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Hull Number: DD-520

Launch Date: 11/24/1942

Commissioned Date: 04/12/1943

Decommissioned Date: 09/11/1961

Call Sign: NFBP

Voice Call Sign: GOLDWYN (51-54), BREEZE


Class: FLETCHER

FLETCHER Class

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

Armament:

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

Complement:

20 Officers
309 Enlisted

Propulsion:

4 Boilers
2 General Electric Turbines: 60,000 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 35.2 knots

Namesake: BENJAMIN F. ISHERWOOD

BENJAMIN F. ISHERWOOD

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1968)

Benjamin F. Isherwood was born in New York City 6 October 1822, and was appointed First Assistant Engineer in the Navy 23 May 1844. During the Mexican War, he served in Princeton and later was senior engineer of Spitfire. While on a cruise of more than 3 years on the Asiatic Station, Isherwood served as Chief Engineer of the steam frigate San Jacinto. Shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War, he was appointed Engineer-in-Chief of the Navy, and so important were his services considered that the Bureau of Steam Engineering was created under his direction. He was a pioneer in the production of fast cruisers, producing this class against strong opposition. Following a tour of European dockyards, he became president of the Experimental Board under the Bureau of Steam Engineering until his retirement 6 October 1884. He died in New York City 19 June 1915.


Disposition:

To Peru 10/8/1961 as Almirante Guise. Stricken 1/15/1974


A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History

USS ISHERWOOD DD-520

The Tin Can Sailor, April 1991

The USS ISHERWOOD was commissioned at the New York navy yard on 12 April 1943. Shakedown cruises were conducted in May at Casco Bay, ME and Guantanamo, Cuba. One of the interesting experiences occurred when the ISHERWOOD in company with three other Fletcher-class destroyers were ordered to rendezvous with the SS QUEEN MARY at sea in the North Atlantic. To our surprise Prime Minister Churchill was aboard for the meeting with President F. D. Roosevelt at Halifax, N.S. The S.S. QUEEN MARY’s speed was 30 knots, while we were zigzagging at 33 knots in very heavy weather to protect her from any enemy submarine attacks. We made it, and received a “Well Done” from the Prime Minister.

The ship then was ordered to Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, Scotland one of the largest naval bases in England. We operated with the British Home Fleet from 14 August to 14 September 1943. During this time amongst its other assignments was a sweep in search of the German battleship TIRPITZ in the Fjords of Spitzbergen, which is a Norwegian Archipelago in the Artic Ocean. The ship returned to Boston, MA for overhaul 1 October 1943.

ISHERWOOD departed Boston for war in the Pacific on 14 November 1943. Upon arriving in Pearl Harbor it was ordered to join Task Force 94 in March 1944 for duty in Adak and Attu in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. During this tour of duty the ships bombarded enemy naval and air installations on Matsuwa, in the Kurile Island chain. The task force also bombarded installations at Karabu Zaki in the Kuriles. After completing this latter concentrated bombardment we were ordered to leave at flank speed. About a half-hour after we left the target area, Adm. Wiley E. Baker, the task force commander, ordered all ships to slow to six knots. Anguished groans were heard through the ship thinking we were sitting ducks. We later learned that the order for six knot speed was two-fold. The enemy planes were plentiful. We could see them on radar screen and hear them overhead, but the enemy planes could not see us because of the very heavy fog and cloud cover. If we continued at flank speed the long wakes left by the ships would be visible. At 6 knots the ships wakes were almost imperceptible. We outwitted the enemy and returned to Attu without incident.

The ship took part in October 1944 in the initial landings on Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. We were the lead ship. We were fortunate to see Gen. D. MacArthur wade ashore and alarmed when he was greeted by gunfire from sniper fire in the palm trees on shore. ISHERWOOD loosed all its firepower into the fronds of the palm trees and the snipers dropped like coconuts. The General “returned” to the Philippines unscathed. The General’s code call was “Bull Moose” ours was “Crownshield”.

In January 1945 the ship, as part of Task Force 79, departed for the invasion of Lingayen Gulf, Philippines. She was subject to intermittent bombing and suicide attacks. The landings were made 10-12 January 1945. Thereafter the ship proceeded to San Antonio and Subic Bay and participated in amphibious landings in the Manila area.

On the night of 3 March 1945 ISHERWOOD was ordered to fire support station off the coast of Okinawa. The ship came under torpedo attack by a twin engine bomber. The torpedo dropped toward the ship but passed it astern in the ship’s wake. It was visible and surely looked like a huge silver bullet.

From the 1st to the 15th of April, ISHERWOOD was attached to Task Force 54 and fired numerous shore fire support missions. On 16 April the destroyer PRINGLE was sunk and another destroyer, LAFFEY, was hit. ISHERWOOD was ordered from her fire support station during the landing on le Shima to go to their aid, and was later ordered to take over the LAFFEY’S duties as fighter director ship on a radar picket station.

It was 22 April, while ISHERWOOD was on a radar picket station that her big test came. The crew had just finished the evening meal and the officers were just sitting down when the warning came that enemy planes were in the vicinity. All hands dashed to their battle stations and a few minutes later, keen eyes picked up three Jap planes coming quarter. One of the planes picked out the twisting, speeding ISHERWOOD as its target and went into a long swooping dive.

The plane hit squarely on the No. 3 five-inch gun mount, killing or wounding most of the men on duty within the mount and its ammunition handling room.

Fed by spraying gasoline from the plane, eight fierce fires broke out immediately on the after-part of the ship. One of them was in a ruptured depth charge. With the exception of this blaze, all the fires were put out in the almost unbelievably short time of four minutes.

The depth charge fire, smoldering under tons of twisted steel from the shattered gun mounts, making jettison operations impossible, refused to go out. Despite the fact that the fire-fighting crew knew that the depth charge might explode at any moment, ISHERWOOD’s crew never faltered in its task. A rescue ship which pulled alongside to render assistance was signaled away while the stricken destroyer deliberately stayed outside the harbor at Kerama Retto for fear the explosion would damage the vital shipping inside the harbor. It was strictly ISHERWOOD’s battle. Not a man on board would have had it any other way.

Exactly twenty-five minutes after the plane had hit, the depth charge exploded with a terrific roar, its pent-up force turning the after engineroom into a mass of twisted piping and red-hot metal. Not a man in the fire-fighting crew lived!

With only her starboard engine in operation after the blast, but with all fires out, ISHERWOOD proceeded into port. It is a noteworthy fact that she was still able to fight despite her crippled condition. While entering port ISHERWOOD fired on another enemy plane which was attacking a nearby United States ship.

Totaling her losses, ISHERWOOD had 83 officers and men listed as killed, missing or wounded. Acts of heroism in saving the ship and administering aid to the wounded are too numerous to mention, but ISHERWOOD wrote a glorious page in the history of the U.S. Navy.

USS ISHERWOOD DD-520 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1968)

The second Isherwood (DD-520) was launched by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co., Staten Island, NY, 24 November 1942; sponsored by Mrs. A. J. Kerwin, granddaughter of Rear Admiral Isherwood, and commissioned 12 April 1943 at New York Navy Yard, Comdr. R. E. Gadrow in command.

The new destroyer conducted her shakedown training in Casco Bay, Maine, and off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, through April and May. During the next 2 months she operated with a patrol and escort group out of Argentia, Newfoundland, and on 5 August 1943 departed for England with troop ship Queen Mary. Isherwood arrived Scapa Flow 19 August to carry out combined operations with the British Home Fleet, including a search toward Spitzbergen for German battleship Tirpitz. Sailing 14 September, the destroyer returned to Boston with a convoy 29 September 1943.

Isherwood was subsequently reassigned to the Pacific sailing from Boston 14 November for San Francisco. From there she steamed to Pearl Harbor and sailed 11 December to join Task Force 94 in the Aleutians. For the next eight months, Isherwood carried out antisubmarine sweeps of the cold Alaskan waters. In June she took part in bombardments of the Kurile Islands, finally arriving San Francisco for repairs 15 August 1944.

Isherwood sailed for Pearl Harbor 26 August 1944 to take part in the long awaited invasion of the Philippines scheduled for October. She arrived Manus 4 October and steamed into Leyte Gulf with the assault force 20 October carrying out escort and patrol duties during the first days of the operation. She also provided gunfire support and night illumination fire. Isherwood remained in the assault area during the giant four-part Battle for Leyte Gulf 23-26 October, in which the Japanese surface fleet was all but annihilated. During November the ship escorted convoys from advance bases to the Philippines in support of the buildup there.

The next major invasion of the Philippines campaign was to be at Lingayen Gulf. Isherwood joined Vice Admiral Wilkinson’s Lingayen Attack Force at Manus, sailing 27 December. During the voyage through the islands from Leyte to Lingayen, the transport groups and carrier task groups were attacked incessantly by kamikazes, but even these desperate attacks could not stop the invasion. Isherwood shot down at least one suicide plane and assisted in splashing others before arriving the assault area 9 January 1945. She screened a landing craft group during the landing, sailing for Leyte with a returning group 11 January. During the last days of the month, specifically 29 and 30 January, the ship returned to Luzon to support the unopposed landings at San Antonio and Subic Bay, as ground units moved on Manila. Isherwood remained in the Philippines providing antisubmarine protection and patrolling until mid-March.

The veteran ship sailed for the Okinawa operation 21 March 1945 and, after her arrival 5 days later, took part in the landings on Kerama Retto preparatory to the main Okinawa assault. Troops from the main task force stormed ashore 1 April in the biggest amphibious operation of the Pacific war, and 2 days later Isherwood moved to a position off the beaches for fire support missions. This continued until 16 April, when the ship was sent to aid stricken destroyers Pringle and Laffey off Ie Shima. That afternoon she took over Laffey’s duties as fighter director ship on picket station.

The days that followed found Isherwood in numerous heavy air raids, as the Japanese made a desperate attempt to drive off the invasion fleet with suicide planes. While on station 22 April a kamikaze made a dusk attack on the destroyer and crashed No. 3 gun mount. Many fires were started, but all were quickly extinguished except the one in the depth charge rack aft. After 25 minutes of dangerous fire-fighting, the charge exploded, causing great damage in the after engine room. The gallant ship arrived Kerama Retto with over 80 men killed, wounded, or missing.

Isherwood arrived Ulithi for repairs 9 May 1945 and steamed into San Francisco Bay 3 June. She finished her overhaul just as the Pacific war ended; and, after training exercises, sailed 3 October for New York. After taking part in the Navy Day Presidential Review, the ship steamed to Charleston, where she decommissioned 1 February 1946 and was placed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

Isherwood recommissioned at Charleston 5 April 1951 and after shakedown and training in the Caribbean steamed into Newport, her new home port, 6 August. Plane guard duty off Jacksonville and operations in Narragansett Bay occupied her through the end of 1951. She then sailed for a cruise with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean, departing 22 April 1952, and, for the next 6 months, visited various ports supporting the important peace-keeping operations of the fleet. She returned to her home port 17 October 1952.

Isherwood made another 6th Fleet cruise 22 April-26 October 1953, after which she took part in maneuvers and plane guard duty off the East Coast. In June 1954 the ship underwent refresher training out of Guantanamo Bay, and sailed from Newport 30 November 1954 to join the Pacific Fleet.

The veteran ship arrived San Diego via the Panama Canal 15 December 1954, and got underway for the Far East 4 January 1855. During this cruise she operated mainly in the Philippines, with a period on Taiwan Patrol in April and May 1955. Her part in these important 7th Fleet operations ended in June and she arrived San Diego the 19th for additional training and readiness steaming. 1956, however, brought Isherwood back to these troubled waters, as she spent the period January-July on operations off Taiwan, Malaya, and Japan.

The destroyer returned to the Far East in 1957 and again in 1958. During the latter cruise she steamed off Taiwan during the tense Quemoy-Matsu crisis, when American forces afloat helped prevent a flare up between Nationalist and Communist Chinese. The ship returned to her home port 7 December 1958, and spent the first 6 months of 1959 on maneuvers and training exercises. Isherwood then sailed for her fifth 7th Fleet cruise 1 August 1959. During the next months she operated with carrier Lexington in the South China Sea, helping to limit the fighting in Laos and lending strength to United Nations efforts to find a solution. After additional eight operations and fleet exercises, the ship sailed for San Diego 29 November 1959.

In 1960 Isherwood took part in training operations, including a summer NROTC midshipmen training cruise until sailing again for 7th Fleet duty 18 October. She served on Taiwan Patrol and took part in an amphibious exercise on Okinawa before arriving San Diego 27 March 1961.

Isherwood engaged in training off California until decommissioning 11 September 1961. She was loaned to Peru 8 October 1961, where she serves the Peruvian Navy as Guise (DD-72).

Isherwood received five battle stars for World War II service.