U.S.S. Beale DD/DDE-471
1942 as-built configuration 1968 final configuration
Class and type: Fletcher-class, Destroyer (as built)
Displacement: 2,050 tons
Dimensions: Length: 376 ft 6 in, Beam: 39 ft 8 in, Draft 17 ft 9 in
Propulsion: 60,000 shp (45 MW), 2 screws
Speed: 35 knots (65 km/h)
Range: 6500 nautical miles @ 15 kt
Armament: 5 × 5 in/38 caliber guns, 10 × 40 mm AA guns,7 x 20 mm AA guns,
10 × 21 in torpedo tubes,6 depth charge projectors, 2x depth charge racks
Armament: 2 x 5in/38 caliber guns, 2 x3 in/50 caliber guns, Weapon Alpha ASW rocket launcher
2 x hedge-hog racks
10 x21 in torpedo tubes
2 x .50 caliber machine guns
The following is an overview of the Beale's hisotry beginning in1942 and ending in 1968. Since there is so much be told, we've decided to separately publish the detailed information on her deployments and achievements in WW-II, being mothballed at the end of the war, recommissioning in 1951, redesignation as DDE-471, deployments with Task Group Alfa, her role in the Bay of Pigs, surfacing a Soviet submarine during the Cuban Missile Crisis, activities in Vietnam and decommissioning in 1968. To provide ease of access, we will provide various buttons and drop down menus.
USS Beale (DD-471) or Beale II, a Fletcher Class destroyer was laid down on 19 December 1941 at Staten Island, NY, by the Bethlehem Steel Co.; launched on 24 August 1942; sponsored by Miss Nancy Beale, a great-grandniece of Lieutenant Beale; and commissioned on 23 December 1942 at the New York Navy Yard, Commander Joe B. Cochran in command.
World War II Operations Overview
Her shakedown and early operations, in U.S. East Coast waters and the Caribbean, were followed by transfer to the Pacific Fleet in April 1943. Beale went to the northern Pacific war zone in August and almost immediately took part in landings on Kiska Island. She continued to serve in the Aleutians area until November 1943, then steamed to the southwest Pacific. While participating in the Cape Gloucester invasion in late December she engaged Japanese aircraft. During the first seven months of 1944 Beale operated along the northern shore of western New Guinea and in the Admiralty Islands, assisting in landing operations at Saidor, Los Negros, Hollandia, Wakde-Sarmi, Biak and Cape Sansapor. She also bombarded Japanese positions ashore and, on the night of 8-9 June, participated in the pursuit of a Japanese surface force attempting to reinforce their beleaguered Biak garrison. In September and October 1944 Beale was present during the invasions of Morotai and Leyte. During the latter operation she bombarded Japanese shore positions, fought attacking aircraft and engaged enemy warships in the Battle of Surigao Strait.
In April-June 1945, following overhaul at San Francisco, California, Beale took part in the assault on Okinawa and the associated lengthy struggle against Japanese suicide planes. Though at times closely engaged by attacking Kamikazes she emerged undamaged and, in July, was employed on anti-shipping sweeps off China. Between mid-September and mid-November 1945 Beale supported the occupation of Japan, then steamed to the United States. Returning to the Atlantic in December, she was decommissioned in April 1946 and placed in the Reserve Fleet.
On 1 November 1951 Beale was redesignated as DDE-471 and converted to an anti-submarine destroyer, exchanging much of her gun and torpedo battery for weapons such as Weapon Alpha and Hedgehogs for fighting underwater opponents. And, she was part of the Atlantic Fleet for the next seventeen years. During this time she operated in the western and north Atlantic, in the Caribbean, and several times deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and northern Europe. In 1957 she voyaged around Africa to serve in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. She crossed the equator on 2 April 1957 calling for Shellback initiation of all pollywogs.
Near the end of March 1958, Beale received word of the cancellation of her scheduled deployment to the Mediterranean in favor of an assignment with Task Group Alpha, an experimental group formed to develop and teach new and advanced antisubmarine defense techniques and procedures. For more than five years, her work with the ASW developmental group kept her tied fairly closely to the East Coast and precluded any tours of duty farther away from the United States than the West Indies.
In October 1962, Beale was redesignated as DD-471 and participated in the Cuban Missile Blockade with other members of Task Force Alpha. And, in 1966 Beale steamed around the World, taking part in Vietnam War combat operations during the middle months of this trip. At the end of September 1968, following a final Mediterranean tour, USS Beale was decommissioned. She was expended as a target in June 1969.
NOTE: There is much more detailed information of the Beale’s deployments, voyages and cruises in the public domain. Much more than should or could be included here. In the future, we intend to publish these details obtained from historical documents and especially from the perspective and recollection of our shipmates.
This article incorporates text and photos from the public domain dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Wikipedia and other public domain websites.