USS Knapp DD-653 History
 Ships WWII History

The USS Knapp DD-653 was laid down March 8,1943 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine and launched July 10, 1943. The ship was sponsored by Misses Margaret L. and Mary C. Knapp and commissioned September 16,1943 with Comdr. Frank Virden in command.

After a shakedown cruise out of Bermuda, the Knapp departed Boston, MA., 11-26-43 for the Pacific, arriving Pearl Harbor Dec. 21, 1943. She departed Pearl Harbor 1-16-44 with Admiral Mitscher's Carrier Task Force 58 for the Marshall Islands invasion. At sea on duty from 1-16-44 to 2-12-44, the Knapp put in to Majuro and during this period, also bombarded Kwajalein Island. She continued her screening as carriers launched raids on Truk 2-16 & 2-17-44, and on bases in the Marianas on 2-21 & 2-22-44. The Knapp then sailed from Majuro to Espiritu Santo to screen for carriers providing air cover for the seizure of Emirau island from 3-20 to 3-25-44 plus raids on Palaus, Yap and Woleai from 3-30 to 4-1-44.

The Knapp returned to Majuro 4-6-44 and a week later she sortied with heavy ships for the Hollandia landings that took place from 4-21 to 4-24-44, and included air raids on Truk, Satawan, and Ponape until the close of the month.

After replenishment at Majuro in May, the Knapp joined and screened carriers during operations against Saipan. On 6-19-44 the Knapp provided cover during the air battle of the Philippine Sea in which Japan's air power suffered major losses. From 7-25 to 8-5-44, the Knapp continued her screening in the raids on Palau, Ulithi, Yap, Iwo Jima, and Chichi Jima. In the latter, the Knapp joined in the surface gunfire which sank several ships of a Japanese convoy that had been heavily damaged by U.S. carrier aircraft. The Knapp then sailed to Eniwetok to be refitted between 8-11 and 8-30-44.

The Knapp steamed out of Eniwetok for the invasion of the Palaus on 8-30-44 screening five battleships and a later rendezvous with the carriers Langley, Lexington, Essex, and Princeton before their strikes at targets in the Palaus during the struggle to take Peleliu. During September, the Knapp screened for heavy ships making strikes at the Philippines. On l0-6, she sailed from Ulithi for air strikes on Okinawa and Formosa in preparation for the Leyte landings, and fired protective antiaircraft cover for her force during the Formosa air battle of Oct. 12-14th. After guarding the retirement toward safety of the stricken Canberra, which had been struck by an aerial torpedo on 10-13, she rejoined her force for air strikes on Luzon. She also screened for them during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and then returned to Ulithi on 10-30-44. Two days later, the Knapp sailed back to the Philippines, and after the Reno was damaged on

11-3 by a submarine torpedo, she guarded her withdrawal to safety. From 11-25-44 through the middle of January 1945, the Knapp screened for air strikes against Luzon, French Indochina, and cities on the coast of China, thereby neutralizing Japanese bases in preparation for the Lingayen invasion. Escorting the Ticonderoga, [which was hit during an air attack 1-21-45] the Knapp arrived in Ulithi on 1-24-45. After accomplishing all of her assignments, the battle tested USS Knapp set sail 1-30 for the United States West coast, and arrived On 2-20for overhaul.

The Knapp sailed for the Western Pacific 4-23-45 arriving off Okinawa on 5-27, where she served on dangerous and demanding duty as a radar picked ship until 6-26-45. Three days later, she joined Task Force 39 for the final series of raids against the Japanese home island. Following the end of fighting on 8-15, the Knapp arrived in Sagami Wan, Honshu, Empire of Japan on 8-27. The Knapp sailed into Tokyo Bay September 1st for the surrender ceremonies aboard the USS Missouri BB-63 9-2-45. During the early days of the occupation the Knapp helped demilitarize the Japanese midget submarine and suicide boat bases.

The Knapp sailed for the United States 12-5 and arrived in San Diego 12-21-45. Shortly thereafter the Knapp sailed via the Panama Canal for Boston, arriving 1-17-46. She sailed for Charleston, S.C. 4-2, and was decommissioned on July 5, 1946.

The USS Knapp received nine battle stars for World War II service.

Ships Korean Era History

After service in WWII the USS Knapp was placed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet in Charleston, SC, on July 5, 1946. The process of taking the ship out of mothballs for service in the Korean War started early in 1951.

On Thursday May 3,1951, at 3:00 PM, the USS Knapp DD-653 was recommissioned and placed under the command of CDR. Arthur J. Ela, U. S. Navy. The balance of May and June were spent working on the ship and early trial runs. On 10 July the ship left Charleston for a week in Norfolk, VA, and then on to Newport, RI. Later in July the ship leaves on its first shakedown cruise, arriving in Cuba and anchoring in Guantanimo Bay on 22 July 1951. The ship also visits Havana and Camaguey, Cuba, and is forced to put out to sea on 18 August to ride out a hurricane. On 31 August we sail to

Santiago, Cuba and San Juan, Puerto Rico then make preparations for the return trip to the States.

In September 1951, the Knapp goes into post shakedown overhaul in Charleston, SC.

In January 1952, the ship leaves Charleston, stops at Norfolk, VA, and continues on to Newport, RI, before leaving for the second trip to Cuba. On 15 February, the Knapp enters Guantanimo Bay for the second time. On 25 March, out on maneuvers, with shore bombardment of Culibra Island. On 30 March, we leave for Kingston, Jamaica. In April the ship sails to Port Au Prince, Haiti, and then back to the States. While back in the States, the Knapp stops at New York, Boston, MA, Providence, RI, and stops at Norfolk, VA, for two weeks. In June, the Knapp sails on to Newport, RI, where she ties up to the USS Everglades for repairs. July 1952 brings a change of Captains as CDR. Heinrich Heine U.S.N. assumes command of the Knapp. In early August, the ship is back in Boston, MA. for additional repairs. On 26 August, 1952 the USS Knapp along with sixteen other ships leaves the United States to participate in the largest NATO naval exercise in history named Operation Mainbrace. On 10 September, 1952 the Knapp drops anchor in the Firth of Forth at Helensburg, Scotland.

On 13 September, the mightiest multinational armada in history steamed down the Firth of Clyde, around Cape Wrath, past Scapa Flow, and into the broad waters off Scotland and Scandinavia. NATO's Navy was at sea. We operated in the North Atlantic with the other ships in Operation Mainbrace from 13 to 26 September and in the process, crossed the Arctic Circle on 16 September and obtained our Blue Nose cards. After Operation Mainbrace, the USS Knapp sailed back to England and made the following ports of call:

Helensburgh, Scotland - 10 Sept. 1952
Plymouth, England 26 Sept. - 1 Oct.
Londonderry, Ireland 3 Oct. - 18 Oct.
Bremerhaven, West Germany 21 Oct. - 27 Oct.
Bristol, England 30 Oct. - 5 Nov.
Oostende, Belgium 9 Nov. - 13 Nov.
Rouen, France 14 Nov. - 21 Nov.
Plymouth, England 22 Nov. - 27 Nov.
Gibraltar, Great Britain 1 Dec. - 3 Dec.
Naples, Italy 6 Dec. - 12 Dec.
Piraeus, Greece 20 Dec. - 26 Dec.
Istanbul, Turkey 27 Dec. - 2 Jan.
Tarragona, Spain 9 Jan. - 15 Jan.

On 19 January, the ship stopped again at Gibraltar before setting sail for Newport, RI, and then on to Boston, MA, and New York. The first part of 1953 was spent in various exercises at sea and repairs at the Boston shipyard. The Knapp spent the 4th of July in Kennybunkport, ME, and then back to Norfolk, VA.

On 10 August, the Knapp leaves Newport, RI, as part of DesDiv 182 for the West coast via the Panama Canal, arriving in San Diego, CA, on 25 August. The ship arrives in Pearl Harbor, HI, 2 September, Midway on the 7th, the International Date line, and then Yokosuka, Japan on 14 September 1953. The next four months were spent in the screen of fast attack carriers striking from the sea in support of NATO forces in Korea as part of Task Force 77. In October, 1953 the Knapp went on patrol with the NATO blockade and escort forces along the East coast of Korea. During this period the ship stops at Pusan, Point Silver, and then back to Sasebo, Japan.

On 14, January, the Knapp left Yokosuka, Japan with the rest of her division for the return trip back to the United States. The ship arrives in Hong Kong on 17, January, and crosses the equator 22, January at 23:20 and then Singapore the next day.

The ship arrived Colombo, Ceylon 29, January, then Aden, Saudi Arabia, and transited the Suez Canal 12, February. The Knapp left Port Said astern for the Mediterranean ports of Naples, Italy and Barcelona, Spain. The Knapp sails for the final leg home with stops at Lisbon, Spain, and Bermuda, before ending her long cruise at Fall River, MA, on 10 March, 1954.

After overhaul in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and a training cruise to Cuba, the Knapp cleared Newport, RI, on 30, November and sailed to San Diego where she became part of

DesDiv 212, DesRon 21 of the Pacific Fleet. The Knapp sailed again for the Far East arriving in Yokosuka, Japan on 27 January followed by maneuvers in the East China Sea, waters of the Philippines, and a period of patrol in the Taiwan Straits. The ship returned to San Diego 19 June 1955 where the balance of the year was spent operating along the Southern California coast. The Knapp left San Diego 5 January 1956 and joined parts of the Seventh Fleet in areas south of Japan, Subic Bay, Philippines, waters off Okinawa, and patrolling the Taiwan Straits. The Knapp returned to the States 31 May 1956 and then entered the Long Beach Shipyard for inactivation overhaul. The Knapp was placed out of commission on 4 March 1957 and became part of the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Later, the Knapp was taken our of the Mothball fleet and sent to Zidell Explorations Inc. in Portland, Oregon to be cut up and sold for scrap metal. Mr. Zidell generously donated 
the entire bridge structure which included the pilot house to the Columbia River 
Maritime Museum located in Astoria, Oregon. The bridge weighing 13 tons was barged
down the Columbia River, put on a truck, and then placed on the museum site where a 
building was constructed around the bridge. Part of the Knapp lives on through this exhibit to the delight of the many visitors to the museum.


This website was created by Cindy James and Pete Smith