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Hull Number: DD-474

Launch Date: 04/16/1942

Commissioned Date: 03/02/1943

Decommissioned Date: 01/15/1947



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, March 2016

William Freeland Fullam, born 20 October 1855 in Pittsford, N.Y., was a member of the Naval Academy class of 1877. His commands through his long and distinguished naval career ranged from the sailing ship Chesapeake in 1904 to the battleship Mississippi in 1909. During World War I, Rear Admiral Fullam commanded the Reserve Force, Pacific Fleet, and Patrol Force, Pacific Fleet, and was senior officer in command of the Pacific Fleet during the absence of the Fleet’s Commander-in-Chief in South Atlantic waters. The merit of his service in such responsible positions was recognized with the award of the Navy Cross. Chief among his assignments ashore was the superintendency of the Naval Academy in 1914 and 1915. Rear Admiral Fullam retired 8 October 1919, and died 23 September 1926 at Washington, D.C.


Sunk as target 07/07/1962 by aircraft and Naval gunfire off Cape Henry, VA.

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, January 2001

Launched in the Boston Navy Yard on 16 April 1942, the FULLAM was commissioned on 2 March 1943. Following escort duty on the East Coast, she went on to San Diego in June 1943. Continuing to Pearl Harbor, she became the flagship of Destroyer Squadron 45, which included the GUEST (DD-472), BENNETT (DD-473), HUDSON (DD-475), HALFORD (DD-480), TERRY (DD-513), ANTHONY (DD-515), WADSWORTH (DD-516), and BRAINE (DD-630). By August, she was in the Solomons for patrol and escort duty. In November, she covered the landings on Cape Torokina, and escorted convoys carrying reinforcements and supplies to Bougainville. She then moved forward on the night of 28-29 November to cover the withdrawal of a marine parachute battalion from a beachhead near Cape Torokina. In another night action on 3 December, her gunners shot down a twin-engine enemy bomber and assisted in downing another.

Her guns joined the bombardment of enemy installations during the landings at Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville, on 25 January 1944. Four days later at Villa Lavella, the FULLAM screened transports carrying a New Zealand Raider Battalion and American sailors for a reconnaissance raid on Green Island in the Solomons on 30 January. The FULLAM was back again in mid-February with Task Unit 31.5.2 to cover the New Zealanders when they seized and occupied the island. Later that month, she was with Destroyer Division 89 when it made its unprecedented anti-shipping sweep north toward Truk and into enemy territory. In March, she served with Task Unit 31.2.1 as a screening vessel for transports and landing craft during the Emirau landings. She operated in the Buka Passage in April forcing two enemy barges aground and screening minelayers. In June she joined the Fifth Fleet for the assault on the Marianas. She arrived off Tinian on 12 June for bombardment of that island and moved on to Saipan. She then covered the landings on the 15th. She rejoined the carrier task force on 19 June as the Battle of the Philippine Sea began. In that action, the FULLAM shot down two enemy planes and assisted in splashing two more. Back off Saipan on 6 July, she and the HUDSON shot down an enemy patrol plane. The month ended with her guns pounding targets on Guam.

After training at Guadalcanal, the FULLAM was en route for the assault on the Palau Islands when, at 0451 on 12 September, she collided with the NOA (APD-24), which sank stern first six hours after the collision. Despite considerable damage, the destroyer not only took off all of the NOA’s crew, transferred them to other ships, and carried out her daily shore bombardment and nightly harassing fire, but covered underwater demolition teams working off Peleliu.

Repairs and a return to the U.S. took her into January 1945 when she returned to the Western Pacific for picket duty off Pagan Island. She sailed for Saipan on 15 February to join a task group for the assault on Iwo Jima. She was off the coast of Iwo on 16 February to serve as screen and fire support ship during the assault and bitter fighting ashore. When she left on 28 February, she had expended 4,558 rounds of 5-inch ammunition.

Beginning on 1 April, the FULLAM was off Okinawa, screening carriers and patrolling for enemy submarines and aircraft. Her group then went on to bombard the airfields on Sakashima Gunto from which kamikaze flights were launched. During the afternoon and evening of 4 May 1945, four kamikazes attacked the carrier SANGAMON (CVE-26) and her escorts, the FULLAM and DENNIS (DE-405). One plane missed, two were shot down, but a fourth succeeded in crashing on the flight deck of the SANGAMON. Rescue operations were directed by the commander of Destroyer Squadron 45 aboard the FULLAM. When the fires on the carrier were extinguished, the FULLAM and DENNIS escorted her to safety. The FULLAM went on to antisubmarine patrol and fire support off Hagushi Beach. She sailed from Okinawa on 1 July to escort landing craft to Guam and an escort carrier from Guam to Eniwetok. Following repairs and upkeep at Eniwetok the FULLAM headed for the Aleutians. She was en route when the war ended. She took up escort and patrol duties in the Aleutians until she entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on 13 November 1945. She steamed south to San Diego in March 1946 and was decommissioned on 15 January 1947. In June 1959, the FULLAM was assigned to Norfolk Virginia, where she was used as a target for weapons tests and other experiments which left her radioactive. She was stricken from the navy’s list on 1 June 1962. According to naval records, the “FULLAM sank at 0715 after resisting nobly the combined effects of Bullpup missiles and surface fire from five and eight-inch guns.”

USS FULLAM DD-474 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, March 2016

Fullam (DD-474) was launched 16 April 1942 by Boston Navy Yard; sponsored by Miss Mariana F. Welch, granddaughter of Admiral Fullam; and commissioned 2 March 1943, Commander H. C. Daniel in command.

Fullam served briefly as an east coast escort, then arrived at San Diego, Calif., 28 June 1943. After training in the Hawaiian Islands, she arrived at Efate, New Hebrides, 28 August for escort and patrol duties in the Solomons. From 1 November, when she covered the landings on Cape Torokina, Fullam guarded convoys carrying reinforcements and supplies to Bougainville as well as bombarding enemy installations in the Empress Augusta Bay area 25 January 1944. Four days later, at Vella Lavella, transports Fullam screened, embarked a mixed reconnaissance party of New Zealanders and American sailors, which was landed on the Green Islands, 30 January. The party was reembarked that night, and the landings in force by New Zealand troops on the Green Islands took place 15 February, as Fullam and her task force provided protective cover.

Through the next 3 months, Fullam continued her patrol, escort, and bombardment missions in the Solomons, joining in the landings on Emirau 20 March 1944. After training and replenishment at Port Purvis and Espiritu Santo, the destroyer joined the 5th Fleet for the assault on the Marianas. She arrived off Tinian 12 June for the bombardments on Tinian and Saipan which began the next day and continued until the landings of 15th. Ordered west to search for an enemy task force known to be moving into position to oppose the landings, Fullam rejoined the carrier task force 19 June as the Battle of the Philippine Sea opened. During this 2-day engagement, she joined in the general firing which combined with fighter actions brought down the vast majority of the Japanese naval aviation as an effective element in the war. Completing her assignment in the Marianas with duty screening the cruisers bombarding Guam as well as firing on targets there herself, Fullam departed the Marianas 10 August for Eniwetok.

After training at Guadalcanal, Fullam sortied from Port Purvis 6 September 1944 for the assault on the Palau Islands. Six days out, she and Noa (APD-24) collided, Noa sinking in 6 hours, and Fullam being badly damaged. Despite this, Fullam not only rescued all of Noa’s men, but also carried out daily shore bombardment and night harassing fire, as well as covering the work of underwater demolition teams, as Peleliu was assaulted, then sailed for temporary repairs at Manus and a west coast overhaul.

Fullam returned to Pearl Harbor for training 24 December 1944, then sailed for picket duty off Pagan Island before reaching Saipan 15 February 1945. Here she joined a task group for the Iwo Jima assault, sailing 16 February to serve as screen and fire-support ship during the assault and the bitter fighting which followed until 28 February. After replenishing at Leyte, she sailed 27 March in the screen of an escort carrier group for the Okinawa operation. After providing air cover to the landings of 1 April, her group began continual strikes on the airfields on the Sakashima Gunto from which suicide flights were launched by the Japanese. On 4 May, while screening Sangamon (CVE-26) with another destroyer, Fullam fired on a group of four kamikazes attacking the carrier. The screening destroyers shot down three of the attackers, but the fourth crashed the escort carrier’s flight deck, forcing many of her men over the side. These were saved by the destroyers, who stood by as Sangamon extinguished the huge fire.

From 13 May 1945, Fullam was assigned to antisubmarine patrol and antiaircraft fire support off Hagushi Beach, as well as antiaircraft fire support ship for fighter-director ships on radar picket stations away from the island. She sailed from Okinawa 1 July to escort landing craft to Guam, and an escort carrier from Guam to Eniwetok. Assigned to operate with carriers against northern Japan, Fullam cleared Eniwetok 11 August for Adak, but arriving after the close of hostilities, instead took up escort and patrol duties in the Aleutians until entering Puget Sound Naval Shipyard 13 November. In March 1946 she sailed south to San Diego, where she was placed out of commission in reserve 15 January 1947.

Fullam received seven battle stars for World War II service.