A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History
USS ALLEN DD-66
The Tin Can Sailor, July 2001
The ALLEN (DD-66) was launched on 5 December 1916 by the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, and was commissioned on 24 January 1917. She reported for duty with the DesRon, Atlantic Fleet, to patrol and escort convoys along the East Coast and in Cuban waters. On 14 June 1917, she sailed from New York as an escort for Troop Convoy Group 3, part of the first Troop Convoy of Expeditionary Forces from the United States to France. During the remainder of World War I, she operated with the destroyers based at Queenstown, Ireland, performing patrol and antisubmarine duty and escorting convoys. Early in 1918, while escorting convoy HE 7, the ALLEN and fellow destroyers DOWNES (DD-45) and BURROWS (DD-29) attacked enemy submarines with depth charges, chasing them away from the convoy. Later that year, she was one of the ships that assisted the sinking British ship GALWAY CASTLE. In December 1918, the ALLEN joined the escort for the WASHINGTON (CA-11) carrying President Woodrow Wilson to Brest, France.
Returning to the U.S. early in 1919, the ALLEN operated with the Atlantic Fleet along the eastern seaboard until placed out of commission on 22 June 1922. Recommissioned on 23 June 1925, she trained naval reservists of the District of Columbia until March 1928 when she again went out of commission at Philadelphia.
On 23 August 1940, the ALLEN was recommissioned. While others of her vintage, such as the CONWAY (DD-70), CONNER (DD-72), and STOCKTON (DD-73), were among the fifty destroyers transferred to Great Britain in exchange for naval bases, the ALLEN was ordered to join Destroyer Division 80 on the West Coast. In December 1940, she proceeded to Pearl Harbor, and on the morning of 7 December 1941, she was moored in East Loch, to the northeast of Ford Island and just southeast of the hospital ship SOLACE (AH-5). During the Japanese attack, Elliot R. Milliken was gun captain of the No. 6, 3-inch/.50-caliber gun. When a shell jammed in the gun, he gave no thought to his personal safety and forcibly rammed the fused projectile from the barrel of the gun, promptly putting it back in action. The destroyer went on to assist in splashing three enemy planes, sustaining neither casualties nor damage. The ALLEN remained on antisubmarine patrol in the Pearl Harbor Defensive Sea Area where, on 27 December, she rescued twelve of the crew from a merchant ship sunk by an enemy submarine.
As a unit of Destroyer Division 80, the ALLEN operated out of Pearl Harbor during 1942 and 1943, screening sorties of various ships and convoys, patrolling the Oahu picket line, and conducting gunnery and antisubmarine exercises. During the first week of June 1942, she sailed with the BREESE (DD-122) to a point between Oahu and Midway to assist in the transfer of the YORKTOWN (CV-5) survivors from the PORTLAND (CA-33), RUSSELL (DD-414), and MORRIS (DD-417). She took aboard four officers and ninety men and returned them to Pearl Harbor. Following a brief return to San Francisco in August 1942 and an escort run between Pearl Harbor and Midway in late October, she resumed patrol duties on the Hawaiian sea frontier.
The ALLEN left Pearl Harbor on 20 August 1945 and arrived at Philadelphia on 13 September. The oldest destroyer in the navy and the last high-forecastle, 1,000-ton destroyer in U.S. service, she was decommissioned on 15 October 1945 and sold for scrap on 26 September 1946.