DANFS HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE U.S.S. LITTLE DD 803
01/13/2001 by Larry Papenfuss
From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, [DANFS]
Laid down: Seattle Tacoma Shipbuilding
Seattle, Washington – September 13, 1943
Launched: May 22, 1944
Commissioned: August 19, 1944
Sunk: By Japanese Kamikaze Aircraft off Okinawa May 3, 1945
26 d. 24’N., 126 d. 15’E
Loss of 30 of her crew
(DD-803: dp. 2,050; l. 376′; b. 40′, dr. 14′; s. 35 k.; cpl. 329; a. 5 5”, 10 40mm., 7 20 mm., 8 21″ tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct. cl. Fletcher)
The second Little (DD-803) was laid down by Seattle Tacoma Shipbuilding Co., Seattle, Wash., 13 September 1943; launched 22 May 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Russell F. O’Hara, and commissioned 19 August 1944, Comdr. Madison Hall, Jr., in command.
After training off the West Coast, Little departed Seattle 11 November 1944 to escort a convoy to Pearl Harbor. She arrived 23 November and participated in gunnery training and battle problems. On 22 January 1945 she got underway with a group of LSTs for Eniwetok and rehearsals for the invasion of Iwo Jima. Final preparations were made at Saipan, and 15 February Little sailed for the assault beaches.
24th when she left for Saipan. She returned 4 March for bombardment, screening, and radar picket duties, and was back at Saipan 14 March to prepare or the Okinawa invasion.
Little sailed for Okinawa 27 March assigned to the demonstration group charged with feigning landings opposite the actual assault beaches. After accomplishing this diversion 1 and 2 April, Little screened transports and escorted LST’s to the beaches. On 19 April she was ordered to picket duty where she remained until 24 April unscathed despite relentless enemy suicide attacks.
On 3 May Little and Aaron Ward (DM-34) were again on picket duty. At 1813 18 to 24 aircraft attacked from under cloud cover. Aaron Ward took the first hit at 1841. An instant later Little was hit on the port-side. Within 4 minutes three more enemy kamikazes had hit her, breaking her keel, demolishing the amidships section, and opening all three after machinery spaces, At 1955 Little broke up and went down.
Little received two battle stars for World War II service.