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Foote III (DD-511)

(DD-511: dp. 2,050; l. 376'6"; b. 40'; dr. 17'9"; s. 37 k.; cpl. 273; a. 5 5", 10 21" tt, 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Fletcher)

Andrew Hull Foote, born 12 September 1806 at New Haven, Conn., entered the Navy 4 December 1822 as a midshipman. Commanding Portsmouth in the East India Squadron on 20 and 21 November 1856, Foote led a landing party which seized the barrier forts at Canton, China, in reprisal for attacks on American ships. From 30 August 1861 to 9 May 1862, Foote commanded the Naval Forces on Western Rivers with distinction, organizing and leading the gunboat flotilla in the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson and Island No. 10. Wounded in action at Fort Donelson, Foote was commissioned Rear Admiral 16 July 1862, and was on his way to take command of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron when he died at New York 26 June 1863.


The third Foote (DD-511) was launched 11 October 1942 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. J. C. Aspinwall, granddaughter of Admiral Foote; and commissioned 22 December 1942, Commander Bernard L. Austin in command.

After escorting a convoy to Casablanca between 1 April 1943 and 9 May, Foote prepared for Pacific duty, and on 28 June arrived at Noumea, New Caledonia, to join Destroyer Squadron 23. Through the next 3 months, she escorted convoys from Noumea to Guadalcanal, Efate, Espiritu Santo, Vella Lavella, and Rendova. From 27 to 29 September, she hunted Japanese barges evacuating troops from Kolombangara, and on the last night, attacked such a group, probably sinking two. While McCalla (DD-488) was working to correct steering trouble that night, Foote drove off a lone Japanese aircraft, then stood by McCalla and Patterson (DD-392) after the two collided, until a tug arrived on the scene.

Putting into Vella Lavella 1 October 1943 with an LST convoy which she had joined at sea, Foote joined in fighting off an enemy air attack later that day, splashing at least one plane. She escorted the LSTs back to Guadalcanal, returning to convoy duty until

covering the landings on the Treasuries 26 and 27 October. She put out from Purvis Bay 31 October to bombard Buka and the Shortlands, neutralizing enemy airfields to prevent air opposition to the Bougainville landings. Alerted to the movement of an enemy task force, Foote made contact by radar in the early morning of 2 November, and in the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay which followed, she was hit by an enemy torpedo which blew off her stern, as the other ships of her division launched the torpedo attacks which helped sink two Japanese ships and turned back the planned assault by the Japanese task force on the shipping off Bougainville. With 3 killed and 17 wounded, Foote's men kept their ship afloat despite the fact that both engines were stopped, steering control lost and the main deck awash aft. They also manned their guns to splash at least one wave of Japanese planes which attacked the American ships the next morning. She was towed into Purvis Bay 4 November for repairs.

Returning to San Pedro, Calif., 4 March 1944 towed by merchant tanker SS Gulf Star, Foote was repaired and modernized. Between 6 August and 24 October, she served as a training ship for precommissioning crews of new destroyers, sailing out of San Francisco. Bound for action once more, she crossed the Pacific to Kossol Roads, where she arrived 13 November to join the screen of a carrier force providing air cover for convoys from Manus reinforcing troops at Leyte. Foote replenished at Manus from 27 November to 9 December, then sailed for Leyte, arriving 13 December.

Foote put to sea 19 December 1944 to guard a convoy to Mindoro, which was attacked several times by suicide planes. The destroyer splashed at least one of these, as well as rescuing survivors from two LSTs which were hit. Returning to Leyte 24 December, she prepared for the Lingayen invasion, for which she sailed screening amphibious forces 4 January 1945. Before the landings of 9 January, she fired in several enemy air attacks, and bombarded the beaches. After a fast voyage to Leyte to escort a resupply convoy, Foote took up screening and patrol duty in Lingayen Gulf until returning to Leyte 31 March.

The destroyer had escort and training duty between Leyte, Manus, and Morotai through 13 May 1945, when she got underway from Leyte for picket duty off Okinawa. During the numerous enemy air attacks while she was on station, she was credited with knocking down at least one plane, and suffered two men wounded from the effect of a near miss on 24 May. She took part in the landings of 3 to 6 June at Iheya Shima, and those of 9 June at Aguni Shima, and patrolled off Okinawa until sailing 10 September for the east coast of the United States. Arriving at New York 17 October 1945, Foote was decommissioned 18 April 1946.

Foote received four battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Wed Jul 08 13:18:03 EDT 2015