USS KIMBERLY DD-521 Ship History
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, July 2015
Kimberly (DD-521) was launched 4 February 1943, by Bethlehem Steel Co., Staten Island, N.Y.; sponsored by Miss Elsie S. Kimberly, daughter of Admiral Kimberly; and commissioned 22 May 1943, Comdr. H. W. Smith in command.
After shakedown Kimberly cleared Norfolk 10 September 1943, and steamed toward the action in the Pacific. Following additional training at Pearl Harbor, the de- stroyer arrived off Makin 20 November to begin the Navy’s relentless conquest of Micronesia. Throughout the Gilbert Islands campaign, the destroyer served in ASW screen for the battleships and cruisers supporting marines fighting ashore with deadly accurate and devastating gunfire.
Kimberly departed Tarawa 6 December for the West Coast. After repairs at San Francisco, she sailed 22 January 1944, for the Aleutian Islands. Operating with Rear Admiral Baker’s Task Force 94, the destroyer departed Attu 1 February to silence enemy antiaircraft batteries on Suribachi Wan and Kura’bi Saki. Kimberly remained in the Aleutians for 7 months on ASW patrols, offensive sweeps, bombardment of the Kuriles, and training exercises before steaming toward San Francisco 18 September.
As the tempo of the Pacific war quickened, Kimberly arrived at Manus, Admiralty Islands, to prepare for her roles in the reconquest of the Philippines. In 10 November she departed escorting a supply convoy to Leyte Gulf, carrying material to replenish U.S. forces there. On the evening of 21 December, while Kimberly escorted another convoy to Mangarin Bay, Mindoro, Japanese suicide planes attacked the American ships. During the 2-hour battle, Kimberly’s guns splashed one plane and assisted in the downing of two others. After repulsing the attack, the convoy proceeded to Mangarin Bay bringing men and material for the construction of an airstrip and a PT-boat base needed to support the invasion of Luzon, Kimberly’s next mission.
The destroyer departed Leyte 2 January 1945, screening a preinvasion battleship group. En route, during one of many kamikaze attacks, the destroyer scored another kill. Arriving off Lingayen Gulf 6 January, the bombardment group was immediately placed on alert to ward off the fanatic enemy suicide pilots. That day Kimberly splashed two more planes. For the remainder of the month, she bombarded enemy railroad and supply centers.
During February the destroyer prepared for the Okinawa campaign which would advance American forces next door to the Japanese homeland. Departing San Pedro Bay 21 March for radar picket duty, the destroyer, off the Ryukyus, was attacked 26 March by two “Vals.” Despite accurate antiaircraft fire and numerous hits, one enemy plane, trailing fire and smoke, crashed into the aft gun mounts killing 4 men and wounding 57. Kimberly cleared the area 1 April for repairs at Mare Island, arriving 25 April.
Returning to the fight, she cleared Pearl Harbor 10 August but Japan capitulated as the veteran destroyer steamed to join the 3d fleet in the Far East. She entered Tokyo Bay 4 September and 2 days later sailed, escorting Missouri. In company with the famed battleship, she arrived Philadelphia 18 October. After Navy Day ceremonies, Kimberly departed Philadelphia 2 November and arrived Charleston, S.C., the next day. She remained there until 5 February 1947 when she was placed in reserve.
The United States shrank her Navy too far. Encouraged by the weakness, the Communists struck in Korea. As fast as crews and material could be assembled, the nation rebuilt her fleet. Kimberly recommissioned 8 February 1951, Comdr. O. B. Parker in command. After shakedown out of Guantanamo and exercises along the coast, she cleared Norfolk 15 May 1951, and steamed to the Pacific as reinforcement. She arrived Tokosuka 18 June and 5 days later sailed for fire support operations off the western coast of Korea. The destroyer also acted as ASW screen and plane guard for the carriers during the raids on enemy positions ashore. In mid-September she arrived off Formosa for patrol operations before sailing 6 October via the Philippines, the Suez Canal, and the Mediterranean, for the United States.
Arriving Norfolk 12 December, Kimberly operated along the Atlantic coast and Caribbean on training exercises until she arrived Charleston, S.C., 20 June 1953. She remained there and decommissioned 15 January 1954.
After 12 years in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Charles- ton, S.C., Kimberly proceeded to Boston Naval Shipyard in July 1966 for overhaul prior to being loaned to the government of the Republic of China.
Kimberly received five battle stars for World War II and one star for Korean service.