USS Cooper - (DD-695)



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 International radio call sign:
Builder:  Federal Shipbuilding, Kearny, NJ
Laid down:  30 August 1943 
Launched:  9 February 1944
First commissioned:  27 March 1944
Last decommissioned:    

Sunk by Japanese destroyer Take
in Ormoc Bay Leyte, Philippines
3 December 1944

USS Cooper (DD-695), an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer, is the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Elmer Glenn Cooper, a naval aviator who died in a seaplane accident in 1938. Cooper was launched 9 February 1944 by Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Kearny, New Jersey; sponsored by Mrs. Elmer G. Cooper; and commissioned 27 March 1944, Commander J. W. Schmidt in command.

Cooper cleared Boston, Massachusetts on 23 July 1944 for Pearl Harbor arriving on 4 September. After operational training, she sailed on 23 October for Ulithi, arriving on 5 November, and put to sea at once to screen aircraft carriers in air attacks on Luzon, Ormoc Bay, and Manila Bay until 19 November.

After repairs at Ulithi, she entered San Pedro Bay, Philippines on 29 November and joined in patrols in Leyte Gulf until 2 December, when she sailed with the destroyers Allen M. Sumner and Moale to destroy shipping in Japanese-held Ormoc Bay. Here the ships engaged two small enemy destroyers and numerous small craft. At about 00:13 on 3 December, Cooper was torpedoed by the Japanese destroyer Take. Reports state that she suffered an explosion on her starboard side, then broke in two, and sank within a minute. The presence of enemy forces prevented rescue of survivors until about 14:00, when "Black Cat" airplanes were able to save 168 of Cooper's crew; 191 were lost. In the Battle of Ormoc Bay, Kuwa was sunk and Take was damaged by the American destroyers. In addition to the loss of Cooper, Allen M. Sumner and Moale were both damaged.

Cooper was awarded one battle star for World War II service.

In 2005, Rob Lalumiere became the only diver to have descended to the wreck of USS Cooper, and the only known instance at that time of a shipwreck in the area being positively identified.

In December 2017, a Paul Allen expedition aboard the research ship RV Petrel discovered the wreck of Cooper, and conclusively confirmed her identity after cross-referencing the destroyer's armaments and sinking position with historical documents.

Sources: NavSource - Wikipedia