In 1943, during the early part of my tenure on board the ship, I painted the USS La Vallette (DD448) from a dock in San Diego. I painted in the surrounding ocean after heading out to sea.
Reproductions were made for the crew. One reproduction now hangs in Lavallette, New Jersey; another in the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island; and a third is displayed at the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, California.
Both the town of Lavallette and the WWII combat ship were named after Rear Admiral Elie La Vallette, who took command of the historic U.S.S. Constitution in 1825.
The original painting of the USS La Vallette was featured in special exhibits at the Charlestown Navy Yard Museum in 1983 and 1985, where the USS Constitution is now berthed and open to the public as a museum.
Ironically, the U.S.S. La Vallette’s WWII sister ship, USS Cassin Young (DD-793), is also a floating museum and historic landmark berthed at the Charlestown Navy Yard, next to the USS Constitution.
I was commissioned to create illustrations depicting men working and living on board the USS Cassin Young during WWII. My pictorial re-enactments have been transferred to metal plaques and strategically placed throughout the Cassin Young Museum for visitors to reference.
The USS La Vallette, part of DesRon 21 (Destroyer Squadron 21), is one of the 12 most battle tested ships in United States naval history. It survived a torpedo in the Battle of Rennell Island, a mine during the taking of Corregidor, and it was awarded 10 Battle Stars for service in the Pacific during World War ll. At the end of the war, the USS La Vallette was decommissioned and put into “moth balls”.
Years later, the ship was sold to the Peruvian government. The original ship’s bell was recently installed on the quarterdeck of the USS Hornet Museum, in California, and is used for ceremonies honoring veterans and Naval history.