USS KILLEN DD-593 Ship History
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1968)
Killen (DD-593) was launched 10 January 1943, by the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash.; sponsored by Mrs. Inez Cowdrey; and commissioned 4 May 1944, Comdr. H. G. Corey in command.
After shakedown Killen cleared Port Angeles, Wash. 19 August 1944, escorted a convoy from Pearl Harbor and arrived Manus, Admiralty Islands, 14 September. Following training exercises the destroyer departed Hollandia 12 October with the Central Philippine Attack Force that arrived off San Pedro Bay on the 20th. For the next 5 days she gave day and night fire support to troops ashore on Leyte, and during one 30-minute period on the 21st silenced three enemy artillery positions. When the Japanese Navy decided to contest the landings in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Killen’s squadron engaged the enemy at Surigao Strait. On the morning of 25 October, at 0325, she launched five torpedoes toward battleship Yamashiro. One hit slowing her to 5 knots enabled other American destroyers to maneuver for the kill. In the widespread fleet actions for Leyte, covering hundreds of thousands of sea miles, the U.S. Fleet reduced the Japanese Fleet to an ineffective force thus greatly speeding up the advance toward Japan and end of the war.
Killen resumed antiaircraft screen. While on patrol off Leyte 1 November she was attacked by seven enemy aircraft. The destroyer splashed four raiders before a bomb from one of the attackers found its mark in Killen’s port side, killing 15 men After temporary repairs at San Pedro Bay and Manus, she steamed into Hunter’s Point, Calif., 15 January 1945, for overhaul.
Returning to Manus 9 May, the gallant destroyer sailed the next day for convoy escort and patrol duty in the Philippines. Killen steamed into Brunei Bay Borneo, 10 June with the assault forces, and supported the troops with prelanding bombardment. She resumed exercises 15 June before arriving off Balikpapen, Borneo, 27 June for fire support missions. After silencing enemy shore batteries on Borneo, Killen prepared for the final phase of the Pacific war as she arrived Manila 14 July. She cleared that port 2 weeks later, and joined the North Pacific Force in the Aleutian Islands.
Upon the cessation of hostilities the destroyer was assigned to the occupation forces in the Japanese islands. Departing Adak 31 August, Killen supported the occupation forces until 14 November when she sailed to Puget Sound. From there she proceeded to San Diego, arriving 2 April, and decommissioning 9 July 1946.
The veteran destroyer served as a trial ship during the atom bomb tests in 1958, and in 1962 engaged in high explosive tests in the Chesapeake Bay. Killen was struck from the Navy List in January 1963 to be used as a target ship for missiles off Vieques Island, P.R.
Killen received two battle stars for World War II service.