USS Walke

Index of Allied warships during Operation Neptune

History, technical sheet and photo

Image : USS Walker

USS Walke history

The USS Walke was launched on October 27, 1943, and entered service on January 21, 1944. After a series of offshore training in American territorial waters, it made its way to Great Britain and arrived in Greenock on May 24 Scotland to participate in Operation Neptune.

As part of the 19th destroyers’ squadron, it operates on D-Day off Omaha Beach: at dawn, it participates in the bombing of German positions while ensuring the security of high-tonnage war ships against possible incursions of German submarines and torpedo speed boats. All day from June 6 until June 23, it opened fire on the coast to the benefit of US land forces, resupplying itself in Great Britain. From 23 June onwards, for three days, it operated off Cherbourg and took part in the duels of artillery with the German batteries defending the port in deep water.

On 3 July, the USS Walke made its way to the United States where it was repaired and then carried out new training at sea. It was subsequently engaged in Pacific waters from October onwards, especially in the Philippines within the Task Group 38.4. It took part in the landing of Ormoc Bay and the battle of Mindoro Island (during which it destroyed the Japanese destroyer Wakaba).

On January 6, 1945, it was attacked by four suicide bombers, but only one of them hit it hard, the others having been destroyed. For fifteen minutes, the Walke was the prey of the flames and every effort was made by the crew to save the destroyer from the sinking. Its commander, George F. Davis, was severely burned, but it remained at his post and continued to give orders for the survival of his sailors. He succumbed to his wounds a few hours later and was posthumously decorated with the Medal of Honor, the most prestigious American decoration. Maintained by the crew, the destroyer continued its mission until 9 January before being repaired.

It resumed service in May and took part in the Battle of Okinawa before joining Task Force 32. It remained in Japanese territorial waters until September 30 and returned to the United States. It went back to the Pacific as part of Operation Crossroads dedicated to atomic testing. It was then placed in reserve on 30 June 1947 before being reactivated to participate in the Korean War within Task Force 77 (TF 77). On June 12, 1951, the USS Walke was hit by a mine or torpedo which killed 26 sailors and wounded 40. After repairs, it returned to the TF 77 a year later.

Modernized in 1961, it was deployed four times during the Vietnam War in Southeast Asia, including naval fire support missions and exercises for the benefit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It was definitively withdrawn from active service on November 30, 1970 and was sold on April 16, 1975 to be finally scrapped.

USS Walke technical sheet

Creator/User: United States of America
Denomination: DD 723 – U.S.S. Walke
Class: Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer

Crew: 336 sailors

Armament (1944): 6x 130 mm guns, 12x 40 mm Bofors guns, 11x 20 mm Oerlikon guns, 10x 533 mm torpedo tubes

Displacement: 2,200 tons
Speed: 34 knots
Length: 114,76 m
Beam: 12,2 m
Draught : 4,78 m