WW II Destroyer: One More Battle for a Vintage Warship (US)





In its glory days, the United States Navy destroyer John Rodgers was among the most decorated warships of World War II. Now, hull rusting and big guns whitened by bird droppings, the abandoned destroyer finds itself in what could be its final battle, one that could turn the historic ship into a museum or, alternatively, a heap of scrap.

The John Rodgers was one of the 175 Fletcher-class destroyers, which shepherded aircraft carriers and provided withering cover fire during amphibious landings. During two and a half years in the Pacific, it fought in the Philippines and at Kwajalein Atoll, Guam, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. It steamed into Tokyo Bay in September 1945, having earned 12 battle stars without, remarkably, losing a single sailor.

The Fletcher destroyers were a swift breed that each carried nearly 300 sailors into war. While many of the ships suffered heavy losses from kamikaze attacks late in the war, most ended up in scrap yards in the decades after peace was achieved.



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