USS FORREST SHERMAN (DD-931)

SHIP’S HISTORY

1950's

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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.

                 Mrs. 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 Eisenhower.

                 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 overhaul.

                 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 Sea.

                 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 Midwest.

                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.

                On 4 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.

                The 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.

                There 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.