Born 22 April 1920 in Holyoke, Mass., Dennis Joseph Buckley, Jr., enlisted in the Navy 30 September 1940. Fireman First Class Buckley was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for displaying exceptional courage in attempting to board and salvage a blockade runner which had been intercepted by his ship Eberle (DD-430) on 10 March 1943. The explosion of demolition charges planted by the blockade runner's crew took his life.
The name Dennis J. Buckley was assigned to DE-553 but her construction was canceled 10 June 1944 prior to launching.
(DD-808: dp. 2,425; 1. 390'6"; b. 41'1"; dr. 18'6"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 367; a. 6 5", 10 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Gearing)
Dennis J. Buckley (DD-808) was launched 20 December 1944 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. D. J. Buckley, mother of Fireman First Class Buckley; and commissioned 2 March 1945, Commander K. C. Walpole in command. She was re-classified DDR-808, 18 March 1949.
Dennis J. Buckley sailed from Norfolk 7 November 1945 for occupation duty in the Western Pacific, arriving at Tokyo Bay 22 December. She operated in the Marianas and visited Manila, Philippine Islands, before returning to San Diego 13 April 1946. On her second tour of duty in the Far East, in 1947, she cruised off the coast of China providing services to the Fleet and joined in exercises off Okinawa. On 1 October 1948 she steamed for Tsingtao, China, where she patrolled during the evacuation of civilians from the threat of the Communist advance into northern China. She joined Tarawa (CV-40) and Hawkins (DD-873) and sailed by way of Hong Kong and Singapore; Colombo, Ceylon; Bahrein and Jidda, Saudi Arabia; and Port Said, Egypt, to Athens, Greece where the three ships joined others for a visit to Istanbul, Turkey. She returned to New York 22 February 1949, completing a round-the-world cruise.
Dennis J. Buckley departed New York 1 March 1949 for a brief period of operations on the west coast, returning to the Canal Zone 10 May for exercises in Caribbean waters. She then operated along the eastern seaboard from Norfolk to Argentia, Newfoundland and sailed from Newport 15 April for a tour of duty in the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet, returning to Newport 6 October for local and Caribbean operations. From April to October 1951 she cruised to northern Europe, visiting Plymouth, Liverpool, and Weymouth, England; Bremerhaven, Germany; Antwerp, Belgium; and Cork and Londonderry, Ireland.
Between 1952 and 1955, Dennis J .Buckley completed three tours of duty in the Mediterranean, and served as gunnery and engineering school ship for destroyer officers. She participated in air defense exercises in the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico and trained midshipmen and reservists.
Dennis J. Buckley sailed from Boston 1 May 1956 to join the Pacific Fleet. Arriving at Long Beach 28 June, she got underway 9 July for a tour of duty in the western Pacific from which she returned to Long Beach 21 October. During her second Far Eastern tour, in 1957, she screened Princeton (CV-37), patrolled off Taiwan briefly, and served as flagship for Commander, Destroyer Flotillas, western Pacific, during October, when she was visited by the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral A. A. Burke. Local operations engaged Dennis J. Buckley until 23 August 1958 when she again sailed for the Far East where she joined TF 72 to resupply Nationalist Chinese holding the Quemoy Islands against the threat of Communist seizure.
Returning to Long Beach 27 February 1959, she sailed again for duty in the western Pacific 15 October. She returned to Long Beach 11 March 1960 for operations until May, underwent a 3-month overhaul, and then resumed west coast duty for the remainder of the year.