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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Cassin Young

 

Born 6 March 1894 in Washington, D.C., Cassin Young graduated from the Naval Academy 3 June 1916. His service ashore and afloat included command of Evans (DD-78), and at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, he was commanding Vestal (AR-4). His actions on 7 December 1941 illustrated graphically the high devotion to duty that is the goal of every naval officer. First he rapidly organized offensive action, personally taking charge of one of Vestal's antiaircraft guns. When Arizona's forward magazine exploded, the blast blew Cassin Young overboard, and although stunned he determined to save his ship by getting her away from the blazing Arizona. Swimming back to Vestal, which had already been hit and was to be hit again, Young got her underway, and finally beached her, thus insuring her later salvage. Such heroic exemplification of his profession was recognized by the award to him of the Medal of Honor. Captain Young commanded San Francisco in the heated battles of Cape Esperance and Guadalcanal with great distinction which resulted in the award of the Navy Cross to him, and the Presidential Unit Citation to his ship. He was killed in action in the Battle of Guadalcanal, 13 November 1942.

 

(DD-793: dp. 2.050; l. 376'6"; b. 39'8"; dr. 17'9"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 320; a. 5 5", 10 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct; cl. Fletcher)

 

Cassin Young (DD-793) was launched 12 September 1943 by Bethlehem Steel Corp., San Pedro, Calif.; sponsored by Mrs. C. Young; and commissioned 31 December 1943, Commander E. T. Schrieber in command.

 

Cassin Young arrived at Pearl Harbor 19 March 1944 to complete her training before sailing on to Manus, where she joined the massive carrier striking force TF 58. On 28 April, this force sortied for smashing air attacks on Japanese strongholds at Truk, Woleai, Sata-wan, and Ponape, during which Cassin Young operated as picket ship, assigned to warn her group of possible enemy counterattack. She returned to Majuro, and then Pearl Harbor for further training before reporting to Eniwetok 11 June to join the screen of escort carriers assigned to covering duty in the invasion of Saipan 4 days later. In addition to radar picket and screening duty, she was also called upon for inshore fire support. As the battle for Saipan raged ashore, escort carriers of Cassin Young's group launched attacks on the island, as well as sorties to neutralize enemy air fields on Tinian, Rota, and Guam. Similar operations supporting the subsequent assaults on Tinian and Guam claimed the services of Cassin Young until 13 August, when she returned to Eniwetok to replenish.

 

Between 29 August and 2 October 1944, Cassin Young guarded the carriers of TG 38.3 as strikes were flown from their decks to hit targets on Palau, Mindanao, and Luzon in support of the assault on the Palaus, stepping-stone to the Philippines. Only 4 days after her return from this mission to Ulithi, Cassin Young sailed on 6 October with the same force on duty in the accelerated schedule for the Philippines assault. First on the schedule were air strikes on Okinawa, Luzon, and Formosa; these led to the furious Formosa Air Battle of 10 to 13 October, during which the Japanese tried desperately to destroy the carrier strength of the imposing TF 38. On 14 October, in an attack by Japanese torpedo bombers, cruiser Reno (CL-96) was struck by a suicide plane, some of whose machine gun fire wounded five of Cassin Young's men. Cassin Young aided in splashing several planes in this attack.

 

On 18 October 1944, TF 38 took position east of Luzon to launch strikes immobilizing enemy air fields there in preparation for the assault on Leyte 2 days later. After standing by to render support if called upon during the initial landings, Cassin Young's group began to search for the enemy forces known to be moving toward Leyte Gulf on 23 October, and next day moved in toward San Bernardino Strait, ready to launch strikes. In the most vigorous and successful air attack mounted by the Japanese during the Leyte operation, at 0938 on 24 October, an enemy bomb struck carrier Princeton (CVL-23), and Cassin Young rejoined TG 38.3 for the dash northward to attack the Japanese Northern Force. This developed on 25 October into the Battle off Cape Engano, a series of air strikes in which four Japanese carriers and a destroyer were sunk.

 

Cassin Young continued operations in support of the Leyte conquest, as her carriers continued to range widely, striking at enemy bases on Okinawa, Formosa, and Luzon. With Ulithi as her base, the destroyer screened carriers through January 1945 as their planes pounded away at Formosa, Luzon, Camranh Bay, Hong Kong, Canton, and the Nansei Shoto in their support for the assault on Luzon. A brief overhaul at Ulithi prepared her for the operations supporting the invasion of Iwo Jima with air strikes on Honshu and Okinawa, the bombardment of Parece Vela, and screening off Iwo Jima itself during the initial assault on 19 February.

 

Another brief respite at Ulithi preceded her deployment for the Okinawa operation, for which she sailed from Ulithi 22 March 1945. After screening heavy ships in the massive preinvasion bombardment, Cassin Young moved inshore to support the activities of underwater demolition teams preparing the beaches. On invasion day itself, 1 April, the destroyer offered fire support in the assault areas, then took up radar picket duty. On 6 April, Cassin Young endured her first desperate kamikaze attacks with which the Japanese gambled on defeating the Okinawa operation. Two near-by destroyers, whose survivors Cassin Young rescued, were sunk. On 12 April, it was Cassin, Young's turn, when a massive wave of kamikazes came in at midday. Her accurate gunfire had aided in downing five would-be suiciders when a sixth crashed high-up into her foremast, exploding in midair only 50 feet from the ship. Casualties were miraculously light; only one man was killed and one other wounded. Cassin Young, although damaged, made Kerama Retto under her own power. After repairs there and at Ulithi, she returned to Okinawa 31 May, and resumed radar picket duty.

 

As the fury of kamikaze attacks continued, Cassin Young had respite only during two brief convoy escort voyages to the Marianas. On 28 July, her group was again a prime target for the Japanese, with one destroyer sunk and another badly damaged by suicide planes. During the engagement, Cassin Young assisted in splashing two enemy planes, and rescued survivors from the sunken ship. The next day, she was made victim by a suicider for the second time, when a low-flying airplane struck her starboard side. A tremendous explosion amidships was followed by fire, but in an impressive damage control operation, her men restored power to one engine, battled the flames under control, and had the ship underway for the safety of Kerama Retto within 20 minutes. Twenty-two of her men were dead, and 45 wounded. For her determined service and gallantry in the roaring fury of the Okinawa radar picket line she was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation.

 

Cassin Young cleared Okinawa 8 August for repairs at San Pedro, Calif. Here she was decommissioned and placed in reserve 28 May 1946. Recommissioned 8 September 1951, she cleared San Diego 4 January 1952 for her new home port, Newport, R.I. Local operations, overhaul, and refresher training in the Caribbean preceded a period of antisubmarine exercises off Florida from 7 May to 12 June 1953. Her first tour of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean took place from 16 September to 30 November 1953. After another period of local operations, and exercises in the Caribbean early in 1954, she cleared Newport 3 May for a round-the-world cruise, which found her exercising with the 7th Fleet in the western Pacific, patrolling off Korea, and making good-will visits to Far Eastern and Mediterranean ports. She returned to Newport 28 November 1954.

 

Her operations from that time into 1960 included training exercises in the Caribbean and off the eastern seaboard as well as tours of duty in the Mediterranean in 1956, winter 1956-57, and 1959, and a round of visits to ports of northern Europe in 1958. On 6 February 1960 she arrived at Norfolk Naval Shipyard for inactivation, and there she was decommissioned and placed in reserve 29 April 1960.

 

In addition to the Navy Unit Commendation, Cassin Young received four battle stars for World War II.