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  USS Little DD-803
USN
Fletcher-class destroyer

2,050 Tons
376' 5" x 39' 13' 9"
5 x 5" guns
10 x 40mm AA guns
7 x 20mm AA guns
10 x 21" torpedo tubes
6 x depth charge projectors
2 x depth charge tracks

Click For Enlargement
USN c1944
Ship History
Built by Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation in Seattle. Laid down September 13, 1943 as a Fletcher-class destroyer. Launched May 22, 1944 sponsored by Mrs. Russell F. O'Hara. Painted in measure 31, design 16d dazzle camouflage. Commissioned August 19, 1944 into the U. S. Navy (USN) as USS Little (DD-803) named in honor of Captain George Little. Assigned to Commander Madison Hall, Jr. Afterwards, conducted sea trials off the west coast then to Seattle.

Wartime History
On November 11, 1944 departed Seattle escorting a convoy to Pearl Harbor arriving November 23, 1944 and participated in gunnery training and exercises.

On January 22, 1945 departed Pearl Harbor escorting LSTs to Eniwetok for practice for the upcoming landing on Iwo Jima. Afterwards, to Saipan and on February 15, 1945 departed as part of the invasion force bound for Iwo Jima. On February 19, 1945 provided shore bombardment for the landings on Iwo Jima then fire support until February 24, 1945 then departed to Saipan to resupply and returned to Iwo Jima by March 4, 1945 and continued to performed fire support, screening and radar picket duty then departed for Saipan arriving March 14, 1945 to resupply.

On March 27, 1945 departed Saipan bound for Okinawa as part of the group tasked with a feign landing off the southeast of Okinawa then joined the main force and escorted Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs). On April 19, 1945 assigned to radar picket duty for six days.

Sinking History
On May 3, 1945 assigned to picket duty at radar station no. 10 off Okinawa with USS Aaron Ward (DM-34) plus USS LSM(R)-195, LCS(L)(3)-15, LCS(L)(3)-25, and LCS(L)(3)-83. At 6:13pm, a group of several dozen enemy aircraft were observed and attacked form under cloud cover. At 6:41pm, a kamikaze aircraft hit USS Aaron Ward (DM-34) causing damage and moments later USS Little was hit on the port side. Within only four minutes, hit by three more kamikaze aircraft amidships, broke her keel and sank at 7:55pm. Aboard, 31 crew died and 49 were injured. For her World War II service, USS Little earned two battle stars.

References
Naval History and Heritage Command - “Those Suicide Pilots Knew Where to Hit”: The Sinking of USS Little

NavSource - USS Little (DD-803)
The History of the USS Little DD803 (1985) by Melvin Fenoglio

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Last Updated
May 3, 2020

 

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