USS Flusser (DD-368) was a Mahan class destroyer that served on escort duties in 1942 and the first half of 1943, then supported the campaign in New Guinea and New Britain, then took part in the campaigns in the Marshalls and the Philippines .
The Flusser was named after Charles Williamson Flusser, captain of the USS Miami who was killed in action against the CSS Albermarle on 19 April 1864.
The Flusser was launched on 28 September 1935 at Federal Shipbuilding of Kearny, when she was sponsored by Mrs F. W. Packard, and commissioned on 1 October 1936.
On 1 December 1936 the Flusser left New York for an unusually active shakedown cruise, operating with Squadron 40-T, which was protecting US interests in the Western Mediterranean during the Spanish Civil War. She return to Hampton Roads on 9 February 1937, and spent the next five months operating along the US east coast. She then moved west to join the Pacific Fleet, arriving at her new base of San Diego on 16 July 1937.
Early in 1939 she took part in Fleet Problem XX, which took place in the Caribbean and along the north-eastern coast of South America. On 23 February the Drayton and Flusser were able to get into Culebra Harbour where they ‘sank’ the seaplane tenders Lapwing and Sandpiper but an attempt to carry out a similar raid on the following day saw both destroyers ‘sunk’.
In March 1939 her commanding officer, Lt Commander John F Rees was photographed at Guantanamo Bay along with the rest of Destroyer Division Three’s commanders.
In early December the Flusser left Pearl Harbor as part of Task Force 12 (Lexington (CV-2), Chicago (CA-29), Portland (CA-33), Astoria (CA-34), Porter (DD-356), Drayton (DD-366), Flusser (DD-368) and Lamson (DD-367). She was thus at sea when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The Task Force was ordered to search for the Japanese fleet somewhere to the south of Hawaii, but found nothing. They returned to port on 12 December.
From then until April 1942 the Flusser was used to escort convoys sailing between Pearl Harbor and the US West Coast.
In mid April the Flusser departed for the south-west Pacific, to join the forces being used to secure the transport routes from the US west coast to Australia. On the way she landed a small Marine garrison on Palmyra Island on 21 April.
In mid August the Flusser escorted USS William Ward Burrows (AP-6) from the New Hebrides to Efate, arriving on 17 August.
On 4 October the Drayton collided with the Flusser during training exercises in the Hawaii area. The Drayton suffered damage to her bows.
The Flusser was overhauled at Pearl Harbor at the end of 1942, and the work was completed by February 1943. She was back at Espiritu Santo by 17 February and resumed her work on convoy escort duties in the south-west Pacific, covering an area spread from Australia to Guadalcanal.
On 22 August she arrived at Milne Bay, to support the campaign on New Guinea.
On the night of 5-6 September she escorted a convoy of seven LSTs heading for Red Beach at Lae. The Mahan, Perkins, Flusser and Smith then supported more landings at Lae on 12 September. She also supported the landings at Finschhafen later in the month, taking part in the pre-invasion bombardment, providing fire support and escorting reinforcement and re-supply convoys. On 22 September she also sank three Japanese barges at Finschhafen.
On 28 November the Mahan, Flusser, Shaw and Lamson carried out a search for submarines and bombard the Japanese positions at Sio, New Guinea. No submarines were found, and the shore targets were bombarded. The force then moved to Madang, New Guinea, for another shore bombardment on 30 November,
On 14 December the Flusser and Mahan combined to bombard Japanese positions at Arawe, New Britain.
On 15 December she took part in the pre-invasion bombardment of Arawe on New Britain. On 26 December she supported the US Marines landing at Cape Gloucester, New Britain.
On 1 January 1944 the Flusser, Reid, Beale and Mahan joined up at Buna, from where they escorted Echelon M2 of the Saidor Naval Attack Force towards it target. After escorting the transports, the destroyers bombarded Japanese shore targets at Saidor.
From 11 -30 January 1944 the Flusser was given a brief overhaul in Australia, followed by exercises in local waters.
On 6 February the Mahan and Flusser left Cape Sudest to escort Echelon B-21 to Cape Gloucester, New Britain. They arrived on 9 February and shielded the LSTs while they were unloading.
On 11 February the Mahan, Flusser, Drayton and Smith escorted three LSTs and a tanker to Cape Cretin.
On 28 February the Flusser, Bush, Mahan, Drayton, Smith and Welles departed from Buna, heading for Los Negros in the Admiralty Islands, where they supported the landings of 29 February. They were used for shore bombardment, and to transport some of the troops who took part in the battle.
The Flusser then returned to the US west coast for an overhaul at Mare Island, which lasted from April-June 1944. On 14 June she was photographed off Mare Island in new camouflage.
The Flusser was back at Pearl Harbor by the end of July, and departed there on 1 August to escort a convoy to Eniwetok.
On 16 August she arrived at Majuro, and she spent the next six weeks patrolling off bypassed islands still held by the Japanese in the southern Marshalls. The Japanese still had some bite, and on 7 September the Flusser was hit during a duel with an emplacement on Wotje suffering nine wounded.
On 1 October she left Majuro to escort ships to Eniwetok, Ulithi and Hollandia.
The Flusser then moved to the Philippines, arriving at San Pedro Bay on the coast of Leyte on 29 October. She carried out patrols in Leyte Gulf and Surigao Strait, where she came under repeated kamikaze attack. On 18 November she shot down one attacker so close to her that the pilot’s parachute landed on the forecastle. She also suffered damage from a near miss on 4 December.
On 4 December the Drayton, Flusser, Lamson and Shaw, along with eight LSMs and three LCIs departed from Leyte Gulf heading for San Pedro Bay, where they were to land troops at a beach held by Filipino guerrillas. This was part of a wider plan to land in Ormoc Bay to avoid more fighting in the interior of Leyte. The troops were landed late on 4 December, but on 5 December the naval force was attacked by Japanese aircraft while on their way back to base. The Flusser rescued some of the survivors from LSM-20, which was sunk during these attacks.
The Flusser then moved to Hollandia and Biak to meet up with the forces being gathered for the invasion of Luzon. She arrived at Lingayen Gulf on 13 January 1945 with the second wave of reinforcements. She covered landings at Nasugbu on 31 January, and at Puetro Princesa, Palawan on 28 February. She was also used to escort forces moving between Leyte, Mindoro and Palawan. On 26 March she supported the landings on Cebu.
On 1 June the Fluser and the Leland E. Thomas (DE-420) bombarded Luayan Point. She also supported the landings on Balut Island in the Sarangani Group.
Throughout June she was used to escort supply convoys heading from Morotai to Polloc Harbor and Davao Gulf.
Flusser remained in the Philippines, joining in the landings on Cebu 26 March 1945 and escorting support convoys to that island, then escorted resupply convoys from Morotai to Polloc Harbor and Davao Gulf until 1 July.
For most of July the Flusser supported the landings at Balikpapan on Borneo, before returning to Manila on 20 July.
After another overhaul she departed on 31 August to escort ships to Okinawa.
After the end of the war she took part in the occupation of Japan, arriving at Sasebo on 16 September. She remained there until 29 October when she departed for San Diego, arriving on 19 November.
In 1946 the Flusser took part in Operation Crossroads, the Atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. She survived the experience, and was back at Pearl Harbor on 14 September. On 12 November she reached Norfolk, where she was decommissioned on 16 December 1946. She was sold on 6 January 1948.
Flusser received eight battle stars for World War II service, for Eastern New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Bismarck Archipelago, Leyte, Luzon, Borneo, the Southern Philippines and Manila Bay.
37.8kts at 44,477shp at 1,749t on trials (Mahan)
2-shaft General Electric turbines
6,500nm at 12kts design
Five 5in/38 DP guns
28 September 1935
1 October 1936
6 January 1948