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Bulloch History with Roger Allen - Jenkins once the fastest in Navy
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Roger Allen

    In the 200-plus years of he US Navy's existence, there have been two vessels named the Jenkins. The first, DD-42, was a Paulding Class Destroyer built at the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine.
    Launched on April 29, 1912, the Jenkins set a new speed record, becoming the fastest Destroyer in the entire Navy. When the United States occupied the city of Veracruz in Mexico, she joined an American squadron facing off against Mexico's navy.
    The Jenkins was ordered to Queenstown, Ireland, where she and her sister destroyers patrolled the eastern Atlantic, escorted convoys and rescued survivors of sunken merchantmen.
    On June 10, 1917, the HMS Laburnum, a British Royal Navy Minesweeper, and the Jenkins collided. According to the first-ever dual-nation Board of Inquiry, “It (is) one of those things that must be expected where a large number of ships are operating at night without navigation lights and in a confined area."
    With the end of World War I, the Jenkins was ordered to the Philadelphia Naval Yards where she was decommissioned on Oct. 31. Jenkins was scrapped in 1935 as required by the London Naval Treaty.
    The second Jenkins, DD-447, was built at the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company in Kearny, New Jersey. This Jenkins was commissioned on July 31, 1942 and soon was escorting a convoy to North Africa.
    The Jenkins screened the battleship Massachusetts from enemy attack during the bombardment of Casablanca in "Operation Torch, which began the Allied invasion of North Africa.
    The Jenkins escorted the American carrier task attacking Kwajalein and Wotje in the Marshall Islands. During this attack, the carrier USS Lexington (CV-16) was hit by a torpedo.
    The destroyer Jenkins was detailed to escort the badly-damaged Lexington back to the U.S. Navy's shipyards at Pearl Harbor where she could be repaired.
    Returning to the South Pacific, the Jenkins was damaged by a shore battery off Luzon in December 1944. After repairs, while supporting the last amphibious operation of the war, the Jenkins struck a mine and suffered one fatality.
    After being decommissioned at the end of the war, she was recommissioned as an escort destroyer in 1951. The Jenkins, now DDE-447, served in the Korean conflict and then participated in post-war peacekeeping operations.
    The Jenkins was deployed with the Navy's 7th Fleet in 1958 once the Chinese Communists commenced harassment of the Chinese Nationalist islands of Quemoy and Matsu. At the end of this deployment, she returned stateside.
    Jenkins underwent a Fleet Rehabilitation And Modernization (FRAM) conversion at Pearl Harbor in the early sixties before being deployed as part of the U.S. Navy's Vietnam War operations. The Jenkins was retired in 1969.

    Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at the area's historical past. Email Roger at rwasr1953@gmail.com.

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