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Hull Number: DD-447

Launch Date: 06/21/1942

Commissioned Date: 07/31/1942

Decommissioned Date: 07/02/1969

Call Sign: NEKY

Voice Call Sign: Oarfish

Other Designations: DDE-447



Data for USS Fletcher (DD-445) as of 1945

Length Overall: 376’ 5"

Beam: 39’ 7"

Draft: 13’ 9"

Standard Displacement: 2,050 tons

Full Load Displacement: 2,940 tons

Fuel capacity: 3,250 barrels


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


20 Officers
309 Enlisted


4 Boilers
2 General Electric Turbines: 60,000 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 35.2 knots



Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Thornton A. Jenkins was born at Orange Court House. Va., 11 December 1811. He entered the Navy as a midshipman 1 November 1828 and served first in the West Indies in an expedition against pirates and slavers. Examined for a commission as Lieutenant, he placed first among 82 candidates.

Prior to the Mexican War, Jenkins served with the Coast Survey and with the Brazilian and Mediterranean Squadrons. During the war with Mexico, as executive officer of Germantown, he led landing parties from his ship at Tuxpan and Tabasco. Later, he commanded hospital ship Relief and the Supply Station at Salmedena Island. In the interval between the wars, he served in the receiving ship at Baltimore, returned to the Coast Survey, and was Secretary of the Lighthouse Board.

His Civil War record was distinguished. Serving primarily in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron of David Farragut, he commanded Oneida. He served as chief of staff to Farragut, and was later wounded while commanding a convoy escort group. As Senior Officer Present, in command of Richmond, he received the surrender of Port Hudson 9 July 1863. He later commanded a division of the Squadron.

Jenkins was Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, from 1865 to 1869, and he commanded the Asiatic Station from 1870 until his retirement in 1873. Rear Admiral Jenkins was President of the Naval Institute from 1883 to 1885, and died 9 August 1893.


Stricken 7/2/1969. Sold 2/17/1971

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, January 1998

The third FLETCHER authorized was also the first to see fleet service. Unlike FLETCHER and RADFORD, which were laid down on the same day in October 1941, JENKINS’ construction did not begin until after Thanksgiving of the same year at Federal Shipbuilding’s Kearny (NJ) facility. DD-447 was launched in June of the following year, and commissioned in July.

USS JENKINS was the second destroyer to be named for RADM Thortan A. Jenkins, whose service included commands in the War with Mexico and the Civil War. After the war, Jenkins was named chief of the Bureau of Navigation. He completed his service as commander of the American Asiatic Squadron. RADM Jenkins later served as President of the Naval Institute. He died in 1893.

DD-447 was pressed into service immediately after a brief training cruise to escort vessels on their way to Operation TORCH, the Allied invasion of North Africa. She screened the battleships and cruisers providing fire support for the landing force. Less than a month later, she had returned to New York in preparation for service in the Pacific.

JENKINS, like so many of her sisters, was immediately thrown into the battles around the Solomon Islands. The new destroyer participated in her first landing in the Pacific with the assault on New Georgia. Japanese air units hit the beachhead in force from nearby airfields, and JENKINS’ potent anti-aircraft fire accounted for several of the attackers.

By the summer of 1943, JENKINS was fully involved in the actions in the South Pacific. Kula Gulf, northwest of Guadalcanal, at the north end of “The Slot,” was an active avenue of approach for Japanese reinforcements. The destroyer was in the process of refueling and loading ammunition when the call came from RADM W. L. Ainsworth to attach to this force, Task Group 36.1, in a plan to halt Japanese resupply activities down “The Slot.” Another “Tokyo Express,” ten Japanese destroyers carrying troops, had been spotted steaming southeast by coast watchers. In the night action that followed, JENKINS, supported by USS NICHOLAS (DD-449), slugged it out with a succession of Imperial Japanese destroyers, registering hits on IJN AMIGARI and IIN MOCHIZUKI. The Japanese were forced to retreat without reinforcing their Guadalcanal garrison, but they did draw blood; the American cruiser USS HELENA (CL-50) was lost.

The Gilbert Island chain was slated for the next assault, and JENKINS was transferred to RADM W. A. Radford’s Northern Carrier Force. The destroyer would screen carriers attacking Tarawa and Kwajalein. One of the raids nearly marked the end of the valuable carrier, USS LEXINGTON (CV-2), when the carrier was hit by a torpedo. JENKINS was able to escort the damaged flat top to Pearl Harbor, where extensive repairs were completed in record time.

For the next six months, JENKINS alternated between escorting groups of tankers which provided the life blood of the carrier task forces thrusting through the central Pacific and providing needed support to the forces ashore. DD-447 added her effective gunfire support at dozens of landings in the area.

Ships were being marshaled for the Philippine invasion and JENKINS was once again called upon to provide her now-expert support for the operation. Action in the island group was intense. In one engagement off the Luzon landing zone, DD-447 took hits from a Japanese shore battery. If the enemy expected to put the veteran destroyer out of action that easily, they were mistaken. She was ready for service less than three weeks later.

A mine nearly marked the end of JENKINS’ career. While covering the minesweeping and landing activities off Borneo, DD-447 struck a mine. This time, needed repairs were far more extensive. The destroyer returned to the west coast in July, 1945. While at the repair facilities in San Pedro, CA, the war ended. USS JENKINS was decommissioned on May 1, 1946.

The Korean War brought JENKINS back into action. With new weaponry and a refit, she now carried the designation DDE-447, a label befitting her new role as a specialized anti-submarine escort. The experienced destroyer would alternate between screening carriers on the east and west coasts of the Korean peninsula and providing a deterrent to Communist forces threatening an assault across the Formosa Strait on the friendly nation of Nationalist China. With the end of the Korean police action, JENKINS found herself based at Pearl Harbor, permanently assigned to the Pacific battle force.

For nine years, DD-447 would deploy annually as a unit of the Seventh Fleet. When forces were diverted to Vietnam, JENKINS found herself in her third war. In February 1966, the destroyer returned to a well-remembered role, providing support to American forces in a hostile environment.

On April 7, 1969, the officers and men of USS JENKINS were officially informed that the veteran destroyer was again to be decommissioned. June found the destroyer on her way to the south mole piers at the San Diego Inactive Ship Center. JENKINS commissioning pennant was hauled down for the last time on July 2, 1969.

DD-447 was sold for scrapping on February 17, 1971.

USS JENKINS earned fourteen battle stars for her service in World War II and one star for Korean Operations, in addition to those won in Vietnam.

USS JENKINS DD-447 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1968)

Jenkins (DD-447) was laid down by Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Kearny, N.J., 27 November 1941; launched 21 June 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Marion Parker Embry, and commissioned 31 July 1942, Lt. Comdr. H. F. Miller in command.

After a training period during the summer of 1942, Jenkins departed Casco Bay, Maine, 24 October as escort to a convoy headed for the North African campaign. She screened heavy ships during the shore bombardment, as the attack force arrived off Casablanca 8 November. Following the successful assault, the destroyer returned to New York 19 November to prepare for action in the Pacific.

Arriving at Noumea, New Caledonia 4 January 1943, she immediately began escort and patrol duty among the Solomon Islands and in the Coral Sea. Her first Pacific landing operation began 29 June, when she joined other units in supporting the invasion of New Georgia Island. Jenkins splashed several enemy planes, as the Japanese fought back with considerable air strength.

Assigned to Rear Adm. W. L. Ainsworth’s Task Group 36.1, Jenkins departed Tulagi 5 July and steamed up the Slot to intercept a Japanese destroyer and transport force carrying reinforcements to Kolombangara. Radar detected the enemy during mid-watch; and during the Battle of Kula Gulf 6 July, American gunfire sank one destroyer and drove another ashore. Enemy torpedoes sank Helena.

Following this operation, Jenkins was dispatched 18 July to a position 100 miles south of Santa Cruz Island to assist damaged seaplane tender Chincoteague. Although under attack from enemy bombers, the destroyer escorted Chincoteague back to Espiritu Santo.

During the next 4 months Jenkins engaged in escort duty, training exercises, and preparations for the Gilbert Islands campaign. She joined the screen of Rear Adm. W. A. Radford’s Northern Carrier Group which bombed Makin and Tarawa during the landings 15 November. Then the destroyer sailed with the carrier force to attack Kwajalein and Wotje in the Marshalls on 4 December. During these raids the carrier Lexington was hit by a torpedo, and Jenkins was assigned to escort her back to Pearl Harbor where she arrived 9 December.

Jenkins departed Hawaii 25 January 1944 with a tanker unit to fuel fast carriers and ships covering the Marshall Islands campaign. She operated with the refueling group through February, and conducted shore bombardment on Bougainville during March. She departed Seeadler Harbor 20 April to rendezvous with Task Force 77 for amphibious operations at Hollandia and Aitape. The landings took place 22 April, and their successful conclusion gave American Pacific forces another base from which to unleash further attacks on remaining enemy held islands. After escort duty and ASW patrols, Jenkins made a search in early June to thwart any attempt by the Japanese to reinforce their Biak garrison. She then covered and provided shore bombardment for the invasions of Noemfoor, Sansapor, and Morotai, as well as patrolling and escorting reinforcements for these operations throughout the summer.

Jenkins once again departed Manus, Admiralties, 12 October for the Leyte invasion scheduled 20 October. Upon arrival, the destroyer was assigned to radar picket duty, from which she performed fighter director duties. As other units of the fleet were decisively defeating the enemy fleet in the historic Battle for Leyte Gulf, Jenkins continued her services on the picket station until 27 November.

On 28 December Jenkins sortied from Aitape to provide close cover for the Luzon Attack Force. After receiving some damage from the enemy shore battery, the destroyer returned to Leyte 12 January 1945. Ten days later she departed to assist in hunter-killer operations in the Lingayen Gulf area. She remained on ASW patrol until proceeding to cover minesweeping and shore bombardment on Corregidor 13 February. She continued to support the landings in the islands, giving valuable fire support and ASW assistance until late April.

She departed Subic Bay 24 April to cover minesweeping and amphibious operations in the Celebes Sea off Borneo. Jenkins struck a mine off Takaran Island 30 April and sailed into Subic Bay for repairs. On 18 June she sailed for the United States to complete repairs, arriving San Pedro 8 July. She remained on the West Coast through the duration of the war. The battle-scarred destroyer decommissioned at San Diego 1 May 1946.

The outbreak of the Korean conflict necessitated additional naval strength to maintain America’s worldwide commitments. Jenkins recommissioned as DDE-447 on 2 November 1951 under the command of Comdr. C. F. McGivern. She departed San Diego 25 February 1952 for a training period at Pearl Harbor. Upon completion of training, she arrived Japan 12 June; and during the summer she operated with Task Force 77, which furnished air support for the ground forces in Korea. She also engaged in patrol duties off Korea and Formosa before returning to her homeport Pearl Harbor 5 December.

She operated out of Pearl until 10 November 1953 when she sailed for another Far Eastern tour. This cruise was highlighted by Korean and Formosan patrols before returning to Pearl Harbor 15 June. From 1954 through 1963, Jenkins sailed annually to the Far East for peacekeeping operations with the 7th Fleet. In her 1958 deployment the 7th Fleet was on ready alert, as the Chinese Communists commenced harassment of the Chinese Nationalist islands of Quemoy and Matsu.

During the sixties the 7th Fleet deployments were of greater importance because of the Communist insurgency in Laos and Vietnam. For the greater part of 1964 and 1965, Jenkins operated out of Pearl Harbor.

Jenkins sailed for the Far East 9 February 1966 and on the 21st was assigned to gunfire support duty and effectively shelled enemy troop concentrations to assist Marine fighting in Vietnam. But for breathers in the Philippines and Japan, she continued this duty until returning to Pearl Harbor 22 July.

Jenkins operated in Hawaiian waters until entering U.S. Naval Shipyard at Pearl Harbor 11 September for a major overhaul which was completed early in 1967. The destroyer then prepared for another deployment in the war zone.

Jenkins received 14 battle stars for World War II service and 1 star for Korean War service.