Shaw’s forward magazine blew up.

Temporary repairs were made at Pearl Harbor during December 1941 and January 1942. On 9 February, Shaw sailed for San Francisco where she completed repairs, including the installation of a new bow, at the end of June. Following training in the San Diego area, Shaw returned to Pearl Harbor on 31 August. For the next two months, she escorted convoys between the west coast and Hawaii. In mid-October, as a unit of a carrier force centered on Enterprise (CV-6) she departed Pearl Harbor and headed west. Rendezvousing with a carrier force centered on Hornet (CV-8), the two carrier groups amalgamated as Task Force 61 and moved north of the Santa Cruz Islands to intercept enemy forces headed for Guadalcanal.

By mid-morning on the 26th, both carrier groups were under attack. As an accompanying ship, Porter (DD-356) stopped to pick up survivors from a ditched Grumman TBF-1 Avenger from Torpedo Squadron 10, she was torpedoed when the plane’s torpedo, jarred loose in the water-landing, made its run into the rescuing ship. Shaw went to Porter’s assistance. Half an hour later, she was ordered to take off Porter’s crew and scuttle the disabled destroyer. Periscope sightings followed by depth charge attacks delayed execution of the mission. By noon, however, the transfer was completed. An hour later, Porter was gone, and Shaw left the scene to rejoin the task force.

Two days later, Shaw headed for the New Hebrides where she commenced escorting ships moving men and supplies to Guadalcanal. She continued that duty through November and December and into January 1943. On 10 January, while entering Noumea harbor, New Caledonia, Shaw grounded on Sournois Reef. She was freed on the 15th, but extensive damage to her hull,propellers, and sound gear necessitated temporary repairs at Noumea followed by lengthy repairs and rearmament at Pearl Harbor which took her through September.

On 6 October 1943, Shaw headed west again, reaching Noumea on the 18th and Milne Bay, New Guinea, on the 24th. Now a unit of the Seventh Amphibious Force, Shaw escorted reinforcements to Lae and Finschhafen for the remainder of October and during November. Following an unsuccessful diversionary assault by Army troops against Umtingalu, New Britain, on 15 December, Shaw recovered survivors from two rubber boats and escorted Westralia and the dock landing ship Carter Hall (LSD-3) back to Buna, New Guinea.

On Christmas Day, 25 December 1943, Shaw escorted units engaged in the assault against Cape Gloucester, where she provided gunfire support and served as fighter director ship. On the 26th, Shaw sustained casualties and damage when attacked by two Japanese Aichi D3A Type 99 carrier bombers [Val] Thirty-six men were injured, three of whom later died of their wounds. Shaw returned to Cape Sudest, New Guinea, on the 27th; transferred her wounded and dead to shore facilities there, and continued on to Milne Bay for temporary repairs. Permanent repairs were completed at Hunters Point, San Francisco, on 1 May 1944.

Shaw returned to Pearl Harbor on the 10th, joined the Fifth Fleet there, and sailed for the Marshalls on the 15th. She got underway from the Marshalls on 11 June with TF-52 to engage in the assault on Saipan. Four days later, the attack began. For the next three and one-half weeks, the destroyer rotated between screening and call fire support duties. In mid-July, she was back in the Marshalls. On the 18th, Shaw got underway to return to the Marianas with the Guam assault force. During the action that followed, she performed escort and patrol duties.

Shaw departed the Marianas on 23 September 1944. Following a tender repair availability at Eniwetok, she rejoined the Seventh Amphibious Force on 20 October and headed for Leyte Gulf on the 25th. Convoy escort duties between the Philippines and New Guinea involved Shaw until the invasion of Luzon took place at Lingayen Gulf on 9 January 1945. From the 9th to the 15th, she performed screening, call fire support, night illumination, and shore bombardment missions. Following this operation, Shaw was involved in the recapture of Manila Bay. After the Luzon operations, she supported the assault and occupation of Palawan during the period from 28 February to 4 March.

In early April 1945, she operated in the Visayans, setting two Japanese barges on fire off Bohol on 2 April. Damaged soon thereafter on an uncharted pinnacle, she underwent temporary repairs. On the 25th, she sailed for the United States. Shaw arrived in San Francisco on 19 May. Repairs and alterations took her into August. The work was accomplished on the 20th. She then departed for the east coast. On arrival at Philadelphia, she was routed to New York for deactivation. Decommissioned on 2 October 1945, her name was stricken from the Navy Register two days later [4 October 1945]. Her hulk was scrapped in July 1946.

Shaw earned eleven battle stars for her World War II service.