USS Jenkins (DD-447)
|Namesake:||Thornton A. Jenkins|
|Builder:||Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company|
|Laid down:||27 November 1941|
|Launched:||21 June 1942|
|Commissioned:||31 July 1942|
|Decommissioned:||1 May 1946|
|Reclassified:||DDE-447, 2 January 1951|
|Recommissioned:||2 November 1951|
|Struck:||2 July 1969|
|Fate:||Sold for scrap, 17 February 1971|
|Class & type:||Fletcher-class destroyer|
|Length:||376 ft 4 in (114.71 m)|
|Beam:||39 ft 5 in (12.01 m)|
|Draft:||13 ft (4.0 m)|
|Speed:||36 knots (67 km/h)|
|Complement:||273 officers and enlisted|
Jenkins was laid down by Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Kearny, New Jersey, 27 November 1941; launched 21 June 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Marion Parker Embry; and commissioned 31 July 1942, Lieutenant Commander H. F. Miller in command.
After a training period during the summer of 1942, Jenkins departed Casco Bay, Maine, 24 October as escort to a convoy headed for the North African campaign. She screened heavy ships during the shore bombardment, as the attack force arrived off Casablanca 8 November. Following the Naval Battle of Casablanca, the destroyer returned to New York 19 November to prepare for action in the Pacific.
Arriving at Nouméa, New Caledonia, 4 January 1943, she immediately began escort and patrol duty among the Solomon Islands and in the Coral Sea. Her first Pacific landing operation began 29 June, when she joined other units in supporting the invasion of New Georgia Island. Jenkins splashed several enemy planes, as the Japanese fought back with considerable air strength.
Assigned to Rear Adm. Walden L. Ainsworth's Task Group 36.1, Jenkins departed Tulagi 5 July and steamed up the Slot to intercept a Japanese destroyer and transport force carrying reinforcements to Kolombangara. Radar detected the enemy during mid-watch; and during the Battle of Kula Gulf 6 July, American gunfire sank one destroyer and drove another ashore. Enemy torpedoes sank USS Helena (CL-50).
Following this operation, Jenkins was dispatched 18 July to a position 100 miles (160 km) south of the Santa Cruz Islands to assist damaged seaplane tender USS Chincoteague (AVP-24). Although under attack from enemy bombers, the destroyer escorted Chincoteague back to Espiritu Santo.
During the next 4 months Jenkins engaged in escort duty, training exercises, and preparations for the Gilbert Islands campaign. She joined the screen of Rear Adm. Arthur W. Radford's Northern Carrier Group which bombed Makin and Tarawa during the landings 15 November. Then the destroyer sailed with the carrier force to attack Kwajalein and Wotje in the Marshalls on 4 December. During these raids the carrier USS Lexington (CV-16) was hit by a torpedo, and Jenkins was assigned to escort her back to Pearl Harbor where she arrived 9 December.
Jenkins departed Hawaii 25 January 1944 with a tanker unit to fuel fast carriers and ships covering the Marshall Islands campaign. She operated with the refueling group through February, and conducted shore bombardment on Bougainville during March. She departed Seeadler Harbor 20 April to rendezvous with Task Force 77 for amphibious operations at Hollandia and Aitape. The landings took place 22 April, and their successful conclusion gave American Pacific forces another base from which to unleash further attacks on remaining enemy held islands. After escort duty and ASW patrols, Jenkins made a search in early June to thwart any attempt by the Japanese to reinforce their Biak garrison. She then covered and provided shore bombardment for the invasions of Noemfoor, Sansapor, and Morotai, as well as patrolling and escorting reinforcements for these operations throughout the summer.
Jenkins once again departed Manus, Admiralties, 12 October for the Leyte invasion scheduled 20 October. Upon arrival, the destroyer was assigned to radar picket duty, from which she performed fighter director duties. As other units of the fleet were decisively defeating the enemy fleet in the historic Battle for Leyte Gulf, Jenkins continued her services on the picket station until 27 November.
On 28 December Jenkins sortied from Aitape to provide close cover for the Luzon Attack Force. After receiving some damage from the enemy shore battery, the destroyer returned to Leyte 12 January 1945. Ten days later she departed to assist in hunter-killer operations in the Lingayen Gulf area. She remained on ASW patrol until proceeding to cover minesweeping and shore bombardment on Corregidor 13 February. She continued to support the landings in the islands, giving valuable fire support and ASW assistance until late April.
She departed Subic Bay 24 April to cover minesweeping and amphibious operations in the Celebes Sea off Borneo. Jenkins struck a mine off Tarakan Island 30 April and sailed into Subic Bay for repairs. On 18 June she sailed for the United States to complete repairs, arriving at San Pedro, California 8 July. She remained on the West Coast through the duration of the war. The battle-scarred destroyer decommissioned at San Diego 1 May 1946.
The outbreak of the Korean War necessitated additional naval strength to maintain America's worldwide commitments. Jenkins recommissioned as DDE-447 on 2 November 1951 under the command of Commander C. F. McGivern. She departed San Diego 25 February 1952 for a training period at Pearl Harbor. Upon completion of training, she arrived Japan 12 June; and during the summer she operated with Task Force 77 which furnished air support for the ground forces in Korea. She also engaged in patrol duties off Korea and Taiwan before returning to her home port Pearl Harbor 5 December.
She operated out of Pearl until 10 November 1953 when she sailed for another Far Eastern tour. This cruise was highlighted by Korean and Formosan patrols before returning to Pearl Harbor 15 June. From 1954 through 1963, Jenkins sailed annually to the Far East for peacekeeping operations with the 7th Fleet. In her 1958 deployment the 7th Fleet was on ready alert, as the Chinese Communists commenced harassment of the Chinese Nationalist islands of Quemoy and Matsu.
During the sixties the 7th Fleet deployments were of greater importance because of the Communist insurgency in Laos and Vietnam. For the greater part of 1964 and 1965, Jenkins operated out of Pearl Harbor.
Jenkins sailed for the Far East 9 February 1966 and on the 21st was assigned to gunfire support duty and effectively shelled enemy troop concentrations to assist Marine fighting in Vietnam. But for breathers in the Philippines and Japan, she continued this duty until returning to Pearl Harbor 22 July.
Jenkins operated in Hawaiian waters until entering U.S. Naval Shipyard at Pearl Harbor 11 September for a major overhaul which was completed early in 1967. The destroyer then prepared for another deployment in the war zone.
Jenkins received 14 battle stars for World War II service and 1 star for Korean War service.
- USS Jenkins website at Destroyer History Foundation
- Photo gallery of Jenkins at NavSource Naval History