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Hull Number: DD-945

Launch Date: 08/10/1957

Commissioned Date: 07/03/1958

Decommissioned Date: 07/11/1983

Call Sign: NNRJ

Voice Call Sign: CLAYBORNE



Namesake: ISAAC HULL


Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, July 2015

Isaac Hull was born in Derby, Conn., 9 March 1773 and was appointed Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy 9 March 1798. During the Quasi-War with France he served as Executive Officer of frigate Constitution under Silas Talbot, and distinguished himself by leading a successful expedition to capture the fort at Porto Plata, Santo Domingo. The intrepid Hull spiked the fort’s guns, cut out a prize, and escaped from the harbor with it. In the war with Tripoli 1802-05 he added to his reputation while in command of brig Argus. In the War of 1812 Hull was given command of Constitution. In July 1812, while off the coast of New Jersey, he encountered a squadron of four British frigates and one ship of the line under Admiral Blake. As the wind was light or non-existent, Hull alternately towed Constitution with boats and hauled her ahead on her anchor. After three days of this skillful and strenuous work, she escaped. Later, on August 19th, Hull engaged HMS Guerriere in one of the classic battles of naval history, compelling the British ship to strike her colors and earning for his vessel the name “Old Ironsides”. Promoted to Commodore, Hull commanded the Boston and Washington Navy Yards, the Pacific Squadron, and finally the Mediterranean Squadron in his later career. Commodore Hull died 13 February 1843 at Philadelphia.


Struck 11/15/1983; used as target for Tomahawk missile.

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, January 2001

The HULL was commissioned at Boston on 3 July 1958. Her first Far East deployment in April 1959 took her to Taiwan and operations with hunter-killer and attack carrier task groups before returning to San Diego. Two more WESTPAC deployments, fleet operations off Southern California, an overhaul, and engineering school ship duties carried her into the autumn of 1962. Her routine was interrupted that October to escort California-based amphibious forces to the Canal Zone during the Cuban Missile Crisis. She was in Hong Kong when her crew received news of the Kennedy assassination. In April 1964 she headed for home with the JOHN R. CRAIG (DD-885), and INGERSOLL (DD-652) and finished the year operating along the West Coast with the PREBLE (DLG-15), DENNIS J. BUCKLEY (DD-808), and HANSON (DD832).

She steamed west again in April 1965 and by June she was in the war zone on screening and  plane guard duty with the BON HOMME RICHARD (CVA-31). Later that month she and the HOEL (DDG-13) left their Tonkin Gulf station and steamed at flank speed for the successful rescue of a pilot from the CORAL SEA (CVA-43) downed off the coast of North Vietnam. In August the HULL’s long-range guns supported troops at Danang and Chulai. The following month she helped rescue a helicopter pilot from the GALVESTON (CLG-13) and soon after was homeward bound with the FLOYD B. PARKS (DD-884), and BRAINE (DD-630).

She again left San Diego for Vietnam in August 1966 and assumed flagship duty with  Destroyer Squadron One responding to calls for fire from ground troops in Vietcong territory. In  September, the U.S. Marines at Quang Ngai, and the HULL, HOLDER (DD-819), JOHN R. CRAIG (DD-885), and HMS ST. FRANCIS—the ex-WELLES (DD-257)—were congratulated by General William Westmoreland for their “judicious use of accurate naval gunfire” in a well coordinated and successful operation. She spent most of November through early January 1967 on the gun line. During that patrol, the HULL fought heavy seas as her crew coordinated six helicopters, a flare aircraft, and other rescue craft in the salvage of the tug SAM TAM and evacuation of six men from the vessel it was towing.

Early in 1968 the HULL steamed west with the PREBLE and JOUETT (DLG-29) and in  February began shore bombardment near Nha Trang. Supporting units of the Third Marine Division around the DMZ, she came increasingly under fire from enemy coastal batteries, and in March, with the cruiser NEWPORT NEWS (CA-148) made a coordinated attack against the enemy’s offending guns. During one twenty-four hour period of shore bombardment, the “Hustlin’ HULL” fired over 300 rounds of 5-inch shells. Some days crewmen unloaded 100,000 pounds of shells and powder during a single replenishment. On 29 May she steamed to the aid of the HARWOOD (DD-861), which had taken a direct hit during a heavy enemy artillery barrage, and covered the ship as she moved out of range. On 15 June she fired the 25,000th round of her deployment, a feat unequaled by any other destroyer in a six-month cruise. Relieved two days later by the BLUE (DD-744) she headed for home.

By September 1969 she was back on the gun line, supporting U.S. Marines and Korean units in the Nha Trang area. Plane guard duty on Yankee Station with the CONSTELLATION (CVA-64) in 1969, a return to the Tonkin Gulf with the MANSFIELD (DD-728) and OSBORNE (DD-846) in 1970, and a stint of search and rescue duty with the STERETT (DLG-31) ended her Vietnam tour. She was relieved by the DEHAVEN (DD-727) and proceeded to Okinawa with the CORAL SEA (CVS-43), HOLLISTER (DD-788), and TUCKER (DD-875) before returning to San Diego. In 1971 the veteran destroyer returned to the gun line and plane guarding on Yankee Station. During her 1972 Vietnam deployment, she engaged in gunfire support, Linebacker raids, and surveillance operations.

Beginning her eleventh WESTPAC deployment in July 1973, she traveled with the GRAY (DE-1054), and MCCORMICK (DDG-8). Escort duty in the Gulf of Tonkin was followed by a month of excellent typhoon evasion experience. On her return home with the ROARK (DE-1053), the HULL picked up three survivors from the tugboat MARPOLE, sunk by rough seas. In 1974 the HULL gained the distinction of having the “biggest navy gun in the world” when she became the test ship for the 8-inch 55-caliber light-weight gun. The navy’s most heavily armed “all gun” destroyer left for the Far East on 31 July 1976. Joined by the TOWERS (DDG-9), the HULL steamed for Taiwan. She participated in exercises with the Republic of China Navy and other exercises in the Philippines.

The next three years included final tests on the 8-inch gun and eventual removal of the big gun, which was abandoned by the navy. Rearmed with three 5-inch, 54-caliber semiautomatic guns, two triple-tube antisubmarine torpedo mounts, and two 50-caliber machine guns the HULL headed for the Far East in 1981 with the BAINBRIDGE (DLGN-5), HENRY B. WILSON (DDG-7), and HEPBURN (FF-1055) for operations with the Japanese and South Korean navies. The HULL’s 1982 WESTPAC deployment was her fifteenth and last. Under the watchful eyes of Soviet ships and aircraft, she operated in the Sea of Japan with the MIDWAY (CVB-41) and REEVES (DLG-24). En route to Singapore in October, she rescued five Vietnamese boys adrift in a battered fishing boat. On 11 July 1983, the navy’s last Pacific Fleet destroyer armed only with guns was decommissioned at San Diego. The MULLINNIX (DD-944), the last all-gun destroyer in the Atlantic Fleet retired a month later. The HULL was struck from the navy’s list on 15 November 1983 and later sunk as a target.

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, January 2015

The USS HULL (DD-945) was named for one of the U.S. Navy’s earliest senior naval officers, Commodore Isaac Hull. She was a FORREST SHERMAN-class destroyer built by the Bath Iron Works Corporation of Bath, Maine. Launched on 10 August 1957, she was commissioned on 3 July 1958. The HULL began her long career with a Pacific Fleet deployment, the first of fifteen with the Seventh Fleet. During October and November 1962, the destroyer escorted U.S. Navy amphibious forces to the Panama Canal Zone in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In 1965 she joined with the Seventh Fleet for the first of six tours of duty to Vietnam. During those deployments, she fired tens of thousands of five-inch shells to support forces ashore and helped rescue several downed U.S. aviators. Stints on the firing line were broken by periods on duty as plane guard for carriers on Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf. She also participated in Operation Sea Dragon, patrolled on search and rescue missions, and carried out naval gunfire support missions.

The HULL was scheduled to deploy to Vietnam in April 1972, but when the North Vietnamese overran the DMZ that month, she and several other ships in San Diego were quickly mobilized with seven days notice. She put to sea with several other destroyers and destroyer escorts to support the South Vietnamese forces on the DMZ with their gunfire. To make all possible speed she was refueled underway by a light cruiser and was soon on the gun line off the I Corps’ position in South Vietnam.

During that deployment, she fired 20,000 5-inch rounds and an unknown number of 3-inch shells from her twin 3-inch 50-caliber gun mount. She operated as far south as Qui Nhon and as far north in North Vietnamese waters as the mouth of the Red River. She spent several weeks in operations off the coast of North Vietnam, bombarding shore targets and intercepting North Vietnamese craft transporting supplies to enemy forces from Chinese merchant ships kept offshore by American-mined waters. The HULL’s guns supported two amphibious operations, one of which involved the use of landing craft off Quang Tri. The first was a shore-launched helicopter assault that landed its forces who then fought their way south. The mission of that operation was to sweep south and pick up any civilians trapped there by the North Vietnamese invasion. During that deployment, she carried World War II-vintage hedgehogs and depth charges. It is possible that the hedgehog pattern she fired may have been the last use of that weapon system by the U.S. Navy.

The HULL made her eleventh WestPac cruise in 1973 at the end of the United States’ active wartime role in Vietnam. During that deployment, she operated in the Gulf of Tonkin with the USS LONG BEACH (CGN-9), a Positive Identification Radar Advisory Zone (PIRAZ) ship. Her object was to create and maintain an “air picture” over North Vietnam. Because the LONG BEACH carried mainly anti-aircraft weapons, the HULL’s mission was to deal with possible surface threats, such as the torpedo boats that had brought about the Gulf of Tonkin Crisis.

Back home in 1974–75, the HULL underwent a major overhaul during which her forward 5 inch/54-caliber Mark 42 gun mount was replaced with an 8 inch/55-caliber Mark 71 gun mount. That major-caliber lightweight gun, MCLWG, was the result of the realization in the 1960s that heavy gunfire support for amphibious operations would end with the existing force of heavy cruisers unless a big gun could be developed for destroyer-size ships. A prototype gun and its mount had been built and tested ashore during the early 1970s. The HULL became the test ship for its seagoing trials after which, several of the guns were installed on board destroyers of the new SPRUANCE Class.

The HULL’s eight-inch gun began firing tests in April 1975. The tests lasted into the following year with partial success. The problem was that when the gun was fired as far to the rear as possible, its shock broke several strakes. Even so, the ship carried the Mark 71 through her twelfth, 1976–77, and thirteenth, 1978, Seventh Fleet deployments to the Western Pacific conducting more firing tests. In 1978, however, the MCLWG project was cancelled. The prototype gun was removed during her 1979–80 overhaul and she spent the rest of her days with the three five-inch gun mounts typical of her class.

In February–September 1981, she served again in Asian waters, then began her final deployment in September 1982. That took her to the Western Pacific by way of Alaska, rescuing five Vietnamese refugees at sea that October. She continued west into the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea as part of the battle group built around the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier ENTERPRISE. On her return to the U.S. West Coast in April 1983, preparations began for her inactivation. The HULL was decommissioned on 11 July 1983 and was stricken from the navy’s list on 15 October 1983. She was subsequently used during a weapons and tactics test, designed around a Harpoon missile fired from a S-3B Viking. That and many other weapons were used throughout the exercise until the HULL was finally sunk on 7 April 1998.

USS HULL DD-945 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, July 2015

The fourth Hull (DD-945) was launched by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, 10 August 1957; sponsored by Mrs. Albert G. Mumma; and commissioned 3 July 1958, Commander H. H. Ries in command.

Hull conducted her shakedown training in New England waters, steaming out of Newport 7 September 1958 to join the Pacific Fleet at San Diego. Arriving 13 October via the Panama Canal, she took part in fleet training exercises until departing for the Far East 15 April 1959. During this cruise she operated with the mighty 7th Fleet on Formosa Patrol, helping express America’s determination to protect the island and maintain peace in the area. She returned to San Diego 3 September 1959 and after training operations sailed again for the Far East 7 July 1960. On this cruise she added hunter-killer group training to regular Formosa Patrol. Hull stopped at various ports in the region before returning to San Diego 26 November 1960.

The destroyer engaged in readiness exercises during January-August 1961, departing 31 August for another deployment to the strategic Far East. She operated off Formosa and in the South China sea, expressing American protection of the Southeast Asian countries in the fight against Communism. After fleet operations in Hawaiian waters she arrived San Diego 14 February 1962.

As the introduction of offensive missiles into Cuba precipitated another Cold War crisis, Hull sailed from San Diego 28 October 1962 to escort amphibious forces to the Canal Zone to strengthen American defenses and show her determination to resist incursion in the Western Hemisphere. As the crisis abated, again attesting to the power and importance of mobile seapower, Hull returned to her regular operations out of San Diego. She sailed once more for the Far East 17 October 1963, operating out of Subic Bay through December until returning to San Diego 16 April 1964. Hull operated on the West Coast until getting underway for the Orient 27 April 1965. During the deployment, she made three patrols off Vietnam. On 16 July she rescued an American flyer who had splashed in the Gulf of Tonkin. On 29 August she effectively shelled enemy strong points near Chu Lai. The veteran destroyer returned to San Diego 10 November.

Hull departed San Diego 18 January 1966 for the Long Beach Naval Shipyard and an overhaul until 26 April. From 12 to 22 July she participated in Exercise “Belaying Pin” off San Diego. Then on 17 August Hull departed San Diego for a 6-month WestPac deployment. She was the flagship of Commander Task Unit 70.8.9 for three 30-day patrols off South Vietnam. Between patrols the distroyer visited Kaoshiung, Taiwan; Hong Kong; Chin-hae, Korea; and Sasebo, Japan. The third war patrol began 21 December and ended 16 January 1967. Hull returned to San Diego in late January, arriving 11 February, for operations into the fall off the West Coast.