A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History
USS ENDICOTT DD-495
The Tin Can Sailor, January 2001
Launched in Seattle on 5 April 1942, the ENDICOTT (DD-495) was commissioned on 25 February 1943. Ordered to the Atlantic Fleet, she escorted convoys to Africa, Ireland, Panama, and Trinidad until 24 May 1944. That morning, the ENDICOTT collided with the freighter SS EXHIBITOR and as a result missed the Normandy invasion while undergoing repairs in England.
She rejoined the fleet in July 1944 and soon was busy convoying landing craft to the Mediterranean for the invasion of Southern France. Assigned a diversionary action with the British gunboats SCARAB and APHIS and seventeen PT boats, the ENDICOTT attacked La Ciotat, successfully luring enemy troops away from St. Tropez, the actual landing site. During the action, the ENDICOTT sank a German merchantman and then rushed to aid the SCARAB and APHIS, which were under attack by two German corvettes. The destroyer closed to 1,500 yards, and in a battle of less than an hour her guns sank the two corvettes, with a single injury to only one ENDICOTT crewmember. She went on to rescue 169 survivors from the German vessels.
After Christmas, she escorted the cruiser QUINCY (CA-71), which carried President Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference. Following several more convoys, she entered the Charleston Navy Yard in May 1945 and emerged a high speed minesweeper. At war’s end, she was in the Pacific working with the minesweeping force in the Yellow Sea. The ENDICOTT accounted for sixty-four of the 350 Japanese mines they removed. Early in 1946 she led her task group on a sweep of the Inland Sea and then headed for home.
September 1948 found her en route to Tsingtao, China, where the following spring she helped evacuate Americans during the Communist takeover. With the start of the Korean War in June 1950, she was on duty screening the carriers BADOENG STRAIT (CVE-116) and SICILY (CVE-118) as their planes attacked the enemy along Korea’s southern coast. She then moved on to support UN troops fighting at Chin Hae Man, west of Pusan. Her guns targeted enemy tanks, trucks, ammunition dumps, troop concentrations, roads and rail lines, and command posts. On 15 September she escorted a Korean LST carrying 700 guerilla troops in a commando raid on Chang Sa Dong. On the beach, the LST met heavy tank and gun fire, which the ENDICOTT’s guns soon silenced. Five hours later, the LST’s load of troops and equipment was ashore, but she had broached and lay helpless. The ENDICOTT stood guard until the cruiser HELENA (CA-75) and minesweeper DOYLE (DMS-34, ex-DD-494) relieved her.
After the Inchon landings, she shelled enemy positions along the east coast and covered the mine force clearing the channels into Wonsan. During the operation, the minesweepers PIRATE (AM-275) and PLEDGE (AM-277) struck contact mines and quickly sank. For the next two hours, the ENDICOTT returned fire from the shore as her boats wove through the mine field collecting survivors. Her crew rescued 122 officers and men, who were carried to the hospital ship REPOSE at Pusan.
With Wonsan Harbor clear of mines, the ENDICOTT and the minesweeping force moved on in early December to clear a channel into Hungnam for the evacuation of 60,000 troops. January 1951 brought snow and heavy seas causing a Thai naval vessel to ground on an enemy held beach. The ENDICOTT rescued three men washed overboard from a Thai pulling boat and towed the boat back to her mother ship. The next day when a rescue helicopter crashed and exploded on the Thai vessel’s bridge the ENDICOTT’s doctor and chief medic went ashore to care for the casualties until they could be evacuated.
The mine forces swept northward, and in early February the ENDICOTT was bound for Wonsan to cover the landing of ROK marines. She then headed home. Back in November 1951, she bombarded Songjin in North Korea. While covering minesweepers in Songjin’s harbor, the ENDICOTT helped turn back a North Korean assault on the island of Yang Do. In the action the ship received minor damage, but none of her crew were injured. In April 1952 she left Songjin to bombard industrial, rail, and road targets in the Chuunonjang area. At 1112 on 19 April, she opened fire on a large warehouse and immediately found herself the target of nine shore batteries. The ENDICOTT returned their fire and over the next thirteen minutes managed to dodge an estimated 150 rounds before one tore a hole in her stern below the waterline. Just in time, the DOYLE arrived and covered the ENDICOTT as she moved out of range. Damage control measures kept the flooding in her stern peak tank under control as the ENDICOTT fought high winds and rough seas en route to Songjin. A successful patch put her back in action until her return to Long Beach for overhaul.
Following another tour in Korea supporting minesweeping operations, she returned to California where on 17 August 1954 she was decommissioned. Reclassified DD-495 on 15 July 1955, the ENDICOTT was stricken from the navy lists on 1 November 1969 and sold for scrap on 6 October 1970.