History of the USS Kidd (DD661) and the Fletcher Class Destroyers
by Larry W. Wolfe, Lisa J. Wolfe, and Kelly O'Hara
Turner Publishing Company, 1992, 168 pages
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
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
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
USS Leutze (DD-481) showing damage from kamikaze hit