SAVE THE DATE! The Tin Can Sailors 2024 National Reunion Will Be Held In Exciting, Historic New Orleans From Sept. 8th-12th. More Information Coming Soon, Check Our Facebook Page For Future Announcements.

Hull Number: DD-718

Launch Date: 11/24/1945

Commissioned Date: 07/12/1946

Decommissioned Date: 10/01/1979

Call Sign: NTXJ




Data for USS Gearing (DD-710) as of 1945

Length Overall: 390’ 6"

Beam: 40’ 10"

Draft: 14’ 4"

Standard Displacement: 2,425 tons

Full Load Displacement: 3,479 tons

Fuel capacity: 4,647 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: 34.6 knots



Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, July 2015

Henry Rawlings Hamner was born 13 March 1922 in London, England. Appointed to the Naval Academy from Virginia, he graduated and gained his commission in June 1942. Hamner served to fit out and commission several new ships during the war, in addition to serving in the 12th Naval District and at Norfolk. He was appointed lieutenant in July 1944. Lieutenant Hamner died 6 April 1945 in Howorth, when his ship was crashed by a kamikaze during the suicidal Japanese “kikusui” massed attack of that day off Okinawa where “the fleet had come to stay”.


Struck 10/1/1979; trans to Taiwan 725/1981 (Coa Yang)

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, January 1999

Launched on 24 November 1945, the USS HAMNER (DD-718) was named for Lieutenant Henry R. Hamner who had died during a kamikaze attack on the USS HOWORTH (DD-592) just months before. She was commissioned 12 July 1946 and reported to the Pacific Fleet that December.

When hostilities broke out in Korea in June 1950, the HAMNER was among the first U.S. ships to bombard Communist shore positions. She took her crew into action at Yongdok and Pohang Dong and in support of the amphibious operations against Inchon on 15 September 1950. Later service in Korean waters included operations around Kojo and Wonsan. Throughout her long career, the HAMNER returned regularly to the Western Pacific, visiting ports in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Australia. In December 1958, she was part of Taiwan Patrol Force 31 in the aftermath of the crisis over Quemoy and Matsu.

Stateside, the HAMNER’s home port was San Diego where she returned in January 1962 after her Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) conversion in the San Francisco Naval Shipyard. Subsequent operations in the Western

Pacific took her to South Vietnam early in 1965. On 20 May, she was off the coast of South Vietnam, shelling Communist positions in the U.S. Navy’s first shore bombardment since the Korean War. The gun crews of the ‘Dragon Wagon,’ as she came to be called, bombarded the Trung Phan area in June and the following month, covered the landing of Marines from the IWO JIMA (LPH-2) at Qui Nhon.

In October 1966, a fire aboard the USS ORISKANY (CVA-34) brought the HAMNER to the carrier’s aid. For hours her crew sprayed water on the burning ship, bringing the blaze under control and cooling the charred and buckled bulkheads. Back off Vietnam in November, the HAMNER’s gun crews concentrated on shelling junks carrying supplies to the Viet Cong. Within a fortnight, they had destroyed sixty-seven craft. Enemy shore batteries sprayed the HAMNER and the JOHN R. CRAIG (DD-885) with shrapnel, but the guns of the two destroyers soon hammered them to silence.

Home again in San Diego in 1967, the HAMNER operated as an antisubmarine warfare school ship. During the spring, she was plagued by gyro and boiler problems as well as DASH drone and torpedo malfunctions. By early fall, however, all systems were functioning, the drone had been replaced, and she was headed for the Western Pacific.

Back on Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf in October, the HAMNER operated as screen commander for the USS CORAL SEA (CVA-43). She was again beset by boiler problems, but that did not keep her from joining the USS ORLECK (DD-886) in the search and recovery of five of the six crew members in the crash of a SH3A Helicopter. Their recovery effort was not as successful two days later, when a seaman drove a tractor off the carrier’s flight deck. Neither seaman nor tractor were recovered.

Steaming off the coast of South Vietnam for ten days in November, the HAMNER fired 1,138 rounds of five-inch ammunition and then headed for North Vietnam. There, in December, she rode shotgun as the HMAS PERTH (D-38) shelled targets ashore. The subsequent breakdown of her MK-1A fire control computer and the loss of fire control capabilities sent the destroyer back to plane guard and screening duties. At 0130 Christmas morning, she was life guarding the USS RANGER (CVA-61) when one of the carrier’s men went overboard. The destroyer was immediately on the scene, and when the man made no effort to hold onto life lines thrown to him, one of the HAMNER’s crew jumped in and brought the panicked man to safety.

The HAMNER began 1968 with a newly repaired MK-1A computer and returned to the gun line. On 27 January, she began intensive gunfire support during the Tet counteroffensive operations near the demilitarized zone. Her gunners successfully targeted enemy installations and their spotters who had been directing fire at U.S. forces. In one instance, the ship’s gunners walked their fire along a tree line, putting concealed spotters to flight. Her fire control team continued to work closely with U.S. Marine spotters ashore. Initially, two North Vietnamese battalions outnumbered the Marines, and the HAMNER earned a heart-felt ‘Well done, and thanks!’ for the Marine’s ultimate success and lives saved.

Operating next off Hue City, the HAMNER delivered harassing and interdiction fire that effectively interrupted enemy supply and infiltration routes into the city. On 12 February 1968, she supported U.S. Army units fighting three miles west of Hue. To reach the inland targets, the ship stationed herself within one mile of the beach. Explosions followed by congratulatory reports from Army spotters, told the ship’s gunners of their success. They then resumed call-fire missions with Marine spotters ashore. At the end of twenty days on the gun line, the HAMNER had fired 7,298 five-inch projectiles, averaging one round every four minutes.

The HAMNER was definitely in need of her scheduled four-month overhaul at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard. She returned to the Tonkin Gulf in mid-1969 and spent the better part of the next three years in the Western Pacific. There, she alternated between plane guard and search and rescue duties and shore bombardment. In 1971, she spent her twenty-fifth anniversary in the Long Beach Naval Shipyard undergoing a regular overhaul. The year 1972 was highlighted by the HAMNER’s dramatic April rescue of the pilot of a downed A-7 attack plane in Haiphong Harbor. Under heavy fire from shore batteries, the destroyer steamed into the harbor with guns blazing. Her crew plucked the pilot from the waters, escaping without casualties to the ship or the men aboard.

Spring 1973 brought the news that the HAMNER would become a Naval Reserve training ship on 1 July. Cross decking began on 8 May with the exchange of crews with the USS JAMES C. OWENS (DD-776). Only one officer and thirty-four enlisted men of the original HAMNER crew remained at the end of a hectic ten days. The frantic activity didn’t cease as the new crew members familiarized themselves with their ship and got ready to put out to sea four days after their arrival aboard. They were due in the ship’s new home port at the Treasure Island Naval Station in San Francisco on 25 May. Their first training cruise began on 7 June. Over the next six years, cruising between San Diego and British Columbia, the HAMNER’s crews trained numerous U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen and Selected Reserve crews. In July 1975, she shifted her home port to Portland, Oregon, where her crew began referring to their ship as ‘the Old Gray Ghost of the Oregon Coast.’ The HAMNER held her last Reserve Weekend drills in August 1979. Following repairs to the aging ship’s hull, the navy officially decommissioned her on 1 October and finally transferred her to Taiwan 27 February 1981.

USS HAMNER DD-718 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, July 2015

Hamner (DD-718) was launched 24 November 1945 by the Federal Ship Building & Drydock Co., Port Newark, N.J.; sponsored by Mrs. Henry Rawlings Hamner, wife of Lt. Hamner; and commissioned 12 July 1946, Ooindr. Joseph B. Swain in command.

After shakedown in the Caribbean, Hamner reported to the Pacific Fleet 24 December 1946 and immediately departed for her first deployment with the 7th Fleet. The new destroyer spent 9 months operating with Destroyer Division 111 out of various Chinese and Japanese ports before returning to the States for 6 months of training operations. Hamner followed this pattern of cruises until hostilities began in Korea 24 June 1950. Deployed in the Far East at the time, Hamner sailed to the Korean coast and began shore bombardment of Communist positions and supply lines. After participating in the evacuation of Yongdok and the defense of Pohang Dong, Hamner joined Task Force 77 for the brilliant amphibious operations against Inchon 15 September 1950.

After operating along the Korean coast to screen carriers whose planes were pounding Communist troops, Hamner returned to the States in March 1951. She was back on line in October 1951 and continued to prowl waters surrounding the peninsula with various task forces and bombardment groups, effectively damaging and checking the enemy. In March 1952 she spent 5 weeks on shore bombardment off the east coast of Korea near Kojo causing much damage to the enemy. Although frequently under heavy fire from enemy batteries, she was not hit. Returning to the States in May 1952, Hamner resumed her duties along the Korean coast 2 January 1953, remaining there on the bombline, at the seige of Wonsan Harbor, and on Formosa patrol until the armistice of 27 July 1953.

Hamner returned to the Western Pacific every year thereafter visiting ports in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and even Australia in 1956 and 1959.

In addition to reminding Asia of America’s determination and strength in the struggle against Communism, the destroyer made many good-will visits to Asian ports and engaged in exercises and Formosa patrol. She arrived off Taiwan for six weeks duty with the Taiwan Patrol Force 31 December 1958, just after another flareup of the Quemoy-Matsu crisis. When not deployed in the Pacific, Hamner trained out of San Diego. Entering the San Francisco Ship Yard in January 1962, she underwent a Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) overhaul designed to add 10 to 20 years to her operating efficiency. Fitted with a new superstructure and the Navy’s most modern electronic equipment, Hamner left the shipyard 5 December 1962 and, after training, sailed for her 13th WestPac cruise 18 May 1963. During this cruise she was part of the ready amphibious group in South Vietnam coastal waters in September.

Hamner returned to San Diego 24 November. She operated along the West Coast throughout 1964 and sailed again for the Orient 5 January 1965. Arriving Subic Bay on the 27th, she escorted aircraft carrier Hancock (CVA-19) to the Gulf of Tonkin. On 15 March she joined aircraft carrier Coral Sea (CVA-43) in “Yankee Team” operations. On 10 May she headed north at flank speed to cover SeaBee landings at Chu Lai. “Market Time” operations began 5 days later and on the 20th Hamner shelled Communist positions in South Vietnam in the first scheduled shore bombardment by the U.S. Nayy since the Korean conflict. Thereafter she screened Coral Sea, bombarded the Trung Phan area 25 June, and covered the landing of Marines from Iwo Jima (LPH-2) at Qui Nhon 1 July. As mid-July approached, the destroyer headed home, reaching San Francisco on the 26th.

Overhaul at Hunter’s Point and operations off the West Coast occupied the next year. Hamner got underway for her 14th WestPac deployment 2 July 1966. Late in the month she bombarded South Vietnam. Following patrol duty, she steamed up the Song Long Tao River to shell the Rung Sat Special Zone.

Hamner joined TG 77.6 as plane guard for Oriskany (CVA-34) on 1 October and continued this duty until receiving an emergency call from the carrier at 0730 on the 26th “I am on fire.” Speeding alongside, for hours Hamner sprayed cooling water on her charred and buckled bulkheads. After the fight to save the ship had been won, Hammer escorted her to Subic Bay for repairs.

Back off Vietnam 6 November, the destroyer spent 2 weeks in Operation “Traffic Cop”, shelling Communist junks bringing arms and supplies to the Viet Cong. Within a fortnight, Hamner had destroyed 67 craft. On 14 and 19 November enemy shore batteries fired on Hamner, and John R. Craig (DD-885). Although several rounds sprayed the destroyers with shrapnel, neither ship was damaged. On each occasion the American ships moved just outside range of the enemy guns and hammered the Communist batteries to silence. Leaving the fighting zone 20 November, a month and a day later, Hamner reached San Diego, where early in 1967 she began preparations to meet her next challenge.

Hamner was awarded five battle stars as well as a Presidential Unit Citation for her outstanding service in Korea.