DD-561 General Specifications
Class: Fletcher class destroyer
Named for: James M. Prichett
Complement: 319 Officers and Enlisted
Displacement: 2050 tons
Length: 376 feet 6 inches
Beam: 39 feet 8 inches
Flank Speed: 35 knots
Range: 6500 Nautical Miles
Final Disposition:Transferred to Italy 17 January 1970
USS PRICHETT (DD-561)
Prichett (DD-561) was laid down 20 July 1942 by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Co.
Iaunched 31 July 1943
sponsored by Mrs. Orville A. Tucker
and commissioned 15 January 1944
Comdr. Cecil T. Caulfield in command.
Following shakedown Prichett sailed 1 April 1944
thence to Manus where she joined the battleships of TF 58. On the 28th
TG 58.3 sortied and
rendezvousing with the fast carriers
steamed northeast. On the 29th and 30th they blasted Truk and
on 1 May
pounded Ponape. Then the force retired to Majuro
whence Prichett returned to Pearl Harbor. There fighter director equipment was installed and on 30 May she sailed west again
with TF 52 for the invasion of Saipan. Having screened the transports to the objective
she shifted her protective duties to the battleships as they bombarded the shore
then provided gunfire support to the troops landed on 15 June. During the Battle of the Philippine Sea she remained with the transports
then turned her guns on the neighboring Japanese held island of Tinian. Remaining in the Marianas until mid-August
she alternated gunfire support duties
screening duties and radar picket duties off Saipan with bombardment of Tinian until that island was invaded 24 July
then provided support services for the troops fighting there. In August she shifted to Guam to support mopping up operations and on the 17th got underway for Eniwetok to rejoin the fast carrier force
now designated TF 38.
Arriving on the 20th
she sortied with TG 38.3 on the 29th and for the next 28 days screened the carriers
and after 11 September
as Japanese targets in the Palaus and the Philippines were pounded. Striking first at the Palaus to prepare for the mid-month invasion
the force then turned on Mindanao and the Central Philippines. Between the 15th and the 19th they supported the Palau invasion then struck at Luzon and the Visayas before retiring to Ulithi.
On 6 October the force sortied again. The Nansei Shoto
Luzon and Formosa were the targets blasted in preparation for the return to the Philippines. Fired on
by a unit of TG 38.4
while off Formosa
Prichett retired to Manus for repairs and replenishment. From the Admiralties she steamed to Ulithi and rejoined TG 38.3 for further strikes against Luzon and the Visayas. The force returned again to the same area at the end of November
to support fighting on Leyte
and in December
to support the Mindoro landings.
On 30 December the Ulithi logistics base was left behind again as the force steamed west to welcome the new year 1945
with strikes against Luzon and Formosa. The ships then thrust into the South China Sea and hit enemy shipping and shore installations from Saigon to Formosa
and then struck at Okinawa. They then retired to Ulithi
on 10 February
departed to raid the industrial complexes of Honshu. After striking Tokyo and Yokohama the force turned back to cover the landings on Iwo Jima
19 February. There Prichett was reassigned to TU 52.2.5
with which she remained in the Iwo Jima-Chichi Jima area until 9 March.
By 12 March
DD-561 was back at Ulithi to prepare for the invasion of the last stepping stone to the enemy's home islands: Okinawa. Attached to TF 54
Prichett arrived off the objective 25 March to cover minesweeping and underwater demolition team operations. Preinvasion bombardment
harassment fire and fire support missions off Kerama Retto followed. On 1 April
she participated in the demonstration "feint" on southern Okinawa
then swung around to screen the transports off the Hagushi assault area.
Just after 0100
the Japanese commenced a long day of aerial resistance. At 0142
having beaten off several attacks
was closed by two bogies. The first veered off but the second pressed on and dropped a 500 pound bomb on the fantail. Exploding close under the counter
it holed the destroyer below the waterline
causing flooding aft and a fire in the 20mm. clipping room. The crippled destroyer
maintaining a speed in excess of 28 knots to minimize flooding and bringing the fire under control
remained in the area and continued to ward off enemy planes until relieved shortly before noon. She then retired to Kerama Retto for emergency repairs. On the 7th
she got underway for Guam where repairs were completed
and on 7 May she returned to Okinawa and radar picket duties. For almost 3 months she escaped further serious damage. However
on 29 July
while standing by Callaghan a kamikaze victim
she became the target of a second suicide minded Japanese pilot. Prichett took him under fire at 5000 yards
but he bore on. Splashed into the sea approximately 6 feet off the destroyer's port side
his mission was partially accomplished as his lethal cargo exploded on impact
bowing in the ship's hull and causing extensive damage to her superstructure
port depth charge racks
and radio and power leads. Prichett
despite her damage
remained in the area and for another two hours continued to pick up survivors from Callaghan.
Awarded a Navy Unit Commendation for her actions off Okinawa
Prichett sailed for home 13 August. Arriving after the cessation of hostilities
she underwent preinactivation overhaul at Puget Sound and on 14 March 1946 was decommissioned and berthed with the San Diego Group
Pacific Reserve Fleet.
Reactivated after the invasion of the Republic of Korea by the North Korean People's Army
Prichett recommissioned 17 August 1951. Post activation shakedown off California followed and on 13 January 1952 she got underway for the Atlantic. Arriving at Norfolk
she operated off the Mid-Atlantic seaboard until April
then underwent modernization at Boston. Emerging in November with the latest in anti-aircraft weaponry
fire control radar
sonar and communications gear
she became the flagship of DesDiv 282. She completed further training in the Caribbean and departed Norfolk
7 January 1953
for a tour in the Korean combat zone. Steaming via the Panama Canal
she arrived at Sasebo 11 February and on the 15th rendezvoused with TF 77. Between then and 23 June she performed plane guard and screening duties for the carriers of TF 77
screened battleships and cruisers during bombardment missions
and provided gunfire support
interdiction and harassment fire
and hospital ship services for United Nations Forces fighting in coastal areas
primarily near Wonsan.
Prichett returned to Norfolk via the Suez Canal
completing her round-the-world cruise 22 August. From 7 January to 11 March 1954 she deployed to the Mediterranean
then after exercises in the Caribbean and shipyard availability got underway
5 January 1955
to return to the Pacific.
Assigned to DesDiv 192
she reported to CincPac 17 January and by May she was enroute to Japan for her first WestPac deployment since the Korean War. Homeported at Long Beach for the next nine years
she alternated 7th Fleet tours ASW-HUK and carrier exercises and Taiwan Strait patrols with training operations
including sonar and gunnery school ship assignments
off the west coast. In August 1964
however her 7th Fleet deployment was extended and
for the third time
she joined in combat operations in the western Pacific.
On 30 August 1964 she joined TF 77 in the Tonkin Gulf and until 31 October operated in the South China Sea in support of South Viet Namese and American operations against North Viet Namese and Viet Cong forces.
Homeported at San Diego on her return
Prichett's tours in WestPac since that time have lengthened
with most of her deployed time being spent off Viet Nam. In the combat zone she has served as plane guard for carriers in the South China Sea and has provided support fire for R.V.N.
and R.O.K. forces operating along the 1000 mile coastline from the Gulf of Siam to the north of Hue. Illustrative of such support were her actions
20 February-10 March 1968
off Phan Thiet. There her guns silenced an enemy mortar battery damaged the enemy's command post
and delivered accurate call fire to break up enemy emplacements
and personnel and supply concentrations to contribute to the enemy's withdrawal. Returning to San Diego 28 May 1968
she served as gunnery and sonar school ship there until decommissioned and struck from the Navy List 10 January 1970.
Prichett earned eight battle stars during World War II and two during the Korean Conflict.
[Note: The above USS PRICHETT (DD-561) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS PRICHETT (DD-561) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]