|USS FORREST SHERMAN (DD-931) is the first
completely new destroyer to be built since World War II. Named
for the late Admiral Forrest Percival Sherman, she embodies many
improvements in design and equipment for her time. Her keel was
laid 27 October 1953 and she was launched 15 months later on 5
February 1955 at Bath Iron Works Corporation, Bath Maine.
Forrest P. Sherman, the widow of Admiral Sherman, christened her
as she moved down the ways. The ship was commissioned at the
Boston naval Shipyard, Boston, Massachusetts on 9 November 1955,
and placed under the command of CDR Russell S. Crenshaw, Jr..
Shortly after commissioning, the Sherman
headed for Guatanamo Bay, Cuba for shakedown training. Upon
completion of arduous and exacting task in a record seven weeks
time, (normal training time for this period) the ship again
headed South, this time on a shakedown cruise. During this she
visited many ports in the Caribbean and along the coast of South
America. To reach Recife, Brazil, the most Southern Port of
Call, the Sherman crossed the Equator where all hands were
initiated into the mysteries of the realm of King Neptune.
Upon completion of the shakedown cruise,
FORREST SHERMAN returned to the United States and joined the
Destroyer Force as flagship of Destroyer Squadron Ten. Her
first duty was to represent the Destroyer Force and the Atlantic
Fleet at Washington, D.C. during the inauguration of President
While at Springboard in addition to
extensive gunnery operations and engineering training, FORREST
SHERMAN was assigned the interesting extra of assisting in the
production of the first Cinemiracle motion picture, Windjammer.
The duty required extensive operations with units of the
Atlantic Fleet in company with the full Norwegian training ship
CRISTIAN RADICH. The high point of the operations was the
filming of a high line transfer of Norwegian Cadets from the
CRISTIAN RADICH to the FORREST SHERMAN.
During June 1957, the FORREST SHERMAN participated in the Fleet
International Review in Norfolk, Virginia. From there, she
proceeded to South America as part of the Midshipman cruise.
Alfa 1957, visiting Rio de Janerio, Brazil, and Trinidad, B.W.I.
where CDR Guy C. Leavitt relieved Captain Crenshaw as Commanding
Officer. Returning to Newport, Rhode Island in August, the
SHERMAN began preparations for the NATO Fall exercises and in
September sailed for Europe stopping at Plymouth, England and
Copenhagen, Denmark. On 13 September 1957, during a refueling
operation at sea, SO3 Allan Steve Allen lost his life when his
feet got tangled in lines between the tanker and was pulled
overboard. His body was not recovered. The Fleet Chaplin held
on board services. In October she returned to the states and
in December entered the Boston Naval Shipyard for her regular
In April 1958, FORREST SHERMAN sailed for
Guatanamo Bay, Cuba for refresher training. This training was
abruptly halted when FORREST SHERMAN was ordered to proceed to
Caracas, Venezuela when Vice-President Nixon (at that time) was
attacked by students in that city. After remaining in the area
a few days the SHERMAN was ordered to return to the States.
Leaving her homeport, Newport, Rhode Island, on 10 July 1958,
the SHERMAN departed for a normal four-month tour of duty with
the United States Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. However,
because of the crisis in Lebanon, she was recalled to Norfolk,
Virginia for emergency duty escorting additional Marine landing
forces to the Caribbean thence, if needed, to the Mediterranean
Thereafter, the SHERMAN crossed the
Atlantic, toured Gibraltar, and Naples, Italy before joining the
U.S. Sixth Fleet Patrol off the coast of Lebanon. When the
Chinese Communist increased the tempo of their aggressive acts
against the Nationalist Islands off Formosa, FORREST SHERMAN was
immediately detached for duty with the Seventh Fleet. On 28
August, she transited the Suez Canal and made the 6,759-mile
voyage to Subic Bay, Philippines non-stop.
Having safely delivered the USS ESSEX to the Formosa area and
served for a period with the Seventh Fleet, the FORREST SHERMAN
in company with the USS HALE visited Yokosuka, Japan, Midway and
Hawaii on their return to the United States. She was the first
ship of her class to visit the Western Pacific.
Enroute to the United States on 14 October
1958, FORREST SHERMAN participated in an air-sea rescue
incident 120 miles northeast of Honolulu where she rescued four
Marine aviators from the Pacific waters. She then sailed for
San Diego, California, thence through the Panama Canal to
Guatanamo Bay, Cuba.
On 11 November 1958, FORREST SHERMAN once
again arrived at Newport, Rhode Island, the first ship of her
class to circle the globe.
15 December 1958 found FORREST SHERMAN
once again at sea on the first of three coordinated
antisubmarine (ASW) training cruises intended to toughen up the
ship’s offensive/defensive capabilities in order to effectively
deal with the ever-present submarine threat. During the March
1959 ASW cruise; FORREST SHERMAN made her first appearance in
New York City for a liberty visit. Though the visit was only
sketchily announced, FORREST SHERMAN played host to over 9,000
visitors eager to see one of the Navy’s latest Destroyer types.
Thereafter, the ship spent a few weeks in Boston Naval Shipyard
for a turbine replacement in preparation for her June deployment
on operation “Inland Seas” (five Great Lakes of the U.S.).
FORREST SHERMAN and others of the Force had the privilege of
transiting the newly opened St. Lawrence Seaway to the heart of
the continent to show the Fleet to the people of the Great
At the beginning of the “Inland Seas” USS
FORREST SHERMAN was assigned the honor or representing the
United State and her Navy at the Seaway opening ceremonies in
Montreal, 26 June 1959, wherein Queen Elizabeth and President
Eisenhower officially dedicated the Seaway on her behalf of the
two countries. During “Inland Seas” FORREST SHERMAN transited
portions of all five Great Lakes and visited the ports of
Detroit, Duluth, Bay City, Michigan, and Cleveland, Ohio
entertaining at open house over 110,000 visitors. Fittingly, in
the last port, Cleveland, FORREST SHERMAN was presented her
Battle Efficiency Awards for top performance in Anti-Submarine
Warfare, Engineering and Damage Control, and Operations. The
presentation of these awards by Commander Destroyer Force,
Atlantic, Rear Admiral E.B. Taylor, was one of FORREST SHERMAN’s
proudest hours. At this point CDR William M. Montgomery
relieved Captain Leavitt as commanding officer.
August, FORREST SHERMAN emerged from the St. Lawrence River to
once again take her place on the high seas wither the operating
Fleet. After necessary interim shipyard work, the ship began a
series of operations with the Second Fleet designed to train her
personnel to affectively operate in large Fleet dispositions
against submarine surface or air threats. During the second
LANTFLEX cruise, the lives of three men who fell overboard from
an accompanying oiler were saved due to direct and timely action
of the crew and officers of the FORREST SHERMAN who succeeded in
pulling all from the sea in record time in the face of heavy
swells. The LANTFLEX operations were completed 21 November
after which FORREST SHERMAN proceeded to Boston Naval Shipyard
for alterations to improve her fighting capabilities.
On January 6, FORREST SHERMAN participated
in LANTFLEX 1-60 to renew her fighting efficiency after the much
needed holiday rest and to prepare for NELM deployment.
Upon completing LANTFLEX 1-60, the SHERMAN
returned to Newport in preparation for an INSURV inspection
which began on 25 January, and which was followed by an
Operational Readiness Inspection the first week of February.
The last phase of deployment consisted of a trip to the Boston
Naval Shipyard for some last minutes repairs.
FORREST SHERMAN left the shipyard on 15 March and after taking
on stores and supplies in Newport, departed for duty with the
Sixth Fleet at 1010, 21 March 1960. Ten days later the ship
arrived at Rota, Spain.
During her seven months stay in the
Mediterranean the FORREST SHERMAN participated in several joint
NATO exercise, most notably the NATO Spring exercise: REGEL and
MEDASWEX 37, a joint ASW exercise in which the FORREST SHERMAN
operated closely with Greek and Turkish ships.
All that could be desired in the way of
liberty ports was available to the FORREST SHERMAN. Between
operations the ship spent time in the French Riviera ports.
During a stay in Cannes this ship played host to the Honorable
William B. Franke, Secretary of the Navy, and Vice-Admiral
George W. Anderson, Commander Sixth Fleet. As part of the
defense forces of Southern Europe, the FORREST SHERMAN operated
widely and “931” was seen from Cannes to Naples and from
Barcelona to Phaleron Bay.
Seven months passed by quickly and on 5
October the ship was relieved by the USS BIGELOW (DD-942) and
then proceeded to Rota, Spain once more for fueling before
“chopping out”. While on her return trip across the Atlantic,
the FORREST SHERMAN was diverted off course to answer a request
for medical assistance from the Liberian freighter SS ALLEN
CHRISTENSEN. A mess boy aboard the CHRISTENSEN had suffered
severe head injuries in a fall and required urgent medical
help. After a skillful nighttime transfer by motor whaleboat,
the FORREST SHERMAN headed for Bermuda where the nearest
hospital was located. The ship arrived at Bermuda on October
13th and after taking on fuel, she renewed her homeward trip.
On the morning of 15 October, Brenton Reel Lightship was passed
and the welcoming cheers of anxious relatives and friends.
was much work to be done after such a long deployment and the
ship began her overhaul with two weeks of tender availability
alongside the USS YOSEMITE (AD-19). On 9 November the FORREST
SHERMAN entered the Boston Naval Shipyard once more and emerged
on the 9th of February 1961, having been completely overhauled
and having been fitted with the latest sonar equipment, making
her one of the most potent ASW ship afloat.