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Hull Number: DD-879

Launch Date: 01/20/1945

Commissioned Date: 05/07/1945

Decommissioned Date: 10/30/1973

Call Sign: NBHS (DDR)

Voice Call Sign: GIGOLO (59), HOMERUN (56-59) (DDR)

Other Designations: DDR-879


Class: GEARING

GEARING Class

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

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: 34.6 knots

Namesake: CLARENCE FREDERICK LEARY

CLARENCE FREDERICK LEARY

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, July 2015

Born in Fowey, England, 11 January 1894, Clarence Frederick Leary came to the United States with his family as a boy. After the United States entered World War I he was commissioned lieutenant in the Naval Reserve 12 June 1918, and appointed executive officer in Carlton Hall. He died of burns and smoke inhalation when he entered the ship’s burning hold 20 July in an attempt to save both ship and crew. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his self-sacrificing valor.


Disposition:

To Spain 10/31/1973 as Langara, stk 6/2/1975


A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History

USS LEARY DD-879

The Tin Can Sailor, October 1995

By John W. “Bill” Colton

After reporting to the precommissioning detail for USS LEARY (DD-879) in Norfolk, VA, for training we subsequently went to Orange, Texas, where we commissioned LEARY on May 7, 1945.

We went to Mobile, AL, for drydocking and bottom paint, made a short trial run, then back to Mobile for some more yard work. Upon leaving Mobile, we proceeded to SW Pass, Mississippi River for fuel, then on to Gitmo for shakedown.

When the shakedown cruise was completed, we proceeded to Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, VA., for conversion to DDR, upon completion departed for Boston, Mass where some fire control work was done. This work was interrupted by VJ Day. After all the celebrating was done we steamed on up to Casco Bay where we operated with a Task Force to develop defenses against the Kamikaze.

After completing the above task we went to Boston Navy Yard again where the ship was painted to participate in a Presidential Review of the Fleet on Navy Day 1945. Harry Truman rode a DD around the fleet, which was anchored in the Hudson River.

After the review, we steamed up to Norfolk, joining DESRON 1, the squadron proceeded through the Panama Canal to San Diego. We transported some short timer army troops from CZ to SD. From SD steamed to Yokosuka, via Pearl.

After Christmas at Yokosuka the squadron broke up into divisions for occupation duty. Our division was sent to Kure. We stayed there about a couple of months, then went back up towards Yokosuka, while on an exercise up there we caved in the faceplate on Mt 51. This damage necessitated a stay in Yokosuka for repairs. The rest of the division departed for Guam before our repairs were complete, so we enjoyed an independent trip to Guam. By the way, the division was VESOLE (DDR-878), DYESS (DDR-880), and BORDELON (DDR-881).

In Guam we joined the then Wespac Strike Force, Task Force 77, consisting of CVs BUNKER HILL, ANTEITAM, Cruisers BOSTON, TOPEKA and DULUTH, our Desdiv, and one other Desdiv consisting of BLUE and three others. We operated with this out of Saipan for a while at our base was Apra Harbor, Guam but most of the time was day operations out of Saipan.

During the above time we made a cruise to China the cruisers and the other Desdiv went to Manila while our div took the carriers to Hong Kong. After these visits the force joined up, steamed to Tsingtao, China, with an overnight stay in Buckner Bay, Okinawa. During that stay the cruisers and DDs carried liberty parties from the carriers to Shanghai.

We returned to Guam where I left LEARY in June ’46 as my minority enlistment was nearly up.

USS LEARY DD-879 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, July 2015

Leary (DD-879) was laid down 11 August 1944 by Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex.; launched 20 January 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Theodore S. Wilkinson, wife of Vice Adm. T. S. Wilkinson; and commissioned 7 May 1945, Comdr. Ernest G. Campbell in command.

On 23 June 1945 Leary completed her shakedown off Guantanamo Bay and proceeded to Norfolk. Overhauled and converted to a radar picket destroyer she reported for duty with TF 69 the day before the Japanese accepted terms for surrender. After a period of training off the Maine coast she proceeded to New York and took part in a presidential review 27 October.

Denied a part in the conquest of Japan, Leary was destined to play a part in the occupation of the fallen empire. Sailing from New York 31 October, she provisioned at Norfolk, passed through the Panama Canal 11 to 13 November, and arrived off Tokyo 19 December. For 2 months she cruised Japanese waters operating out of Kure before transferring operations to the Marianas and the Ryukyus.

The slow voyage home commenced at Tsingtai, China, 4 June 1946, with operations and stops en route. Leary moored at San Diego 21 December and early in January 1947 she again transited the Panama Canal and began East Coast operations, first out of Norfolk and then Newport.

Her first Mediterranean deployment began in October. Departing Newport 29 October Leary broke a busy operating schedule by visits to ports in Algeria, Greece, Italy, and the island of Rhodes before returning home 14 February 1948. Such sights became commonplace in succeeding years. With the exception of 1957 Leary spent part of each year operating with the 6th Fleet. At times these cruises had the stimulus of joint NATO operations or Near Eastern crises. She was in the Mediterranean during the Suez crisis of 1956 and the Lebanon landings of 1958, playing her part in the peacekeeping efforts of the 6th Fleet, as she served as plane guard and on picket. From 22 October to 24 November 1962, Leary participated in the blockade of Cuba provoked by the Missile crisis, as a part of America’s determination to keep possible aggressors from mounting threats against free nations. From 6 to 27 August she served with TF 128 on a peacekeeping mission off Santo Domingo as American troops were landed to prevent political chaos and subversion.

When not deployed in the Mediterranean or benefiting from yard work, Leary might be found anywhere in the North Atlantic from the Arctic Circle to the Caribbean. During this period the characteristics of the ship changed, with the removal of her radar tripod early in 1953 and a FRAM I overhaul April 1964 to January 1965. On 26 June she successfully completed her trials and qualifications with the new DASH weapons system.

Leary returned to her home port, Norfolk, 16 December 1965 after completing extensive antisubmarine warfare exercises off the coast of North Carolina and Puerto Rico.

Following another month of operations and a month readying for deployment with the 6th Fleet, Leary departed Norfolk 4 March 1966 for the Mediterranean. With 5 months of operations and sightseeing behind her, she returned to her home port on 12 August for a month of leave and upkeep. The remainder of the year was spent conducting local exercises, including an extensive evaluation of her DASH system. From 3 to 17 March she was Sonar School Ship at Key West, Fla.

On 5 July 1967 Leary left Norfolk and headed via the Panama Canal for an extended deployment in the Far East. On this cruise she alternated duty with the carriers on Yankee Station with gunfire support off the Vietnamese coast. Arriving back at Norfolk 30 January 1968, the destroyer resumed Atlantic coast operations until entering the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 14 June. In early September, after her yard period, Leary returned briefly to Norfolk before conducting training in the Caribbean through October and November. Operations off the east coast continued into 1969.