Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, born at Rocky Point, South Kingston, R.I., 20 August 1785, was appointed Midshipman 7 April 1799 and served in revenue cutter General Green during the Naval War with France. He fought in frigates Adams and Constellation during the Barbary Wars. In the War of 1812, Perry constructed and commanded a fleet of American warships on Lake Erie. When his flagship Lawrence was shattered and sinking in the Battle of Lake Erie, Perry fired her last effective gun, took his battle flag, and rowed across shot-splashed waters to Niagara where he fought on to victory, and reported, We have met the enemy and they are ours... The victory gave the United States control of Lake Erie and enabled Perry and General Harrison to take a large part of Canadian territory which helped American Commissioners at Ghent to negotiate a treaty favorable to the United States. When peace was restored, Perry commanded frigate Java in the Mediterranean. In May 1819 he went to Venezuela to seek help in protecting American ships off the northern coast of South America, waters then plagued by pirates. After sailing to the Spanish Main in John Adams, he ascended the Orinoco River in Nonsuch. At Angostura, Perry succeeded in negotiating a favorable treaty, but contracted fever and died 23 August 1819.
(DD844: dp. 2,425; l. 3906; b. 411; br. 186; s. 35 k.; cpl. 341; a. 6 5, 16 40mm., 17 20mm., 5 21 tt., 6 dcp.; cl. Gearing)
The fourth Perry (DD844) was laid down 14 May 1945 by the Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine; launched 25 October 1945; sponsored by Mrs. George Tilton; and commissioned 17 January 1946, Comdr. Clyde J. Van Arsdall, Jr., in command.
Following shakedown off Cuba and plane guard exercises off Pensacola, Perry departed the cast coast, 12 June 1946, for her first overseas deployment, a 9 month cruise which took her first to northern Europe, thence to the Mediterranean. There she joined other American units in patrolling off tension ridden areas bordering on that sea, particularly on the Adriatic, the Aegean, and the Dardanelles-Sea of Marmara-Bosporus. Returning to her homeport, Newport, 8 March 1947, she conducted local operations and exercises from Puerto Rico to Canada and, in addition, served as Engineering School Ship for Destroyer Forces, Atlantic Fleet, and, in October, assisted in fighting the fire which ravaged the Maine resort of Mt. Desert Island.
Perry remained in the western Atlantic until January 1951, when she got underway again for the Mediterranean. 6th Fleet operations were followed by exercises with the British Home Fleet and in May she returned to New England and plane guard duties, local operations and training exercises.
In 1952, following her 3rd Mediterranean tour, she again served as Engineering School Ship and participated in type, fleet, and NATO exercises until resuming overseas employment in 1954. In the Mediterranean from January to June, she served as Gunnery School Ship on her return.
During the next four years Perry regularly deployed to the Mediterranean, patrolling, in early 1956, off the Suez Canal as the United States attempted to promote a peaceful settlement to the mounting crisis between Israel and the Arab League nations.
Between 29 April 1959 and 10 May 1960 Perry underwent Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) Conversion, the first such conversion, at the Boston Naval Shipyard. In addition to improved living spaces, she received the latest in sonar and anti-submarine weaponry, including ASROC and DASH. Exercises in the Caribbean followed and, in August, she shifted her homeport to Mayport, Fla., whence she began operations with Task Group Alpha. Over the next 2 years she operated with that group, participated in Polaris missile tests in the Atlantic Missile Range, and conducted local operations and training cruises. On 2 August 1962, she departed Florida to resume overseas deployments and for the next seven years rotated between 6th Fleet and Middle East Force tours and operations in the western Atlantic, the latter including further Polaris tests, school ship duties for the Sonar School at Key West, and, in May 1966, patrol duties with TF 124 off the Dominican Republic.
In 1969, Perry interrupted her previous schedule and on 11 January got underway for duty in the western Pacific. Arriving at Subic Bay, P.I., 29 February, she joined the 7th Fleet for operations off Viet Nam. On 3 September she returned to Mayport and resumed her duties with the Atlantic Fleet, continuing them into 1970.
Perry, see also Commodore Perry