Edward Earl Gyatt was born 4 September 1921 in Syracuse, N.Y. Enlisting in the Marine Corps 28 January 1942, he was killed in action while serving with the 1st Marine Raider Battalion during the Guadalcanal campaign, America's first offensive effort in the Pacific. Part of the invasion force that went ashore on Tulagi D-day 7 August 1942, Private Gyatt reported the approach of a Japanese counter-attack force on his advanced position that night. With utter disregard for his personal safety, he remained at his post and inflicted heavy damage on the enemy until he was killed by a grenade. For his gallantry and courage, Private Gyatt was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.
(DD-712: dp. 2,425; l. 390'6"; b. 41'4"; dr. 18'6"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 336; a. 6 5", 16 40mm., 20 20mm. 5 21" tt. 2 dct., 6 dcp.; el. Gearing)
Gyatt (DD-712) was launched 15 April 1945 by the Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Kearney, N.J.; sponsored by Mrs. Hilda Morrell, mother of Private Gyatt; and commissioned 2 July 1945 at the New York Navy Yard, Comdr. A. D. Kaplan in command.
After shakedown in the Caribbean, Gyatt reported to Norfolk for a variety of duties along the East Coast. In addition to local operations and training exercises, she participated in training operations with aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Departing Norfolk 24 January 1947, Gyatt sailed south to represent the United States at the inauguration of the new Uruguayan President at Montevideo 27 February to 6 March. Before returning to Norfolk 21 March she made goodwill visits to Rio de Janeiro and Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Gyatt sailed 20 November 1947 to deploy with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean and returned to Norfolk 2 March 1948. In six subsequent deployments to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, she bolstered the readiness of American seapower that proved a mainstay in stemming the threatened advance of Communist domination over Free World nations. Other operations took her north from Norfolk to Nova Scotia and Iceland and south into the Caribbean Sea.
Gyatt entered the Boston Naval Shipyard 26 September 1955 and decommissioned 31 October for conversion to the Navy's and the world's first guided missile destroyer. In addition to twin Terrier guided missile launchers, she received the Navy's first Denny-Brown stabilization system—two 45-square-foot retractable fins extending out from midships well below the waterline to greatly reduce pitch and roll on the sea. Her hull clasification was changed to DDG-712 1 December 1956. Gyatt recommissioned 2 days later, Comdr. Charles F. Helme, Jr., in command.
The new guided missile ship, a potent weapon in America's expanding arsenal, spent nearly 3 years of intensive evaluation and development work along the Atlantic coast. On 23 May 1957 her hull number was changed to DDG-1 in recognition of her pioneering position. She sailed to jc'n the 6th Fleet 28 January 1960, the first guided missile destroyer to deploy with an oversea fleet. By the time of her arrival back in Charleston, her new home port, 31 August 1960, Gyatt had participated in fleet readiness and training operations throughout the Mediterranean.
On her return Gyatt joined in America's space program, taking nose-cone recovery station 5 to 10 November 1960 and 24 to 26 April 1961 to aid in "Project Mercury," thus operating in another new area of expanding sea-power. With another world crisis pending over the status of Berlin, she again sailed 3 August 1961 to bolster the flexing and powerful arm of the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. She remained on alert posture with the "steelgray stabilizers" in the Mediterranean until 3 March 1962, then resumed training along the eastern seaboard out of Charleston, S.C.
Gyatt entered the Charleston Naval Shipyard 29 June 1962 for overhaul that included the removal of her missile system and installation of newly developed equipment that would prepare her for specialized service with the Operational Test and Evaluation Force. Her classification changed from a guided missile destroyer DDG-1 back to conventional destroyer DD-712 1 October 1962. Her preparations were complete by 1 January 1963 when Gyatt arrived in Norfolk for continuing experimental work under Operational Test and Evaluation Force in waters reaching into the Caribbean Sea. Gyatt continued to operate along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean into 1967. She performed patrol and ASW duty and trained the officers and men of the Navy in guided missile destroyer tactics. She was also especially active in testing and evaluating new equipment and helping to bring the men and equipment of the Navy efficient and up to date.