Tuesday, March 11, 2014
USS Porter (DD-356)
Figure 1: USS Porter (DD-356) off Yorktown, Virginia, 19 April 1939. Courtesy of the Mariners Museum, Newport News, Virginia. Ted Stone Collection. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Porter (DD-356) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 4 November 1941, following her last pre-war overhaul. Note that an "FC" radar antenna has been fitted to her main battery director. Her mast has been modified to receive the antenna for an "SC" radar set, but the antenna has not yet been installed. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: USS Porter (DD-356) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 10 July 1942. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: USS Porter (DD-356) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 10 July 1942. Note barrage balloons aloft in the distance. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after perhaps the most famous father and son in the US Navy (Commodore David Porter, 1780-1843, and Admiral David Dixon Porter, 1813-1891), the 1,850-ton USS Porter (DD-356) was a Porter class destroyer that was built by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation at Camden, New Jersey, and was commissioned on 25 August 1936. The ship was approximately 381 feet long and 36 feet wide, had a top speed of 35 knots, and had a crew of 238 officers and men. Porter was armed with eight 5-inch guns, eight 40-mm guns, eight 21-inch torpedo tubes, and depth charges.
After being commissioned, Porter operated in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans prior to the start of World War II, usually on patrol duties or participating in naval exercises. On 5 December 1941, Porter left Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, two days prior to the Japanese attack which brought the United States into the war. Porter returned to Hawaii and patrolled with cruisers and destroyers in Hawaiian waters until she was ordered to escort a convoy to America’s west coast on 25 March 1942.
Porter patrolled America’s west coast for the next four months. The destroyer returned to Pearl Harbor in the middle of August 1942 and participated in training exercises in Hawaiian waters until 16 October, when she was attached to Task Force 16 for the invasion of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.
On 26 October 1942, Task Force 16 confronted the Japanese Navy northeast of Guadalcanal in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. During the battle, Porter stopped to pick up survivors from an American torpedo bomber that was shot down. But when she stopped, Porter was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-12. USS Shaw (DD-373) was steaming near Porter and rushed to her assistance. Although severely damaged, Porter was sinking slowly. Thirty minutes after being torpedoed, Porter’s captain and crew determined that it was impossible to save her. The order to abandon ship was given and Porter’s crew was transferred to Shaw. After the last crewmember left Porter, Shaw pulled away from the sinking destroyer and sank her with gunfire, preventing the doomed ship from possibly being salvaged by the advancing Japanese fleet.