I would like to be able to call the G by her full name, but it is a happy augury that I cannot, inasmuch as I am permitted by the Navy Department to use actual names only in the cases of ships that have been sunk. There are a few exceptions—the Enterprise, Boise, Smith and South Dakota, which have received particular publicity from the Department or the White House, are still very much alive.
Little has been written of the part that our destroyers are playing in the Pacific War, where they are called upon to fulfil such a variety of missions that they have become multi-purpose ships, engaging in any form of combat. Because we lacked suitable escort ships we used destroyers to protect convoys as well as to guard our combatant Task Forces. We used them to bombard enemy shore position and to carry bombs and aviation gasoline and stores to Guadalcanal during the lean weeks early in our campaign in those far-distant seas.
By nature as well as by name, the purpose of the destroyer is wholly offensive. Bantamweights in comparison with the great battlewagons, they pack a punch out of all proportion to their size. They are triple-threat weapons, built to strike at any enemy on or over or under the sea. In the words of Rear Admiral Tisdale, “They are the fightingest thing afloat.”F.J.B.
Preface to Condition Red by then-Commander Frederick J. Bell, USN, Grayson’s commanding officer, 1943.