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NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive

J. William Ditter (DM 31)
ex-J. William Ditter (DD 751)
ex-William Ditter

Call sign:
Nan - How - Item - Oboe


Allen M. Sumner Class Destroyer/Robert H. Smith Light Minelayer:

  • Laid down 25 January 1944 as Ditter (DD-751) at the Bethlehem Steel Co., Staten Island, NY
  • Renamed William Ditter 14 March 1944
  • Renamed J. William Ditter 3 July 1944
  • Launched 4 July 1944
  • Reclassified as a Light Minelayer, DM-31, 19 July 1944
  • Commissioned USS J. William Ditter (DM-31), 28 October 1944
  • Decommissioned 28 September 1945 at New York
  • Struck from the Navy Register 11 October 1945
  • Scrapped in July 1946.


  • Displacement 2,380 t.(lt) , 3370 t.(fl)
  • Length 376' 6"
  • Beam 40' 10"
  • Draft 18' 10"
  • Speed 34 kts.
  • Complement 363
  • Armament: Three twin 5"/38 dual purpose gun mounts, six twin 40mm gun mounts, eleven 20mm guns, two .50 cal machine guns, two depth charge tracks and four depth charge projectors
  • Propulsion: Four Babcock and Wilcox boilers, two General Electric Corp. geared turbines, 60,000shp at 36.5 kts., two shafts, Range 3,300 nm at 20 kts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    J. William Ditter 115k John William Ditter was born in Philadelphia 5 September 1888. He received a law degree from Temple University Law School in 1913, following which he taught in the Philadelphia public schools and practiced law. Ditter was elected to Congress from the 17th District of Pennsylvania in 1932, and during his years in Washington served on the House Committee on Appropriations. He also was a member of the subcommittee on Navy Department appropriation bills, and at the time of his death was ranking minority member. Congressman Ditter was a supporter of a strong Navy and vitally interested in its welfare. He was killed in a single engine two-seater Navy airplane crash while flying in heavy rain near Lancaster, Pa., 21 November 1943
    Library of Congress photo
    Bill Gonyo
    J. William Ditter 123k c. January 1945
    Norfolk, VA
    Marc Piché
    J. William Ditter 143k c. June 1945
    Kerama Retto, Okinawa
    Kamikaze damage on port side
    Photo by Kenneth Roberts, Engineering Officer, LSM-186
    Kenneth Roberts
    J. William Ditter 261k 16 June 1945
    Kerama Retto, Okinawa
    After she was hit by two Kamikazes off Buckner Bay, 6 June 1945. The first did little damage, but the second hit on the port side just below the main deck blowing open the forward engine room and after fireroom. The explosion of the kamikaze's bomb devastated both spaces, as can be seen in this photograph taken ten days later. She was patched up and sent back Stateside, but was stricken unrepaired
    National Archives photo from "Fire From The Sky" by Robert C. Stern
    Robert Hurst

    Commanding Officers
    01CDR Robert Roy Sampson, USN - USNA Class of 1931
    Awarded the Silver Star and the Legion of Merit - Retired as Captain
    28 October 1944 - 28 September 1945
    Courtesy of Wolfgang Hechler, Ron Reeves and Bob Sampson

    View the J. William Ditter (DM-31)
    DANFS History entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Website
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    NavSource Destroyer Pages, USS J. William Ditter (DD-751)
    Naval Minewarfare Association
    Association of Minemen
    Back To The Main Photo Index Back To the Mine Warfare Ship Photo Index Back to the Light Minelayer (DM) Photo Index

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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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