(DD 348: displacement 1,365; length 341'3"; beam 34'3"; draft 8'8"; speed 36.5 knots; complement 160; armament 5 5-inch, 8 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Farragut)
The third Farragut (DD 348) was laid down on 20 September 1932 at Quincy, Mass., by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp.; renamed Smith on 15 July 1933; renamed Farragut on 12 August 1933; sponsored by Mrs. James [Betsey C.] Roosevelt, the wife of one of the three sons of President Franklin D. Roosevelt; launched on 15 March 1934; and commissioned on 18 June 1934, Cmdr. Elliott Buckmaster in command.
|Farragut shortly after commissioning, 22 October 1934. (U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships Photograph 19-N-14753, Still Pictures Branch, National Archives & Records Administration, College Park, Md.)|
Since the United States had curtailed destroyer construction because of the international treaties limiting naval armament following World War I, Farragut devoted much of her early service to developmental operations. The ship visited Newport, R.I. (1 September 1934), and then moored to Pier 32 at New York City (2–5 September). She completed her final acceptance trials at Hampton Roads, Va. (11–14 October). The ship sailed from Norfolk, Va., on 4 January 1935, briefly put into Boston, Mass. (11 January), and then set course for the Caribbean.
Farragut served as a plane guard during aircraft carrier operations at Rosalind Bank in the Caribbean (15 and 16 January 1935), reached Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on 18 January, and conducted gunnery practice off Guantánamo and the Gulf of Gonaives, Haiti, until 2 February. Farragut then carried out antiaircraft drills and experimental firing off Pensacola, Fla. (4–14 February), and returned to Norfolk on 18 February. The ship completed repairs at Norfolk Navy Yard, and then visited the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. (16–18 March 1935).
Farragut departed Annapolis, paused briefly at Norfolk, and reached Jacksonville, Fla., on 22 March 1935. At 1547 on 26 March, the ship embarked President Franklin D. Roosevelt at Jacksonville. The next day, she rendezvoused with William V. Astor and his yacht Nourmahal off North Cat Island, Great Bahama Bank, and transferred the chief executive. Farragut escorted the yacht on a cruise to the Bahamas, and lay to off Lobos Cay (28 March); Great Inagua Island (29–30 March); Crooked Island (30–31 March); Long Island (1–3 April); Conception Island (3–4 April); Little San Salvador (5–6 April); and Great Stirrup Cay (6–7 April). President Roosevelt re-embarked on board the destroyer at 1740 on 7 April, and the following day, she returned him to Jacksonville, where Governor David Sholtz of Florida and Mayor John T. Alsop, Jr., of Jacksonville called on the President. All of the passengers disembarked at 1225 on 8 April.
After Farragut transited the Panama Canal, she set course for San Diego, Calif., arriving there on 19 April 1935. She then participated in fleet maneuvers on the west coast, training operations in the Hawaiian Islands, and cruises in the summer months to train men of the Naval Reserve in Alaskan waters.
The annual fleet problems concentrated the Navy’s power to conduct maneuvers on the largest scale and under the most realistic conditions attainable. The five phases of Fleet Problem XVI covered a vast area from the Aleutian Islands to Midway, Territory of Hawaii, and the Eastern Pacific (29 April–10 June 1935). Patrol and marine planes took the major aerial role during landing exercises when combined forces launched a strategic offensive against the enemy. Severe weather hampered the operations in Alaskan waters. During her first fleet problem, aircraft carrier Ranger (CV 4) joined Langley (CV 1), Lexington (CV 2), and Saratoga (CV 3) in the main body of the White fleet. Farragut sailed from San Diego for the problem on 28 April, briefly accomplished work at Puget Sound Navy Yard (2–3 May), and steamed via Dutch Harbor (8–10 May) and Kulak Bay (11–14 May), Alaska, to Pearl Harbor, arriving on 26 May. She concluded her participation in the problem on 30 May, and returned to San Diego on 11 June.
The ship sailed for a summer cruise to Alaska on 29 June 1935. She trained in fleet tactics en route, and celebrated Independence Day at Grays Harbor, Wash. (3–8 July), followed by a visit to Port Angeles, Wash. (12–17 July). Farragut reached Alaskan waters and anchored at Dewey Anchorage (20–23 July); Karta Bay (23–24 July); Rudyard Bay (24–26 July); Yes Bay (26–27 July); and Ketchikan Bay (27–29 July). She came about, and reached Port Angeles on 1 August, Seattle the following day, and returned to San Diego on 9 August. Farragut completed repairs in auxiliary repair dock (non-self-propelled) ARD 1.
|Farragut (left) and her sister ship Worden (DD 352) off NAS San Diego, Calif., 30 September 1935. (U.S. Navy Photograph 80-CF-2153-3, Still Pictures Branch, National Archives & Records Administration, College Park, Md.)|
Fleet Problem XVII consisted of a five phase exercise to meet a surprise offensive by an enemy fleet at a time when the U.S. fleet had divided (20 April–6 June 1936). The forces involved included two carriers to either side and ranged from the West Coast to Panama, and the western coast of Central America. Participants included Langley (CV 1), Lexington (CV 2), Saratoga (CV 3), and Ranger (CV 4). Farragut participated in the problem in southern Californian waters (20–27 April), and continued to Panama, where she operated with the fleet (9–16 May). She sailed for a goodwill tour to Peru on 16 May, visiting Callao (28 May–2 June), and returned to Balboa, Panama Canal Zone (6–8 June), and San Diego on 16 June. Cmdr. Edward P. Sauer relieved Cmdr. Buckmaster as the commanding officer on 20 June.
Following upkeep and a tender overhaul, Farragut sailed for a summer cruiser to Alaska on 6 July 1936. She visited Seward (13–14 July) and Kodiak (15–17 July), Alaska, and then accomplished upkeep at Port Angeles and sound work at Port Townsend (21–31 July). She visited Portland, Ore. (5–10 August) and returned to San Diego on 13 August. Farragut trained with the Scouting Force and then completed an overhaul (18 October–22 December). The ship carried out additional upkeep alongside destroyer tender Dobbin (AD 3) at San Diego (15 February–14 March 1937). Farragut shifted to Destroyer Division (DesDiv 2), Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 1, on 1 April. Cmdr. Peter K. Fischler relieved Cmdr. Sauer as the commanding officer in May.
|Farragut and other destroyers lay smoke to screen aircraft carrier Lexington (CV 2) during an exercise in Pacific waters, 14 September 1936. (U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-463115, Still Pictures Branch, National Archives & Records Administration, College Park, Md.)|
|Patrol planes—most likely Consolidated P2Y flying boats—fly over Farragut during the same exercise, 14 September 1936. (U.S. Navy Photograph NH 67309, Naval History & Heritage Command)|
During the nine phases of Fleet Problem XVIII (4–9 May 1937), an enemy fleet attempted to establish an advance base in the Hawaiian Islands. The problem included a simulated attack on facilities on Oahu. Lexington of the Northern Force launched a strike against Wheeler Field (USAAC). Saratoga of the Oahu Bombardment Force sent her planes against coastal guns between Pearl Harbor and Diamond Head. Ranger of the Hilo Force sent her aircraft against the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard. In addition, Black carriers Lexington and Saratoga and White Ranger launched strikes against each other. Farragut sailed for Fleet Problem XVIII on 16 April, and moored at Pearl Harbor on 25 April. She operated at sea during the main phases of the exercise (5–8 May), put into Pearl Harbor following the problem, and sailed on 19 May, returning to San Diego on 28 May. The ship took part in Independence Day festivities at Manhattan Beach, Calif. (2–7 July), and carried out an overhaul at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, Calif., through 7 September.
Severe weather hampered the 12 phases of Fleet Problem XIX across the Northern Pacific between Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands (16 March–27 April 1938). During Phase 5, the Blue fleet attacked the Hawaiian Islands, which were defended by the Red fleet and mined approaches. An epidemic of tonsillitis on board Lexington prevented her from participating, and Saratoga fulfilled the role of Lexington. Saratoga attacked at 0450 on 29 March from a position about 100 miles to the northward of Oahu, having masked her approach by sailing on the easterly side of a weather front. Saratoga’s reconnaissance planes spotted light cruiser Richmond (CL 9) north of Lahaina Roads, and her attack group bombed the Fleet Air Base, Wailupe Radio Station, and Hickam and Wheeler Fields (USAAC), recovering on board by 0835. The carrier launched a second strike that morning against the ships and facilities at Lahaina, but the defenders retaliated and lightly damaged Saratoga. Farragut sailed for the problem on 14 March, fought through the various scenarios, anchored at Lahaina (31 March–4 April), and completed upkeep at Pearl Harbor (8–14 April), before returning to San Diego on 28 April.
Farragut sailed to Alaskan waters on 21 June 1938 and visited Port Angeles (25 June–1 July); Ketchikan (3–5 July); Yes Bay (5–6 July); Taku Inlet (6–9 July); Yakutat Bay (10–12 July); and Sitka (13 July), before completing upkeep at Seattle (16–21 July). She visited Portland (22 July–1 August), San Francisco (3–9 August), and returned to San Diego on 12 August. The ship completed upkeep alongside destroyer tender Whitney (AD 4) at San Diego, followed by a Fleet Review and then an overhaul at Pearl Harbor Navy Yard (2 October–6 December).
She sailed on 3 January 1939 for Fleet Problem XX (20–27 February). The exercise ranged across the Caribbean and the northeast coast of South America, and included aircraft carriers Enterprise (CV 6) and Yorktown (CV 5) for the first time. The problem included the employment of planes and carriers in connection with the escort of a convoy, the development of coordinating antisubmarine measures between aircraft and destroyers, and the trial of various evasive tactics against attacking planes and submarines. The fleet finished the problem and retired to Culebra Bay, P.R., where President Roosevelt reviewed the ships and submarines from the deck of heavy cruiser Houston (CA 30) on 28 February. Farragut returned to San Diego on 12 April. The ship completed an availability at Mare Island (22 April–17 August). Cmdr. George W. Welker, Jr., assumed command of the ship in June 1939.
The destroyer trained in fleet tactics at Pyramid Cove, San Clemente Island, Calif., during the summer of 1939. She underwent repairs while drydocked in ARD 1 (21–22 September), followed by additional fleet tactics training with DesRon 1 at San Pedro, including daily war games at sea (23–29 September). Farragut sailed with the Hawaiian Detachment to shift her home port to Pearl Harbor, mooring at Merry Point Dock at Pearl Harbor on 12 October 1939. She subsequently completed upkeep alongside Dobbin.
Fleet Problem XXI consisted of two separate phases around the Hawaiian Islands and Eastern Pacific, and involved the coordination of commands, the protection of a convoy, and the seizure of advanced bases to bring about a decisive engagement (April–May 1940). Farragut took part in the problem (3–26 April): anchoring at Lahaina (10–15 April), returning to Pearl Harbor, patrolling off Oahu, returning to Pearl Harbor and then sortieing to Lahaina for sound exercises, cruiser and destroyer tactics, and antiaircraft firing. The global crisis compelled the cancellation of Fleet Problem XXIIin 1941.
The ship completed an overhaul alongside Whitney (27 May–30 June). She accomplished upkeep at buoy 23 at San Diego (9–13 July), followed by an overhaul at Mare Island (14 July–22 September). Farragut returned to San Diego on 25 September. She resumed training in gunnery and fleet tactics in Hawaiian waters in October.
Farragut sailed in company with Aylwin from Pearl Harbor for the west coast, the two destroyers acting as the inner antisubmarine screen for Enterprise (7–13 February 1941). Two days later, Farragut put to sea for Pearl Harbor, fueling at Merry Point Dock and then mooring to buoy X23 on 21 February. She subsequently completed work alongside Whitney.
During tactical exercises in Hawaiian waters soon thereafter, Farragut collided with destroyer Aylwin (DD 355) at 23°35'N, 158°14'W, on the dark and moonless night of 19 March 1941. Upon the conclusion of the exercises, all of the destroyers proceeded to a rendezvous astern of the fleet’s center. Aylwin turned on her running and fighting lights as Farragut loomed out of the night on her port bow at 2251. At 2303, Aylwin and Farragut turned toward each other. Both ships backed emergency full, but a minute later, Farragut’s bow plowed into Aylwin’s port side at a 90-degree angle, heavily damaging the ship forward from frames 1 to 22.
A fire erupted within Aylwin and swiftly spread aft through the wardroom and into the officers’ staterooms. The flames leapt as high as her masthead and illuminated the two ships, and Aylwin’s electrical installation burned with intense heat. Fire parties from light cruiser Philadelphia (CL 41) and destroyers Dale (DD 353), Stack (DD 406), and Sterett (DD 407) helped Aylwin’s crewmen defeat the inferno by 0140 on 20 March. A party from heavy cruiser Indianapolis (CA 35) worked with men from Philadelphia, assessed the damage and made temporary repairs. Light cruiser Detroit (CL 8) attempted to tow Aylwin to Pearl Harbor but the cable parted. Minesweeper Turkey (AM 13) towed the destroyer to port stern-first. Chief Signalman Roy E. Benedict, U.S. Fleet Reserve, died on board Aylwin, and the ship completed extensive repairs in drydock before she rejoined the fleet. Subsequently, Cmdr. George P. Hunter relieved Cmdr. Welker as the commanding officer in April.
The ship intensified her training operations as World War II spread across the world. She alternatively screened carriers in Hawaiian waters and patrolled off Diamond Head, Oahu. Farragut sailed with Task Force (TF) 13 as part of the inner antisubmarine screen for Saratoga on 3 July 1941, and conducted a simulated bombardment of Fort Rosecrans, Calif., on 10 July. She moored in San Diego Harbor with DesDiv 2, and returned to sea with the task force on 24 July, berthing at buoy X12 at Pearl Harbor on 31 July. The destroyer completed an availability at the Navy Yard (5–9 August), and then operated with TF 1, returning to buoy X-14 at Pearl Harbor (19 September–28 November).
The Japanese attacked Oahu on 7 December 1941. Farragut moored starboard side to Aylwin in a nest with destroyers Dale and Monaghan (DD 354) of DesDiv 2 at buoy X-14, East Loch, Pearl Harbor. Destroyer Ward (DD 139) had sighted what was most likely Japanese midget submarine I-22tou when the submarine attempted to infiltrate Pearl Harbor by following general stores issue ship Antares (AKS 3) into the channel. Ward attacked, and with the assistance of 14-P-1, a Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina flown by Ensign William P. Tanner of Patrol Squadron (VP) 14, sank the boat. Monaghan received a signal to “proceed immediately and contact Ward in defensive sea area” at 0751. The ship thus began to make ready to sail before the fighting began at 0758.
Lt. Cmdr. Hunter was ashore when the Japanese attacked. Lt. Edwin K. Jones, Farragut’s engineering officer and the senior officer on board, took command of the ship. Farragut sounded general quarters at 0758. At 0812, she opened fire with her main battery, though no enemy planes approached within range of her machine guns. Monaghan left the nest at 0828, followed at 0840 by Dale. Farragut cleared the nest at 0852 and sailed down the channel.
The ship fired at several Japanese aircraft that flew within range. A Japanese plane—eyewitnesses did not positively identify type but mostly reported a Mitsubishi A6M2 Type 0 carrier fighter—strafed Farragut topside while the ship proceeded abreast of Hickam Field, USAAF, slightly damaging her but not wounding any of her crew, at 0921. Six minutes later, the ship cleared the channel and ceased firing at the enemy planes as they flew out of range. The destroyer rendezvoused with Enterprise during the morning watch on 8 December, and helped to screen the carrier until the second dog watch. Farragut returned to Pearl Harbor and moored to buoy X-18 at 1833 on 8 December. Through the end of the year, she patrolled for submarines to protect ships entering and leaving Pearl Harbor. Farragut depth-charged a submarine contact on 27 December with undetermined results.
Through early April 1942, Farragut operated in Hawaiian waters, and from Oahu to San Francisco, on antisubmarine patrols and escort duty. The Japanese then launched Operation MO—the seizure of Port Moresby, New Guinea, and points in the Solomon Islands, Nauru, and the Ocean Islands, preparatory to the neutralization of Australia as an Allied bastion. Allied countermoves led to the Battle of the Coral Sea, the first naval engagement fought without the opposing ships making contact.
Farragut sortied from Pearl Harbor with TF 11, Rear Adm. Aubrey W. Fitch in command and centered around Lexington, to confront the Japanese advance, on 15 April 1942. Farragut crossed the equator on 20 April, and one of the humorous charges directed against some of her pollywogs consisted of “Joining the Navy to evade the draft.”
Fitchrendezvoused with TF 17, Rear Adm. Frank Jack Fletcher in command, and comprising carrier Yorktown (CV 5), on 1 May. Farragut sailed initially with Task Group (TG) 17.2 Attack Group, but Fletcher detached her to TG 17.3, Support Group, also consisting of the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (D.84), heavy cruiser Chicago (CA 29), Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (D.63), and the U.S. destroyers Perkins (DD 377) and Walke (DD 416) of DesRon 9. Rear Adm. John G. Crace, RN, broke his flag in command of the group in Australia. Crace detached to intercept Japanese Rear Adm. Abe Koso’s Port Moresby Invasion Force in the Jomard Passage.
A Japanese seaplane flying from Deboyne, Louisiade Archipelago, spotted Crace’s ships 78 miles from Deboyne, at 1240 on 7 May 1942. The enemy erroneously reported the ships as one battleship, two heavy cruisers, and three destroyers. A Japanese land attack plane operating from Rabaul, New Britain, then reported Allied ships—including carriers—sailing a different course but also south of the Louisiades, at 1315. The discovery of two Allied task forces, one of which apparently comprised one or more carriers, persuaded the Japanese to redirect planes earmarked for other missions to attack the Support Group.
A flight of 12 Mitsubishi G4M1 Type 1 land attack planes of the Fourth Kōkūtai (Air Group) carrying torpedoes, escorted by 11 Type 0 carrier fighters of the Tainan Kōkūtai, all flying from Rabaul, changed course toward the anticipated route of the Allied ships. Twenty Mitsubishi G3M3 Type 96 land attack planes of the Genzan Kōkūtai operating from Rabaul also made for the Support Group. The fighters came about for Rabaul and unintentionally sighted the Allied ships during the afternoon watch. The bombers then (separately) intercepted Crace, eluding radar detection by flying at low altitude, and attacked.
Crace initially directed his ships to steam in a diamond antiaircraft formation, on course 090° and zig-zagging at a speed of 25 knots. Farragut steamed 1,400 yards off the port bow of Australia, with Perkins ahead and Walke off Farragut’s starboard bow. Farragut sounded general quarters at 1427 and the fighters attacked two minutes later from her starboard quarter. The ship fired 30 rounds of 5-inch ammunition from all of her guns without observing hits, at a mean range of 8,000 yards.
Farragut sighted the Type 1 land attack planes off her port bow at 1500 on 7 May 1942. The bombers circled ahead and approached sharp on the port bow in three groups, four planes to a group. Farragut opened fire with her forward 5-inch guns in director control, splashing one of the attackers, which burst into flames and plummeted into the sea. Some of the bombers dropped their torpedoes at ranges from 1,000–1,500 yards ahead of the formation, and others closed and dropped their torpedoes while flying inside the task force.
A Type 1 dropped a torpedo slightly on the port bow of Farragut, but the ship avoided the weapon by heading toward the bomber during its approach and then using left full rudder. The torpedo passed down the starboard side barely 50 yards clear, running shallow. Sailors fired 20 millimeter guns, Browning Automatic Rifles, and M-1 Thompson submachine guns at the planes when they passed into the arcs of fire of the 5-inch mounts. About five aircraft passed to starboard between Australia and Farragut and two to port, the Japanese strafing from their aft blisters as they hurtled by. Farragut ceased firing at 1508 after shooting an additional 120 rounds of 5-inch antiaircraft service, as well as 750 rounds of 20 millimeter ball and 750 more of tracer, and 208 rounds of small arms ammunition. One of the 20 millimeter rounds burned in the chamber of the No. 2 gun, temporarily putting it out of action. The gunners afterward surmised that they probably caused the casualty by removing the magazine before they fired the last round.
A Japanese bullet grazed Seaman 1st Class Harold E. White, the gunner of No. 5 20 millimeter gun, over his right eye. Nearby crewmen administered first aid and White continued to man his gun. Fireman 2d Class Ernest F. Crofutt, Jr., and Gunner’s Mate 3d Class James H. Gillespie suffered broken ear drums from the muzzle blast of the 5-inch guns. A Type 1 attack plane’s machine gun slightly damaged some of the topside structure, and a small caliber shell, tentatively identified as a 1.1-inch round apparently fired from one of the ships aft of Farragut, pierced her side at Frame 30 starboard, 10 feet above the waterline, and set paint on clothes in a locker afire in her Stateroom 101 starboard. The Repair Party controlled the flames. The cruisers and other destroyers heeled over during sharp turns throughout the battle, and avoided all of the bombs and torpedoes, but strafing killed two crewmen and wounded three others on board Chicago. The ships splashed a total of four Type 1 attack planes.
Farragut sighted 19 Type 96 land attack planes making a high level approach in a massed ‘V’ formation on Australia and Chicago at 1526 on 7 May 1942. The ship fired 49 5-inch rounds without effect. Three USAAF Boeing B-17E Flying Fortresses of the 435th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 19th Bombardment Group (attached to Allied Air Forces), flying from Townsville, Australia, then mistakenly bombed but missed Farragut at 1527. The first two Flying Fortresses appeared at an altitude of 20,000 feet, followed by the trailing third bomber. Crewmen on board Farragut clearly identified the planes as four-engine bombers and as they dropped five bombs, the ship increased to flank speed and came hard left. All five bombs splashed into the water about 200–300 yards off her starboard quarter. Crace radioed Fletcher concerning the necessity of fighter cover for his future operations. The Support Group continued and watched the Jomard Passage, and Farragut passed the remainder of the battle uneventfully.
Farragut arrived at Cid Harbor, Queensland, Australia, on 11 May 1942. During the subsequent weeks, she helped escort convoys and called at Brisbane, Australia; Nouméa, New Caledonia; Suva, Fiji Islands; Nukualofa Harbor, Tongatabu, Tonga Islands; and Auckland, New Zealand. The destroyer encountered cold weather and rough seas while in New Zealand waters, and returned to Pearl Harbor on 29 June.
The Americans landed on Japanese-held Guadalcanal, Florida, Gavutu, Tanambogo, and Tulagi in the Solomon Islands during Operation Watchtower—the first U.S. land offensive of World War II. Farragut sortied from Pearl Harbor with Saratoga for Watchtower on 7 July 1942. They rendezvoused with additional ships and formed TF 61 Expeditionary Force, Vice Adm. Fletcher in command. Fletcher’s task force including TG 61.1, Rear Adm. Leigh Noyes in command, comprising aircraft carriers Enterprise (CV 6), Saratoga, and Wasp (CV 7). The marines wrestled control of the neighboring islands from the Japanese, and simultaneously moved inland on Guadalcanal, on 7 August. The following day, they captured the unfinished Japanese airstrip and redesignated it Henderson Field in honor of Maj. Lofton R. Henderson, USMC, who had been shot down while leading Marine Scout Bombing Squadron (VMSB) 241 on an unsuccessful attack on Japanese carrier Hiryū at the Battle of Midway on 4 June.
Lt. Cmdr. Henry D. Rozendal relieved Cmdr. Hunter as the ship’s commanding officer in August 1942. Farragut served as a screening ship and plane guard for Saratoga during the air operations covering the assault on Guadalcanal. She then patrolled the eastern Solomons to protect the sea lanes to Guadalcanal.
The destroyer fought as part of Fletcher’s TF 61, still comprising Enterprise, Saratoga, and Wasp, during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons (24–25 August 1942). Supported by USMC and USAAF planes from Henderson Field, Fletcher turned back a Japanese attempt to recapture Guadalcanal and Tulagi. Enterprise fought off Japanese torpedo bombers but enemy dive bombers inflicted three direct bomb hits and four near misses that killed 74 men and wounded 95. Her crewmen controlled the fires and Enterprise made for Pearl Harbor. The Japanese lost nearly 90 aircraft to U.S. casualties of 20 planes.
Japanese submarines shadowed and attacked Allied ships. Battleship North Carolina (BB 55) and Saratoga both detected an apparent radar contact at about 0330 on 31 August 1942. Farragut investigated the contact, but failed to identify an enemy boat, and crewmen speculated that the radar image revealed a rain squall, which faded as the ships opened the range. The following day, Japanese submarine I-26 torpedoed Saratoga 260 miles southeast of Guadalcanal. The ensuing damage compelled the carrier to retire for repairs.
Farragut patrolled off Guadalcanal to guard transports while they unloaded cargo and disembarked troops, and escorted convoys from Australia to Espíritu Santo, New Hebrides (Vanuatu); Nouméa; and the Fijis. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 27 January 1943, and completed an overhaul and training on the west coast.
The ship reached Adak, Alaska, on 16 April 1943. She patrolled Alaskan waters until 11 May, when she screened transports that landed the U.S. Army’s 7th Division on Attu Island, Aleutians, during Operation Landcrab. Japanese submarine I-31 unsuccessfully attacked battleship Pennsylvania (BB 38), which supported the landings with gunfire, nine miles northeast of Holtz Bay, on 12 May. Farragut assisted destroyer Edwards (DD 619) and a Catalina, and they sank I-31 about five miles northeast of Chichagof Harbor, Attu, near 53°00'N, 173°21'E.
Farragut continued antisubmarine patrols off the Aleutians through June 1943. The ship’s SG radar detected an apparent Japanese submarine steaming on the surface south of Kiska, 23 miles from Point Roger (North Head), during dense fog at 0946 on 16 June. To avoid mistakenly firing at a possible U.S. vessel—Edwards patrolled in the area—Farragut twice queried the stranger via TBS (line-of-sight voice radio). The suspect did not respond and Farragut opened fire and maneuvered to attack the submarine by guns or depth charges, but disengaged without success shortly after noon. Cmdr. Rozendal, the ship’s commanding officer, later lamented: “The Commanding Officer and the entire ship’s company feel the loss of this prize keenly and while the loss may have been in some part due to mistakes and faulty judgement there is also a feeling that with a little more ordinary luck sound or visual contact would have been made and destruction of target would have followed.”
Farragut patrolled and blockaded off Kiska from 5 July 1943, but the Japanese had secretly evacuated their garrison undetected by the Allies (26 May–28 July). The destroyer took part in a bombardment of suspected Japanese antiaircraft emplacements on Sunrise Hill, Kiska, on 22 July. The ship fired 180 rounds of 5-inch, but observed antiaircraft gun flashes in the area of North Head and shifted fire toward them, shooting an additional 35 shells (215 total).
TG 16.7, Rear Adm. Robert C. Giffen, in command, and TG 16.17, Rear Adm. Robert M. Griffin in command, fought an elusive foe during what veterans of the action subsequently dubbed the "Battle of the Pips." Beginning at 0047 on 26 July 1943, the Americans detected a series of radar contacts that apparently indicated Japanese ships about 90 miles southwest of Kiska. Destroyers Abner Read (DD 526), Farragut, and Perry (DD 340) acted as the antisubmarine screen for battleships Idaho (BB 42) and Mississippi (BB 41) of TG 16.12. Farragut detected her initial contact bearing 060°, range 15 miles, and sounded general quarters at 0055. Within minutes, ships commenced firing at their radar contacts but confusion reigned, and watchstanders on board multiple vessels repeatedly asked other vessels via TBS: “Do you have target on your screen?” Ships checked fire more than once only to resume shooting. Farragut secured from general quarters at 0710. Idaho and Mississippi fired 518 rounds of 14-inch and heavy cruisers Portland (CA 33), San Francisco (CA 38), and Wichita (CA 45) shot 487 rounds of 8-inch ammunition without scoring a single hit. Phantom echoes on the radar screens produced the embarrassing episode.
Farragut sank an empty Japanese landing craft (perhaps cast adrift by the evacuating enemy garrison) four miles east of Sobaka Rock, off the south coast of Kiska, on 28 July 1943. The ship detached to fuel, however, and missed her final opportunity to intercept enemy vessels as they evacuated the last of the garrison. Two days later, Farragut and Hull fired 200 rounds of 5-inch against the former Japanese encampment at Gertrude Cove, Kiska—still unaware of the enemy’s evacuation. Farragut joined in the bombardment of the island additional times in the days before the landings of 15 August. She continued to protect the troops ashore at Kiska until 4 September, when she left Adak in convoy for San Francisco and a brief overhaul. Lt. Cmdr. Edward F. Ferguson relieved Cmdr. Rozendal as the commanding officer in the summer of 1943.
Farragut put to sea from San Diego on 19 October 1943, bound for training in the Hawaiian Islands and at Espíritu Santo. She took part in Operation Galvanic—the occupation of the Japanese-held Gilbert Islands (13 November–8 December 1943). The ship then made for the west coast for repairs and training.
|Farragut steams at sea following the fighting in the Gilbert Islands, December 1943. Note her badly weathered hull, and the radar atop the mainmast. (U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-321652, Still Pictures Branch, National Archives & Records Administration, College Park, Md.)|
The destroyer sailed from San Diego on 13 January 1944. She participated in Operation Flintlock—the occupation of the Marshalls. During the assaults on Kwajalein and Eniwetok, she screened carriers, patrolled, and conducted antisubmarine searches.
TF 58, Vice Adm. Marc A. Mitscher in command, launched a series of attacks on Japanese garrisons and vessels at Palau, Ulithi, Woleai, and Yap in the Western Carolines on 30 March. Planners intended these strikes to eliminate Japanese opposition to landings at Hollandia on northern New Guinea, and to gather photographic intelligence for future battles. Grumman TBF-1C and Eastern TBM-1C Avengers from Torpedo Squadrons (VTs) 2, 8, and 16, embarked on board aircraft carriers Bunker Hill (CV 19), Hornet (CV 12), and Lexington (CV 16), sowed extensive minefields in the approaches to the Palaus in the first U.S. large scale daylight tactical use of mines by carrier aircraft. These raids continued until 1 April and claimed the destruction of 157 Japanese aircraft, sank destroyer Wakatake, repair ship Akashi, aircraft transport Goshu Maru, and 38 other vessels, damaged four ships, and denied the harbor to the enemy for an estimated six weeks.
Late in April 1944, Farragut supported the assault of the Army’s I Corps at Aitape and Tanahmerah Bay (Operation Persecution) and at Humboldt Bay on Hollandia (Operation Reckless) on the north coast of New Guinea.
While TF 58 returned to Majuro following the landings at Hollandia, Mitscher launched a two day attack on Japanese installations and supply dumps at Truk Lagoon in the Carolines. The previous strike, on 17 February 1944, had wreaked havoc on the Japanese, and planes operating over the waters off Palau reported a paucity of vessels in the area and sank only two ships and claimed the destruction of 145 enemy aircraft (29–30 April). TG 58.1, Rear Adm. Joseph J. Clark in command, detached on the second day, launched planes that flew protective cover for a cruiser bombardment of Satawan, and on 1 May supported the bombardment of Ponape with air cover and bombing and strafing runs. Following those operations, Farragut trained out of Majuro.
American landings on Saipan in the Marianas during Operation Forager penetrated the inner defensive perimeter of the Japanese Empire and triggered A-Go—a Japanese counterattack that led to the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Farragut arrived in the waters off Saipan on 11 June 1944. She operated with the invasion forces during the succeeding days, guarded the carriers covering the landings on 15 June, and bombarded the Japanese garrison on Saipan.
The Japanese intended for their shore-based planes to cripple the air power of TF 58, in order to facilitate strikes by their 1st Mobile Fleet, Vice Adm. Ozawa Jisaburō in command—which were to refuel and rearm on Guam. Japanese fuel shortages and inadequate training bedeviled A-Go, however, and U.S. signal decryption breakthroughs enabled attacks on Japanese submarines that deprived the enemy of intelligence, while raids on the Bonin and Volcano Islands disrupted Japanese aerial staging en route to the Marianas, and their main attacks passed through U.S. antiaircraft fire to reach the carriers. Farragut served as a radar picket through the main battle at sea (19–20 June). The fighting decimated Japanese air strength and ensured the ultimate success of the landings in the Marianas. Farragut then sailed to replenish at Eniwetok (28 June–14 July).
Farragut next supported Operation Stevedore—landings by the 3d Marine Division, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, and the Army’s 77th Division on Guam. She closed the beach at Agat, Guam, to provide covering fire for underwater demolition teams that prepared for the assault on the island (17–18 July). After screening a cruiser to Saipan she returned to Guam on 21 July to patrol seaward of the Fire Support Group covering the assault landings. On 25 July, she joined in the bombardment of Rota, and five days later cleared for overhaul at Puget Sound Navy Yard.
|Farragut steams through the still waters of Puget Sound following an overhaul at the Navy Yard there, 29 September 1944. Her disruptive color scheme is intended to confuse enemy observers concerning her course and speed. (U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships Photograph 19-N-72731, Still Pictures Branch, National Archives & Records Administration, College Park, Md.)|
The ship reached Ulithi on 21 November 1944, and four days later sailed to screen a group of oilers serving TGs 38.2 and 38.3, Rear Admirals Gerald F. Bogan and Frederick C. Sherman in command, respectively, while they launched strikes against Japanese ships off central Luzon, Philippines. Farragut operated out of Ulithi during the succeeding months. In spite of almost continuous harsh weather, the Allies invaded Lingayen Gulf on western Luzon in the Philippines in January 1945. The Japanese reacted vigorously and their planes attacked the invasion forces during the transit from Leyte Gulf. TF 38, Vice Adm. John S. McCain in command, concentrated on the destruction of enemy air power and air installations. Planes bombed Japanese airfields and ships at Formosa (Taiwan) on 3 January. On 6 January, strikes shifted to airfields and shipping at Luzon in response to Japanese kamikaze suicide attacks, and on 9 January the Pescadores and Ryūkyū Islands, claiming the destruction of more than 100 Japanese aircraft and 40,000 tons of merchant and small warships.
During the night of 9 and 10 January 1945, TF 38 made a high-speed run through Luzon Strait into the South China Sea. The replenishment group passed through Balintang Channel. On 12 January, the carriers launched strikes along 420 miles of the Indochina coast. The task force moved northward to evade a typhoon and bombed Japanese targets at Hong Kong, along the Chinese coast, Hainan, and Formosa on 15 January, and the following day concentrated on Hong Kong. Inclement weather persisted, and the attackers came about from the South China Sea, and on 20 January made a nighttime run through Balintang Channel to strike Taiwan, the Pescadores, and Okinawa. Japanese planes damaged Ticonderoga (CV 14) and Langley (CVL 27) but the next day U.S. aircraft raided the Ryūkyūs. During three weeks of action the force claimed the destruction of more than 600 Japanese planes and 325,000 tons of shipping.
Farragut then sailed with TF 58, Vice Adm. Mitscher in command, as part of Operation Detachment—landings on Iwo Jima in the Kazan Rettō (Volcano Islands) by the Fourth and Fifth Marine Divisions (February–March 1945). She continued with TF 58 in Operation Iceberg—the invasion of Okinawa in the Ryūkyū Islands. Japanese kamikazes savaged the ships operating off shore. They launched the first of a series of ten mass kamikaze attacks, interspersed with smaller raids and named Kikusui (Floating Chrysanthemum) No. 1, against Allied ships on 6 April. Through 28 May, these attacks involved 1,465 aircraft.
The destroyer served on carrier screening duty for the air operations that supported landings on some of the remaining enemy-held Ryūkyūs (25–28 April 1945). Farragut then escorted convoys between Ulithi and Okinawa (11 May–6 August), interspersed by a brief period during the last two weeks of May when she performed radar picket duty off Okinawa. The fighting cost the Navy a total of 763 aircraft and 36 ships and craft sunk and 368 damaged. At least 4,907 men on board these ships were killed or missing and 4,824 wounded.
The destroyer sailed from Saipan homeward bound on 21 August 1945, and on 20 September reached the Caribbean and reported to DesRon 8. She arrived at the New York Naval Shipyard on 25 September. Farragut was decommissioned there on 23 October 1945. She was stricken on 28 January 1947, sold to Northern Metals Co., of Philadelphia, Pa., for $19,019 on 14 August 1947, and scrapped the following year.
Farragut received 14 battle stars for her World War II service.
Mark L. Evans