Surviving Fletcher Class Destroyers Celebrate Their 80th Anniversaries

Of the 145 Fletcher-class destroyers built and commissioned by the U.S. Navy for service in World War II between the years 1942 and 1945, four survive as museum ships: the USS Kidd in Baton Rouge, La.; the USS The Sullivans in Buffalo, N.Y.; the USS Cassin Young in Boston; and the USS Charrette, later renamed Velos by the Hellenic Navy, in the Museum of Anti-Dictatorial Struggle in Thessaloniki, Greece. A fifth destroyer, the USS Johnston, was sunk in 1944 in a battle in the Philippine Sea, with the wreck discovered in 2021.

All five of those Fletcher-class destroyers were commissioned in 1943, which puts the 80th anniversary of their commissioning this year. To mark the occasion, the museums and organizations supporting the ships are holding celebrations on the date of their commissioning.

On each vessel’s anniversary, all four surviving destroyers will fly that vessel’s flag. On April 23, to mark the commissioning of the USS Kidd, which was known as the “Pirate of the Pacific” during World War II and the Korean War, all four destroyers flew the Kidd’s skull and crossbones pirate flag. In turn, all the ships will fly flag of the Velos on May 18, the flag of The Sullivans on September 30, the Johnston’s flag on October 27; and the Cassin Young’s flag on December 31.

On the same date, information about the histories of the ship will be displayed by each participating organization or museum. Each anniversary will also include local events open to the public.

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For more information, visit each destroyer’s website or social media. The livestream marking the USS Kidd’s anniversary is available for replay on YouTube on the USS Kidd Veterans Museum’s channel.