Tuesday, January 18, 2011
USS Black (DD-666)
Figure 1: USS Black (DD-666) underway in a Pacific harbor, May 1945. Official US Navy Photograph from the Collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Black (DD-666) underway during the early 1950s, probably soon after she was re-commissioned in July 1951. The ship is still essentially in her late World War II configuration. Official US Navy Photograph from the Collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: USS Black (DD-666) at sea following her mid-1950s modernization, in which she lost one 5-inch gun mount and received three 3-inch twin mounts. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: USS Black (DD-666) at sea in January 1962. Official US Navy Photograph, from the Collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: USS Black (DD-666) steaming at sea, circa 1968. Official US Navy Photograph, from the Collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: Aitape, New Guinea, Operation, April 1944. Part of Task Force 77 enroute for the Aitape invasion, 21 April 1944. The landings took place on the following day. Photographed from USS Manila Bay (CVE-61). USS Black (DD-666) is at right. A large force of amphibious ships and warships is visible on the horizon. Official US Navy Photograph now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: USS Black (DD-666) refueling at sea from USS Eldorado (AGC-11), 14 November 1960. Note boat cradles on Eldorado's deck, and life jackets worn by her crewmen. Official US Navy Photograph from the Collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: USS Ajax (AR-6), flagship of Commander Service Squadron Three, with five Seventh Fleet destroyers alongside, circa 1962. The destroyers are (from left to right): USS Ernest G. Small (DDR-838); USS Rupertus (DD-851); USS Trathen (DD-530); USS Cowell (DD-547); and USS Black (DD-666). Official US Navy Photograph, from the Collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: USS Black (DD-666) crewmen working over the ship's side chipping paint, while she was at the Naval Station, San Diego, California, in November 1968. Note ratguard on the mooring line at left. Photographed by PHCS Herman Schroeder, USN. Official US Navy Photograph, from the Collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 10: Insignia of USS Black (DD-666). This emblem was used during World War II. Courtesy of Harrold F. Monning, USS Kidd Association, 1966. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after Lieutenant Commander Hugh Black (1903-1942), who was killed while in command of USS Jacob Jones (DD-130) when it was sunk by a U-boat off the coast of New Jersey on 28 February 1942, USS Black (DD-666) was a 2,050-ton Fletcher class destroyer that was built by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company at Kearny, New Jersey, and was commissioned on 21 May 1943. The ship was approximately 376 feet long and 39 feet wide, had a top speed of 35 knots, and had a crew of 329 officers and men. Black was armed with five 5-inch guns, ten 40-mm guns, seven 20-mm cannons, ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, and depth charges.
After completing her shakedown cruise in the western Atlantic and the Caribbean, Black transited the Panama Canal in mid-November 1943 and joined the US Pacific Fleet. Black participated in combat operations off the Gilbert Islands in November and December 1943. During the fight for the Gilbert Islands, she successfully completed escort and air-sea rescue assignments. In the first seven months of 1944, Black took part in the battles for the Marshall Islands, the Admiralty Islands, northern New Guinea, and the Marianas Islands. She then was part of the invasion of Leyte in the Philippines in October 1944. Her primary assignment was to escort convoys that were reinforcing the Philippines. Throughout all of these amphibious assaults, Black’s primary function was to escort ships (both merchant ships and larger warships) and bombard enemy positions on shore.
After a brief overhaul in the United States, Black returned to the western Pacific in March 1945 and began escorting aircraft carriers on raids against the Japanese home islands. She served as a radar picket ship and carrier escort during the horrific Okinawa campaign and was stationed off that terrible island during the months of April, May, and June 1945. Black survived several Kamikaze attacks during the assault on Okinawa and managed to escape with only minor damage. In July 1945, Black escorted battleships and cruisers during two ship bombardments of the Japanese home islands and on 15 August 1945, the day Japan agreed to surrender, she spent the day fighting off one of the Pacific War’s final Kamikaze attacks. During September and October 1945, Black supported the American occupation of China and Korea and then steamed back to the west coast of the United States, where she was decommissioned in August 1946.
The need for warships during the Korean War brought Black back into commission in July 1951. After serving with the Atlantic Fleet, Black was sent to Korea and remained there from January to August 1953. After returning to the United States, Black was permanently assigned to the Pacific in 1955. For the next fifteen years, Black was attached to the Seventh Fleet, serving as a carrier escort and participating in antisubmarine exercises. Black also patrolled the Taiwan Strait and visited ports throughout the Far East. Beginning in early 1965, Black began regular patrols off the coast of Vietnam. The destroyer participated in operation “Market Time,” the naval blockade of Vietnam, completed numerous coastal patrols and interdiction operations, and provided naval gunfire support for American troops on shore. She also escorted aircraft carriers and acted as a plane guard for the carriers as they launched countless air raids against North Vietnam. USS Black’s final overseas deployment ended in July 1969. She was decommissioned in September of that same year and sold for scrapping in February 1971. After serving this nation for almost 28 years and fighting in three wars, USS Black certainly was a fitting tribute to a commanding officer who was lost in action off the coast of New Jersey on 28 February 1942.
Posted by Remo at 7:48 AM