Abbot’s Commanding Officers:
John Joseph Pirro

August 28, 1963 — January 28, 1965


Commander John J. Pirro was Abbot’s penultimate skipper, and had the sad duty of leading DD 629 toward its final decommission.

An early wartime graduate of the Naval Academy in 1944, he was actually a member of the class of ’45. After graduation he served aboard the battleship South Dakota, where he first crossed paths with Abbot during the July 1945 bombardment of Honshu.

After the war, he served aboard the battleship Iowa and then in a variety of ship and shore commands before settling into destroyers in 1953.

Among his postings were the destroyer escort Holder; Destroyer Squadron 4, aboard the flagship destroyer Gearing; the destroyer Blandy, as executive officer; and the destroyer tender Yosemite, also as exec.

He relieved Commander Allan H. Craig as Abbot’s commanding officer in September 1963.

Cmdr. Pirro’s duties aboard Abbot were to train new destroyer officers and, later, reservists. In its final months, Abbot was flagship of a reserve fleet squadron, ResDesRon 30, based in Philadelphia. The reservists were Pennsylvanians, supplemented by a small contingent of full-time naval personnel.

On 28 January 1965, Cmdr. Pirro handed command of Abbot to his executive officer, Lt. Cmdr. John P. Derr, in preparation for decommissioning. Abbot was decommissioned at Chester, Pennsylvania, on 26 March 1965.

He retired from the navy in 1969.

Cmdr. Pirro was born in Solvay, New York, in 1921 and died on 21 December 2006 at age 85 in Linden, Virginia. His wife, Betty, died in 1999.