This version of the history of USS Lloyd Thomas was originally found at
but that link has since gone dead, although the main site, Friends of the USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. DD850, is still alive and kicking. We reproduce the history here because it was used as a reference to compile our Ship History Table.
History of USS Lloyd Thomas DD764
Her keel was laid by the Bethlehem Steel Company in their San Francisco, California yard on 26 March 1944. Originally constructed as a general purpose destroyer, she was commissioned on 21 March 1947. In January 1949 the LLOYD THOMAS entered the Naval Shipyard at San Francisco for conversion into the Hunter-Killer type escort destroyer.
The first duty of the LLOYD THOMAS after a period of trials which lasted six weeks was a training cruise with Task Force 38 Pacific Fleet. In company with the VALLEY FORGE and three destroyers, the LLOYD THOMAS departed in January 1948 on a world goodwill tour. The four ships visited Sydney, Australia; Hong Kong and Tsing Tao, China; Singapore, Malaya; Trincomalee, Ceylon; and Ras Tanura, Saudia Arabia. After passing thru the Suez Canal, the group touched at Tangier, Morocco; Bergen, Norway; South Hampton, England; and New York City. Then the ship returned to San Diego by way of the Panama Canal after having traveled a total of 46,168 miles in five months.
After her conversion to an escort destroyer in January 1948, the LLOYD THOMAS was transferred to Newport, Rhode Island. On her arrival in Newport, she received orders to accompany the Second Task Fleet cold weather exercises in the Arctic Regions. After the Arctic trip she proceeded to Bermuda for special anti-submarine exercises. In February with other units of the Atlantic Fleet, she participated in PORTREX operations near Puerto Rico. On her return to Newport LLOYD THOMAS was made flagship of Commander Escort Destroyer Division 62.
In August 1950, the LLOYD THOMAS joined the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, visiting Sardinia, Sicily, France and the Crown Colony of Gibraltar. After returning to the United States in December 1950, the ship entered the shipyard for a regular overhaul.
On completion of refresher training the LLOYD THOMAS sailed once again bound for Europe in January 1952. During exercises in the Mediterranean, she took part in operation “GRAND SLAM” along with units of the United States, British, French, and Italian Navies. Shortly later she took part in “OPERATION MAIN BRACE” a cooperative effort of NATO. Before returning to Newport, she stopped in Rosyth, Scotland and Eastbourne, England.
In the beginning of February 1953, the LLOYD THOMAS was once again transferred to the Mediterranean, taking part in “OPERATION RENDEZVOUS” with units of various allied nations. She returned to the United States for her regular shipyard overhaul and continued through her refreshed training. She then remained in the Caribbean and participated in “OPERATION SPRINGBOARD.”
In September 1954 the LLOYD THOMAS was once again en route to the Mediterranean. She took part in “OPERATION BLACKJACK” and three other NATO operations called “HELLENIC SKY”, “TURKISH SKY”, “ITALIC SKY.” She then visited Istanbul, Kavalla, and Izmir; Genoa, LaSpezia, and Marseilles, from which she returned to Newport in January 1955. In the spring of 1955 the LLOYD THOMAS got underway for Lisbon, Portugal where she paid a visit. After returning to Newport in June she spent the year employed in local operations.
In April 1956, the LLOYD THOMAS finished a regular shipyard overhaul and proceeded once again to refresher training at Guantanamo, Cuba. She took aboard a group of midshipman in July and set course for Europe as part of the Midshipman Summer Cruise Unit. Ports visited were Barcelona, Spain; Greenock, England; Scotland and Guantanamo, Cuba. Following their cruise the ship participated in intensive anti-submarine exercises until the Christmas Holidays.
On 4 January 1957 the USS LLOYD THOMAS in the unit of Destroyer Division 242 and the submarine USS BATFISH departed on an extended South American Cruise to acquaint our South American neighbors with our ASW method and capabilities; ports visited included Cartagena, Columbia; Salinas, Ecuador; Callao, Peru; and Valparasio, Chile. This cruise was completed in Newport on 18 March 1957. Upon return, the ship participated in local type training exercises and a “Hunter Killer” (HUK) cruise to Bermuda, returning on 30 May, 1957.
On 12 August 1957 The USS LLOYD THOMAS, in company with destroyer squadron 24 was ordered to join the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean where she participated in Operations “SEA SPRAY” and “DEEP WATER.” She visited Izmir, Turkey and then transited the Suez Canal for a month on patrol in the Red Sea. While there she visited Port Sudan in Sudan; Massawa, Eritrea; and Djibouti, French Somaliland. On her return to the Mediterranean she participated in more operations with the Sixth Fleet and visited Athens, Patras, and the Island of Rhodes, Greece. She returned to Newport via Gibraltar on 22 December 1957 in time for the Christmas holidays. In February 1958 the LLOYD THOMAS was underway again, this time to participate in “OPERATION SPRINGBOARD” in the Caribbean.
After the completion of “OPERATION SPRINGBOARD”, the LLOYD THOMAS participated in “OPERATION SLAMEX” in April of 1958. She entered the Boston Naval Shipyard for three months in May of that year for periodic overhauls. Upon completion of that period, she was ordered to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for six weeks refresher training cruise, which included a week end visit to Kingston, Jamaica. The LLOYD THOMAS participated in local type training exercises until 15 October, 1958. At that time, she was taken into Task Group BRAVO, a special anti submarine HUK group, with whom she was employed in special training cruises. Examples of this HUK training were a period with the Task Group at the ASW Tactical School, Norfolk, Virginia, participation on Operation “NEW BROOM”, a NATO cruise in the Spring of 1959, and a NROTC training cruise in the summer of 1959 which included visits in Quebec and New York City. During August of 1959, the LLOYD THOMAS was given special commendation for the excellence of her assistance to the U.S.S. Wasp CVS-18 during a fire and explosion at sea. (An unofficial accounting of the incident relates “We pulled along side to foam
the forward hanger deck, [it] turned into a monster foam fight between the Wasp and the Thomas. The Thomas won.)
Another unofficial story tells of the Hurricane the Lloyd Thomas weathered in the fall of 1959, which split open a crack in the after engine room, bent both 5 inch gun mounts, destroyed the depth charge racks, and bent the starboard screw shaft. Went into drydock for repairs, I believe it was Brooklyn Navy Yard as I remember. One of the deck guys on the bridge told me estimated wave height was 55 feet average!! We ate nothing but sandwiches and cool aid for 5 days. Everyone on board thought we were going down.
In November of 1959 the LLOYD THOMAS as a unit of Task Group BRAVO participated in an ASW cruise which included a three day visit to Bermuda. The year ended with a holiday leave period in Newport.
In February 1960 the LLOYD THOMAS participated in “OPERATION SPRINGBOARD” in the Caribbean area visiting St. Thomas and San Juan. June through September saw LLOYD THOMAS deployed to the Mediterranean fleet. Naples, Gibraltar, Barcelona and Cannes were scenes of off duty relaxation for the men of the THOMAS during this cruise. Another tour with Task Group Bravo completed fleet operations for THOMAS for a full year.
In March 1961 THOMAS entered New York Naval Shipyard (Brooklyn), for a FRAM II overhaul. FRAM stands for fleet rehabilitation and modernization; through this program the Navy expected to add several years of useful life to destroyers built shortly after World War II. Emerging from the New York yard in December 1961 with a new silhouette complete with helicopter flight deck the LLOYD THOMAS underwent the usual period of refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On return from this training LLOYD THOMAS marked her return to fleet operations with a two week HUK cruise in March 1962. From June thru July the LLOYD THOMAS visited Portland and Bar Harbor Maine; and Fall River, Massachusetts. August was spent preparing for a Med deployment. On September 7, 1962 the LLOYD THOMAS sailed with other units of DESRON TEN for the Mediterranean Sea. From mid September to the end of the year the ship operated with the sixth fleet. Liberty calls were made in Cagliari, Sardinia; Louda Bay and Irakloin, Crete; Athens Greece; Naples and Savona, Italy; Messina, Sicily. December 31 found the LLOYD THOMAS at Port Said, Egypt, awaiting transit of the Suez Canal en route to the Red Sea area for the second time in her career.
After transiting the Suez Canal, the LLOYD THOMAS became part of the Middle East force for the months of January and February, 1963. The LLOYD THOMAS visited Aden and Colombo, Ceylon before crossing the equator. Next stop was the Indian Naval Base of Visakhapatnam, then Chittagong, East Pakistan. Cochin, on the western coast of India, was the last stop before the long trip back through the Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and home to Newport at the end of March 1963. The end of March the LLOYD THOMAS assisted other units in search of the submarine U.S.S. Thresher. June and July of 1963 were spent on a midshipman cruise which took the THOMAS to Bermuda and Sydney, Nova Scotia. In August the LLOYD THOMAS steamed to Key West and September found her on a two week anti submarine training operation in the Atlantic. October and November were spent in Newport preparing for another Mediterranean Cruise in April of 1964.
The ship returned the Med in May 1964 for the Joint French-American amphibious operation Fairgame 11. Then, after a brief call at Athens, spent June and July in the Near East showing the flag and promoting good will in the nations bordering the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.
From 10 October to 19 November 1964, LLOYD THOMAS escorted 28,000 marines from Little Creek to the coast of Spain during Operation Steelspike 1, the largest peacetime operation conducted. Steelspike 1 demonstrated that the Navy could quickly and convincingly thwart aggression anyplace in the world.
During 1965 the Destroyer, after installing new electronic gear to update her anti submarine capabilities, trained in Guantanamo, then participated in the late summer anti submarine CANUS-SILEX, with the Royal Canadian Navy in the western Atlantic. On February 15, 1966 she deployed from Newport, again to the Mediterranean. Here during the ensuing months she made an important contribution to the mighty 6th Fleet’s influence for peace and order.
Returning to Newport on July 8, the destroyer entered drydock for 3 weeks at Bethlehem Shipyard, Boston. Resuming operations on 22 August, she was plane guard for Wasp (CVS-18) during recovery phase of the Gemini XII operation, 4 through 18 November.
On March 1, 1967, LLOYD THOMAS, with the rest of Destroyer Squadron 10, departed Newport for another cruise to the Mediterranean. During this deployment the Arab-Israeli tensions rose to war level, and the 6th Fleet, including LLOYD THOMAS was a vital force in keeping hostilities localized.
The ship arrived back at Newport 20 July and operated out of her home port the remainder of the year. On May 7, 1968, after a brief tour of exercises in the Caribbean, DD764 entered Boston Navy Shipyard for overhaul. It was announced in August that the LLOYD THOMAS had won the Squadron Battle Efficiency Award in weapons for the second time in three years. LLOYD THOMAS departed the Shipyard in November and conducted independent ship operations off New England until 19 December. At the end of that month the ship lost a large percentage of its crew and entered reduced operational status.
LLOYD THOMAS returned to full operational status in August 1969 and sailed for two months of refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The ship concluded the cruise with four days of naval gunfire support exercises at Culibra Island and returned to Newport for the holidays, prior to a change of home port to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in January of 1970.
On the first of the Year, LLOYD THOMAS administratively changed home port, to become a unit of Destroyer Squadron Eleven (DESDIV 111). Departure from Newport, Rhode Island was delayed until 4 April 1970. During the remaining months on the East Coast, the ship participated in gunnery exercises, served in a burial at sea ceremony on February 17 and visited New York City on St. Patrick’s Day. On 4 April 1970 LLOYD THOMAS departed Newport, Rhode Island on route to Pearl Harbor. Six days later she arrived in Limon Bay, Panama Canal Zone, refueled and departed for San Diego, California. After a 3 day visit, LLOYD THOMAS departed for Pearl Harbor, arriving on 27 April 1970. May, June and July passed as training months for LLOYD THOMAS personnel. Gunnery exercises were conducted as well as radar range calibration, the latter on 13 May at FORACS Range, Oahu. On 12 August, LLOYD THOMAS began her first WESTPAC deployment as a unit of CTU 15.8.6. Refueling at Midway Island and at Guam, LLOYD THOMAS arrived at Subic Bay, Republic Of Phillippines on 27 August to assume her role in the Seventh Fleet. Prior to taking up position as naval gunfire support unit off the Republic of Vietnam, LLOYD THOMAS participate in Amphibious Exercises ZAM 670. Accompanying LLOYD THOMAS during these exercises was DESDIV 252, Captain Lewis, who broke his pennant in this ship on 31 August 1970. Upon compilation of these exercises, COMDESDIV 252 hauled down his pennant, and LLOYD THOMAS began gunfire support operations as a unit of TU 70.8.9 on September 1970. Four days later, LLOYD THOMAS was prematurely detached from TU 70.8.9 following an inbore explosion in the toward gun mount, which killed three crewman and injured 10 others. During this gun line period, 100 rounds of ammunition were expended.
Following removal of the damaged gun mount in Subic Bay, LLOYD THOMAS was en route to Yankee Station on 20 September, 1970. Two days later she arrived at Yankee Station and continued her transit to Northen Search and Rescue (NSAR) Station, and operated there as a unit of TU 77.0.1 until 10 October when she returned to Subic Bay. Typhoon Joan, which inflicted heavy damaged on the Republic of the Philippines, forced the LLOYD THOMAS to leave Subic Bay four days later. On 17 October LLOYD THOMAS departed for Yokosuka, Japan, where Ship Repair Facility installed a new forward gun mount.
During November LLOYD THOMAS spent 25 days at sea, first at Yankee Station and then at NSAR Station, operating as a unit of TG 77.5 and TU 77.0.1 respectively. December was the final month of naval gunfire support for LLOYD THOMAS. Operating in military regions I, II and III, LLOYD THOMAS expended over 2000 rounds of ammunition in a day and night fire missions against the enemy. On 30 December LLOYD THOMAS arrived in Bankok, Thiland, to begin a well deserved period of rest and recreation.
Departing Bankok, the ship visited Hong Kong and then began the long trek back to Pearl Harbor. Returning in February 1971, LLOYD THOMAS conducted routine training operations off Hawaii. In July the ship sailed for participation in the Seattle Sea Fair, returning in mid August.
On September 25, 1971, Commander Edward F. Jardine Jr. USN, relieved Commander Leo P. Brown, USN as Commanding Officer and by late October the LLOYD THOMAS was on station as a surveillance destroyer for the Cannikin Project, Amchitka Island, Alaska. After a grueling month in weather that is considered by mariners as the worst in the world, LLOYD THOMAS returned to Pearl Harbor to prepare for her second WESTPAC deployment.
On January 27, 1971 LLOYD THOMAS deployed to the 7th fleet for the second time. The ship operated in the Gulf of Tonkin with attack carriers and fired nearly 11,000 rounds of shore bombardment in support of Allied Forces in the Republic of Vietnam. When the LLOYD THOMAS arrived at Military Region I on April 5, she immediately engaged in the most rogorous naval combat since the 1969 Tet Offensive. On the following day while on a fire mission in support of ARVN ground troops LLOYD THOMAS was engulfed in heavy shore fire and sustained a 130mm artillery hit on her port bow. After a few hours, for effecting repairs, the ship continued to be extremely active in her support of the mission. During a lull in her firing missions LLOYD THOMAS saved five Vietnamese fisherman from a sinking sampan six miles offshore from Quank Tri Provance.
On April 18th, LLOYD THOMAS proceeded up the North Vietnamese coast as an element of CTU 77.12. During this period the ship conducted day and night missions against enemy airstrips, torpedo boat bases and military supply lines. On 19 April the task unit was attacked by three enemy MIG fighter aircraft. On a night raid off Qiang He River mouth, LLOYD THOMAS was credited with destroying an enemy motor torpedo boat.
On April 25th , LLOYD THOMAS returned to Military Region I and remained on various gun line stations until she returned to Subic Bay 6 May. On 14 May she sortied to Hong Kong in company with USS Coral Sea (CVA43) arriving on the 15th. After departing Hong Kong on 22 May, LLOYD THOMAS returned to Yankee Station with Coral Sea as an element of CTG 77.6. On the 28th she detached to proceed to Military Region I and remained as a naval gunfire support ship. During this critical period when Qiang Tri City was under siege, LLOYD THOMAS fired over twice as many rounds as in previous three months, bringing her total to nearly 11,000 rounds. This included a series of 52 underway replenishment. On 29 June LLOYD THOMAS moored in Subic Bay to depart 2 July as an element of CTU 70.0.1, refueling in Gaum and Midway and out chopped on 9 July to CTU 15.9.9. On 13 July LLOYD THOMAS arrived at port, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
On August 20th, LLOYD THOMAS embarked on a special Army Chemical Corp team that re-manned Johnson Island after Hurricane Celeste had swept over the atoll. The ship returned to Pearl Harbor on 27 August to prepare for her decommissioning on the 12th of October.
The USS LLOYD THOMAS DD764 was decommissioned on 12 October 1972 and transferred on that date to the Republic of China (Taiwan) Navy as RCS DANG YANG DD911.
The DDG-911(DD-764) was decommissioned on 16 March 1999 in Taiwan