The first Gleaves-class 1,620-tonners to arrive in the Pacific
were the four destroyers of Division 22, detached from DesRon 11
to form the screen for Hornet
(CV 8) in her passage through the Panama Canal in March 1942 and her delivery of LCol. “Jimmy” Doolittle’s B-25 bombers in their raid on Japan in April.
Destroyer Division 22
On arrival, Gwin, Meredith, Grayson and Monssen became the most modern destroyers in the theater. In their first assignment, the four—with cruisers Vincennes and Nashville and oiler Cimarron—formed the escort for Hornet‘s Task Force 18 in General “Jimmy” Doolittle’s raid on Tokyo in April; Gwin and Monssen were also present at the Battle of Midway in June.
Three of the four were lost in the Solomon Islands campaign:
- On 15 October 1942, Meredith was sacrificed in an overwhelming air attack south of Guadalcanal while tryring to get a barge with fuel through to the Marines there.
- On the night of 12–13 November, Monssen was one of the rear destroyers with Task Force 67 at the Battle of Guadalcanal.
- On 13 July 1943, after Gwin and Grayson were absorbed into DesRon 12, Gwin was torpedoed at the Battle of Kolombangara in July.
Lucky Grayson was the division’s lone survivor. Reassigned to DesDiv 24 with Wilkes, Nicholson and Swanson, the surviving destroyers of DesDiv 26, she ended the war having earned 13 service stars and sustained only one fatality.