The first and second Henleys were named for Robert Henley, born 5 January 1783 in Williamsburg, Ara., son of Leonard and Elizabeth Dandridge Henley and nephew of Martha Dandridge Custis Washington. Appointed a midshipman 8 April 1799, Henley participated in the engagement between Constellation and La Vengeance during the Quasi-War with France 2 February 1800. After service with Preble's squadron in the Mediterranean and a cruise to the East Indies, Henley received his first command, Gunboat No. 5, at Baltimore 9 April 1808. Henley was in command of 2 divisions of 15 gunboats which drove 3 British frigates from Hampton Roads 20 June 1813. Reporting to brig Eagle, he received the thanks of Congress and a gold medal for valiant conduct in the Battle of Lake Champlain 11 September 1814. With the end of-the War of 1812, Henley filled a variety of billets before commanding Hornet against pirates in the West Indies. He captured pirate schooner Moscow off Santo Domingo 29 October 1821. After serving as commandant of the Naval Rendezvous at Norfolk 1822 to 1824, he reported for similar duty at Charleston. Captain Robert Henley died at Sullivan's Island, Charleston, after a short illness 7 October 1828.
The third Henley was named for John D. Henley, brother of Captain Robert Henley, who was born in Williamsburg 25 February 1781. Commissioned midshipman 14 August 1799, Henley served in Chesapeake cruising in the West Indies until 1801. Departing Baltimore in the schooner Vixen 3 August 1803, he joined the Mediterranean Squadron for the AVar with Tripoli. An officer in Gunboat No. 6 under Lieutenant John Trippe, Henley participated in the attack on Tripoli 3 August 1804. Gunboat No. 6 ran alongside one of the enemy's large boats and nine men and two officers, Trippe and Henley, stormed the Tripolitan before the gunboat fell away from the enemy. Although outnumbered three to one, the Americans fought so fiercely that within a few minutes the enemy struck their colors. Fourteen of the enemy had been killed and 22 were taken prisoner. Both Trippe and Henley were highly commended for their bravery in this action. Following completion of his tour in the Mediterranean in 1805, Henley made a merchant voyage to distant ports and then in September 1807, assumed command of Gunboat No. 20. Henley then served a tour in Washington and with the outbreak of war against the British was ordered to Charleston in June 1813 to command schooner Carolina. His ship was destroyed 27 December 1814 off New Orleans during a fierce struggle in which the few small warships played a decisive role in delaying the powerful British attack and bringing victory. For his part in the victory at New Orleans 8 January 1815 Henley was highly commended by General Andrew Jackson. Promoted to Captain 5 March 1817, Henley commanded John Adams in the West Indies and Congress in the Indian Ocean before taking command of Macedonian in the struggle against West Indian pirates in 1822. Captain Henley served as commandant of the Charleston and Baltimore stations an dthe Portsmouth Navy Yard, New Hampshire, 1826 to 1832. On 16 August 1832 he was given command of the West India Squadron with Vandalia as his flagship. Captain Henley died on board Vandalia in Havana, Cuba, 23 May 1835.
(DD-762: dp. 2200; l. 376'5" ; b. 41'; dr. 15'8" ; s. 34 k.; cpl. 336; a. 6 5", 16 40mm., 10 20mm., 5 21" tt, 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Allen M. Sumner)
The third Henley (DD-762) was launched 8 April 1945 by Bethlehem Steel Co., San Francisco ; sponsored by Mrs. George S. Wheaton, a descendant of Captain John D. Henley; and commissioned 8 October 1946, Comdr. Dwight L. Moody in command.
After shakedown in the Pacific, Henley headed east, reporting to the Sonar School at Key West 19 February 1947 for a 5-month tour of duty. She then reported to Norfolk, from which she sailed 28 July for her first Mediterranean cruise, which terminated 1 December at Boston. On her second tour in the Mediterranean, Henley patrolled with other U.N. 'Ships in the summer of 1948 as the Israeli-Arab dispute threatened to erupt into war. After a year of tactical training exercises and fleet maneuvers, Henley decommissioned at Charleston 15 March 1950. Less than 6 months later, with the outbreak of war in Korea, Henley went back in commission, rejoining the active fleet 23 'September. Shakedown over, she sailed July 1951 for another tour with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. Henley was detached from this duty and made a cruise to northern European ports, including a journey up the Seine to Rouen, before returning to Norfolk in February 1952.
In company with Destroyer Division 221, Henley departed Norfolk 25 September 1953 for a world cruise which was to take her 44,000 miles in 218 days. During this period, Henley sailed through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal, participated in the filming of "The Bridges of Toko-Ri" off the Korean and Japanese coasts, operated with the 7th Fleet in Asian waters, and returned to the States via the Panama Canal and the Caribbean. Following years fell into a pattern for Henley as she alternated Mediterranean cruises with ASW and other tactical exercises off the East Coast and in the Caribbean. In 1959 she joined Task Force 47 for the Inland Seas Cruise to the Great Lakes through the newly completed St. Lawrence Seaway. Nearly 75,000 mid-westerners visited this representative of the "salt-water navy" in her 2-month cruise.
When a crisis erupted in the fall of 1962 over offensive missiles stationed in Cuba, Henley joined the fleet "quarantining" the island and reasserting America's commitment to democracy as well as self-defense. Following this impressive demonstration of sea power, she then returned to a peacetime pattern of readiness operations.
On 1 October 1964, Henley became a Group I, Naval Reserve training ship assigned to the Anti-Submarine Warfare Component of the Naval Reserve. Following overhaul at Newport News, Va., and refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, she began the first of numerous Naval Reserve training cruises out of Norfolk, Va., 1 May 1965. Manned by a nucleus crew, she cruised along the Atlantic Coast and into the Caribbean during the next 2 years and provided valuable service as an at-sea training platform for hundreds of Naval Reservists. Into mid-1967 she continued this vital duty both for officers and men of the Naval Reserve and the Nation. With her anticraft and shore bombardment capabilities, Henley maintains a state of readiness that would allow the ship to begin immediate operations with the Atlantic Fleet in any emergency.