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USS Douglas H. Fox (DD-779)
USS Douglas H. Fox
Career (United States)
Namesake: Douglas H. Fox
Builder: Todd Pacific Shipyards, Seattle
Laid down: 31 January 1944
Launched: 30 September 1944
Commissioned: 26 December 1944
Decommissioned: 15 December 1973
Struck: 15 December 1973
Fate: To Chile 8 January 1974
Career (Chile)
Name: Ministro Portales (DD-17)
Acquired: 8 January 1974
Fate: Intentionally sunk off Cape Horn on 11 November 1998
General characteristics
Class & type: Allen M. Sumner class destroyer
Displacement: 2,200 tons
Length: 376 ft 6 in (114.8 m)
Beam: 40 ft (12.2 m)
Draft: 15 ft 8 in (4.8 m)

60,000 shp (45 MW)

  • 2 propellers
Speed: 34 knots (63 km/h)
Range: 6500 nm @ 15 kn (12,000 km @ 28 km/h)
Complement: 336
Armament: 6 × 5 in/38 cal guns (12 cm), 12 × 40mm AA guns, 11 × 20mm AA guns, 10 × 21 in torpedo tubes, 6 × depth charge projectors, 2 × depth charge tracks

USS Douglas H. Fox (DD-779) an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer, was named in honor of Lieutenant Commander Douglas H. Fox, the commanding officer of the USS Barton (DD-599), who went down with his ship when she was torpedoed and sunk in the naval battle of Guadalcanal 13 November 1942. Fox was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his contribution to the defeat of a superior enemy force in this battle, and was later awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Navy Cross for earlier actions on 26 and 30 October and 3 November, when he rescued survivors of USS Hornet (CV-8) under hazardous conditions.

Douglas H. Fox was launched 30 September 1944 by Todd-Pacific Shipyards, Inc., Seattle, Washington; sponsored by Mrs. J. T. Boone; and commissioned 26 December 1944, Commander R. M. Pitts in command.

Service history

United States Navy


Douglas H. Fox joined in exercises in the Hawaiian Islands from 31 March 1945 to 21 April 1945, then sailed to join the radar picket line at Okinawa, arriving 5 May 1945. She accounted for 7 planes during a concentrated attack by 11 enemy planes, splashed 5 of her attackers before being hit by a kamikaze and its bomb, and sprayed with gasoline from 1 of her own victims. Although 7 of her crew were killed and 35 wounded, the fires were quickly extinguished and effective damage control measures enabled Fox to reach Kerama Retto under her own power for temporary repairs. She continued to San Francisco for permanent repairs, arriving 23 June.

After refresher training at San Diego, Fox sailed on 30 September 1945 for the East Coast, arriving at New York City 17 October 1945 for the Navy Day celebrations. She put in at her home port of Norfolk, Virginia 2 November 1945 and served on local operations and plane guard duty in the Caribbean. She aided in the shakedown of USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42) from 14 January 1945 to 6 March 1946, visiting Rio de Janeiro in February. Fox remained in the Caribbean in various training and escort duties until 14 December 1946 when she arrived at New London for leave and upkeep.


Douglas H. Fox departed Norfolk 21 July 1947 for a tour of duty in the Mediterranean. On 29 September, while bound for Trieste, she struck a World War II era mine which severely damaged her stern, killed 3 and injured 12 of her crew. She was towed to Venice by two Italian tugs, and put to sea on 13 November 1947 in tow of USS Luiseno (ATF-156) for Boston, arriving 5 December 1947, for repairs.

Sailing from Newport, Rhode Island, 20 July 1948, Fox returned to the Mediterranean and visited various ports there until 28 September 1948, when she joined USS Huntington (CL-107) for a goodwill cruise to Mombasa, Kenya; Durban, South Africa; and round Cape Horn to Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Montevideo. She returned to Norfolk 8 December 1948, for operations off the Virginia Capes until 5 January 1950 when she arrived at Charleston, South Carolina. She was placed out of commission in reserve there 21 April 1950.

Recommissioned 15 November 1950, after the outbreak of war in Korea, Fox served on the East Coast until 22 January 1952 when she got underway from Norfolk for the Far East. She joined the screen of TF 77 on patrol off Korea, and participated in the bombardment of Wonsan 13 March 1952. Later in March, she joined USS Manchester (CL-83) in conducting harassing fire against enemy troops on the east coast of Korea. In May she began independent operations, shelling targets, supporting minesweeping operations, and weakening the North Korean fishing industry by capturing 26 sampans. She got underway from Yokosuka 21 June 1952, and sailed west through the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea to complete a round-the-world cruise at Norfolk 19 August 1952, this time in a reverse direction.

Fox made a Midshipman training cruise to Nova Scotia from 20 June to 8 July 1955, and served tours of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean from 7 November 1956 to 20 February 1957. Between 3 September and 22 December 1957, she joined elements of the British and Canadian navies for a NATO exercise in the North Atlantic, visiting the Mediterranean before returning to Norfolk to resume local operations. Between 7 August 1959 and 26 February 1960, she served again in the Mediterranean, as well as in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, returning to Norfolk for overhaul. From June through the end of 1960, H. Fox operated off the East Coast, cruising north of the Arctic Circle on NATO maneuvers, and patrolling in the Caribbean during political unrest in Central America.

After completing a 1961 Mediterranean deployment, Fox participated in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercises and patrols through March 1962. At that time the ship went into the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a FRAM II (Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization) conversion. Included in the changes were updated torpedo mounts, and a Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter (DASH) and Variable-Depth Sonar (VDS) system. In November 1962, she departed from the yard with this increased ASW capability, more modern and comfortable quarters, and a longer life expectancy with the United States Navy.


In December 1962, Douglas H. Fox reported to the Fleet Training Group at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for refresher training and base defense. In February and March 1963, the ship took part in Operation Springboard - 63, an extensive training cruise in the Caribbean, after which she resumed her ASW ready duties with the Atlantic Fleet. Early July 1964 found Fox deployed to the Mediterranean, returning in November. In early 1965, she took part in Operation Springboard-65, after which she resumed her ASW duties with Task Group Four.

Summer 1965 found Fox deployed to the Mediterranean and Middle East, where she conducted ASW operations with the Royal Navy and then participated in contingency operations off the coast of Pakistan. During this period, Fox received the Atlantic Fleet ASW Award for her consistent success in the art of anti-submarine warfare. From November 1965 to April 1966 she was in Norfolk Naval Shipyard undergoing overhaul.

In July 1966, she returned to the Mediterranean and paid a visit to Safi, Morocco. Fox was the first American warship to visit Safi in seventeen years. The ship returned to Norfolk 17 December 1966, and in 1967 the ship performed a variety of work with the Second Fleet, with the major emphasis on anti-submarine warfare. Much time was spent in this period in areas just east of Cape Hatteras.

In May 1967, Fox operated with 55 ships from four countries in Operation Fizwiz Sunrise. In June, a NATO exercise called New Look took the ship to the North Atlantic for ten days of highly competitive ASW operations with the Canadian Navy. In addition, there were two weeks of operations out of Key West as a school ship for the Fleet Sonar School. On 1 September 1967 the ship began a five month deployment with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean.

In September 1968, 323 miles southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, while en route for a return visit to Vietnam, a fire broke out in the aft fireroom, killing three seamen and injuring five. The fire was brought under control and the ship returned to port under her own power. After extensive repairs were completed at Charleston Naval Shipyard, Fox departed again for Vietnam arriving in February 1969. From February to September, she operated in the Vietnam area on a variety of assignments which included plane-guarding in the Tonkin Gulf, and harassment and interdiction fire on a regular basis. She also operated independently providing close-in gunfire support to troops on numerous occasions.

Chilean Navy

On 15 December 1973, Douglas H. Fox was given orders to proceed to the Navy Yard at Philadelphia to be decommissioned. After decommissioning, the ship was sold to Chile for further naval service. Under a different flag and with a new name, Ministro Portales (DD-17) served its new country for another 22 years. Between 1975 and 1976 she was refited with an extension in the flight deck. Ministro Portales participated in the Beagle-Channel diplomatic conflict in 1978. in this period, all the Chilean navy ships were camouflaged. This ship was decommissioned from the Chilean Navy in 1990. Ministro Portales was sunk off Cape Horn on 11 November 1998 at 15:47 hours (Chilean time).[1]


Douglas H. Fox received one battle star for World War II service and one for Korean War service.


External links

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