(Destroyer No. 79), a 1,060-ton Wickes
-class destroyer built at Quincy, Massachusetts
, was commissioned in April 1918. A month later, she crossed the Atlantic to take up wartime convoy operations out of Brest, France. She continued with this mission until after the Armistice, returning to the United States at the end of 1918. Little
served along the east coast until November 1919 and, after a year in reserve, resumed active duty in the same area until July 1922, when she was decommissioned, the beginning of eighteen years in "red-lead row" at the Philadelphia Navy Yard
In 1940, Little was converted to a high-speed transport, APD 4. After recommissioning in November, she spent more than a year in amphibious exercises in the Caribbean, off the California coast and along the eastern seaboard. In early 1942, she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet and went to the south Pacific in July.
On 7–9 August 1942, Little took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the British Solomon Islands. During the following month, she remained in the area, providing valuable transport services to the Marines fighting on Guadalcanal.
On the night of 4–5 September 1942, she was patrolling off Guadalcanal's Lunga Point with Gregory (APD 3) when the two old ships were surpised and overwhelmed by three modern Japanese destroyers, Yudachi, Hatsuyuki and Murakumo. Both were quickly put out of action and sank soon afterwards. Both commanding officers were among those killed.
Little earned two stars on her Asiatic-Pacific campaign ribbon.
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A second USS Little
class DD 803, was commissioned 19 August 1944 and sunk off Okinawa 3 May 1944. USS Hugh W. Hadley
, Allen M. Sumner
-class DD 774, was commissioned 25 November 1944. Like USS Harry F. Bauer
, named for Gregory
’s commanding officer, the Hadley
earned a Presidential Unit Citation for action off Okinawa.
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In July 1992, a expedition searching the sea floor of Iron Bottom Sound between Guadalcanal and Tulagi, found and examined a sunken US Navy high-speed transport some miles off Lunga Point. While the identity of this ship could not be conclusively determined, she is either Little or the virtually-identical Gregory.