USS Cassin Young
(DD 793)

Fletcher Class Destroyer

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By Rob Mackie


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View 16 beautiful pics of this Fletcher destroyer in the
Photo Gallery

 

See the Fletcher Kit Review for a look at two good 1/700 Fletcher kits.  In 1/350 scale the choice is easy.  Get the Tamiya Fletcher.

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"The Fletcher class was just such a beautiful ship; I think it is one of the prettiest ships that has ever been designed…in appearance and performance. It was a beautiful ship to see, and it was a beautiful ship to handle."

-George T. Finnegan,
Navigator on Cassin Young during World War II 

Fletcher class destroyers were among the most important US combat vessels of World War II. They carried five 5" guns in enclosed mounts, two quintuple torpedo mounts, depth charges, and a potent battery of 40mm and 20mm anti-aircraft guns. They were long-legged, essential for Pacific operations, and their ability to refuel at sea extended this range yet further. 166 Fletcher class destroyers were operational at the end of 1944, and 21 were sunk during WW2.

Launched in September 1943 at Bethlehem Shipbuilding, San Pedro, California, the Fletcher class destroyer U.S.S. Cassin Young saw extensive action off the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa in the latter stages of the Pacific war. She performed radar picket duty off Okinawa, a dangerous task for which she paid a high price. On 30 July 1945 a slow moving canvas and wood Japanese biplane somehow slipped through the wall of defensive anti-aircraft fire and struck the Cassin Young at the main deck level, killing 21 men and injuring 47. The Cassin Young was the last ship to be struck by Kamikazes in the Battle of Okinawa.

She saw service throughout the 1950’s during which she underwent the usual refits and upgrades, principally to her anti-submarine gear and radar suite. Decommissioned in 1960, she went on display in 1981 at the Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston. She is in good company, the Yard’s other resident being another great fighting ship, the U.S.S. Constitution, launched in 1797.

The Cassin Young is displayed in her late 1950’s fit. She sports a prominent tripod mast in place of the simpler arrangement carried in 1945. Hedgehog anti-submarine mortars have replaced her forward 40mm guns, the forward quintuple torpedo tube bank has been landed, and her 20mm guns removed. But she is still unmistakably a Fletcher class destroyer. I’ve photographed her with a modeler’s eye, attempting to capture details and subtleties not always apparent at first glance.