USS William D. Porter (DD-579)

William D. Porter in Massacre Bay, Attu, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, 9 June, 1944. US Navy photo NH 97804.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

Laid down during the Battle of the Coral Sea, USS William D. Porter had a rough start to her career. Commissioned in mid-1943, she operated in the Atlantic for a few months, getting in fighting shape. In November, Porter drew her first major assignment: Escorting the new battleship USS Iowa (BB-61), carrying US President Franklin Roosevelt to the Tehran Conference. All was going well, until mock torpedo drills were initiated. Porter made a run on Iowa, and accidentally launched a live torpedo. At the President. When Iowa failed to respond to light signals, Porter broke radio silence, and Iowa demonstrated her agility by getting out of the way at the last minute. Porter was ordered to leave the formation and proceed to Bermuda, where her crew were investigated, but only the Chief Torpedoman who had failed to remove the primer was incarcerated. Porter was transferred to the Aleutians in December, and operated in North Pacific waters until assigned to the Philippines campaign. She missed the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October, but was in action during the Lingayen landings in January. For the first five weeks of the Okinawa campaign, Porter was on shore bombardment and anti-aircraft duty. She was assigned radar picket duty in early May, and continued this position until 10 June, 1945, when she was the victim of a Kamikaze. The aircraft was downed by Porter's guns and crashed into the sea, but detonated underneath the ship, causing extensive fires and broken steam lines. Ported capsized and sank, but lost no crew.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: Poor Porter has become something of a legend as a hard luck ship, with many accounts of mishaps and accidents. However, most of them are urban legends.