USS ALFRED A. CUNNINGHAN (DD-752)
Alfred A. Cunningham (DD-752) was laid down on 23 February
1944 at Staten Island
by the Bethlehem Steel Co.
launched on 3
August 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Alfred A. Cunningham
of Lt. Col. Cunningham; and commissioned on 23 November 1944
Comdr. Floyd B. T. Myhre in command.
Following shakedown training out of Bermuda
Cunningham returned to New York on 17 January 1945 for post
shakedown availability. Proceeding to Norfolk soon thereafter
destroyer spent the next three months operating in the Chesapeake
Bay area as a training ship for prospective destroyer crews. Here the
ship introduced hundreds of trainees to life on board a destroyer
engaging in gunnery exercises
damage control drills
Following a brief availability for repairs and alterations at the
Norfolk Navy Yard
Alfred A. Cunningham got underway on 7 May
and rendezvoused with the new heavy cruiser Chicago (CA-136) off
and proceeded with that ship to
Chesapeake Bay for gunnery exercises. The two warships then
steamed to Guantanamo Bay
thence to Panama transiting the isthmian
waterway on 18 May
and arrived at Pearl Harbor on 31 May. Over the next two weeks
Alfred A. Cunningham
remained m Hawaiian waters
undergoing an availability alongside Black
Hawk (AD-9) and carrying out training.
On 13 June
the destroyer joined Task Group (TG) 12.4 and sailed
for the western Pacific. A week later
while en route
Alfred A. Cunningham
screened carriers launching air strikes on Japanese-held Wake
Island. The group arrived at Leyte on 26 June.
Alfred A. Cunningham got underway the following day for Okinawa
en route to her destination conducted a depth charge attack on what
she evaluated as a "good" submarine contact
but with negative
results. Shortly after arriving at Okinawa on 29 June
she served on
radar picket duty off the island's southwest coast. From 1 July until the
end of hostilities she served on patrol
and screening duty in
waters surrounding the Ryukyus. Following Japan's capitulation
Cunningham remained in the Far East
operating off the coast of China
between the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea. She performed escort
services and served on an anti smuggling patrol between Korea and
Japan. The destroyer returned to the United States on 28 March 1946
went into reserve at San Diego on 12 May 1947
decommissioned in August 1949.
During the build-up of the fleet in the wake of the North Korean
invasion of South Korea in late June 1950
Alfred A. Cunningham was
recommissioned on 5 October 1950
Comdr. L. P. Spear in command and
joined the Pacific Fleet. Following training exercises
the destroyer got
underway for the western Pacific (WestPac) on 2 January 1951. Alfred A.
Cunningham was involved in a variety of operations
principally serving with
Task Force (TF) 77
the fast carrier task force
off the coast of Korea
Early in this deployment
on 18 February 1951
the ship was released
from her "Bird Dog" station (plane guard) with TF 77 to carry out a
night shore bombardment mission on "targets of opportunity" near
on the east coast of Korea. Alfred A. Cunningham arrived on station at
2130 and opened fire
conducting harassing and interdictory fire
targets included railroad tracks
two grade crossings
lights on the road leading south. After expending 90 rounds of 5-inch
the destroyer ceased fire at 0605 on the 19th.
Returning to San Diego on 4 September 1951
Alfred A. Cunningham again
sailed for the Far East in March 1952. As before
she steamed with the
fast carrier task force off Korea and performed shore bombardment
missions. On 19 September
the destroyer was operating in Task
Element 95.22 (the "Songjin Element") to prevent the movement of
trains along the railroad at that point by preventing clearance of the
roadbed and repair during the day
and destroying trains at night.
Patrolling some 6
000 yards off the beach at about 1340
Alfred A. Cunningham
fired on workers she had seen in that vicinity. A little over an hour
detecting workmen at a tunnel
the destroyer stood in toward the
turning slowly to starboard to take a northeasterly course to
fire on the workmen at the tunnel mouth.
At that point
at least three enemy guns opened fire on the ship The
first salvo was a direct hit
on the main deck
pieces of shrapnel penetrated the shield of mount 51 and wounded
three of the mount's crew. Two air bursts followed in quick
one on either side of the bridge. Within two minutes time
the North Korean guns had registered four more direct hits and at least
seven air bursts near the ship.
One shell penetrated into the forward fire room
destroying a forced-
shrapnel holed a nearby bulkhead. Another shell struck
a depth charge on the forward K-gun
blowing the charge apart and
scattering burning TNT as far aft as the fantail; shrapnel from this hit
set another depth charge afire
and ruptured four others. The fourth
hit on the starboard side
two feet below the main deck
this hit caused extensive damage to the motor whaleboat. The last
shell to hit struck about two feet below the waterline but did not penetrate. The
air bursts near the bridge rendered the SG radar inoperative.
one of the ship's 3-inch mounts opened up to
return the shore battery's fire
expending both hoppers full (ten
these rounds landed in the target area but did not slow
the enemy's rate of fire.
With Alfred A. Cunningham under fire
Lt. Frederick F.
the officer of the deck
sounded the general
ordered the rudder shifted to left full
rang up the port
engine back emergency full
starboard engine ahead flank
order to come left and open the range.
Although mount 53 had reported a fire on the starboard K-guns
the blast from the guns of that mount and the nearby 3-
inch mount 34
prevented a repair party from approaching the blaze
from that angle. Men from another damage control party got
to the fire and battled the blaze
while as the ship sped to seaward
weaving but keeping at least one main battery mount bearing
on the target guns at all times.
As the ship opened the range to 9
000 yards and worked up to
Ens. Charles E. Dennis
Torpedoman William J. Bohrman; and Electrian's Mate 2d Class
Victor J. Leonard manhandled one burning depth charge over
the side performing this task at great personal risk while the fire
on the k-guns was being brought under control. All three men
were later recommended for the award of the Bronze Star.
Having suffered 13 men wounded
principally to shrapnel
Alfred A. Cunningham pulled out of range and stood down
from general quarters
steering toward Yang Do Island to receive
medical assistance from HMS Charity. After emergency repairs
Alfred A. Cunningham was able to continue her combat operations.
Alfred A. Cunningham ultimately returned to the United
States and reached her new home port
on 6 November
Alfred A. Cunningham operated in the southern California area through
the first five months of 1953 before getting
underway on 13 June for another WestPac deployment. During her five months
in the Far East
Alfred A. Cunningham operated
twice with TF 77. The first of these periods saw her escorting the heavy cruiser
Bremerton (CA-130). On 29 and 30 July 1953
Alfred A. Cunningham participated
with Bremerton and other United States
in the search and rescue effort to
recover the crew of a Boeing RB-50 that had crashed in the Sea of Japan.
The searching ships managed to recover only the copilot.
The destroyer also participated in intensive antisubmarine (ASW)
warfare exercises with TG 96.7 and joined in operations
near Taiwan with other ships of Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 131.
She returned to Long Beach on 20 December 1953.
A regular overhaul kept her at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard from
February through April 1954. Then
after two months
Alfred A. Cunningham got underway for WestPac on 10 August.
she stopped at Pearl Harbor for gunnery
and antisubmarine exercises and then continued on to Yokosuka
Alfred A. Cunningham joined TG 70.2 for maneuvers
and division exercises and made two brief port visits to Manila. Next she
operated with TF 72 as a part of a patrol in the Taiwan
Strait. Alfred A. Cunningham then escorted Yorktown (CV-10) to Hong Kong
and on to Manila
where she spent the holiday season.
Alfred A. Cunningham continued her work as plane guard for Yorktown
and returned to Long Beach on 6
February. After a leave and upkeep period
she resumed operations off the
California coast. On 11 May
the destroyer took part
in Operation "Wigwam."
Following five months of preparation
Alfred A. Cunningham departed the
west coast on 11 October
bound for Japan. She
made fuel stops at Pearl Harbor and Midway en route to Yokosuka.
Upon completion of voyage repairs
the destroyer joined TF
77 for three weeks of duty
broken once by a port call at Kobe
Alfred A. Cunningham spent the Christmas holidays at Yokosuka.
Antisubmarine exercises were her first assignment of 1956 before
via Subic Bay
to join the Taiwan Strait
patrol for a fortnight. Then the destroyer visited Hong Kong and stopped
briefly in Yokosuka for repairs before sailing for
home. After arriving at Long Beach on 31 March
she entered the San Francisco
Naval Shipyard in May for an overhaul which
was followed by two months of underway training out of San Diego. On 6 November
Alfred A. Cunningham got underway to
escort Bremerton to Melbourne
where the ships participated in festivities
surrounding the XVI Olympic Games. After
10 days in that port
the destroyer sailed for Yokosuka.
In January 1957
Alfred A. Cunningham took part in exercises near Chinhae
with ships of the Republic of
Korea (ROK) Navy. She then joined TF 77 in the South China Sea for plane-guard duty. This work was followed by another
stint with the Taiwan Strait patrol. Alfred A. Cunningham made stops at Subic Bay
and Yokosuka before sailing for the United States.
She arrived at Long Beach on 12 May and devoted the next few
months to air defense
bombardment exercises along the California coast. In December the
destroyer entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for an availability.
On 13 January 1958
Alfred A. Cunningham sailed for another Far
East tour. Following stops at Pearl Harbor
Pago Pago American Samoa
the destroyer arrived at Hobart
on 7 February. There
the members of her crew were
graciously entertained by officials of the Royal Hobart Regatta.
On 12 February
Alfred A. Cunningham got underway for Guam
where she received two weeks of repair work. The destroyer then
shifted to Yokosuka
arriving on 1 April. During the following months
the ship took part in numerous exercises escorting and screening
Ticonderoga (CV-14) and other warships.
During the cruise
she visited Hong Kong
Subic Bay and Buckner Bay
before arriving back at Long Beach on 21 July. In early
she entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for overhaul.
She left drydock in early December and spent the holidays in leave and
The destroyer held refresher training during the first three months of
departed Long Beach on 28 March
and steamed to Yokosuka. On
she left that port in company with Shangri-La (CVA-38) to
take part in Exercise "Sea Turtle
" off the coast of Korea.
Late in May
Alfred A. Cunningham assisted in Exercise "Granite
Creek." After a visit to Hong Kong
she returned to Yokosuka for an
availability to prepare for the voyage home where she arrived on 27
August. The ship spent the rest of the year participating in gunnery
and acting as a school ship for Fleet
In January 1960
Alfred A. Cunningham took part in STRIKEX 30-60.
On 1 February
she became a unit of DesDiv 132 and was assigned to
a hunter/killer group. From 1 February to 7 May
trained with that unit in the eastern Pacific.
Leaving Long Beach on 17 May with Destroyer Squadron 13 and
Alfred A. Cunningham proceeded to Pearl Harbor
where she arrived on 23 May. The force remained in Hawaiian waters
conducting AS exercises until their departure on 5 July. The destroyer
on 16 July and began an upkeep period. She next
sailed for ASW operations in the area off Okinawa
until 29 August
when the ship entered Subic Bay. Except for two brief
visits to Hong Kong
she remained in the Subic Bay area until 3
when she sailed for Yokosuka. After a brief upkeep period
the ship left on a return voyage to the west coast
arriving at Long
Beach on 18 December.
In late January 1961
the ship entered the Long Beach Naval
Shipyard for a fleet rehabilitation and modernization (FRAM) overhaul.
She held sea trials in July and August and resumed operations on 22
September. On 9 October
she sailed for Seattle. The ship conducted
sound trials in Puget Sound from 12 to 20 October and then returned to
whence she held refresher training in San Diego waters
with the fleet training group from 30 October through 8 December.
Throughout the first five months of 1962
Alfred A. Cunningham
alternated periods at sea with upkeep in her home port. On 7 June
departed the west coast for a six-month WestPac cruise. Upon her
arrival at Pearl Harbor on 13 June
the destroyer conducted ASW
operations off Oahu before proceeding on to Yokosuka. In August
destroyer took part in combined operations with the Japanese Maritime
Self-Defense Force and made port calls at Kure
before returning to Yokosuka on 31 October. She got underway again
on 3 November for patrol duty in the Strait of Tsushima and
completing this task on 14 November
sailed via Hong Kong to Subic
Bay. On 2 December the ship participated in a weapons demonstration
then began her voyage back to the United States
arriving at Long
Beach on 21 December.
The destroyer spent the first three months of 1963 in local
operations. On 1 April
she became a part of DesDiv 232 and spent
April and May in availability at San Diego. Putting to sea in early June
she began a series of intensive ASW training exercises. In August
Alfred A. Cunningham sailed north with Carrier Division 19 on a
goodwill and training cruise to Seattle and the Alaskan ports of
Skagway and Dutch Harbor. After a month back at Long Beach
destroyer got underway for Pearl Harbor and several weeks of ASW
operations. She returned to Long Beach in December for leave and
On 20 February 1964
the ship left Long Beach in company with the
other ships of DesDiv 232 for a six-month WestPac tour. Reaching Pearl
Harbor on 28 February
Alfred A. Cunningham operated locally until
sailing for the Far East on 23 March. Soon after leaving Hawaii
destroyer took part in Operation "Crazy Horse
" off the coast of
Okinawa. On 7 April the ship began a week of upkeep in Yokosuka.
Other ports of call during this deployment included Kure
Hong Kong. From 9 June to 4 July
the ship operated out of Kaohsiung
on the Taiwan Strait patrol. Alfred A. Cunningham then
steamed to the Sea of Japan for Operation "Crossed Tee
" a joint
operation with ships of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force.
following stops at Hakodate and Yokosuka
arrived back in Long Beach on 11 August for leave
operations. On 15 November
she entered the Long Beach Naval
Shipyard for an overhaul.
Upon completion of this renewal effort on 15 March 1965
departed Long Beach for seven weeks of refresher training in San
Diego waters. Early in June
she embarked 30 midshipmen for a two-
week training cruise in the Puget Sound area. On 12 August
Cunningham got underway for her 13th WestPac cruise. The ship
stopped at Pearl Harbor for a two week ASW operation held southwest
of Molokai. A fortnight's upkeep at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard
ensued before the destroyer continued on to Yokosuka.
Alfred A. Cunningham joined TF 77 for patrol and
surveillance duties off the coast of North Vietnam and in the Gulf of
Tonkin. Following a week of recreation in Hong Kong
got underway on 10 November to steam to Kaohsiung
out of that port on patrol in the Taiwan Strait. On 5 December
proceeded through the Tsushima Strait into the Sea of Japan for a joint
ASW exercise with ships of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy before
returning to Sasebo for the Christmas holidays.
In January 1966
Alfred A. Cunningham again patrolled off the
Vietnamese coast and provided naval gunfire support in the area of
South Vietnam. The final weeks of her patrol were spent
on radar picket station south of Hainan Island After a brief respite at
the ship sailed back to the United States
Beach on 3 March.
For the next seven months
she held numerous training operations
and availability periods but was underway west again on 4 November
bound for Oahu on the first leg of her deployment. Once in Hawaiian
the destroyer held exercises with combined American and
Canadian forces and then continued on to Yokosuka for a brief upkeep
period before sailing to the Taiwan Strait for patrol duty.
Alfred A. Cunningham proceeded to the Gulf of Tonkin early in
January 1967 to serve as a planeguard for Bennington (CVS-20) to
assist in recovering downed aviators. In February
the ship was
assigned to Operation "Sea Dragon
" a logistics interdiction effort in
the coastal waters of North Vietnam
and continued this duty into
April. Another stint of service in the Taiwan Strait followed
from 6 to 12 April. On the 28th of that month the destroyer sailed for
home where she spent one and a half months preparing for an
overhaul. She entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard on 14 July and
underwent extensive repairs and alterations. Upon completion of the
yard work in November Alfred A. Cunningham spent a month in
independent steaming and undergoing tender availability.
The destroyer began 1968 with refresher training in San Diego and
then was deployed once more to southeast Asian waters. She
repeated her former pattern of planeguard and search and rescue
operations off the Vietnamese coast. On 23 October
the ship set
course for home
made fueling stops at Midway and Pearl Harbor
arrived back in Long Beach on 9 November.
On 2 January 1969
Alfred A. Cunningham took part in Operation
" and planeguarded for Oriskany (CVA-34). The destroyer
maintained a full schedule of exercises and availability periods until 1
when a shaft bearing casualty caused her to enter the Todd
Shipyard at San Pedro
Emerging from drydock on 6 September
Alfred A. Cunningham
began an intensive one-month period of preparations for deployment.
The destroyer left Long Beach in early October and sailed to Pearl
Harbor for refueling; she then conducted port calls at Yokosuka
and Subic Bay. On 14 November the destroyer stood out
of Subic Bay for duty off Vietnam. From 19 November until 4
she supported forces ashore with fire from her 5-inch guns.
On 5 December
Hancock (CV-19) on "Yankee Station" and remained there until the
20th when she headed for Sasebo for the holidays.
Alfred A. Cunningham began the year of 1970 with ASW and flight
operations in Okinawan waters which were followed by a five-day visit
to Hong Kong. On 17 January
she sailed to join Constellation (CVA-
64) on "Yankee Station" and remained on this assignment until 21
February when the ship paid a brief visit to Kaohsiung. The destroyer
sailed on 21 March to return to Long Beach. Upon her arrival on 9
she began a leave and upkeep period and then resumed
operations in the southern California area in May. She spent the early
summer months in training exercises and a midshipman training cruise.
On 7 August
slated for inactivation
Alfred A. Cunningham unloaded
all her ammunition at Seal Beach
Decommissioned on 24 February 1971
Alfred A. Cunningham was
placed in reserve. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register
on 1 February 1974. Utilized as a target for weapons tests off the coast
of southern California
she was sunk after being hit with five laser-
guided bombs on 12 October 1979.
Alfred A. Cunningham earned one battle star for World War II
six battle stars for Korean action
and seven battle stars for
[Note: The above USS ALFRED A. CUNNINGHAN (DD-752) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS ALFRED A. CUNNINGHAN (DD-752) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]