A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History
USS HYMAN DD-732
The Tin Can Sailor, October 2002
Launched 8 April 1944 at Bath, Maine, the HYMAN (DD-732) was commissioned 16 June 1944. She sailed from Boston on 18 September to join the Pacific war as flagship of DesDiv 126 and by 19 February 1945 was screening the escort carriers SAGINAW BAY (ACV-82) and RUDYERD BAY (ACV-81) covering transports bound for Iwo Jima. On the afternoon of the 19th, she relieved the battleship NEVADA (BB-36) firing on caves and enemy bunkers on Mount Suribachi and kept up her bombardment into the night. That night, she received two wounded marines and a wounded Japanese prisoner and the following day was relieved by the GREGORY (DD-802) and steamed to the transport area to transfer the three wounded men. On the night of the 21st, she rescued the pilot of a hellcat fighter from the SARATOGA (CV-3) and the next morning returned to fire support duties off Iwo. On 22 February, the HYMAN’s searchlight kept the slopes of Mount Suribachi lit for the entire night during the marine’s final push to the top. Shortly after 1000 the next morning, many of her crew saw the flag raised on the mountaintop. The ship left on 23 February when she made an antisubmarine sweep south of Iwo. The next day, after returning to her gunfire support station, the HYMAN fought off a fierce air attack. Fire support duties with the HALL (DD-583) and PUTNAM (DD-757) continued until she sailed for the Leyte Gulf on 2 March 1945 and practice bombardments for the upcoming invasion of Okinawa.
The HYMAN sailed with the Southern Attack Force on 27 March and arrived off Okinawa on 1 April. As troops landed, she took station off the transport area, protecting the American ships from enemy planes and submarines. In the following days, she fought off several air attacks and on 5 April, led a search group, including the FEIBERLING (DE-64) and PCE-855, in the hunt for an enemy submarine. The next day, she and other ships were attacked by kamikazes west of Ie Shima. Shooting at planes from all sides, the HYMAN downed three before a damaged aircraft crashed near her forward torpedo tube mount and its engine exploded on the main deck, blasting a hole into the forward fire room. While fighting fire and flooding, the HYMAN continued to fire on enemy attackers, one of which passed over her and crashed into the main battery director of the HOWORTH (DD-592). With the ROOKS (DD-804) and STERETT (DD-407), she downed two more kamikazes before the engagement ended. Ultimately, ten of her men were killed and over forty were wounded.
After emergency repairs at Kerama Retto, she headed for home, arriving in San Francisco on 16 May 1945. She was ready for sea again in late July and after training, arrived at Pearl Harbor on the day of the Japanese surrender. By 29 August she and the SOLEY (DD-707) were en route to Kwajalein and then to Kusaie and Ponape for the surrender of the Japanese forces on those islands. She remained at Ponape as station ship to assist in occupation and repatriation until December.
The HYMAN engaged in exercises out of Yokosuka early in 1946 and then sailed for the states and Casco Bay, Maine, arriving in April 1946. Antisubmarine training operations in the Caribbean took her up to 2 February 1947 and her first Mediterranean deployment. She began 1948 with operations along the East Coast and then on 13 September 1948 sailed with a carrier and cruiser group for the Mediterranean to support the U.N. Peace Force in Palestine. She was stateside again in January 1949. Through 1949 and 1950, she was assigned to reserve training duty out of Algiers, Louisiana. With the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, the HYMAN engaged in maneuvers and training in the Caribbean, ending her reserve duty in September. Following another Mediterranean cruise, she got underway for Korea in October 1951.
The HYMAN arrived off Wonsan for shore bombardment on 6 November. She sank a mine in the harbor, dodged fire from a shore battery before silencing its guns, and maintained continuous saturation fire on shore targets until 19 November, when she moved farther out to sea as plane guard for the Australian carrier SYDNEY. Returning to Wonsan Harbor with the MCGINTY (DE-365) and SILVERSTEIN (DE-534), she engaged in a gunnery duel with batteries on Kalmo Pando Peninsula on 24 November, sustaining minor shrapnel damage during the close-in exchange. She and the other destroyers soon silenced the enemy shore batteries. The HYMAN carried out search and rescue duties into December when she joined Task Force 77 in the Sea of Japan during interdiction strikes on North Korea. She returned to Yokosuka with the BRISTOL (DD-857) and BEATTY (DD-756) on 22 February 1952 and soon afterward headed for home via Ceylon, Saudi Arabia, Italy, and France.
For the next several years the HYMAN was involved in routine training operations, midshipman cruises, Mediterranean deployments, NATO exercises, duty in the Red Sea, and participation in two Project Mercury manned space shots. In 1965, she became a naval reserve training ship operating out of New Orleans. When Hurricane Betsy hit the Gulf of Mexico in September 1965, the HYMAN was damaged, but that did not stop her from scouring the Mississippi River for a sunken chlorine barge until her sonar and fathometer located the barge with its deadly cargo near Baton Rouge. A job well done, she proceeded to Orange, Texas, for hull repairs.
Naval reserve training kept her busy into 1969 when, on 14 November, she was decommissioned and struck from the navy’s list. The veteran destroyer was sold for scrap on 13 October 1970.