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USS Johnston (DD-557)

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USS Johnston (DD-557)

Commissioned during World War II on October 27, 1943, USS Johnston (DD-557) was a Fletcher-class destroyer.  Named after Civil War First Master Lieutenant John V. Johnston, she was built at Seattle, Washington.  Ordered to the Pacific, she participated in the Marshall and Mariana Islands Campaigns.  On May 15, 1944, she assisted in the sinking of Japanese submarine I-176

On October 25, 1944, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Earnest E. Evans, Johnston was supporting the Leyte Campaign by providing support to the escort carrier task force.   Coming under an overwhelming strong attack by a Japanese battleship and cruiser force during the Battle off Samar, she was lost during this action.   With the other U.S. Navy ships, the destroyer's efforts were instrumental in saving most of the carriers and preventing the Japanese fleet from reaching the Leyte invasion area. 

In 2019, the destroyer was discovered by the late Paul Allen's vessel R/V Petrel  but laid deeper than the depth limit of the vessel.   In March 2021, a privately funded expedition by two former U.S. Navy officers in the submersible DSV Limiting Factor relocated, surveyed, and filmed Johnston where she lies at a depth of 21, 180 feet.   Her number and other armaments are still in place and are visible on the superstructure. 

Other Resources:

The Battle off Samar:  The Sacrifice of "Taffy 3"

Image:   NH 63495:  USS Johnston (DD-557), October 1943.  Off Seattle or Tacoma, Washington.  NHHC Photograph Collection.