October 30, 1998  

The United States Navy Destroyer



                                                    A Report by Ernest Baker

                                                           for English 60

                                                     Instructor: B. Robison



                               Table of Contents


Introducing the Navy Destroyer

Short Story (The way it really was)

History of Destroyers

Adams Class Destroyers

Class Specifications

History of the USS Sampsons’

The USS Sampsons'

The Ship’s emblem

Sampsons' information page

Ship board weapon systems

Break down of Departments

A Poem

Words of Wisdom



The Destroyer

     The destroyer is different from the rest of ships. It is small, fast and personal. No other ship offers the experience that a destroyer does in any sea state. Long after they are gone, their crews remember.

     The destroyer class of ship came into existence as a weapon against the torpedo boat which itself came about as a cheap weapon against capital ships. The destroyer was in fact developed out of torpedo boat design. When opportunity provided, the destroyer could itself fulfill the mission of the torpedo boats and attack capital ships with torpedoes. Destroyers also were capable, being larger and more durable that torpedo boats, of serving as scout ships for the fleet. Eventually the became the general workhorses of the world’s navies. They were small, expendable, and supremely seaworthy.

 The way it really was........

      "Shooting the green." You wait at the fwd door of the fore and aft passageway. The green water pours through filling the amidships passageway. Now you make your break. You get to the aft. door. Its dogged. With superhuman strength you open it and go aft. The next green comes through right behind you. If it had hit you would have been extruded through the boat winch or carried off to nowhere.

     The chief say, "We’re ready, but you don’t have to do this." You head down the ladder into the fuel tank that has a leak in it leading to the stdb shaft alley. The stench is overwhelming. The red devil blowers are putting fresh air but it’s not enough. The rungs of the tall ladders are coated with oil and it’s slippery in a way you can’t believe. It’s hard to see with just a couple of portable gas lights for illumination.

     You lay out flat and work your feet into the boiler firebox first. My God, it’s hot. As you work your shoulders over the sill the metal rim burns you across your back. Its better when you’re laid out on the fire brick and then to stand up because, the deck was to hot on yours hands when you tried to stand. Boilers are slow to cool in Subic Bay. The firesides look good, though.

     The night order book say’s "The OOD will stand his watch on the open bridge."

     The center section of windshield is removed to improve vision. The windshield wipers never worked anyway. The green water comes through powerful enough to damage Mount One. You dodge behind the captain’s chair and wait for the next one. The canvas overhead leaks water down your neck. When you can go below you’ll sleep with your arms beneath the mattress so that you don’t roll so much.

      God, I loved it."

      By a destroyer sailor.


 History of the U.S. Destroyer

     The name destroyer had its origin in the days of wooden sailing ships. In naval warfare, an attacking fleet would attack the shore fortifications of a port of harbor and then set up a barricade with part of their fleet. Isolated, the defenders on the shore, would send out small boats under cover of darkness or fog with one or two men, attach a keg or cask of explosive, called torpedoes, near the enemy’s ship’s wooden hull waterline, ignite the fuse and hope the resulting hole would flood the ship and sink it.

     The reaction of the attacking fleet in stopping these small "torpedo boats" from damaging their ships, were to bring their own small craft as a counter measure. They were called, torpedo boat "destroyers".

     In later years these small defending torpedo boats were no longer effective and the idea of using underwater crafts to hide their approach, came about. At first these submerged craft were small with one or two men manually operating the propulsion and to mount the torpedoes. Enter the era of submarines and the beginning of the steel hulls.

     The submarine in World War I, proved how effective such a craft could be. The destroyer, now became an offensive warship. Built to be fast, they were long and narrow, the hull only a thin shell of steel, there by receiving the nickname, "Tin Cans". Along with limited armament, depth charges were developed with preset detonation. Motorized torpedoes were built specially to be fires from a tube. The combat destroyer had arrived.

     The destroyer, USS Bainbrige, with hull No. 1, was commissioned Nov. 24, 1902, itscrew were three officers and 72 enlisted men, about 450 tons, 42 ships were built of this class.

     Between 1913 and 1920, 345 "Thousand Toners" and "Flushdeckers" (nicknamed, Four Stackers) were built. In 1932, a new design, "1500 ton" destroyer joined the Navy, with the last of this group being built in 1939. A "1850 ton" destroyer was also built during this same time. The Benson-Livermore class, were called "broken decker" because of their two main deck configuration, 96 were built from 1939 through 1943. They averaged 2000 tons. (dry)

     The Fletcher Class, 2100 ton (light) flush deck destroyers, were built during World War II, 376 feet long with a beam of near 39 feet. Its main battery were 5 single 5 inch/38 mounts, two forward and three aft. 40mm and 20mm cannons were its secondary. Two sets of five torpedo tubes completed its armament. The bow was approximately 21 feet above the surface and just six feet at the stern, giving it a very picturesque profile. In the shipyards, prefabricating the interior and superstructure in sections, made it possible for these ships to be quickly built in a time of great need. 175 were built to this blueprint, with only the flying bridge changed in later ships, from two wings to a wrap-around.

     Needing more firepower, the "Summer class" was developed using the Fletcher classsuperstructure and hull. Two mounts each with twin 5 inch/38 were place forward and a single mount twin 5 inch/38 aft, 69 were built.  Still using the "Fletcher class" design and twin gun mounts designed for the "Summer class", the hull, for extra fuel capacity, was extended to 391 feet with a 40 foot beam, and totaling 2280 tons light. These ships were called the "Gearing Class", 109 were built.

     These last four classes of ships were the "work horses" for the naval warfare of WorldWar II. Earning honors in every theater of action throughout this global conflict. They were also the targets in a new type of warfare as Japanese Kamikazes crashed into these destroyers, time and time again. Many heroic stories can be told about these crews battling the enemy and helping their fallen shipmates in so many of these actions.

     During World War II, a specially designed destroyer was built to protect transports in convoys, these lighter destroyers were designated Des, developed for anti-submarine patrols. Some were 290 feet long with a 35 foot beam and 1436 tons. (light) Main battery were 3-3 inch/50 plus 2-40mm and 9-20mm and depth charges, no torpedo tubes. Some Destroyers had two 5 inch mounts and a set of three torpedo tubes, little variance in size and tonnage.

      In 1949, because of the "cold war", some "Fletcher class" destroyers were recommissioned after being "moth-balled" following W.W.II. These Flatters’ were given a "fram" structural overhaul and designated "DDE" (Destroyer Division Experimental). They were active in the Korean and Vietnam actions. Nearly all Fletcher, Summer and Gearing Class ships were stricken from Navy rolls by the late 1960s. Some sold to foreign nations, others scrapped. Several are now museums.

     In 1955, the Forrest Sherman, Adams, Contez Classes were built. A completely new designed destroyer with sophisticated electronics, joined the Navy, it was 418 feet with a 45 foot beam at 2734 tons light, with helicopter. About 50 ships were built.

     The Spruance Class followed in 1973, 563 feet and a 55 foot beam, 7,800 tons, helicopters, 35 ships were built. The "Arleigh Burke" class destroyers are the latest ships to be built.

 Adams Class Destroyer

      The Charles F. Adams class guided missile destroyer was derived from the ForrestSherman class design with a Tartar/Standard missile launcher in place of a third 5 inch gun mount. The first fourteen ships of the class DDG-2 to DDG-15 were outfitted with the twin arm Mk.11 missile launcher. The rest of the ships were outfitted with the Mk.13 "One Arm Bandit" missile launcher. Both launchers employ a cylindrical magazine containing two concentric rings of missiles. Overall length was increased 20’ feet over the Forrest Sherman in order to accommodate a Mk.16 Asroc launcher between the funnels. The weapons systems employed by the Adams class made it one of the most formidably armed destroyers of its period, and the design was adopted by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Royal Australian Navy. These ships have proved to be extremely useful, well balanced ships.

 Class Specifications

      Twenty three ships in the class, DDG2 through DDG24. Three warships were built for the West Germany (Lutjens class), three war ships were built for Australia (Perth class).

-Length: 437 ft.

-Beam: 47 ft.

-Displacement: 4,500 tons full load.

-Propulsion: Two steam turbines two shafts 70,000 ships speed: 31 knots.

-Armament DDG2 through DDG14: A twin Mk. 11 Tartar launcher.

-DDG15 through DDG24: A signal arm Mk. 13 Standard launcher.

-All warships two Mk. 42 5 in./54 Gun mounts.

-All warships a signal Mk.16 (8) cell Asroc launcher.

-All warships twin Mk. 32 triple torpedo tubes.

-Surveillance DDG2 through DDG14:

-SPS 39 (3D) air search radar.

-SPS 29 surface search radar.

-SPS 37 (2D) air search radar.

-DDG15 through DDG24:

-SPS 10 C/D surface search radar.

-SPS 40 (2D) air search radar.

-SPS 39 (3D) air search radar.

-All warships two SPG 51 fire control radar’s.

-All warships Mk. 68 GFCS.

Sonar: DDG 2 through DDG 16 SQS 23 Pair hull mounted Sonar.

-DDG17 through DDG24 SQQ 23 Pair hull mounted Sonar.

-DDG19/20/22 under went modernization program that focused largely on the electronics


 History of the SAMPSON’S

     The ship’s namesake, William Thomas Sampson was born on 9 February 1840 in Palmyra, New York and entered the United States Naval Academy on 24 September 1857. After graduating first in his class four years later, he served as an instructor at the academy. He commanded Allert, practice ship Mayflower, and the Swantara. On 1 June 1898, during the Spanish American War, Rear Admiral Sampson, embarked in the flagship New York, established a "close and efficient" blockade on ADM Cevera’s Spanish Fleet in the harbor of Santiago. On the morning of July 3, 1898, Cevera’s fleet came out of the harbor and was completely destroyed in a running sea battle of five hours. The next day Rear Admiral Sampson sent his famous message: "The Fleet under my command offers the nation as a Fourth of July present, the whole of Cevera’s Fleet!"

     Rear Admiral Sampson retired on 9 February 1902, and died in Washington, D.C. on6 May 1902. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The first USS Sampson (DD 63) was laid down in 1915 by Fore River Shipbuilding Company of, Massachusetts; launched on 4 March 1916; sponsored by Miss Marjorie Sampson Smith; and Commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on 27 June 1916. She reported for duty with the U.S. Naval Forces operating in European waters and was assigned to convoy duty in the approaches to the British Isles, basing her operations from Queenstown Division of destroyers on 29 November 1918, and stood out from Brest Harbor on 12 December to escort President Woodrow Wilson on board USS George Washington, into the harbor. Sampson was decommissioned on 15 June 1921. She remained inactive during the years that followed. On 17 July 1935, she was ordered scrapped in accordance with the London Treaty for mutual reduction of Naval Armaments.

     The second USS Sampson (DD 394) was laid down 8 April 1936, by Bath Iron Works Corporation, Bath, Maine, launched on 16 April 1938; sponsored by Mrs. Louis Smith There; and commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on 19 August 1938. With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States declaration of war, Sampson patrolled with USS Warrington (DD 383) of Newport from 23 December 1941 to 12 January 1942, when the two destroyers set course from the Canal Zone to join the Southeast Pacific Forces. During the period 27 July 1943 to 3 October 1943, while escorting a convoy from Noumea to Espiritu Santo, she engaged and sank an enemy submarine. She participated in the amphibious assault on the Schouten Islands while Major General Horace H. Fuller, Commander of the 41st United States Army Division, was embarked. She became the flag ship of Captain H.T. Read, Commander, Task Force 63, on 19 July 1944, and conducted convoy duties until May 1945. She was decommissioned on 1 November 1945. USS Sampson earned one Battle Star for World War II service.

      The third ship of the U.S. Navy to named USS Sampson (DDG10) was commissioned at the Boston Naval Shipyard on 24 June 1961. A product of Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, Sampson’s armament consists of the Tarter Missile System, Harpoon Missile System, Anti-Submarine rockets (Asroc), two 5-inch/54 caliber guns and six torpedo tubes. Sampson’s mission is to operate offensively against subsurface, air and surface threats.

     Since commissioning, Sampson has made fifteen deployments to the Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, and UNITAS XXIX. Sampson returned from her last and final deployment on 28 March 1991, following almost eight months of operations in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm war effort. Additionally, Sampson has participated in numerous fleet exercises in the North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea and has Participated in U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Sampson was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for operations during the Iraq war, the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation for a short-notice emergency deployment to the Middle East Force and the Coast Guard Unit Commendation for search and rescue efforts for the Space Shuttle Challenger. She has earned a total of 11 Battle Efficiency "E’s". The most outstanding ship in her squadron. Home ported in Athens, Greece from 19772 to 1975 under the forward deployment home port concept. Sampson was last assigned to Destroyer Squadron Twelve and was home ported in Mayport, Florida from December 1976 to her 24 June 1991 decommissioning, exactly 30 years to the day since she was commissioned.



 The Ship’s Emblem

       The ship’s emblem is the coveted symbol for the origin and back ground of the ship’s name sake and carries with it an historical aura. The Latin phase "Fortes Fortuna Juvet" translates to "Fortune Favors the Brave". The Mace head attached to a chain called a flail is reference to the strength of the Biblical Sampson. The diagonal bars with their curves represent the waves of the ocean. The castle is the emblem of the Spanish province of Castile and the rampart lion is from the flag of Spain. Both refer to Admiral Sampson’s heroic role in the Spanish American War.

 Sampson Information Page

       The USS Sampson is the 9th ship in the Adams class family and the 3rd ship to bear the name of USS Sampson.

-Built by: Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine.

-Keel Laid: 2 March 1959

-Launched: 3 Sept. 1960

-Commissioned: 24 June 1961

-Commissioning commanding officer: CDR. Forrester W. Isen

-4 Home Ports: 1. Norfolk, VA. 1961-1967

                         2. Charleston, S.C. 1967-1975

                         3. Athens, Greece 1975-1977

                         4. Mayport, FL. 1975-1991.

-Ships fate: Decommissioned 24 June 1991

Stricken 20 November 1992

Sold for scrap 25 July 1995

 USS Sampson Ship Board Weapons

     Armament: one MK: 11 Missile Launcher capable of launching 42 missiles in six minutes. Located on the 01 level aft. Carried up to 42 missiles on a typical load out. 41 (SM-1 MR) Standard Missiles (conventional) surface to air missiles, range 20+ nautical miles. She also carried one (GMTR) guided missile training round. This missile system is controlled by two (SPG-55) radar’s. All missile radar’s are located on the 04 and 05 level aft. In two launchers of four tubes each, she carried eight Harpoon surface to surface missiles with the range of 60+ nautical miles. Controlled by two (SPG-51) radar’s. Located just aft of the boat deck on the 01 level.

     For ASW the ship use one ASROC 8-tube launcher. ASROC is a rocket assisted torpedo with the range of 10+ nautical miles. Today’s torpedoes are use against submarines. During the cold war we carried special weapons in the Asroc launcher. The location of this system was on the 01 level amidships.

     Against radar guided anti-ship missiles the ship used MK 36 Super (RBOC) Chaffroc.This system also had two launchers of six tubes each. Some were IR. rockets, (red flares), others were just tin foil. The locations of the two launchers were on the 03 level aft of bothbridge wings. Like all destroyers we carried two MK 32 triple tube torpedo launchers, range classified. These torpedoes were also used against submarines. The torpedo tubes are located on the 01 level fwd. under the two bridge wings.

     The Sampson, like most good destroyers had some sort of guns mount on board. The ship has two MK.42 Mod 10 5-in/54cal. gun mounts capable of firing 35 rounds per minute with the range of 12+ miles. Used for multipurpose rolls; anti-air, surface action, and gun fire support. Mt. 51 located on the forecastle, and Mt. 52 in located on the 01 level aft. just in front of the Tartar missile launcher. The guns are controlled by a Mk. 68 director and (SPG-23) radar, located on the 05 level above the bridge.

 Breakdown of Departments

Weapons Department:

     Weapons department is divided into four divisions. In these divisions you have the following personnel working in them; BM, GM, TM, ST, FT rates.

-1st Division does all the deck work, painting, man’s the underway bridge watch and run all of the boats. Bms’ (Boatsen mates’) are the rate and rank of the personnel that work in 1st division.

-2nd Division has GMGs’(Gunner’s Mate) and FTGs’(Fire Control man gun). They are responsible

for maintaining and firing the guns, gun director, and gun fire control radar’s.

-G Division has the GMM(Gunner’s Mate Missile)and FTMs’(Fire Control man Missile) rates who control the missile radar and fire the Missiles.

-AS Division tracks all sonar contacts and fire the ASROC and torpedoes. AS division has the following rates in AS division; STGs’(Sonar Tech. Guided),GMT(Gunner’s Mate Tech.),TM (Torpedo’s Mate).


     The Operations department is made up of four divisions; OI, OE, OC, ONX. -OI Division is made up of OS’s(Operation tech.) who operate the radar’s and track all surface, air, and subsurface contacts. -OC Division is made up of RM’s(Radioman) and SM’s (Signal man) which handle all of communications, which include all radios and visual means such as signal flags, flashing light, and semaphore.

-OE Division which is made up of ET’s(Electronic tech.) and EW’s(Electronic Warfare tech.)who maintain all of the electronic equipment and perform all of the ECM(Electronic Counter Measures) work.

-ON Division: QM’s(Quarter Masters) navigate the ship. YN’s(Yeoman) and PN’s (Personnel men) work in the ships office maintaining personnel records and general admin. work. In this division you also have postal clerks, corpsmen, and journalist.


     Engineering department also have four divisions: M, B, R, and E. -E Division consists of EM’s(Electrician’s Mate) and IC’s(Internal Commutations Mate) who take care of all the electrical and internal commutations on board. -B Division are the BT’s(Boiler Tech.) who work in the fire rooms running the boilers.

-M Division is the division that maintains the engine rooms. MM’s(Machinist’s Mate) are the men who maintain the engine rooms.

-R Division has the HT’s(Hull Tech.), MR’s(Machinists), some MM’s(Machinist’s Mate) they run the ship’s repair shops and the A gang (MM’s) who do all the heating and cooling work.


     The last department, which is supply department also has four divisions.

-S1 has the SK’s(Store Keepers) who order and maintain all of the parts the ships uses.

-S2 are the DK’s(Pay Clerks) who pay you on payday and take care of other money needs of the ship.

-S3 division has the MS’s(Mess Specialists) who do all the food preparation and serve all the meals.

-S4 division are the SH’s(Ships’ Service Men) who run the ships’ stores, barber shop, laundry and soda machines.

 The Poem

"‘Twas the night before Saturday                           

    with no sight of shore.                                               

I was standing my watch                                           

     from midnight till four.                                               

The crew slept snoring                                              

      all cramped in their racks.                                         

Some on their bellies                                                 

     but most on their backs.                                             

And me and my watch section                                  

    all fighting sleep.                                                         

Drowning in coffee                                                   

    at least two feet deep.                                                  

 When all of a sudden while                                       

       but with hardly a sound.                                             

A ghost named Boredom

       walked in and sat down.                                        

 He pulled up a chair                                                    

      and propped up his feet.                                             

"I’ve brought some more friends                                

     I’d like you to meet.

His present when opened

      cut straight to the bone.

In walked Despair, Lethargy, and Contempt                     

Anxiety rolled in with his hair quite unkept.                          

"We’ve brought one more,

        but don’t look to quick

‘cause he is the killer -

        please greet ‘homesick’."

They took all the chairs                                                 

         some even took watch.                                              

They giggled, guffawed,                                                 

      and one scratched his crotch.                                             

They wiped off their brows

 Anxiety combed his plate.

We made it time

      we feared we were late.

We brought you all presents

      to help you fill your time.

Emotions gone sour

      that won’t cost a dime.

Boredom brought hours of nothing

      to do

Contempt left cups of hatred

      to brew,

Lethargy gave us all feelings that


Despair gave us clocks

       with hours that drag.

Homesick came last

       but his present was best.

"An emotion for you

       while you’re cruising out West."

An album of memories

      about our loved ones at home.

Then each left

      as quick as they came.

Without a damn care

      or feeling of blame.

So now we stand watch

      with nothing to do.

Our lips all puckered

      from tasting the brew.

We slump to our chairs

      with feelings that sag.

Watching our clocks

      with hours that drag.

Each watching his memories

      of those he loves best.

And knowing deep down

      "‘twas only a test.

To find out how much

       for our ladies we care.

And learn also with you

       these emotions we share.

So write us your letters

       and stay by the phone.

And love us each day

       while we’re far from home.

Think of us often

       in things that you do.

But most sacred of all remember

      that we miss you too."

"By all the Sailors that ever served aboard USS Sampson DDG-10"


 Stories of Wisdom

     "...Destroyermen have always been a proud people. They have been the elite. They have to be a proud people and they have to be specially selected, for destroyerlife is a rugged one. It takes physical stamina to stand up under the rigors of a tossing dog-dog. It takes more spiritual stamina to keep going with enthusiasm when you are tired and you feel that you, and your ship, are being used as a workhorse. It is true that many people take destroyers for granted and that is all the more reason why the destroyer Captains can be proud of their accomplishments."

                                                                              Admiral Arleigh A. Burke

      "A Destroyer is a lovely ship, probably the nicest fighting ship of all. Battleships are a little like steel cities or great factories of destruction. Aircraft Carriers are floating flying fields. Even Cruisers are big pieces of machinery, but a Destroyer is all boat. In the beautiful clean lines of her, in her speed and roughness, in her curious gallantry, she is completely a ship in the old sense."

                                                                                          John Steinbeck

 Bibliography of Research Materials

-Jane’s Fighting Ships 1983-1984, Published by Jane’s Publishing Company Limited, 238 City Road, London EC1V 2PU, England.

-The Blue Jackets’ Manual 1943, Eleventh Edition, United States Naval Institute, Annapolis, Maryland.

-The USS Sampson (DDG-10)- The Final Chapter 1990-1991, Last Edition, cruise book.


                                       You can also check these Web Sites

-Ship photo’s: http.//www.charlesfadamsclass.com/cf03004.htm.

-USS Sampson DDG-10 The Ship: http://www.plateau.net/usndd/ddg10/ddg10his.htm?

-Welcome: http://www.charlesfadamsclass.com/cf000001.htm.

-Class Specifications: http://www.charlesfadamsclass.com/cf02000.htm.

-Sampson information page: http://www.charlesfadamsclass.com/ch11000.htm

-Destroyers On-line - Ships Detail: http://www.plateau.net/usndd/ddsships.htm?

-Destroyers On-line - The Charles F. Adams (DDG) Class: http://www.plateau.net/usndd/classcfa.html.

-Destroyers On-line - Destroyers: http://www.plateau.net/usndd/ddtypes.htm?

-My home page.

-English 60 home page