USS O'Bannon (DD-450)

O'Bannon at Mare Island Navy Yard during an overhaul, early March, 1951, in preparation for her deployment to Korea. US Navy photo.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

The USS O'Bannon (DD-450) was a Fletcher-class destroyer, laid down in 1941. After commissioning on 26 June, 1942, O'Bannon was sent to the Pacific, and soon saw action in the Solomons, fighting in the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 12 November, where she damaged the battleship Hiei. O'Bannon continued to be heavily engaged in the Solomons in the next year, fighting in the Battles of Kula Gulf, Kolombangara, and Vella Lavella, which brought O'Bannon's run of good luck to an end, when she was damaged in a collision with her sister USS Chevalier. She was overhauled on the West Coast, returning to the Solomons in March, 1944, and spent most of the year in escort and shore bombardment duties, missing the main action in the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf. She remained in the Philippines until June, 1945, when she began escorting carriers on strikes against Japan. Post-war, O'Bannon was placed in reserve, and converted to a destroyer escort from 1949-50. She was reactivated for action in Korea, and remained in commission with the 7t Fleet in the Pacific afterwards. In 1965, she starred in the film In Harm's Way, and was a reserve ship for the recovery of the Gemini and Apollo space programs. She served in a fire support role off Vietnam in 1967, and remained active in the Far East until she was decommissioned on 30 January, 1970. O'Bannon was sold for scrap that June.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: O'Bannon came across the Japanese submarine RO-34 surfaced on 5 April, 1943, and attempted to ram. A last-minute reconsideration resulted in the two ships running parallel to each other, and O'Bannon's crew pelted the submarine with potatoes, which the Japanese thought were hand grenades, forcing them to turn away from the destroyer. RO-34 was finally sunk by a combination of gunfire and depth charges.