Frequently Asked Questions


Table of Contents

  1. Is the Memorial run by the state?  Does it receive any state or federal funding?

  2. Why is the USS KIDD out of water?

  3. Why does the KIDD fly the Jolly Roger and have a pirate painted on the forward smokestack?

  4. What connection is there between the USS KIDD and Baton Rouge?

  5. Could the ship still be used by the Navy today?

  6. What does "USS" stand for?

  7. What does "DD-661" stand for?

  8. How many men lived aboard the KIDD?

  9. Why is it a Fletcher-class destroyer?

  10. If the KIDD is named after Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, Sr., . . . then who was USS FLETCHER named for?

  11. I am building a ship model.  What kit should I buy?  Do you have line drawings, photos, etc. that I can purchase?

  12. I would like to get a photo of . . .

  13. I have an item that I would like to donate or loan . . .

  14. Whatever happened to my old ship?

  15. I am trying to get military service records or medical records of a loved one . . .

  16. When and where is the next reunion of my ship / squadron / unit?

  17. Has the KIDD ever been in any movies?


Q.  Is the Memorial run by the state?  Does it receive any state or federal funding?

 

A.  Yes, . . . and no.

 

The Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission is a state agency responsible for the operation and upkeep of the USS KIDD Veterans Memorial.  It is a state agency in that its board members are appointed by the Governor of the State of Louisiana.  It abides by most state regulations.  But it receives NO FUNDING of any kind from either the state or the federal governments.

 

All funding for the Memorial comes from donations, ticket and gift shop revenues, Overnight camping, military reunions, and special fundraisers like the Star-Spangled Celebration on July 4 each year.

 

Want to help keep history alive?  Check out the sections of our website dealing with memberships and our endowment fund.  You can them both by Clicking Here.

 

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Q.  Why is the USS KIDD out of water?

 

A.  This question is usually heard during the fall and winter months.  The level of the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge fluctuates as much as 40 feet per year.  When the snow melts in the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains and throughout the Midwest, the floodwaters travel down the Mississippi.  When this happens, the KIDD floats.  When the summer droughts come and the river drops, the KIDD sits down in a specially-designed cradle to await the spring floods.  During the fall and winter, you can actually walk underneath the ship.  Imagine 2,050 tons of warship sitting above your head!!!

 

USS KIDD was featured in Ripley's "Believe It Or Not!" for her then-unique cradle design on March 04, 1984.

USS KIDD was featured in Ripley's "Believe It Or Not!" in 1984.

 

Photo courtesy of King Features Syndicate, Inc.

 
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Q.  Why does the KIDD fly the Jolly Roger and have a pirate painted on the forward smokestack?

 

A.  While the ship was named after RADM Isaac C. Kidd, Sr., the first crew needed a mascot.  They chose the pirate William Kidd from the early 18th century.  Not wishing to dishonor the Admiral's memory, however, the crew asked Mrs. Kidd for her opinion.  As it turned out, the idea was very appropriate since RADM Kidd's nickname while attending the Naval Academy had been "Cap" (as in Captain Kidd).  Mrs. Kidd spoke to the Navy brass and received permission for the crew to fly the Jolly Roger from the mast, making them the only ship authorized to do so in the U.S. Navy.  The crew then hired an artist to paint the image of a pirate on the forward stack.

 

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Q.  What connection is there between the USS KIDD and Baton Rouge?

 

A.  There is no connection between the KIDD and Baton Rouge, or Louisiana for that matter.  The KIDD was placed on a memorial status through the efforts of her former crew and shipmates of DESRON 48 (her WWII destroyer squadron).  When the Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission went looking for a World War II vessel as a candidate for their planned memorial in Baton Rouge, the KIDD was the closest to her World War II configuration out of all of the candidate vessels.

 

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Q.  Could the ship still be used by the Navy today?

 

A.  In a word, . . . no.  The KIDD is too obsolete by the standards of today's Navy.  Her 5"/38-cal. guns could shoot a maximum of ten (10) miles.  The ship-to-ship missiles in use today can strike a target nearly a hundred miles away or more.  Put simply, if brought back into the Navy, the KIDD would be used only for target practice.  She would be a sitting duck.

 

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Q.  What does "USS" stand for?

 

A.  "United States Ship"

 

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Q.  What does "DD-661" stand for?

 

A.  "Destroyer Number 661" — the six hundred sixty-first destroyer contracted for by the U.S. Navy.

 

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Q.  How many men lived aboard the KIDD?

 

A.  Three hundred thirty (330) men lived aboard the KIDD during wartime conditions.  That number was slightly less during peacetime.

 

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Q.  Why is it a Fletcher-class destroyer?

 

A.  Ships are built according to designs in the same manner as cars (Ford '65 Mustang = U.S. Navy Fletcher-class destroyer).  Ships built after a certain design are always grouped into a "class."  The class is namedusually—after the lead (first) vessel of that class.  Therefore, the Fletcher-class is named after USS FLETCHER (DD-445), the first of this particular design of destroyer.

 

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Q.  If the KIDD is named after Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, Sr., . . . then who was USS FLETCHER named for?

 

A.  USS FLETCHER (DD-445) was named after Admiral Frank Friday Fletcher (1855-1928).  There was another Admiral Fletcher who gained fame in World War II, but DD-445 had been built and launched by that time.  Admiral Frank Friday Fletcher gained fame in World War I.

 

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Q.  I am building a ship model.  What kit should I buy?  Do you have line drawings, photos, etc. that I can purchase?

 

A.  We get many questions from ship modelers around the world like these.  Plans for building models of the KIDD or other vessels are not available through this site.  Check out our Links Page for appropriate information sources on model building.  You will be able to find paint schemes, line drawings, information on kits to purchase, etc.  If these sources cannot answer your questions, please feel free to email us.

 

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Q.  I would like to get a photo of . . .

 

A.  The USS KIDD has no photographic division and makes no loans of photographic material.  We recommend contacting the Photo sections of the Naval Historical Center, the U.S. Naval Institute, or the National Archives.  You can locate these institutions through our Links Page.

 

Photos of the USS KIDD obtained for ship modeling purposes are available in digital format on CD-ROM only.  The cost is $28.00 per disc (includes Shipping & Handling) and must be paid in advance by check or money order.  Allow approximately 10-12 weeks for the work order to be completed and delivered.  All requests must be made in writing.  Please be specific in the descriptions of requested photos.

 

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Q.  I have an item that I would like to donate or loan . . .

 

A.  We welcome donations and loans of artifacts, but understandably, we must take historical significance into account when considering such gifts, as well as space limitations for exhibits in the museum.  If you have an artifact that you would like to donate to the museum, please take a moment to sit down and write a short description of the piece, noting its particular significance.  Send the description along with a photo of the piece to:

 

USS KIDD Veterans Memorial

ATTN:  Acquisitions Committee

305 South River Road

Baton Rouge, LA  70802-6220

 

The artifact in question will be taken under consideration by the committee.  Please be certain to include your contact information.  The committee cannot conduct appraisals of artifacts.  Acceptance of artifacts is not a guarantee that such items will be displayed in a museum setting.  Many items—such as photos, commissioning booklets, cruise books, photo albums, ship's logs, and the like—are more vulnerable to rapid deterioration and, thus, are much safer in a controlled environment where they can survive to educate future generations.

 

Sorry, but walk-in donations cannot be accepted.

 

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Q.  Whatever happened to my old ship?

 

A.  If you are looking for the history of a particular naval ship, you need to visit the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships or the Naval Historical Center.  You will find links for both on our Links Page.  Histories of merchant vessels are more difficult to find.  Email us for more information in that regard.

 

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Q.  I am trying to get military service records or medical records of a loved one . . .

 

A.  The National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR) is the repository of millions of military personnel and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all branches of service during the 20th century.  This is your best resource for locating service records for military personnel.  Visit their website for more information.

 

The USS KIDD does not keep military personnel records in its collection.

 

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Q.  When and where is the next reunion of my ship / squadron / unit?

 

A.  Visit the section of our website detailing How To Locate Reunions.

 

Both the USS KIDD (DD-661) Reunion Association East and the DESRON 48 Reunion Association have disbanded in recent years.  Crew members from some of the individuals ships within the squadron, however, still continue to gather for reunions.  You may contact them via their websites:  USS ABBOT, USS BLACK, USS HALE, and USS WALKER.

 

Some of the KIDD's sistership from DESDIV 152 also have websites of their own for which you can check for reunion information:  USS HOPEWELL and USS UHLMANN.

 

The USS KIDD (DDG-993) maintains a site on Yahoo Groups.  As yet, there has been no official reunion held.  However, this group is growing and invites all 993 shipmates to visit the site, join in, and stay in touch with your former shipmates with the aim of eventually holding a reunion.

 

The USS KIDD Veterans Memorial is not responsible for any material or opinions put forth on the above websites.  They are listed here simply as a courtesy to our veterans in their attempts to reconnect with their former shipmates.

 

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Q.  Has the KIDD ever been in any movies?

 

A.  The KIDD hit the silver screen in 1958 when she was used to film portions of the movie "Run Silent Run Deep" starring Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster (United Artists, 1958).  She can be seen in scenes involving the bridge of a Japanese destroyer guarding convoys in the Bungo Straits.  One brief shot can be seen of her fantail with the two aft 5"/38-caliber gun mounts rotating into firing positions.

Run Silent, Run Deep

1941

The P-40E Warhawk fighter plane located at the museum can be seen in the movie "Solitude Point" starring Bo Svenson and Mitsuko Baisho (1996) which was filmed here in Baton Rouge.  As of the date of this writing, in spite of critical acclaim in Japan (it premiered in Tokyo with a box office second only to "Titanic"), it has not yet been released in theaters in the United States.

 

The P-40 is also reported to have appeared in Steven Spielberg's World War II comedy "1941" starring John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, and Tim Matheson (Universal Pictures, 1979).

Solitude Point

 

The KIDD can be seen briefly in an episode of an educational video series for schools produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting entitled "Enviro-Tacklebox."

 

The KIDD has also been prominently featured in the computer game Destroyer Command (2002) by Ultimation, creators of Silent Hunter.  Bonus material in the game includes a 360-degree view Virtual Tour of several key locations aboard ship.

Enviro-TackleboxDestroyer Command

 

The History Channel series "The Great Ships", "Heavy Metal", and "Modern Marvels".

The KIDD has also appeared in several television documentary series on the History Channel.  She appeared briefly in the series "The Great Ships" in 1997 (Episode title — "Destroyers").  She was also featured in the series "Heavy Metal" in 2003 (Episode title — "The Destroyer").  In 2007, she again featured prominently in reenacted footage used for the series "Modern Marvels" (Season 13, Episode #50 — "The Destroyer").  The KIDD will also be featured in an upcoming episode of the Discovery Channel reality television series "Sons of Guns" in the fall of 2011.

Discovery Channel series "Sons of Guns"

 

Battleship

The KIDD was used to film a small portion of the upcoming feature film "Battleship" (Universal Pictures, 2012) directed by Peter Berg, known for such films as Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom, The Rundown, and Hancock.  It stars Liam Neeson, Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna, and Tadanobu Asano.  Battleship is slated for release on May 18, 2012.

 

 

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**Copyright 1997-2011 by Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission**