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USS NORRIS (DD-859 / DDE-859)

Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign - NBFE

Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign (circa 1968) - VARNISH

Displacement 3460 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 390' 6"(oa) x 40' 10" x 14' 4" (Max)
Armament 6 x 5"/38AA (3x2), 12 x 40mm AA, 11 x 20mm AA, 10 x 21" tt.(2x5).
Machinery, 60,000 SHP; Allis Chalmers Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 36.8 Knots, Range 4500 NM@ 20 Knots, Crew 336.
Operational and Building Data
Built by Bethlehem Steel, San Pedro, CA (YN 9028)
Laid down 29 August 1944
Launched 25 February 1945
Commissioned 09 June 1945
Completed FRAM upgrade October 1961
Decommissioned 04 December 1970
Stricken 01 February 1974
To Turkey 07 July 1974, renamed TCG Kocatepe (D 354)
Fate Stricken and sold for scrap to Hurdasan Anonim Sirketi, June 1994

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Size Image Description Contributed
55kBenjamin White Norris was born on 15 May 1907 in Callao, Peru, where his father was working as an engineer. Graduating Princeton University in 1928, Norris enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve as a private first class for aviation training. Designated student naval aviator in 1929, his first flight training was at NAS Pensacola. Upon graduation, Second Lieutenant Norris served at Marine Barracks, Quantico from July 1929 to November 1931. Subsequently he was posted to duty with the Marine Training Detachment at NAS Brooklyn. Commended for his part in rescue operations after the airship Akron crashed off Barnegat Light, New Jersey in April 1933, he was promoted to First Lieutenant that November, and to Captain 24 February 1937. Returning to duty at Quantico in December 1940, Norris deployed to the field in April 1942. Promoted to Major 16 May 1942, Norris deployed with VMSB-241 as that squadron's executive officer to Midway Atoll. During the Battle of Midway on 04 June 1942, Norris led a flight of eleven obsolete SB2U divebombers in a valiant but vain attempt to attack the Japanese carriers. Returning to Midway, Norris again led his tired and battered men on a night search for the enemy. Failing to find them and reaching the end of the endurance, they turned back to Midway. Enroute, Norris' plane suddenly went into a steep dive and disappeared. No sign of either Norris or his gunner, Corporal Arthur B. Whittington, was ever found. Norris was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism.Dave Wright
USS Norris (DD-859)
Norris 101kUndated, location unknown.Ed Mehl
Norris 118kUndated, location unknown.Ed Mehl
Norris 108kUndated, location unknown.Ed Mehl
Norris 77kUndated, location unknown.Ed Mehl
Norris 108kUndated, location unknown.Richard W. Baragar
Norris 185kUndated, the XO, up on the gun deck. That is where he spent agood share of his off time doing his daily exercisesRichard W. Baragar
Norris 164kUndated, on shake down and we are launching the first torpedoRichard W. Baragar
Norris 45kUndated postcard Copyright © Arnold Art, Newport, RI.Mike Smolinski
Norris 77kUndated, location unknown.Robert Hurst
Norris 80kUndated, location unknown.Richard Miller BMCS USNR RET.
Norris 107k1st commanding officer, CDR Terrence Andrew Nisewaner USNEd Mehl
Norris 158kFirst skipper of the Norris, Terrence Andrew Nisewaner. The Captain with him is the commander of the squadron that the Norris was in. The officer in the middle background is the XO.Richard W. Baragar
Norris 97kCommissioning cermony Bethlehem Steel, Treasure Island Calif. June 9 1945.Ed Mehl
Norris 75kUSS Norris (DD-859) off Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, San Pedro, California, 10 days after her commissioning, 19 June 1945. She is painted in Camouflage Measure 21. U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships photo 19-N-85989.Robert Hurst
Norris 288kCirca 1952, preparing to refuel. The helicopter is a HO3S-1 Dragonfly of HU-2 "Fleet Angels.".Robert Carey
Norris 82k1954 AP wirephoto story of collisions at sea with undated images of the USS Norris (DD-859) and USS English (DD-696).Ron Reeves
Norris 76kL-R, USS Keppler (DDE-765), USS Fred T. Berry (DDE-858), USS Norris (DDE-859), USS McCaffery (DDE-860) and USS Harwood (DDE-861 of DesRon 6 steaming through the Caribbean in June 1956.Robert Hurst
Norris 120kUSS Norris (DD 859) outbound off Hotel Chamberlin, Hampton Roads, Virginia, August 31 1956. (© Atlantic Fleet Sales by Nobe Smith)Bill Gonyo
Norris 279kNorris in drydock during her FRAM conversion at Philadelphia Navy Yard, about May 1961.Ed Zajkowski
Norris 173kNorris after completing FRAM at Philadelphia Navy Yard, October 12 1961.Ed Zajkowski
Norris 207kNorris after completing FRAM at Philadelphia Navy Yard, November 30 1961.Ed Zajkowski
230kUSS Norris (DD-859) underway following "Fram II" modernization during the early 1960's.
Naval History & Heritage Command photo NH 44877
Mike Green
Norris 193kFebruary 1962, Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba U.S.S. Norris (DD-859) with sister ship U.S.S. Fred T. Berry (DD-858) "Shore power, potable water, and Cinderella Liberty."Dave Cupples (MM 2nd 1960-1964)
Norris 87kUSS Norris (DDE-859) photographed in July 1952. Note the HFDF (High Frequency Direction Finder) antenna atop her short mainmast. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. Photo #: NH 107402.Rpbert Hurst
Norris 98kUSS Norris (DD-859), underway circa 1963, location uknown. Photo U.S. Navy from the 1964-65 Edition of Jane's Fighting Ships.Robert Hurst
Norris 159kApril 1963 'E' Ticket Ride { Right to Left with a Little Up and Down } "The Things we do, Just to Get John Wayne Movies" U.S.S. Norris (DD-859) to U.S.S. John W. Weeks (DD-701)Dave Cupples (MM 2nd 1960-1964)
Norris 155kAs above.Dave Cupples (MM 2nd 1960-1964)
Norris 217k1964 Official Navy Flyover Photo (somewhere off the East Coast)Dave Cupples (MM 2nd 1960-1964)
Norris 222k1964 Official Navy Flyover Photo (somewhere off the East Coast)Dave Cupples (MM 2nd 1960-1964)
Norris 85kWestern Mediterranean 1964.Marc Piché
Norris 121kUSS Norris (DD-859) underway on 2 May 1966. Norris shows the typical appearance of a FRAM II-modernized Gearing-class destroyer: Hedgehog in front of the bridge, AN/SPS-6 radar, Mk 32 triple torpedo tubes amidships and DASH hangar and landing deck aft. Note that it appears that a single Mk 25 torpedo tube is still installed in front of the Mk 32 launcher. Originally, the FRAM II-ships had four Mk 25 tubes that were later replaced by the Mk 32 launchers. Official U.S. Navy photo from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command. Photo # NH 106884.Marc Piché
Norris 116kUSS Norris (DD-859) and USS Glover (AGFF-1) at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1968, USS Wasp (CVA-18) in the background.Neal Rabinowitz
Norris 135kUSS Norris (DD-859) and USS Glover (AGFF-1) at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1968.Neal Rabinowitz
Norris 116kUSS Cadmus (AR-14) at Naval Station Newport, R.I., 30 May 1970 with Nipmuc (ATF-157), Harlan R. Dickson (DD-708) and Norris (DD-859) alongside.© Richard Leonhardt
Norris 41kShip's patch.Mike Smolinski
Norris 109kShip's patch.Mike Smolinski
Norris 81kShip's patch.Mike Smolinski
Norris 38kShip's patch.Dave Cupples
Norris 203kShip's patch.Dave Cupples
Norris 37kOne of her Squadron patches.Dave Cupples
Norris 53kBumper Sticker.Dave Cupples
Norris 131kFour views of a model of the Norris.Dave Cupples
Norris 169kAs above.Dave Cupples
Norris 136kAs above.Dave Cupples
Norris 86kAs above.Dave Cupples
TCG Kocatepe (D 354)
Norris 60kAs TCG Kocatepe (D 354). The original Kocatepe, the former USS Harwood (DD-861), was sunk in error in 1974 during the war between Turkey and Greece. 80 sailors were lost. After the sinking she was replaced by the USS Norris (DD-859) with the same Turkish hull number.Murat Kurtulmus
Norris 93kUndated, location unknown.Ed Mehl
Norris 190kUndated, location unknown.Cüneyt Demir
Norris 72kUndated, location unknown.Cüneyt Demir
Norris 99kUndated, location unknown.Cüneyt Demir
Norris 47kUndated, location unknown.Yucel M.Umar, CPO (Ret.) Turkish Navy
Norris 176kUndated, location unknown. From the collection of CPO Orhan Sengul.Yucel M.Umar, CPO (Ret.) Turkish Navy
Norris 107kTurnover ceremony on July 7 1974.Cüneyt Demir
Norris 63kIn the Bosphorus near Istanbul, circa 1990s.Yucel M.Umar, CPO (Ret.) Turkish Navy
Norris 120kShip's plaque.Yucel M.Umar, CPO (Ret.) Turkish Navy

USS NORRIS DD-859 / DDE-859 History
View This Vessels DANFS History entry at the Naval History & Heritage Command website

Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves

CDR Terrell Andrew Nisewaner    Jun 9 1945 - Mar 17 1946

CDR Luther Carl Heinz    May 17 1946 - Aug 1 1947 (Later VADM)

CDR Stanley Stephen Daunis    Aug 1 1947 - Nov 26 1949

CDR James Lowell Page McCallum    Nov 26 1949 - Jul 26 1951

CDR Albert Andrews Richards    Jul 26 1951 - Dec 1 1952

CDR Elmer Bernard Fiorini    Dec 1 1952 - Nov 20 1953

CDR Robert Stephen Guy    Nov 20 1953 - Jun 16 1955

CDR Frederick Birchfield Tucker    Jun 16 1955 - Aug 1 1957

CDR Robert Francis Erdmann    Aug 1 1957 - Jul 28 1959

CDR Julien Johnson LeBourgeois    Jul 28 1959 - Apr 3 1961 (Later VADM)

CDR John Henry Fitzgerel    Apr 3 1961 - Jul 28 1961

CDR Dan J. Rienstra    Jul 28 1961 - Aug 1 1963

CDR Kenneth Johnson Cole    Aug 1 1963 - Jul 10 1965

CDR John Adolph Piatek    Jul 10 1965 - Jul 8 1966

CDR Robert Francis Massimi    Jul 8 1966 - Dec 7 1968

CDR William John Longhi    Dec 7 1968 - May 14 1970

CDR John Theodore McQuesten Jr.    May 14 1970 - Sep 25 1970

LCDR Gerald Francis Horna    Sep 25 1970 - Dec 4 1970

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name: Edward Mehl
Address: 11 Bethany Forest Drive, Dagsboro, DE 19939
Phone: (302)541-0685
Next Reunion: Sept. 25-28 in Savannah, Ga.

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
USS Norris Website
Tin Can Sailors Website
Destroyer History Foundation
Destroyers Online Website
Official U.S.Navy Destroyer Website

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This page was created by Fred Willishaw (ex ARG-4, AS-11 & DD-692) and is maintained by David L. Wright
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Last Updated 06 May 2021