USS Cummings (DD-365)

USS Cummings (DD-365) was a Mahan class destroyer that fought at Pearl Harbor and Guadalcanal, served off Alaska, took part in the invasion of the Marshall Islands, joined with the British Far Eastern Fleet for raids on Sumatra and Java, hosted President Roosevelt for a broadcast from Seattle, fought at the battle of Leyte Gulf, and supported the invasion of Iwo Jima

The Cummings was named after Andrew Boyd Cummings, who served in the US Navy during the Civil War, dying of wounds suffered while passing the guns of Fort Hudson in March 1863.

The Cummings was launched on 11 December 1935 at United Shipyards of New York, where she was sponsored by lt Cumming’s neice Mrs W.W. Mills, and commmissioned on 25 November 1936. She spent most of the next year in Atlantic waters, before departed for San Diego on 29 September 1937.

She arrived at her new base on 28 October 1937, where she joined the Battle Force. She split her time between normal fleet operations along the west coast, a Fleet Problem in Hawaiian waters in April 1938, the Presidential Fleet Review at San Francisco in July 1938, the 1939 Fleet Problem in the Panama Canal Zone and the Carribean. On 26 April 1940 her base was moved to Pearl Harbor, as part of a wider move of the Pacific Fleet to Hawaii. 


For most of 1941 the Cummings operated in Hawaiian waters, although she also carried out a cruise to Samoa, New Zealand and Tahiti from 4 March-3 April and underwent an overhaul on the west coast.

USS Clark (DD-361), USS Case (DD-370), Cummings (DD-365), Shaw (DD-373) and Tucker (DD-374) , San Diego 1941 USS Clark (DD-361), USS Case (DD-370), Cummings (DD-365), Shaw (DD-373) and Tucker (DD-374) , San Diego 1941

She was photographed at San Diego with Destroyer Division Six, Destroyer Squadron Three (Clark (DD-361), Case (DD-370), Cummings, Shaw (DD-373) and Tucker (DD-374) in October 1941.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 the Cummings was serving as the flagship of Destroyer Squadron Three, and was preparing for the installation of radar. Her auxiliary services, steam and electrical power were being provided by the Naval Yard. Her .50in AA guns were in the middle of an overhaul, but her rear guns were ready for action and her forward guns were assembled during the battle. Her main guns weren’t affected by this. The first Japanese aircraft were spotted at 0758, and five minutes later her aft machine guns opened fire on torpedo bombers that had just attacked their targets. At 840 she was straffed by several Japanese aircraft and possibly shot down one of them At 910 dive bombers attacked her part of the harbour, with bombs falling within 25 yards of her bows and stern. Bomb fragments from this attack caused minor casualties. At 1000 she opened fire on horizontal bombers, and may have shot down one of them. At 1040 she was able to get under way, and she left the harbour and joined the anti-submarine patrol outside the harbour entrance. During the air attacks she fired 160 rounds of 5in ammo and 6,000 rounds of .50in ammo. Once she was outside the harbour she dropped six depth charges in two attacks on suspected Japanese submarines, although without any obvious success.

From 19 December until 4 May 1942 the Cummings was used to escort convoys between Pearl Harbor and San Francisco.


From 9 June 1942 to 13 August 1942 she was used to escort convoys between Suva in the Fiji Islands and Auckland, New Zealand. She then returned to the west coast for an overhaul at San Francisco.

On 12 September the Cummings left Tonga with a force that included the damaged battleship South Dakota and carrier Saratoga, heading for Pearl Harbor, arriving there on 22 September. In November she escorted a convoy to Noumea, then to Wellington, New Zealand.

She then began a period supporting the fighting on Guadalcanal, from bases at Espiritu Santo and Noumea.

In early December 1942 she was part of Admiral Willis Lee’s Task Force 64, built around the battleships Washington (BB-56) and Indiana (BB-58) .


On 30 January 1943 the La Vallette (DD-448) was hit by a Japanese torpedo during the battle of Rennell Island. She was towed towards safety by the Navajo, with an escort of destroyers. On 31 January the Cummings and O’Bannon joined this force, allowing the original escorts to return to port with the survivors from the cruiser Chicago. The Cummings and O’Bannon took over escort duties, and the La Vallette reached Espiritu Santo in 1 February.

USS Cummings (DD-365) at sea, 1944 USS Cummings (DD-365) at sea, 1944

On 17 May she finished her spell around Guadalcanal and sailed to Auckland, New Zealand for an overhaul.

She was back at Noumea on 4 June. In July she was used to screen transports moving between there and Auckland. From 5 August to 4 September she was based at Efate. She then returned to the West Coast for another overhaul.

After the overhaul she was allocated to Task Force 94, and spent the period from 1-16 December patrolling off Adak, Alaska. She then returned to Pearl Harbor, arriving on 21 December.


She was then allocated to the 5th Fleet, and on 19 January 1944 sortied to take part in the invasion of the Marshall Islands. She was used to screen the aircraft carriers during air strikes on Wotke and Eniwetok until 21 February.

On 20 February she transferred three airmen whose Avenger had been forced to ditch back to the Princeton (CV-23).

Cummings sailed from Majuro 4 March for Trincomalee, Ceylon, where she rendezvoused 31 March with British ships for exercises. Along with the Saratoga, Dunlap (DD-384) and Fanning she joined the British Far Eastern Fleet to take part in an attack on Sabang, Sumatra. On 19 April aircraft from the Saragota and HMS Illustrious attacked the oil refineries and storage at Sabang.

The force then returned to Ceylon, before departed for Exmouth Gulf, Australia on 6 May.

On 15 May the combined force left Australia heading for Java, and on 17 May the carriers attacked Soerabaja, Java, hitting the harbour and refineries. After this attack the Cummings left the British fleet and returned to Pearl Harbor via Sydney.

USS Cummings (DD-365) at San Diego, 1938 USS Cummings (DD-365) at San Diego, 1938

She then returned to San Francisco, arriving on 7 July, to form part of the escort for President Roosevelt as he travelled to Pearl Harbor on the Baltimore (CA-68) to meet with MacArthur and Nimitz to decide the course of the Pacific War. After the meeting the Cummings escorted the President back to Adak and Juneau in Alaska, before from 8-12 August escorting Roosevelt and his staff to Seattle. On 12 August the President broadcast an address to the nation from her forecastle,

The Cummings left Seattle on 13 August and joined TG 12.5 at Pearl Harbor. She then took part in that group’s air and shore bombardment of Wake Island on 3 September.

The Cummings then joined the 3rd Fleet, and took part in the bombardment of Marcus Island 9 October 1944.

She was used to screen the escort carriers as they attacked Luzon, Cebu, Leyte and Samar and Negros to support the landings on Leyte. She then took part in the battle of Leyte Gulf.

From 21 November she was based at Siapan, although she also supported the fleet during its regular bombardments of Iwo Jima.

On 27 December the Cummings took part in a bombardment of Iwo Jima as part of TG 94.9. During the day the Cummings, Dunlap (DD-384) and Fanning (DD-385) sank the Japanese fast transport T.7 and landing ship T.132.


The bombardments of Iwo Jima continued until the invasion of the island in March 1945, when she provided fire support. She spent the rest of the war based off Iwo Jima, performing a mix of convoy escort work, escorting convoys to Guam and Saipan, and providing air-sea rescue services during raids on Okinawa and the Japanese Home Islands.

On 9 September she occupied Haha Jima. Soon afterwards she left the west Pacific heading for San Pedro, California, then on to Norfolk, Virginia. She was decommissioned on 14 December 1945 and sold for scrap on 17 July 1947.

Cummings received seven battle stars for service during World War II, for Pearl Harbor, the Marshall Islands, The Sabang, Soerabaja and Marcus Island raids of 1944, Rennel Island, the Western Caroline Islands, Leyte and Iwo Jima.

Displacement (standard)

1,487.9 standard

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

37.8kts at 44,477shp at 1,749t on trials (Mahan)


2-shaft General Electric tubines
4 boilers
46,000shp design


6,500nm at 12kts design
7,300nm at 12kts on trials (Mahan)
6,940nm at 12kts at 2,200t wartime
4,360nm at 20kts at 2,200t wartime


341ft 3in


35ft 6.5in


Five 5in/38 DP guns
Twelve 21in torpedoes in three quad mounts
Four 0.50in AA guns
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement


Laid down



11 December 1935


25 November 1936


17 July 1947

U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann . The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (1 December 2021), USS Cummings (DD-365),

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