at left are the USS Evans (right) and the USS Hadley during the epic
May 11, 1945 battle.
The USS Evans
(DD552) was built in the Gulf Shipbuilding Company yards in Chickasaw,
AL, and commissioned on December 11, 1943 at Mobile, AL. Commander
F.C. Camp, USN, assumed command. The ship remained in Mobile until
December 20 and then proceeded to New Orleans, LA, for a fitting-out
Orleans on January 2, 1944, en route to Bermuda, the Evans arrived
on January 6 and began her shakedown training. She completed shakedown
training on February 4 and proceeded to Charleston, SC, where, on
February 6, she began her post-shakedown yard availability.
She left Charleston
on February 18 in company with the USS Thomason (DE203) en route
to Newport, RI. She arrived at Newport on February 20 and departed
February 24 with Task Unit 20.2.2, consisting of the USS Cavalier
(APA37), USS Funston (APA89) and USS Thomason (DE203). With Task
Group 29.8 consisting of the same ships as Task Unit 20.2.2 plus
the USS O’Hara (APA90) and the USS Freemont (APA 44), the Evans proceeded
the Canal to the Pacific Theatre
On March 2,
1944, the Task Unit passed through the Panama Canal. USS Departing
from Balboa on March 3 with Task Group 12.3, consisting of the same
ships as Task Group 29.8 less the USS Thomason, the Evans arrived
at Pearl Harbor on March 16 for a period of tender availability,
full power trials and gunnery exercises.
The Evans steamed
from Pearl Harbor on March 23 with Task Unit 16.16.3, consisting
of USS Cimmaron (AO22) and USS Halligan (DD584), to arrive at Majuro
Atoll on March 29. Departing from Majuro on March 31 escorting USS
Cimmaron to latitude 17-53N, longitude 170-01W, she proceeded independently
to Majuro, arriving on April 5.
6 to May 12, as part of Task Group 57.8, the Evans conducted independent
anti-submarine patrols of the following Japanese-held bases in the
Marshall Islands: Jaluit, Wotje, Maloelap and Mille. Patrols were
of approximately seven days duration and Majuro was the operating
base. No contacts were made and no events of particular interest
Majuro on May 13 in company with USS Hall (DD583) and USS David W.
Taylor (DD551), the Evans arrived at Pearl Harbor on May 18 for an
upkeep and training period.
The Evans left
Pearl Harbor on June 3 in company with Task Unit 16.6.7 and Task
Unit 16.7.10, en route to provide logistic support to Marianas operations.
On June 11, she rendezvoused with Task Group 50.17 (a fueling and
aircraft replacement group), and proceeded to Marianas fueling areas,
arriving in the vicinity of Saipan on June 14 where she escorted
various units of Task Group 50.17 in fueling operations with Task
Force 58 and Task Force 52 during the assault and capture of Saipan.
Shot at the Enemy
On the evening
of June 17, unidentified aircraft appeared on the radar screen. Task
Group 52.14, which was operating about 15 miles to the southward,
underwent an air attack resulting in damage to the USS Fanshaw Bay
(CVE70). Two "Kates" were sighted to southward at about 8,000 feet.
Fifty-three rounds of 5-inch 38-caliber ammunition were fired with
no apparent damage to the planes. The enemy planes did not take offensive
action against this task group. Friendly fighters and darkness prevented
day, several enemy aircraft were in the vicinity, just east of Saipan.
Late in the afternoon, two groups of "Judys" composed of about eight
planes each attacked the three tankers in company. All three tankers — USS
Neshanic (AO71), USS Saugatuck (AO 75), and USS Saranac (AO74) — were
damaged by bombs, and a salvage tug was required to tow the Saranac
to Eniwetok. The bombers made no attempt to attack screening ships.
The Evans expended 37 rounds of 5-inch 38, 925 rounds of 40MM, and
1,900 rounds of 20MM ammunition in the two attacks. One of the planes
fired on by this ship was observed to splash but, as other ships
were firing at the same target, only an assist is claimed by the
fueling areas on June 27 in the screen of a tanker and escort carrier
group, the Evans arrived at Eniwetok on June 29 and left on July
6 with a tanker group. She arrived in the Marianas fueling area on
July 10 and joined Task Group 50.17 to conduct fueling operations
with Task Force 52 and Task Force 58, returning to Eniwetok on July
again on August 3 with a tanker group en route to the Marianas fueling
areas, she joined Task Group 50.16 on August 6 and conducted fueling
operations in the vicinity of Guam and Saipan until August 11, returning
to Eniwetok on August 14. Having completed duty in the Marianas operations
with the Fifth Fleet, the Evans was assigned to the Third Fleet in
Task Group 30.18 (fueling and aircraft replacement group) and operated
with this group throughout Palau operations and the early stages
of the Philippine campaign, servicing Task Force 38.
The Evans departed
from Eniwetok on August 29, escorting ships to Manus Island and to
fueling areas in the vicinity of the Palau group, where she delivered
mail to various elements of Task Force 38. On September 11, she received
intelligence photographs of Philippine areas taken by Task Force
38 for delivery to Commander Fifth Air Force. After delivering the
photographs on September 12, she returned to Manus on September 14.
in the area fueling Task Force 38 until October 28 and then departed
to Ulithi with Task Unit 30.8.3, arriving on October 30.
N. Wev, USN, relieved Commander F.C. Camp, USN, as commanding officer
on November 1.
various fueling operations with Task Force 38, the Evans was assigned
temporary duty with Task Force 38 and later assigned to Task Unit
94.6.2 (Ulithi Patrol and Escort Force). From December 30 to January
3, 1945, she conducted anti-submarine patrols in the area east of
Ulithi harbor entrance, taking time out to escort a small convoy
to Kossol Passage, Palau Group, on January 6.
The Evans departed
from Ulithi on January 11 in company with USS McCoy Reynolds (DD440)
en route to conduct hunter Killer operations in the vicinity of Yap
Island. An enemy submarine had been sighted two miles northeast of
Yap early in the day. She searched eastern approaches to Yap and,
during the evening of January 11 and the morning of January 12, conducted
brief shore bombardment of Yap, firing at targets of opportunity
from close range. She continued the search for the sub, extending
sweeps to include the west side of the island, but with negative
results. She returned to Ulithi on January 13.
to Commander Fifth Fleet for special communication duties during
preliminary operations against Iwo Jima and fast carrier strokes
on Tokyo, the Evans departed from Ulithi on February 13 and transmitted
special messages as directed by Commander Fifth Fleet, then proceeded
to Saipan, arriving on February 16.
Assault on Iwo Jima
screen of Task Group 52.11 (Transport Group "Baker"), Evans proceeded
to Iwo Jima. She took a screening station northeast of the island.
She screening a transport group in a retirement area that night and
returned to a screening station until noon on January 20, at which
time she proceeded to a fire support sector (southeast side of the
island) as directed by Commander Task Force 52, and conducted a shore
bombardment until the next morning. The afternoon firing was destructive
and was controlled by an aircraft spotter, while the night harassing
fire was controlled from the island. During the launching of a counter
attack by the Japanese at 0350 on the 21st, rapid neutralizing fire
was delivered with nearly constant illumination. When relieved at
0645 by USS Capps (DD550), 1,889 rounds of 5-inch 38 ammunition had
The Evans later
rendezvoused with Task Unit 52.2.1 (Escort Carrier Group), taking
station in the screen and operated with the escort carriers in the
vicinity of Iwo Jima until March 8, and then proceeding to Ulithi
for five days availability.
Archer, USN, relieved Commander Bosquet N. Wev, USN, as commanding
officer of this vessel on March 12.
the morning of March 21 in screen of Task Unit 52.1.2 (Escort Carrier
Group 2), the Evans steamed to Okinawa Gunto, Nansei Shoto. Here
she screened escort carriers conducting flight operations against
On the evening
of April 3, enemy aircraft were reported in the vicinity. The Evans
commenced firing at a single Japanese plane (Zeke) approaching port
quarter at a range of 7,000 yards. The plane attempted a suicide
run on USS Capps (DD550) but a 5-inch hit scored by this vessel on
the starboard wing and 40MM fire from Capps caused the plane to crash
short of its objective. Capps and Evans were credited with an assist.
During the attack, USS Wake Island (CVE65) was damaged by two near
On April 13,
she set a southwesterly course for passage to the vicinity of Miyake
Jima for neutralization of air operations against Sakashima Gunto.
Returning on April 15 to support carrier operating area southeast
of Okinawa Gunto, she continued screening escort carriers in the
vicinity until May 2.
in Kerama Retto Anchorage, Okinawa Gunto, for four-day availability,
the Evans was attacked by two enemy aircraft — one "Judy" and one "Tony" — on
the morning of May 6. The "Tony" made a suicide dive on USS St. George
(AV16), crashing on her fantail. The "Judy" was unable to penetrate
the fire from the ships’ anchorage and crashed behind a hill. This
vessel expended 184 rounds of 5-inch 38 AA common and 32 rounds of
Fierce Battle of May 11, 1945
On May 10,
the Evans proceeded to Kerama Retto to fuel, then proceeded to Hagushi
Beach, Okinawa Jima, and departed in the afternoon with USS Hugh
W. Hadley (DD774) to radar picket station 15, northwest of Okinawa.
Already on station as support were USS LSM(R) 193, USS LCS 82, USS
LCS 83, and USS LCS 84. The Hadley assumed fighter director duties
and the Evans support ship duties.
low-flying plane approaching port quarter at dusk, distance five
miles, the Evans commenced firing, shooting down the plane (identified
as "Kate") about 1,500 yards on port quarter. Expended 36 rounds
of 5-inch 38 and 32 rounds 40MM ammunition. During the night, enemy
aircraft were constantly in the area. Shooting down 15 enemy planes
to set a new record of a "tin can" her size, the Evans fought off
Jap suicide divers for 73 minutes before four Kamikaze pilots scored
The Evans splashed
15 planes and chalked up four assists against the fanatic suicide
divers in the 1-hour, 13-minute battle. It was estimated by the ships
under attack in this action that more than 100 planes came in on
the Evans, another destroyer, and two supporting LCS ships. The Hadley,
a large destroyer with more guns, was officially credited with 23
Jap planes for an all-time Navy record. In addition to splashing
15 and scoring four assists, the Evans took four suicide crashes
on her decks and hull, but stayed afloat to fight again.
Smith Describes Action
was described by Lieutenant James M. Smith, USN, of New Freedom,
PA, the ship’s doctor, as a "whirlwind of planes coming at us from
every direction. "Guns were firing as rapidly that reliefs had to
be afforded to exhausted loaders," he explained. "The ship was surrounded
with smoke from our own fire and it was difficult to spot the Japs
because of the black shell bursts that mingled with them.
"After 1 hour,
13 minutes of splashing all attacking planes, a kamikaze artist maneuvered
through the barrage and winged over on the port bow. A hole at the
water line, resulting from this hit, flooded one living compartment.
In quick succession, hits two, three and four occurred. The second
and third resulted in critical damage to the Evans. An ‘Oscar’ struck
at the waterline on the port side. The flaming plane hurdled onto
the fantail. Its bomb exploded under the after engineering spaces,
flooding them immediately.
first hit, the executive officer, Lieutenant John W. Gilpin, USN,
rushed aft to determine the damage sustained," the doctor added. "As
he was returning, Lieutenant Gilpin was blasted over the side. Pat
J. Macciocca, seaman first class, jumped to his rescue and saved
the life of the wounded officer. Macciocca held up Lieutenant Gilpin
until he could be taken aboard an approaching LCS. "With all power
lost, the Evans lay dead in the water," Lieutenant Smith went on. "Smoke
and steam billowed from the engineering spaces while flames licked
about the forward torpedoes — one of which had been knocked from
its tube and driven into the galley overhead. It was necessary to
resort to small portable extinguishers and bucket brigades to bring
fires under control. In spite of the efforts of the Evans’ crew,
the ship probably could not have been saved from sinking had not
salvage and rescue ships arrived promptly.
first-aid parties rendered valiant services, rescuing wounded comrades
who had fallen at their battle stations. After the wounded had received
initial medical treatment, they were transferred immediately to a
destroyer transport which rushed them to a hospital ship where the
best of medical care is available."
during the 73 minutes of continuous attack, the main and secondary
batteries took under fire successfully two and three planes attacking
at the same time. Lieutenant Matthew C. O’Hearn, USNR, gunnery officer
directed the firing.
In the afternoon,
the USS Arikara (AKA98) and USS Cree (ATF84) arrived to assist in
salvage work. The Cree took Evans in tow on May 14 and proceeded
to Kerama Rhetto, Okinawa Gunto. The DD552 entered drydock ARD 27
on May 28 for emergency repairs and remained there until June 7.
She then moored in nest with USS Vestal (ASR4). Emergency repairs
were completed by USS Vestal on June 18.
She got underway
from Kerama Retto in tow by USS Arikara (ATF98) on June 19 in company
with USS Braine (DD630) and USS Waters (APD8), en route to Saipan.
Evans arrived at Saipan on June 25. On June 26, she got underway
from Saipan in tow by USS Startford Point (WSA Tug) en route to Pearl
Harbor, and USS Levy (DE162) reported June 29 as escort. On June
30, USS Levy made two hedge hog attacks with negative results on
sonar contact definitely evaluated as a submarine. USS Levy took
departure on July 1. Arrived at Pearl Harbor on July 12.
On July 16,
Evans left Pearl Harbor, en route to San Francisco, in tow by M.V.
Pigion Point (WSA Tug). Moored in Mare Island Navy Yard, California,
on July 27, she commenced undergoing overhaul and battle-damage repairs.
and repair work ceased on August 17, pending further instructions
from Chief of Naval Operations. On September 10, instructions were
received to decommission the Evans after survey board inspection.
E. Pace, USN, relieved Commander R.J. Archer, USN, as commanding
officer on August 28.
1943 - October 1, 1945
1. "Star" Operations
participated in: (5) Marianas, Western Carolines, Philippine, Iwo
Jima and Okinawa Campaigns.
aircraft shot down or accredited assistance given in the shooting
down of enemy aircraft: 26.
performances participated in by the ship while in actual contact
with the enemy: Anti-aircraft action on radar picket station off
Okinawa on May 11, 1945.
Unit Citation leads off the Home Page of this site.
Displacement: 2,100 tons Overall length: 376 feet, 4 inches
Five 5-inch .38 caliber dual-purpose guns, ten 21-inch torpedo
tubes in quintuple mount, plus 40MM and 20MM AA guns. Beam: 39
feet, 4 inches
Office of Naval
Records and History Ships’ Histories Branch Navy Department (Procured
by Mason Davis