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USS Helm (DD-388)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Helm (DD-388)

USS Helm (DD-388) was laid down on 25 September 1935 at Portsmouth, Va., by the Norfolk Navy Yard; launched on 27 May 1937; and sponsored by Mrs. Edith Benham Helm, widow of the late Rear Adm. Helm. Commissioned on 16 October 1937, Lt. Cmdr. Paul H. Talbot in command, Helm conducted her shakedown cruise to the British West Indies, after which she operated in the Caribbean until March 1938.

Following summer exercises, she was then attached to the newly formed Atlantic Squadron on 1 October 1938 and early in 1939, stood out of Hampton Roads in company with USS Enterprise (CV-6) (Rear Adm. William F. Halsey, Jr., Commander Carrier Division 2, embarked) and USS Yorktown (CV-5) to participate in Fleet Problem XX. USS Helm (DD-388) departed Pearl Harbor on 9 February 1942 in a convoy bound for San Francisco, Calif., arriving on 16 February. She underwent an overhaul at Mare Island Navy Yard (17-27 February) and then got underway on 28 February for a return to Pearl Harbor, reaching her destination on 12 March.

USS Helm (DD-388) departed on 14 May 1942 with orders to proceed to the Coral Sea to search for survivors of the oiler Neosho (AO-23), attacked and set ablaze by Japanese aircraft on 7 May during the Battle of the Coral Sea. Arriving at Noumea on 2 June 1943, USS Helm (DD-388) was assigned to TF 10 of the Third Fleet. She departed on 6 June; rendezvousing with a tanker, the destroyer escorted her into Noumea on 9 June. The next day, USS Helm (DD-388), in company with Mugford and Bagley, escorted a convoy to Brisbane. Upon their arrival on 14 June, USS Helm (DD-388) received orders detaching her from the Third Fleet. Re-assigned to the Seventh Fleet, she departed Brisbane on 15 June and returned to Challenger Bay two days later.

After spending much of early December 1943, escorting vessels into Milne Bay and conducting training exercises, USS Helm (DD-388) departed on 14 December with TF 74 under Rear Adm. Crutchley for the operating area in the Solomons Sea, east of Kiriwina, to serve as the covering force for the U.S. Sixth Army’s amphibious landing at Arawae, New Britain. USS Helm (DD-388) sortied, bound for Lingayen Gulf, with the task group on 1 January 1945. The ships entered the Surigao Strait at dawn on 3 January, and as they entered the Sulu Sea at 1718 on 4 January, heavy air attacks began. On 10 February 1945, USS Helm (DD-388) sortied from Ulithi en route to Saipan as part of TG 52.2. Arriving on 12 February, the task group departed that same day for the invasion of Iwo Jima. USS Helm (DD-388) deployed in the screen for a group of escort carriers and arrived off the island on 16 February. USS Helm (DD-388) returned to San Diego on 19 November 1945, then steamed back to Pearl Harbor where she was decommissioned on 26 June 1946. USS Helm (DD-388) was used later that summer as a target ship during Operation Crossroads, the atomic tests in the Pacific. USS Helm (DD-388) was stricken from the Naval Register on 25 February 1947. 

For a complete history of USS Helm (DD-388) please see its DANFS page.