The Federal Shipbuilding and Dry-dock Co. of Kearny NJ laid the hull of USS Charles S. Sperry on 10 October 1943 and launched her on 13 March 1944. Sponsored by Miss M. Sperry, she was commissioned on 17 May 1944 with Commander H. H. McIlhenny in command. She sailed to Brooklyn for her final outfitting and on 05 June 1944 began her Shakedown Cruise. She then reported to the Pacific Fleet.
The USS Charles S Sperry earned four battle stars on the Asiatic-- Pacific Theater for participation in the following operations:
· Luzon Operation
Luzon attacks January 6 - 7 1945
Formosa Attacks January 3,4,9,15, 21, 1945
China Coast attacks January 12,16 1945
Nansei Shoto attacks January 22 1945
· 3rd Fleet Operations against Japan July 10 - August 15 1945
· Iwo Jima Operation
Assault and occupation of Iwo Jima February 15 - March 4 1945
Fifth & Third raids against Honshu and the Nansei Shoto February 15,16, 25 1945
· Okinawa Operations
Fifth and Third Fleet Raids March 17-30 1945
USS Charles S. Sperry received the Navy occupation Service Medal. (Asia) for the period September 2, 1945 to January 1, 1946
USS Charles S Sperry earned another Four Battle Stars on the Korean Service Medal for participation in the following operations:
· North Korean Aggression October 14- November 2 1950
· Communist China Aggression November 3 , 1950 - January 24 , 1951
· First U.S. Counter - Offensive January 25- April 1951
· Communist China Spring Offensive April 22 - June 4, 1951
WORLD WAR II
After training in the Hawaiian Islands, Charles S. Sperry arrived at Ulithi 28 December 1944 to join the fast carrier force TF 38. For the remainder of the war she sailed in the screen of the third group of this mighty force variously designated TF 38 and TF 58. In preparation for the assault on Lingayen Gulf beaches, she sortied with her group for the first time on 30 December bound for the areas from which the carriers launched strikes against Japanese bases on Formosa and Luzon. Continuing to neutralize Japanese airfields, the force moved on to strike at targets in Indochina on the South China coast and on Okinawa before returning to Ulithi 26 January 1945.
Charles S. Sperry sailed with TF 58 once more on 10 February 1945 as the force began its familiar work in preparation for the invasion of Iwo Jima. An audacious raid against Tokyo itself was first on the schedule the first carrier strikes on the heart of Japan since the Doolittle Raid: On 16 and 17 February planes from the carriers guarded by Charles S. Sperry roared over Tokyo in attacks, which inflicted substantial material damage and great moral damage to the Japanese war effort. Now Charles S. Sperry's force offered direct support during the assault landings at Iwo Jima. Twice on 19 February and on 20-21 February the carrier force came under air attack from the enemy but antiaircraft from Charles S. Sperry and the other screening ships combined with evasive maneuvering and a protective smoke screen prevented damage to the great concentration of ships. A final round of air strikes was hurled at Tokyo and Okinawa before TF 58 returned to Ulithi 5 March. Once more designated TF 38 the force cleared Ulithi 14 March 1945 for the Okinawa operation, which would keep Charles S. Sperry and many other ships at sea almost continuously until 1 June. Air strikes came first against Kyushu for which the Japanese retaliated with heavy air attacks against the carrier force on 19 and 20 March. While carrier Franklin (CV-13) was badly damaged, in these attacks, Charles S. Sperry and other escorts furnished effective antiaircraft fire, which prevented further harm to the force, and she shared in splashing several Japanese planes.
Charles S. Sperry turned south with her force for strikes against Okinawa. The destroyer joined in a bombardment of the Japanese airstrip on tiny but critically located Minami Daito Shima 27 March. TF 38 provided close air support as the invasion began on 1 April 1945 and Charles S. Sperry served as plane guard and radar picket for her force. On 7 April, planes from the carriers she screened joined in sending the powerful battleship Yamoto her accompanying cruiser and four of eight guardian destroyers to the bottom. Charles S. Sperry herself fired often aiding in splashing planes of the kamikaze strikes hurled at her force on 11 14 16 and 29 April and 11 May. When carriers Hancock (CV-19) and Bunker Hill (CV-17) fell victim to the suicide planes Charles S. Sperry stood by them aiding in damage control and rescuing men from the water.
The destroyer remained in San Pedro Bay P.I. from l June to 1 July and then sailed to support the carriers as they launched the final air strikes at the Japanese home islands. Cover for the first occupation landing and the evacuation of Allied prisoners of war from Japanese prison camps was flown by the carriers and on 81 August the great force arrived off Tokyo Bay for the surrender ceremonies held on 2 September.
Charles S. Sperry remained in the Far East taking part in exercises on patrol and carrying mail until 30 December 1945 when she departed Sasebo for the east coast arriving at Baltimore 19 February 1946. For the next year, she remained at Boston with a reduced crew and in March 1947 reported at New Orleans for duty as a training ship for members of the Naval Reserve until July 1960. After overhaul at Norfolk, she sailed for the Far East arriving off embattled Korea 14 October 1950.
The destroyer operated almost continuously off Korea until June 1951. For her first 2 weeks in action she fired on shore installations at SongJin screened shipping and patrolled areas swept of mines to guard against their remining During November and December 1950 she continued her fire support and bombardments covered the redeployments from Kojo Wonsan and Hungnam and screened salvage operations. On 23 December while firing at Songjin she was hit by three shells returned by an enemy shore battery but suffered no casualties and only minor damage, which was repaired at Sasebo early in January 1951. She returned to the Korean firing line to cover salvage operations north of the 38th parallel and conduct bombardments along the coast.
As operations leading to the classic blockade of Wonsan began Charles S. Sperry entered the dangerous harbor 17 January 1951 to provide interdiction fire and to cover the landings which secured the harbor islands. She cleared the Wonsan area 5 March for Songjin where she joined in setting the siege and until 6 June was almost constantly patrolling and firing on shore installations at Songjin. She then sailed for home arriving at Norfolk 2 July.
Taking up the operating schedule of the Destroyer Force Atlantic Charles S. Sperry sailed from Norfolk through 1960. In 1953 1955 1956 1958 and 1959, she cruised in the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet. During her 1956 deployment, which coincided with the Suez Crisis, she escorted the transports, which evacuated American nationals from Egypt. Midshipmen cruises and North Atlantic Treaty Organization exercises took her to northern European ports on several occasions some of them in coordination with her Mediterranean deployments.
Late in 1959 Charles S. Sperry began an extensive overhaul for rehabilitation and modernization which continued through 1960.
OTHER DEPLOYMENTS AND MAJOR EVENTS:
· 1952 European-Mediterranean Cruise
· 1953 European-Mediterranean Cruise
· 1955 European-Mediterranean Cruise
· 1961 Mediterranean-Mid East Cruise
· 1962 European-Mediterranean Cruise
· October 1962 Cuban Missile Blockade
· OCT - DEC 1963 Mediterranean-Mid East Cruise
· 1964 European-Mediterranean Cruise
· JAN 1966 - APR 1966 West Pac
· JAN 1967 - MAR 1967 West Pac
· JUL 1967 - DEC 1967 Mediterranean-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf
HISTORY AS ADAPTED FROM THE 1967 MID EAST CRUISE BOOK AND OTHER SOURCES:
The SPERRY was a 2,200 ton SUMNER class destroyer commissioned at the New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, on 17 May 1944. She was 376.5 feet long, 41 feet wide and drew 19 feet of water at the deepest point. She was capable of better than 33 knots or 37 miles per hour and could steam almost 4,000 miles without refueling. It took 270 enlisted men and 15 officers to man her in peacetime. She was armed with six 5”/38 dual-purpose (surface and anti-air) guns which could hit a target 9 miles away. Equipped for anti submarine warfare, VDS (Variable Depth Sonar) and the latest type of homing torpedoes were carried plus the ever-reliable hedgehogs, a rocket-fired charge that could reach out 300 yards ahead of the ship. These latter charges were fired in groups of 24 at a time. In addition, the DASH (Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter) system, the longest-range ASW weapon in the Fleet, enabled SPERRY to drop torpedoes on a submarine at extended ranges from the ship.
The SPERRY saw World War II service against the Japanese at Formosa, Luzon, Iwo Jima and Okinawa and is credited with destroying several enemy planes. She was also right in the thick of things during the Korean War firing over 8,000 rounds of five-inch shells into enemy territory and receiving three hits in return. Since Korea, the ship has participated in all normal peacetime evolutions including several tours with the Sixth Fleet, training cruises to Scandinavia and to the Caribbean. At the outbreak of the Israeli-Egyptian hostilities in 1959, the SPERRY was right there to escort shipping engaged in evacuating American from Alexandria.
Taking up the operating schedule of the Destroyer Force Atlantic, Charles S. Sperry sailed from Norfolk through 1960. In 1953, 1955, 1956, 1958, and 1959 she cruised in the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet. During her 1956 deployment, which coincided with the Suez Crisis, she escorted the transports, which evacuated American nationals from Egypt. Midshipmen cruises and North Atlantic Treaty Organization exercises took her to northern European ports on several occasions, some of them in coordination with her Mediterranean deployments.
In mid-November 1959 through 1960, CHARLES S. SPERRY entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for her FRAM II (Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization) overhaul. At this time, she was outfitted with the most modern in anti-submarine weapons, including the latest sonar, electronic equipment, and anti-submarine weapons, including the latest anti-submarine torpedoes and the addition of a helicopter flight deck.
Until September 1965, CHARLES S. SPERRY’s operations took her to all corners of the Atlantic Ocean Caribbean, and Mediterranean Seas for many diverse assignments. Included in these were several assignments as a recovery ship during the U.S. Project Mercury Astronauts shots.
In 1965 CHARLES S. SPERRY was again called into combat, this
time to Viet Nam. She steamed
halfway around the world to the combat zone. When on station, she provided gunfire
support and served in many other capacities, such as harbor defense ship for Danang, off shore patrol, and plane guard for USS
ENTERPRISE (C VAN-65).
While engaged in naval gunfire support operations, CHARLES S. SPERRY accounted for numerous Viet Cong supply and marshalling areas destroyed, dispersed troops, one large Viet Cong controlled bridge destroyed, and destroyed a large ammunition dump.
Upon completion of her tour of duty in Viet Nam, CHARLES S. Sperry returned to the United States via the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. She completed her around the World voyage in April 1966. In May, CHARLES S. SPERRY went into Boston Naval Shipyard for overhaul, followed by refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She returned to an operational status upon completion of her refresher training.
Note: The above USS CHARLES S. SPERRY (DD-697) history may or may not contain text provided by crewmembers of the USS CHARLES S. SPERRY (DD-697) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships and the following: