USS Reid (DD-369)

USS Reid (DD-369) was a Mahan class destroyer that fought at Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, New Guinea and during the invasion of Leyte, before being sunk by kamikaze attacks on 11 December 1944.

The Reid was named after Samuel Chester Reid, who served in the US Navy during the War of 1812, commanding privateers and helping with the defense of New Orleans.

The Reid (DD-369) was laid down at the Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock yard at Kearny, New Jersey on 25 June 1934, launched on 11 January 1936 when she was sponsored by Mrs Beatrice Reid Power (a direct descendant of  Samuel Reid), and commissioned on 2 November 1936. Her shakedown cruiser took her into the Mediterranean. She left New York on 4 January 1937 and reached Madeira on 14 January. She was at Gibraltar on 18 January, having passed through the straits at general quarters because of the Spanish Civil War.  She was at Bizerta on 20 January, Piraeus (Greece) on 27 January and Palermo, Sicily on 4 February. This was her last port of call and she departed from Palermo on 8 February. After a brief visit to Hamilton, Bermuda, she returned to New York on 12 March.

USS Reid (DD-369) being launched USS Reid (DD-369) being launched

After her shakedown cruise the Reid needed several months in dry dock. In June 1937 she left New York heading for her new base at San Diego, visiting Cuba on the way. She passed through the Panama Canal on 7 July, and reached her new base at San Diego on 17 July.

From 1937 into 1941, Reid participated in training and fleet maneuvers in the Atlantic and Pacific. Most of her time was spent along the US west coast, but she also travelled further afield. In March-April 1938 she visited Pearl Harbor. In January-April 1939 she visited the Caribbean, then went north to Washington and Yorktown. This was a brief visit and she was back at San Diego by 12 May. On 1 April 1940 she set sail for Hawaii to take part in Fleet Problem XXI. In the aftermath of the exercise the bulk of the fleet remained at Pearl Harbor, which became the new home port for the Pacific Fleet. The Reid returned to the west coast for an overhaul in November-December 1940.

In March-April 1941 she took part in a fleet cruise to the south Pacific, visiting Samoa, Sydney, Brisbane and Fiji.

During the attack upon Pearl Harbor, the Reid was moored at Buoy X-Ray 8 waiting to go into dry dock. When the Japanese attacked she was able to open fire with her machine guns, and her nest of destroyers clained at least one aircraft. After the attack she left the harbour to hunt for submarines. For the rest of the year she patrolled around Hawaii and Palmyra Atoll.

1942

On 3 January 1942 the Reid left Pearl Harbor to escort a convoy to San Francisco, arriving on 13 January. She was back at Pearl Harbor on 29 January.

On 12 February she left Pearl Harbor to escort the transport William Ward Burrows (AP-6) to Midway, arriving on 17 February.

On 8 March she left Pearl as part of the escort of Convoy 4071 (with the Detroit (CL-8) and Case (DD-370), arriving at San Francisco on 15 March. She was back at base on 30 March.

On 22 April she departed as part of the escort of Convoy 4093, arriving at San Francisco on 30 April.

On 1 May she left San Francisco to escort a convoy back to Hawaii, arriving on 13 May.

The Reid was then sent to the Aleutians, to join Task Force 8. She left Pearl Harbor on 22 May and reached Kodiak on 27 May. On 29 May she escorted the oiler Brazos (AO-4) to Dutch Harbor. On 1 June she departed with the Kane (DD-235) to carry out anti-submarine patrols south of Akutan Island. She then moved to Makushin Bay where she joined TG 8.4, part of Task Force 8. She then spent some time around Kodiak, preparing for an attack on Japanese occupied Kiska.

A first attempt to bombard Kiska failed because of bad weather, but a second attempt on 7-8 August was more successful and saw the Reid bombard Kiska harbour and screen the cruisers.

On 19 August she put to sea to take part in the invasion of Adak. On 30-31 August she formed part of the screen for TG 8.6 as it landed troops in Nazan Bay. On 31 August the Reid detected a Japanese submarine and carried out a depth charge attack that forced RO-61 to come to the surface. The Reid then sank her with gunfire. Five of her crew were rescued by the Reid, and provided useful information about the island. The Reid also collected 24 men from the seaplane tender Casco (AVP-12), which had been damaged during the attack. The Reid left Nazan Bay on 1 September. She spent most of the month escorting convoys from Dutch Harbor to Nazan Bay.

USS Reid (DD-369) in Dutch Harbor USS Reid (DD-369) in Dutch Harbor

On 25 September the Reid, Gridley (DD-380) and McCall (DD-400) left Alaska heading back to Pearl Harbor, arriving on 21 October.

On 7 October the Reid left Pearl as part of TG 15.1, to escort the repair ship Prometheus (AR-3) and auxiliary floating dry dock ARD-2 to Samoa, arriving on 22 October. The Reid then returned alone to Pearl Harbor.

From 2-12 November the Reid escorted a convoy made up of the troop transport Republic (AP-33), army transport Ernest J Hine and the carrier Long Island (ACV-1). She then went to Mare Island for a week long overhaul. From 20-27 November she then escorted convoy no.2170 back from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor.

On 6 December she left Pearl Harbor as part of TG 2.17, heading for Noumea in New Caledonial arriving on 19 December. She then spent a few days maintaining a listening watch at the entrance to Suva Harbour, Fiji.

On 25 December the Reid departed Suva with Task Unit 62.4.3 to escort a troop convoy heading to Guadalcanal. The convoy reached Lunga Point on 30 December, and the Reid helped screen them as they unloaded their troops. She then escorted the empty transports to Tulagi. On 31 December she left Guadalcanal to escort transports back to Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides.

1943

The convoy arrived at Espiritu Santo on 2 January. From 5-7 she joined TU 62.4.2 as it escorted more transports to Lunga Point, Guadalcanal. On 10 and 11 January she escorted ships from Lunga Point to Tulagi, then on 12 January escorted transports the other way. Later on the same day she carried out a shore bombardment of targets along the coast, firing 306 rounds of 5in ammo with unknown effect. She then returned to the regular route between Lunga and Tulagi from 13-23 January.

From 24-26 January she was part of TU 62.4.13 as it moved from Tulagi to Espiritu Santo. She then put to see to carry out exercises with TF 67, but on 6 February she was forced to return to Espiritu Santo for emergency repairs.

On 12 February she departed with TU 66.7.1 haeding for Fiji, arriving on 15 February. She then moved to Noumea, where she put to sea to escort a convoy on the last stage of its trip there. From 7-14 March she escorted the repair ship Tutuila (ARG-4) from Noumea to Samoa. On the way back she briefly formed part of the escort for a convoy heading to Brisbane before she was released to return to base. From 27-30 March she escorted the oiler Suamico (AO-49) to Espiritu Santo. From 30 March to 3 April she escorted the attack cargo ship Algorab (AKA-8) from Espiritu Santo to Koli Point on Guadalcanal. She then spent four days escorting transports moving between Koli and Lunga. On 8-9 April she escorted the Algorab back to Espiritu Santo. From then until 25 April she was used to screen ships moving between Tulagi and Guadalcanal. On 25 April she departed from Guadalcanal heading for Pearl Harbor via Noumea and Efate, screening the Enterprise during the final stage of the voyage, and arriving on 7 May. From 19-29 May she escorted convoy 4452 back to San Francisco.

From San Francisco the Reid moved to Mare Island for repairs and a refit that lasted into mid- July. She departed from San Francisco on 28 July to escort a convoy to Noumea, arriving on 21 August. From 22-25 August she escorted the Algorab to Sydney.

The Reid was then allocated to the 7th Fleet and the campaign in New Guinea. She arrived at Milne Bay on 27 August, and on 1 September put to sea as part of TG 76.6 (Perkins, Smith (DD-378), Lamson (DD-367), Mugford (DD-389) and Reid (DD-369)to take part in the landings at Lae on 4 September. She was used to provide radar information and fighter directions, and also came under air attack herself when three Nakajima B5Ns attacked the destroyers. The Reid then spent the next few weeks supporting the fighting around Lae and Buna.

She departed from the area on 17 September with the Perkins and Smith to take on supplies, and was back on 20 September. She then supported the landings at Finschhafen on 22 September. Once again she came under air attack, shooting down at least one aircraft.

On 3 October she left as part of the escort for a force of LSTs. At 1818 one of her crew reported spotting a torpedo wake, and a few minutes late the Henley (DD-391) was struck amidships. The Reid attempted to hunt for the submarine but without success. She then returned to help with the rescue efforts, and picked up 225 survivors from the Henley. After returning the survivors to Buna she spent the rest of October on patrol in the Lae, Buna and Huon area.

On 1 November she escorted a convoy from Buna to Milne Bay. She was back at Buna on 11 November and spent the next ten days on escort duties between Buna and Lae. On 21 November she left to join up with a convoy heading for Morobe, arriving on 22 November. She then returned to her normal escort duties.

On 14 December she left Milne Bay to take part in the invasion of Arawe on New Britain on 15 December. She supported the landings at Cape Gloucester on 26 December then returned to the Milne-Bay

1944

The Reid supported the fighting at Saidor, although didn’t arrive until 6 January, after the initial landings.

On 8 January the Reid and Mahan bombarded Japanese shore positions at Gali on New Guinea.

She then made a brief visit to Sydney, spending ten days there from 15-26 January.

On her return to New Guinea she escorted a convoy from Mile Bay to Finschhafen, arriving on 1 February. For most of the rest of February she escorted a series of convoys around the local area, ended up at Cape Sudest on 25 February.

On 27 February 1944 the Reid became the flagship for Rear Admiral William M. Fechteler, commander of the US Naval Forces supporting the landings on Los Negros in the Admiralty Islands. She formed part of TG 76.1 for the invasion itself (with the destroyers Bush (DD-529), Welles (DD-628), Flusser (DD-368)MahanDraytonSmithStevenson (DD-645) and Stockton (DD-646) and the high speed transports Brooks (APD-10)Humphreys (APD-12), and Sands (APD-13)). Between them the ships carried just over 1,000 men mainly from the Fifth Cavalry Regiment, First Cavalry Division, under the command of Brigadier General William C Chase, who travelled on the Reid.  After a bombardment by cruisers and B-25s the destroyers began to land their troops early on 29 February. The destroyers then provided fire support, which helped secure the beachhead. Most of the force (including the Reid) then departed for Cape Sudest later in the day to collect the second wave of troops. Once there Admiral Fechteler moved his flag to the amphibious force flagship Blue Ridge (AGC-2). The Reid spent the next week escorting two convoys from Cape Sudest to Los Negros as well as one return convoy. After arriving with the final convoy on 13 March she was used for fire support, operating in Seeadler Harbour on 14 March, bombarding Lorengau on Manus Island on 15 March and firing on Japanese emplacements in Seeadler Harbour on 16 March.

From 19 March to 18 April the Reid escorted a series of convoys moving between Seeadler, Cape Sudest, Cape Cretin and Oro.

On 20 April she left Cape Cretin to support the landings at Hollandia on New Guinea, once again acting as Admiral Fechteler’s flagship. She reached Humboldt Bay, Hollandia, early on 22 April and took part in a shore bombardment. The landings themselves were relatively easy, and the Reid then spent the next few days on anti-submarine patrols. On 26 April she left the area to take Admiral Fechteler to the Blue Ridge at Madang.

This was followed by another period of convoy escort duties, which saw her escort nine convoys between 28 April and 15 May.

On 16 May she left Humboldt Bay as part of TG 77.2, this time to support the attack on Wakde Island. She supported the landings on 17 May and remained in the area until the evening of 19 May.

On 25 May she left Humboldt Bay to escort the assault force heading for Biak Island. The landings took place on 27 May, and was supported by another naval bombardment. On the morning of 28 May she took part in a duel with a Japanese shore battery. She then returned to Humboldt Bay on 30 May. She returned to Biak on 2 June, and later in the day took part in a battle against several waves of Japanese aircraft. On 3 June the Japanese returned, and the Reid fured 152 5in, 600 40mm and 785 20mm rounds against them, claiming two Japanese fighters. However one man was killed and two wounded on the Reid. She spent a few more days at Biak before returning to Humboldt Bay on 6 June.

On 8-10 June she escorted a convoy to Seeadler Harbour, where she stayed for ten days. She then escorted a convoy from Seeadler to Humboldt Bay, before moving to Cape Cretin on 24 June, where she once again picked up Admiral Fechteler.

This time the target was Noemfoor Island, in Dutch New Guinea. On 30 June the Reid joined TG 77, and on 2 July took part in the assault on the island. This was a quick battle, and she was able to depart for Humboldt Bay on 3 July.

The Reid was then ordered back to Pearl Harbor, arriving on 30 July. She went into dry dock from 15-21 August for repairs and maintenance.

On 29 August she left Pearl Harbor to join TU 12.5.3 for a bombardment of Wake Island. She reached the island early on 3 September, but then suffered problems with contaminated fuel, so couldn’t take part in the bombardment, and instead had to make for Eniwetok in the Marshalls for repairs. 

After several weeks operating around Eniwetok the Reid departed for Saipan on 20 September with TG 57.9. She arrived on 26 September, and spent the next few days on offensive sweeps to the north-west of the island. She was back at Eniwetok by 5 October.

The Reid then joined the forces heading for Leyte Gulf, arriving on 3 November. She spent the next month on anti-submarine patrol in the Gulf.

On 6 December she left San Pedro Bay heading for Ormoc on the opposite side of the island, to help prepare the way for an American landing in Ormoc Bay. Early on 7 December she took part in a shore bombardment of Ormoc, firing 250 5in shells. The Japanese responded with kamikaze attacks which eventually sank the Mahan.  Early on 8 December she departed for San Pedro Bay.

On 11 December the Reid set sail with TG 78.3.8 to escort a resupply convoy heading for Ormoc Bay. At about 1700, as the force was passing through the Surigao Straight, it was attacked by kamikazes. The Reid was the target of a group of twelve Nakajima B6N1 Type 92s. She was able to shoot down at least two, but was then hit by two, one which clipped the starboard whaleboat then crashed into the waterline close to No.2 gun and exploded and a second that hit No.3 Gun then skidded into the 40mm gun before its bomb exploded near the aft magazine. It was obvious that the ship was doomed and the order to abandon ship was given, but damaged communications meant that the message didn’t reach everyone. However it quickly became clear that she was going down, and her crew began to abandon ship. Within a few minutes of the attack starting, the Reid sank stern first. About a third of her crew were lost, but 150 men including her commanding officer were rescued by the landing craft she had been escorting. The Reid was the only victim of the attack, and indeed the only target.

Reid received eight battle stars for World War II service, for Pearl Harbor, sinking RO-61, Guadalcanal, Eastern New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, Western New Guinea, Hollandia and Leyte

Displacement (standard)

1,487.9 standard

Displacement (loaded)

2,102.6t

Top Speed

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

Engine

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

Range

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

Length

341ft 3in

Width

35ft 6.5in

Armaments

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

Crew complement

158

Laid down

25 June 1934

Launched

11 January 1936

Commissioned

2 November 1936

Sunk by kamikaze attack

11 December 1944

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 (29 December 2021), USS Reid (DD-369, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Reid_DD369.html

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