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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Sims

 

William S. Sims, born in 1858 in Ontario, Canada, was appointed to the Naval Academy in 1876 and graduated in 1880. Seventeen years of sea duty were followed by assignments as Naval Attaché to Paris, St. Petersburg, and Madrid. Sims next served as Inspector of Target Practice; and, under his supervision, the naval gunnery system increased the rapidity of hits 100 percent and the general effectiveness of fire 500 percent. He also served as Naval Aide to President Theodore Roosevelt for two and one-half years.

 

On 11 February 1917, Sims became President of the Naval War College. In March 1917, he was designated by the Secretary of the Navy as Representative of the Navy Department in London. With the entry of the United States into World War I in April, he was ordered to assume command of all American destroyers, tenders, and auxiliaries operating from British bases. In May, he was designated as Commander of United States Destroyers Operating from British Bases, with the rank of Vice Admiral; and, in June, his title was changed to Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters. On 10 December 1917, he assumed additional duty as Naval Attaché, London, England. The North Sea Mine Barrage was laid under his direction.

 

Admiral Sims again became President of the Naval War College in April 1919 and served in that capacity until his retirement on 15 October 1922. He died at Boston, Mass., on 25 September 1936.

 

II

 

(DE-154: dp. 1,400; l. 306'; b. 36'10"; dr. 11'6"; s. 24 k.; cpl. 204; a. 1 5", 6 40mm., 3 21" tt.; cl. Buckley)

 

The second Sims (DE-154) was laid down on 7 September 1942 by the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va.; launched on 6 February 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Anne H. Sims; and commissioned on 24 April 1943, Lt. Comdr. Charles G. Raible in command.

 

After fitting out, Sims completed her shakedown off Bermuda. She was then assigned to Task Group (TG) 21.6 escorting tankers from Curacao to Londonderry, Northern Ireland. After two such runs, the western terminus was changed to New York, and the escort made eight more trips escorting tankers from New York to Londonderry. In the 20 crossings, only one tanker was sunk by a U-boat.

 

On 23 September 1944, Sims entered the Boston Navy Yard for conversion into a high-speed transport. The work completed, Sims (now designated APD-50) departed Boston on 6 December 1944 for Norfolk, Va. She served as a training ship there until 24 January 1945 when she put to sea. After transiting the Panama Canal, and a brief shakedown period at San Diego, the transport arrived at Pearl Harbor on 20 February.

 

Sims sailed for the Philippine Islands on 5 March and arrived there on the 21st. A week later, the transport stood out of Leyte Gulf as part of Task Unit 51.13.16, bound for the invasion of Okinawa. Except for two fast convoy trips to Ulithi, she remained off Okinawa from 1 April to 27 May. During this period, the ship was part of the antiaircraft and antisubmarine screen around the island. She shot down an attacking Japanese bomber on 16 April. On 3 and 4 May and again on 13 and 14 May, Sims assisted in the search for survivors of picket destroyers hit by kamikaze aircraft.

 

On the evening of 18 May, two kamikaze planes made a combined attack. Both planes, hit by antiaircraft fire, crashed into the water on her port side with a violent explosion that lifted and shook the entire ship. The shock caused serious oil leaks and considerable damage to machinery and equipment. The crew repaired the damage, and Sims continued patrolling. On the 24th, she was again attacked by a kamikaze. The plane, even though hit by antiaircraft fire, crashed close aboard to starboard. Sims was sprayed with shrapnel which wounded 11 of her crew. Later that day, a fire and rescue party was sent on board Barry (APD-29) which had been hit by a kamikaze. Fires prevented flooding her magazine, and she had been abandoned. Sims' party helped bring the fires under control, and Barry was taken undertow by a tug. Sims departed Okinawa on 27 May with a convoy which she escorted to Saipan before continuing on to Leyte for damage repairs.

 

The transport was back on patrol off Okinawa on 26 June. On 14 August, Sims rendezvoused at sea with the Tokyo Bay Occupation Force south of Japan. Theship landed a group of British marines and Royal Navy personnel at the Yokosuka Naval Base on 30 August. The following day, she landed a company of United States Marines at the Tateyama Naval Air Station and stood by and took them off again when they were relieved by 8th Army units on 3 September. Sims then made a voyage to Iwo Jima, after which she operated in the Japanese home waters until 28 November. On that date, she stood out of Tokyo Bay en route to the eastern seaboard of the United States. The transport disembarked 208 passengers at San Diego on 17 December 1945, and continued to New York for preinactivation overhaul.

 

Sims was decommisisoned at Green Cove Springs, Fla., on 24 April 1946 and placed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She remained inactive until struck from the Navy list on 1 June 1960. Her hulk was sold to the North American Smelting Co., Wilmington, Del., on 14 April 1961 and scrapped.

 

Sims received one battle star for World War II services.