USS Willard Keith DD-775
The USS Willard Keith DD-775 is currently the only completed ship of the United States Navy ever named for Willard Keith, a United Stats Marine Corps captain who died in combat during the campaign for Guadalcanal. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions. The Willard Keith was laid down on March 5, 1944 at San Pedro, California by the Bethlehem Steel Company, launched on August 29, 1944, sponsored by Mrs. Willard W. Keith, mother of Capt. Keith and commissioned two days after Christmas of 1944, with Commander Lewis L. Snyder in command. The Willard Keith had a storied history until it was decommissioned on July 1, 1972 at Norfolk, Virginia. It was transferred to the Navy of the Republic of Colombia and was renamed Caldas (DD02) and served the Colombian Navy until disposed of in 1977. The USS Willard Keith earned two battle stars for her WWII service. This is the third reunion Gatherings Plus has hosted for the Willard Keith group, working with Don and Jane Hempstead. Thank you for your service to our country. You are all heroes!