USS Gridley (DD-380) was the name ship of the Gridley class of destroyers, and served in Alaska, New Georgia, the Gilbert Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Marianas and the battle of the Philippine Sea, Peleliu, and the invasion of the Philippines.
The Gridley was named after Charles Vernon Gridley, who served in the US Navy during the American Civil War and during the Spanish American War.
The Gridley was launched at Bethlehem Shipbuilding’s Fore River plant at Quincy on 1 December 1936, when she was sponsored by Captain’s Gridley’s daughter (Mrs Lewis Buddy III). She was commissioned on 24 June 1937. Her lengthy shakedown cruise took her to the Caribbean and lasted until 27 October 1938. This was followed by a spell in the Boston Navy Yard for some alterations, which lasted until 13 June 1938. She then departed for the west coast, arriving at San Diego on 5 July 1938 to join Destroyer Division 11.
After a few months on the west coast the Gridley took part in Fleet Problem XX in the Caribbean early in 1939. She then returned to Boston for repairs, before finally returning to her home base at San Diego on 13 July 1939, where she became the flagship of Destroyer Division 11.
In April 1940 she moved to Hawaii to take part in Fleet Problem XXI. After the problem was over she remained at Hawaii, which now became the main base for the Pacific Fleet.
On 28 November 1941 the Gridley left Pearl Harbor as part of the screen for the Enterprise, which was carrying reinforcements for Wake Island. The task force was on its way back to Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked early on 7 December, and thus missed the attack. She entered the harbour with the Enterprise task force on the following day.
For the next five months the Gridley was used to escort transports and repair vessels between Pearl Harbor and the ports of the South Pacific.
In mid-January she collided with the Fanning (DD-385) in a rainstorm while underway for Tutuila. Both ships were damaged and needed some repairs after the collision.
This period ended on 27 March 1942.
On 8 April she departed form Pearl Harbor with Task 16, ready to take part in the Doolittle Raid on Japan.
The Gridley was then sent to Alaska (with the cruiser Nashville). They reached Kodiak, Alaska, on 5 June 1942, and she was used to escort transport ships and patrol around the Japanese held islands of Kiska and Attu. She also took part in the bombardment of Kiska on 7 August 1942. While in Alaskan waters she was the flagship of Commander Frederick Moosbrugger.
On 25 September 1942 the Gridley, Reid (DD-369) and McCall (DD-400) left Dutch Harbor to return to Hawaii, where she joined the Saratoga’s task group.
She was then used on escort duties in the Fiji and New Hebrides islands.
In December 1942 she escorted the oiler Cimarron from Noumea to support the carrier task forces operating around the Solomon Islands.
In mid-February 1943 she joined the Wright (CVL-49) and Smith (DD-378) at Espiritu Santo, and then escorted the carrier to Guadalcanal.
These escort duties lasted throughout the first half of 1943, before on 13 July she moved her base to Purvis Bay in the Solomon Islands.
On 16 July she guarded the high speed transports that rescued the survivors from the cruiser USS Helena (CL-50) from Parasco Bay on Vella Lavella, after she had been sunk during the battle of Kula Gulf.
She then joined up with the Maury to escort infantry landing craft from Guadalcanal to Enogai, New Georgia, where the Marines had landed on 5 July. The Gridley was part of a covering force that swept the area north of Kolombangara on the night of 23-24 July while supplies were landed. On 25 July she bombarded Japanese shore installations (although it isn’t clear if this was near Enogai, or at Munda where the final assault began on that day. The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting ships says that she then screened the ships supporting the landings, but this was a land battle.
On 10 August she was one of six destroyers that destroyed a number of Japanese landing barges in Vella Gulf.
Until 25 August she was used to screen the Saratoga during air operations in the Solomons.
The Gridley then escorted the escort carriers Suwanee and Long Island back to Pearl Harbor, arriving on 4 September. She then continued on to San Diego, where she underwent repairs between 11 September and 26 October.
The Gridley left the west coast to join the forces gathering to invade the Gilbert Islands. She left Pearl Harbor on 10 November 1943, heading for Makin, where she took part in the bombardment of the island on 20 November and screened the aircraft carriers. During the night of 22-23 November she detected a possible submarine on sonar, but despite help from the Hoel failed to find their target. Early on 24 November the Japanese submarine I-175 succesfully torpedoed the Liscome Bay (CVL-56). The carrier’s bomb store exploded and she sank in 23 minutes, taking with her 646 men. The Gridley dropped depth charges on a possible contact after the attack, but I-175 escaped. On 1 December 1943 the Gridley left Makin to return to Pearl Harbor.
On 18 January 1944 the Gridley left Pearl Harbor as part of Admira Mitscher’s Carrier Task Force 58, to take part in the invasion of the Marshall Islands. The Gridley was part of the screen for the Saratoga for the raids on Wotje and Eniwetok.
On 8 March the Gridley departed for the New Hebrides as part of a task force built around the Yorktown, Princeton and Langley, and screened them as they supported the fighting on New Guinea.
On 7 June the Gridley sailed as part of the Hornet’s task force to take part in the invasion of the Marianas, screening the carrier while her aircraft attacked Saipan, Rota and Guam.
She was with the carriers during the battle of the Philippine Sea (19-20 June 1944) and had the chance to use her anti-aircraft fire against some of the few Japanese aircraft that got close to the carriers.
On 30 June the Gridley left Eniwotok Atoll to screen the carriers that attacked Iwo Jima, Guam, Yap, Ulithi and the Volcano Islands.
On 15 September she provided direct support for the landings on Peliliu, where she shot down at least one Japanese aircraft.
She then screened the carriers for raids on Okinawa and Formoas.
The Gridley then joined the fleet being gathered for the invasion of the Philippines.
On 28 October 1944, while screening the capital ships off Luzon, the Gridley and Helm detected and sank the Japanese submarine I-51. She then spent several days fighting off kamikaze attackers, before returning to Ulithi as part of the escort for the damaged carriers Franklin and Belleau Wood on 2 November
She was only there for three days, departed on 5 November with a fast carrier force heading for Leyte.
The Gridley served as a bombardment vessel, patrol ship and screen for the escort carriers during the landings at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, starting on 10 February 1945.
This ended her combat career. She returned to Ulithi, and then escorted the Mississippi back to Pearl Harbor. She then continued on to San Diego, through the Panama Canal and on to New York, arriving on 30 March 1945. She entered the New York Navy Yard for repairs, and by the time the work was complete the war was over. She departed for the US on 22 June, where she was struck off in 1947
The Gridley was awarded ten battle stars, for New Georgia, Gilbert Islands, Marshall Islands, Hollandia, Pacific Raids of 1944, sinking I-51, Marianas, Western Carolines, Leyte and Luzon.
2 shaft Bethlehem turbines
6,500nm at 12kts design
Four 5in/38 DP guns
|1 December 1936
|24 June 1937