Naval History and Heritage Command

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USS Gurke (DD-783)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Gurke (DD-783)

USS Gurke (DD-783) was launched 15 February 1945 by the Todd-Pacific Shipyards, Inc., Tacoma, Wash.; sponsored by Mrs. Julius Gurke, mother of Private Gurke; and commissioned 12 May 1945, Comdr. Kenneth Loveland in command.

After shakedown along the West Coast, USS Gurke (DD-783)  sailed for the Western Pacific 27 August 1945, reaching Pearl Harbor 2 September. From there she continued west to participate in the occupation of Japan and former Japanese possessions. Returning to her home port, San Diego, in February 1946, USS Gurke (DD-783)  participated in training operations until 4 September 1947 when she sailed for another WesPac cruise.

USS Gurke (DD-783)  departed San Diego 5 August 1950 and arrived at Yokosuka 19 August to screen fast carrier task forces off the west coast of Korea, 25 August-6 September. She shared with five other destroyers the award of the Navy Unit Commendation to Task Element 90.62 for extraordinary heroism in support of the landing at Inchon, 13-15 September 1950. After the Inchon landings, USS Gurke (DD-783)  screened fast attack carriers launching powerful strikes against enemy positions and supply lines. She also patrolled the narrow Formosa Straits to prevent Chinese Communist invasion of Formosa and to insure that Formosa was not used as a base for military operations against the Chinese mainland. During the first year of war USS Gurke (DD-783)  frequently served as flagship of Vice Admiral Struble and the 7th Fleet's Carrier Task Force 77.

When the shooting stopped in Korea in August 1953, USS Gurke (DD-783)  continued patrols in the Far East to help keep the peace. Six to eight month deployments to the Western Pacific were alternated with stateside overhauls and training in a full peacetime routine. In June 1962, USS Gurke (DD-783)  participated in a series of nuclear tests off Christmas Island. She entered the Puget Sound Naval 'Shipyard 11 July 1963 for modernization overhaul, emerging 1 May 1964 with new equipment ranging from antisubmarine rocket launchers to the latest in air search radar and electronic detection devices. 

After a brief respite in Hong Kong, Formosa, and the Philippines in August, USS Gurke (DD-783) resumed duty in the Gulf of Tonkin in September and set a record in completing 113 in-flight refuelings. On this assignment she bombarded Viet Cong positions in the Mekong and Saigon River deltas. After being relieved early in the fall, the destroyer returned home, via Okinawa and Japan, arriving San Diego 16 November. In 1967, she operated along the West Coast and prepared for future action.

For a complete history of USS Gurke (DD-783) please see its DANFS page.