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The USS Gregory Today

USS Gregory (DD-802) was launched by the Todd-Pacific Ship Building Co. Tacoma Wash. 8 May 1944; sponsored by Miss Ann McGuigan daughter of Captain McGuigan superintendent of construction at Tacoma; and commissioned 29 July 1944 Commander Bruce McCandless commanding.

After shakedown along the West Coast USS Gregory sailed for the Pacific with Hull (DD-350) reaching Pearl Harbor 23 October 1944. Two months of local operations terminated in January 1945 as USS Gregory began practice for the impending invasion of Iwo Jima next-to-last great campaign of the long and bloody Pacific war. USS Gregory sailed for the island 22 January arriving off Iwo Jima via Saipan and Eniwetok on D-day 19 February. For the next month she remained off the rocky coast under almost constant fire to screen transports and provide fire support for the invasion forces. Departing Iwo Jima 15 March USS Gregory reached Saipan 4 days later to prepare for her role in the Okinawa campaign, which was the last step prior to invasion of the Japanese home islands.

Involved were over a thousand ships and half a million men under Admiral R. A. Spruance in the Pacific's war largest amphibious effort. USS Gregory joined this modern armada as it sailed from Saipan 27 March as was off Okinawa 1 April 1945 as the first waves of Marines waded ashore to bloody battle. Her task group, under Admiral Jerauld Wright, conducted a "demonstration landing" on the southeast coast, hoping to distract some Japanese attention from the actual invasion along Okinawa's western coast. This diversion complete USS Gregory remained off Okinawa on patrol on radar picket station duty.

On the afternoon of 8 April Gregory's lookouts spotted three Japanese planes coming in out of the setting sun a favorite kamikaze device. One of the suicide craft pieces of fuselage spinning wildly off as Gregory's guns registered hit after hit crashed into the destroyer amidships just above the waterline to port. USS Gregory shuddered under the impact and began to slow in the water as power failed in her forward engine and fire rooms flooded. The two other kamikazes mercilessly pressed on their attack but the wounded DD downed both of them in blazing gunfire. USS Gregory then steamed to the anchorage at Kerama Retto for temporary repairs and on 19 April departed Okinawa. After escorting the carrier Intrepid to Pearl Harbor she sailed for San Diego reaching there 18 May for battle repairs. While USS Gregory was still in overhaul the Japanese surrendered and the destroyer was placed in inactive status in commission reserve at San Diego. She decommissioned 15 January 1947.

Gregory's rest was to be brief as Communist forces launched their war in Korea 24 June 1950 and the U.S. Navy joined United Nations forces; she re-commissioned 27 April 1951 Comdr. H. C. Lank in command. Reaching Yokosuka Japan via Pearl Harbor and Midway 16 August 1951 USS Gregory immediately began patrol duty along the Korean coast. Her principal duties were screening American carriers such as Essex and Boxer from which air strikes against North Korean positions and supply lines were launched blockading the coast and participating in coastal bombardment as the tide of war ebbed and cowed along the Korean peninsula. In addition she was frequently assigned to the Formosa patrol intended to prevent Communist action against the beleaguered republic. Here USS Gregory came under fire from mainland Communist Chinese shore batteries. While on a search-and rescue mission for a downed P2V 19 January 1953 she closed to within 8 000 yards of Nan-ao Tao a Communist held island Just off the China coast. Though shore batteries opened fire on her USS Gregory did not return the fire instead clearing the area immediately to continue her SAR mission.

After the Korean Armistice ended the shooting war in August 1953 USS Gregory returned to a peacetime routine of local operations out of San Diego interspersed with yearly deployments usually 6 months long to the Far East. These deployments took her to Yokosuka Sasebo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Sydney, Okinawa, the Philippines and Formosa for training maneuvers with American and other warships. In the fall of 1958 USS Gregory spent a tension filled 2 1/2 months off the China coast during one of the periodic intensifications of the Quemoy-Matsu crisis.

USS Gregory earned the Battle Efficiency "E" three times during her post-war career 1955 1956 and 1959. USS Gregory decommissioned at San Diego 1 February 1964 and entered the reserve. She was struck from the Navy List 1 May 1966 renamed Indoctrinator and now serves as an inoperable trainer at San Diego, the USS Gregory was used target practice by the U.S. Navy and was sunk off San Clemente Island with the bow section partially on the beach. In 1972 she was towed to the backside of San Clemente Island and used for target practice and Navy Seal underwater demolition training. Her scattered remains now lay in a very shallow surf line. Still photogenic, the USS Gregory can only be dove in calm seas; an infrequent occurrence on the weather side of the island, an island that still belongs to our Defense Department.