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Hull Number: DD-723

Launch Date: 10/27/1943

Commissioned Date: 01/21/1944

Decommissioned Date: 11/30/1970

Call Sign: NTXS

Voice Call Sign: JOINTWEED (KOREA), STRAW BOSS (58-61)


Class: ALLEN M. SUMNER

ALLEN M. SUMNER Class

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

Armament:

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

Complement:

20 Officers
325 Enlisted

Propulsion:

4 Boilers
2 General Electric Turbines: 60,000 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 34.2 knots

Namesake: HENRY A. WALKE

HENRY A. WALKE


Disposition:

Stricken 2/1/1974. Sold 3/1/1975 to General Metals Corp. of Tacoma, WA, for scrapping.


A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History

USS WALKE DD-723

The Tin Can Sailor, January 2011

The WALKE (DD‑723) was launched on 27 October 1943 by Maine’s Bath Iron Works and commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on 21 January 1944. By 14 May, she was headed for Europe where, with DesDiv 119, she headed for Normandy’s beaches on 6 June. There, she conducted shore bombardments destroying blockhouses and machine‑gun positions and helping to repulse a counterattack by German armored units. On the 23d and 24th, she supported minesweeping operations at Cherbourg and dueled with enemy shore batteries. The WALKE returned to Boston for repairs on 3 July and was soon underway with the TICONDEROGA (CV-14) en route to the Western Pacific.

In November, she was screening the fast carrier task force that sortied for a series of air strikes in the Philippines. On 6 December, she was in Ormoc Bay supporting landings on the western coast of Leyte. The next day, kamikazes attacked the supporting ships and three crashed the MAHAN (DD‑364). The WALKE went to her assistance, rescuing a number of her crew. She, then, sent the stricken destroyer to the bottom with a torpedo and gunfire. By 15 December, she and six other destroyers and three cruisers were off Mindoro as a part of a covering force. Besides protecting the heavier ships from air and submarine attack, her guns destroyed the grounded Japanese destroyer WAKABA.

On 6 January 1945, the WALKE covered American minesweepers in the Lingayen Gulf during the invasion of Luzon. That day, four enemy Oscars attacked her, approaching low over the water on her starboard side. She splashed the first two, but a third plane persisted in his strafing run. Though hit several times, he plowed into the WALKE’s bridge on the port side and burst into flames. The plane collision knocked out all communications, radars, gyro repeaters, and electricity throughout the superstructure. The devastation extended beyond the bridge to the gun and torpedo directors. Fortunately, the plane’s 250‑pound bomb passed completely through the ship near the combat information center without exploding.

Two minutes later, the last of the four Oscars began his dive. As he came in on the destroyer’s starboard quarter, he was riddled by fire from her Number-three, 5‑inch mount in local control and from the starboard 40‑ and 20‑millimeter guns. Engulfed by flames, the plane splashed into the sea close aboard. Soon, the secondary conn had control of the ship. Within 15 minutes the fires were under control.

The ship’s CO, Cdr. George F. Davis, was seriously wounded and badly burned, but throughout the action, he continued to conn his ship, urging her crew to save her. Once he was sure she would survive, he relinquished command to the executive officer and allow himself to be carried below. Cdr. Davis later died to his wounds. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallant action and the destroyer DD-937 was named in his honor.

The WALKE operated with her task group through the landings on 9 January before heading for the states and permanent repairs at the Mare Island Navy Yard. She was back in action for the invasion of Okinawa on 10 May, serving on radar picket stations and screening the amphibious support force. She was headed for screening duty when hostilities ended. She operated along the West Coast until May 1946, when she took part in the atomic tests at Bikini Atoll. Returning to San Diego in August, she was decommissioned on 30 June 1947.

She was recommissioned after the outbreak of war in Korea and in January 1951 headed for WestPac to screening carriers of TF 77 off the Korean coast and bombard targets at Yondae Gap, Wonsan, Songjin, Chongjin, and Chuminjin, among others. On 12 June, while steaming 60 miles off the Korean coast, the WALKE struck a floating mine, which severely damaged her hull on the port side, killed 26 men, and wounded another 40. After temporary repairs she was underway for Mare Island.

Back off Korea in June 1952, she resumed her screening and shore bombardment missions. Hostilities ended during her Korean deployment in the summer of 1953. Between 1953 and 1964 when the U.S. became involved in the Vietnamese civil war, the WALKE alternated six  deployments to the western Pacific with West Coast operations out of Long Beach.

That routine ended on August 1965, when the WALKE arrived off Vietnam to screen carriers on Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin and provide close-in gunfire support for troops ashore. Her return in June 1966 was delayed because of a fire in her after fire room. The blaze was quickly controlled but she ran aground when her tow line broke as she was being towed back into Long Beach.

Repairs complete, she was back in Vietnam in August for duty on Yankee Station and the gun line, on Taiwan patrol, and SEATO exercises out of Subic Bay. Her next Vietnam deployment was in October 1967. Besides serving in the Tonkin Gulf, her guns supported troops in the I Corps combat zone and near the DMZ. After a four-month overhaul and West Coast operations in 1968, she began her final WestPac deployment in March 1969. Again she alternated screening the carriers, SEATO exercises, and fire support missions in the I Corps area and at Danang. She steamed out of Vietnamese waters for the last time on 4 October.

The WALKE spent her last year of active service operating out of Long Beach along the West Coast. On 30 November 1970, she was decommissioned at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet. On 1 February 1974, her name was struck from the navy list and she was sold for scrapping on 16 April 1975.

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History

USS WALKE DD-723

The Tin Can Sailor, July 2006

The WALKE was launched on 27 October 1943 at Bath, Maine, by the Bath Iron Works and was commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on 21 January 1944. By mid-May she was underway for the Normandy invasion. During the landings, on 7 and 8 June, she conducted shore bombardments, destroying blockhouses and machine-gun positions as well as helping to repulse a counterattack by German armored units. On the 23d and 24th, she covered minesweeping operations at Cherbourg while trading fire with enemy shore batteries.

In July, the WALKE returned to Boston and the following month was screening carriers during air strikes in the Philippines. By November, she was  underway with DesRon 60 to support the landings at Ormoc Bay. When the MAHAN (DD-364) was hit by three kamikazes, the WALKE rescued a number of her crew before sinking the stricken destroyer with a torpedo and gunfire. The next day, she helped splash an enemy aircraft.

During the assault on Mindoro on 15 December, she turned her guns on the grounded Japanese destroyer WAKABA and drove off several enemy planes. On 2 January 1945, she was underway for the invasion of Luzon where she covered minesweepers clearing the way into the Lingayen Gulf. There, on 6 January, four kamikazes dove on her, approaching low over the water. She succeeded in splashing the first two attackers, but the third broke through and, though hit several times, managed to crash into WALKE’s bridge. The destroyer lost all communications, radars, gyro repeaters, and electricity throughout the superstructure and suffered extensive damage to the bridge itself as well as to her gun and torpedo directors. The plane’s 250-pound bomb didn’t explode but passed completely through the ship near the combat information center.

Two minutes after the first kamikaze hit, the last of the four came in on the destroyer’s starboard quarter. Her 5-inch number-3 gun and starboard 40- and 20-mm guns brought the plane down in flames before it could hit the ship. Though mortally wounded, her captain, Cdr. George F. Davis, continued to conn his ship until the fires were under control and his ship was out of danger. He died several hours later and posthumously received a Medal of Honor. He was further honored with a new destroyer, DD-937, bearing his name.

The WALKE remained on duty until 10 January 1945 when she got underway for home and repairs at Mare Island. She was en route to the war zone again by 4 April and on 10 May, began serving on radar picket stations around Okinawa. In early July, she left the Ryukyus, and she and the BARTON (DD-722) operated with TF 38 until the war ended.

Back home in September, she operated along the West Coast and out of Pearl Harbor until May 1946 when she left for the Bikini Atoll and atomic bomb tests. She ended the year in San Diego. In January 1947, she left for Pearl Harbor and special duty with the  TARAWA (CV-40) and SHANGRI-LA (CV-38). Upon her return to San Diego, she was decommissioned on 30 June 1947.

The WALKE was recommissioned on 5 October 1950, and in January 1951 left for the Far East and the Korean War. Over the next six months, she screened the carriers and delivered close-in bombardment of Yondae Gap, Wonsan, Songjin, Chongjin, and Chuminjin. On 12 June, some 60 miles off the Korean coast, the WALKE struck a floating mine, which severely damaged her hull on the port side, killed 26 men, and wounded another 40.

Following repairs and overhaul at the Mare Island shipyard, the WALKE was back off Korea in June 1952, alternating screening duty with shore bombardment. In January 1953, she returned to Long Beach and, then, returned to Korea in July, screening carriers until the armistice ending her combat operations.

Between July 1953 and 1964, the WALKE deployed six times to the Orient, usually  screening the fast carriers of TF 77 and patrolling the Taiwan Straits. In 1961, she received a FRAM II overhaul. With increasing hostilities in South Vietnam, the WALKE’s Far East deployments after 1965 involved combat duty, including SEATO exercises in the Philippines and Taiwan Strait patrols. August 1965 found her on duty as a picket ship on Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf. In early September, she joined the gun line, then, returned to Yankee Station before heading home.

On 9 June 1966, the WALKE was leaving Long Beach for the Western Pacific, when fire broke out in her after fire room. Damage control efforts extinguished the blaze, but, while under tow, the line broke, and she ran aground. Late on the 10th, she was back in Long Beach for repairs to her hull and main propulsion plant. She finally set out for the Far East and a six month deployment that included tours on Yankee Station and gunfire-support duty interspersed with Taiwan Strait patrols and SEATO exercises.

The destroyer began her next WestPac deployment in September 1967, and on 23 October, arrived in the Gulf of Tonkin. Following SEATO exercises, she was back on Yankee Station, then, on 11 December, her guns supported troops in the I Corps combat zone and near the demilitarized zone into January 1968. Following an overhaul, the WALKE got underway in March 1969 for her last WestPac tour. On 5 May, she resumed her schedule of screening carriers on Yankee Station, duty on the gun line, and Taiwan Strait patrols. In the fall, she supported troops in the I Corps and Danang areas, steaming homeward in November.

On 30 November 1970, she was decommissioned at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet. On 1 February 1974, her name was struck from the navy list and she was sold on 16 April 1975 for scrapping.