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Collett (DD-730)

(DD-730: dp. 2,200; l. 376'; b. 41'1"; dr. 19,; s. 34 k.;cpl. 336; a. 6 5", 10 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Allen M. Summer)


John Austin Collett was born 31 March 1908 in Omaha, Nebr., and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1929. He was killed in action during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on 26 October 1942, while commanding Torpedo Squadron 10 in Enterprise (CV-6).

Collett (DD-730) was launched 5 March 1944 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. C. C. Baughman as proxy for Mrs. J. D. Collett; and commissioned 16 May 1944, Commander J. D. Collett in command. Assigned to the Pacific Fleet, Collett reached Pearl Harbor 16 October 1944 and Ulithi 3 November. From this base, she screened the mighty carrier task force variously designated TF 38 and TF 58 for the remainder of the war. She first saw action in the air raids on Luzon and Formosa, which accompanied the advance of ground forces on Leyte, and prepared for the invasion at Lingayen from November 1944 into January 1945. In January the carriers she screened continued to launch air attacks on Formosa, the China coast, and the Nansei Shoto, and on 16 and 17 February sailed daringly close to the Japanese coast to strike targets on Honshu before giving air cover to the invasion of Iwo Jima from 20 to 22 February.

Collett returned to Empire waters with the carrier task force to screen during air raids on Honshu 25 February 1945, joined in the bombardment of Okino Daito Shima 2 March, and returned to screening during the air strikes on Kyushu and southern Honshu of 18 to 20 March. From 23 March to 24 April, the force concentrated its strikes on Okinawa, invaded on 1 April. On 18 April Collett joined with four other destroyers and carrier aircraft to sink Japanese submarine 1-56 in 26-42' N., 130-38' E.

After replenishing at Ulithi, Collett rejoined TF 58 11 May 1945 for its final month of air strikes supporting the Okinawa operation, and from 10 July to 15 August sailed with the carriers as they flew their final series of heavy air attacks on the Japanese home islands. With her squadron, she swept through the Sagami Nada on 22 and 23 July, aiding in the sinking of several Japanese merchantmen. After patrol duty off Japan, and guarding the carriers as they flew air cover for the landing of occupation troops, Collett entered Tokyo Bay 14 September 1945, and 4 days later sailed for a west coast overhaul.

Remaining on active duty with the Pacific Fleet from World War II into 1960, Collett alternated local operations and cruises along the west coast with tours of duty in the Far East, the first of which came in 1946-47. She was in the Far East upon the outbreak of the Korean war in June 1950, and after patrolling off Pusan from her base at Sasebo, and escorting cargo ships laden with military supplies to Korea, she sailed up the difficult channel to Inchon on 13 September to begin the preinvasion bombardment. She carried out her mission, although hit four times by counterfire which wounded five of her men, and on the 15th, returned with the invasion force, to whom she provided gunfire support once the landings had been made, as well as protective cover at sea. Her outstanding accomplishment in the invasion of Inchon was recognized with the awarding of the Navy Unit Commendation. After taking part in the Wonsan landings on 26 October, she returned to San Diego 18 November 1950.

Her second tour of duty in the Korean war, from 18 June 1951 to 17 February 1952, found her screening TF 77 as it conducted air strikes on the Korean east coast, training with an antisubmarine group off Okinawa, patrolling in the Taiwan Straits, and conducting shore bombardments along the coast of Korea. Similar duty, aside from bombardment, was her assignment during her third tour, from 29 August 1952 to 9 April 1953.

From the close of the Korean war, Collett served in the Far East in 1953-54, 1954-55, 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1959. Early in 1960 she began an extensive modernization, which continued until July 1960. On 19 July 1960, Collett collided with Ammen (DD-527) off Long Beach, Calif., killing 11 and injuring 20, all members of Ammen's crew. Despite a badly smashed bow, Collett made port under her own power, entering the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for extensive repairs. Her bow was removed and replaced with that of Seaman (DD-791) an uncompleted destroyer in the Reserve Fleet. On 5 November 1960, Collett departed Long Beach for coastal operations, which continued intermittently for the remainder of the year.

Collett received six battle stars for World War II service, and in addition to the Navy Unit Commendation, six battle stars for the Korean war.

Published: Tue Jun 30 13:54:54 EDT 2015