HISTORY OF USS BRAINE - DD630

The USS BRAINE - DD630 was a Fletcher Class destroyer launched 7 March 1943 at the Bath Iron Works, named in honor of Civil War hero, Rear Admiral Daniel L. Braine and was christened by the wife of his grandson. The BRAINE was commissioned at the Charles Town Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts on 11 May 1943. Following her shakedown cruise to Casco Bay and Bermuda, the BRAINE proceed to Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal and San Francisco, suffering damage from a hurricane off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The BRAINE participated in the first carrier raid on Wake Island 4 October 1943. From Pearl Harbor, she crossed the Equator and proceed to the Solomon Islands and joined Destroyer Squadron 45. On 1 November 1943, she supported the landings at Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville. For the next few months she escorted resupply echelons to the beachhead. The night of 3 December 1943, when part of the convoy screen near Treasury Island, the BRAINE was attacked by three Japanese torpedo planes. Two torpedoes passed under her keel and the third dropped over her superstructure. In early 1944 the BRAINE supported landings at Green Island and Emirau and was part of a destroyer task force which steamed into Rabaul Harbor for night shore bombardment that destroyed the fuel depots. On 14 June 1944 during the support of landings on Saipan in the Marianias Islands, the BRAINE was hit amidships on the port side by a Japanese shore battery in Tinian Harbor, resulting in three deaths and fifteen wounded. On 19-20 June she was again in action during the Battle of the Philippine Sea, or the Marianias Turkey Shoot , rescuing several downed pilots.

After repairs in the United States, the BRAINE returned to action in support of the invasion of the Philippines at Leyte Gulf. For the next seven months she supported invasions at Mindoro, Lingayen Gulf, Corregidor and Mindanao, successfully repelling attacks from kamikaze planes. On 1 December 1944, the BRAINE was assigned to Destroyer Squadron 23 -The Little Beavers. The night of 7 January 1945, as part of the destroyer screen for the convoy en route to the Lingayen Gulf landings, the BRAINE engaged and sank an enemy destroyer--the last surface engagement of World War II.

In May 1945 DesRon 23 was ordered to Okinawa as replacement picket ships. After being outfitted with new fire control radar, the BRAINE was assigned Picket Station No. 5 east of Okinawa, accompanied by the USS ANTHONY - DD515 and four LCS gunboats. Under constant attack by kamikaze planes, several were destroyed. On Sunday, 27 May 1945 the picket ships were attacked by four kamikaze planes. Two were shot down, but two hit the BRAINE in quick succession. The first crashed into No. 2 Handling Room which exploded. The plane's 500 pound bomb exploded in the Ward Room, wiping out the Medical Party and Combat Information Center. The second plane hit starboard amidships, wiping out the Damage Control Party, crashing through Sick Bay and Emergency Radio. Its bomb exploded in the boiler uptakes, rupturing a high pressure steam line and blowing the after stack overboard. Casualties resulted in 67 deaths and 102 wounded, the highest rate for a destroyer that did not sink. Men trapped on the bow and between the two fires were ordered to abandon ship. They were rescued by the four LCS gunboats and a plane from Rescue Squadron VH-3, but not before some were attacked by sharks.

After temporary repairs, the BRAINE returned to Boston for restoration, arriving on 6 August 1945. After restoration, the BRAINE was decommissioned on 26 July 1946 at Charleston, South Carolina and placed in reserve. For her service in World War II, the BRAINE earned nine battle stars. Her toll on the Japanese was a destroyer, six planes and six invasion supports. Her crew was awarded a Navy Cross, a Legion of Merit, five Silver Stars, a Navy and Marine Corps Medal, ten Bronze Stars, fourteen Commendation Ribbons and 187 Purple Hearts.

The USS BRAINE - DD630 was recommissioned in Charleston, South Carolina on 6 April 1951. She made two cruises to the Mediterranean with the Sixth Fleet as flagship of Destroyer Squadron 18, with ports of call at Gibraltar, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Monaco, Sicily and Portugal. In 1955 she was assigned to the Pacific Fleet and assisted in the evacuation of the Tachen Islands. The BRAINE was designated flagship of Destroyer Squadron 21 and made several Western Pacific cruises visting exotic places such as Hawaii, Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Guam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaya and Australia. The BRAINE participated in extensive missions with the Seventh Fleet. In 1965-1967 the BRAINE was on duty with Task Force 77 on Yankee Station off Vietnam, supporting ground troops and disrupting enemy supply routes with shore bombardments. She participated in the first amphibious landing in Vietnam. On 4 November 1966 she was damaged a third time by enemy fire during a running gun battle with shore batteries, but suffered no casualties. While on plane guard duty with the carrier task force, she rescued several downed pilots. She weathered two Pacific typhoons requiring extensive repairs and causing the death of a sailor who courageously attempted repairs during extremely high seas. The BRAINE was commended for outstanding performance off North Vietnam and for overall excellence.

In 1968 the BRAINE made its last Western Pacific cruise and for two years served as a reserve training ship on the West Coast. The USS BRAINE - DD630 was decommissioned on 17 August 1971 and sold to the Republic of Argentina.

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