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Hull Number: DD-448

Launch Date: 06/21/1942

Commissioned Date: 08/12/1942

Decommissioned Date: 04/16/1946



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, July 2015

Elie A. F. La Vallette was one of the first rear admirals appointed when President Lincoln created this rank in July 1862. Born in Alexandria, Va., 3 May 1790, at age 10 he accompanied his father, a chaplain, on a cruise in Philadelphia, commanded by Stephen Decatur. After merchant marine service, be entered the Navy during the War of 1812. As acting lieutenant in Saratoga during the Battle of Lake Champlain, 11 September 1814, he distinguished himself, winning promotion and a medal. He commanded Congress during the Mexican War, directing operations against Guaymas and Urias 19 to 20 November 1847. In the 1850’s he commanded the African, and then the Mediterranean, Squadron. Four months after his appointment as rear admiral, he died 18 November 1862 in Philadelphia.


Stricken 2/1/1974. Sold 7/26/1974 to Peru for spare parts

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, January 1998

USS LA VALLETTE was the fourth ship of the FLETCHER class to be laid down at the massive Federal Shipbuilding facility in Kearny, New Jersey. Her construction began on the same day as USS JENKINS (DD-447) and she was launched on the same day as well, June 21, 1942. Commissioning followed two months later and, after training and escort duty along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean, LA VALLETTE would transit the Panama Canal for her assigned role in the Pacific.

DD-448 was the second destroyer named for RADM Elie A. F. La Vallette, whose distinguished service ranged from actions in the War of 1812 to encounters during the Mexican War. La Valette was one of the first rear admirals appointed by President Abraham Lincoln when the new rank was created at the beginning of the Civil War. Unfortunately, he passed away four months after his new rank took effect, on November 18, 1862. He was seventy-two.

USS LA VALLETTE first found herself in action with Japanese forces on January 29, 1943, when, while protecting Task Force 18 units off Guadalcanal, the new destroyer obliterated three attacking Japanese aircraft. The following day, while screening the wounded heavy cruiser USS CHICAGO (CA-29), LA VALLETTE shot down six attacking Mitsubishi G4M2 “Betty” bombers. The two-engined torpedo-carrying aircraft, launched from naval air bases to the north, staged multiple attacks against the cruiser and her screen. Despite intense fire and the loss of ten of their original force, the Japanese succeeded. CHICAGO took two additional torpedo hits and sank in twenty minutes. DD-448 was also hit by an aerial weapon. With extensive damage to her forward engine room and twenty-two casualties, LA VALLETTE was towed to Espiritu Santo for repairs. She would require stateside attention before going back into action.

By August 1943, when the tin can was able to return to duty, Japanese barge traffic in the Solomons posed a threat to the Allies. Unable to effectively resupply garrisons using more conventional methods, the Japanese had developed a method of filtering barge convoys through. The groups of barges, hugging the coast, would travel only at night. Most were heavily armed against attacks from patrol torpedo craft. They were easy prey, however, for a marauding destroyer.

On the evening of October 1-2, 1943, LA VALLETTE was assigned to disrupt that traffic. Off the island of Kolombangara, she encountered a convoy. When the smoke cleared, four barges had been sunk and two heavily damaged. Several companies of Japanese Imperial Marines would not reach the Guadalcanal garrison.

As the action moved northward, LA VALLETTE found herself performing the escort and bombardment duties for which she had been designed. Roi, Aitape, and Noemfoor landing forces had the accurate gunfire support of DD-448. The destroyer was also called upon to escort convoys to the Philippine campaign.

DD-448 seemed to be everywhere in the island campaign. She protected fleet anchorages and clusters of transports, engaging and splashing kamikazes and trading fire with coastal batteries.

A support mission was to mark the effective end of LA VALLETTE’s combat career. Off the embattled beachhead in Mariveles harbor, the destroyer was screening sweeping operations when she struck a mine. With six dead and twenty-three wounded, DD-448 was towed to Subic Bay for temporary repairs. The damage was so extensive that she returned to the West Coast. Although fully repaired at the Hunters Point facility, she was decommissioned and entered the Reserve Fleet in 1946. She would remain in reserve for thirteen years, before being sold to Peru. DD-448 would be used to provide spare parts of two other FLETCHER-class destroyers operated by the South American nation for ten more years. The remains of LA VALLETTE were believed scrapped, along with the remainder of Peru’s FLETCHER fleet, in the early 1980s.

USS LA VALLETTE DD-448 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, July 2015

The second La Vallette (DD-448) was laid down 27 November 1941 by Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Corp., Kearny, N.J.; launched 21 June 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Lucy La Vallette Littel, great-granddaughter of Rear Admiral LaVallette; and commissioned 12 August 1942, Lt. Cmdr. H. H. Henderson in command.

After training and escort duty in the Caribbean and Atlantic, La Vallette departed New York 16 December 1942 for the Panama Canal and Pacific duty. First contact with the enemy came 29 January 1943 as she screened TF 18 off Guadalcanal, when La Vallette’s guns splashed three of a wave of attacking planes.

Attacked again 30 January while guarding Chicago, she shot down six “Bettys”, but was struck by a torpedo. With 22 dead, she was towed to drydock at Espiritu Santo for temporary repairs, then sailed to Mare Island Navy Yard, arriving 1 April.

Completely repaired, La Vallette left 6 August for Pearl Harbor, where she joined a carrier force for a strike on Marcus Island 31 August before returning to patrol duty in the Solomons. On the nights of 1 and 2 October, she contacted Japanese troop barges off Kolombangara, of which she sank four and damaged 2. La Vallette carried out escort and screening assignments during the Gilbert landings, and in strikes against Kwajalein and Wotje, during which she splashed another enemy aircraft. Brief repairs at San Francisco followed, after which she returned to the South Pacific.

On 1 February 1944 she fired in the preinvasion bombardment of Roi, part of the Kwajalein complex; in April she hit Aitape, and on 2 July supported the landings on Noemfoor, off New Guinea. Constant patrol and escort operations were conducted between these invasions.

Assigned to escort convoys during the first assaults on the Philippines, La Vallette had already left Leyte Gulf with a convoy bound to reload at Hollandia before the vast and decisive Battle for Leyte Gulf erupted; but she returned to the Philippines by 5 December, when she splashed a kamikaze in Surigao Strait. She covered five more landings. in the Philippines during December and January 1945, then joined the screen for minesweepers clearing Manila Bay. On 14 February in Mariveles Harbor, La Vallette was extensively damaged by a mine. With six dead and 23 wounded, she was towed to drydock at Subic Bay, then sailed for Hunters Point Navy Yard where she was completely repaired. On 7 August she sailed for San Diego, where she decommissioned 16 April 1946, and entered the Reserve Fleet, where she remains into 1969.

La Vallette received 10 battle stars for World War II service.