Cogswell DD- 661 - History

Cogswell DD- 661 - History


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Cogswell

James Kelsey Cogswell was born at Milwaukee, Wis., 27 September 1847 and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1868. He was executive officer of Oregon (BB-3) during the Spanish-American War. Rear Admiral Cogswell died at South Jacksonville, Fla., 12 August 1908.

His son, Francis Cogswell, was born at Portsmouth, N.H., 19 August 1887 and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1908. He received the Navy Cross for distinguished service us commanding officer of Fanning (DD-37) and McDougal (DD-54) during World War I. Captain Cogswell died at Puget Sound Naval Hospital 22 September 1939.

Cogswell (DD-661: dp. 2,060; 1. 376'6"; b. 39'7"; dr. 17'9"; a. 35 .; cpl. 319; a. 6 6", 10 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 act.; cl. Fletcher)

Cogswell (DD-661) was launched 6 June 1943 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Me.; cosponsored by Mrs. D. C. gingham, daughter of Rear Admiral Cogswell, and Mrs. Francis Cogswell, widow of Captain Cogswell; and commissioned 17 August 1943, Commander H. K. Deutermann in command.

Cogswell arrived at Pearl Harbor 9 December 1943 for training, and there joined the screen of mighty carrier Task Force 58 for the Marshall Islands operation. At sea on this duty from 16 January 1944 until 12 February, when she put in to Majuro, Cogswell also bombarded Gugewe Island. She continued her screening as the carriers launched raids on Truk on 16 and 17 February and on bases in the Marianas on 21 and 22 February, then sailed from Majuro to Espiritu Santo to screen carriers providing air cover for the seizure of Emirau Island from 20 to 26 March, and raiding the Palaus, Yap, and Wolesi from 30 March to 1 April.

The destroyer returned to Majuro 6 April 1944, and a week later joined the sortie for the Hollandia landings of 21 to 24 April, and air raids on Trok, Satawan, and Ponape at the close of the month. Replenishment at Majuro from 4 May to 6 June preceded Cogswell’s assignment to screen carriers during the landings in the Marianas. On 16 June, Cogswell was temporarily detached to join in the bombardment of Guam, rejoining her force to guard it during the momentous air Battle of the Philippine Sea on 19 and 20 June. She continued her screening in the raids on Palau, Ulithi, Yap, Iwo Jima, and Chichi Jima from 25 July to 5 August, during the last of which she joined in the surface gunfire which sank several ships of a Japanese convoy earlier badly mauled by carrier aircraft. From 11 to 30 August, she replenished at Eniwetok.

Next at sea from 30 August to 27 September 1944, Cogswell sailed in the carrier screen as strikes were hurled at targets in the Palaus and Philippines during the invasion of Peleliu. On 6 October she sailed from Ulithi for the air strikes on Okinawa and Formosa in preparation for the Leyte landings, and fired protective antiaircraft cover for her force during the Formosa air battle of 12 to 14 October. After guarding the retirement toward safety of the stricken Canberra (CA-70) and Houston (CL-81), she rejoined her force for air strikes on Luzon and the Visayans, and screened them during the Battle of Surigao Strait, one phase of the decisive Battle for Leyte Gulf. She returned to Ulithi 80 October, but put to sea 2 days later to return to the Philippines. After Reno (CL-96) was damaged by a submarine's torpedo, Cogswell guarded her passage to the safety of Ulithi, then returned to screen air strikes on Luzon, the landings on Mindoro, and the air attacks on Formosa and the China coast which neutralized Japanese bases in preparation for and during the Lingayen invasion. Cogswell screened Ticonderoga (CV-14), hit during an air attack, into Ulithi 24 January 1945, and sailed on to the west coast for overhaul.

After sailing across the Pacific guarding convoys,Cogswell arrived off Okinawa 27 May 1946 for dangerous and demanding duty as radar picket until 26 June. Three days later she rejoined the carrier Task Force 38 for the final series of raids against the Japanese home islands until the close of the war. Arriving in Sagami Wan 27 August, Cogswell pushed on into Tokyo Bay 2 September for the surrender ceremonies. She supported the occupation in the Far East through operations in Japanese waters and escort duty to Korean ports until 6 December, when she sailed from Yokosuka for San Diego, Boston, and Charleston, where she was decommissioned and placed in reserve 30 April 1946,

Recommissioned 7 January 1961, Cogswell served with the Atlantic Fleet with Newport, R.I., as her home port. Between 26 August 1952 and February 1963, she cruised to ports of northern Europe while taking part in NATO operations, sailing on for duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. She again cleared Newport 10 August 1953, bound for the Panama Canal and duty off Korea and patrolling in the Taiwan Straits. Continuing westward, she sailed through the Suez Canal, and completed her cruise around the world 10 March 1964.

On 16 December 1964, Cogswell arrived in San Diego to join the Pacific Fleet. From that time through 1963, she has alternated tours of duty with the 7th Fleet in the Far East with coastwise operations. On her 1966 cruise, she took part in the evacuation of the Tachen Islands. She returned to the Far East in 1956 and each succeeding year through 1960. In 1957 Cogswell visited Australia and the Fiji Islands, and in 1958, she took part in nuclear weapons tests at Johnston Island, and patrolled in the Taiwan Straits when Chinese Communists resumed shelling of the offshore islands and threatened their assault.

Cogswell received nine battle stars for World War II service.


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Cogswell DD- 661 - History

(DD-661: dp. 2,050, 1. 37G'6", b. 39'8", dr. 17'9", s.
35 k. cpl. 273, a 5 6', 10 21'' tt. G det. cl. Fietcher)

Kidd ( DD-661) was launched 28 February 1943 by Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Kearny, N.J. sponsored by Mrs. Isaac C. Kidd widow of Rear Admirai Kidd, and commissioned 23 Aprii 1943, ComOr. Allan Roby in command.

After shakedown out of Casco, Maine, in June, Kidd cruised in the Atlantic and Caribbean escorting large combatant vessels until she departed for the Pacific in August 1943 in company with Alabama ( BB-60) and South Dakota (BB-57). Arriving Pearl Harbor 17 September 1943, she got underway 29 September escorting aircraft carriers toward Wake Island tor the heavy air attacks 5 October and returned to Pearl Harbor 11 October 1943.

Mid-October found Kidd underway with a formidable task force to strike Rabaul and to support the Bougainville landings. Upon reaching a strike position south of Rabaul on the morning of 11 November, the task force struck hard at Japanese positions on the island. Kidd dropped astern of her formation to rescue the crew of a plane from aircraft carrier

Essex (CV-9) which had splashed as the American carrier launched a stfike at Rabaul. A group of planes from an extremely heavy Japanese counterattacking force dove at the destroyer in an attempt to sink her while she was on her own. Striking back hard, she splashed three Japanese planes and successfully completed the rescue while skillfully maneuvering to dodge torpedoes and bombs. Comdr. Roby, her commanding offlcer, received the Silver Star for gallantry during this action. The destroyer returned to Espiritu Santo 13 November.

Kidd next screened carriers making air attacks on Tarawa during the Gilbert Island invasion from 19 to 23 November. On the 24th she spotted 15 low eying enemy bombers heading toward the heavy ships, gave warning, and shot down 2 "Vals." After Tarawa was secure, Kidd remained in the Gilbert Islands to support cleanup operations before returning to Pearl Harbor 9 December.

On 11 January 1944 Kidd sailed for the forward area touched at Espiritu Santo, then sailed next day for Funafuti, arriving 19 January. Dufing the invasion of the Marshall Islands 29 January to 8 February, Kidd screened heavy ships and bombarded Boi and WotJe, then anchored at Rwajalein 28 February.

From 20 March to 14 April Kidd guarded an airstrip under construction on Emirau and supported the occupation of Aitape and Hollandia in New Guinea 1G Apfil to 7 May. She fought in the Marianas campaign 10 June to 8 July and helped soften up Guam for invasion 8 July to 10 August.

In need of repairs, Kidd sailed for Pearl Harbor, arriving 28 August 1944. On 15 September she departed Pearl, reached Eniwetok 25 September, and arfived Manus 3 October. There she became part of the giant Philippines invasion fleet and entered Leyte Gulf 20 October. Here she screened the initial landings and provided fire support for soldiers who fought to reconguer the island until she sailed 14 November for Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, arriving 19 November. On 9 December Kidd headed toward Mare Island Navy Yard for overhaul and moored at Mare Island Chfistmas Day.

Kidd sailed 19 February 1945 ,to join Task Force 58 for the invasion of Okinawa. Trained and battlewise. Kidd played a key role during the first days of the Okinawa cam

paign, screening battleships, bombarding key targets

ashore, rescuing downed pilots, sinking floating mines, providing early warning of enemy air raids, guarding heavily damaged Franklin, and shooting down kamikazes.

While on picket station 11 April 1945, Kidd and her division mates, Black (DD - 666), Bullard (DD-660) and Chancey (DD-667), with the help of Combat Air Patrol. repelled three air raids. That afternoon a single enemy plane crashed Kidd, killing 38 men and wounding 55. As the destroyer headed south to rejoin the task group, her efteetive fire drove on enemy planes trying to flnish her. Stopping at Ulithi for temporary patchwork, she got underway 2 May for the West Coast, arriving Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard 25 May.

On 1 August 1945, Kidd sailed to Pearl Harbor and returned to San Diego 24 September 1945 for inactivation. She decommissioned 10 December 194G and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

When the United States had allowed her military strength to shrink beyond the danger point, the Communist struck in Korea. Fortunately, there were ships in reserve, though it took time to obtain and train crews and provide material. Kidd recommissioned 28 March 1951, Lt. Comdr. Robert E. Jeffery in command sailed to the Western Pacific 18 June and arrived Yokocuka 15 July. She joined Task Force 77 and patrolled off the Korean coast until 21 September when she sailed for the East Coast of Korea. From 21 October to 22 January 1952, Kidd bombarded targets of opportunity from Wan-Do Island to below Koesong. She then sailed with Destroyer Division 152 to San Diego, arriving 6 February 1952.

Kidd again got underway for Korea 8 September 1952 joined the screen of a hunter-killer group near Kojo, and in November, was back on bombardment missions off North Korea. Shortly thereafter, truce talks began. Kidd continued to patrol the Korean coast during negotiations, strengthening the position of American representatives by showing the Communists that we were ready and able to intensify operations. She departed Far East 3 March 1953 via Midway and Pearl Harbor and arrived San Diego for overhaul 20 March.

Overhaul completed, Kidd proceeded to Long Beach 20 April 1953. Next day Swedish freighter Hainan rammed Eid d in Long Beach harbor requiring repairs until 11 May 1953.

From late 1953 to late 1959 Kidd alternated Westpac cruises with operations on the West Coast making stops at Pearl Harbor and various ports in Japan, Okinawa Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

She visited Sydney, Australia, 29 March 1958 and later that year patrolled the Formosa Straits.

Kidd got underway 5 January lg60 for the East Coast via the Panama Canal, arriving Philadelphia 25 January. From there she made Naval Reserve training cruises to various East Coast ports She joined fleet operating forces during the Berlin Crisis in 1961. December 1961 found Eidd patrolling off the Dominican Republic in a "show-offorce" patrol to provide an element of security in the troubled Caribbean.

Kidd arrived Norfolk 5 February 1962 and joined Task Force Alfa for ASW exercises. On 24 April she was assigned to the Naval Destroyer School at Newport. After a cruise to the Caribbean, on 1 July 1962 she resumed Naval Reserve training. Kidd decommissioned 19 June 1964, entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Today the Kidd is a musuem in Baton Rouge LA.
Kidd received four battle stars for World War II service and four battle stars for Korean service.


US Navy Cruise Books

US Navy Cruise Books are unofficial publications published by a ship's crew to document a cruise or deployment. The number of copies of a cruise book is very limited. Several commands only order copies for about 2/3 of the crew as a rule of thumb. Creating those books is an old tradition in the US Navy. This tradition dates back to the late 1800s, when the crews began documenting events of their cruises. A major difference compared to today's cruise books is that the early log books, as they were called, covered a period of up to two years which was the common period for a standard deployment at that time. It is estimated that by now, almost 10,000 different US Navy cruise books have been published and the number of collectors is constantly increasing

The cruise books displayed here are part of my own collection. A few books, however, have been donated to me by visitors of the website. In these cases, the name of the contributor is mentioned on the cruise book's index page. My own books are not for sale and I'm not able to help you locating old Cruise Books. You have a cruise book that is not listed here and you like to contribute it? Here are your options.

You would like to have high resolution digital images of one of the cruise books listed here? A few of the books are already available as download. The price depends on the size of the book: As a basic rule of thumb (exceptions are possible) I charge $15 for books up to 200 pages, $20 for books with 200-400 pages, $25 for books with 400-500 pages and max. $30 for the largest books. The download is a .pdf file that consists of the original scans in high resolution (not resized, no watermarks and pages are in the book's original order). The book you are looking for is not available as download yet? Contact me using our contact form and I will see what I can do for you. This offer only applies to my own books, therefore, all books that carry a "contributed" or "submitted by. " remark on their index page are usually only available as low resolution scans.

You are interested in having a hard bound reproduction made of one of the books listed here? Click here for more information.


Meet Captain Kidd

One of the most common misconceptions regarding USS KIDD (DD-661) is that of her namesake. She was in point of fact named after Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr., who was killed aboard USS ARIZONA at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on the U.S. Fleet on December 07, 1941.

But when KIDD’s first crew was busy outfitting the ship in the Brooklyn Navy Shipyards in March and April of 1943, they quickly adopted the legendary pirate William Kidd as their mascot. The image of a swashbuckling pirate was painted on both sides of the ship’s forward smokestack and the skull and crossbones of the Jolly Roger often flew from her mast. Throughout the course of World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War, the crews of USS KIDD became known as “the Pirates of the Pacific”. Many a sea story revolve around the antics that transpired which led to that salty and rambunctious reputation.

Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr.

USS KIDD (DD-661), USS KIDD (DDG-993), and USS KIDD (DDG 100) were all named for Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr., one of the first American naval heroes of World War II. RADM Kidd was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

RADM Kidd was a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He was born on March 26, 1884, to Isaac and Jemina Campbell Kidd. He was educated in Cleveland’s public schools, graduating from West High School in 1902. On appointment from his native state, he then entered the U.S. Naval Academy, from which he graduated as a Passed Midshipman on February 12, 1906.

Passed Midshipman Kidd first served on USS COLUMBIA, which carried the Marine Expeditionary Force to the Canal Zone and participated in the round-the-world cruise of the “Great White Fleet.” On May 17, 1907, he reported to USS NEW JERSEY. During this tour, he completed the two years at sea then required before commissioning and was commissioned an Ensign, USN, on February 13, 1908. He transferred on May 2, 1910, to USS NORTH DAKOTA, where he served until June 1913, except for target practice and training duty at Annapolis during the winter of 1911-12. He then joined USS PITTSBURGH on June 30, 1913, and during the Mexican trouble of 1914-16 he served as First Lieutenant. Following this tour, he served as Aide and Flag Secretary on the staff of Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, aboard the flagships PITTSBURGH

and SAN DIEGO. He returned to the Naval Academy in August 1916 and was serving as an instructor on the Academic Staff when the United States entered World War I.

In September 1938, Capt. Kidd assumed command of the battleship ARIZONA, serving until February 1940. He was then designated Commander Battleship Division ONE and Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander Battleships, Battle Force, with the accompanying rank of Rear Admiral. RADM Kidd was serving in that billet when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In the attack, RADM Kidd became the first flag officer to lose his life in World War II, and the first in the U.S. Navy to meet death in action against any foreign enemy. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, with citation as follows:

“For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese Forces on December 7, 1941. He immediately went to the bridge and as Commander Battleship Division ONE, courageously discharged his duties as Senior Officer Present Afloat until the USS ARIZONA, his Flagship, blew up from magazine explosions and a direct bomb hit on the bridge, which resulted in the loss of his life.”

In addition to the Medal of Honor, RADM Kidd was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal. He previously had received the Cuban Pacification Medal (USS COLUMBIA), the Mexican Service Medal (USS PITTSBURGH), and the World War I Victory Medal, Atlantic Fleet Clasp (USS NEW MEXICO). He was also entitled to the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one engagement star and the World War II Victory Medal.

RADM Kidd was survived by his wife, the former Inez Nellie Gillmore of Cleveland, and by a son, Isaac C. Kidd, Jr., U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1942.

That is the career history of RADM Isaac C. Kidd, Sr. But exactly who was this man, and why did the Navy choose to bestow his name upon two vessels in later years?

The first thing that we must know about him is that the Admiral did not like his name. In fact, he was usually known as “Cap” to family and friends. This was apparently derived from his days at the Academy when classmates dubbed him with the moniker after Captain William Kidd of pirate lore. In fact, according to son “Ike” Kidd, Jr., “one of his first letters to me when I first attended the Academy was of him apologizing for naming me after him. I never minded the name, but apparently he did.”

“Cap” was a boxer during his time at the Academy. He maintained a daily regimen of exercise throughout his life, both at sea and while in port. Whenever ARIZONA was in port at Pearl Harbor, he could be seen taking walks every day on Ford Island. According to many of the survivors of the ARIZONA, Kidd was also a father figure to many in his crew. He held their respect, being described as “fair” and “a working admiral.” He would have little biographical notecards that he stuck to the mirror in his bathroom that kept him appraised of his men’s lives-families, rent, conditions of their children. One story tells of a young Marine assigned to the Admiral who announced that he was getting married. Kidd delayed the ship’s departure from San Francisco so that the young man could get his home and marriage started and in order before leaving. The first person to arrive with a housewarming gift was RADM Kidd.

When the attack at Pearl Harbor came, young Ike and his mother Inez were having lunch at Annapolis. Ike was just days away from graduating from the Academy. It wasn’t until the next morning that mother and son learned of the elder Kidd’s fate.

It was several days after the Japanese attack on Pearl that Navy divers swam out to inspect the damage to the partially submerged ARIZONA. Fires had burned for nearly two days aboard the battleship. Found in the charred wreckage of the ship’s conning tower, an Academy class ring was found fused to the bulkhead. One of the divers separated the ring from the steel hull with a chisel. Inscribed inside was the name Isaac Campbell Kidd. Farther back in the stern of the ship, a cedar-lined wooden sea chest was recovered from the Admiral’s quarters. Among the items inside were a heavy, Navy-blue cloak a formal dress hat and a sword belt.

One year and nearly three months later, widow Inez Kidd served as the sponsor for DD-661, launching the ship which would bear her husband’s name and bring the fight back to the shores of Japan during the remainder of World War II. In the wardroom guest book which she presented to the crew of the new ship, she wrote “May the destiny of the USS KIDD be glorious! May her victories be triumphant and conclusive!”

Even before the first weld or rivet was laid on DD-661, the Admiral was being honored for his sacrifice. Just days after the Pearl Harbor attack, the Navy completed the acquisition of thirty-three acres of Balboa Park near downtown San Diego, California. Naval Training Station—Camp Kidd served as a Naval Hospital Corps School providing medical, dental, and hygenic training and support as well as facilities maintenance and ship service support activities. The grounds and facilities were returned to the City of San Diego in late 1946 following the conclusion of the war.

In March of 1942, the city council of Long Beach, California, named a newly purchased four-acre park in honor of Rear Admiral Kidd. The park was used briefly by the armed forces during World War II before being returned to public recreational use. Enlarged by the city over the years, it now covers over twelve acres and includes a recreation center, basketball courts, soccer field, picnic area, and playground.

The Admiral’s son, “Ike,” would serve with distinction throughout World War II and the Cold War era, eventually attaining the rank of Admiral. In the 1960s, he flew his flag for a brief period from the mast of DD-661, the very ship upon which his father’s name had been bestowed. Admiral Kidd would serve as Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO’s Atlantic Fleet before retiring from active duty in 1975.

In 1979, Marie Angelique Kidd Smith—granddaughter of RADM Kidd—followed in her grandmother’s footsteps, serving as sponsor for the christening of the second ship to bear her grandfather’s name-USS KIDD (DDG-993).

Generations of Navy sailors were made aware of RADM Kidd’s role in history during the career of DD-661. When DDG-993 entered the Fleet, she carried aboard her memorabilia of both the Admiral and the elder destroyer in the Officer’s Wardroom and the Crew’s Mess. The latter destroyer’s crest bore the family motto: Nil sig namo labore, . . . “Nothing without much labor.”

When DDG-993 decommissioned in March of 1998, the crew requested that RADM Kidd’s Medal of Honor and Purple Heart—which had resided in their wardroom—be sent to Baton Rouge to be added to an exhibit on the late Admiral at the USS KIDD Veterans Memorial. School children and people from around the world learn about the ARIZONA’s “working admiral,” about the sacrifice of him and his crew, and about the ships which bore his name in the fight to deter aggression and keep the peace throughout the span of fifty-six years.

DDG-993 was still in the midst of transfer and sale to the Taiwanese Navy when the Kidd legacy saw a new addition. On January 22, 2005, the 50th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, DDG-100, became the third vessel to bear the name of RADM Kidd, christened by his granddaughters Regina Kidd Wolbarsht and Mary Corrinne Kidd Plumer. As an example of the legacy being inherited by this new vessel, the red-white-and-blue ribbons from the bottle used to christen DD-661 in 1943 by Inez Kidd were attached to the bottles now used to christen DDG-100. Following the ceremony, the ribbons were collected and—along with DD-661’s original bottle—brought to the museum in Baton Rouge for display by CAPT Isaac C. Kidd, III.

This article was compiled from several sources, including conversations with Adm. Isaac C. Kidd,, Jr., USN (Ret) the official U.S. Navy biography of RADM Isaac C. Kidd, Sr. and an article by Mike Gordon that appeared in the December 7, 1998, edition of The Honolulu Advertiser, portions of which were reprinted here by permission.

Captain William Kidd (c. 1645-1701)

Little is known of William Kidd’s early life prior to 1689. He was born in Scotland, reputedly in or near Greenock, around 1645. At some point in his youth, he took to the sea, eventually emigrating to America. By 1689, he was captain of the BLESSED WILLIAM, a privateer in the king’s service, sailing against the French in the West Indies. He became a land-owner in the British colony of New York through his marriage to the twice-widowed Sarah Oort. A member of the congregation at Trinity Episcopal Church, he was a wealthy man who was also a confidant of the colonial governor, Colonel Benjamin Fletcher.

In 1695, King William III of England relieved Colonel Fletcher of his duties as governor of New York. A contributing factor to his removal may have been his past dealings with well known pirates Thomas Tew and Henry Every. In his place, the King appointed the Earl of Bellomont, tasking him with the effort to remove piracy on the American coasts from New Jersey to Maine. Piracy, however, was rampant on the eastern seas (i.e. the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf), with the East India Company losing vessels month after month. The King wished to end this crisis by striking at the pirates, yet war with France prohibited the Royal Navy from sending warships to chase them down.

Enter William Kidd on the scene, arriving in London in the summer of 1695 aboard his sloop ANTEGOA on a trading run from New York. While there, he chanced upon a meeting with Colonel Robert Livingston, a prominent New Yorker and an ambitious entrepreneur. Aware of the problems plaguing the Crown with regard to piracy, Livingston concocted a scheme for ending the piracy and, at the same time, making a profit. His proposal involved outfitting a specially built privateer to seek out the pirates, bring them to justice, and confiscate their booty. To do this, he needed two things: 1) financial backers to outfit the ship, who would recoup their investment in the form of profits from the captured pirate booty, and 2) a qualified privateer captain who could be trusted.

For his ship captain, Livingston chose William Kidd. Kidd was an honest merchant sea captain, and a former privateer in service to the King who knew the ways of pirates. For his backers, Livingston was able to entice five of the most powerful men in

England: the Earl of Bellomont (governor of the colonial New York), the Earl of Romney (Master General of Ordnance), the Earl of Orford (First Lord of the Admiralty), Sir John Somers (Lord Keeper of the Great Seal), and the Duke of Shrewsbury (Secretary of State).

Bellomont, Livingston, and Kidd signed the Articles of Agreement for the enterprise in October, 1695. Bellomont was to provide four-fifths of the cost of the project (which he obtained from the other four noblemen, who remained anonymous in these transactions), totalling £6,000. Kidd and Livingston together provided the remaining £1,500. As was tradition, the first 10 per cent of any profits from the venture went to the Crown. The remaining amount would be split three ways: 60 per cent to the anonymous backers, 15 per cent to Kidd and Livingston together, and 25 per cent to the ship’s crew. Normally, the crew was obliged to 60 per cent of any profits on a privateer vessel. Another stipulation also was added onto the Agreement: should no booty be obtained, Kidd and Livingston were to pay back every bit of the £6,000 that the backers had invested.

Not long after signing the Agreement, Kidd received two special commissions. One was a letter of marque empowering him to capture any ships or goods belonging to France. The other was a commission from the King to seize pirates, but also included a warning that “. … you do not, in any manner, offend or molest any of our Friends or Allies, their Ships or Subjects.”

The ship that Kidd and Livingston had outfitted was named the ADVENTURE GALLEY . She was launched at Deptford on the Thames River in December of 1695. At 287 tons, she mounted 34 guns, a large amount of sail, and carried 23 pairs of oars for maneuvering when the seas were calm with no wind. For his crew, Kidd took great care in selecting men who would not turn to piracy. Nearly all 70 of them were married, with families in England. He planned to recruit the remaining 80 men in New York prior to sailing for the East.

Bad luck, it seems, began with the onset of the voyage for Kidd. On March 01, 1696, barely a day out of London, the ADVENTURE GALLEY failed to salute a Royal Navy yacht at Greenwich (as custom dictated) as she sailed down the Thames to the sea. When the yacht fired a shot to make him show respect, Kidd’s crewmen, up in the yardarms handling sail, responded by slapping their backsides. Not long afterward, a man-of-war stopped him, boarded the ship, and impressed nearly all of his crew.

With barely enough crew to man the ship, Kidd made landfall at New York in July, where he recruited more crewmen. However, the caliber of these men was far less than those he had lost to the Royal Navy. At this time, New York was still a hotbed of piracy. To entice enough crewmen to sign on for the voyage, Kidd promised them 60 per cent of the booty—more than he was entitled to under the terms outlined in the Articles of Agreement. He sailed for the east coast of Africa in September of 1696.

On December 12, 1696, after a long transatlantic voyage, Kidd encountered a Royal Navy squadron off the Cape of Good Hope, roughly 100 miles northwest of Capetown. He demanded of the squadron commander, Commodore Thomas Warren, some new sails to replace those lost in a storm during the voyage to Africa. When his demand was refused, he informed the commodore of his royal commission, which entitled him to aid. If the Navy refused to aid him, he continued, he would seize the sails from the first merchant vessel he encountered. After a heated debate, Commodore Warren threatened to impress 30 of his seamen the following morning. Not wishing to lose more crewmen as he had on the Thames, Kidd slipped away in the night via the use of the ADVENTURE GALLEY’s oars. He continued his voyage on into the Eastern Seas without making port at Capetown, for fear of being arrested.

Upon reaching Johanna Island, an East Indiaman drew near the ADVENTURE GALLEY. The ship flew the Royal Navy pennant from her mast. Kidd somewhat arrogantly—and untactfully—informed the ship’s captain to strike the pennant, as only he, Kidd, had the right to fly the pennant due to his royal commission. The Indiaman’s crew were suspicious of Kidd, so much so that they kept their guns trained upon the ADVENTURE GALLEY throughout his stay, eventually warning him to leave harbor before they boarded him. After taking on water, he followed their suggestion and left port.

Kidd’s next stop was the nearby island of Mehila, in the Comoros. It was here, while work was being down on the ship, that 50 of his men fell ill and died in the space of a week. To this point, nearly a year after sailing from England, not a single penny had been earned from the voyage. With provisions beginning to dwindle, the crew—particularly the New York recruits—began openly advocating piracy. Kidd refused. On April 27, 1697, they set sail northward toward the Red Sea.

In July, the ADVENTURE GALLEY anchored off the island of Perim at the mouth of the Red Sea, a favorite ambush point for pirates looking to take prizes from the Arab convoys leaving nearby Mocha. Mocha, at that time, was the chief port in Yemen for the coffee trade. From here, Kidd could strike at either pirates or foreign prizes. He sent several scouting parties in a small boat through the straits to Mocha. Finally, he received news that nearly 14 or 15 ships were making ready to sail. For three weeks, he waited, but no ships appeared. Finally, on August 14, the fleet sailed from Mocha.

It was here that Kidd’s quandary became evident. The problem with privateering was that most vessels flew whatever flag was convenient at the moment. Its true identity was near impossible to determine until the captain and crew felt comfortable in revealing their allegiance. Should Kidd sack a supposedly enemy vessel and find it to be Dutch or English, rather than French, he would have committed an illegal act in the eyes of British law. However, if he did not act aggressively and pursue such opportunities, he would come home empty-handed and be obligated to repay his financial backers. And the sacking of Moorish vessels was itself a gray and questionable area. It was this gray area that Kidd sailed into the moment he entered into the agreement with Bellomont and Livingston nearly two years prior. Sailing after the Mocha fleet now, Kidd’s dilemma grew only worse.

The fleet, as it turned out, was neither composed of pirate nor French vessels. One of the escort vessels, an English East Indiaman by the name of SCEPTRE and commanded by Captain Edward Barlow, noticed one vessel too many in the convoy. As Kidd, now in the middle of the fleet, drew near, Barlow ordered the English colors hoisted, firing two or three shots at him. The ADVENTURE GALLEY, herself stalking a large Moorish merchant vessel, fired a broadside at her, hitting the merchant’s hull, sails, and rigging. SCEPTRE gave chase and Kidd quickly retreated under sail and oars. The ADVENTURE GALLEY was out of sight by morning.

Kidd’s prestige was quickly waning in the eyes of his crew. Pressure increased on him to turn pirate.

At the end of August off the Malabar Coast, Kidd encountered a small Moorish barque. The ship was commanded by an English captain, with a Portuguese mate on board, and manned by a Moorish crew. Though it was not a legitimate prize, he allowed his crewmen to board the barque and take a bale of pepper and a sack of coffee. He also impressed the English captain to join him, making him the ADVENTURE GALLEY’s pilot, as well as the Portuguese mate, who was to serve as an interpreter.

When he put into port for water at Karwar, on the Malibar Coast between Calicut and Goa, two English officers from the East India Company boarded his ship, demanding the release of these two men. Kidd, however, had locked them away in the hold away from prying eyes, and denied their existence. The officers left and shortly thereafter, two of Kidd’s crewmen jumped ship, later making depositions to the East India Company in Bombay about Kidd’s actions.

By the time that SCEPTRE and Captain Barlow reached Karwar on October 15, everyone was talking about the pirate chaser who had himself turned to piracy. Kidd was turned down when he attempted to acquire fresh water at Calicut, even after informing the port authorities of his commission from the King of England. He continued his cruise unabated.

In early November, Kidd halted a cargo vessel sailing northward along the coast. The crew of the ADVENTURE GALLEY grew excited about the prospects of finally taking a prize. However, as they drew near, the merchantman, known by the somewhat ironic name of LOYAL CAPTAIN, was seen to be flying English colors. With all her papers in order, Kidd released the ship to go her own way. His crew was immediately infuriated, some drawing their weapons. Kidd faced them down, claiming that he had not come to take English nor lawful vessels. The mutiny faded out, but the ill temper of the crew did not. On October 30, 1697, Kidd and gunner William Moore—who had been quite vocal in his opposition to his captain—had a confrontation that ended with Kidd seizing an ironbound bucket and crashing it against Moore’s head. Moore died the next day of a fractured skull.

At the end of November, a ship by the name of MAIDEN, bound for Surat with a cargo of cotton, quilts, and sugar was stopped by Kidd and his crew. When Kidd hoisted the French flag as a ruse, MAIDEN responded in kind. Upon being boarded, the ship’s skipper produced a French pass. Though the ship’s officers were Dutch and her crew Moorish, their actions made Kidd believe that they were a legitimate prize. Setting the Moors free and selling the cargo on shore for cash and gold (which he passed out to his crew in direct abeyance of his contract), he renamed the ship NOVEMBER and took her along as a prize.

As it turned out, the MAIDEN—now known as the NOVEMBER—was actually Indian-owned. In spite of the grayness of the area in which he was operating, according to the strict letter of the law, Kidd had now committed piracy.

On December 28, 1697, Kidd seized a small ketch off the Malabar Coast. It was of Moorish allegiance. Twelve days later, he took a Portuguese ship. His take from these two vessels amounted to very little: a few tubs of candy, a sack of coffee, some gunpowder, opium, rice, iron, beeswax, and butter. But the most fateful prize was yet to come.

On January 30, 1698 , the ADVENTURE GALLEY encountered a 500-ton merchantman by the name of QUEDAH MERCHANT. She was Armenian-owned and captained by an Englishman by the name of Wright. Her cargo contained silks, muslins, sugar, iron, saltpeter, guns, and gold coin a very rich prize. Lookouts aboard the ADVENTURE GALLEY spotted her in heavy seas off the Indian coast north of Cochin. Kidd pursued her for four hours before finally drawing alongside and firing a shot across her bow, the French flag raised in another ruse. Receiving a French pass from the Royal French East Indian Company when inspecting her papers, Kidd hoisted his English flag and claimed her as a prize. Her Armenian owners—who were aboard ship—offered to ransom the ship for roughly £3,000. Kidd, instead, sold the MERCHANT’s cargo on shore for £10,000 and divided the money amongst his crew. He then sailed for Madagascar, known to be a haven for pirates, with both the NOVEMBER and the QUEDAH MERCHANT.

When his ship was first taken, Captain Wright of the QUEDAH MERCHANT had sent a gunners mate over to the ADVENTURE GALLEY, posing as the MERCHANT’s master. However, en route to Madagascar, his true identity was revealed. Kidd was shocked and dismayed. He had compromised himself and taken a vessel commanded by an Englishman. He promptly summoned his crew, proposing that they return the MERCHANT to Wright’s command. His men, however, refused.

On April 01, 1698, the trio of vessels entered the harbor of St. Mary’s Island, . . . and came face to face with a pirate ship: the MOCHA FRIGATE, commanded by Robert Culliford, himself a privateer turned pirate. Kidd urged his men to seize the MOCHA. They refused. Instead, they split the takings from the QUEDAH MERCHANT. An odd note is that Kidd’s share was that usually accorded a privateer—40 shares—rather than that of a pirate captain—two shares.

Following the division of the booty, all but 13 of his crew deserted and joined Culliford. They sacked and burned the NOVEMBER, and then stripped the ADVENTURE GALLEY and QUEDAH MERCHANT of guns, small arms, powder, shot, anchors, cables, and other miscellaneous items. During this pillaging, they also burned Kidd’s log book and threatened him with murder. The captain, however, barricaded himself in his cabin. It is not known how long he remained barricaded inside, but eventually, Kidd surrendered to Culliford, saving not only his own life, but that of the men who remained loyal to him. When the pirate sailed from St. Mary’s nearly a month and a half later in mid-June, he left the ADVENTURE GALLEY and the QUEDAH MERCHANT unharmed, save for those items stolen from the deserting crewmen.

The ADVENTURE GALLEY was now done for.

She rested on a sandbar in the shallows, leaking and half full of water. Kidd burned her, fitting out the QUEDAH MERCHANT with what he could salvage from his stricken vessel. He then spent the next five months scrounging up a crew for the voyage home while waiting for the northeast monsoons which could blow him around the Cape of Good Hope. He weighed anchor on November 15, 1698, for the return voyage home.

About this same time, a letter from the East India Company reached London, recounting several acts of piracy on Kidd’s part. A squadron of vessels from the Royal Navy was dispatched to the Indian Ocean to capture him. Orders went out to the American colonies to apprehend him should he turn up there. And the politicians now took the stage as the Tory opposition to Kidd’s Whig party backers saw an opportunity to discredit them. Kidd was viewed as guilty by the public and the press by the time he arrived off of Anguilla in the Leeward Islands in April of 1699.

Upon hearing of the devastating news that they had been declared pirates, Kidd’s crew wanted to scuttle the QUEDAH MERCHANT and disband rather than enter an English port and be arrested. Kidd, however, believed in his innocence and in the men who had hired him for this mission. Confident in the French passes as evidence that he did not betray his commission, he sailed for New York to contact Lord Bellomont.

Upon reaching the coast of Hispaniola, Kidd bought a trading sloop by the name of ANTONIO. He transferred much of the MERCHANT’s booty on board, and then with a crew of 12, sailed for New York, leaving the remainder of his crew to guard the QUEDAH MERCHANT up the Higuey River. The large merchantman had proven to be too conspicuous to approach the English-controlled American colonies. The ANTONIO offered a much-need anonymity.

Kidd’s trust in his backers, it seems, was beginning to fade, however. Prior to his meeting with Bellomont, he dispersed the remaining treasure amongst several widely scattered caches, the largest of which was buried in the orchard of Gardiner’s Island at the eastern tip of Long Island. If taken into custody, the booty could serve to be a bargaining chip.

Kidd’s wife and two daughters joined him briefly for two weeks prior to his meeting with Bellomont. He made landfall in Boston on July 2, 1699. After interviewing the captain, Bellomont had him arrested and jailed at Stone Prison. His treasure was tracked down, recovered, and shipped back to London. On February 6, 1700, Kidd was brought aboard HMS ADVICE to be taken back to England for trial. He arrived on April 11, was transferred to the royal yacht KATHERINE, and taken to Greenwich. He was incarcerated at Newgate Prison in London for over a year while awaiting trial. Newgate was known at that time for its filth and the primitive conditions in which its prisoners were forced to live.

In March of 1701, Kidd was called before the House of Commons to testify. He was questioned about the involvement of the Whigs in his voyage. However, Kidd—possibly not sensing the political intrigue—continued only to proclaim his innocence. The House determined that he should be tried on May 08, 1701.

Probably the most devastating blow to Kidd’s case was the “misplacement” of the French passes that were to serve as the primary evidence that he had not turned to piracy, as the Prosecution claimed. His legal counsel was unable to consult with him until the morning of the trial. Whoever had “misplaced” the evidence had also neglected to forward to his legal advisors the £50 that the Admiralty had set aside to pay for his defense. Not only this, but Kidd could not testify in his own behalf. And court procedures allowed only Kidd himself to cross-examine the King’s witnesses (two crew members who had deserted him at Madagascar, joining the pirate Culliford) instead of his lawyers. Needless to say, Kidd was not a lawyer.

Kidd was convicted of the murder of gunner William Moore, first and foremost. Standing trial beside him on five counts of piracy were nine of his former crewmen. He was convicted of piracy of the QUEDAH MERCHANT, the MAIDEN (renamed NOVEMBER), two Moorish vessels, and a Portuguese ship. Six of his crewmen were also found guilty. Three men were acquitted.

Kidd maintained his innocence throughout the trial. At one point, following cross-examination of one of the two crewmen who had jumped ship and were now testifying against him, he asked “Mr. Bradinham, are not you promised your life to take away mine?” Upon the completion of the trial, he was asked if he could give any reason why he should not be put to death. He responded “I have nothing to say but that I have been sworn against by perjured and wicked people.”

Prior to his execution, Kidd was visited often by Chaplain Paul Lorrain at Newgate Prison. Lorrain found him unwilling to confess his crimes or ask forgiveness from God. When brought to the gallows, the captain still maintained his innocence. But bad luck followed him to the bitter end. When the trap doors sprang open, Kidd fell, only to have the rope snap under his weight, and send him crashing to the ground. He was brought up the ladder once more and hanged a second time.

Kidd’s body was tarred and bound in chains, with his head encased in an iron frame, and left to hang at Tilbury Point on the Thames as a warning to would-be pirates. Only one of his six convicted crewmen was hanged. The other five were granted reprieves. Two of them returned to Pennsylvania after their release and retrieved a portion of the treasure from the QUEDAH MERCHANT one of the caches missed by Bellomont’s agents. The two crewmen who testified against Kidd were rewarded with pardons for their acts of piracy (both under Kidd and Culliford). Kidd’s family lived in seclusion for a time in New York, but his wife eventually remarried and his daughters grew to have families of their own.

Ironically, the missing French passes were later discovered in their proper place in the Public Records Office in London, . . . some 219 years later in 1920.

Sources used in the compilation of this article:

The Seafarers Series: The Pirates , by Douglas Botting. Time-Life Books (1978).

The Book of Pirates , by Henry Gilbert. Crescent Books (1986).

Swashbuckling Clifford Has New Irons In The Fire ,” by Sally Rose. The Provincetown Banner (March 23, 2000).

The Quest for Captain Kidd, ” Discovery Channel (2001).


Kamikaze Images

The USS Kidd Veterans Memorial consists of the restored WWII destroyer Kidd (DD-661) and a large two-floor museum with a variety of nautical exhibits including many model ships. Kidd first opened to the public in 1983 as a museum ship moored along the banks of the Mississippi River. She had been decommissioned in 1964 after a long and distinguished career during WWII and the postwar period. The Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission, which has responsibility for operation and upkeep of the USS Kidd Veterans Memorial, constructed a unique concrete cradle in the Mississippi River bottom to hold the ship in place during the seasonal 40-foot rise and fall of the river.

On April 11, 1945, a kamikaze aircraft hit Kidd with the suicide attack killing 38 and wounding 55. The starboard side of the main deck shows the area where the plane hit the destroyer, and a short distance aft along the main deck there is a bronze plaque that lists the names and ranks of the 38 men killed in the battle action off Okinawa Island. The museum also has an exhibit in memory of those men killed in the kamikaze attack with a photograph of each man above his name and rank. The ship has few information plaques, with nothing on the history of the kamikaze attack, in order to keep the ship more authentic and reduce clutter according to the museum ship's attendant.


USS Kidd Museum Exhibit
on Operations During WWII and Korean War

Half of a large exhibition room on the museum's first floor is dedicated to the history of USS Kidd. The room has a large model of USS Kidd in a glass case in addition to many information signs and historical photographs. One wall displays a cutaway side view of the destroyer that shows locations of different compartments with historical photos of men in those areas of the ship. Another wall shows artifacts and photographs from the ship's service during World War II and the Korean War. Information plaques near the room entrance explain the unique dock to hold the ship and the ship's long restoration to the wartime configuration as of August 1945.

Both the museum and the ship contain several artifacts related to the kamikaze attack on April 11, 1945. The USS Kidd exhibition room in the museum displays several pieces of the Mitsubishi Zero that were taken from the wreckage aboard ship including a fragment of the exploded bomb carried by the kamikaze plane, cross section of the aluminum propeller, a piston, a piece of aluminum fuselage, and two instrument panel tags. The crew's mess area on the ship has a small exhibit of USS Kidd artifacts that includes a fuel pump from the kamikaze plane.

One exhibit in the USS Kidd area of the museum tells the story of Lieutenant Junior Grade Broox C. Garrett, Jr., who was injured in the kamikaze attack. Two aluminum rivet heads, sheared from the ship's decking by the blast, are exhibited. These were surgically removed from Garrett's abdomen, and one of the rivets amazingly still retains portions from Garrett's uniform. He was standing on the main deck, starboard side, leaning over the railing taking 8mm movies of the attacking Japanese plane, until his luck ran out. Above the two rivet heads is a photograph of Garrett sitting in a hospital bed with his eye bandaged.

The exhibit includes the following story told by the 72-year-old Garrett: "As he came spiraling down in a 'falling leaf' descent, he looked like he was going to splash. However, as he got right down to the water he suddenly leveled off—heading straight for us. I kept taking movies. He was smoking. Looking through the viewfinder made it appear like he was further out than he actually was, but when I heard the big 20mm gun shooting then you knew it was close. When I moved the camera aside I suddenly saw just how close he was. It was too late to move or duck, though. Then there was a terrific blast and I felt myself being hurled through the air and suddenly found myself on the far side of the passageway, laying on my back, with no clothes on except my belt—which had a few shreds of cloth hanging on it. And blood all over me. I looked down and saw my left femur protruding from my leg and said OH MY GOD, LOOK WHAT HAPPENED! I felt my left eye hanging down on my cheek. When I later saw my steel helmet with a bullet hole in it, then I realized that the bullet had punctured the steel part, glanced down, creasing my eyebrow, apparently pulling my eye out."

Pirate Captain Kidd, mascot of the destroyer Kidd, is painted on forward stack

The museum exhibit related to the kamikaze attack on Kidd contains the following background information about Japan's kamikaze tactics.

The Divine Wind

The Kamikaze attack had become an integral part of Japanese tactics after its successful tryout at Leyte Gulf, where it sank an escort carrier and damaged others. From then on, Allied seamen came to know suicide pilots well. Kamikaze – "divine wind" in English – attacks during the Lingayen Gulf operation were very effective, sinking four Allied vessels and damaging forty-three.

American and British seamen underwent their most fearsome trial by suicide planes during the Okinawa campaign. They were within close range of the airfields on the Japanese home islands, and both the invasion fleet and the fast carrier force were hit again and again. Thirty ships were sunk, and though none was larger than a destroyer, 368 were damaged, including carriers and battleships, some put out of action for months. Almost 5,000 Navy men were killed.

The USS Kidd museum displays the original two-page handwritten engineering log entry dated April 11, 1945, that recorded the results of the kamikaze attack. There is also a fascinating photograph taken by Lieutenant Junior Grade Broox C. Garrett, Jr., of the kamikaze plane that crashed into Kidd as it skimmed above the sea toward the ship with the destroyer USS Black (DD-666) in the background. At the USS Kidd Veterans Memorial, there is no mention by name of the kamikaze pilot who hit Kidd. Katsumi Hiragi's carefully researched 2005 Japanese book entitled Tokkou pairotto o sagase: Umoreta rekishi no nazo o horiokoshita shinjitsu no kiroku (Searching for a kamikaze pilot: Record of truth uncovered regarding puzzle of his hidden history) concludes that Lieutenant Junior Grade Shigehisa Yaguchi piloted the Zero fighter that crashed into the ship. The centerpiece exhibit for Kidd's WWII and Korean War history is the wooden figure of a Japanese pilot at a plane's control stick and supposedly dressed in a typical Japanese aviator flying suit, but it looks less than authentic.

The aft crew's berthing quarters of USS Kidd, a Fletcher-class destroyer, serves as a museum for all of the 175 Fletcher-class destroyers. The footlockers in this area have had glass covers installed, and now each one exhibits various artifacts and memorabilia from two or three ships. Several Fletcher-class destroyers were sunk or damaged by kamikaze attacks in the Philippines and around Okinawa. The ten Fletcher-class destroyers sunk by kamikaze aircraft include Pringle (DD-477), Luce (DD-522), Abner Read (DD-526), Bush (DD-529), Morrison (DD-560), William D. Porter (DD-579), Twiggs (DD-591), Callaghan (DD-792), Colhoun (DD-801), and Little (DD-803).

The museum has a gift shop on the first floor that sells a variety of items such as caps, shirts, and postcards. Visitors interested in learning more details about USS Kidd's history can purchase Robert F. Sumrall's 2002 book USS Kidd (DD-661) or the 23-minute DVD Introduction to the USS Kidd (2005) written by Mark Ballard and directed and edited by Donna Britt. The DVD highlights interviews with four Kidd WWII veterans who tell stories about the ship and her history as they tour the destroyer on which they fought. They provide personal accounts of the kamikaze attack and explain that every man in the forward boiler room got killed. The film shows a computer simulation of how the Zero fighter pilot headed toward the USS Black (DD-666) but went over that destroyer and then headed toward Kidd while he positioned the plane between the two destroyers to limit their gunfire due to fears of hitting the other ship.

The museum has created an excellent web site filled with photographs and information about USS Kidd and her history. The well-organized "Virtual Tour of the USS KIDD (DD-661)" takes the reader through various ship compartments in about 30 different web pages. The detailed "Ship's History" includes several fascinating photos such as one from the time when the crew hoisted the skull and crossbones of the Jolly Roger pirate flag in New York harbor when the ship was delivered to the Brooklyn Naval Shipyards. The "Oral History" section has accounts from about 25 WWII veterans including nine stories about the kamikaze plane that crashed into Kidd. Signalman 2nd Class Bill Gath describes the kamikaze attack from his position on the signal bridge:

This plane came out of the low clouds, started heading toward the BLACK, and then jumped the BLACK, more or less checkerboard style, over the top and dropped down low to the water, coming in on the USS KIDD. The ship could not fire its five-inch guns and 40mm guns due to the closeness of the ships in formation, or we would have been shooting our fellow men on the USS BLACK. At that time, the 20mm was shooting, and the plane was actually smoking and going down when it hit the starboard side of the USS KIDD right at the forward stack, underneath what would be the captain's gig. The bomb went through the ship and exploded on the portside just about at the entrance to the mess compartment down below.

The museum's web site also has a section dedicated to "Fallen Crew Members of USS KIDD (DD-661)" with a separate biographical page including photograph of about half of the 38 men killed in the kamikaze attack on April 11, 1945


USS Kidd Museum

The USS Kidd Veterans Memorial is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas and the day before these two holidays. Adult admission to both the museum building and ship together costs $8. Over the years many WWII destroyer crews have selected Baton Rouge as a reunion site with the opportunity to explore the USS Kidd Veterans Memorial.


Greyhound (2020)

No, not exactly. Despite being rooted in World War II history, the Tom Hanks movie is not directly based on a true story. It is instead based on author C. S. Forester's 1955 novel The Good Shepherd. Though the book's story is fictional, it was heavily researched and takes place at the midpoint of World War II during the Battle of the Atlantic in the winter of 1942. Tom Hanks portrays Naval Commander Ernest Krause (named George Krause in the book), who after years of being a career officer is finally given command of a destroyer, the USS Keeling, whose radio codename is "Greyhound." Krause commands a multi-national group of four escort ships tasked with protecting a convoy of merchant ships that are being hunted by German U-boats.

How long did the Battle of the Atlantic last?

Was the USS Keeling a real naval destroyer?

No. A Greyhound fact check reveals that the USS Keeling (codenamed "Greyhound") is fictional and was not a real-life Navy destroyer. A large portion of the movie was shot aboard the USS Kidd (DD-661), a Fletcher-class Navy destroyer named after Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who lost his life on the bridge of the USS Arizona during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The USS Kidd has been docked in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for years, where it has served as a tourist attraction. One of the main reasons the filmmakers chose to shoot on the historic battleship is because the Kidd is the only surviving WWII destroyer still in her wartime configuration.

If you listen closely during the movie, one of the sailors on the ship refers to a buddy he knows who was on the Kidd. While it's a nice nod to the ship the movie was filmed on, in real life, the USS Kidd wasn't launched until late February 1943, several months after the events in the movie take place.

How important was the Battle of the Atlantic?

The part of Greyhound that's based on a true story is the Battle of the Atlantic, in which the fictional USS Keeling becomes involved. The WWII battle focused on Germany's effort to cut off transatlantic supply lines by gaining control of the Atlantic Ocean. The U.S. and Canada needed to maintain the vital flow of supplies and men to Europe in order to keep up the fight. Germany knew that stopping the supply line would essentially give them victory in Britain and the rest of Europe, as well as the Soviet Union, thus ending the war. There wouldn't have been enough men, food, weapons, or resources to make weapons. There would have been no American soldiers for D-Day, and in turn, no D-Day and no victory.

Germany used squadrons of U-boats known as wolf packs, in addition to various warships, to prowl the Atlantic Ocean and hunt down and attack Allied convoys, which is what they do to the convoy Commander Krause's ships are protecting in the Greyhound movie. The strategy that the Allies used was to send a group of merchant ships across the Atlantic in a convoy that was escorted by a group of warships, and, when feasible, aircraft. Logistically, moving approximately 40 ships as a cohesive unit was anything but easy. It was also more difficult to remain unnoticed by the Germans.

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous battle of WWII. Losing the supply lines was a constant worry for the Allies. To emphasize the importance of the battle, Winston Churchill coined the name "Battle of the Atlantic," intentionally alluding to the Battle of Britain.

To learn more about the importance of the Battle of the Atlantic, watch our episode Greyhound: History vs. Hollywood featured below. To follow our latest episodes, subscribe to the History vs. Hollywood YouTube Channel.

How close did German U-boats get to the East Coast of North America?

By early 1942, U-boats had begun to wreak havoc directly off the east coast of North and South America, easily picking off merchant ships that were poorly defended. The Allies had yet to set up a convoy system, and according to the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, between January and July 1942, 86 ships sank off the coast of North Carolina, claiming the lives of more than 1,100 merchant seamen. The danger of traversing the Atlantic is echoed in the Greyhound movie's trailer, which states, "The only thing more dangerous than the front lines was the fight to get there."

However, by winter 1942, the tide had begun to turn and U-boats were more and more becoming the hunted rather than the hunter. Convoys that included escort ships had become commonplace. Instead of picking off lone ships, U-boats had to intercept the convoys, which required them to operate in groups known as wolf packs. Deadly battles ensued, but the Germans simply didn't have the numbers to cover the vast waters of the Atlantic. They began to take heavy losses. Approximately 41 U-boats were sunk in May 1943 alone, and as a result, Germany decided to withdraw the U-boats.

Is Tom Hanks' character, Ernest Krause, based on a real commander?

No. As we parsed out the Greyhound true story from the movie, we learned that Commander Ernest Krause is a fictional character based on Commander George Krause from C. S. Forester's book The Good Shepherd. The character's first name was changed for the movie.

Did German U-boats taunt U.S. destroyers with radio messages?

Did Allied warships ever get so close to German U-boats that they were almost touching?

Yes. While this rarely happened, such destroyer-vs-submarine duels did take place on one or two real-life occasions. The movie's fictional incident is based on an event that unfolds in The Good Shepherd book from which the film was adapted. The real-life clash that may have inspired the duel in the book happened on November 1, 1943 between the USS Borie and U-boat U-405. The U.S. destroyer was trying to ram the U-boat when a wave cause its bow to come down on top of the U-boat, trapping both in a deadly dance. The U-boat was too close for the destroyer's guns, so the crew members opened fire with rifles, submachine guns, and machine guns. U-boat U-405 was swallowed by the sea that night, adding to the Atlantic's WWII seabed graveyard. The USS Borie was badly damaged and scuttled the following day.

Most of the encounters that happened between warships and U-boats unfolded at a distance with depth charges and torpedoes.

How many Allied sailors, aviators, and merchant seamen died during the six-year-long Battle of the Atlantic?

In conducting our Greyhound fact check, we discovered that up to 80,000 Allied sailors, airmen, and merchant seamen were killed during the six-year-long Battle of the Atlantic, which spanned almost the entirety of WWII. Germany lost roughly 28,000 to 30,000 U-boat crewmen, roughly 70 percent of the 41,000 German seamen who took part in the lengthy battle. Percentage-wise, it was the most severe loss of any of Germany's armed forces.

How many ships were lost during the Battle of the Atlantic?

From 1939 to 1945, the Allies lost roughly 3,500 merchant ships and 175 warships. Still, 80 percent of Allied convoys completed the journey safely. During that same period, Germany lost 783 of its 1,100 U-boats.

Do any films depict what it's like to be a German sailor on the U-boats during the Battle of the Atlantic?

Yes. Several films are told from the point of view of the German U-boat crews. The best is probably Wolfgang Petersen's 1981 movie Das Boot, which does a superb job recreating the deplorable conditions, boredom, and nerve-racking tension experienced by the crews.


Kamikaze Images

About half of this book covers histories of individual Fletcher-class destroyers, which read like encyclopedia entries with no personal stories. Although the destroyer USS Kidd (DD-661) gets top billing in the title, only about ten pages, including photographs, deal with the ship's wartime history. Another six pages, probably the book's most interesting part, tell the story of the destroyer's becoming a museum ship in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The last section of about 50 pages gives brief biographical sketches of several hundred Fletcher-class destroyer veterans with wartime and current photos of many of them.

Although the book includes many historical photos, it does not grab a reader's attention with its heavy reliance on ship action reports and deck logs for historical accounts. The authors include no bibliography of sources. The history of the destroyer Kidd does not contain enough details or personal stories to satisfy a reader, and the combination of the history of Kidd with all other Fletcher-class destroyers does not increase the book's appeal.

On April 11, 1945, the destroyer Kidd got hit by a bomb-carrying kamikaze aircraft that killed 38 men and wounded 55. The attack is described in the book as follows (p. 18):

The Black was 1500 yards off the starboard beam of the Kidd. At 1409 hours, one of the enemy singe engine planes descended to near water level and made a run on the Black. The plane appeared that it would hit her, but it passed over the Black and came in at the Kidd. The Kidd's starboard 20s and 40s fired steadily at the plane. The 5-inch guns could not be used because the Black was directly in line of fire behind the plane. Gunners hit the plane several times, but its momentum carried it into the Kidd on the starboard side. It tore through the hull into the forward fireroom five feet above the waterline. The plane crossed the fireroom from starboard to port where it came to rest. The 500 pound bomb it was carrying tore through the port side of the hull and exploded just outside. This blew shrapnel all over the portside superstructure and opened the fireroom to the sea.

The authors make no mention of the plane type that hit Kidd, but the Japanese book Tokkō pairotto o sagase: Umoreta rekishi no nazo o horiokoshita shinjitsu no kiroku (Finding a kamikaze pilot: Record of truth uncovered regarding puzzle of his hidden history) published in 2005 concluded that the Zero fighter piloted by Lieutenant Junior Grade Shigehisa Yaguchi crashed into the destroyer.

The US Navy built 175 Fletcher-class destroyers during World War II. The following nine sank in Japanese kamikaze attacks:

  • Abner Read (DD-526)
  • Bush (DD-529)
  • Colhoun (DD-801)
  • Little (DD-803)
  • Luce (DD-522)
  • Morrison (DD-560)
  • Pringle (DD-477)
  • Twiggs (DD-591)
  • William D. Porter (DD-579)

Abner Read sank in the Philippines, and the other eight Fletcher-class destroyers sank during the Battle of Okinawa.

The section on Fletcher-class destroyers also describes damage suffered by the following ships due to kamikaze attacks: Bennett (DD-473), Braine (DD-630), Cassin Young (DD-793), Evans (DD-552), Hazelwood (DD 531), Howorth (DD-592), Isherwood (DD-520), Kimberly (DD-521), Leutze (DD-481), Newcomb (DD-586), Sigsbee (DD-502), and Stanly (DD-478). Cassin Young (DD-793), located in Boston, serves as another Fletcher-class museum ship.


USS Leutze (DD-481) showing damage from kamikaze hit


State Attorneys General Blast DOJ's Purdue Pharma Settlement: A 'Mirage Of Justice'

The Department of Justice announced a multi-billion-dollar settlement with Purdue Pharma on Wednesday, following a years-long investigation into the drug manufacturer accused of sparking the nationwide opioid crisis.

But several state attorneys general say federal prosecutors let the Sacklers, the family who owns Purdue Pharma and made billions of dollars exploiting opioid dependence, off the hook and failed to deliver justice.

“This settlement provides a mere mirage of justice for the victims of Purdue’s callous misconduct,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong (D) said in a statement. “The federal government had the power here to put the Sacklers in jail, and they didn’t. Instead, they took fines and penalties that [Purdue] likely will never fully pay.”

As part of the $8.3 billion settlement, Purdue pleaded guilty to three federal criminal charges, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and violating federal anti-kickback laws by paying doctors to write more prescriptions for OxyContin, a painkiller Purdue manufactures.

The settlement also requires Purdue to become a public benefit company that will be owned by a trust and “function entirely in the public interest,” according to a statement issued by the Justice Department. Any profits Purdue yields by selling OxyContin and other drugs must be directed toward “state and local opioid abatement programs,” the DOJ said.

Attorneys representing states, families, Native American tribes and other entities suing Purdue say using proceeds from OxyContin sales to curb addiction to that very drug is bizarre and inappropriate, and that Purdue should instead be sold to a private buyer.

In a letter sent to U.S. Attorney General William Barr last week, a group of 25 state attorneys general spoke out against a potential settlement with Purdue, specifically its then-rumored transformation into a public benefit company .

“The Sacklers’ proposal to cloak the OxyContin business in public ownership compromises the proper roles of the private sector and government,” the attorneys general wrote in their letter. “Thousands of Americans have died, and it is a top priority of every State to enforce the law against the perpetrators whose misconduct caused the opioid crisis. The last business our States should protect with special public status is this opioid company.”

‘Allows Billionaires To Keep Their Billions’

The settlement also leaves the Sacklers’ vast wealth largely untouched, as they have reportedly moved as much as $13 billion out of the company in recent years and into offshore bank accounts in anticipation of the financial fallout from thousands of lawsuits.

And that $8 billion settlement? Purdue probably won’t pay much of it.

Here’s why: the company filed for bankruptcy in September 2019. Though the settlement includes a $3.54 billion criminal fine, that bankruptcy status means the money likely won’t be fully collected, The Associated Press reported.

The settlement also requires Purdue to make a direct payment to the government of $225 million as part of the $2 billion criminal forfeiture. The Justice Department said it’s willing to give Purdue credit for the remaining $1.775 billion based on the money it is expected to funnel to state and local governments as a public interest company.

Purdue has also agreed to pay $2.8 billion in civil penalties. Separately, the Sacklers will pay $225 million in civil damages, according to the DOJ.

“I cannot support this deal,” North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein (D) said in a statement Wednesday. “The opioid epidemic is a scourge leaving addiction, death and sorrow in its wake.”

“Purdue Pharma is as responsible for creating this crisis as any company and the Sacklers as any family,” he continued. “This settlement does not force the Sacklers to take meaningful responsibility for their actions. A real agreement to resolve these cases would force the Sacklers to pay more and would provide funding to help pay for the treatment and programs people need to get well.”

Though the DOJ stated in its announcement that the Sacklers have not been released from any potential criminal liability, several state attorneys general expressed skepticism that the family would ever be held accountable.

“While our country continues to recover from the pain and destruction left by the Sacklers’ greed, this family has attempted to evade responsibility and lowball the millions of victims of the opioid crisis,” New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) said in a statement. “Today’s deal doesn’t account for the hundreds of thousands of deaths or millions of addictions caused by Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family. Instead, it allows billionaires to keep their billions without any accounting for how much they really made.”

‘DOJ Failed’

Some experts said Wednesday’s announcement was similar to Purdue’s 2007 settlement with Virginia prosecutors who had accused the company of deceiving doctors about OxyContin’s addiction risks. The company ended up only paying a modest fine of $600 million while Purdue executives pleaded guilty to misdemeanors.

Fining a corporation instead of sending its executives to jail is essentially granting “expensive licenses for criminal misconduct,” then-Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) said at the time, according to The New Yorker.

The Trump administration has been pushing to finalize a deal with Purdue ahead of the Nov. 3 election, hoping voters see the settlement as a win against Big Pharma, multiple lawyers familiar with the matter told The New Yorker earlier this year.

“The timing of this agreement mere weeks before the election raises serious questions about whether DOJ political leadership was negotiating in the best interest of the American public,” Tong said in his statement.

“DOJ failed,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) tweeted Wednesday. “Justice in this case requires exposing the truth and holding the perpetrators accountable, not rushing a settlement to beat an election.”

“I am not done with Purdue and the Sacklers,” she added, “and I will never sell out the families who have been calling for justice for so long.”


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Watch the video: World of Warships Naval Legends: USS Kidd