Zellars History

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WWII

     The UNITED STATES NAVY SHIP U.S.S. ZELLARS DD777 was laid down on 24 December 1943at Seattle Washington, by the Todd-Pacific Shipyards, Incorporated, launched on 19 July 1944, and commisioned on 25 October 1944, Commander Blinn Van Mater in command.  In March 1945, she put to sea with a portion of the Okinowa invasion force.  After the 1 April amphibious assult on Okinowa, she continued to screen the larger ships.  On the afternoon of 12 April she was screening the Tennessee(BB-43) when 3 Japanese "Jills" made a coordinated attack on her.  They came at the destroyer's port quarter from an altitude of 15 feet above the water.  Zellars rang up 25 knots to unmask all batteries and open fire.  She splashed the lead attacker at the range of 1,800 yards and caught the second some 3,000 yards away.The destroyer then shifted fire to the third intrusier and began scoring 40-millimeter hits on him.  The japanese pilot however, pressed home his attack with fanatical courage and crashed into the Zellars port side, forward of the bridge.  His 500-kilogram bomb tore through several bulkheads.  That evening she limped into Kerama Retto with extensive damage, and 42 dead.  The destroyer headed back toward the United States and arrived at Treasure Island, California on 1 June.  During the 2 1/2 months of overhaul World War II ended. 

         She transited the Panama Canal on 8 October.  The destroyer made a cruise down the Atlantic coast to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  The highlight of the cruise was Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 1 to 11 February. 

       On 21 July, 1946 Zellars departed Norfolk on a deployment to Eastern waters.  She arrived in Plymouth, England, 10 days later.  She visited Soudha Bay, at Crete; Saranto, Naples, Solarno, and Triest Italy; and Tangiers on the North African Coast.  Zellars concluded her first 6th Fleet deployment at Boston on 1 December.

        For almost 2 years she conducted normal 2nd Fleet operations out of Norfolk.  Zellars deperted Norfolk in August in company with other destroyers headed for the Far East,  She and her division mates arrived in Yokosuka, Japan, early in October 1950.  She remained in Korean waters for another 6 months after the November-December evacuations and ranged both coasts of Korea delivering gunfire support of the ground troops and interdicting coastal logistics.

      Zellars returned to the United States in July 1951.  Over the next 8 years training in ASW tactis was emphasized on 5 extended cruises to European and Mediterranean waters.  Late in 1959, Zellars entered the Portsmouth Naval Shipyards for extensive refitting.  Between September 1960 and December 1965, Zellars made 5 deployments to European waters.  Her duties with with the 2nd Fleet in the Western Atlantic and Caribbean were highlighted by participation in operations enforcing the Cuban quarantine in the fall of 1962.  In September 1967, she resumed 2nd Fleet operations along the Eastern seaboard.  Zellars sailed for the Mediterranean once again, putting to sea from Newport on 4 April 1968,that deployment lasted until 27 September.  Zellars embarked upon the last Mediterranean cruise of her career on 9 April 1969.  The warship returned to Newport on 10 October and 1 month later moved to New York where she became a Naval Reserve Training Ship.

       Zellars was decommissioned on 19 March 1971, and her name was struck from the Navy list.  Renamed Babr (DDG-7) she was commissioned in the Iranian Navy on 12 October 1973 at the Philadelphia Navy Shipyard.

       Zellars earned 1 battle star during World War II, and 4 battle stars during the Korean War.