one thousand u.s. navy destroyers from 1902-2020
Presented by Bennett "dean" fisher
Saturday, January 11, 2020
10:00 - 11:00 am
$5 FOR ADULTS (12 AND UP) | FREE FOR MEMBERS, ACTIVE MILITARY, VETERANS & CHILDREN UNDER 12 | REGISTRATION REQUIRED
The first automotive torpedo was developed in 1866. These weapons were rudimentary, but showed success when a group of small, maneuverable torpedo boats attacked a capital ship from many directions. By 1890, improvements by Robert Whitehead resulted in torpedoes with a range of 700 yards at 9 mph. The Whitehead torpedoes, besides self-propelled, maintained a straight path using a gyroscope. Some navies responded by developing and making ships designed to attack these torpedo boats. U.S. Assistant Navy Secretary Theodore Roosevelt wrote during the 1898 Spanish-American War that the Spanish torpedo boat destroyers were the only threat to the Navy. Congress agreed and authorized the construction of 16 destroyers. Thirteen Bainbridge-class destroyers were commissioned during 1902-1903, as the country’s first destroyers. The 1,000th American destroyer was commissioned in 2016.
David Fisher served on the Mahan-class USS Preston (DD-379), which was sunk November 14, 1942 in the naval Battle of Guadalcanal. His son, Bennett “Dean” Fisher, asked his father at about age four, “Daddy, what did you do in the War?” His father would never elaborate. After his father’s death, Dean researched his 1940-1946 military career and compiled a history for his mother and three younger siblings. His great interest in military history can be traced to this point. He now coordinates a Senior Veterans’ group at a Houston YMCA and released a self-published book in February of 2019 on 30 WWII Pacific Theater stories. His book, “WWII, Pacific Theatre: Extraordinary Stories of Heroism, Victory, and Defeat,” will be given away as a door prize.
Houston Maritime Museum
2311 Canal Street, Suite 101 | Houston, Texas 77003