USS PURDY (DD734)
[This history was provided by Robert D. Espeseth of Champaign, Illinois.]
Biography of Commanding Officer Phelan
War Tour of Duty (
Overall length 376 feet 6 inches
Beam 41 feet 1 inch
Standard displacement 2,200 tons
Speed 34 knots
Complement 20 officers, 330 enlisted
six 5" 38 caliber (dual purpose battery); five 40mm (AA
USS Purdy (DD734) was launched at the
several weeks in
Purdy returned to
Purdy returned to the
Reserve Cruises to
Purdy was relieved for Christmas in
That summer was spent in the Boston Naval Yard Shipyard, and then the Purdy went to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for a period of refresher training. In Newport over the Christmas holidays, she again put to sea on 5 January 1953, this time as part of the Hunter Killer Forces. Operating with Task Group 81.2 in the Caribbean, she engaged in intensive ASW work that nevertheless allowed time for liberty in Havana, Curacao, San Juan, Ciudad Trujillo, Port au Prince, and Guantanamo Bay before returning to Newport for a Tender availability alongside the Yosemite. After another short exercise with Huklant that included a four-day liberty stop in New York City, the Purdy returned to a pre-Korean duty availability alongside the Yellowstone at Newport.
On 23 April 1953 the Purdy steamed out of Narragansett Bay on the first leg of her second world cruise and Korean duty assignment. She made rendezvous off Norfolk, VA with her companions for the cruise, the USS Lake Champlain (CVA39) and Destroyer Division 161 composed of the USS Sumner (DD692), USS Ingraham (DD694), and USS Moale (DD693). After participating in an exhibition of Naval strength for members of Congress, DesDiv 161 and Lake Champlain were bound for Athens, Greece. After a few days liberty at Athens (Piraeus) the Purdy got underway for the Suez Canal and made her transit without incident. Aden, Arabia was the next stop but only for fuel. Proceeding from Aden to Colombo, Ceylon for three days liberty. The ship crossed the Equator and acquaintances were renewed with Neptunus Rex. At Manila, liberty was curtailed due to the appearance of a typhoon. In Yokosuka, Japan, on 9 June, DesDiv 161 commenced a ten-day tender availability alongside the USS Frontier (DD25). She was assigned to Task Force 77 and spent two weeks as escort to USS Bremerton on bombline patrol with a one-day bombardment of the Songjin-Chongjin and Wonsan patrols, as well as night shore bombardment at the bombline. The Purdy enjoyed a tender availability and liberty at Nagoya, Japan for one week.
On 21 July, the Purdy set a course for Hokodate, Japan, to spend several days there for rendezvous with Task Force 96.7. After spending two weeks in training with the Hunter Killer Anti-Submarine Group, DesDiv 161 was detached to proceed to Sasebo, Japan, for a ten-day tender availability alongside the USS Hector (AR7). For the next two weeks the Purdy was assigned to Task Force 77, and then to Task Force 95 to patrol the Pusan-Pohang area. Arriving in Yokosuka, Japan, on 15 September, the "Yankee Ship Purdy"--as she was now called due to the majority of the crew and officers being from the Northeastern sector of the US--prepared herself for the long trip homeward.
On 18 September 1953, the Purdy set sail for Midway Islands. The International Date Line was crossed on 23 September, the same day as refueling at Midway. Hawaii was liberty from 26-29 September, after which a course was set for San Francisco, California. We passed under the Golden Gate Bridge and proceeded to Alameda Naval Air Station where liberty was held 6-8 October. After a brief stop in San Diego the Purdy transited the Panama Canal on 22 October. Stops were made in Panama City and Balboa, C.Z.
A big welcome home celebration awaited the Purdy on 27 October at the State Pier, Fall River, MA, and the second cruise around the world was over. COMDESLANT officially changed the handle on the Purdy from "the dirty Purdy" to "The Pretty Purdy" and gave "Well Done" to all hands.
After a tender availability period and extended Christmas leave, the Purdy was again assigned to Huklant for operations in the Carribean. During the holiday period the Purdy basketball team finished as the top destroyer in the DESLANT tournament but second place to the resident team of the Yosemite, a tender which rarely got underway because "it was aground on its own coffee grounds." During the six-weeks assignment in the warm weather, the ship hit many of the same liberty ports as the previous year.
The end of April found the Purdy heading for the MED as a port of a HUKMED group assigned to the Sixth Fleet. After a stop in Gibralter, other port of call were made at Genoa and Naples, Italy and Barcelona, Spain before returning to the U.S. in early summer.
In addition to the Navy Unit Commendation award for air action on 12 April 1945, the Purdy was awarded the Ribbon of the Occupation of Okinawa, Gunto, American Defense Ribbon, and the Navy Occupation Service Medal. For action in the Korean conflict, the Purdy earned the Korean Service Ribbon with three stars, the China Service, the United Nations Medal, and the National Defense Service Ribbons.
Commander James F. Phelan, U.S. Navy, present Commanding Officer of the USS Purdy (DD734) was born January 13, 1917, in Sedalia, MO. He attended public high school, business college and two years of college in Aberdeen, South Dakota. His present home addresses are Evanston, Illinois and New Milford, CT. The Phelans have two children: James F. Jr. and Anne Louise.
He received his appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy from South Dakota in 1936, graduated and was appointed Ensign on June 1, 1940. His first assignment was to the cruiser, U.S.S. Chicago (CA-29) where he served until it was sunk off the Solomon Islands in 1943. In March of the same year he was ordered to the U.S.S. New Jersey (BB-62) where he served as Radar Officer until December 1943.
Commander Phelan served with CotLant in 1944. Then as assistant Gunnery Officer aboard the U.S. Bremerton (CA-120) in 1945. He spent the next year as Gunnery Officer on the U.S.S. Monpelioe (CA-57) in the occupation of Japan, and was afterwards ordered to the NROTC Unit at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.
From 1948-1949 Commander Phelan studied at the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School at Annapolis, Maryland, and was later assigned to the University of Illinois for two years (1949-1951, where in 1950 he was awarded a Master Degree in Mathematics. He served as Operations Officer on the U.S.S. Pittsburgh (CA-72) from 1951 to 1953, during which time the Pittsburgh completed two tours of duty with the Sixth Fleet.
Commander Phelan assumed command of the U.S.S. Purdy (DD-734) on 15 June 1953 at Yokosuka, Japan. He wears the American Theater Ribbon, the Pacific Theater Ribbon (3 battle stars), the European Theater Ribbon, the Navy Occupation Ribbon (European Class), the World War II Victory Medal, the Korean Campaign Ribbon (1 campaign star), the United Nations Medal, and the American Defense Ribbon.
For meritorious service as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Purdy (DD734) during combat operations against enemy North Korean and Chinese Communist Forces in the Korean Theater, Commander Phelan received the Commendation Ribbon with Combat Distinguishing Device. The citation indicated outstanding initiative, aggressiveness, and determination in conducting night harassment and interdiction fire on enemy positions and supply lines along the East Coast of North Korea.
2 October 1951. At 0809 underway enroute Newport, Rhode Island to Colon, Panama, proceeding in company with ships of DesDiv122, USS Hyman (DD732), USS Beatty (DD756), USS Purdy (DD734) and USS Bristol (DD857). CDD 122 OTC in Hyman. Ships in column. Base speed 20 knots.
3 October. Steaming in southeast sector of Hurricane "HOW", off coast of North Carolina. Very heavy seas. Man overboard from Bristol. Purdy maneuvered to recover, 1232, BMC Bransom, by heroic effort, recovered J.A. Reagan, USN from sea. Reagan injured, treated, and put to bed. 1320 man overboard from Hyman. Man sighted floating face down. With Bristol, Purdy maneuvered to recover. Made repeated attempts. Considered too dangerous to personnel and ships to continue. Abandoned rescue operations on orders OTC. When last seen, man floating face down, no life jacket. Apparently dead. Rejoined DesDiv.
7 October. Arrived Colon, Panama. Canal pilot aboard. Transited Panama Canal. Moored Pier 11, Rodman, Canal Zone. Pilot disembarked. Fueled. Underway for San Diego, CA. Steaming as before. Base speed 18 knots.
10 October. Encountered heavy weather Gulf of Tehauntepec.
14 October. Arrived San Diego, CA. Moored Pier #2, Naval Repair Base. Liberty. Fueled.
16 October. Underway enroute Pearl Harbor, T.H. Steaming as before. Base speed 22 knots.
20 October. Arrived Pearl Harbor, T.H. Moored Fuel Dock. Fueled. Liberty.
22 October. Underway enroute Midway Island. Steaming as before. Base speed 25 knots. SR-6 Radar down.
24 October. Arrived Midway Island. Moored fueling pier, San Island. Fueled.
25 October. Underway Yokosuka, Japan. Steaming as before. Base speed 20 knots. At midnight date advanced one day to 27 October 1951.
31 October. Crossed ahead of Typhoon "Thelma" center, some 60 miles. Entered Yokosuka. Moored alongside Hyman at Buoy #3. Fueled. Liberty. SR-6 radar repaired. Underway. Moored port side Hector (AR-7) at Buoy #5.
3 November. Moored alongside Bristol at Buoy #3.
4 November. At 0601 underway enroute Wonsan, Korea, in company with DesDiv 122. Base speed 22 knots. Condition II set. Ship darkened except running lights. Split Plant.
6 November. Transited Shimonoseki Straits. Entered Sea of Japan. Bristol detached. Arrrived Wonsan. Fueled. Received 2 ROK Ensigns aboard for duty. Proceeded independently to Hungnam, Korea.
7-10 November. Underway in Hungnam Harbor on "Winter Resort" patrol (anti-mining) and conducting interdiction fire and shore bombardment at selected targets at irregular intervals. On various courses within swept areas, at 10-12 knots, zigzagging. Conducted counter-battery fire against shore gun emplacements. Taking evasive action, as required, to remain clear of shore batteries.
10 November. Relieved by Gloucester (PF22). Proceeded to Wonsan area to refuel and replenish. Returned to Hungnam and resumed "Winter Resort" patrol. Stooped and identified 2 vessels as ROK.
11 November. Underway enroute to Songjin, Korea. Steaming singly. Conducting "Windshield" blockade patrol (anti-junk, anti-mine, anti-submarine). Speed 10 knots, zigzagging. Alert for targets of opportunity.
12 November. Arrived off Songjin. C.O. Purdy relieved C.O. Swenson (DD729) as CTE 95.22 (Commander, Songjin and Yang Do Defense Unit). C.O. Purdy departed for conference with CTF95 aboard Toledo (CA133). Returned one hour later. Lt 9jg) An, ROKN reported aboard from Swenson for liaison duty. At this time, TE 95.22 consisted of Purdy, Doyle, Endicott, HMAS Tobruk, HMCS Sioux, and Almirante Padilla (Colombian PF).
12-23 November. Underway off Songjin conducting "Windshield" patrol. Conducting assigned daytime and nighttime fire missions (Railroad tracks, trestles, tunnels, bridges, locomotives, trains, repair crews, storage areas, docks, sampans, etc.). As Task Element Commander, C.O. responsible for assistance to and liaison with ROK Garrison on Yang Do Island (G-2 agents, refugee camp, intelligence operations, local ROK Headquarters). Provided fresh water, diesel oil, rice, and other food, etc. when required.
16 November. Exploded floating mine with 40mm gunfire from 1800 yards.
24 November-4 December. Operating between Songjin and Chongjin on "Whiskey" patrol, as part of Blockade East Coast Korea. Conducting assigned fire missions.
29 November off Nan Do Island stopped port engine to make repairs to steam line after engine room. Making 10 knots on starboard engine. Completed repairs early AM 30 November. HMNZS Taupo reported to TE95.22. 4 December Lt. Price and Rawley, ET2 to Doyle to assist in equipment repairs. Fired numerous targets in Chongjin. Sighted sampan close to shore. Took under fire. Sampan came alongside to surrender with three-man crew dressed in North Korea Army uniforms. Tied sampan alongside. Prisoners and sampan transferred later to Yang Do.
5-11 December. Underway off Songjin on alert for possible invasion of Yang Do by North Korean forces from mainland. On particular alert for junks, sampans, flies. 6 December exploded two drifting mines. Many drifting mines sighted. All exploded or destroyed by TE ships. Peirzga, ET2 and Johnson, ET3 to Yang Do for communication equipment repairs. Returned 6 hours later. Conducted assigned fire missions. C.O. Purdy to Rochester for conference. 11 December C.O. Swenson came aboard for conference. C.O. Swenson assumed duties CTE95.22 relieving C.O. Purdy. ROK officer personnel transferred to Swenson. [Normal operations during 31 days with TE95.22: Conducted assigned fire missions daily. Targets of opportunity under fire, as required. Refueled every 3-5 days. Resupply food, stores, ammo every week to 10 days. Mail every week to 10 days. Guard mail as required. Yang Do support as required. Made 3 "Whiskey" patrols to Chongjin.]
11 December. Enroute Songjin Op Area to Yokosuka, Japan, steaming singly.
13 December. Arrived Yokosuka, moored starboard side to Beatty, at Buoy #8. Nest with Desdiv 122. Liberty. Refueled.
14 December. Underway IAW CDD122OPPLAN for individual ships exercises in Sagami Wan area with Desdiv 122.
14-18 December. Underway conducting exercises daylight and anchored at night (14th Agami, 15th Ajiro Ko, 16th Ajiro Ko, 17th Atami).
18 December. Completed exercises, returned to Yokosuka, moored with Division alongside Ajax (AR-6) Buoy 6.
23 December. Underway to Dry Dock #2, U.S. Naval Fleet Activities Yokosuka. Pilot at conn. In drydock found 30-foot section of port bilge keel missing.
27 December. Bilge keel repaired. Ship afloat. Underway towed to Buoy #6 and moored alongside Hyman. Fueled.
28 December-4 January 1952. Underway enroute Buckner Bay, Okinawa in company with Desdiv 122 and Cortron 11 (TE96.71). OTC CTE 96.71 (CDD122) in Hyman. On clearing Yokosuka Harbor Gate formed circular screen on Bairoko (CVE115). CVE departed. Conducted ASW exercises with Pomodon (SS486) and Greenfish (SS351). 1 January New Year.
4-6 January. Anchored Buckner Bay, Okinawa, Berth 180. Underway to Pier Baker for fuel. Fueled. 5 January underway to anchorage 194. Replenish. Liberty.
6-8 January. Underway enroute to rendezvous point of Sagami Bay, Japan in company with Desdiv 122. Arrived rendezvous.
8-10 January. Underway enroute operating area off East Coast, Korea in company with St. Paul (CA73), Desdiv 122 (less Bristol), and Desdiv 171. In column astern St. Paul. Desdiv 171 operating on parallel course to north. Fueled from St. Paul. Passed through Van Dieman Strait. Base speed 25 knots.
10-14 January. Underway off East Coast, Korea, in company with TF77. Ships in circular formation. St. Paul guide with Valley Forge and Essex on circle 2. 8 ship Open Concentric Screen. Purdy Station #2. Zigzagging. Condition III set.
14-18 January. Proceeding singly via Tsushima Straits, to rendezvous with Antietam in Van Diemen Straits. 14-15 January conducted Economy Run at 14 knots. 15 January steaming on port engine only during repairs to condenser. Repairs completed 0100 16 January. Port engines back on line. Plant Split. Arrived west and Van Dieman Strait. 17 January. Effected rendezvous with Antietam. Set Screen ahead. Base speed 25 knots. Rejoined TF77 18 January.
18 January-1 February. Underway off East Coast Korea in company TF 77. 22 January. Sank adrift black and white spheroid buoy with small arms fire. 24 January. Sank mine lat. 38-04, 6N, long. 129-40.5E. Mine appeared to be Russian type M-26. Considerable rust and marine growth. Sank without exploding.
1 February. Desdiv 122 departed formation enroute Sasebo, Japan.
1-5 February. Moored starboard side to Beatty at Buoy #1, in nest alongside Piedmont (AD17). Fueled. Replenished. Liberty. 2 February CDD122, C.O. Bristol, and Inspecting Party from Bristol conducted Formal Administrative Inspection.
5-6 February. Underway enroute Oparea Sugar in company with Desdiv 122. 6 February rejoined TF77.
6-18 February. Underway in Oparea in company with TF77. 7 February. Sank oil drum. Sank A/C belly tank. [Normal operations during approx. 6 weeks assigned to TF77: Refueled every 1-4 days, replenished every 6-7 days. Numerous ad hoc assignments, Lifeguard Ship, Plane Guard, Hydro Guard. Live AA firings weekly. Received mail about every 6-7 days. Helo Guard mail deliveries when needed. Operated with following heavy ships: Wisconsin, St. Paul, Manchester, Rochester, Essex, Valley Forge, Philippine Sea, and Antietam. Operated with 24 different destroyers.]
18-20 February. Detached from TF77, proceeding with and screening Manchester (CL83) for "Bombline". Carrying out assigned fire missions (interdiction, bombardment, and harassing). Armed boat crew ready at all times to investigate flies, sampans, etc. 18 February, sighted small craft with three men aboard. Investigated. Placed three men under armed guard. Searched them. They were ROK soldiers. Hoisted sampan aboard. Transferred identification papers on prisoners to Manchester by helo from fantail. Manchester validated them as ROK. Men put in water with sampan to proceed to ROK Headquarters.
20-22 February. Took departure for Yokosuka with Manchester via Tsushima and Van Dieman. 21 February AA firing exercise using Manchester drone. Purdy recovered drone. Moored bow and stern to Buoy D-4 Yokosuka. Hyman, Beatty, and Bristol moored alongside.
22-27 February. Moored Yokosuka. Made preparations for return to Newport, RI. Fueled. Took ammo aboard. Fresh water.
27 February-2 March. Underway enroute Hong Kong, BCC, in company with DD122, IAW CDD122 OPPLAN 1-52. Base speed 18 knots.
2-4 March. Moored Buoy B3, Hong Kong. Bristol moored alongside. Fueled. C.O. made calls on Royal Navy Commodore. Liberty.
4-7 March. Underway enroute Singapore, Colony of Singapore, in company with Desdiv 122. C.O. Purdy OTC. Base speed 23 knots.
7-9 March. Anchored Man-of-War Anchorage, Singapore. Underway from anchorage to coaling pier for fuel. Entered Keppel Harbor. Pilot at conn. Moored Berth #5. Fueled. C.O. called on Royal Navy and Singapore authorities. Liberty.
9-13 March. Underway enroute Colombo, Ceylon in company with Desdiv 122 OTC CDD122 in Hyman. 10 March Hyman reports man overboard. Sighted man close aboard port in water. Threw white life ring. Stopped. Bristol and Purdy searched area. Not successful. Discontinued search on orders OTC. 10 March. Davy Jones came aboard and delivered message from His Majesty Neptunus Rex. Davy Jones disembarked. 11 March the Line ceremony lat. 00-01.0S and long. 87-22.5 E. Neptunus Rex and party disembarked at 1200.
13-15 March. Moored Buoy #24 and #25 in Colombo. Bristol alongside. Fueled. Replenished. Liberty.
15-20 March. Underway enroute Bahrain Sheikdom, Persian Gulf, in company Desdiv 122. 17 March completed 20 knot economy run.
20-25 March. Purdy and Bristol left formation and proceeded to Bahrain. Hyman and Beatty proceeded separately to Ras Tanura. C.O. Purdy Sopa Bahrain. Pilot aboard. Moored port side to fueling wharf #1. Sitrah Anchorage Bahrain. Mr. W.S. Laver, Political Agent of Bahrain, came aboard. Fueled. Got underway and anchored Sitrah Anchorage. Senior Naval Officer Persian Gulf, Captain Fisher, RN, came aboard, called on C.O. C.O. Purdy and C.O. Bristol hosted buffet luncheon, in Purdy wardroom and on Purdy forecastle for RN officers, their wives, and Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) executives and wives.
22-26 March. Underway enroute Aden, Arabia in company Desdiv 122. Base speed 18 knots.
26 March. Anchored Aden. Pilot aboard. Underway outer harbor Aden to fueling berth inner harbor. Moored port side to Bristol at fueling berth #8. Fueled. 2223 underway for Naples, Italy.
26-30 March. Underway enroute Naples in company Desdiv 122. 29 March. Split Plant in preparation for transiting Suez Canal. Navigating detail for piloting on Bridge. 30 March 0643 anchored Suez Bay. Egyptian Immigration and Admeasuring representatives came aboard. Pratique certified. Canal pilot aboard. Received searchlight and electrical crew aboard. 0921 Entered Canal. 1250 Anchored Great Bitter Lake. Swim call. Cdr. Savage Astalusna, Cairo came aboard and rode with us to Port Said. Second Canal pilot aboard. 2020 removed searchlight and mooring boats. Quarantine and police officers from Port Said boarded. Pratique certified. Third Canal pilot aboard. Pilot departed and ship took departure for Naples.
30 March-2 April. Underway enroute Naples in company Desdiv 122 in column. Base speed 20 knots.
2-6 April. Underway enroute Cannes, France in company Desdiv 122. In column. Base speed 23 knots.
7-10 April. Anchored Rade de Cannes, France. Liberty.
10-12 April. Underway enroute Gibraltar in company Desdiv 122. Base speed 16 knots. Loose station keeping to preserve fuel. 19 April stopped all engines. Lay-to for two hours at sea to clean sides.
21 April. Entered Narragansett Bay enroute Melville, RI, escorted by fire boats and many small craft. At 0931 moored port side to starboard side Beatty nested alongside Yosemite (AD19). Order outboard Hyman, Beatty, Purdy, and Bristol.