Lawrence Kearny was born in Perth Amboy, N.J., 30 November 1789 and appointed Midshipman in the Navy 24 July 1807. Commodore Kearny was known for his tenacity in capturing slave traders in West-Indian waters and his tireless efforts in fighting Greek pirates in the Mediterranean. In the early 1840's he began negotiations with China which opened that country to U.S. trade and pointed the way toward the American "Open Door Policy" a half century later. He later served as Commandant at the Norfolk and New York Naval Shipyards. Retiring 14 November 1861, Commodore Kearny died at Perth Amboy, N. J., 29 November 1868.
(DD-432: displacement 2,060; length 347'4"; beam 36'1"; draft 11'10"; speed 33 knots; complement 208; armament 4 5-inch, 12 .50 caliber machine guns, 2 10-inch torpedo tubes, 2 depth charge tracks; class Gleaves)
Kearny (DD-432) was launched 9 March 1940 by the Federal Ship Building & Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N. J.; sponsored by Miss Mary Kearny; and commissioned on 13 September 1940, Cmdr. Anthony L. Danis in command.
After shakedown and sea trials, Kearny got underway 19 February 1941 from New York Harbor for St. Thomas, V.I., where she took part in the "Neutrality Patrol" off Fort de France, Martinique, French West Indies, until 9 March. The new destroyer patrolled around San Juan, P.R., and escorted ships in the Norfolk area until August when she sailed for Argentia, Newfoundland, to escort North Atlantic convoys.
While Kearny was escorting a convoy in the North Atlantic before the United States entered the war, three convoy merchant ships were torpedoed 16 October. Kearny immediately began dropping depth charges and continued to barrage throughout the night. At the beginning of the midwatch 17 October, a torpedo struck Kearny on starboard side. The capable crew confined flooding to the forward fire room enabling the ship to get out of the danger zone with power from the aft fire room. Regaining power in the forward fire room, Kearny steamed to Iceland at 10 knots, arriving 19 October. Kearny lost 11 bluejackets and 22 others were injured in this attack. After temporary repairs Kearny got underway Christmas Day 1941, and moored 6 days later at Boston, Mass., for permanent repairs.
From 5 April to 28 September 1942, Kearny was busy escorting convoys to the British Isles, Panama Canal, and Galveston, Tex. Late in September, she sailed to act as a fire support unit in the North African invasion. There she screened Texas and Savannah on fire support missions, shot down an enemy plane, and escorted troop ships to Safi, French Morocco. Kearny departed the invasion theater and escorted a convoy back to New York, arriving 3 December 1942.
Kearny escorted ships to Port of Spain, Recife, Brazil, and Casablanca until 15 November 1943, then joined the Core hunter-killer task group 25 November. During the day of 1 January 1944, in coordination with antisubmarine planes from Core, Kearny fired a depth charge attack on a submarine resulting in a large oil slick; she returned to New York 18 January.
Next month Kearny joined the 8th Fleet in French Algeria. She reported to Brooklyn 10 March for duty in Italy, where both warships engaged in supplying fire support for the 5th Army. Due to their daily fire-support trips to the Anzio beachhead area, the warships became known as the "Anzio Express." They later were commended by General Mark Clark for the accuracy of this fire support.
Kearny was detached from the group the beginning of June and steamed to Anzio alone to give Allied troops their last naval fire support prior to their breakthrough and capture of Rome. The veteran destroyer saw more convoy duty before sailing for the invasion of Southern France.
Kearny was inner fire support ship for Red Beach, Cavalaire Bay, France, and rendered counter-battery fire and pre-H-hour bombardment. She screened heavy fire support ships; laid smoke screens off Toulon; and, on 19 August 1944, began 2 months of duty screening transports carrying troops between Naples and southern France.
Afterward, Kearny made several cross-Atlantic voyages from New York to Oran. On 6 August 1945, Kearny transited the Panama Canal for duty in the Pacific, arriving at Pearl Harbor late in August after hostilities had ended. She escorted a transport squadron carrying occupation troops to Japan via Saipan, arriving at Wakayama, Japan, 27 September. During the next month Kearny made voyages to Philippine Islands and Okinawa before returning to Japan in October. She sailed from Wakayama, Japan, 29 October 1945 for home via Pearl Harbor, San Diego, and the Panama Canal, arriving Charleston, S.C., 5 December 1945. She decommissioned there 7 March 1946, and went into reserve. Kearny was subsequently moved to Orange, Tex. .
Kearny received three battle stars for service in World War II.