|Ship Class||Mahan-class Destroyer|
|Builder||United Shipyards, Incorporated, New York, United States|
|Laid Down||26 Jun 1934|
|Launched||11 Dec 1935|
|Commissioned||25 Nov 1936|
|Decommissioned||14 Dec 1945|
|Displacement||1,500 tons standard|
|Armament||As Built: 1x gun director, 5x5in 38cal dual purpose guns, 3x4x21in torpedo tubes, 4x .50cal anti-aircraft machine guns, 2x depth charge racks. Post-1944: 1x Mk33 gun fire control system, 2x Mk51 gun directors, 4x5in 38cal dual purpose guns, 3x4x21in torpedo tubes, 2x2x40mm Bofors guns, 6x20mm Oerlikon cannon, 2x depth charge racks, 4x K-gun depth charge projectors|
Contributor: David Stubblebine
ww2dbaseThe destroyer Cummings was one of the six â€śNew Dealâ€ť ships built for the United States Navy and Coast Guard. That means the ships were paid for entirely with funds from the Public Works Administration (PWA), a federal component of The New Deal designed to provide work during The Great Depression (distinct from the similar WPA, the Works Progress Administration). Cummings was laid down at United Shipyards on Staten Island, New York, United States on 26 Jun 1934. Named for Lieutenant Commander Andrew Boyd Cummings who on 14 Mar 1863, as executive officer of the sloop USS Richmond, distinguished himself with conspicuous gallantry as his ship passed the batteries at Port Hudson near Baton Rouge, Louisiana and later died of wounds received in that action. The destroyer Cummings was launched 11 Dec 1935 with Mrs. W.W. Mills, niece of Lieutenant Commander Cummings, acting as sponsor. USS Cummings was commissioned 25 Nov 1936 with Commander Charles P. Cecil in command.
ww2dbaseDeparting New York 29 Sep 1937, Cummings arrived at San Diego a month later. She participated in the Apr 1938 fleet problem in Hawaii and in a Presidential Fleet Review at San Francisco in July. In 1939 the fleet problem was held in the Panama Canal Zone and in the Caribbean. Returning to San Diego 12 May 1939, Cummings participated in training exercises and served as plane guard for the carriers Yorktown (Yorktown-class) and Lexington (Lexington-class). Cummings served intermittently in the 1940 west coast security patrol while continuing to exercise in antiaircraft and anti-submarine tactics.
ww2dbaseCummings participated in Fleet Problem XXI around Hawaii in Apr 1940 and beginning 26 Apr 1940, she was based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii along with the rest of the fleet. Except for a Mare Island overhaul and a cruise to the South Pacific in the spring of 1941, Cummings remained in Hawaiian waters conducting patrols and constantly exercising and drilling.
ww2dbaseOn 7 Dec 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Cummings was moored at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard repair piers at the heart of the action, with bombs falling within the piers close aboard. She made all preparations for getting underway but with no boilers lit, it took two hours for her to actually begin her sortie from the harbor. Even so, Cummings was the only ship in her nest to get underway. Once underway, Cummings proceeded out of the channel without incident and joined the anti-submarine patrol operating off Pearl Harbor entrance.
ww2dbaseCummings spent the next eight months on escort duties, first between San Francisco, California and Hawaii and then in the South Pacific between Fiji and New Zealand. She returned to the United States for a two-month overhaul at Mare Island Naval Shipyard before returning to escort duty in the South Pacific, which lasted another ten months until Sep 1943. After another refit, this time at San Pedro, California, Cummings sailed for the Aleutians. Her Alaskan patrol only last two weeks before Cummings returned to Pearl Harbor.
ww2dbaseOn 19 Jan 1944, Cummings sortied from Pearl Harbor and part of the screen for carrier USS Saratoga for strikes on Wotje, Taroa, and Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands. Cummings stayed with Saratoga as the carrier sailed to Australia and on to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) for Saratogaâ€™s loan to the British Fleet. As such, Cummings was present for the Royal Navyâ€™s Dutch East Indies raids on Sabang off Sumatra and Soerabaja (now Surabaya) on Java. The Saratoga group made a few more stops in Australia before returning to Pearl Harbor in Jun 1944. Saratoga sailed on to Puget Sound for a refit while Cummings stayed at Pearl Harbor for a drydocking of her own.
ww2dbaseCummings sailed on 1 Jul 1944 for San Francisco and Mare Island. She sailed for San Diego on 17 Jul as an escort for cruiser USS Baltimore. In San Diego, Baltimore boarded President Franklin Roosevelt for transportation to Hawaii. Baltimore sailed in the dead of night with Cummings as one of the escorts. In Hawaii, Roosevelt held his historic meeting with Nimitz and MacArthur that decided the course of the Pacific War before sailing again on the Baltimore for Adak, Alaska, again with Cummings as an escort. From Adak, the group sailed to Kodiak Island, Alaska where the President boarded Cummings for transportation to and from the pier. The President sailed aboard Baltimore from Kodiak to Auke Bay near Juneau, Alaska where he transferred to Cummings once more. With the President still aboard, Cummings navigated Alaskaâ€™s Inside Passage and arrived in Puget Sound, Washington on 12 Aug 1942. At the Presidentâ€™s request, all honors were dispensed with upon his arrival at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton. A podium was placed on Cummingsâ€™ forecastle ahead of the No. 1 gun mount and the ship was brought to the head of Drydock 2. The President spoke from the shipâ€™s deck so that he could remain aboard ship and still be close to the people crowded around the dock. The crowd of workers was estimated at 8,000 to 10,000 and the address was broadcast over nationwide radio. Cummings crossed over to Seattle where the President departed and boarded the presidential train that was waiting for him on the same pier.
ww2dbaseCummings sailed the next day for Pearl Harbor. On 29 Aug 1944, Cummings left Pearl Harbor escorting carrier USS Monterey for a strike on Wake Island 3 Sep. Cummings detached from Monterey and spent the rest of Sep 1944 on off-shore patrols around Saipan and Tinian in the Mariana Islands. On 9 Oct 1944, along with cruisers Chester, Pensacola, and Salt Lake City, the task group bombarded Marcus Island. Cummings then became part of the screen for the Fast Carrier Task Force for strikes in the Philippines. For the Battle of Leyte Gulf on 25 Oct 1944, Cummings was part of the screen for carriers USS Wasp, USS Hornet, USS Yorktown, and USS Hancock (all Essex-class) as their air squadrons pursued Admiral Takeo Kuritaâ€™s Center Force withdrawing from Samar.
ww2dbaseA crack was discovered in Cummingsâ€™ hull plating below the waterline so upon her arrival at Ulithi Lagoon, she entered Floating Drydock ARD-15 for repairs. Those repairs only lasted a few hours and Cummings was afloat in time to weather a typhoon warning. Cummings sailed 8 Nov 1944 as part of the destroyer screen for cruisers USS Chester, USS Pensacola, and USS Salt Lake City for a midnight shore bombardment of Iwo Jima involving all eight ships of the task unit before returning to Ulithi.
ww2dbaseOn 20 Nov 1944, Cummings and the same cruiser task unit were exiting the Ulithi Lagoon at dawn when they were alerted by a minesweeper at the channel entrance that a periscope was visible heading into the channel and approaching the cruisers. Almost immediately, one of the destroyers in the cruiser screen, USS Case, reported a midget submarine close aboard. With few options, the Caseâ€™s captain, Maurice Curts, rammed the submarine. Moments later, a periscope was reported 400 yards astern of Cummings. Cummingsâ€™ own war diary says that her response was to drop an â€śembarrassing depth charge patternâ€ť with no positive results. After a sound contact and another (better) depth charge pattern with no positive results, Cummings lay to and remained in the channel while the cruiser force continued out to sea.
ww2dbaseWhile all of the US Navy reports filed that day described the adversary as a group of Japanese midget submarines, the truth was that the attack was the first tactical deployment of the kaiten human-guided torpedo. Japanese submarines I-36 and I-47 launched a total of five kaitens against the Ulithi anchorage that morning and all five were lost with only one achieving the results desired by the Japanese. About the same time Cummings was dropping her â€śembarrassingâ€ť depth charge pattern in the channel, that one successful kaiten struck and sunk the fully loaded fleet oiler USS Mississinewa inside the anchorage. Mississinewaâ€™s several million gallons of fuel oil and gasoline burned furiously for hours with a huge column of thick black smoke rising straight up into the tropical sky for the entire US fleet to see.
ww2dbaseCummings left Ulithiâ€™s channel and caught up with the cruisers and they all shifted to Saipan. Cummings then began patrol, radar picket, and lifeguard duties around Saipan and Tinian with occasional one-day sorties with the cruisers for bombardment of Iwo Jima. Back on lifeguard duty on 14 Dec 1944, Cummings picked the entire uninjured crew of a downed B-29 Superfortress bomber, before sinking the bomber with gunfire. On 5 Jan 1945, Cummings and the cruiser group conducted a bombardment of Haha Jima, Chichi Jima, and Iwo Jima islands. On 15 Jan 1945, while at sea, Cummingsâ€™ medical officer successfully performed an emergency appendectomy. On 22 Jan 1945, battleship USS Indiana and her destroyer screen joined the cruisersâ€™ bombardment group and they sailed for another bombardment of Iwo Jima. Beginning in Feb 1945 and for the remainder of the war, Cummings plied the waters around Saipan, Iwo Jima, and the escort routes to and from Eniwetok escorting replenishment ships, making off-shore patrols, performing lifeguard duties, and related assignments.
ww2dbaseIn mid-Sep 1945, Cummings supervised the occupation of Haha Jima, working closely with a Japanese liaison team for several days. Cummings departed the Bonin Islands for the last time on 19 Sep 1945 and headed east. She made a four-hour stop at Eniwetok for fuel before pressing to Pearl Harbor, arriving 28 Sep 1945. Flying her Homeward Bound pennant, Cummings left the next day with six other destroyers bound for San Pedro, California. She laid over five days before departing for the Caribbean. Transiting the Panama Canal 18 Oct 1945, she arrived at Tampa Bay, Florida four days later. After participating in Tampaâ€™s Navy Day festivities on 27 Oct 1945, Cummings sailed to Norfolk, Virginia for her deactivation overhaul. USS Cummings was decommissioned 14 Dec 1945 and held in reserve until she was sold for scrap 14 Jul 1947.
ww2dbaseFor her service in World War II, USS Cummings was awarded seven battle stars.
United States Navy
United States National Archives
NavSource Naval History
Destroyer History Foundation
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library
The New Deal in New York City 1933-1943 by Frank da Cruz
CombinedFleet Imperial Japanese Navy Page
Last Major Revision: Oct 2020
Destroyer Cummings (DD-365) Interactive Map
Cummings Operational Timeline
|26 Jun 1934||The keel of destroyer Cummings was laid down at the United Shipyards facility in Staten Island, New York, United States.|
|25 Nov 1936||USS Cummings was commissioned at United Shipyards on Staten Island, New York, United States with Commander Charles P. Cecil in command.|
|29 Sep 1937||Destroyer USS Cummings departed New York Harbor, New York, United States bound for San Diego, California.|
|28 Oct 1937||Destroyer USS Cummings arrived at San Diego, California, United States.|
|12 May 1939||Destroyer USS Cummings returned to San Diego, California, United States after completion of Fleet Problen XX in the Panama Canal Zone and Caribbean.|
|26 Apr 1940||Destroyer USS Cummings was based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii following Fleet Problem XXI held in Hawaiian waters.|
|10 May 1942||Just before midnight, destroyer USS Cummings crossed the equator heading south at longitude 163 39 12W en route from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to NoumĂ©a, New Caledonia.|
|19 May 1943||Destroyer USS Cummings arrived at Caliope Dock, Devonport Navy Yard, Auckland, New Zealand for a brief overhaul.|
|27 Mar 1944||HMS Cumberland met US Task Group 58.5 (Aircraft Carrier USS Saratoga and destroyers USS Cummings, USS Dunlap, and USS Fanning) SW off Cocos Islands with ships of Eastern Fleet.|
|31 Mar 1944||USS Saratoga, HMS Cumberland, USS Cummings, USS Fanning, USS Dunlap, and ships of the Royal Navy Eastern Fleet arrived at Trincomalee, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).|
|19 Apr 1944||Admiral Sir James Somerville's new Eastern Fleet launched a devastating raid on the oil refinery at Sabang in Sumatra, Dutch East Indies with aircraft flown from the carriers HMS Illustrious and USS Saratoga escorted by HMS Cumberland, HMS Renown, USS Cummings, and others.|
|17 May 1944||The oil refineries at the Wonokromo district of Surabaya, Java, Dutch East Indies and the nearby Braat Engineering Works were struck by British and American carrier aircraft struck by carrier aircraft of the Royal Navyâ€™s Eastern Fleet made up of carriers HMS Illustrious and USS Saratoga escorted by HMS Cumberland, HMS Renown, USS Cummings, and others.|
|7 Jul 1944||USS Cummings arrived at San Francisco, California, United States after completing her loan to the Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean and entered Mare Island Naval Shipyard for maintenance.|
|21 Jul 1944||USS Baltimore depart San Diego, California, United States, with destroyers USS Fanning and USS Cummings in escort and US President Franklin Roosevelt aboard, for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.|
|9 Aug 1944||Franklin Roosevelt disembarked the cruiser USS Baltimore and embarked the destroyer USS Cummings at Auke Bay, Alaska near Juneau.|
|12 Aug 1944||Franklin Roosevelt aboard USS Cummings addressed a crowd of 8,000 to 10,000 people surrounding Drydock 2 at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Washington. He spoke for over 35 minutes and his remarks were rebroadcast over nationwide radio.|
|3 Sep 1944||Task Group 12.5 consisting of carrier USS Monterey, cruisers USS Chester, USS Pensacola, USS Salt Lake City, and destroyers USS Cummings, USS Reid, and USS Dunlap conducted a bombardment of Japanese positions on Wake Island in the Pacific.|
|18 Oct 1945||Destroyer USS Cummings transited the Panama Canal as part of her final voyage.|
|14 Dec 1945||Cummings was decommissioned from service.|
|28 Jan 1947||Destroyer Cummings was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register.|
|17 Jul 1947||Destroyer Cummings was sold for scrap.|
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Thomas Dodd, late 1945