A look inside a World War II-era destroyer

This was a centerfold spread in the Navy’s October 1954 ALL HANDS magazine. Click image for high-resolution version.
Adm. Frank F. Fletcher (left) and Adm. Frank J. Fletcher

I recently came across this fascinating cross-section of a Fletcher-class destroyer. The Navy commissioned 175 of these highly effective and cost-efficient ships during World War II, and we turned around after the war and sold several of the ships to the Japanese, Germans, and Italians.

These destroyers get their name from Adm. Frank F. Fletcher, skipper of the battleship USS Vermont during the Great White Fleet’s around-the-world cruise, who then earned a Medal of Honor commanding the landing at Vera Cruz, Mexico.

His nephew Lt. Frank J. Fletcher also earned the Medal of Honor at Vera Cruz for rescuing hundreds of refugees under fire. He then earned the Navy Cross while in command of a destroyer during the first world war. Although not an aviator, “Black Jack” Fletcher’s task forces defeat the Japanese in the first three carrier battles in history: Coral Sea, Midway, and the Eastern Solomons.

Author: Chris Carter

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