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Hull Number: DD-696

Launch Date: 02/27/1944

Commissioned Date: 05/04/1944

Decommissioned Date: 05/15/1970

Voice Call Sign: Tough Guy (50s)



Data for USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) as of 1945

Length Overall: 376’ 6"

Beam: 40’ 10"

Draft: 14’ 5"

Standard Displacement: 2,200 tons

Full Load Displacement: 3,315 tons

Fuel capacity: 3,293 barrels


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


20 Officers
325 Enlisted


4 Boilers
2 General Electric Turbines: 60,000 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 34.2 knots



Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1963)

Robert Henry English, born 16 January 1888 in Warrenton, GA, was a member of the Naval Academy class of 1911, and early in his naval career became a submariner. In 1917, while commanding O-4 (SS-65), he won the Navy Cross for his great heroism in rescuing an officer trapped in O-5 (SS-66) after an explosion. After a series of important assignments, he became commanding officer of Helena (CL-50), and during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941 was one of the first to bring his ship into action. On 14 May 1942, he became Commander, Submarines, US Pacific Fleet, and was so serving when killed in an airplane accident in California 21 January 1943. For his exceptionally meritorious service in his last assignment, Rear Admiral English was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.


Transferred to Taiwan, as sale, on 08/11/1970 as HUEYANG (DD-6).

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, July 1998

USS ENGLISH was named for RADM Robert Henry English, a prominent submariner who had been killed in an aircraft crash while serving as Commander, Submarines, Pacific Fleet, in 1943.

DD-696 was laid down at the Kearney (NJ) facility of Federal Shipbuilding in October, 1943 and launched on February 27, 1944. She was commissioned on May 4, 1944. By September, she was already cruising Hawaiian waters, serving as a plane guard for carriers involved in qualifying pilots for air operations. Freed from the rather mundane duty, ENGLISH was assigned to the powerful carrier Task Force 38 for operations in the western Pacific. She would screen the carriers in strikes at the heart of Japanese air power, lashing out at airfields in Formosa, Luzon, Okinawa, and along the coast of Indochina. She then returned to Ulithi to replenish and to escort USS INDIANAPOLIS (CA- 35) back to operations with a new task force, TF 58. The new group struck even deeper into the Japanese empire in an effort to prevent Japan’s dwindling air forces from supporting Imperial troops in the Philippines.

ENGLISH would protect carrier forces in the final months of the war as the powerful task forces repeatedly struck at the Japanese Home Islands. She escorted the heavily damaged USS FRANKLIN (CV-13) to safety after the carrier had been wounded by a kamikaze attack, then returned to the Okinawa campaign to provide fire support. ENGLISH would also provide assistance to USS BUNKER HILL (CV-17) when the carrier was hit by a suicider. By removing VADM Marc Mitscher and his staff, from the flaming flat top and placing them on a nearby carrier, DD-696 helped to assure that the command structure would remain intact. The destroyer would continue screening carriers through the remaining days of the war.

After a brief tour on occupation duty, ENGLISH set sail for the home, reaching Boston (MA) Navy yard on April 26, 1946. Immediately after the war, ENGLISH served extensively as a Naval Reserve training ship, based first in Boston, then Charleston and New Orleans. She began her first Mediterranean deployment with the Sixth Fleet in September, 1949, returning to her new home port of Norfolk (VA) in January, 1950. For eight months, ENGLISH underwent training off the East Coast and in the Caribbean, while events on the other side of the world spawned another war for the veteran tin can.

As North Korean forces spilled across the 38th Parallel to start the Korean War, dozens of destroyers were ordered to the east. ENGLISH began her deployment in October 1950, serving with Task Force 90. The destroyer alternated between shore bombardment missions, carrier screening, and “interdiction”; an ambiguous term that could apply to the blasting of railroad bridges as well as the examination of sampans. DD- 696 performed all tasks with precision. Her accurate fire helped delay North Korean forces in their attempt to isolate and swallow up the United Nations Tenth Corps at Hungnam, lashing away at targets during the day and illuminating suspicious movements at night with star shells. Thousands of shells were expended in protecting the ever-shrinking perimeter while Tenth Corp troops were successfully withdrawn. She then turned her guns on the port facilities, rendering them useless to the North Koreans.

ENGLISH served in a variety of roles along the Korean coast. Assigned to shell enemy positions deep in North Korea, she accompanied two corvettes of the Royal Thai Navy. A snowstorm swept down from the north, blanketing the area and cutting visibility to zero. One corvette ran aground and, despite almost superhuman efforts, ENGLISH was unable to free her. DD-696 sank the craft with gunfire.

In one of the more unusual events of the war, ENGLISH was assigned to a unit of the Army of the Republic of Korea, becoming, in effect, a floating artillery battery for the infantrymen. She served in the role well, blasting away at forces blocking the ROK drive north, using the coastal roads. She completed her Korean service on blockade duty outside a number of Korean ports and in screening the carriers that continued to pound targets in the North. ENGLISH finally returned to her homeport of Norfolk (VA) in June 1951.

The years that remained to ENGLISH were spent like most of her sisters, shifting between training cruises and Mediterranean deployments. Finally, like the others, she would take her place as a Naval Reserve training vessel.

ENGLISH was severely damaged in a collision with USS WALLACE L. LIND (DD-703) while participating in a fleet exercise on October 31, 1954. Although DD-696 lost fifty feet of her bow, she lost no crewmen. Superior damage control, coupled with outstanding seamanship, brought the wounded destroyer into port under her own power.

When the Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization Program was initiated at the end of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s second term as President, candidate destroyers were surveyed. ENGLAND had been steaming for years without some long-needed repairs. The damage to her bow, while repaired brought to question whether or not she could be rehabilitated. The price tag for repair and modernization was estimated to exceed $13 million dollars. ENGLISH was not included in the FRAM program.

DD-696 remained as a training vessel along the East Coast and at Mayport (FL) into the 1970’s. Plans were afoot that would extend her career beyond all expectations, however.

In July 1970, a deal was struck with the government of Nationalist China on the island of Formosa. The Nationalists would be allowed to purchase ENGLISH for slightly less than a quarter of a million dollars, provided four Chinese vessels then under their control would be deactivated, along with the destroyer escort TAI KANG. The Chinese agreed.

USS ENGLISH was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on May 15, 1970. The Chinese crew met their new vessel at Orange, Texas, in September 1970. With papers duly signed and the exchange of $225,000 for purchase and an additional $50,000 to prepare her for towing, USS ENGLISH became HUI YANG.

HUI YANG (Ship Number 906) continues to serve the Taiwanese Navy. After a number of rebuildings and modernizations, she provides anti-submarine protection against “mainland” China’s growing submarine fleet. At present, no known plans call for her disposal, although ships of her class are being replaced as more modern warships are placed on the market by the World’s naval powers. Regardless of her final fate, USS ENGLISH’s fifty years of service is remarkable.

DD-696 received four battle stars for her service in World War II and an additional four for Korean service.

USS ENGLISH DD-696 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1963)

English (DD-696) was launched 27 February 1944 by Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Kearny, NJ; sponsored by Ensign Eloise W. English, USNR(W), daughter of Rear Admiral English; and commissioned 4 May 1944, Commander J. T. Smith in command.

English arrived in the Hawaiian Islands 3 September 1944 for final training, and service as plane guard during the qualification of aviators in carrier operations. On 17 December, she sailed from Pearl Harbor for Ulithi, where on 28 December she joined the screen for mighty carrier TF 38. She put to sea 2 days later for air strikes to neutralize Japanese bases on Formosa, Luzon, Okinawa, and the Indo-China coast in coordination with the invasion of Lingayen Gulf. English returned to Ulithi to replenish between 26 January 1945 and 8 February, then sailed to Saipan to meet Indianapolis (CA-35) and escort her to a rendezvous with newly designated TF 58. She screened the carriers as they launched the series of strikes accompanying the Iwo Jima operation, hitting Tokyo both before and after the assault, Iwo Jima itself, and Okinawa.

After taking on fuel and stores at Ulithi from 4 March 1945 to 14 March, English sortied with TF 58 for strikes on Kyushu heralding the Okinawa operation. When Franklin (CV-13) was heavily damaged by bombing on 19 March off Kyushu, English screened the carrier’s retirement from the action area, then rejoined the screen for strikes on Okinawa and nearby islands in the days proceeding the assault. On 1 April, she closed Okinawa to provide fire support for the invading troops, returning to the carrier screen for continued strikes on shore targets and Japanese shipping. She left the task force to bombard Minami Daito Shima on the night of 10 May. Next day English went close alongside Bunker Hill (CV-17), damaged by a suicide plane, to help in fighting fires, and to take off Vice Admiral M. A. Mitscher and his staff, whom she transferred to another carrier.

English put in to San Pedro Bay, P.I., from 1 June 1945 to 1 July for repairs and exercises, then sailed again with TF 38 for the final pounding series of air strikes on the Japanese homeland. She closed the coast of Honshu on 18 July to hunt Japanese shipping in Sagami Wan and to bombard targets on Nojima Saki. In Tokyo Bay from 10 to 19 September, English voyaged to escort occupation shipping from the Marianas, then after 2½ months of occupation duty cleared Sasebo for the long passage to Boston, where she arrived 26 April 1946.

English operated out of Boston, and later Charleston and New Orleans, for exercises and to train members of the Naval Reserve, cruising along the east coast and in the Caribbean. From 23 April 1949 she was home ported at Norfolk, from which she sailed 6 September for her first tour of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. She returned to Norfolk 26 January 1950 for exercises off the Virginia Capes and in the Caribbean.

Alerted for distant deployment upon the outbreak of the Korean War, English departed Norfolk 6 September 1950 for the Panama Canal, San Diego, Pearl Harbor, Midway, and Yokosuka, where she arrived 5 October. She supported the withdrawal from Hungnam, then proceeded with two corvettes of the Royal Thai Navy to shell Communist positions at Choderi and Chonjin. On 7 January 1951, one of these, HMTS Prase, grounded in a heavy snowstorm, and after arduous attempts to salvage her, English destroyed the corvette with gunfire.

On 20 January 1951 English began duty as direct fire support ship for a division of the Korean Army, blasting positions at Kanson, Kosong, and Kangnung to support the Korean advance ashore. She served on blockade at Chongjin and Wonsan, where in 20 consecutive days on the firing line she silenced 20 attacks by Communist shore batteries. After a final period of service screening carriers on both coasts of Korea, she sailed from Yokosuka 11 May eastbound for Norfolk.

From her return to Norfolk 9 June 1951, English resumed local training operations, and in the winter of 1952 joined in cold-weather exercises off Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. On 26 August 1952 she departed for NATO operations in which she visited British ports, sailing on to a tour of duty in the Mediterranean from which she returned to Norfolk 5 February 1953. In the fall of 1954 she visited Lisbon, Portugal. On 31 October, while at sea for a major fleet exercise, she was in collision with Wallace L. Lind (DD-703), but though English lost 50 feet of her bow, she suffered no casualties. Skillful seamanship brought her into port under her own power, and she was repaired in time to join in large-scale exercises in the Caribbean early in 1955.

From May to August 1955, English made a good will cruise to ports of northern Europe, and between 28 July 1956 and 4 December served again in the Mediterranean, visiting Bahrein in the Persian Gulf. With the eruption of the Suez Crisis, she aided in evacuating American citizens from the troubled area, and patrolled the eastern Mediterranean to serve with the 6th Fleet. Returning to Norfolk in April she spent the remainder of 1959 and all of 1960 in conducting an intensive program of antisubmarine warfare exercises.

English received four battle stars for World War II service, and four for Korean War service.