SAVE THE DATE! The Tin Can Sailors 2024 National Reunion Will Be Held In Exciting, Historic New Orleans From Sept. 8th-12th. More Information Coming Soon, Check Our Facebook Page For Future Announcements.

Hull Number: DD-436

Launch Date: 05/16/1940

Commissioned Date: 03/14/1941



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


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


16 Officers
260 Enlisted


4 Boilers
2 Westinghouse Turbines: 50,000 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 37.4 knots



Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, August 2015

Mons Monssen was born 20 January 1867, at Bergen, Norway, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy 3 June 1889. Warranted gunner in 1904, he was serving in Missouri 13 April when a charge ignited while a 12‑inch gun was being loaded for target practice. Eighteen officers and men lost their lives. Monssen entered the burning magazine through the scuttle and threw water on the fire with his hands until a hose was passed to him. For his actions he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Later commissioned lieutenant, July 1918, he retired 15 December 1925 and died at the Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, N.Y., 10 February 1930.


Sunk by Japanese squadron off Guadalcanal 11/13/1942.

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, July 1996

The first MONSSEN (DD-436) was appropriately named for a gunner aboard the USS MISSOURI. He was honored for his action on 13 April 1904, when a 12-inch gun exploded causing a conflagration similar to that which brought an end to the destroyer that bore his name. Three destroyermen exhibited the same heroism displayed by Mons Monssen when he entered the burning magazine to fight the fires alone, splashing water on the flames with his bare hands.

DD-436 was launched on 16 May 1940 and commissioned on 14 March 1941. Joining the neutrality patrol on 27 June 1941, she operated from the coast of New England and the Maritime Provinces to Iceland until 9 February 1942. After overhaul at the Boston Navy Yard, she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet. There, on 2 April, the MONSSEN was part of the antisubmarine screen covering the 18 April launch of Colonel Jimmy Doolittle’s raiders bound for a surprise attack on the Japanese mainland. Following the launch, the MONSSEN returned to Pearl Harbor, from which she sortied with Task Force 16 on 28 May. By 2 June, Task Force 16 was in position 350 miles northeast of Midway and two days later, the battle began with a Japanese raid on the island. By 7 May, the American forces had profoundly changed the course of the war.

Once more part of the screen for Task Force 16, the MONSSEN headed for the Solomon Islands. On 7 and 8 August as the U.S. Navy launched the first of its giant amphibious assaults, she and the destroyer BUCHANAN (DD-484) stood off Gavutu and Tanambago, circling those Islands and providing fire support to units of the Second Marine Division. She remained in the immediate area through the Battle of the Eastern Solomons and then took up duties patrolling the sea routes to Guadalcanal.

She was back on duty on 18 September patrolling the waters around Guadalcanal to keep Allied supply lines open and the Japanese from resupplying their forces ashore. On 8 November, she joined Task Group 67.4 to escort transports carrying reinforcements to the marines on Guadalcanal. Off Lunga Point on the afternoon of the 12th, the escorts fought off several torpedo plane attacks, one of which cost the MONSSEN the use of her fire control radar. With reports of a Japanese strike force headed their way, the task group escorted the transports out of the area and then steamed back to engage the enemy in the initial action of what would later be called the Naval Battle for Guadalcanal.

Shortly after 0140 on 13 November, the destroyer CUSHING (DD-376) sighted two enemy destroyers. They were the advance screen for the Japanese fleet headed in to bombard Henderson Field and cripple Allied air operations long enough to sneak in their own transports with reinforcements for their comrades fighting on the island. Ten minutes later, ships of the opposing forces opened fire. The MONSSEN was in the rear of the American column, when the destroyer BARTON (DD-599) was hit, the first ship lost in the melee off Savo Island. In the midst of the chaos of explosions, flashing searchlights, and intermittent pitch blackness, and erratically maneuvering ships, the MONSSEN was without her fire-control radar, damaged the day before. She was forced to rely on radio information and visual reports for her fire control. Her crew could make out little of the action around them except for the fact that their ship was under fire herself. To evade torpedoes in the surrounding water, her skipper, Lieutenant Commander C. E. McCombs, ordered full speed ahead and there, 4,000 yards off the destroyer’s starboard bow was the battleship HIEI. Swinging the MONSSEN into position, McCombs gave the order that released five torpedoes at the enemy ship. Five more torpedoes were loosed at another ship, and the destroyer’s gunners were firing at targets to port and starboard.

At about 0223, a pair of spotlights lit up the MONSSEN drawing immediate fire from the destroyer’s 20-mm battery. At the same instant, a deadly rain of shells hit the No. 1 gun shield, killing its crew. Her No. 1 fire room and after engine room were also hit. The remaining five-inch guns finally extinguished one of the searchlights, but shells from port and starboard continued to tear into her, striking her deck and bridge, and, one-by-one, silencing her guns; creating an inferno of the entire officer’s country, main radio, captain’s and exec’s cabins, and the level above; and putting her other fire and engine rooms out of operation. Little if anything on the ship was left untouched, and she was reduced to a burning hulk. Within twenty minutes, the MONSSEN was completely immobilized and unable to fight.

To escape the flaming wreckage around them, Commander McCombs and those with him on the bridge leapt into the sea. They were followed by others from the inferno above and below decks. At daybreak, the MONSSEN was still afloat. Survivors were still in the water, clinging floating life nets, a few rafts, and powder cans or other wreckage. On one of the rafts were Bos’n’s Mate C. C. Storey, Gunners Mate Second Class L. F. Sturgeon, and Fireman First Class J. G. Hughes. From their raft, they heard the cries of shipmates still aboard the smoldering hulk. Ignoring the heat and acrid smoke pouring from the ship, they eased their raft alongside and climbed back aboard. Making their way through the twisted and charred ruin that had once been a fighting ship, they found eight men locked in a compartment below. They brought them out and lowered them into the raft. At 0800, the three rescuers and the eight badly injured men they had saved were picked up with the other survivors and taken to Guadalcanal. Five of the men brought out of the wrecked ship made it alive. Forty percent of the crew were rescued; about 130 never left the destroyer, which continued to blaze until early afternoon, when she finally exploded, and the waters of Iron Bottom Sound closed over her. The MONSSEN was awarded four battle stars for her World War II service.

USS MONSSEN DD-436 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, August 2015

The first Monssen (DD‑436) was laid down 12 July 1939, by Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash.; launched 16 May 1940; sponsored by Mrs. Mons Monssen, widow of Lieutenant Monssen; and commissioned 14 March 1941, Lt. Comdr. R. N. Smoot in command.

Following shakedown and training, Monssen reported to the Atlantic Fleet 27 June 1941 as a unit of DesDiv 22. For the next 5 months she operated in the northwestern Atlantic, from the coast of New England and the Maritime Provinces to Iceland, on neutrality patrol. Her escort and patrol duties changed from neutral to belligerent 7 December 1941, continuing until 9 February 1942 when she entered the Boston Navy Yard for overhaul in preparation for her transfer to the Pacific Fleet.

On 31 March she arrived at San Francisco, joined TF 16, and departed 2 April. Steaming west, she was in the antisubmarine screen for Hornet (CV‑8) as the carrier headed for “Shangri‑La” with Lt. Col. J. H. Doolittle’s B‑25’s on her flight deck. In the early morning hours 18 April the force was sighted by the enemy and the Army pilots manned their planes, ignoring the bad weather, the daylight hours, and the additional 168 miles they would have to fly over the planned 500 miles to their targets, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Kobe.

Following the launch, the force returned to Pearl Harbor, from which it sortied 30 April to aid Yorktown (CV‑5) and Lexington (CV‑2) in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Reaching the scene after the battle was over, the force returned to Pearl Harbor, arriving 26 May. Two days later they departed again, this time for Midway to repulse an expected assault on that advanced base. By 2 June, TF 16 had rendezvoused with TF 17 and was in position 350 miles northeast of Midway. On the 4th the Battle of Midway commenced as Japanese carrier planes flew against installations on the island. By the 7th, the American forces had won one of the decisive battles of history, sinking four carriers and one cruiser at the cost of destroyer Hammann (DD‑412) and carrier Yorktown, and profoundly changing the course of the war.

After Midway the force remained at Pearl Harbor for a month before departing again for combat. Steaming via the Tonga Islands, they headed for the Japanese‑held Solomons. By 7 August they were 40 miles from the targets, Guadalcanal and Tulagi. On the 7th and 8th, Monssen, with Buchanan (DD‑484) stood off Gavutu and Tanambago, circling those islands and providing fire support to units of the 2d Marine Regiment as the U.S. Navy struck with the first of its giant amphibious assaults. She was then assigned to the screening forces guarding the eastern approaches to Sealark, Lengo, and Nggela Channels.

She remained in the immediate area through the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, which prevented Japanese reinforcements from reaching Guadalcanal, and then took up duties patrolling the sea routes to Guadalcanal. At the end of the month Saratoga (CV‑3) was damaged and Monssen was one of the ships designated to escort her to the Tonga Islands.

Monssen returned to Guadalcanal 18 September to insure the integrity of an Allied supply line and to block Japanese efforts at resupply. On 8 November, she departed Noumea with two cruisers and two other destroyers as TG 67.4, under Rear Admiral Callaghan, as escort for transports carrying reinforcements to the Marines on Guadalcanal. At the same time, another convoy set out from Espiritu Santo, covered by one cruiser and four destroyers under Rear Admiral Scott. Arriving off Lunga Point on the 12th, a day after those from Espiritu Santo, they commenced unloading. By dusk as reports of Japanese ship movements from Truk increased, 90 percent of the transports had been unladen despite afternoon torpedoplane attacks, one of which had cost Monssen the use of her fire control radar. The transports were pulled out, escorted through Lengo Channel, and seen safely on their way to Espiritu Santo. Then Admiral Callaghan’s force, heavily outnumbered even with the addition of Admiral Scott-s ships, reversed course and steamed back to engage the enemy in the initial action of what would later be called the Naval Battle for Guadalcanal.

Shortly, after 0140, 13 November, they sighted the enemy fleet, under Vice Admiral Abe, 3 miles north of Kukum. The enemy was headed toward Henderson Field to bombard it and cripple Allied air operations long enough to sneak in 11 of their transports, then en route to relieve their beleaguered comrades fighting on the island.

Battle was given at 0150. At about 0220 Monssen, forced to rely on radio information and optics, was spotlighted, hit by some 37 shells, and reduced to a burning hulk. Twenty minutes later, completely immobilized in all departments, the ship was ordered abandoned. After daybreak Monssen was still a floating incinerator. C. C. Storey, BM2c, L. F. Sturgeon, GM2c, and J. G. Hughes, F1c, climbed back into the inferno and rescued eight men still aboard and alive, five of whom lived after reaching land. The survivors, 40 percent of the crew, were picked up at about 0800 and taken to Guadalcanal. The ship itself continued to blaze until early afternoon, when the waters of Ironbottom Sound closed over her.

Monssen was awarded four battle stars for World War II service.