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DD-931 Forrest Sherman Class

The Forrest Sherman class was the ultimate, last class of all-gun destroyers and was built to be effectiveanti-submarine warfare platforms and screening escort vessels for fast carrier task forces. These all-gun ships (as opposed to gun-missile or missile only ships) were replaced by the frigates and cruisers of the modern Navy. Of the eighteen Forrest Sherman class destroyers built, only two remain. One, the USS Edson (DD 946), has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and Turner Joy was donated as a Museum and Memorial.

The Forrest Sherman Class Destroyer was the last of the standard destroyers to be built by the US Navy after World War II. Designed during the late 1940's and built during the 1950's the lead ship was named for the chief of naval operations, Adm. Forrest Sherman, who died suddenly while visiting Naples in July 1951. The design had the most modern weapons and crew conveniences available at the time, including air conditioning throughout the ship and more living space for the men than in earlier destroyers. The class was extensively modified during the 1960's and early 1970's. They served until the early 1980's when the last was decommissioned.

Her length is 418 feet,her beam 45 feet. As built she drew 20 feet (later increased to 22 feet). At fullload, her displacement was eventually rated at 4,600 tons. Her main armament consists of three, fully automatic Mk42 5-inch/54 caliber guns in single turrets (one fore and two aft). Forrest Shermans were the last US. Navy destroyer class designed and originally built entirely as gun (vs. gun-missile or missile only) ships.

FORREST SHERMAN was the first destroyer class designed since World War II that evolved from the wartime GEARING (DD-710) class, and as such she was an evolutionary design, not revolutionary. FORREST SHERMAN, being the first (lead) ship of her class, is a quantitative assessment (i.e., she just happens to be the first laid down and the first in numerical sequence) not qualitative. The features of FORREST SHERMAN were the features of other ships in the class as well. FORREST SHERMANs machinery arrangement reflected the conventional fireroom/engine room/space/fire-room/engine room arrangement that was similar to the GEARING-class.

The ship represented an evolutionary change, not revolutionary and the design was not repeated (missiles having become more significant weapons). The 5"/54 caliber gun (the main battery) had already been tested on board the large carriers of the MIDWAY (CV-41) class, and the all-gun armament of the FORREST SHERMAN class was not repeated in subsequent classes.

The ships propulsion plant includes four, 1200-psi Babcock and Wilcox boilers, two geared GE steam turbines generating 70,000 shaft horsepower, and two propeller shafts. Her rated top speed was 32.5 knots. The main propulsion plant was a conventional four-boiler, two geared, steam-turbine combination, but the plant operated at a higher steam pressure (1,200 psi) and produced greater ship horsepower (shp) than the propulsion plant of any other previous destroyer, the 70,000 shp of the FORREST SHERMAN class being mid-way between the 60,000 shp of the GEARING class and 80,000 of what would become the MITSCHER (DL-2) class, and the 85,000 shp of the guided missile destroyers of the FARRAGUT (DDG-37) class that also had four boilers and two geared turbines. The guided missile destroyers of the CHARLES F. ADAMS (DDG-2) class, considered a modified FORREST SHERMAN-class design, had four boilers and two geared turbines that produced 70,000 shp, identical to the FORREST SHERMAN class.

As the class evolved so did her weaponry. By the 1970s, the four 3-inch guns were removed from all ships and the torpedo tubes were replaced with two triple 12.75-inch Mark 32 torpedo tube mounts. On eight of the ships, the No. 2 5-inch gun was replaced with an eight-cell antisubmarine rocket launcher to improve their anti-submarine warfare capabilities. A variable-depth sonar system was also added. Those eight ships eventually became the Barry Class. John Paul Jones (DD 932), Decatur (DD 936), Somers (DD 947), and Parsons (DD 949) were converted to guided-missile destroyers. The Forrest Sherman Class was the foundation for the Charles F. Adams Class destroyers.

By the early 1980s the USS Barry was one of only three remaining Forrest Shermans. In the early 1970s she was home ported in Athens, Greece, as part of the Navy's forward deployment program. USS Barry was decommissioned in 1982 and began her new career as a permanent public display ship in 1984. Used for training and shipboard familiarization, and as a ceremonial platform the Barry was one of the most popular visitor destinations on the Washington Navy Yard.

Commissioned in 1955, the Forrest Sherman was the namesake lead ship of the first post-WWII destroyer class. She sailed for 30 years before DoD sold her as scrap to a North Carolina firm in the 1990s. That company went bankrupt before it could destroy the vessel, and the U.S. Navy reacquired her. The service prepared to sink the destroyer during an exercise in 2001, but the ship got a stay of execution when a non-profit group petitioned Naval Sea Systems Command for permission to bring the Forrest Sherman to Delaware for use as a floating museum.

But the groups financing fell through, so in 2011 the ship was removed from museum hold. Before the vessel hit the scrap-auction block yet again, Naval History and Heritage Command personnel boarded her and pulled key items to use in rebuilding the bridge of a Cold War-era ship.

The Forrest Sherman is the first ship scrapped through a DLA contract since the late 1990s. Nine Forrest Sherman-class ships are at the bottom of the sea, and three made the transition to museum status (including the ex-USS Barry, a display ship at the Washington Navy Yard that would also soon be broken up). Out of all 18 in the class, the Forrest Sherman was the first built and the last to have its ultimate fate decided.

The remains of the destroyer USS Forrest Sherman littered the sides of a trench, and in mid-December 2016 only its half-submerged props and propeller shafts remained in the water. The ship had on June 2 reached New Orleans, where a DLA scrap contractor began tearing the 418-foot, 4,600-ton vessel to pieces. The scrap metal was sold at auction, with the proceeds returned to the U.S. taxpayers.

Admiral Forrest P. Sherman was named Chief of Naval Operations at a critical period. The turbulence of defense unification and intense competition for the budget still persisted. Both as Chief of Naval Operations and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Shermans leadership and political statesmanship generated a confidence that did much to calm interservice waters without sacrificing the Navys interests in aviation and other vital areas. His marked success in working with the other services ideally fitted Admiral Sherman to be Chief of Naval Operations at this difficult time.

Admiral Sherman played a prominent role in shaping the Korean War strategy. He recommended a blockade of the North Korean coast and went to Japan to participate in planning the historic end-run amphibious assault at Inchon that sent the North Korean invaders reeling back.

Modern Russian mines encountered at Wonsan and elsewhere presented a serious threat to the projection of strength ashore in the combat zone. When you cant go where you want to, when you want to, said Admiral Sherman referring to the mine hazard, you havent got command of the sea. And command of the sea is a rock bottom foundation of all of our war plans.

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Page last modified: 16-11-2017 18:44:35 ZULU