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USS Gillespie (DD-609)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Gillespie (DD-609)

USS Gillespie (DD-609) was launched 1 November 1942 by the Bethlehem Steep Corp., San Francisco, Calif.; sponsored by Mrs. Hugo W. Osterhaus, wife of Rear Admiral H. W. Osterhaus; and commissioned 18 September 1942, Lt. Comdr. C. L. Clement in command.

After shakedown the destroyer sailed from San Francisco 28 December 1942 for the fog-shrouded Aleutians and reached Sand Bay, Great Sitkin Island, 9 January 1943. USS Gillespie (DD-609)  returned to San Francisco 4 March for overhaul and subsequently sailed via San Diego and the Panama Canal to moor at New York 11 April 1943. Through the spring, summer, and fall of 1943 the destroyer made four round-trip transatlantic escort voyages to Casablanca, French Morocco, and return, shepherding troop and cargo ships to the North African theater. On 2 January 1944 USS Gillespie (DD-609) departed Norfolk for the Pacific, reaching Funafuti atoll 20 days later, and escorting troop ships thence to Milne Bay, New Guinea, where she put in 7 February.

Training exercises and patrolling occupied her until 27 May, when USS Gillespie (DD-609) lent fire support for the initial landings on Biak Island. Through the summer of 1944 the destroyer continued patrolling and training exercises off New Guinea and the Solomons, and was on hand from 15 September-14 October for screening activities during the amphibious assault on Peleliu in the Palau Islands. With success assured, USS Gillespie (DD-609)  sailed 14 October 1944 for overhaul at Bremerton, Wash., mooring there 5 November, and after refresher training, sailed from San Diego 3 January 1945.

From 13 March-28 May 1945 USS Gillespie (DD-609)  participated in the landings and occupation of Okinawa and adjacent islands of the Nansei-Shoto group. 8 April the destroyer came under attack by two Japanese planes, the first of which tried to kamikaze her. The smoking plane passed low over the fantail and made an abrupt wingover in an attempt to crash the ship, but USS Gillespie (DD-609) 's fire had been too accurate and the plane spun off into the sea. Minutes later, another plane came in and was quickly splashed. The destroyer put in at Ulithi 31 May and from 1 July to 15 August 1945 screened other warships during the pre-invasion softening up of the Japanese home islands. From 16 August to 2 September she continued her escort and patrolling duties, and anchored triumphantly in Tokyo Bay 10 September 1945. Underway once more 12 October, USS Gillespie (DD-609) sailed via Manila and Pearl Harbor to moor at San Diego 23 November, and steamed thence to close Boston 11 December. Following overhaul there, she reached Charleston, S.C., 14 January 1946 and USS Gillespie (DD-609)  decommissioned at that port 17 April 1946. In reserve since that time, she is now assigned to the Texas Group, U.S. Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Orange, Tex.

For a complete history of USS Gillespie (DD-609) please see its DANFS page.