USS HOPEWELL (DD-681) at the Naval Inactive Ship Facility San Diego, Ca 1971
U.S. Navy Photograph, courtesy of Larry Cote
USS Hopewell (DD-681)
Text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
Official U.S. Navy Photographs from Naval History and Heritage Command
Additional history available at the Destroyer History Foundation
(DD-681: dp. 2,050; l. 376'6" ;
b. 39'8" ; dr. 17'9" ; s. 37; cpl. 319; a. 5 5", 10 40mm.,
7 20mm., 10 21" tt, 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Fletcher)
The second Hopewell (DD-681) was launched by Bethlehem Steel Co., San Pedro, Calif., 2 May 1943; sponsored by Mrs. R. A. Spruance, wife of Admiral Spruance; and commissioned at Terminal Island 30 September 1943, Comdr. C. C. Shute in command.
Hopewell conducted shakedown training in the San Diego area before sailing for Hawaii 13 January 1944. She got underway 23 January for the invasion of the Marshalls, as American amphibious task forces picked up momentum in their drive toward Japan. Steaming as a forward picket ship, Hopewell arrived off Kwajalein 31 January and delivered destructive gunfire support during the initial assault. That night she bombarded Roi and Namur Islands and 1 February moved to screening and patrol duties off the other islands of the group. With the success of the landings assured, Hopewell sailed to Pearl Harbor, arriving 24 February.
The destroyer arrived Purvis Bay, Florida Islands, 14 March to take part in the developing offensive on the northern coast of New Guinea. She carried out screening and patrol assignments, and contributed shore bombardment during the Aitape landings, part of the bold Hollandia operation. After Aitape, an unopposed operation carried out 22 April, Hopewell remained with 7th Fleet patrolling and screening. With three other destroyers she carried out a bombardment of Japanese positions on New Ireland 29 May, and in June joined escort carrier Hoggatt Bay on antisubmarine patrol.
Hopewell's next important operation was the invasion of Morotai, vitally necessary as an air base for the Philippines campaign to come. She arrived 16 September, the day after the initial landing, to assume screening duties, and shot down an attacking Japanese plane that day. On the 18th, she supported an auxiliary landing on Morotai, and sailed 25 September with a convoy for Humboldt Bay.
The long-awaited invasion of the Philippines began with the Leyte landings 20 October, and 4 days later Hopewell arrived with a reinforcement group. A damaged propeller kept her from taking part in the four-part Battle for Leyte Gulf, in which the Japanese Fleet suffered fatal defeat 24-25 October. Next day she departed in the van of a convoy and shaped course for Humboldt Bay, where repairs could be effected. At the eastern entrance to the Gulf the convoy was attacked, and in the battle that followed Hopewell made concealing smoke and shot down two aircraft.
The veteran ship sailed again 8 November for Leyte, and after two trips from Humboldt Bay and return with convoys, she joined the Mindoro invasion forces. After fighting off heavy air attacks en route, Hope-well arrived off the assault area 15 December and provided fire support as troops stormed ashore. As air attacks continued, the ship helped fight fires on LST-472 and assisted in shooting down other planes before sailing again for Leyte at noon.
With Mindoro in allied hands, and air bases for the Luzon invasion under construction, Hopewell prepared for that operation, to be carried out initially at Lingayen Gulf. She sailed 4 January and fought off desperate Japanese kamikaze attacks on the passage to Lingayen, for the landings 9 January joined the screen of an escort carrier group providing air cover. Hopewell joined in the amphibious assault on Corregidor 14 February, and while clearing obstructions from Mariveles Harbor with gunfire engaged a large battery on "the rock". The destroyer laid smoke and moved in to help damaged YMS-48, and soon received four hits, putting her battery control station out of commission. Although suffering 17 casualties, Hopewell remained in Manila Bay until 18 February, when she sailed to Manus for repairs.
USS HOPEWELL (DD-681) smoking amidships, just after she was hit by a Japanese shore battery shell while supporting minesweeping operations off Corregidor, in Manila Bay, Philippines, 14 February 1945. Her camouflage is Measure 31, Design 9d. Official U.S. Navy Photograph. Photo #: NH 53565
USS HOPEWELL (DD-681) damaged from a Japanese shore battery shell that hit the ship amidships while she was supporting minesweeping operations off Corregidor, in Manila Bay, Philippines, 14 February 1945. Official U.S. Navy Photograph. Photo #: NH 44906
USS HOPEWELL (DD-681) raising her port anchor, off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 11 May 1945. Official U.S. Navy Photograph. Photo #: NH 99421
The ship next continued to San Francisco, arriving 17 March, and after further repairs sailed for Pearl Harbor 28 May 1945. Training operations in Hawaiian waters occupied her until 20 July, when she sailed for Eniwetok and Guam. The day of the Japanese surrender, Hopewell sailed from Guam with a refueling group supporting famed Task Force 38 which had done so much to bring victory. She operated in Japanese waters in support of the occupation until 21 October 1945, when she sailed for the United States via Pearl Harbor. Arriving Puget Sound Navy Yard 8 November, she later moved to San Diego, where she decommissioned 15 January 1947 and was placed in the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
With the increased demands of the Korean conflict, Hopewell recommissioned 28 March 1951 at San Diego. Immediately following shakedown training she steamed westward to Korea 18 June, taking up screening duties with Task Force 77 as carrier based aircraft blasted Communist positions. The destroyer also bombarded Wonsan and served on the critical Formosa Patrol August-September 1951, returning to Mare Island Yard 5 February 1952.
USS HOPEWELL (DD-681) at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, 4 June 1952. Official U.S. Navy Photograph. Photo #: NH 99423
Hopewell sailed for her second tour in Korea 11 August 1952 after shakedown and training exercises. During this period of stalemate in the land war, the Navy continued to operate against supply lines and strong points, and Hopewell screened the carriers and heavy ships of Task Force 77. Bombardment of Wonsan followed another period of Formosa Patrol, and in December the ship steamed to Formosa to help train Nationalist Chinese sailors. She returned briefly to Korea to screen giant battleship Missouri during bombardment operations late in January 1953, and sailed for the United States 3 March 1953.
After operating off the California coast for several months on antisubmarine training, Hopewell sailed again for the Far East 27 October 1953. She again took part in training exercises and patrol off Formosa, returning to San Diego 23 May 1954. As she began her fourth cruise, a new crisis between Communist China and Formosa developed, and in February Hopewell assisted in the evacuation of the Tachen Islands. Following this important Cold War operation, the destroyer took part in fleet exercises in the western Pacific, returning to San Diego 22 May 1955.
USS HOPEWELL (DD-681) underway, circa 1952, probably entering San Diego Harbor, California. Note that the ship has been converted to carry four 5"/38 guns and three 3"/50 twin gun mounts, but still has a World War II era air search radar antenna. This photograph was received by the Naval Photographic Center in December 1959, but was taken several years earlier. Official U.S. Navy Photograph. Photo #: NH 99425
The veteran ship spent the remainder of 1955 on exercises off the coast. Disaster struck 11 November during an amphibious training operation when a single engine attack bomber crashed into Hopewell amidships, killing five and starting gasoline fires. Alert firefighters brought the flames under control and the ship returned to San Diego for lengthy repairs.
Returning to active operations again 24 March 1956, when she sailed for the Far East, Hopewell resumed her regular pattern of cruises to Japan, Formosa, and Okinawa interspersed with training and readiness exercises off the West Coast of the United States. She operated with Korean and Nationalist Chinese ships on maneuvers in 1958 and 1959 and continued to act as an integral part of America peace-keeping fleet in the Pacific. On 12 November 1959 Hopewell returned to San Diego for extensive refitting and training. As Communist activity to overthrow the legal government of South Vietnam grew, Hopewell was repeatedly deployed from the West Coast to Vietnam from 1960 into 1967 in defense of the small republic. In February 1963 she rescued a crewman from a downed A-3B of Ticonderoga (CVA-14) in the South China Sea. During a 3-month cruise, which ended in August, Hopewell fired 2,276 rounds, destroyed 112 structures, and silenced a Viet Cong mortar attack upon ground forces. For the remainder of 1966, she acted as school ship in gunnery and ASW off the West Coast.
Hopewell received nine battle stars for World War II service and four for Korean service.
USS HOPEWELL (DD-681) berthed at San Diego, Ca May 1971
Photo by Larry Cote
Survey of USS Hopewell (DD-681)
14 NOV 1969 - FIRST ENDORSEMENT
on PRESINSURV ltr ser 2178 of 30 Sept 1969
From: Chief of Naval Operations
To: Secretary of the Navy
Subj: Survey of USS HOPEWELL (DD-681)
2. The USS HOPEWELL (DD-681), a LA VALLETTE (FLETCHER) Class destroyer, completed construction of 30 September 1943. The ship has not been modernized, and her capabilities are not up to fleet standards. As a consequence she is not considered to meet present and future warfare requirements. To bring her capabilities up to date, and also to undertake required repairs, would be prohibitively costly.
3. The President, Board of Inspection and Survey has found the USS HOPEWELL (DD-681) unfit for further naval service and has recommended that the ship be stricken from the Naval Register. The Chief of Naval Operations concurs and recommends that the USS HOPEWELL (DD-681) be stricken on 2 January 1970 as provided for in Title 10, USC 7304.
4. Subsequent to the striking, authority is requested to dispose of the USS HOPEWELL (DD-681) in accordance with existing law in a manner most advantageous to the government.
5. Pursuant to the requirements of Title 10, USC 7307 and because this ship has been found to be unfit as required by law, it is hereby certified that the USS HOPEWELL (DD-681) is not essential to the defense of the United States.
18 NOV 1969 - SECOND ENDORSEMENT on PRESINSURV ltr ser 2178 of 30 Sept 1969
From: Secretary of the Navy
To: Chief of Naval Operations
Subj: Survey of USS HOPEWELL (DD-681)
1. Returned, approved. The USS HOPEWELL (DD-681) shall be stricken from the Naval Register on 2 January 1970.
2. The Chief of Naval Operations is granted authority to dispose of the USS HOPEWELL (DD-681) as recommended in the first endorsement and will take the necessary action incident to the disposal.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy
(Installations and Logistics)
Walleye II Missile Test
NAVAL MESSAGE - NAVY DEPARTMENT
8 JAN 1972
Subj: WALLEYE II TEST UTILIZING TARGET HULL
1. REF A authorized sinking of EX-JOHN C. BUTLER (DE-339) as a target for Walleye II tests with warhead. REF B reported sinking of EX-JOHN C. BUTLER due to break up of ship in heavy weather. REF C requested assignment of another target hull to complete tests. REF D concurred in REF C and provided further information of need for target.
2. Accordingly, EX-HOPEWELL (DD-681) berthed at INACTSHIPFAC San Diego, Calif, is authorized for use as a target as a replacement for EX-JOHN C. BUTLER. Conditions and location of sinking approved REF A.
3. The following actions are requested.
A. Arrange for completion of any remaining target hull stripping.
B. Prepare ship to meet requirements of REF E.
C. Arrange and advise ALCON custody changes as they occur.
D. Dispose of subject ship as target to destruction as authorized REF A.
E. Report exact location and date of sinking.