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Hull Number: DD-431

Launch Date: 03/07/1940

Commissioned Date: 07/17/1940

Decommissioned Date: 05/03/1946

Call Sign: NIHJ


Class: GLEAVES

GLEAVES Class

Data for USS Gleaves (DD-423) as of 1945


Length Overall: 348’ 4"

Beam: 36’ 1"

Draft: 13’ 6"

Standard Displacement: 1,630 tons

Full Load Displacement: 2,525 tons

Fuel capacity: 2,928 barrels

Armament:

Four 5″/38 caliber guns
Two 40mm twin anti-aircraft mounts
Two 21″ quintuple torpedo tub

Complement:

16 Officers
260 Enlisted

Propulsion:

4 Boilers
2 Westinghouse Turbines: 50,000 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 37.4 knots

Namesake: CHARLES PESHALL PLUNKETT

CHARLES PESHALL PLUNKETT

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, April 2016

Charles Peshall Plunkett, born in Washington, D.C., 15 February 1864, was appointed to the Naval Academy in 1879. A veteran of the Spanish-American War, during which he served in Adm. Dewey-s Squadron at Manila Bay, he had commanded both North Dakota and South Dakota and had served as Director, Target Practice and Engineering Competitions for the Navy Department before the United States entered World War I. In July, 1918, he assumed command of the 5 Naval Railway Batteries in France. Under his direction those mobile units of 14- battleship guns supported French and American armies from 6 September until the Armistice. Awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his service during the war, he later commanded Destroyers, US Atlantic Fleet, and served as Chief of Staff, Naval War College; President, Board of Inspection and Survey; and as Commandant, New York Navy Yard and the 3d Naval District. Retiring in 1928, Rear Admiral Plunkett died, in Washington, D.C., 24 March 1931.


Disposition:

Stricken 11/1/1974. To Taiwan renamed Nan Yang (DD-17)


A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History

USS PLUNKETT DD-431

The Tin Can Sailor, July 1999

The PLUNKETT (DD-431) was named for Charles P. Plunkett , a veteran of the Spanish-American War and World War I, a destroyer commander, a head of the Naval War College and the Board of Inspection and Survey, and a Commandant of the New York Navy Yard and the 3rd Naval District. The ship bearing his name was launched 7 March 1940 and commissioned 17 July 1940.

Flagship of Destroyer Squadron 7, the PLUNKETT began her career in early 1941 on neutrality patrol in the Western Atlantic and Caribbean. Then, on 1 July, she joined Task Force 19, which was formed to escort marines from Argentia, Newfoundland, to Reykjavik for the U.S. occupation of Iceland. The twenty-five-ship group was the first American naval task force organized for foreign service. While on the Iceland run in mid-October, the PLUNKETT, LIVERMORE (DD-429), DECATUR (DD-341), and KEARNY (DD-432) went to the defense of a convoy under attack by German U-boats. The destroyers fought off three attacks that claimed seven merchant ships and badly damaged the KEARNY.

After the U.S. entered the war on 7 December 1941, the PLUNKETT moved from the western Atlantic to operations with the British Home Fleet on North Sea patrols and escort duty over the first leg of the Murmansk run. She spent the summer of 1942 escorting convoys along the U.S. East Coast and in the Caribbean, but by the fall was back in the North Atlantic. Then, in November it was off to North Africa with a convoy bound for Casablanca. This was followed in rapid succession by a stint of patrolling off the Moroccan coast, a return to New York and local operations off southern New England, shore bombardment exercises in the Chesapeake Bay, another transatlantic convoy to Casablanca, escort duty along the East Coast, and finally in May 1943, back to North Africa for a variety of antisubmarine warfare and convoy assignments.

On 6 July, she joined the Western Task Force assembling for the invasion of the southwestern coast of Sicily. During the invasion, which began on 10 July, she covered landings and minelaying operations off Gela. Later in the month, she escorted convoys to Scogletti and Palermo. By 17 August 1943, the Allies controlled Sicily and launched their assault on the Italian mainland. Part of the initial bombardment force, the PLUNKETT was assigned to the Southern Attack Force that covered the landings at Salerno on the morning of 9 September. On 13 September, her crew fought fires aboard the bombed British hospital ship NEWFOUNDLAND for thirty-six hours but finally had to sink the charred hulk.

On 21 January 1944, the destroyer was headed for the beaches of Anzio where her gunners fought off relentless German air raids. Shortly after 1738 on 24 January, she began a seventeen-minute battle against Luftwaffe glider bombs, torpedo planes, and dive-bombers. For twelve minutes, the PLUNKETT evaded glider bombs and Junker 88s as her gunners fought off her attackers, downing two planes and a possible third. Then a 250 kg. bomb struck her 1.1-inch gun mount setting off explosions and raging fires. The bomb killed fifty-three, wounded twenty, and caused extensive damage to her fire control apparatus, armament, and port engine. Damage control teams battled the fires while the crews of the forward five-inch and 20-mm guns filled the skies with a deadly barrage, and by 1821, the enemy planes had fled and all of the fires were out. With just one engine, the destroyer limped into Palermo for temporary repairs that enabled her to reach Casablanca and, finally, New York.

She recrossed the Atlantic in early May 1944 for the invasion of France. On 6 June, she was on station to screen the transports bound for Omaha Beach and continued her patrol and fire support duties until the 9th, when she sailed back to England. Returning to the French coast as part of Task Force 129, her crew contributed to taking the vital German-held port of Cherbourg and then it was on to the Mediterranean for the August invasion of southern France. During that operation she performed screening, fire support, and shore bombardment off St. Tropez, Port de Bouc, and Marseilles, and continued those duties until 23 November. She then escorted a convoy to New York, arriving on 16 January 1945.

The PLUNKETT was engaged in transatlantic escort duty when the war in Europe ended. On 27 May 1945, she underwent extensive alterations and refresher training and was underway for the Pacific on 6 August. She was en route to San Diego the day the war ended. During the fall of 1945, she escorted occupation forces from the U.S. and the Philippines to Japan. After operations in the Aleutians, she returned to the East Coast for inactivation. She had earned five battle stars during the war.

Decommissioned on 3 May 1946, the PLUNKETT was berthed at Charleston as a unit of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She remained there until reactivated and transferred under the loan provisions of the Military Assistance Program to the Nationalist Chinese government, 16 February 1959. Renamed NAN YANG (DD-17), she remained with that country’s navy until 1975.

USS PLUNKETT DD-431 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, April 2016

Plunkett (DD-431) was laid down 1 March 1939 by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N.J.; launched 7 March 1940; sponsored by Mrs. Charles P. Plunkett, widow of Rear Admiral Plunkett; and commissioned 17 July 1940, Lt. Comdr. P. G. Hale in command.

Prior to 7 December 1941, Plunkett operated in the Western Atlantic and in the Gulf-Caribbean area on Neutrality Patrol. Initially in the latter area, she joined other Neutrality Patrol vessels off Tampico to prevent the departure of several German steamers, then cruised off Martinique, French Antilles to prevent the dispatching of warships, equipment, and gold to the Vichy government. Patrol and convoy missions in the North Atlantic followed, and, on 7 December 1941, she was enroute from Reykjavik to Argentia.

Plunkett continued such duty until joining TF 39 on 20 March 1942. Six days later she departed the east coast for Scapa Flow and arrived in the Orkneys 4 April to commence operations with the British Home Fleet. Employed on North Sea patrols and escort work over the first leg of the Murmansk run, she was relieved, by Mayrant, in mid-May and assigned to escort New York back to the United States. Coastwise and Caribbean escort duty followed and in August she returned to the North Atlantic to accompany U.K. bound convoys. On 2 November, she departed New York on her first escort run to North Africa. Delayed enroute to allow time for the clearance of wreckage from her port of destination, her group delivered its charges with their reinforcement troops and equipment to Casablanca on the 18th. Then, after patrolling off the Moroccan coast, she returned to New York and local operations off southern New England.

Another transatlantic convoy to Casablanca preceded shore bombardment exercises in Chesapeake Bay, after which she escorted coastal convoys until May, 1943. On the 10th she sailed for Oran, Algeria, with TF 60; and, between the end of May and July, she was employed on HUK, ASW, and convoy escort assignments in North African waters.

On 6 July, she cleared Mers-el-Kebir as a unit of the Western Task Force for the invasion of Sicily. During the invasion, she screened the merchant ships and minelayers of TG 80.5, then patrolled off the Gela anchorage and covered minelaying operations. On the 12th, she departed the assault area, returning on the 17th, to Scogletti, and on the 31st, to Palermo, with convoys. During August, she participated in numerous landings on the Sicilian coast and, in September, joined TG 81.6 to screen the transports and landing craft for the assault on the Axis boot at Salerno. Early on the morning of 13 September, she aided bombed and burning British hospitalship Newfoundland. The struggle to save the ship continued for over 36 hours, but, in the evening of the 14th, Plunkett, on orders, fired on and sank the hulk.

North Africa-Naples convoys, interspersed with fire support missions, continued until 21 January 1944, when she sailed to escort the follow up assault group to Cape Anzio. After delivering the craft, she remained in the area to screen the transports. On the 24th she fell victim to one of the numerous air attacks which, previously, she had helped to drive off. At 1738 condition red was sounded. A few minutes later the attack was launched with 2 glider bombs coming in on the port beam, and 2 Ju.88’s closing in from up ahead. Speed was increased; maneuvering was radical. The glider bombs finally dropped, at 200 yards distance, but more planes had joined the foray to commence a sustained 17 minute battle. It ended at 1757 as Plunkett took a 250kg. bomb and caught fire. The bomb killed 23, left 28 missing, with as many, and more, wounded, and caused extensive damage to her fire control apparatus, armament, and port engine. By 1821, all fires were out and the destroyer proceeded, on one engine, to Palermo. Temporary repairs enabled her to reach Casablanca and, finally, New York, where repairs were completed.

On 5 May 1944, she again departed New York for European waters. Arriving at Belfast on the 14th, she remained until 3 June, then sailed toward the English Channel to join the armada staging for the invasion of France. On 6 June, she screened the transports off Omaha beach. Fire support and patrol duties followed until the 9th, when she sailed back to England. Returning to the French coast a few days later, she added shore bombardment to her duties.

In July, Plunkett returned to the Mediterranean to prepare for another assault landing, and on 13 August, she sailed from Naples to support Operation “Dragoon,” the invasion of southern France. During that operation she carried officials to and from the beaches in addition to performing her screening duties. She next added fire support and shore bombardment off St. Topez, Port de Bouc, and Marseilles to her mission, and continued those duties, particularly on the Italian-French border, until 23 November. She then sailed for Oran, whence she escorted a convoy back to the United States, arriving at New York, 16 January 1945.

Plunkett engaged in training exercises, ASW patrols, and experimental testing until early May, when she resumed transatlantic escort work. The war in Europe ended before she reached the U.K., but hostilities in the Pacific still raged. On 27 May, she returned to the east coast, underwent extensive alterations and refresher training, and got underway for the Pacific 6 August. She transited the Panama Canal 13 August and was enroute to San Diego the day the war ended. In September she escorted occupation forces from the U.S. to Japan; then, in October and November, assisted in ferrying more from the Philippines. Later in November, she sailed northeast to the Aleutians, where she operated until ordered back to the east coast for inactivation.

Plunkett decommissioned 3 May 1946 and was berthed at Charleston as a unit of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She remained there until reactivated and transferred, under the loan provisions of the Military Assistance Program, to the Nationalist Chinese government, 16 February 1959. Renamed Nan Yang (DD-17), she remains with that country’s navy into 1970.

Plunkett earned five battle stars during the Second World War.