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Hull Number: DD-79

Launch Date: 11/11/2017

Commissioned Date: 04/06/2018

Other Designations: APD-4



Data for USS Little (DD-79) as of 1921

Length Overall: 314’ 4 1/2"

Beam: 31' 8"

Draft: 9’ 2"

Standard Displacement: 1,191 tons

Full Load Displacement: 1,284 tons


Four 4″/50 caliber guns
One 3″/23 caliber anti-aircraft gun
Four 21″ triple torpedo tubes


8 Officers
8 Chief Petty Officers
106 Enlisted


4 Boilers
2 Curtis Geared Turbines: 27,180 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 34.7 knots



Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, February 2016

Born 10 April 1754 in Marshfield, Mass., George Little was appointed first lieutenant of the Massachusetts ship Protector in 1779, and was aboard in 1781 when she fought a running battle with the British ship Thames. In a later engagement he was captured, imprisoned, but later escaped. He was given command of Massachusetts ship Winthrop which captured two British privateers, armed brig Meriam, and a number of other vessels. Commissioned captain, USN, 4 March 1799, Little was given command of frigate Boston. He culminated a brilliant fighting career during the quasi-war with France by capturing Le Berceau and seven other ships. Little died at Weymouth, Mass., 22 July 1809.


Sunk by Japanese destroyers off Guadalcanal 9/5/1942.

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, January 2016

The World War I Wickes-class destroyer USS Little (DD-79; APD-4), was commissioned in April 1918 and within a month was bound for convoy operations out of Brest, France. The war ended that year and she returned home to serve along the U.S. East Coast until November 1919. Following a year in reserve, she returned to her coastal duties until July 1922, when she was decommissioned to spend the next eighteen years in reserve in the Philadelphia Navy Yard’s “red-lead row”.

War brought her back into active service in November 1940, when she was converted to a high-speed transport, APD-4. She spent more than a year in amphibious exercises in the Caribbean and off the California and East coasts before being transferred to the Pacific Fleet in the spring of 1942. She was bound for the South Pacific that July. By early August the Little took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the British Solomon Islands, then, remained in the area, providing transport services during the Marines’ desperate fight against Japanese forces on Guadalcanal.

In early September 1942, she was on patrol with the Gregory (APD-3) off Guadalcanal’s Lunga Point where the American land and sea forces were under a heavy attack by Japanese ships and aircraft. On the night of 4–5 September, three of Japan’s latest destroyers, the Yudachi, Hatsuyuki, and Murakumo, got through the American air and sea defenses and overwhelmed the two veteran destroyers. They were ill-equipped to fight off the onslaught and were quickly put out of action. Both of their commanding officers were lost with their ships when the two went to the bottom soon afterwards.

USS LITTLE DD-79 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, February 2016

The first Little (Destroyer No. 79) was laid down by Fore River Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, Mass., 18 June 1917; launched 11 November 1917; sponsored by Mrs. Samuel W. Wakeman; and commissioned 6 April 1918, Comdr. Joseph K. Taussig in command.

Little departed Norfolk 5 May 1918 for convoy escort duty with Patrol Force, Coast of France, and operated from Brest until she sailed for home 26 December. During this period she escorted President Woodrow Wilson-s party to the Continent to attend the Paris Peace Conference.

The ship arrived Boston 18 January 1919 for drydock and operations with Destroyer Force, Atlantic. She escorted the President’s party back into New York 6 to 8 July, and then engaged in tactical exercises, She was transferred to Reserve Status with ComDesRon 3 at Philadelphia 17 November where she remained until 4 January 1921. The ship then operated along the Atlantic coast until she returned to Philadelphia and decommissioned 5 July 1922.

Converted to a high-speed transport, Little was redesignated ADP-4, 2 August 1940, and recommissioned 4 November 1940, Lt. Comdr. K. Earl in command. She sailed for the Caribbean in February 1941 for maneuvers with the Atlantic Fleet, and then steamed to San Diego where she arrived 9 March for amphibious training. The ship returned to the east coast in late summer, and arrived Norfolk 1 December for drydocking.

As flagship for TransDiv 12 she departed for San Diego 14 February 1942 for repairs and alterations. Upon completion of amphibious landing exercises in April, she steamed for Pearl Harbor. A short cruise to Midway Island in late June preceeded her departure to New Caledonia 7 July for the Solomons campaign.

Supplies for American troops on Guadalcanal had been badly distrupted by the Battle of Savo Island 9 August 1942. High-speed destroyer-transports were called upon to remedy this shortage. As she discharged stores on the Guadalcanal beaches 30 August, Little witnessed the destruction of her sister ship, Calhoun (APD-2), by enemy aircraft.

The three remaining APDs, Little, Gregory (APD-3), and McKean (APD-5), continued to support and help supply the marines. On 4 September, Little and Gregory brought a detachment of Marine raiders to Savo Island on an unfounded rumor that enemy forces had occupied it. The troops were returned to Lunga Point, Guadalcanal. That night was unusually dark, so division Comdr. Hugh W. Hadley decided to patrol off Lunga Point rather than attempt to negotiate Tulagi Harbor with no visible landmarks.

About 0100 5 September, Little observed gun flashes to the east and believed this to be an enemy submarine. Moments later a Navy Catalina flying over Savo Sound released a string of five flares to illuminate what he also thought was a submarine. The flares illuminated the APDs instead. A surprised Japanese surface force, source of the flashes presumed to have come from a submarine, shifted their guns toward the APDs, and searchlights stabbed through the darkness. Though outgunned, Little opened fire on the enemy destroyers, but took direct hits from salvos which left her helpless and ablaze by 0115. Gregory had suffered the same fate. The Japanese, to assure their kill, steamed between the two stricken ships firing shells and straffing survivors. Gregory sank stern first about 0140. Little went down on an even keel about 2 hours later. Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz paid sincere tribute to these gallant ships: “With little means, the ships performed duties vital to the success of the campaign.”

Little received two battle stars for World War II service.