Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Naval History Division • Washington

USS David W. Taylor (DD-551)

David Watson Taylor, born 4 March 1864 in Louisa County, Va., entered the Naval Academy after graduating from Randolph-Macon College in 1881. Appointed Naval Constructor 5 December 1891 he served in this post and as Chief of the Bureau of Construction and Repair during his 40 years of active service. Recognized as an international authority on naval architecture and marine engineering, Rear Admiral Taylor also aided in the development of the NC-type flying boat, the first aircraft to make a transatlantic flight. For his services during World War I he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and the French government made him a Commander of the Legion of Honor. Admiral Taylor retired 16 January 1923 and died in Washington, D.C., 28 July 1940.

(DD-551: dp. 2,050; l. 376'6"; b. 39'8"; dr. 17'9"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 273; a. 5 5"; 10 21" tt., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.), 2 dct.; cl. Fletcher)

David W. Taylor (DD-551) was launched 4 July 1943 by Gulf Shipbuilding Co., Chickasaw, Ala., sponsored by Mrs. Imogene Taylor Powell, daughter of Rear Admiral Taylor; and commissioned 18 September 1943, Lieutenant Commander W. H. Johnsen in command.

David W. Taylor escorted a convoy of merchantmen from Charleston, S.C. to Pearl Harbor, arriving 20 January 1944. Three days later she got underway to screen a support convoy to the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, returning to Pearl Harbor 29 February. After escorting Intrepid ( CV 11) to San Francisco, she sailed from Pearl Harbor 1 April to patrol in the Marshalls until 12 May. Returning to Pearl Harbor 18 May, she had training duties there until 7 June.

From 15 June to 4 August 1944 David W. Taylor sailed in the screen of escort carriers and fleet oilers supporting the Marianas operation. On 4 July she and Riddle (DE-185) attacked and sank the Japanese submarine I-10 in 15°26' N., 147°48' E. She joined the 3d Fleet 19 August, and sailed out of Manus screening the logistics group supporting the fast carrier task forces in their raids preparing for and accompanying the capture and occupation of the southern Palaus. With her base of operations Ulithi from 29 October David W. Taylor continued to screen the logistics group until 22 November when she joined the carriers for air attacks on Luzon in support of the invading troops on Leyte.

On 29 December 1944 she sailed from Ulithi for the air raids on the Bonins, bombarding Chichi Jima 5 January 1945. At 0745 that day an underwater explosion, probably a mine, heavily damaged the ship and killed four men, but disciplined and skillful damage control brought her safely to Saipan 7 January under her own power. She continued to Hunter's Point, Calif., for an overhaul and repairs from 13 February to 7 May.

Sailing from San Diego 15 May 1945 David W. Taylor bombarded Emidj Island in the Marshalls on 18 June on her way to Okinawa, arriving 30 June. She operated with a task group off Okinawa and on sweeps of the China coast against Japanese shipping until the end of the war. She arrived at Takasu, Kyushu, 4 September, as escort for a convoy carrying occupation troops. She covered the landings at Wakanoura Wan and Nagoya until sailing 31 October for San Diego, arriving 17 November. David W. Taylor was placed out of commission in reserve there 17 August 1946.

David W. Taylor received eight battle stars for World War II service.

[David W. Taylor was loaned to Spain on 15 May 1957 as Lepanto, and finally struck from the Navy list on 1 October 1972.]

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