Shaw’s forward magazine explodes during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.
Destroyer Squadron 3, like DesRon 5, was composed of one Porter-class flagship plus two four-ship divisions of Mahan-class 1,500-tonners:
Destroyer Squadron 3
1 October 1941
USS Clark (DD 361), flag
Destroyer Division 5
USS Reid (DD 369)
USS Conyngham (DD 371)
USS Cassin (DD 372)
USS Downes (DD 375)
Destroyer Division 6
USS Cummings (DD 365)
USS Case (DD 370)
USS Shaw (DD 373)
USS Tucker (DD 374)

All except Downes commissioned in 1936.

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On 7 December 1941, while Clark was on the West Coast, the others were at Pearl Harbor when Japanese aircraft attacked. In dry dock that morning, Shaw had her bow blown off while Cassin and Downes were gutted.

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Thereafter, the survivors never operated as a unit but drew escort assignments in ones and twos that took them to the distant reaches of the Pacific.

  • Tucker’s duty was typical—taking her to Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia and Australia over the next months.
  • Cummings initially operated between Hawaii and San Francisco.
  • In February and March, Clark operated in Lexington’s screen during VAdm. Wilson Brown’s aborted raid on Rabaul and successful strike on Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea.
  • World War II Operations of the destroyers
    originally attached to Destroyer Squadron 3
    DesRon 3 operations

  • In May, Reid and Case went to the Aleutians, where they bombarded Kiska Island on 7 August and supported landings at Adak on the 30th. Reid sank submarine RO-1 on the 31st.
  • In June, Conyngham interrupted her escort duties to join in screening Hornet at the Battle of Midway.
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On 3 August 1942, before the Guadalcanal landings that opened the Solomon Islands campaign, Tucker entered a newly-laid minefield at Espiritu Santo, broke her back and was sunk.

In October, while Reid and Case returned from Alaska, Conyngham and Shaw screened Enterprise during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on the 26th. There, Shaw rescued survivors when DesRon 5 flagship Porter was sunk.

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The squadron was disbanded at the end of 1942.
  • Clark was detached and reassigned to the Panama Canal Zone as flagship for the Commander, Southeast Pacific Force.
  • The DesDiv 5 ships all went to DesRon 5. Cassin and Downes required complete reconstruction after Pearl Harbor and returned only in mid-1944 for the Marianas operation. (Refugees again from DesRon 5 in 1945, they were reassigned to DesRon 4.) Reid, meanwhile, earned eight service stars but, with Mahan, was lost at Ormoc Bay to suicide aircraft in November 1944. Most prolific of the squadron’s destroyers, Conyngham earned 14 service stars and ended World War II with DesRon 5.
  • DesDiv 6 was split up. On 10 January 1943, Shaw grounded at Nouméa and again underwent lengthy repairs before returning late in the year to join DesRon 5. Cummings and Case were reassigned to DesDiv 12, where they replaced Benham (which had been lost at the Battle of Guadalcanal) and Ellet (which initially joined the remaining Benham-class destroyers in the Pacific in DesRon 2). They were, however, not present with flagship Dunlap during the Battle of Vella Gulf in August 1943.