Forrest Sherman-class Destroyer, USS John Paul Jones (DD-932) - One of the Last Conventional Destroyers for the USN

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USS John Paul Jones
USS John Paul Jones at sea. Mid-June, 1956.

USS John Paul Jones was the second Forrest Sherman-class destroyer delivered to the US Navy. She was laid down on the 18th of January, 1954, launched on the 7th of May, 1955, and commissioned on the 5th of April, 1956.

The Forrest Sherman-class destroyers were the first post-war class of destroyers made for the USN. At the time, these were the largest destroyers ever commissioned into the US Navy. As successors to the Gearings, the Forrest Shermans were designed to be multirole destroyers capable of anti-aircraft escort and anti-submarine warfare. These ships were also in some way supposed to be cheaper versions of the Mitscher-class destroyer leaders, as those ships tested much of the technologies that would later be fitted to the Forrest Shermans.
John Paul Jones was part of the first batch of Forrest Shermans, built to design SCB 85. The armament of the SCB 85 ships was three single turreted 5"/54 Mk 42 autoloading guns, two twin 3"/50 Mk 33 guns for anti-air, with one fore and one aft, two launchers for Mk 10/11 Hedgehogs, a depth charge rack, and 4 four fixed 533mm torpedo tubes. They were equipped with the AN/SPS-6 air-search radar, AN/SQS-4 sonar, and Mk 56 fire control director.

Service History

USS John Paul Jones would begin her service life when, after her shakedown cruise, the ship visited Europe and the British Isles. During this cruise, the ships’ commander, Robert W. Hayler Jr., and some of the ships crew, visited and presented the ship’s emblem to the people of the County of Kirkcudbright, Scotland, where the ships’ namesake, John Paul Jones, the “Father of the American Navy,” was born.

Soon after returning from this cruise, she would sail with the US 6th Fleet, in 1957. In May of 1957, she would participate in assisting King Hussien of Jordan, during the alleged 1957 coup attempt.

In 1960, the ship was reassigned to the 2nd Fleet, and visited numerous South American countries as part of Operation Unitas. She took part in the 1962 Fleet Review, an operational capability and weapons demonstration for President John F. Kennedy. In October 1962, John Paul Jones was on station in the Western Range to assist in recovery efforts of astronaut Wally Schirra, during the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission. Soon after, she was moved south to Cuba, during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
She was reassigned to the 6th Fleet in 1964, and in March 1965, she was assigned to the recovery of Gemini 3, with astronauts Gus Grissom and John Young, in the event that Gemini 3 only completed two of the planned three orbits. Gemini 3 completed three orbits, as planned, and the ship was not used in the recovery.

She would undergo a conversion to a DDG under SCB 240, with both aft 5"/54 mounts removed, one for a Mk 13 single-armed missile launcher, and the other for an ASROC launcher. John Paul Jones was reclassified as DDG-32 following this conversion, which lasted from the 20th December, 1965, to the 23rd of September, 1967.

In 1968, following the DDG conversion, she would be assigned to the 7th fleet and deployed to the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia between October of 1968 and April of 1969. She would deploy once again in 1970, and after an overhaul, again in 1972. During the 1972 deployment, lasting from January to August, she participated in a SEATO exercise, Seahawk, and later would spend 40 days off the coast of Vietnam as part of the gun line, during which she fired 5700 rounds at over 500 targets, with retaliatory fire opening up on her on at least 15 occasions.
In May of 1973, she was redeployed to the Western Pacific, being a picket in the Gulf of Tonkin. She then participated in an ANZUK-US exercise, before returning to the Gulf of Tonkin.
In October 1974, she would again deploy to the Western Pacific, escorting the carriers USS Midway and USS Enterprise. After participating in an exercise with the JMSDF, she would participate in Operations Eagle Pull and Frequent Wind, the evacuations of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Saigon, South Vietnam.

After two more deployments in the Western Pacific, she would be decommissioned on December 15th, 1982. Striken from the Naval Vessel Register on the 30th of November, 1985, and she would be sunk as a target ship in January, 2001.

Sister ship, and lead ship of the class, USS Forrest Sherman (DD-931), 1956. John Paul Jones would have a very similar, if not identical, configuration to Forrest Sherman in this picture.

3D Model

3D model of a Forrest Sherman-class destroyer in their 1950s configuration. Visible are the twin fixed 21" torpedo tubes just aft of the superstructure, angled at 30 degrees.

As commissioned in 1956.

General Information
Displacement 4,050 tons
Length 418ft (127.4m)
Beam 45ft (14m)
Draft 122ft (6.7m)
Speed 33 knots (61 km/h)
Complement 333 officers and enlisted
AN/SPS-6 Air/Surface Search and Ranging
AN/SPG-35 Target Tracking for Mk 56
Mk 56 Fire Control
AN/SQS-4 Sonar
Weapon Turret/Mount
3 × 5"(127mm)/54 Mk 18 Mk 52
4 × 3"(76mm)/50 Mk 22 2 x Mk 33 Twin
4 x 21" (533mm) Mk 35 Acoustic Homing Torpedo 2 x Static Twin
48 x Hedgehog 2 x Mk 10/11 Projectors (24/Projector)
? x Mk 14 Depth Charge 1 Depth Charge Rack at Stern

As part of the last class of all-gun destroyers commissioned into the US Navy, I think John Paul Jones deserves a spot in the tree. I think it would play like USS Mitscher but just generally better due to having another gun, allowing greater weight of fire. However, unlike Mitscher’s sister, USS Wilkinson, John Paul Jones does not get the 3" Mk 70 guns, so it may be lacking in total fire in that regard. The Mk 35 torpedoes as well are pretty good. But, unfortunately, they aren’t modeled as acoustic homing just yet. I hope someday they will be modeled as their proper acoustic homing so that they will be more effective and easier to use.

I had originally intended to submit USS Turner Joy, since she was the last all-gun destroyer commissioned into the USN, unlike John Paul Jones just being one of the last. Unfortunately, after doing some research into it, Turner Joy was not equipped with the twin 21" torpedo tubes, as by the time she was commissioned, 1959, these torpedoes had generally been replaced by the 12.75" torpedoes. And I think that to maintain effectiveness, the fixed, longer range, torpedoes would be better on a ship in game. Maybe I will make a suggestion for Turner Joy some other day.

All in all, I hope that a pre-DDG Forrest Sherman is added to the game someday. It’ll be a really nice closing for destroyers before ships like the Charles F. Adams-class or the Farragut-class ships, or even one of the other Forrest Shermans converted into DDGs, like USS Decatur.

USS John Paul Jones’s emblem, as it appeared in 1956. The yellowed background was originally white.


Wikipedia - USS John Paul Jones (DD-932)
Wikipedia - Forrest Sherman-class destroyer - John Paul Jones I (DD-932)
navsource - USS John Paul Jones
navsource - USS Forrest Sherman
naval-encyclopedia - Forrest Sherman-class
navweaps - ASW Equipment of the USN
Eugene Lee Slover USN Pages - Depth Charges