NavSource Main Page FAQ Contact us Search NavSource

Waving US Flag

NavSource Naval History
Photographic History of the United States Navy


International Radio Call Sign:
Nan - Easy - Baker - Mike

Fletcher Class Destroyer
  • Built by Gulf Shipbuilding, Chickasaw, AL
  • Ordered, 09 September 1940
  • Laid down, 21 July 1941
  • Launched, 15 November 1942
  • Commissioned USS John D. Henley (DD-553), 02 February 1944
  • During World War II was assigned to both the American Theater and Asiatic-Pacific Theater
  • Decommissioned, 30 April 1946
  • Laid up in Pacific Reserve Fleet, San Diego, CA, January 1947
  • Later moved to Bremerton, WA
  • Stricken from the Naval Register, 01 May 1968
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping to Zidell Explorations, Inc., Portland, OR, May 1970
  • USS John D. Henley earned six battle stars for World War II service

    Displacement 2,924 tons (full load)
    Length 376' 5" overall
    Beam 39' 7"
    Draft 13' 9" maximum
    Speed 38 knots
    Range 6,500 nautical miles @ 15 knots
    Complement 273
    five single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mounts
    ten 40mm AA gun mounts
    seven 20mm AA gun mounts
    two quintuple 21" torpedo tube mounts
    two Westinghouse steam turbines
    two propellers, 60,000shp

    2 men were lost overboard, 09 January 1945, and remain on duty

    EM3c Jacob Joseph Rosenberg (242 57 67) V6 USNR
    F1c Kenneth Dowd Russell (892 84 33) V6 USNR

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source /
    Contributed By
    Henley 97k

    The third Henley (DD-553) was named for John Dandridge Henley, born in Williamsburg 25 February 1781. His brother was Captain Robert Henley, namesake of DD-39, 391 and 762. Commissioned midshipman 14 August 1799, Henley served in Chesapeake, cruising in the West Indies until 1801. Departing Baltimore in the schooner Vixen 3 August 1803, he joined the Mediterranean Squadron for the War with Tripoli. Serving as an officer in Gunboat No. 6 under Lieutenant John Trippe, Henley participated in the attack on Tripoli, 3 August 1804. Gunboat No. 6 ran alongside one of the enemy's large boats and with nine men, Trippe and Henley stormed the Tripolitan before the gunboat fell away from the enemy. Although outnumbered three to one, the Americans fought so fiercely that within a few minutes the enemy struck their colors. Fourteen of the enemy had been killed and 22 were taken prisoner. Both Trippe and Henley were highly commended for their bravery in this action. Following completion of his tour in the Mediterranean in 1805, Henley made a merchant voyage to distant ports and then in September 1807, assumed command of Gunboat No. 20. Henley then served a tour in Washington and with the outbreak of war against the British was ordered to Charleston in June 1813 to command schooner Carolina. His ship was destroyed 27 December 1814 off New Orleans during a fierce struggle in which the few small warships available played a decisive role in delaying the powerful British attack and bringing victory to the American forces. For his part in the victory at New Orleans 8 January 1815 Henley was highly commended by General Andrew Jackson. Promoted to Captain 5 March 1817, Henley commanded John Adams in the West Indies and Congress in the Indian Ocean before taking command of Macedonian in the struggle against West Indian pirates during 1822. Captain Henley served as commandant of the Charleston and Baltimore stations and the Portsmouth Navy Yard, New Hampshire, 1826 to 1832. On 16 August 1832 he was given command of the West India Squadron with Vandalia as his flagship. Captain Henley died on board Vandalia at Havana, Cuba, 23 May 1835.

    Portrait of John Dandridge Henley; oil on canvas attributed to Charles Bird King, after John Wesley Jarvis, circa 1815. Courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection, accession number 2013.0358.6

    Dave Wright
    Henley   Henley   Henley
    Three sequential photos of John D. Henley being launched, 15 November 1942.
    Bureau of Ships photos now in the National Archives
    John Chiquoine and Dave Schroeder
    Henley   Henley   Henley   Henley   Henley   Henley
    Six views of John D. Henley taken 11 February 1944. On this date, Henley departed her builder's yard at Chickasaw, AL, at 1324, en route to complete fitting out at Naval Operating Base, Algiers, LA. She arrived there at 1446 the next day.
    National Archives photos 80-G-213157/62.
    John Chiquoine and Dave Schroeder
    Henley 361kAnother view of John D. Henley underway in Mobile Bay, en route to fitting out, 11 February 1944.
    National Archives photo from 19LCM/dd553 folder
    Rick Davis and John Chiquoine
    Henley 844kJohn D. Henley refuelling from an unidentified oiler, 1944.
    National Archives photo from 80-G series
    John Chiquoine and Dave Schroeder
    Henley   Henley
    John D. Henley refuelling from escort carrier Petrof Bay (CVE-80), the morning of 16 April 1945. On this date, both units were operating some fifty miles southeast of Okinawa as part of Task Unit 52.1.2, supporting the landing operations on that island.
    National Archives photos 80-G-378662/663.
    Rick Davis and John Chiquoine

    For more photos and information about USS John D. Henley, see:
  • Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
  • War History Compiled by David Wright

  • Commanding Officers
    01 CDR Charles Hughes Smith (USNA 1932)02 February 1944 - 30 June 1945
    02LCDR Simon Everett Ramey (USNA 1937) 130 June 1945 - 30 April 1946
    1. Promoted to Commander 20 July 1945.
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

    Contact Name: Marty Waltemyer
    Address: 567 Rivera Drive, Williamstown, NJ 08094
    Phone: (856)740-3582

    Note About Contacts.

    The contact listed, Was the contact at the time for this ship when located. If another person now is the contact, E-mail me and I will update this entry. These contacts are compiled from various sources over a long period of time and may or may not be correct. Every effort has been made to list the newest contact if more than one contact was found.

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Tin Can Sailors Website
    Destroyer History Foundation
    Official U.S.Navy Destroyer Website

    Back To The Main Photo Index To The Destroyer Index Page
    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster
    This page was created by Fred Willishaw (ex ARG-4, AS-11 & DD-692) and is maintained by David L. Wright
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 31 January 2018