#2. While in Exile, Fired a Shell at a Base Commander's House
There are worse places to face an inquiry than Bermuda, and after all the appropriate questions were answered, the captain and a few officers were sentenced to shore duty. It could have been much worse. The guy who forgot to disable the torpedo got hard labor, although his sentence was later reduced by Roosevelt himself.
"I hear you all tried to kill me. Haven't had that much fun since polio."
But obviously no one was going to let the Porter get anywhere near a high-profile mission ever again. So they sent them to the only campaign no one ever really cared about: Alaska. They got exiled to the Aleutian Islands, with the U.S. Navy figuring they couldn't possibly screw anything up over there. There are practically zero presidents to assassinate in Alaska.
The land only grows oil wells and disenfranchised moose.
After surviving in the freezing cold for nearly a year with nary a disaster, everything was going well. Right up until they were about to leave for reassignment, that is. One of the sailors on board had gotten drunk and decided to give the big guns a whirl. Unfortunately for that sailor, the shell was steered by the powers of bad luck right into the base commander's front yard, exploding in his flower garden, obviously ruining the flowers and further demolishing what was left of the ship's reputation.
"We were just trying to send over a gift basket in the most efficient way possible."
This would have been bad enough, except the sailor fired it while the commander had other officers and their wives over for a party.
By this point, the Porter was the latrine duty of the Navy -- serving on it was considered a punishment. But it was OK, because the war was drawing to a close and the ship was getting reassigned to the Pacific! She would finally have a real chance at redemption! That is, until it ...
#1. Finally Sank in the Most Embarrassing Way Possible
By 1945, the ship's reputation had not improved. Her crew was often welcomed with the phrase "Don't shoot! We're Republicans!" and raucous laughter. Her reputation sank even lower after she riddled another sister ship with gunfire during the early stages of the Battle of Okinawa.
"Yes, we shot it, and yes, it sank in that battle, but they were probably two very separate events."
Finally, the Porter was stationed on the perimeter of the battle, where they were sure to not kill anyone. And they actually did alright out there. They used their anti-sub and anti-aircraft weapons correctly, avoided sinking allied ships, shot down five Japanese planes and never once attempted to assassinate the president. Not bad, all things considered. Being the USS William D. Porter, however, you know this fairy tale wouldn't last.
Among the enemy planes were wood and canvas bombers -- there was so little metal on the Japanese planes that they easily slipped past radar. So when this one plane aimed for a ship near the Porter, the Porter took evasive maneuvers. YAY! SUCCESS! FINALLY! The plane crashed into the ocean without exploding, and the high-five party began.
Sadly, three more ships exploded during the party, but everyone agreed it was totally worth it.
What they didn't realize was that the kamikaze plane kept on its trajectory under water -- then exploded beneath the Willie Dee, with the force of the explosion lifting the destroyer smack out of the ocean.
In other words, the ship was accidentally killed by an airplane that had already crashed.
That spelled the end for what was the most hilariously incompetent ship in the history of the world. It sank three hours later, without the loss of a single crew member. We think the Porter kept them alive so they would forever have to live with the fact that they served on the Porter.
Luckily all the humiliation and hatred they were subjected to made them perfect for the postal service.
For more out-of-the-blue shenanigans, check out 7 Modern Dictators Way Crazier Than You Thought Possible and The 5 Greatest Things Ever Accomplished While High.