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USS Perkins (DD-377)

USS Perkins (DD-377)

USS Perkins (DD-377) was a Mahan-class destroyer in the US Navy during World War II. She was named in honor of George Hamilton Perkins, an officer in the US Navy during the Civil War.

Construction

Perkins was laid down on Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington on November 15, 1934. Launched on December 31, 1935, she was sponsored by Mrs. Larz Anderson. Lieutenant Commander Samuel P. Jenkins took command of Perkins on September 18, 1936.

Naval History

Following commissioning, Perkins was assigned to Destroyers, Scouting Force before being reassigned to Destroyers, Battle Force. Prior to World War II, Perkins operated in the eastern Pacific. Perkins was stationed at Mare Island Naval Shipyard at the time of the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

On February 2, 1942, Perkins headed for the southwest Pacific where she joined New Zealand, Australian and United States ships in the ANZAC Squadron. She continued to protect the eastern approaches of New Zealand and Australia through the spring. On May 1, Perkins joined with TF 11 and TF 17 in screening carriers as their planes launched the Battle of the Coral Sea. Afterward, Perkins headed to Australia and spent nearly two months escorting convoys while patrolling off harbor entrances. As a result, Perkins was one of the Allied vessels to be in Sydney Harbor on May 31, 1942 during a Japanese midget submarine attack.

On July 20th, Perkins received new radar equipment and 40 millimeter guns while undergoing repairs in Pearl Harbor. In mid-November, she sailed west before heading to Segond Channel to intercept and destroy enemy forces. Soon after, the Battle of Tassafaronga began.

In April, Perkins joined Task Force 10 for tactical training before returning to Australia. By the end August 21, Perkins was serving as the flagship of DesRon 5 as she sailed out of Milne Bay. After sweeping Huon Gulf, she joined in the bombardment of Finschafen. Over the next two days, the fleet successfully brought naval gunfire back to the New Guinea campaign.

On September 4, Perkins assisted with the bombardment of the coast between the Buso and Bulu rivers before covering Allied soldiers as they moved toward Lae. After the fall of Finschafen on October 2, Perkins once again began scouring the river valleys. While on duty on the night of the 29th, Perkins saw a dark image in the darkness. Soon after, Australian troopship Duntroon rammed into her portside and spit her in two. In a matter of minutes, Perkins was sunk with four of her men losing their lives in the process.

Perkins earned four battle stars for her service during World War II.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Perkins (DD-377)

The use of asbestos in the design of all vessels was mandated by law in the US in the early 1930s, after a fire at sea on a cruise ship caused the deaths of 137 passengers and crew. Vessels like Perkins installed asbestos in large quantities, especially in engines and engine compartments, and to insulate compartments all over the vessel.

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Sources

Sources

Perkins. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center.
http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/p5/perkins-ii.htm Retrieved 1 January 2011.

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