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Reid III (DD-369) 

1936–1944

The third ship to be named for Capt. Samuel Chester Reid. See Reid I (Destroyer No. 21) for biography.

III

(DD-369: displacement 1,480; length 341'3"; beam 34'8"; draft 17'; speed 35 knots; complement 264; armament 4 5-inch, 12 21-inch torpedo tubes, 2 depth charge tracks; class Mahan)

The third Reid (DD-369) was laid down on 25 June 1934 at Kearny, N.J., by Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.; launched on 11 January 1936, and sponsored by Mrs. Beatrice (Reid) Power, a direct descendant of Capt. Samuel C. Reid.


Reid being launched at Kearny, 11 January 1936. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 60503)
Caption: Reid being launched at Kearny, 11 January 1936. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 60503)

Commissioned on 2 November 1936 at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y., Cmdr. Robert B. Carney in command, Reid went into dry dock on 6 November and remained on keel blocks through the end of the month, her crew enjoying Thanksgiving ashore in Brooklyn. On 7 December, the destroyer steamed to the vicinity of Ambrose Light, Lower New York Bay, in order to conduct some “shakedown tests.” She returned to New York on 10 December, and moored port side to Pier D, Berth 4.  Reid steamed to Newport R.I., on 14 December, and arrived there early the next morning. At Newport, the ship took on a load of torpedoes and then at approximately 1400 got underway for Yorktown, Va. She arrived later that evening and then headed back to New York, arriving there just before midnight on 16 December.

Reid remained at her moorings in New York through Christmas, and then just after the start of the New Year, on 4 January 1937, she got underway for her first major voyage, bound for the Mediterranean Sea. The destroyer first made her way to Yorktown, arriving there on 5 January and then, at 1235 that same day, shaped a course for Funchal, Madeira. Reid arrived at Funchal on 14 January and shortly thereafter Cmdr. Carney met with both the governor and the military commandant of Madeira.

Departing Madeira on 17 January 1937, Reid shaped a course for Gibraltar. As she approached Cape Spartel, an active conflict zone of the Spanish Civil War that had been raging since the previous summer, her crew went to general quarters, in case of “an attack from either faction.” The destroyer passed through the area without incident and at 0842 on 18 January, she anchored at Gibraltar in 24 fathoms of water. At 1245 that same day, she got back underway steaming for Bizerte, Tunisia.

Following a short two-day trip, Reid arrived at Bizerte on 20 January 1937, and received visits from the American Consul and several French military officials. The destroyer weighed anchor on 25 January and steamed for Piraeus, Attica, Greece, arriving there at 1115 on the 27th. After visiting with some Greek military officials, she got underway again on 1 February, shaping a course for Palermo, Sicily. Reid arrived in Palermo on the 4th and moored port side to Molo Piave, Inner Harbor; shortly after mooring, most of her crew disembarked for some highly anticipated shore leave.


Reid moored at Piraeus, Greece, during her Mediterranean Cruise, photograph taken between 27 and 31 January 1937. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 86753)
Caption: Reid moored at Piraeus, Greece, during her Mediterranean Cruise, photograph taken between 27 and 31 January 1937. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 86753)

With her cruise in the Mediterranean at an end, Reid cleared Palermo on 8 February 1937 and shaped a course for Hamilton, Bermuda, British West Indies. She steamed across the Atlantic for the better part of the month, at last arriving at Hamilton on 21 February. The destroyer remained at anchor there for several days, receiving mail, as well as a brief visit from some British naval officers. At 0749, on 27 February, Reid got underway for New York. During the majority of her voyage back to the East Coast, she encountered heavy seas, which greatly slowed her progress. Weather notwithstanding, the destroyer eventually arrived at her destination on 12 March and moored port side to Pier D, Berth 5 at New York.


The officers and men of the destroyer Reid posing for a picture at the New York Navy Yard, circa 1937. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 86794)
Caption: The officers and men of the destroyer Reid posing for a picture at the New York Navy Yard, circa 1937. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 86794)

A few days after her arrival at New York, Reid went into dry dock for several months. On 28 April 1937, she came off the blocks and shifted into regular moorings at the Navy Yard pier. The ship remained idle at port until 25 June, getting underway early that morning for Norfolk, Va. She arrived at Naval Operating Base, Norfolk on the 27th, and moored to pier 7. On 28 June, she continued on to Jacksonville, Fla., arriving there on the 30th. Reid anchored at Jacksonville for only a few short hours before continuing on her way to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where she finally arrived on 3 July.

The same day she arrived at Guantanamo Bay, 30 members of Reid’s crew disembarked to participate in rifle training on shore. On 6 July 1937, “steaming under boilers 1 and 2 at 16 knots,” Reid headed for Cristóbal, Canal Zone. The destroyer arrived at Cristóbal on 7 July and a few hours later began transiting the Panama Canal. Immediately after exiting the locks, Reid continued on her voyage to San Diego, California. The ship arrived at San Diego, on 17 July and moored to buoy 62.

On 5 August 1937, Reid shifted over to Mare Island, Calif., for an overhaul. She returned to San Diego on the 14th and then from that port started making daily excursions out to sea to conduct exercises. Of particular note, on 8 September, she conducted torpedo firing exercises with the submarines Nautilus (SS-168), Dolphin (SS-169), and Tarpon (SS-175). Reid returned to San Diego on the night of the 8th and then remained moored and inactive at the dock there for the next several months.


Reid steaming from San Diego, Calif., to Mare Island, Calif., on 5 August 1937. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 63126)
Caption: Reid steaming from San Diego, Calif., to Mare Island, Calif., on 5 August 1937. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 63126)

Reid briefly stirred from her moorings on 15 November 1937, getting underway with Destroyer Flotilla One to conduct exercises at sea. A few days later on the 20th she returned to San Diego and again remained idle at port for the next few months. On 16 January 1938, Reid fired up her boilers and steamed to a designated Plane Guard Station at sea, in the vicinity of San Clemente Island. The following day she made the brief voyage to San Pedro, Calif., where she arrived on the 18th.

On 1 February 1938, Reid got underway from San Pedro and made her way to San Clemente to conduct tactical exercises. She anchored there on 2 February, in berth D-20, Pyramid Cove, San Clemente. Just after midnight on the 2nd the destroyer put back to sea to aid in the recovery of a patrol plane that crashed in the area, but located no wreckage. Reid arrived back at San Diego on 5 February, and just two days later on the 7th she entered dry dock. The ship returned to her regular moorings on the 9th and then began making daily excursions to the San Clemente area for exercises; returning in the evenings to San Diego.

Standing out from San Diego on 15 March 1938, Reid joined Destroyer Flotilla One and the aircraft carrier Ranger (CV-4) en route to Pearl Harbor, T.H. The destroyer arrived at Pearl on 30 March and anchored at berth X-107 in 13 fathoms of water. The next day she shifted over to Lāhainā Roads, T.H., and then remained at anchor for the rest of the week. She briefly got underway on 4 April, to patrol the area with Destroyer Flotilla One, but remained in the vicinity of her anchorage at Lāhainā. On 18 April, Reid stood out from Lāhainā and voyaged with Destroyer Flotilla One back to San Diego, arriving there on the 28th.

Reid remained moored at San Diego for several months. Finally, on 12 July 1938, she steamed to San Francisco, anchoring there for just under a week. The destroyer made her way back to San Diego on 16 July, and again remained idle at the port there for several months. On 9 October, Reid shifted over to Mare Island for an overhaul that lasted until December. She eventually returned to San Diego on the 23rd, just in time for Christmas.

En route to a patrol in the Caribbean, Reid stood out from San Diego on 4 January 1939, and shaped a course for the C.Z. The destroyer docked at the coal deck at San Cristóbal on 14 January and re-provisioned. On the 15th she anchored in berth 113 at Limon Bay, Colón, Panama, and on the 19th got underway for Gonaïves, Haiti. Reid arrived at Gonaïves on 21 January and within a few days shifted over to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She then steamed out of Port-au-Prince on the 29th and arrived at Guantanamo, to conduct exercises with Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 1. In the first week of February, Reid made several more brief trips between Guantanamo and Haiti. She steamed from Guantanamo to Haiti (3 February); Haiti to Guantanamo (4 February); Guantanamo to Haiti (6 February); and finally back to Guantanamo again on 11 February.

On 13 February 1939, Reid steamed out of Guantanamo in company with the aircraft carrier Yorktown (CV-5) to conduct exercises at sea. She anchored at Culebra Island, Puerto Rico, on 27 February, and then on 3 March got underway for Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic. The destroyer moored port side to the seawall at Ciudad Trujillo on 3 March and remained in that area for just over a week. On the 12th she steamed back to Guantanamo and during the remainder of the month made another round trip between Guantanamo and Haiti, voyaging first from Guantanamo to Haiti on 18 March and then from Haiti back to Guantanamo on 1 April.

In company with fellow destroyer Mahan (DD-364), Reid quit Caribbean waters on 7 April 1939, standing out from Guantanamo and shaping a course for Washington D.C. On 11 April, she passed Mount Vernon, firing the customary salute, and then shortly thereafter, moored at the Washington Navy Yard. The destroyer shifted over to Yorktown on the morning of 20 April and then later that afternoon got underway for the C.Z., with DesRon 1. Reid arrived at Coco Solo, Panama on the 26th, and then two days later on the 28th began her transit of the Panama Canal. On 1 May, she anchored in berth N-13 at Balboa.

Reid continued her return voyage to California on 3 May 1939, getting underway from Balboa early that morning. Following a nine-day voyage she arrived at San Diego on 12 May and then remained inactive at the port there for the next two months. On 30 June, she steamed to San Francisco only to again remain moored for several weeks. Finally, on 17 July Reid stood out from San Francisco and joined with DesRon 5 to perform some exercises at sea. The destroyer returned to San Diego on the 19th, and then began an eight-month period of inactivity in which she got underway only a few times to conduct occasional daylong exercises at Coronado Island, Calif.


Reid’s ship’s company photographed in the Spring of 1940, just prior to a voyage to Lāhainā Roads, T.H. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 86752)
Caption: Reid’s ship’s company photographed in the Spring of 1940, just prior to a voyage to Lāhainā Roads, T.H. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 86752)

In her first extended return to sea in months, Reid stood out of San Diego on 1 April 1940, accompanying the rest of the Pacific fleet as it headed for Hawaiian waters to conduct Fleet Problem XXI, the last of the major prewar fleet exercises. Reid first steamed to San Pedro to join Yorktown and then on 2 April, she took up a screening station with the carrier before beginning the voyage to Lāhainā Roads. She arrived at Lāhainā on 10 April and there, her crew enjoyed several days of shore leave. On the 15th, Reid left her moorings at Lāhainā to accompany DesRon 5 on a patrol of the surrounding waters. On 26 April, the destroyer anchored at Pearl and then along with much of the rest of the fleet remained inactive at the port there for several months acting as a deterrent against an increasingly aggressive Imperial Japan.

Reid weighed anchor for a brief patrol of Hawaiian waters on 9 September 1940, but after just one day at sea, she returned to port and remained moored for several weeks. On 5 November, she got underway with DesRon 5 bound for San Diego. On the 10th, she arrived at her destination and moored to the Broadway pier. Reid shifted over to the Bethlehem Steel Company dock at San Pedro, on 26 November, for an overhaul, and remained there through the end of the month. On 9 December, she again quit West Coast waters and made her way back to Pearl, arriving there on the 15th.

After remaining in port for the better part of three months, on 3 March 1941, Reid, in company with the destroyers Cassin (DD-372), Clark (DD-361), Conyngham (DD-371), and Downes (DD-375), as well as the heavy cruisers Chicago (CA-29) and Portland (CA-33), put to sea for a cruise in the South Pacific. She first voyaged to Samoa, American Territory, arriving there on 9 March, and then on the 12th steamed to Sydney, Australia. Reid arrived at Sydney in company with the others on 20 March, and then three days later, on the 23rd, proceeded on to Brisbane. She stood out from Brisbane on 28 March and arrived at Suva, Fiji, a few days later. Bringing the cruise to an end, Reid and her counterparts departed Suva on 3 April and arrived back at Pearl on the 10th, where the destroyer remained at port through November of that year.

On the evening of Saturday, 6 December 1941, Reid moored to buoy X-Ray 8 at Pearl Harbor waiting to go into dry dock. The destroyer remained idle at her moorings on the morning of the 7 December, when Japan launched a surprise attack against U.S. military forces on Oahu. At approximately 0810, as her crew became aware of the attack, her machine guns opened fire on incoming Japanese planes; the combined fire of the group of destroyers nested with Reid downed at least one of the enemy aircraft. In the wake of the devastating air raid, Reid steamed out of the harbor to search for a Japanese submarine, and she thereafter participated in a number of patrols conducted around the Hawaiian Islands and Palmyra Atoll. On 1 January 1942, she moored at Pearl.

Reid stood out from Pearl on 3 January 1942, as a part of a convoy bound for San Francisco. Following her safe arrival on the 13th, the destroyer began the voyage back to Pearl again on 15 January, and eventually arrived there on the 29th. On 12 February, Reid departed Pearl escorting the transport William Ward Burrows (AP-6) to Midway. During the first day of the voyage, Reid made sound contact with an unknown object and dropped depth charges, but nothing came of it. She arrived safely at Midway on the 17th and then two days later returned to Pearl. Reid joined company with the light cruiser Detroit (CL-8) and destroyer Case (DD-370) on 8 March, and safely escorted Convoy 4071 from Pearl to San Francisco, arriving there on the 15th. Following a brief respite Reid stood out from San Francisco on 22 March and arrived back at Pearl on the 30th.


Reid departing the San Francisco area for Pearl Harbor on 22 March 1942. (U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships Photograph 19-N-28719, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Division, College Park, Md.)
Caption: Reid departing the San Francisco area for Pearl Harbor on 22 March 1942. (U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships Photograph 19-N-28719, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Division, College Park, Md.)

Upon returning to Pearl, Reid experienced a temporary lull in her convoy duties. For the first few days of April 1942, she had some upkeep and repair work completed and then on the 3rd she started a cycle of putting out to sea in the morning to conduct exercises and then returning to Pearl in the evenings. The destroyer continued this pattern of training until 22 April, when she finally got underway for convoy duty with Task Group (TG) 15.1 escorting convoy 4093 to San Francisco. She entered the San Francisco harbor on 30 April and moored at Pier 40-N. In May, Reid made one more convoy run between California and Hawaii, standing out of San Francisco on 1 May and arriving at Pearl on the 13th.

In her first offensive operation of the war, Reid steamed north to the Aleutian Islands, Territory of Alaska, to operate with Task Force (TF) 8, engaged in wresting control of several remote Japanese occupied islands. The destroyer weighed anchor from Pearl on 22 May 1942 and shaped a course for Kodiak, T.A. She arrived at Kodiak on 27 May and moored at the dock in Womens Bay, Kodiak. On 29 May she stood out from Womens Bay with the destroyer Kane (DD-235) escorting the oiler Brazos (AO-4) to Dutch Harbor, T.A. She got underway with Kane again on 1 June, to maintain an anti-submarine search south of Akutan Island, T.A., while she awaited the formation of TG 8.4.

The day following her arrival in the Akutan area, Reid and Kane proceeded to Makushin Bay and rendezvoused with TG 8.4. On 9 June 1942, she steamed to Dutch Harbor with fellow destroyers Kane, King (DD-242) and Sands (DD-243). On 11 June, she voyaged to Akutan Pass and rejoined the main body of Task Force 8 on the 14th. The task force included the heavy cruisers Indianapolis (CA-35) and Louisville (CA-28); the light cruisers Nashville (CL-43), Honolulu (CL-48) and St. Louis (CL-49); and the destroyers Humphreys (DD-236) and Gilmer (DD-233). Breaking off from the main body of the task force on the 16th, Reid headed for Kodiak with Indianapolis, and eventually arrived at Chiniak Bay on the 20th.

For the remainder of June, and well into the first part of July 1942, Reid remained with TF 8 in the vicinity of Kodiak preparing for an attack on Japanese occupied Kiska, T.A. On 19 July, she accompanied the task force during its first attempt at attacking the island; however, bad weather on the 22nd delayed the engagement, and sent the destroyer back to Womens Bay. On 3 August, Reid accompanied her task group on a second attempt to engage Japanese forces at Kiska.

Having assumed their attack positions off Kiska on 7 August 1942, the cruisers in Reid’s task force began launching their aircraft at approximately 1745, as the rest of the force commenced their approach on the island. At 1945, Reid began firing at Japanese shore batteries in Kiska Harbor and then, shortly thereafter, took up a screening station. After the attack ended in the early morning hours of the 8th, Reid proceeded to Womens Bay, for an overhaul and upkeep.

Underway at 0515 on 19 August 1942, Reid accompanied TG 8.6.2, north of Kodiak. On the 25th she transited the Unimak Pass acting as part of the cover force for landing operations on Adak Island. The destroyer continued in this capacity for the next several days screening TG 8.6, as it landed troops at Nazan Bay on the 30th and 31st. While screening landing forces at Nazan Bay on 31 August, Reid made sound contact with the Japanese submarine RO-61 (Lt. Tokutomi Toshisada in command) and immediately initiated a depth charge attack. The barrage forced the enemy submarine to the surface and at approximately 1228, at 52°35'N, 173°57'W, Reid sank the enemy boat using her secondary batteries. The destroyer then pulled five of the Japanese submariners from the water and thoroughly interrogated them, obtaining important information concerning U.S. prisoners being held on the island.

In addition to her five Japanese captives Reid also took on board 24 men from the seaplane tender Casco (AVP-12), which had been damaged during the attack on Adak. Reid steamed out of Nazan Bay on 1 September 1942, and arrived at Dutch Harbor on the 6th. After disembarking her captives and passengers, she got underway on the morning of the 7th to perform a submarine search off Unalaga Island. Beginning on 8 September, Reid escorted several convoys to Nazan Bay, the first from the 8th to the 13th and the second from the 15th to the 16th. Upon her arrival at Nazan Bay on the 16th, Reid took up a station patrolling the harbor for submarines.


Reid at Dutch Harbor, T.A., on 6 September 1942, with Japanese prisoners of war from submarine RO-61, which Reid had sunk on 31 August 1942. (U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-215364, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Division, College Park, Md.)
Caption: Reid at Dutch Harbor, T.A., on 6 September 1942, with Japanese prisoners of war from submarine RO-61, which Reid had sunk on 31 August 1942. (U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-215364, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Division, College Park, Md.)

On 23 September 1942, Reid stood out of Nazan Bay and proceeded to Dutch Harbor, arriving there on the 25th. Shortly after fueling, on the same day of her arrival, Reid joined company with destroyers Gridley (DD-380) and McCall (DD-400), and began steaming for Pearl. The destroyer arrived at Pearl on 1 October, and then on the 2nd began a four-day overhaul.

Reid stood out of Pearl at 0830 on 7 October 1942, with TG 15.1, escorting the repair ship Prometheus (AR-3) and the auxiliary floating dry dock ARD-2, to Pago Pago, Samoa via Palmyra Island. She arrived at Pago Pago on 22 October, and moored to the buoy there at 1800. Early the next morning Reid began steaming independently back to Pearl, arriving there on the 30th. Reid remained at Pearl for just one day, getting underway again on the afternoon of 2 November to escort convoy No. 4231 to San Francisco. The convoy consisted of the troop transport Republic (AP-33), U.S. Army Transport Ernest J. Hines and the auxiliary aircraft carrier Long Island (ACV-1). Reid entered the San Francisco Bay at 0940 on 12 November, and then, upon being relieved of her convoy duties, proceeded to the Mare Island Navy Yard for a seven-day overhaul.

With her repairs completed on 20 November 1942, Reid departed Mare Island and made her way to the vicinity of San Francisco to join company with her next convoy. Escort Task Group 15.7 formed up around convoy No. 2170 at approximately 1400 on the 20th and then, in company, Reid began the voyage to Pearl. A blimp provided the ships of the task group with air cover until dark. Seven days later on 27 November, Reid arrived at Pearl at approximately 0900 and moored at berth 15.

Reid weighed anchor and steamed out of Pearl on 6 December 1942, to join TG 2.17, bound for Nouméa, New Caledonia. En route, she calibrated her Fire Control Radar and conducted numerous simulated nighttime torpedo attacks. On 15 December, she made sound contact with an unknown object and executed a depth charge attack, but after searching until after dark, she was unable to confirm the presence of any submarines and eventually rejoined her formation at around 2130. Reid arrived with her task group at Nandi Water, Fiji Islands on 19 December and subsequently anchored in berth 14.

At 0500, the morning after her arrival at Nandi Water, Reid steamed to Suva Harbor, Fiji, and maintained a listening watch at the harbor entrance for several days. On 25 December 1942, Reid got underway from Suva with Task Unit (TU) 62.4.3, escorting U.S. Army transport ships, carrying troops and equipment to Guadalcanal. The convoy arrived just off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, on the 30th and Reid screened transports as they disembarked troops and cargo. At approximately 1700, the destroyer steamed away from Lunga accompanying the empty transports back to their anchorage at Tulagi Harbor, Solomons.

Early on 31 December 1942, Reid steamed from Tulagi back to Lunga Point to screen another transport ship. Following her arrival at approximately 1025, she joined company with TU 62.4.15 escorting additional transports to Espíritu Santo, New Hebrides. The destroyer arrived at Espíritu Santo on 2 January 1943 and then spent two days at the port there. Reid got underway on the 4th to take up a submarine patrolling station near the western entrance of the Segond Channel. She quit her watch at midday on 5 January and steamed back to Espíritu Santo to join TU 62.4.2 escorting ships to Lunga Point. Arriving at the Lunga anchorage on the 7th Reid eventually made two more runs, steaming from Lunga to Tulagi on the 10th and again on the 11th.

Reid escorted several transports from Tulagi to Lunga on 12 January 1943, and then, after returning to the anchorage at Lunga in the afternoon, she set out on a special bombardment mission targeting the northeastern coast of Guadalcanal. At approximately 1634, she commenced a series of bombardments firing at targets located on Kokumbona Beach, the Poha River, and the Bonegi River; in all, the destroyer expended 306 rounds of 5-inch ammunition with unknown effect on her targets. Following her last attack at 1736, she steamed back to Tulagi arriving there safely later that night.

The day after she shelled Japanese positions on Guadalcanal, on 13 January 1943, Reid returned to her escort duties making daily round trip passages from Tulagi to Lunga and back again; this continued from 13 to 23 January. The destroyer’s routine broke slightly on 24 January when she got underway from Tulagi with TU 62.4.13 bound for Espíritu Santo. She arrived on the 26th and moored alongside sister ship Drayton (DD-366) for two days. On 28 January, she stood out from Espíritu Santo with TF 67 and conducted tactical exercises alongside the battleships Washington (BB-56), North Carolina (BB-55) and Indiana (BB-58). She continued steaming with TF 67 well into the next month.

While still at sea with TF 67 on 6 February 1943, Reid began experiencing mechanical issues and hastily returned to Espíritu Santo for emergency repairs. Ready for sea again on 12 January, Reid got underway with TU 66.7.1, shaping a course for Kadavu Island, Fiji. A few hours after arriving in the vicinity of Kadavu, on the 15th, Reid proceeded to Nouméa and moored in berth A-3 on the 17th. On 18 January, the destroyer got underway with TU 62.7.3, and on the 20th began escorting a convoy of ships back to Nouméa. Upon her arrival on 21 January she underwent a six-day overhaul and then remained moored at the port there for the rest of the month.

Reid briefly ventured out to sea on 2 March 1943 to conduct some exercises with Perkins (DD-377). After returning to Nouméa on the 3rd she took up a listening watch in the harbor through the 6th. At 1600 on 7 March, Reid stood out from Nouméa to escort the repair ship Tutuila (ARG-4) to Samoa. They arrived safely at Pago Pago on 14 March and early the following morning Reid got back underway for Nouméa. Four days into her voyage, Reid joined company with Commander Task Group 56.17 escorting a convoy to Brisbane, Australia. On 19 January, the destroyer Patterson (DD-392) relieved Reid from her screening duties with the convoy and Reid continued singly on a course to Nouméa; she eventually arrived at her destination without incident on the 23rd.

On 27 March 1943, Reid stood out of Nouméa, and escorted the oiler Suamico (AO-49) to Espíritu Santo, arriving there on the 30th. Just a few hours after her arrival at Espíritu Santo, Reid got back underway again escorting the attack cargo ship Algorab (AKA-8), bound for Guadalcanal. The destroyer dropped her anchor off Koli Point on 3 April, and then spent the next four days screening transports moving between Koli and Lunga. On 8 April, Reid re-joined Algorab and escorted the vessel back to Espíritu Santo, arriving there early the following morning.

 After briefly conducting a patrol of the harbor on 11 April 1943, Reid departed Espíritu Santo and joined company with TU 32.4.4. She then began a daily routine of screening ships moving between Tulagi and Guadalcanal. During a late night run on the 18th, Reid’s crew went to general quarters after spotting an enemy two-engine bomber. The destroyer fired 41 rounds of 5-inch at the plane but observed no hits. The danger passed, but it marked the beginning of several days of increased enemy night bombing.

Reid departed the Guadalcanal area on 25 April 1943 and arrived at Espíritu Santo the following day. After briefly re-fueling, Reid stood out of Espíritu Santo the same morning she had arrived and began steaming with the oiler Lackawanna (AO-40) on a course for Nouméa. The destroyer arrived with Lackawanna at Nouméa on 28 April, and anchored in 13 fathoms. Two days later, on the 30th, Reid got back underway again steaming independently for Havannah Harbor, Efate, New Hebrides. She arrived at her destination on 1 May, and after briefly taking on fuel, she joined company with TG 36.9 and took up a screening station with the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CV-6) en route to Pearl. Arriving at Pearl on 7 May, Reid moored port side to the destroyer Stanly (DD-478) in berth Baker 12.

From 9 to 12 May 1943, Reid steamed with the Enterprise task group as it conducted patrols and exercises in Hawaiian waters. She later stood out of Pearl on the 19th, as part of TG 56.8, escorting convoy 4452 to California. The destroyer arrived with the convoy at San Francisco on 27 May, and then steamed independently to Mare Island to undergo extensive repair work.

Reid remained in dry dock during the entire month of June 1943, and then underwent continued repairs at Mare Island well into the middle part of July. She shifted over to San Diego on 17 July, and over the course of the next several days, she made day trips out to sea in order to conduct post-repair trials and exercises. Following some additional minor repairs at Mare Island on the 25th, Reid anchored at San Francisco on the 28th. The next morning, she got underway with a convoy bound for Nouméa. Nearly a week into the voyage, the ship’s deck log notes that “King Neptune and his Royal Court came on board for the initiation of 59 Pollywogs…” Following a memorable crossing the line ceremony, Reid arrived at Dumbéa Bay, Nouméa, on 21 August, and moored to Berth Able in six fathoms of water.


View of Reid from astern, while moored at Mare Island, Calif., on 11 July 1943. (U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships Photograph 19-N-48263, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Division, College Park, Md.)
Caption: View of Reid from astern, while moored at Mare Island, Calif., on 11 July 1943. (U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships Photograph 19-N-48263, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Division, College Park, Md.)


Reid off Mare Island on 11 July 1943. (U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships Photograph 19-N-48259, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Division, College Park, Md.)
Caption: Reid off Mare Island on 11 July 1943. (U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships Photograph 19-N-48259, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Division, College Park, Md.)

The day after her arrival at Dumbéa, Reid stood out of the area to escort Algorab to Sydney, Australia. Only a few hours after leaving port the destroyer went to general quarters and executed an emergency turn to starboard, following the sighting of two torpedoes passing down her port side. Fortunately, nothing further developed, and she continued on her course, arriving safely at Sydney on 25 August 1943. Reid remained at port in ‘the land down under’ for just two days before weighing anchor for Milne Bay, New Guinea, on the 27th. She arrived at her destination without incident on 31 August and anchored in berth H-3.

In early September 1943, Allied Forces in the Pacific began staging naval and land forces in preparation for a bombardment, and subsequent amphibious landing at Lae, New Guinea. On 1 September, Reid stood out from Milne with TG 76.6 to aid in the upcoming operations at Lae. In addition to herself, TG 76.6 included the destroyers: Perkins, Smith (DD-378), Lamson (DD-367), Drayton and Mugford (DD-389). The task group arrived at Buna on the 2nd and then on the 3rd began steaming towards Lae.

As operations commenced on 4 September 1943, Reid and her cohorts quickly found themselves in the thick of the action. At approximately 1414, three Japanese Nakajima B5N Type 97 carrier attack planes jettisoned bombs, which fell close aboard of the destroyer. In reply, Reid opened fire with her main batteries; a Japanese fighter crashed about 5,000 yards distant of the ship and numerous ‘dogfights’ were observed in the skies above. Reid survived the initial engagement unscathed and then spent the next several weeks screening transport ships landing troops at Lae; during these operations, she fended off near daily air attacks but had no confirmed kills.

On 17 September 1943, Reid departed the Lae/Buna area with Perkins and Smith, steaming to Milne. They arrived on the 18th and after re-fueling and taking on supplies got back underway the next day to return to Buna. Reid arrived back at Buna on 20 September, and after nightfall, she accompanied the task force in covering the movements of amphibious forces headed for Huon Gulf. Upon their arrival at Huon Gulf the other escorts in the task force bombarded the shoreline near Finschhafen, while Reid fought off several enemy planes; one of which she managed to splash. During the engagement, two torpedoes passed aboard of the ship.

Having survived the previous night, Reid remained in the Huon area for several more days screening landing forces. Another Japanese counter attack by air occurred on 22 September 1943, and Reid managed to shoot down a second enemy plane. Afterwards, Reid surveyed the wreckage of the downed plane and ultimately pulled two Japanese aviators from the water; her crew killed a third man after he tried to turn one of the plane’s machine guns on them. The destroyer anchored at Buna on 2 October.

At 1500 on 3 October 1943, Reid got underway with the destroyer Henley (DD-391) escorting tank landing ships (LST) to Buna. At approximately 1818 one of Reid’s crewmembers reported seeing a wake, and less than seven minutes later Henley reported that she had been struck amidships by a torpedo. Joined by Smith, Reid initiated a search of the immediate area, but despite making a sound contact, she did not identify any enemy submarines. After searching for several hours Reid joined in the effort to rescue survivors from Henley, which had, in the intervening time, sunk stern first. Steaming roughly 25 miles off Cape Ward Hunt, New Guinea, from the late hours of the 3rd, well into the early morning hours of the 4th, Reid rescued approximately 225 Henley survivors, some 20 of whom were badly injured. At 0210, Reid received orders to steam independently to Buna, where she arrived at 0445.

Following her arrival at Buna, with a large number of Henley survivors, Reid shaped a course for Milne, where she arrived later that same night. Once at Milne, Reid transferred the Henley survivors to LST-464 and then proceeded to take on fuel and ammunition. The next day on 5 October 1943, Reid got underway for Buna and stood into “Red Beach,” off Lae, on the 6th. Once back in her primary operational area, Reid began a daily routine of screening convoys and patrolling for submarines between Lae, Buna, and Huon. She continued operating in this capacity for the remainder of October.

On 1 November 1943, Reid briefly broke away from the Lae area, to escort a convoy from Buna to Milne; arriving there the same day. On the 11th, she returned to Buna and then continued screening convoys on a daily basis between Buna and Lae. Reid departed Lae to rendezvous with a convoy bound for Morobe, New Guinea, on 21 November. The destroyer arrived on the 22nd and then steamed to Buna later that same day. The following morning, she made her way to Milne and got a few welcome days of rest at the port there. On 28 November, Reid stood out of Milne and steamed to Woodlark Island, anchoring there on the 29th. Operating with TU 76.6.3, Reid, Smith and Mugford then escorted four LSTs to Goshen, departing on 30 November and arriving on 1 December. For the next two weeks, the destroyer screened convoys in the area, traveling daily between Lae, Milne, and Buna.

As December 1943 progressed the Allied advance in the Southwest Pacific approached Arawe, New Britain. As part of a planned amphibious landing in the vicinity of Cape Gloucester, New Britain, Reid got underway from Milne on 14 December, in company with TG 76.6. Upon arriving in the area, on the 15th, landing craft from TG 76.6 approached the beach while Reid and the other destroyers bombarded the shoreline. Following the assault off Cape Gloucester, Reid returned to her screening duties, steaming daily between Milne and Buna.

Reid made her way to Cape Sudest, New Guinea, on 4 January 1944, and rendezvoused with fellow destroyers Mugford and Mahan (DD-364). On the 6th the destroyers stood out of Cape Sudest and proceeded to Saidor, New Guinea, in support of the recent Allied landings in that area. On the 8th Reid and Mahan bombarded Japanese shore emplacements at Gali, New Guinea, and then returned to Cape Sudest on 9 January. The following morning Reid got underway for Milne and arrived there later that evening. On 11 January, Reid steamed out of Milne Bay, bound for Sydney, and following a brief voyage, she stood into that port on the 15th, mooring starboard side to pier 8.

After spending ten days moored at Sydney, Reid got underway again for New Guinea on 25 January 1944. The destroyer arrived at Milne on the 30th, promptly departed on the 31st, and then via Cape Sudest, arrived at Finschhafen, with a re-supply convoy, on 1 February. Beginning with her arrival at Finschhafen, Reid screened a series of convoys in the area over the course of the next several weeks, steaming from Saidor to Cape Cretin (5–6 February); Cape Cretin to Gloucester (6 February); Gloucester to Cape Sudest (7–8 February); Cape Sudest to Saidor (18 February); Saidor to Dreger Harbor (19 February); Dreger to Cape Sudest (20 February); Cape Sudest to Gloucester (21 February); and Gloucester to Cape Sudest (25 February).

On 27 February 1944, Reid became the flagship for Rear Adm. William M. Fechteler, the operational commander of naval forces supporting U.S. Army landings at Los Negros Island, Admiralty Islands. This action was the first phase of the fight for the Admiralty Islands, also known as Operation Brewer. The assault on Los Negros included two primary groups of attack forces, TG 74 and TF 76.1, with Reid attached to the latter. Reid’s companions included the destroyers Bush (DD-529), Welles (DD-628), Flusser (DD-368), Mahan, Drayton, Smith, Stevenson (DD-645) and Stockton (DD-646). In addition to these, there were three high-speed transports: Brooks (APD-10), Humphreys (APD-12), and Sands (APD-13). U.S. Army troops were embarked on both the destroyers in the group, as well as the transports, and between them, they carried approximately 1,026 soldiers. The soldiers were under the operational command of Brig. Gen. William C. Chase, USA, embarked in Reid; and primarily consisted of soldiers of the Fifth Cavalry Regiment, First Cavalry Division, but also included a contingent of Australians assigned to the Australia New Guinea Administrative Unit.

Reid stood out from Cape Sudest with TF 76.1 on 28 February 1944, and by dawn the following day, she arrived off Los Negros, in company with the rest of the Brewer task force. The action commenced at 0740 with the cruisers of TG 74 bombarding Hyane beach; in conjunction with the shelling, North American B-25 Mitchell bombers from the Fifth Army Air Force, strafed the nearby Momote airstrip. Following this initial bombardment, the destroyers and transports of TF 76.1 landed the first wave of Army troops on the beachhead. The supporting gunfire of the destroyers in TF 76.1, eventually overcame the initial stiff resistance of the Japanese defenders, and all troops and supplies were landed on the beach by the late afternoon.

Excepting Bush and Stockton, left behind for fire support, the rest of TF 76.1 departed the Los Negros area at approximately 1850, and began steaming back to Cape Sudest to pick up the second wave of troops and supplies. Upon reaching Cape Sudest on 1 March 1944, Reid anchored in berth 21 and shortly thereafter Rear Adm. Fechteler disembarked the destroyer and boarded the amphibious force flagship Blue Ridge (AGC-2). In the succeeding week Reid accompanied several re-supply convoys, steaming from Cape Sudest to Los Negros (4–6 March), Los Negros to Cape Sudest (6–8 March), and Cape Sudest to Los Negros (11–13 March).

Upon her return to Los Negros on 13 March 1944, Reid began to take a more active role in supporting ongoing combat operations in the area. She patrolled Seeadler Harbor (14 March); bombarded Lorengau, Manus Island (15 March); and shelled enemy emplacements at Seeadler Harbor (16 March). Following her bombardment of Seeadler Harbor on the 16th Reid got underway for Cape Sudest, arriving there on the 18th. Well into the next month the destroyer continued to screen transports in the area as well as conduct anti-submarine patrols, steaming from Cape Sudest to Oro Bay, New Guinea (19 March); Oro Bay to Cape Sudest (22 March); Cape Sudest to Cape Cretin (25–26 March); Cape Cretin to Seeadler (26–30 March); Seeadler to Cape Sudest (1 April); Cape Sudest to Oro (2 April); Cape Sudest to Cape Cretin (7 April); Cape Cretin to Lae (7–8 April); Lae to Cape Sudest (8 April); and Cape Sudest to Cape Cretin (17–18 April).

Standing out of Cape Cretin on 20 April 1944, Reid joined TF 77 for the purpose of supporting three simultaneous landings on the northern coast of New Guinea at Humboldt Bay, Hollandia. Rear Adm. Fechteler and his staff again embarked on Reid for the duration of the operation. Peeling off from the main force, Reid arrived with TG 77.2 at Humboldt Bay in the early morning hours of 22 April. Shortly after her arrival, she took part in a heavy bombardment of the enemy held shoreline by surface ships, which were complemented by navy carrier plane strikes. Following the lightly resisted landings at Humboldt Bay, Reid remained in the area patrolling for submarines for several days.

On 26 April 1944, Reid stood out of Humboldt Bay and shaped a course for Madang, New Guinea, to deliver Rear Adm. Fechteler back to Blue Ridge. The destroyer arrived at Madang on the 27th and anchored in berth 3. Characteristic of her ceaseless operational tempo during this time period, Reid got back underway the following morning for convoy duty, steaming from Madang to Saidor (28–29 April); Saidor to Aitape, New Guinea (1–3 May); Aitape to Cape Sudest (3–5 May); Cape Sudest to Cape Cretin (5–6 May); Cape Cretin to Oro (8 May); Oro to Cape Sudest (12 May); Cape Sudest to Cape Cretin (13 May); Cape Cretin to Aitape (13–14 May); and Aitape to Humboldt Bay (14–15 May).

With her arrival back at Humboldt Bay, Reid again prepared to participate in a Seventh Fleet supported amphibious operation in the New Guinea area, this time at Wakde Island. She got underway with TG 77.2 on 16 May 1944, and arrived just west of Wakde Island the following morning at approximately 0551. Following an intense naval bombardment by TF 74, troop landings commenced at 0625. On 18 May, Cmdr. Samuel A. McCornock, Reid’s commanding officer, recalled that just “after sunrise the USS Reid stood in towards Wakde, which was again subject to heavy air and surface bombardment,” and despite the heavy shelling, “the enemy bitterly contested our occupation of Wakde.” Reid continued to support the landings in the area late into the evening of the 19th and then made her way back to Humboldt Bay where she maintained a watch in the bay for several more days.

On 25 May 1944, Reid stood out of Humboldt Bay with TG 77.4, screening an assault force headed for the southeastern coast of Biak Island. Arriving off Biak on the 27th, a bombardment commenced at 0630, which “raked the entire area with naval gunfire, assisted by heavy bombing from USAAF planes.” During the night, Reid patrolled the waters off the beachhead and the following morning she exchanged fire with a Japanese shore battery. Late in the afternoon on the 28th, her crew also bore witness to an unfortunate incident in which “a B-25, clearly showing proper insignia was shot down by friendly AA fire from the beach.” The destroyer stood into Humboldt Bay on the 30th and then during the two succeeding days screened several re-supply echelons from Humboldt Bay to Biak.

Reid arrived off the landing area at Biak on 2 June 1944, and took up a screening station approximately 2,500 yards north of Owi Island. At around 1633, the destroyer sighted and engaged eight enemy fighter planes that passed close aboard, bound for the landing area at Biak. Over the course of the next few hours, she engaged several more waves of enemy planes, but ultimately made no direct hits. The following day, on the 3rd, Reid stood in near the landing area at Biak and at around 1103 she picked up several bogies on her radar. In the ensuing firefight, the destroyer expended 152 5-inch, 600 40-millimeter and 785 20-millimeter rounds, successfully brining down two enemy fighter planes and damaging several others. The air attack wounded two of Reid’s crewmembers and killed one more. The sortie finally ended at approximately 1145 with the arrival of a heavy rain squall.

After several more days of patrolling around Biak, Reid steamed to Humboldt Bay on 6 June 1944, and took on fuel and ammunition. On 8 June, she escorted a convoy to Manus, arriving at Seeadler Harbor on the 10th. The destroyer spent ten days moored at Seeadler Harbor and then finally went back out to sea on the 20th escorting a convoy to Humboldt Bay. On 22 June, Reid stood out from Humboldt Bay and steamed to Cape Cretin, arriving there on the 24th. Rear Adm. Fechteler embarked on board Reid on 24 June, in preparation for the upcoming assault on Noemfoor Island, Dutch New Guinea. After steaming to Wakde on the 26th Reid rendezvoused with TF 77 on the 30th, and shaped a course for Noemfoor. The assault on Noemfoor commenced at 0633 on 2 July, with a joint naval and air bombardment followed by troop landings beginning at 0802. With the assault being only lightly opposed, land forces quickly captured the island. The following day, on the 3rd, Reid proceeded independently to Humboldt Bay.

Shortly after arriving at Humboldt Bay on 6 July 1944, Rear. Adm. Fechteler and his staff disembarked from Reid. On 10 July, the destroyer got underway for Cape Cretin, and arrived there on the 12th. Reid returned to Humboldt Bay on 15 July, and then on the 16th at about 1030 she “received a visual dispatch from the Commander Task Force 76 to dismantle all flag radio equipment and make preparations to proceed to Pearl Harbor.” Having re-supplied for her voyage, Reid stood out of Humboldt Bay on 19 July and shaped a course for Pearl. The destroyer made one stop at Majuro on the 21st and then finally arrived at Pearl on 30 July, anchoring in berth X-20.

On 15 August 1944, Reid entered dry dock at Pearl and underwent extensive maintenance that lasted through the 21st. The destroyer finally got underway again for her next wartime mission on 29 August, joining TU 12.5.3 en route to shell Japanese shore installations on Wake Island. Reid arrived off Wake Island with her task unit at 0600 on 3 September, but ultimately did not take part in the bombardment. A few hours prior to the attack, she started experiencing engine problems resulting from her fuel oil supply being contaminated by seawater. As a result, the destroyer made her way to Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands, for repairs; she arrived there on 6 September and anchored at berth 571.

After her repairs were complete, Reid stayed in the vicinity of Eniwetok for several weeks conducting various patrols and exercises in nearby waters. On 20 September 1944, she got underway with TG 57.9 acting as a screen during the group’s voyage to Saipan. TG 57.9 arrived at Saipan Harbor on the 26th and Reid then participated in numerous offensive sweeps northwest of Saipan aimed at locating and destroying enemy surface vessels in the area. On 1 October, she returned to port at Saipan and re-supplied. Just before midnight, on the same day she arrived, Reid got back underway again steaming with Smith and Mahan, for Eniwetok.

Mooring at berth 571, at Eniwetok on 5 October 1944, Reid remained at anchor for several days after her arrival. Finally, on 8 October, she returned to convoy duty, steaming with TU 96.8.9 to Ulithi. The destroyer arrived at Ulithi on the 13th and then after spending five days at port she got underway with DesRon 5, en route to Humboldt Bay. On the 19th, the ship’s log notes that “King Neptune and his Royal Party was heralded on board at 1230 and all lowly landlubbers, who had incurred the wrath of His Majesty were duly initiated in the mysteries of the deep.” Reid anchored at Humboldt Bay the following day.

“Proceeding in company with DesRon 5,” Reid steamed from Humboldt Bay to Kossol Roads, Palau Islands, from 25 to 28 October 1944. On the 31st, she took up a screening station with Echelon L-9 en route to Leyte, arriving there on 3 November. Reid patrolled the waters of Leyte Gulf for the rest of the month, searching for submarines. On 6 December, she stood out from San Pedro Bay, Leyte, with DesRon 5 in order to rendezvous with TU 78.5.3.5 for an impending attack on Ormoc Bay, located on the east side of Leyte.

Reid joined with the rest of the Ormoc attack group just after dawn on 7 December 1944, and shortly thereafter, at approximately 0610, the combined force of warships began a furious bombardment of shore-based targets. For her own part, Reid expended 250 rounds of 5-inch ammunition during the initial shelling. Within an hour of the Allied attack, Japanese planes launched a desperate counterattack in which “suiciders” overwhelmed and disabled Mahan, ultimately resulting in the ship’s sinking. Using both her primary and secondary batteries Reid shot down at least one Japanese plane during the attack. Following the close of the action at Ormoc, just before dawn on the 8th, Reid arrived safely back at San Pedro “intact, but with plenty of dirty laundry,” and “all hands, praying for no more flashing red lights… all of whom turned in immediately after fueling.” The kamikaze attack Reid’s crew witnessed on the 7th was a foreboding sign of things to come and undeniably, a hallmark of Japan’s increasing desperation to stem the tide of advancing Allied forces.

Following a few badly needed days of rest at San Pedro, the “Rugged Reid” got underway on 11 December 1944, with TU 78.3.8, escorting a re-supply echelon to Ormoc Bay. At 1500, Reid proceeded through the Surigao Straight in a column with four other destroyers, ten medium landing ships (LSM) and three infantry landing craft (LCI). The convoy’s air cover consisted of four Vought F4U-1D Corsairs.


Reid escorting landing craft in the Pacific. Believed to be from the destroyer’s convoy run on 11 December 1944. (From the Captain Rufus Porter Collection, photograph UA 460.19)
Caption: Reid escorting landing craft in the Pacific. Believed to be from the destroyer’s convoy run on 11 December 1944. (From the Captain Rufus Porter Collection, photograph UA 460.19)

At 1700, while steaming approximately 1,000 yards off the starboard bow of the convoy, a group of twelve low-flying Nakajima B6N1 Type 92s bore down on Reid. At 1,000 yards, Reid opened fire on the swarm of enemy aircraft with everything she had and in the initial moments of the action, she managed to splash two of them. Within the next 15 seconds, one plane “hooked his wing on the starboard whaleboat and crashed at the waterline abreast No. 2 gun where his bomb exploded.” Immediately thereafter another plane hit gun No. 3 and then skidded into the 40-millimeter, his bomb exploding near the after magazine. She splashed several more enemy planes but, within seconds, all the ship’s communications went down and prevented the order to abandon ship from being heard throughout the ship. Battle stations remained manned until the last possible minute, but as the destroyer began violently lurching to starboard, those of her crew that were able, leapt into the water. It is estimated that within the space of only a few minutes Reid sank stern first in approximately 600 fathoms of water at 09°55'N, 124°55'E.

Reid’s commanding officer and 150 of her crew, scattered among the waves, astern of her wreckage, were pulled from the water by the convoy’s landing craft. In all, Reid ended up being the only victim of the suicidal Japanese pilots that day, who as Cmdr. McCornock recalled “didn’t attack anyone else” in the formation, and, although the desperate attack had claimed the lives of nearly a third of her crew, “she went down fighting… ultimately costing the Japanese seven planes to sink her.”

The harrowing news of Reid’s sinking was keenly felt by all those that had served with her. Later in his life, retired Adm. Robert B. Carney, Chief of Naval Operations from 1953 to 1955, and the “Rugged Reid’s” first commanding officer, reflected on his time on board the destroyer, stating that she “was a beautiful and graceful ship that handled to the Queen’s taste.”

Reid received seven battle stars for her service in World War II.

Commanding Officers Date Assumed Command
Cmdr. Robert B. Carney 10 Feb 1936
Lt. Cmdr. Albert L. Hutson 19 July 1937
Lt. Cmdr. James B. Carter 25 June 1938
Lt. Cmdr. Harold F. Pullen 30 May 1941
Lt. Cmdr. Harry H. McIlhenay 21 August 1942
Cmdr. Samuel A. McCornock 29 December 1943


Jeremiah D. Foster

29 March 2019

Published: Thu Sep 05 09:47:39 EDT 2019