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  USS Bagley DD-386
Bagley Class Destroyer

1,500 Tons (light)
2,325 Tons (Full)
341' 8" x 35' 6" x 10' 4"
4 x 5" 38 cal guns
4 x .50 cal MG
4 x 20mm cannon (added)
16 x 21" torpedoes
2 x depth charges

USN c1937-1940

USN 1945
Ship History
Built by Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia. Laid down July 31, 1935 as Bagley Class Destroyer. Launched September 3 1936 as USS Bagley DD-386 in honor of Ensign Worth Bagley killed in action in the Spanish-American War on May 11, 1898 off Cuba and was sponsored by his sister Miss Bella Worth Bagley. Commissioned June 12, 1937 in the U. S. Navy (USN) with Captain Lieutenant Commander Earl W. Morris in command.

After a shakedown cruse, operated in the Atlantic. During 1940, Bagley steamed via the Panama Canal to Pearl Harbor and rotated between Hawaii and California. On December 3, 1941 during anti-aircraft gunnery practice the starboard bilge keel tore loose and the next day moored at berth B-22 in the Southeast Loch of Pearl Harbor for repairs.

Wartime History
On December 7, 1941 during the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor, the captain, executive officer and gunnery officer were ashore. During the first wave, her anti-aircraft guns opened fire on B5N2 Kate torpedo bombers with her gunners claiming six shot down. At 9:40am she got underway under the temporary command of Lt. Cann.

On December 29, 1941 Bagley covered the arrival of Task Force 14 (TF-14). The next day, the destroyer departed with USS Saratoga (CV-3) on a patrol west of Oahu, while two carrier groups escorted reinforcements to Samoa. On January 11, 1942 USS Saratoga (CV-3) was hit by a torpedo fired by I-16, Bagley escorted the damaged carrier back to Pearl Harbor.

Between January 23, 1943 to February 3, 1943 four extra 20mm cannons were added. Next, joined Task Force 11 (TF-11) comprising USS Lexington (CV-2), four cruisers and nine destroyers, to cover transports delivering reinforcements to Christmas Island, Canton Island and New Caledonia. Worried about Japanese intentions in the Fiji-New Caledonia area, TF-11 joined the ANZAC cruiser force, HMAS Australia, HMNZS Achilles, HMNZS Leander with USS Chicago (CA-29) and two destroyers, on 16 February. Shortly thereafter, the task force turned to the northwest and headed for Bougainville.

On February 20, 1942 at 5:07pm, the destroyer opened fire on a second wave of nine bombers with her 20mm battery, joining the barrage of anti-aircraft fire around USS Lexington (CV-2). Minutes later, G4M1 Betty piloted by Seto damaged by F4F Wildcat piloted by Lt. Edward 'Butch' O'Hare attempted to crash into the stern of Bagley, but anti-aircraft fire from USS Aylwin (DD-355) helped shoot it down 200 yards off the starboard quarter.

Afterwards, returned to Pearl Harbor for a month of repairs and dry dock. On April 30, 1942 departed Pearl Harbor transporting mail and passengers to Palmyra Island, Christmas Island, and the Society Islands. Off Bora Bora on May 9, 1942, she rendezvoused with USS Hunter Liggett escorting her to Nukualofa Bay, Tongatapuo in Fiji six days later. For the next week, Bagley patrolled outside Nukualofa Bay to protect departing convoys then departed alone to Brisbane arriving May 30, 1942.

Assigned to the Southwest Pacific Force TF-44, Bagley protected convoys in the approaches to Australia, searched for submarine contacts during two patrol sweeps with Henley, and conducted night battle practice and other exercises with the cruisers of TF 44 through mid-July. On the 17th, she departed Brisbane for New Zealand, arriving in Auckland on 20 July. There, she joined TF 62 and began preparations for Operation Watchtower, the invasion of Guadalcanal.

Bagley went to Fiji in company with USS Chicago, Salt Lake City, HMAS Australia, HMAS Canberra, HMAS Hobart, eight other destroyers, and 12 transports. Joined by other convoy elements on the 26th, including three more cargo ships, Bagley guarded the transports as they conducted rehearsal landings at Koro Island.

Then proceeded to the Solomon Islands. On on August 7, 1942 arrived in the transport area off Lunga Point on Guadalcanal. Assigned to "Southern Force" as one of three picket patrols, Bagley and Patterson accompanied HMAS Australia (D84), HMAS Canberra (D33), and USS Chicago to protect the transports south of Tulagi.

On August 8, 1942 HMAS Australia (D84) with Rear Admiral Victor Alexander Charles Crutchley, RN, on board left formation for a command conference at at 9:30pm in Lunga Roads. just over two hours later, with visibility due to overcast sky and rain showers, unidentified ships loomed into view roughly 3,000 yards off the port bow that was the Japanese force of seven cruisers and a destroyer from Rabaul sent to attack the American transports.

Battle of Savo Island
On August 9, 1942 at 1:44am at the start of the Battle of Savo Island, float planes from the Japanese cruisers dropped flares that illuminated the U. S. warships and immediately Bagley turned sharply to the port to bring her starboard torpedo tubes to bear on the enemy warships looming out of the darkness but, either due to the torpedoes not being armed or because the destroyer turned to quickly to be aimed properly, she continued her turn then fired four torpedoes to the northwest from her number two port mount. Although the torpedo men claimed hits a few minutes later, no Japanese ships were damaged by torpedoes in the area. It is possible, but unconfirmed, that one or two of Bagley's torpedoes may have accidentally hit the sharboard side of HMAS Canberra (D33).

Bagley then turned left again and her gunners scanned the sea between Guadalcanal and Savo Island but saw no targets as the Japanese cruisers had already passed to the north. She then steamed to the northwest, toward the designated destroyer rendezvous point, and at about 0300 came across the heavily damaged and burning USS Astoria. That warship, along with USS Quincy and USS Vincennes, had been mortally wounded in the short, but violent, Battle of Savo Island before the Japanese force retired to Rabaul.

Bagley came alongside USS Astoria and rescued about 400 survivors--including 185 wounded--from the stricken warship, out of the water or from nearby rafts. With daylight, Bagley delivered a salvage party of 325 men to Astoria to fight fires, plug holes and raise steam. The effort ultimately failed, and the cruiser sank that afternoon. Meanwhile, Bagley's medical officer and pharmacist's mates treated shell-fragment lacerations and second-degree burns before the wounded were transferred to President Jackson that afternoon. Bagley then withdrew to Nouméa with TF 62, mooring there on 13 August.

On 15 March 1943, Bagley executed orders reassigning her to TF 74 as the newly created 7th Fleet readied itself for offensive operations in New Guinea. Underway from Townsville on 27 June, Bagley, in company with Henley and SC-749, escorted six LSTs carrying 2,600 Army troops and airfield equipment to Woodlark Island. While the destroyers patrolled south of the island, the landing proceeded without Japanese interference on the night of 30 June and 1 July. Bagley escorted three more echelons of LSTs from Townsville to Woodlark between 9 July and 7 August; all arrived safely, and the fighter airstrip became operational on 23 July. The destroyer then escorted Henry T. Allen (AP-30) between Milne Bay, Cairns, and Brisbane, arriving at the last port on 15 August.

Bagley steamed back to New Guinea late in the month, delivering a convoy to Milne Bay on 1 October. She quickly returned to Townsville to pick up another convoy, escorting it safely into Milne Bay on the 8th. Sailing again to Australia, this time to Brisbane, the destroyer shepherded a third convoy from Townsville to Milne Bay between 25 and 29 October. After moving to Buna on 8 November, Bagley helped escort a convoy of three LSTs to Finschhafen, delivering supplies to the Australian 20th Brigade on the 11th. Over the next four weeks, the destroyer escorted six more reinforcement convoys out of Buna; three to Finschhafen, one to Lae, one to Woodlark and the last to Cape Cretin on December 12.

After steaming to Buna on December 23, Bagley joined the seven LSTs of TU 76.1.41, carrying the 7th echelon of 1st Marine Division's engineers, artillery, and stores for the Cape Gloucester operation. The crew watched the heavy cruisers bombard the beach at 0600 on 26 December, and then Bagley screened the LSTs as they landed troops and equipment. That afternoon, around 1430, a large Japanese air raid attacked the task force, sinking USS Brownson (DD-518) and damaging USS Shaw (DD-373). Later that evening, Bagley's crew saw friendly fighters splash three "Betty" bombers over the beachhead. Returning to Buna on 28 December, Bagley then helped leapfrog elements of the 32nd Infantry Division at Saidor on 2 January 1944.

Next, Bagley was ordered "to act as stand-by escort for supply echelons" to escort a convoy of LSTs to Saidor on February 5. The next day, in company with USS Smith and two LSTs, departed for Cape Gloucester then departed the area on February 10 via Florida Island, Guadalcanal, Palmyra, and Pearl Harbor then arrived at San Francisco on February 27.

On February 28 began an overhaul at Mare Island over eight weeks, adding two more 20mm guns (for a total of six) and an improved fire control radar while a twin 40-millimeter gun tub was placed forward of the two aft 5" guns. When completed on May 5, departed for Hawaii and began training at sea for Operation Forager, the invasion of the Marianas. Arriving at Pearl Harbor on the May 10, the destroyer conducted screen, anti-aircraft, and shore bombardment the departed for the Marshall Islands on May 29, arriving at Majuro Atoll on June 3 where Bagley joined TG 58.2 on June 8, escorting USS Bunker Hill.

The destroyer then moved to the transport area on 15 June, screening the initial landings on Saipan before returning to the bombardment group on the 17th. From that screening position Bagley participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Although primarily an air battle--later dubbed "The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot"--in which most of the several hundred Japanese plane casualties were lost to American fighters, several small groups of Japanese aircraft broke through the CAP. These were mostly driven off by intense antiaircraft fire from the battleships and destroyers. Bagley fired on three planes that day, lobbing 24 5-inch shells at a "Val" and a "Kate" at a range of 6,000 yards astern and another 147 20-millimeter and 40-millimeter shells at a "Zeke" that passed 1,000 yards distant to starboard. In the following days, the destroyer continued to screen the battleships as they vainly chased the retreating Japanese.

On 25 June, the destroyer returned to the Marianas for two weeks of call-fire assignments in support of Marine Corps operations. Under the direction of fire control units ashore, Bagley fired over 700 5-inch rounds of high-explosive, white phosphorus, and star shell into the final pocket of Japanese resistance at the north end of Saipan. On 6 July, after receiving more ammunition from Montpelier, she closed shore and fired on "caves and crevasses near waters edge on Saipan", expending 537 5-inch and over 1,000 rounds of 20-millimeter and 40-millimeter shells.
Bagley screened Enterprise during the strikes on Okinawa and the smaller Ryukyus on 10 September. This was followed by a raid on Aparri in the Philippines on the 11th before the large-scale effort to destroy Japanese air power on Formosa began on 12th.

Battle of Leyte Gulf
During the Battle for Leyte Gulf her only role was join the ad hoc cruiser-destroyer group dispatched in futile pursuit of the Japanese aircraft carriers that were decoys. After the battle on October 25, 1944 Bagley rejoined the carriers as they stood by to support ground forces on Leyte while Task Group 38.4 (TG 38.4) launched carrier attacks against Luzon.

On November 2, 1944 arrived at Ulthui Atoll for four days of overhaul from USS Markab (AD-21). On November 10, 1944 departed with TU 77.4.1, built around aircraft carriers USS Hoggatt Bay (CVE-75) and USS Tulagi (CVE-72) to provide air support for Leyte ground operations. Retiring to Seeadler Harbor on the 27th, the destroyer spent the next month training, or receiving repairs from Briareus, all in preparation for Operation Musketeer, the landings on Luzon, Philippine Islands. On 27 December, the destroyer got underway for the Palaus, arriving there on the 30th.

On January 1, 1945 Bagley was one of nineteen destroyers that formed the screening force for the twelve escort carriers of TG 77.2 and 77.4 that departed Kossol Roads bound for Leyte Gulf then onward to the Mindanao Sea to provide air support for amphibious landing at Lingayen Gulf. On January 4, 1944 in the late afternoon, after a day of false alarms and "snooper" alerts, a twin-engine Japanese kamikaze plane crashed into USS Ommaney Bay (CVE–79) causing explosions and fires and was scuttled.

The next day, after the force entered the South China Sea, four Japanese kamikaze raids targeted the warships. Although the first two waves were driven off by CAP, Bagley's crew saw suicide planes from the third attack crash into USS Columbia (CL-56), USS Manila Bay (CVE-61), HMAS Australia, and USS Stafford (DE-411).

Bagley screened the escort carriers between 6 January, when they began flying ground-attack missions over the landing beaches on Lingayen Gulf. On January 13, 1945 the next kamikaze plane attacked the group. Just after 0900, an undetected plane surprised and crashed Salamaua, causing extensive damage. Several more closed the formation at 0908, and one Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar made a run toward Bagley. All guns that could bear opened fire at 3,600 yards (3,300 m), and the plane splashed about 1,000 yards (1,000 m) out on the port beam. The next four days passed without any Japanese attacks, and the task group retired to Ulithi, arriving there on the 23rd. With Philippine operations well underway, Bagley was assigned to the next major amphibious operation, the landings planned for Iwo Jima in February.

On 21 February, after a mere six days to conduct repairs and replenish, the warship embarked upon the last major amphibious operation of the war, the invasion of Okinawa. In company with the escort carriers of TG 52.1, Bagley arrived off Okinawa Jima on 25 March. The destroyer screened Anzio during ground attack and support operations into April without incident. Over the next several weeks, numerous small Japanese air raids appeared on her radar screen, but only one closed the formation, an ineffective attack by a lone plane on the 12th. On 28 April, while the escort carriers launched raids on Sakishima Gunto, the crew spotted a Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka "Baka Bomb" rocket-propelled suicide bomb passed harmlessly overhead at 26,000'.

On May 24, after Bagley "blew out" her number one main generator, she turned toward the Philippines. Arriving in Leyte Gulf on the 27th after 102 days underway at sea, the destroyer went alongside Markab for repairs.

The warship's last combat operation began on 15 June when the destroyer departed Leyte for Kerama Retto. She rendezvoused with the six escort carriers of TG 32.1 on the 18th and supported them during a series of air strikes on Okinawa. A week later, however, Bagley's main battery director failed, and she once again retired to Leyte for repairs. After mooring there on 27 June, she went alongside Yosemite for three days of availability. As the tender was unable to repair the director, the warship steamed to Saipan on 5 July and thence on to Guam, arriving in Apra harbor on the 6th.

With a new director installed by July 14, 1945 departed for Saipan and arriving the next day. On August 6, 1945 departed to escort a convoy to Okinawa arriving six days later. On August 15, 1945 the crew listened to the new of the Japanese capitulation while escorting a convoy back to Saipan. After ten days of rest and recreation, Bagley embarked Rear Admiral Francis E. M. Whiting and staff bound for Marcus Island. On August 31, 1945 embarked Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) Rear Admiral M. Matsubara who surrendered his garrison on Marcus Island to Rear Admiral Francis E. M. Whiting aboard Bagley.

On September 2, 1945 returns to Saipan and was assigned to Commander, 5th Fleet for extended duty. After a brief stop at Buckner Bay on Okinawa. On September 20, 1945 arrives at Sasebo and spent the next five weeks operating as a minefield marker ship aiding in minesweeping operations and conducted courier services between Sasebo, Nagasaki, and Wakayama and several of her officers inspected various Japanese naval vessels for compliance with the terms of surrender. During World War II, Bagley earned twelve battle stars.

On October 29, 1945 departs Sasebo via Pearl Harbor back to the United States. On November 19, 1945 arrives San Diego. Later intended for use in experimental testing and in late April 1946 departed for Pearl Harbor. The destroyer did not participate in the atomic tests.

On May 2, 1946. reported for inactivation at Pearl Harbor. On June 13, 1946 decommissioned and towed to San Diego for sale as scrap. Her name was officially struck from the Naval vessel register on February 25, 1947. Sold to Moore Dry Dock Company in Oakland on September 8, 1947 and scrapped afterwards.

NavSource - USS Bagley (DD-386)
U.S. Navy at War, 1941-1945: Official Reports to the Secretary of the Navy page 194

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Last Updated
August 4, 2020


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