The following is quoted, in part, from text found at DANFS Online while the last few paragraphs are original.
USS Putnam (DD-757) was the second ship in the U.S. Navy named in honor of Charles Flint Putnam, the first being the Clemson class Destroyer, DD-287. The flush-decked, "short-hulled" Allen M. Sumner Class, all-purpose destroyer, was laid down on 11 July 1943 by the Bethlehem Steel Companys Shipbuilding Division at San Francisco, California; christened by Mrs. Doana Putnam Wheeler and launched on 26 March 1944; and commissioned on 12 October 1944 with Commander Frederick V.H. Hilles in command.
When commissioned, the warship displaced 2,200 tons; was 3766" in length; had a beam of 41; drew 158" of water; could make 34 knots at speed; was manned by 336 officers and men; and was armed with six 5-inch guns, eleven 40-mm antiaircraft guns, ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, six depth charge projectors and depth charge tracks.
Following shakedown off the Pacific coast, USS Putnam sailed beneath the Golden Gate Bridge on 30 December 1944 to take her place with the Pacific Fleet. Arriving at Pearl Harbor on 2 January 1945, the destroyer prepared for her first offensive operation, and got underway on 29 January for the Marianas, screening the transports carrying the 4th and 5th Divisions of Marines.
Pausing briefly at Eniwetok, Saipan, and Tinian, the warship steamed from Guam on 17 February in convoy enroute to Iwo Jima. As she arrived off Iwo Jima on D-Day (19 February), the complexities of amphibious warfare engulfed her. Gunfire support ships lying off-shore kept a thunderous rain of destruction pouring on the island.
USS Putnam inched in dangerously close to the beach to blast shore installations in support of the invading Marines and illuminated Japanese troop concentrations at night with star shells. On the 23rd of February, Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal and a high-ranking Navy-Marine Corps party, after observing the initial phases of the landing, embarked in USS Putnam for transportation to Guam. Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was on hand at Guam to meet the Secretary of the Navy and his party upon arrival.
USS Putnam departed Guam on 12 March and escorted logistics ships to Leyte in the Philippine Islands...arriving there five days later. She stood out of San Pedro Bay, Philippine Islands, on 27 March, and escorted a transport group to Okinawa. Arriving Easter Sunday, the destroyer immediately took up AntiAirWarfare (AAW) screening duties. After escorting a convoy to Ulithi, USS Putnam returned to Okinawa and was assigned a gunfire support station southwest of the island on 16 April 1945.
Later assigned to a hazardous radar picket station, USS Putnam vectored Navy fighters against the inbound Kamikazes. She remained unscathed only because an unidentified American pilot heroically crashed into a Kamikaze on 16 June just seconds before the Japanese suicide plane would have crashed into the destroyer.
Soon after sundown on 16 June 1945, a torpedo dropped from a low-flying Japanese plane struck USS Twiggs (DD-591) to port and exploded her Number Two Magazine. USS Putnam quickly closed the stricken ship. Exploding ammunition made rescue operations hazardous, but of 188 USS Twiggs survivors snatched from the sea, USS Putnam accounted for 114 of them.
Retiring from a subdued Okinawa on 1 July 1945, USS Putnam joined Task Force (TF) 38 and assisted in screening the carriers that were attacking Japanese shipping in the East China Sea...through 8 August.
With the "cease hostilities" order of 15 August, the occupation of the Japanese home islands became the immediate concern, and through the first week of September, USS Putnam served as a guide and rescue destroyer for Tokyo-bound transport planes. She left her station, some 100 miles north of Okinawa, on 13 September, to serve in the escort for USS New Jersey (BB-62) as she steamed for Wakayama, on the central island of Honshu.
USS Putnam stood into Tokyo Bay on 17 September, where she rode out a howling typhoon. She then transited back to Wakayama on 25 September, thence to Okinawa on 1 October, and then back to Wakayama. Steaming via Eniwetok on 5 December, the destroyer touched at Pearl Harbor on 10 December for fuel, proceeded east, and dropped her hook off San Diego on 22 December 1945. She was safely home from the war.
USS Putnam received three battle stars for her World War II service in the Pacific theatre of operations.
Standing out of San Diego on 3 January 1946, USS Putnam steamed to the New York Naval Shipyard, in Brooklyn, for availability. She subsequently operated out of Newport, Rhode Island, until the beginning of 1947, when she made Pensacola, Florida, her base. In late April 1947, USS Putnam called at Norfolk, Virginia, to be readied for a peacetime cruise to European waters.
After departing Norfolk, the USS Putnam's ports of call included: Toulon (France, where the French Fleet had been destroyed to prevent it falling into the hands of the Axis powers), Sicily (or a similar island off the Italian "boot," Naples (which was still heavily damaged from W.W.II), Trieste, Venice and Taranto (at the bottom of the boot). Liberties in Trieste and in Venice were the highlights of the cruise.
USS Putnam was one of three destroyers assigned during the period from 19 through 25 April 1948 to the United Nations mediator, Count Folke Bernadotte, to attempt to maintain peace between Arab and Israeli forces. When the truce temporarily broke down, USS Putnam stood into Haifa on 23 July to evacuate the United Nations team from that port. She was thus the first U.S. Navy ship to fly the United Nations flag.
After a brief period of decommissioned reserve status with the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, USS Putnam reactivated in October of 1950. A Mediterranean cruise took her away from Norfolk from October of 1951 through 4 June of 1952. Local operations and overhaul were followed by refresher training in the Caribbean from 21 May through 10 July of 1953. USS Putnam departed Norfolk on 25 September and transited the Suez Canal on 15 October, arriving at Yokosuka, Japan, on 10 November. She operated in the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea through 11 March 1954. Departing Midway Island on 17 March, she touched at Pearl Harbor on 21 March, called at various United States ports on the west coast, then transited the Panama Canal and arrived at Norfolk, Virginia, on 1 May 1954...thus completing a circumnavigation of the globe.
Exercise "LantFlex 1-55" commenced a round of training cruises and deployments which took USS Putnam from the east coast to the Mediterranean Sea and the Caribbean Sea. Her 1955 and 1956 Mediterranean deployments were followed by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exercises in the North Atlantic Ocean during the latter part of 1957. A September 1958 Mediterranean deployment was followed by an overhaul at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
The summer of 1959 found USS Putnam participating in the first Operation "Inland Seas"...during which she steamed in all five of the Great Lakes.
Between 1960 and 1969, the destroyer made nine annual deployments to the Mediterranean, interspersed with northern European operations, coast-wise trips, and visits to the Caribbean.
In June of 1962, she entered the New York Naval Shipyard for a Fleet Rehabilitation And Modernization (FRAM) Mark II conversion, which was completed in March of 1963.
Into 1970, she continued active in the best traditions of the Destroyer Force, providing an American presence during her many deployments with the U.S. Sixth Fleet, and always exercising and refining her multifaceted capabilities in Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW), AntiAirWarfare (AAW), surface gunnery, shore bombardment, and the multitudinous assignments that have traditionally been the lot of the all-purpose Destroyer.
After a short repair availability in Baltimore in mid-1970, USS Putnam was reassigned to New Orleans, Louisiana where she finished out her days performing the duties of a Reserve Trainer.
Finally, USS Putnam (DD-757) was decommissioned for the last time, was stricken from the Navy List on 6 August 1973, and subsequently scrapped.
Back to Putnam's Home Page