USS La Vallette (DD-448)
|Namesake:||Elie A. F. La Vallette|
|Builder:||Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company|
|Laid down:||27 November 1941|
|Launched:||21 June 1942|
|Commissioned:||12 August 1942|
|Decommissioned:||16 April 1946|
|Struck:||1 February 1974|
|Fate:||Sold 26 July 1974 to Peru as parts donor, scrapped|
|Class & type:||Fletcher-class destroyer|
|Length:||376 ft 3 in (114.68 m)|
|Beam:||39 ft 8 in (12.09 m)|
|Draft:||13 ft (4.0 m)|
|Propulsion:||60,000 shp (45 MW);
|Speed:||36 knots (67 km/h)|
|Range:||6,500 nautical miles at 15 kt
(12,000 km at 30 km/h)
|Complement:||273 officers and enlisted|
|Armament:|| 5 × 5 in (130 mm)/38 guns,
La Vallette was laid down 27 November 1941 by Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Kearny, New Jersey; launched 21 June 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Lucy La Vallette Little, great-granddaughter of Rear Admiral LaVallette; and commissioned 12 August 1942, Lieutenant Commander H. H. Henderson in command.
After training and escort duty in the Caribbean and Atlantic, La Vallette departed New York 16 December 1942 for the Panama Canal and Pacific duty. First contact with the enemy came 29 January 1943 as she screened Task Force 18 (TF18) off Guadalcanal, when La Vallette’s guns splashed three of a wave of attacking planes.
Attacked again 30 January while guarding Chicago (CA-29), she shot down six Japanese Mitsubishi G4M “Bettys”, but was struck by a torpedo. With 22 dead, she was towed to drydock at Espiritu Santo for temporary repairs, then sailed to Mare Island Navy Yard, arriving 1 April.
Completely repaired, La Vallette left 6 August for Pearl Harbor, where she joined a carrier force for a strike on Marcus Island 31 August before returning to patrol duty in the Solomon Islands. On the nights of 1 and 2 October, she contacted Japanese troop barges off Kolombangara, of which she sank four and damaged two. La Vallette carried out escort and screening assignments during the Gilbert landings, and in strikes against Kwajalein and Wotje, during which she splashed another enemy aircraft. Brief repairs at San Francisco followed, after which she returned to the South Pacific.
On 1 February 1944 she fired in the preinvasion bombardment of Roi, part of the Kwajalein complex; in April she hit Aitape, and on 2 July supported the landings on Noemfoor, off New Guinea. Constant patrol and escort operations were conducted between these invasions.
Assigned to escort convoys during the first assaults on the Philippines, La Vallette had already left Leyte Gulf with a convoy bound to reload at Hollandia before the vast and decisive Battle of Leyte Gulf erupted; but she returned to the Philippines by 5 December, when she splashed a kamikaze in Surigao Strait. She covered five more landings. in the Philippines during December and January 1945, then joined the screen for minesweepers clearing Manila Bay. On 14 February in Mariveles Harbor, La Vallette was extensively damaged by a mine. With six dead and 23 wounded, she was towed to drydock at Subic Bay, then sailed for Hunters Point Navy Yard where she was completely repaired. On 7 August she sailed for San Diego, California, where she decommissioned 16 April 1946, and entered the Reserve Fleet, where she remained at least into 1969. In 1974 she was sold to Peru for parts.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- USS La Vallette website at Destroyer History Foundation
- A Sailor's Diary: Artwork, diaries, and letters from a sailor aboard USS La Vallette