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USS James E. Kyes (DD 787)

- decommissioned -

USS JAMES E. KYES was one of the GEARING - class destroyers and the first ship in the Navy to bear the name. Both decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on March 31, 1973, the ship was transfered to Taiwan on April 18, 1973, where she was recommissioned as CHIEN YANG (DDG 912). After another 31 years of service, she was decommissioned on December 1, 2004.

General Characteristics:Awarded: 1942
Keel laid: December 27, 1944
Launched: August 4, 1945
Commissioned: February 8, 1946
Decommissioned: March 31, 1973
Builder: Todd Pacific Shipyards; Inc., Seattle, Wash.
FRAM I Conversion Shipyard: Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash.
FRAM I Conversion Period: April 1962 - January 1963
Propulsion system: four boilers, General Electric geared turbines; 60,000 SHP
Propellers: two
Length: 391 feet (119.2 meters)
Beam: 41 feet (12.5 meters)
Draft: 18.7 feet (5.7 meters)
Displacement: approx. 3,400 tons full load
Speed: 34 knots
Aircraft after FRAM I: two DASH drones
Armament after FRAM I: one ASROC missile launcher, two 5-inch/38 caliber twin mounts, Mk-32 ASW torpedo tubes (two triple mounts)
Crew after FRAM I: 14 officers, 260 enlisted


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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS JAMES E. KYES. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.


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USS JAMES E. KYES Cruise Books:


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USS JAMES E. KYES History:

JAMES E. KYES was laid down 27 December 1944 by Todd Pacific Shipyards, Inc., Seattle, Wash.; launched 4 August 1945; sponsored by Mrs. James E. Kyes; and commissioned 8 February 1946, Comdr. K. E. Shook in command.

After shakedown along the West Coast, JAMES E. KYES steamed from Seattle 12 June for Pearl Harbor to embark troops for transportation to the United States. Arriving San Diego 12 July, she operated along the California coast until departing 9 November for the western Pacific. Joining the 7th Fleet at Shanghai 30 November, she operated along the Chinese Coast supporting Chiang Kaishek's struggle with the Chinese Communists for control of the mainland.

Departing Tsingtao, China, 28 January 1947, she steamed to Japan for 4 months of operations off southeastern Japan, in the Tsushima Strait, and along the Korean coast. She cleared Yokosuka 8 June for home and arrived San Diego 22 June.

Following operations out of San Diego and San Francisco, Calif., and Bremerton, Wash., she departed San Pedro, Calif., 2 September 1948 for duty in the Far East. Arriving Yokosuka, Japan, 30 September, she conducted surveillance patrols in the East China Sea and the Tsushima Strait. She steamed to Inchon, Korea, 20 January 1949 as tensions mounted on that peninsula. Returning to Japan 28 January, she resumed sea patrols until departing Yokosuka 3 April for San Diego.

After arrival 24 April, JAMES E. KYES operated out of San Diego until sailing for the western Pacific 23 June 1950, 2 days before Communist North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel to sweep down through South Korea. Ordered by President Truman to give South Korean troops "cover and support," the Navy placed the 7th Fleet on alert from Formosa to Japan. Standing off Pohang-dong, Korea, 18 July, JAMES E. KYES provided valuable fire support during landing operations which reinforced U.N. positions at the southern end of the peninsula. She joined DOYLE (DMS 34) on 2 August escorting SICILY (CVE 118) while that carrier's planes struck enemy troop and supply concentrations along Korea's southern and western coasts. Sailing into the Sea of Japan 11 August, she screened BADOENG STRAIT (CVE 116), VALLEY FORGE (CV 45), and PHILIPPINE SEA (CV 47); and then steamed to Sasebo 27 August to prepare for Operation "Chromite."

As a flanking counterstroke to halt the North Korean advance, General MacArthur ordered an amphibious assault against Inchon, the "strategic solar plexus of Korea," to be carried out 15 September. JAMES E. KYES arrived off Inchon the 15th to guard BOXER (CV 21) as her planes conducted preinvasion strikes. Remaining off Inchon to 3 October, the versatile destroyer sailed via Sasebo to Korea's east coast for patrol duty.

Late in November she sailed for the United States; but, ordered to reverse course on the 29th, she steamed back to the fight. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese Communist troops had crossed the Yalu River into North Korea to attack advancing U.N. forces. Hordes of Chinese cut off and surrounded the 5th and 7th Marine Regiments with a human wall at Chosin Reservoir 27 November. The breaching of this wall and releasing of U.N. troops depended upon air cover and fire power from planes of carriers stationed off the eastern coast. JAMES E. KYES joined the task force 1 December and provided ASW support while planes made hundreds of sorties supporting embattled US Marines. Under a protective canopy of naval air cover, the leathernecks broke through 10 December at Chinhung-ni and moved to Hungnam for evacuation. JAMES E. KYES remained on guard as the Navy completed the Hungnam withdrawal of 24 December after embarking 105,000 troops, 91,000 refugees and vast quantities of military cargo. She remained along the eastern coast, supporting the southward movement of American forces. Sailing for home 19 January 1951, she arrived San Diego 8 February.

JAMES E. KYES departed San Diego 27 August and joined BOXER (CV 21) and BON HOMME RICHARD (CV 31) on 20 September in patrolling the Sea of Japan. Sailing to Formosa 17 December, she joined the Formosa Strait surveillance patrols before resuming carrier guard duty off Korea 22 January 1952. JAMES E. KYES joined the U.N. Blockading and Escort Force 19 February and sailed to the Wonsan area to conduct "harassing and interdiction at predesignated targets and targets of opportunity." Designed to prevent or hinder enemy troop and supply movements, her patrol concentrated on enemy shore batteries, coastal roads, and railroad installations before sailing for home 25 March.

Departing San Francisco 12 November, JAMES E. KYES resumed Korean blockade and bombardment duty 5 December and joined the Formosa Patrol during February 1953. She returned to Korea 14 March to engage the enemy at every opportunity. Blockade and bombardment patrols were often unspectacular, but therein lay the effectiveness of the naval blockade. As Rear Admiral Sir W. G. Andrewes, RN, observed, "The absence of the spectacular is a measure of the complete success achieved." Patrolling Korea's eastern coast for almost 3 months, JAMES E. KYES engaged enemy batteries, covered amphibious landings, and supported carrier air strikes. Ordered home 9 June via Yokosuka and Midway, she arrived Long Beach 29 June.

From 9 February 1954 to 12 March 1962, JAMES E. KYES deployed to the Far East on seven occasions. While operating with the 7th Fleet, she ranged the Orient from Japan and Korea to Southeast Asia and Australia and engaged in a variety of activities.

She patrolled the coasts of Korea, where an uneasy truce had brought an end to hostilities in July 1953. On several occasions she joined the Formosa Patrol to protect the Chinese Nationalists from Communist invasions. In 1955 she sailed to Southeast Asia while the Navy carried thousands of refugees from North to South Vietnam during Operation "Passage to Freedom." Cruising the Indochinese coast from Vietnam to Thailand, she served as a symbol of America's determination to safeguard Southeast Asia from the spread of communism.

While serving in the Pacific, JAMES E. KYES conducted several air-sea rescue missions. During the Marshall Islands' nuclear tests of 1956, she acted as a life guard ship; and, in May 1959, she steamed from duty in the Formosa Strait to assist and guard SS PRESIDENT HAYES, grounded in the Paracel Islands off Vietnam. She also served as plane guard during carrier flight operations, and on four occasions during 1960 and 1961 she effected or assisted in successful rescues of downed pilots and flight crews.

While deployed with the Fleet, JAMES E. KYES engaged in numerous operations designed to test and improve her performance as a fighting ship. In December 1961, during her longest deployment to the Far East, she participated in a combined ASW readiness exercise with units of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, which "greatly advanced the mutual understanding between the two forces."

After returning to the West Coast 12 March 1962, JAMES E. KYES assumed an "in-commission-in-reserve" status 16 April and underwent FRAM I conversion at Bremerton, Wash., to prepare for her role in the new Navy. Returning to full commission 18 December, she participated in fleet exercises held off the California coast 27 to 28 May 1963 in honor of President Kennedy.

JAMES E. KYES deployed to the Far East 10 October. Following readiness evaluation exercises off the Hawaiian Islands, she arrived Yokosuka Japan 22 November and commenced Fleet operations that continued to the end of the year. In the spring of 1964 she participated in Operation "Back Packs," a combined Chinese Nationalist and U.S. amphibious exercise on Taiwan. She was in the hunter-killer group which provided ASW protection for the operation. During the deployment, she supplied water to Hong Kong helping to relieve suffering caused by a severe drought which afflicted the city.

The destroyer returned to Long Beach 2 April 1964 and operated out of homeport for the rest of the year. She celebrated Columbus Day by saving a wayward DASH helicopter from hitting EVERSOLE (DD 789). She sailed for the Far East 24 March 1965 and reached Yokosuka 30 April. In May she participated in SEATO Exercise "Seahorse" with ships of Thailand, the United Kingdom, and Australia. At the end of this exercise in the South China sea, she visited Bangkok, Thailand. After upkeep in Subic Bay and a run to Hong Kong, JAMES E. KYES got underway for Exercise "Cross Tee II" in the Sea of Japan with ships of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Following a visit to Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan, and ASW exercises with nuclear-powered submarine SNOOK (SSN 592), JAMES E. KYES departed Yokosuka 20 July, crossed the South China Sea to the coast of South Vietnam for surveillance duty. She screened BENNINGTON (CVS 20) took ASW and surface surveillance picket station at the southern end of the Gulf of Tonkin; and assisted a South Vietnamese construction battalion stranded on Drummond Island in the Paracel Group. From 30 August to 5 September she bombarded targets ashore in the Quang Ngai area. She departed the war zone 10 September; arrived in Long Beach 7 October; and entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard 10 December for overhaul. Completing overhaul and post-repair shakedown in 1966, JAMES E. KYES returned to the Far East arriving there in August. Her gunfire again pounded the Viet Cong on several occasions but she was also engaged in ASW and PIRAZ duties before returning to Long Beach.

The stay at home was short and on 19 August 1967 the ship left again for a tour of duty with the 7th Fleet. Actively involved in naval gunfire support and shore bombardement missions, JAMES E. KYES came under enemy fire 30 October from a North Vietnamese gun emplacement on an island while she was operating with NEWPORT NEWS (CA 148) and CANBERRA (CAG 2). The enemy fired a total of 27 rounds at the destroyer but evasive maneuvers avoided any hits. The CANBERRA subsequently moved in and destroyed the gun emplacement and JAMES E. KYES was awarded the combat action medal for the operation.

In January 1968, JAMES E. KYES was one of the ships sent to rescue the USS PUEBLO (AGER 2) which was captured by North Korean forces on 23 January 1968. The destroyer remained on station off Wonsan harbor, North Korea, where the PUEBLO had been brought to. JAMES E. KYES stayed for several weeks before returning home to Long Beach. The remainder of 1968 and early 1969 was spent locally off the US West Coast.

Underway again for WestPac on 29 March 1969, the destroyer participated in the SEATO exercise Sea Spirit starting on 26 May. During the exercise, Australian aircraft carrier HMAS MELBOURNE collided with USS FRANK E. EVANS (DD 754) on 3 June, cutting the latter in two with the bow section quickly sinking. JAMES E. KYES assisted in the rescue operations for the EVANS crew before continuing to Subic Bay in preparation for her return to the gun line off Vietnam where she arrived 23 June. The destroyer provided vital gunfire support for allied troops in Vietnam and returned to Long Beach on 21 November 1969.

1970 kept the ship busy in the eastern Pacific where she conducted refresher training and naval gunfire support qualifications as well as exercises.

Well prepared for overseas duty, the JAMES E. KYES departed her homeport for deployment on 19 March 1971 and returned to the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin where she acted as plane guard for the aircraft carriers. In June, she headed east again and returned to Long Beach via Adak, Alaska, on 5 July.

After a homeport change to San Diego, the JAMES E. KYES departed on her final cruise on 5 June 1972. She escorted ORISKANY (CVA 34) across the Pacific to Vietnam and, after arrival, engaged in gunfire support missions off North and South Vietnam. In December she set a course for San Diego, arriving there on 13 January 1973.

JAMES E. KYES was decommissioned at her homeport on 31 March 1973. She received six battle stars for Korean service.


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About the Ship's Name:

James Ellsworth Kyes, born in Everett, Wash., 16 April 1906, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1930. As commanding officer of LEARY (DD 158), Comdr. Kyes was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for "extraordinary heroism" during action against enemy submarines in the North Atlantic 23 December 1943. After his ship had received three torpedo hits and was sinking, he gave the order to abandon ship. As he prepared to leave LEARY, he checked to see that none of his men remained on board and spied one whose life jacket was torn and useless. Comdr. Kyes removed his own and handed it to the sailor. He then calmly climbed over the side and was swallowed up by the waters of the cold Atlantic, gallantly sacrificing his own life to protect a member of his crew.


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After FRAM I Conversion:




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