USS Zellars
DD 777 (Sumner class)

Contributed by: Frederick Luhrs (RDSN, 1970-71)

Builder:        Todd Shipyards, Seattle. 
Laid Down:      December 24, 1943
Launched:       July 19, 1944
Commissioned:   October 25, 1944
Decommissioned: March 19, 1971
Fate:           To Iran March 19, 1971. 
                Renamed Babr; Still active 
                in Iranian Navy - though 
                unoperational since 1994

We are seeking information on the USS Zellars and her crews. Files and photos may be E-mailed to us and we will incorporate them into this page. When enough information has been assembled we will then build the ship her own section.

Mail Call


From: George Schepp

Dear Mr Mark Roberts,

Found the article about the U.S.S. Zellars. SHIP TO PORT WITH SCARS OF SUICIDE ATTACK. Wilmington, California,May 31st,1945. Associated Press-Death and damage aboard the U.S.S. Zellars was disclosed by the navy today as the destroyer docked at Roosevelt naval operating base, a gaping hole in her superstructure inflicted by a three-man Japanese suicide bomber in an attack off Okinawa April 12 (1945) Lt. Charles Smylie, Rose Point, Mich., fire control officer related that 34 were killed, 36 wounded and two reported missing when the Jap bomber skipped a bomb of about 1,000 pounds into the Zellars, then crashed on deck,killing the three Japanese.

Three Jap bombers concentrated an attack on the destroyer, which had been aiding the Okinawa landings by bombardment for 19 days,Lieutenant Smylie said. "I saw the three planes come in," said the officer. "We got two of them and were shifting our fire to the third as it hit us." Ens. Sheldon Bernstein, Chicago, said: "The ship was hit on the port side. The plane crashed into the rat race (ammunition handling room) for gun mount No. 2. The bomb slid across the deck and exploded on the starboard side. Two of our men were never found.The gasoline fire and explosion did miscellaneous damage all over the ship."

From a Tulsa Oklahoma Newspaper.

Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2003
From: Joe Vitello

Enclosed find e-attachment picture file (1 pic) of the USS ZELLARS DD777 in the bay at Genoa, Italy in Dec. 1960. Had this in my archives for 40 some years, and would like to share the memories with all shipmates who served on it.

Joe Vitello (MM2-long retired)


Dear Destroyers Online,

While watching the Military Channel tonight.I got me thinking about my uncle Fireman James T. Ferrell. James T. Ferrell was born in Oklahoma.His parents were my great uncle Emery Ferrell and my great aunt Nora Ferrell.

I believe James T.Ferrell joined the U.S. Navy in 1944. After basic training(I believe at Great Lakes) He was assigned to the U.S.S. Zellers.I know that sometime in Spring 1945(maybe the U.S.S. Zellers was at Long Beach or San Diego) James T. Ferrell visited my grandmother Jessie E. Andrews at 534 West 53rd Street,Los Angeles,CA. before he and the ship sailed to Okinawa.James T. Ferrell was a Fireman aboard the U.S.S. Zellers.He was killed in the Kamikaze attack I believe August 17th,1945?

He was buried on Okinawa until his parents brought his casket home to the Veterans Cemetery in Oklahoma. Until the day she died in 1986, my great aunt Nora would not allow ANYTHING that came from Japan into her home. I have to go through some old papers and photos.Somewhere I have a newspaper article about the U.S.S. Zellers and a few photos of my uncle Fireman James T Ferrell in a U.S. Navy uniform.If I had some copies made could you possibly use them? And if you could, please send me some links about the Kamikaze attack on the U.S.S. Zellers? It would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much.


George P Schepp Jr

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