USS Knapp DD-653 History
Ships WWII History
The USS Knapp DD-653 was laid down
March 8,1943 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine and launched July
10, 1943. The ship was sponsored by Misses Margaret L. and Mary
C. Knapp and commissioned September 16,1943 with Comdr. Frank
Virden in command.
After a shakedown cruise out of Bermuda, the Knapp departed
Boston, MA., 11-26-43 for the Pacific, arriving Pearl Harbor
Dec. 21, 1943. She departed Pearl Harbor 1-16-44 with Admiral
Mitscher's Carrier Task Force 58 for the Marshall Islands
invasion. At sea on duty from 1-16-44 to 2-12-44, the Knapp put
in to Majuro and during this period, also bombarded Kwajalein
Island. She continued her screening as carriers launched raids
on Truk 2-16 & 2-17-44, and on bases in the Marianas on 2-21 &
2-22-44. The Knapp then sailed from Majuro to Espiritu Santo to
screen for carriers providing air cover for the seizure of
Emirau island from 3-20 to 3-25-44 plus raids on Palaus, Yap and
Woleai from 3-30 to 4-1-44.
The Knapp returned to Majuro 4-6-44 and a week later she sortied
with heavy ships for the Hollandia landings that took place from
4-21 to 4-24-44, and included air raids on Truk, Satawan, and
Ponape until the close of the month.
After replenishment at Majuro in May, the Knapp joined and
screened carriers during operations against Saipan. On 6-19-44
the Knapp provided cover during the air battle of the Philippine
Sea in which Japan's air power suffered major losses. From 7-25
to 8-5-44, the Knapp continued her screening in the raids on
Palau, Ulithi, Yap, Iwo Jima, and Chichi Jima. In the latter,
the Knapp joined in the surface gunfire which sank several ships
of a Japanese convoy that had been heavily damaged by U.S.
carrier aircraft. The Knapp then sailed to Eniwetok to be
refitted between 8-11 and 8-30-44.
The Knapp steamed out of Eniwetok for the invasion of the Palaus
on 8-30-44 screening five battleships and a later rendezvous
with the carriers Langley, Lexington, Essex, and Princeton
before their strikes at targets in the Palaus during the
struggle to take Peleliu. During September, the Knapp screened
for heavy ships making strikes at the Philippines. On l0-6, she
sailed from Ulithi for air strikes on Okinawa and Formosa in
preparation for the Leyte landings, and fired protective
antiaircraft cover for her force during the Formosa air battle
of Oct. 12-14th. After guarding the retirement toward safety of
the stricken Canberra, which had been struck by an aerial
torpedo on 10-13, she rejoined her force for air strikes on
Luzon. She also screened for them during the Battle of Leyte
Gulf, and then returned to Ulithi on 10-30-44. Two days later,
the Knapp sailed back to the Philippines, and after the Reno was
11-3 by a submarine torpedo, she guarded her withdrawal to
safety. From 11-25-44 through the middle of January 1945, the
Knapp screened for air strikes against Luzon, French Indochina,
and cities on the coast of China, thereby neutralizing Japanese
bases in preparation for the Lingayen invasion. Escorting the
Ticonderoga, [which was hit during an air attack 1-21-45] the
Knapp arrived in Ulithi on 1-24-45. After accomplishing all of
her assignments, the battle tested USS Knapp set sail 1-30 for
the United States West coast, and arrived On 2-20for overhaul.
The Knapp sailed for the Western Pacific 4-23-45 arriving off
Okinawa on 5-27, where she served on dangerous and demanding
duty as a radar picked ship until 6-26-45. Three days later, she
joined Task Force 39 for the final series of raids against the
Japanese home island. Following the end of fighting on 8-15, the
Knapp arrived in Sagami Wan, Honshu, Empire of Japan on 8-27.
The Knapp sailed into Tokyo Bay September 1st for the surrender
ceremonies aboard the USS Missouri BB-63 9-2-45. During the
early days of the occupation the Knapp helped demilitarize the
Japanese midget submarine and suicide boat bases.
The Knapp sailed for the United States 12-5 and arrived in San
Diego 12-21-45. Shortly thereafter the Knapp sailed via the
Panama Canal for Boston, arriving 1-17-46. She sailed for
Charleston, S.C. 4-2, and was decommissioned on July 5, 1946.
The USS Knapp received eight battle stars for World War II
Ships Korean Era History
After service in WWII the USS Knapp was placed in the
Atlantic Reserve Fleet in Charleston, SC, on July 5, 1946. The
process of taking the ship out of mothballs for service in the
Korean War started early in 1951.
On Thursday May 3,1951, at 3:00 PM, the USS Knapp DD-653 was
recommissioned and placed under the command of CDR. Arthur J.
Ela, U. S. Navy. The balance of May and June were spent working
on the ship and early trial runs. On 10 July the ship left
Charleston for a week in Norfolk, VA, and then on to Newport,
RI. Later in July the ship leaves on its first shakedown cruise,
arriving in Cuba and anchoring in Guantanimo Bay on 22 July
1951. The ship also visits Havana and Camaguey, Cuba, and is
forced to put out to sea on 18 August to ride out a hurricane.
On 31 August we sail to
Santiago, Cuba and San Juan, Puerto Rico then make preparations
for the return trip to the States.
In September 1951, the Knapp goes into post shakedown overhaul
in Charleston, SC.
In January 1952, the ship leaves Charleston, stops at Norfolk,
VA, and continues on to Newport, RI, before leaving for the
second trip to Cuba. On 15 February, the Knapp enters Guantanimo
Bay for the second time. On 25 March, out on maneuvers, with
shore bombardment of Culibra Island. On 30 March, we leave for
Kingston, Jamaica. In April the ship sails to Port Au Prince,
Haiti, and then back to the States. While back in the States,
the Knapp stops at New York, Boston, MA, Providence, RI, and
stops at Norfolk, VA, for two weeks. In June, the Knapp sails on
to Newport, RI, where she ties up to the USS Everglades for
repairs. July 1952 brings a change of Captains as CDR. Heinrich
Heine U.S.N. assumes command of the Knapp. In early August, the
ship is back in Boston, MA. for additional repairs. On 26
August, 1952 the USS Knapp along with sixteen other ships leaves
the United States to participate in the largest NATO naval
exercise in history named Operation Mainbrace. On 10 September,
1952 the Knapp drops anchor in the Firth of Forth at Helensburg,
On 13 September, the mightiest multinational armada in history
steamed down the Firth of Clyde, around Cape Wrath, past Scapa
Flow, and into the broad waters off Scotland and Scandinavia.
NATO's Navy was at sea. We operated in the North Atlantic with
the other ships in Operation Mainbrace from 13 to 26 September
and in the process, crossed the Arctic Circle on 16 September
and obtained our Blue Nose cards. After Operation Mainbrace, the
USS Knapp sailed back to England and made the following ports of
Plymouth, England 26 Sept. - 1 Oct.
Londonderry, Ireland 3 Oct. - 18 Oct.
Bremerhaven, West Germany 21 Oct. - 27 Oct.
Bristol, England 30 Oct. - 5 Nov.
Ostende, Belgium 9 Nov. - 13 Nov.
Rouen, France 14 Nov. - 21 Nov.
Plymouth, England 22 Nov. - 27 Nov.
Gibraltar, Great Britain 1 Dec. - 3 Dec.
Naples, Italy 6 Dec. - 12 Dec.
Piraeus, Greece 20 Dec. - 26 Dec.
Istanbul, Turkey 27 Dec. - 2 Jan.
Tarragona, Spain 9 Jan. - 15 Jan.
On 19 January, the ship stopped again at Gibraltar before
setting sail for Newport, RI, and then on to Boston, MA, and New
York. The first part of 1953 was spent in various exercises at
sea and repairs at the Boston shipyard. The Knapp spend the 4th
of July in Kennybunkport, ME, and then back to Norfolk, VA.
On 10 August, the Knapp leaves Newport, RI, as part of DesDiv
182 for the West coast via the Panama Canal, arriving in San
Diego, CA, on 25 August. The ship arrives in Pearl Harbor, HI, 2
September, Midway on the 7th, the International Date line, and
then Yokosuka, Japan on 14 September 1953. The next four months
were spent in the screen of fast attack carriers striking from
the sea in support of NATO forces in Korea as part of Task Force
77. In October, 1953 the Knapp went on patrol with the NATO
blockade and escort forces along the East coast of Korea. During
this period the ship stops at Pusan, Point Silver, and then back
to Sasebo, Japan.
On 14, January, the Knapp left Yokosuka, Japan with the rest of
her division for the return trip back to the United States. The
ship arrives in Hong Kong on 17, January, and crosses the
equator 22, January at 23:20 and then Singapore the next day.
The ship arrived Colombo, Ceylon 29, January, then Aden, Saudi
Arabia, and transited the Suez Canal 12, February. The Knapp
left Port Said astern for the Mediterranean ports of Naples,
Italy and Barcelona, Spain. The Knapp sails for the final leg
home with stops at Lisbon, Spain, and Bermuda, before ending her
long cruise at Fall River, MA, on 10 March, 1954.
After overhaul in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and a training
cruise to Cuba, the Knapp cleared Newport, RI, on 30, November
and sailed to San Diego where she became part of
DesDiv 212, DesRon 21 of the Pacific Fleet. The Knapp sailed
again for the Far East arriving in Yokosuka, Japan on 27 January
followed by maneuvers in the East China Sea, waters of the
Philippines, and a period of patrol in the Taiwan Straits. The
ship returned to San Diego 19 June 1955 where the balance of the
year was spent operating along the Southern California coast.
The Knapp left San Diego 5 January 1956 and joined parts of the
Seventh Fleet in areas south of Japan, Subic Bay, Philippines,
waters off Okinawa, and patrolling the Taiwan Straits. The Knapp
returned to the States 31 May 1956 and then entered the Long
Beach Shipyard for inactivation overhaul. The Knapp was placed
out of commission on 4 March 1957 and became part of the Pacific