Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Colhoun II (DD-801)

(DD-801: dp. 2,050; l. 376'6"; b. 39'8"; dr. 17'9"; cpl. 320; a. 5 5", 10 21" tt, 6 dcp., 2 dct; cl. Fletcher)

Born 6 May 1821 at Chambersburg, Pa., Edmund Ross Colhoun was appointed a midshipman 1 April 1839. He served during the Mexican War with Commodores Conner and Perry at Alvarado and Tabasco. During the Civil War he served on both the North and South Atlantic Blockading Squadrons, had command of the monitor Weehawken, and was commended for his participation in the bombardment and capture of Fort Fisher, N.C., from December 1864 to January 1865. He commanded the South Pacific Station (1874-5), Mare Island Navy Yard (1877-81), and retired from the Navy 5 May 1883. Rear Admiral Colhoun died 17 February 1897.


The second Colhoun (DD-801) was launched 10 April 1944 by Todd-Pacific Shipbuilding Corp., Seattle, Wash.; sponsored by Captain K. K. Johnson, WAC; and commissioned 8 July 1944, Commander G. R. Wilson in command.

Colhoun arrived at Pearl Harbor 10 October 1944 for training and patrol duty. Arriving off Iwo Jima 19 February 1945, she screened transports, served as radar picket and gave fire support for the invasion. On 1 March she was hit by a salvo from heavy enemy batteries ashore, which killed one man and injured 16. After repairs at Saipan, Colhoun sailed for Okinawa, arriving 31 March for radar picket duty.

At 1530 on 6 April 1945 during the first heavy kamikaze raid Colhoun received a request for help from Bush (DD-529) and sped to her aid. Interposing her guns between the crippled Bush and the attacking suicide planes, Colhoun downed three planes before a kamikaze crashed into the 40mm. mount scattering flaming wreckage across the ship and dropping a bomb into the after fireroom where it exploded. Retaining power and using emergency steering, Colhoun awaited the next attacking trio, splashing the first two and taking the third on the starboard side. The bomb from the suicide plane exploded, breaking Colhoun's keel, piercing both boilers, ripping a 20' by 4' hole below the waterline and starting oil and electric fires. Operating the remaining guns manually, Colhoun gamely faced yet another wave of three attackers splashing one, damaging another, and taking the third suicide plane aboard aft. This airplane's bomb bounced overboard and exploded, adding another 3' hole to allow more flooding. Colhoun valiantly struggled to stay afloat, but a final suicide plane crashed into the bridge in a mass of flames. At 1800 LCS-48 took off all but a skeleton crew which remained on board while a tug attempted to tow Colhoun to Okinawa. Heavy listing, uncontrolled flooding, and fires made it impossible to save her and she was sunk by gunfire from Cassin Young at 27- 16' N., 127-48' E. Her casualties were 32 killed and 23 wounded, two of whom later died.

Colhoun received one battle star for World War II service.

Published: Tue Jun 30 13:50:00 EDT 2015