USS Case (DD-370) was a Mahan class destroyer that fought at Pearl Harbor, in the Aleutians and supported the invasions of the Marshalls, the Palau Islands, the Marianas, fighting at the battle of the Philippine Sea, the invasions of Leyte and Iwo Jima, before spending most of 1945 on anti-submarine and air-sea rescue duty between Saipan and Iwo Jima.
The Case was named after Augustus Ludlow Case, who served in the US Navy during on the Wilkes Expedition that discovered land in Antarctica, the Mexican War and as fleet captain of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the American Civil War.
The Case was launched on 14 September 1935 at the Boston Navy Yard, when she was sponsored by Miss M.R. Case, and was commissioned on 15 September 1936.
The Case was assigned to the Pacific Fleet, with her home port at San Diego. She took part in the normal life of the fleet, a mix of operations along the US West Coast and fleet problems.
In 1938 she was used as a school ship.
In the summer of 1939 she took midshipmen on a training cruise in Alaskan waters.
In April 1940 she moved to Pearl Harbor to take part in that year’s fleet problem, and then moved her base to Hawaii.
In February-March 1941 she took part in a fleet cruiser that took her to Samoa, Tahiti and Auckland. (as part of Destroyer Division 5 - Case (DD-370), Cassin (DD-372), Clark (DD-361), Conyngham (DD-371), Cummings (DD-365), Downes (DD-375), Reid (DD-369), Shaw (DD-373), and Tucker (DD-374))
In October 1941 she was at San Diego with Destroyer Division 6, Destroyer Squadron 3, when she was serving as the division flagship. At the time the unit contained the squadron flagship USS Clark (DD-361), Case, Cummings (DD-365), Shaw (DD-373) and Tucker (DD-374).
Case was in a nest of destroyers at Pearl Harbor Navy Yard on 7 December 1941, moored next to the Whitney (AD-4), with the Conyngham (DD-371) next in line, followed by the Reid (DD-365), Tucker, Case, and Selfridge (DD-375). They were in the middle of a scheduled overhaul at the time, and she was thus receiving all of her services from the Whitney. However three of her 5in guns and all of her .50in machine guns were in action within a few minutes of the Japanese attack. However the gunnery director took longer to get into action, so it was the .50in guns that opened fire. Most of their targets had already attacked other targets and were withdrawing over the destroyers. The Case’s after action report claimed a share in the destruction of one aircraft.
She was ready to get underway by 1600 by which time all but three of her crew were back onboard (the missing three were the 1st Lieutenant, Torpedo Officer and Assistant gunnery officer, all of whom had gone out on the Cummings, which was then flagship of Destroyer Squadron Three and got to sea quicker than the Case).
On 7 December the Case departed from Pearl Harbor, escorting a convoy to the west coast, a duty she would fill well into 1942.
From 7 December until 23 May 1942 Case escorted convoys passing between the west coast and Pearl Harbor.
On 20 February she was at Mare Island.
On 8 March the Case, Detroit (CL-8) and Reid (DD-369) left Pearl Harbor to escort Convoy 4071 from Pearl Harbor to San Francisco, arriving on 15 March.
The Case returned to Pearl Harbor at the end of her last convoy escort mission by 23 May 1942.
She was then allocated to the forces operationing in Alaskan waters. From 31 May to 7 August she patrolled in the area off Kodiak. On 7 August she took part in the pre-invasion bombardment of Kiska, and also attacked a Japanese tanker, although the poor visibility made it impossible to tell if it was sunk. From then until mid October she patrolled off Adak.
In mid October she left Alaska to escort a convoy to Pearl Harbor, then returned to the US West Coast for an overhaul.
This was over by 21 November when she returned to Pearl Harbor. She was then used to escort a convoy to Fiji, where she arrived on 20 December. She then moved to Guadalcanal to help screen a convoy that was loading its supplies.
From 1 January to 23 September 1943 she was based at Espiritu Santo, from where she carried out a mix of escort duties, patrols and training.
In late September she then departed for an overhaul at San Francisco along with the McCall (DD-400), Craven (DD-382) and Fanning (DD-385). This was over by December, when she returned to Pearl Harbor.
For the next 8 months, Case was almost constantly at sea, screening groups of the 3d and 5th Fleets in their air strikes which paved the way for the advance westward across the Pacific.
During the first eight months of 1944 the Case operated with the 3rd / 5th Fleet, forming part of the screen for the carriers during the advance west across the Pacific.
From mid-January to mid-March she operated in the Marshall Islands,
On 30 March-1 April the carriers raided the Palau and western Caroline islands.
In late April she supported the carriers as they attacked Japanese targets at Hollandia and Truk on New Guinea, Satawan and Ponape. Most of May was spent on local duties at Majuro.
She then joined TG 58.4 and took part in their raids on the Bonin Islands, carried out to support the invasion of the Marianas. She was then part of the carrier screen during the battle of the Philippine Sea (19-20 June 1944), which saw the virtual destruction of Japanese naval aviation for little or no reward.
In late July she screened TG 58.4 during the invasion of Guam and on raids on the Bonins.
From then until mid-September she was used to escort ships moving between the islands of the Marianas.
In September, she rendezvoused with two submarines (including USS Sealion (SS-315) which had picked up 54 POWs of whome three had already died) carrying allied prisoners of war, many of them wounded, rescued after the submarines had sunk the Japanese transport Rakuyo Maru, which was carrying British and Australian POWs. Rough seas made it too difficult to move the wounded to the destroyer, so medical staff were moved to to the submarines instead. A doctor and a pharmacist’s mate were transferred to the Sealion.
On 9 October 1944 the Case took part the bombardment of Marcus Island.
From 18-23 October she screened TG 38.1 while it carried out attacks on Luzon, to support the invasion of Leyte.
After a brief visit to Ulithi, she took part in the bombardment of Iwo Jima on the night of 11-12 November.
On 20 November the Case was part of the screen for cruisers in the lagoon at Ulitihi when a Japanese Kaiten manned midget submarine (probably from the submarine I-47) managed to get into the anchorage and sank the fleet oiler Mississinewa (AO-59). Some accounts say that the Case then rammed and sank the submarine at the entrance to Mugai Channel, but others have this attack before the loss of the Mississinewa, and the attack did involved more than one Kaiten. It would appear that the Case was actually trying to avoid a collision with one Kaiten when she rammed her victim.
The Case was inspected for any damage, but was back at sea on 22 November, heading to Saipan where she remained on patrol until 6 December.
On 24 December she took part in a bombardment of Iwo Jima. She and the Roe (DD-418) were sent to attack a Japanese high speed transport that was attempting to escape. After a two hour high speed chase the target was within gun range, and at 1559 it sank. The survivors refused any help from the American destroyers.
On 24-25 January 1945 she carried out anti-submarine patrols to support the invasion of Iwo Jima. She then moved to Saipan for a period of escort and patrol duties that lasted until 19 March.
She then began a long period of anti-submarine patrols, air sea rescue duties and radar picket duties in the seas between Saipan and Iwo Jima, which lasted until the end of the war.
On 2 September the Case arrived at Chichi Jima to accept and supervise the surrender of the Bonin Islands. On 19 September she departed for Norfolk, Virginia, arriving on 1 November. She was decommissioned on 13 December 1945 and sold for scrap on 31 December 1947.
Case received seven battle stars for World War II service, for Pearl Harbor, the Marshall Islands, the Palau/ Yap/ Ulithi/ Woleai, Truk/ Satawan/ Ponape and Marcus Island raids of 1944, Hollandia, Mariana Islands, Leyte and Iwo Jima.
37.8kts at 44,477shp at 1,749t on trials (Mahan)
2-shaft General Electric tubines
6,500nm at 12kts design
Five 5in/38 DP guns
14 September 1935
15 September 1936
31 December 1947