A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History
USS BORIE DD-704
The Tin Can Sailor, January 2000
DD-704 was named for Adolph E. Borie, secretary of the navy under President Ulysses S. Grant. She was commissioned on 21 September 1944 and on 10 January 1945, headed for the Pacific with the INDIANA (BB-58) and the GWIN (DM-33). Two weeks later, they were in the thick of it, nearing Iwo Jima, when enemy raiders dove on their formation. One of the planes passed low over the GWIN and headed for the BORIE. Her gunners quickly sent the plane crashing into the sea. She went on to shell enemy positions on Iwo and while plane guarding the COWPENS (CG-63), recovered a pilot who crashed during landing operations.
During February and March, the BORIE was on almost continual picket and screening duty for carrier strikes on the Tokyo area and against Kyushu when her gunners assisted in bringing down an enemy dive bomber. Her combat operations were briefly curtailed when she and the ESSEX (CV-9) collided during a high-line transfer in heavy seas. The collision demolished the BORIE’s after stack and a 40-mm mount and left her mast bent at a crazy angle. On 13 April, the day the ENTERPRISE (CV-6) was hit, the BORIE claimed a kill and an assist.
On 9 August, she was part of the screen for Task Force 38 during strikes against Honshu and Hokkaido. At 1459, a Val dropped out of the clouds and crashed into the ship between the mast and the 5-inch gun director. Flames engulfed the bridge, and the plane’s 500-pound bomb exploded off the ship’s bow, destroying her forward guns. The ship lost steering control and communications, circling to port until the engine room could take over steering. Damage control parties had the fires under control within twenty minutes. Loss of at least half of her firepower did not stop the BORIE from assisting in downing four more kamikazes over the next hour. The BORIE’s death count was thirty-four, with thirteen missing. Sixty-six of the crew were wounded and welcomed the medical aid and supplies provided by the ALABAMA (BB-60) and ABBOT (DD-629). The next day, the BORIE’s crew held burial services and the hospital ship RESCUE took off thirty-four of her wounded. Her crew’s spirits were lifted soon after when they learned that the HANK (DD-702) had picked up three of their missing shipmates. News of the war’s end reached them on their long trek home to Norfolk.
Over the next three years, the BORIE served as a naval reserve training ship along the East Coast, in the Caribbean, and in the Gulf of Mexico. By the autumn of 1949, the BORIE was underway for Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, returning to Norfolk in January 1950.
The following October, she was again in combat. Assigned to the U.N. command in Korea, she provided gunfire support at Wonsan and alone, covered the U.S. Army landing at Iwon. In December, her gunners’ covering fire at Hungnam contributed to the successful evacuation of survivors from the Chosin Reservoir. After a brief rest in Sasebo, the BORIE was back on the gun line in early January 1951. Later, she, the HANK (DD-703), and the ST. PAUL (CA-73) supported the second Inchon landing that led to the reoccupation of Seoul. Her time in combat finally ended on 12 May, when she left for home.
Routine operations and exercises in the Caribbean, along the East Coast, in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, and shipyard periods in Norfolk and Philadelphia took the BORIE through 1955. On 14 August 1956, en route to the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, she was the first U.S. warship through the Suez Canal after its nationalization by Egypt. In the Mediterranean on 31 October, she assisted in the evacuation of American citizens from Israel and helped evacuate U.N. peacekeepers from Gaza.
She returned to more routine operations with a few notable exceptions, including her 1959 recovery of the Project Mercury nose cone and Sam, the space monkey; her 1960 surveillance duties with the Polaris missile submarines GEORGE WASHINGTON (SSBN-656) and ROBERT E. LEE (SSBN-601); and in 1961, a Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) overhaul. In the Caribbean in 1962, she rescued nine Cubans seeking asylum in the U.S. and later, three Jamaican fishermen and then joined the U.S. blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Over the ensuing years, she acquired a Drone Antisubmarine Helicopter (DASH) system and during a Mediterranean deployment, rescued an F-8 Crusader pilot whose plane crashed in a landing attempt on the SHANGRI LA (CVA-38). Ensign Robert N. Hendricks of the BORIE went into the water to bring the pilot aboard.
In February 1968, the BORIE began her Vietnam deployment, serving in the Tonkin Gulf on plane guard and radar picket duty. On the gun line, her gunners fired over 7,000 rounds at enemy positions at Phan Thiet and in the Mekong Delta. Returning to peacetime operations in 1969, the BORIE became a naval reserve training ship until June 1972 when she was decommissioned. She was struck from the navy’s list on 1 July 1972 and sold to the Argentinian navy where she served until 1984.