See D. C. Seitz, ed., The Tryal of Captain William Kidd (1935); biographies by W. H. Bonner (1947), D. M. Hinrichs (1955), and R. Zacks (2005).
USS Kidd (DD-661), a Fletcher-class destroyer, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who died on the bridge of his flagship USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Admiral Kidd was the first US Navy flag officer to die during World War II.
After shakedown out of Casco Bay, Maine in June, Kidd cruised in the Atlantic and Caribbean escorting large combatant vessels until she departed for the Pacific in August 1943 in company with battleships Alabama (BB-60) and South Dakota (BB-57). Arriving Pearl Harbor 17 September 1943, she got underway 29 September escorting aircraft carriers toward Wake Island for the heavy air attacks 6 October and returned to Pearl Harbor 11 October 1943.
Mid-October found Kidd underway with a formidable task force to strike Rabaul and to support the Bougainville landings. Upon reaching a strike position south of Rabaul on the morning of 11 November, the task force struck hard at Japanese positions on the island. Kidd dropped astern of her formation to rescue the crew of a plane from aircraft carrier Essex (CV-9) which had ditched as the American carrier launched a strike at Rabaul. A group of planes from an extremely heavy Japanese counterattacking force dove at the destroyer in an attempt to sink her while she was on her own. Striking back hard, she shot down three Japanese planes and successfully completed the rescue while skillfully maneuvering to dodge torpedoes and bombs. Cmdr. Roby, her commanding officer, received the Silver Star for gallantry during this action. The destroyer returned to Espiritu Santo 13 November.
Kidd next screened carriers making air attacks on Tarawa during the Gilbert Islands invasion from 19 to 23 November. On the 24th she spotted 15 low flying enemy bombers heading toward the heavy ships, gave warning, and shot down two Aichi D3A "Val" dive bombers. After Tarawa was secure, Kidd remained in the Gilbert Islands to support cleanup operations before returning to Pearl Harbor 9 December.
On 11 January 1944 Kidd sailed for the forward area, touched at Espiritu Santo, then sailed the next day for Funafuti, arriving 19 January. During the invasion of the Marshall Islands 29 January to 8 February, Kidd screened heavy ships and bombarded Roi and Wotje, then anchored at Kwajalein 26 February.
From 20 March to 14 April Kidd guarded an airstrip under construction on Emirau and supported the occupation of Aitape and Hollandia in New Guinea 16 April to 7 May. She fought in the Marianas campaign 10 June to 8 July and helped soften up Guam for invasion 8 July to 10 August.
In need of repairs, Kidd sailed for Pearl Harbor, arriving 26 August 1944. On 15 September she departed Pearl, reached Eniwetok 26 September, and arrived at Manus on 3 October. There she became part of the giant Philippines invasion fleet and entered Leyte Gulf 20 October. Here she screened the initial landings and provided fire support for soldiers who fought to reconquer the island until she sailed 14 November for Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, arriving 19 November. On 9 December Kidd headed toward Mare Island Navy Yard for overhaul and moored at Mare Island on Christmas Day.
Kidd sailed 19 February 1945, to join Task Force 58 (TF 58) for the invasion of Okinawa. Trained and battlewise, Kidd played a key role during the first days of the Okinawa campaign, screening battleships, bombarding key targets ashore, rescuing downed pilots, sinking floating mines, providing early warning of raids, guarding heavily damaged Franklin (CV-13), and shooting down kamikazes.
While on picket station 11 April 1945, Kidd and her division mates, USS Black (DD-666), USS Bullard (DD-660), and USS Chauncey (DD-667), with the help of Combat Air Patrol, repelled three air raids. That afternoon a single enemy plane crashed into Kidd, killing 38 men and wounding 55. As the destroyer headed south to rejoin the task group, her effective fire drove off enemy planes trying to finish her. Stopping at Ulithi for temporary patchwork, she got underway 2 May for the West Coast, arriving Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard 25 May.
To sum it all up, the "Kidd" saw heavy action in World War II, participating in nearly every important naval campaign in the Pacific, as she fought gallantly during the invasion of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, the Phillipines at Leyte Gulf, and Okinawa.
Kidd again got underway for Korea 8 September 1952; joined the screen of a hunter-killer group near Kojo; and, in November, was back on bombardment missions off North Korea. Shortly thereafter, truce talks began. Kidd continued to patrol the Korean coast during negotiations. She departed the Far East 3 March 1953 via Midway and Pearl Harbor and arrived San Diego for overhaul 20 March.
Kidd got underway 5 January 1960 for the East Coast via the Panama Canal, arriving Philadelphia, PA 25 January. From there she made Naval Reserve training cruises to various East Coast ports. She joined fleet operating forces during the Berlin Crisis in 1961. December 1961 found Kidd patrolling off the Dominican Republic in a "show of force" patrol to provide an element of security in the troubled Caribbean.
Kidd arrived Norfolk, VA 5 February 1962 and joined Task Force Alfa for Antisubmarine warfare (ASW) exercises. On 24 April she was assigned to the Naval Destroyer School at Newport, R.I.. After a cruise to the Caribbean, on 1 July 1962 she resumed Naval Reserve training. Kidd decommissioned 19 June 1964, entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, and berthed at the Philadelphia Shipyard.
The Navy set aside three Fletcher-class ships for use as memorials; The Sullivans (DD-537), Cassin Young (DD-793), and Kidd. Louisiana congressman William Henson Moore selected Kidd to serve as a memorial for Louisiana World War II veterans. Kidd was towed from Philadelphia and arrived in Baton Rouge on 23 May 1982, where she was transferred to the Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission. She is now on public view there as a museum vessel, and she conducts youth group overnight encampments.
The USS KIDD was never modernized and is the only destroyer to retain its World War II appearance; over the years, Kidd has been restored to her August 1945 configuration and armament, culminating on 3 July 1997, when her torpedo tubes were reloaded.
The Kidd's special mooring in the Mississippi River is designed to cope with the annual change in river depth, which can be up to forty feet; for half the year she floats in the river, the other half of the year she is dry-docked out of the water.