Leaving the States
Following shakedown training out of San Diego and availability at Seattle,
Stoddard screened a convoy to Pearl Harbor, departing the West Coast on 16 July
1944 and reaching Hawaii on the 29th. She entered another brief availability
period at Pearl Harbor, then headed north.
On 8 August, she arrived in Adak, Alaska, and joined Task Force (TF) 94, made
up of Trenton (C-11), Concord (C-10), Richmond (CL-9), and the destroyers of
Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 57. The mission of TF 94 was to harass Japanese
outposts in the Kuril Islands, located to the northeast of Japan proper and west
of the Aleutian Islands.
On 14 August, Stoddard sailed with the task force to make
her first offensive sweep of those forward enemy positions. Poor weather
conditions forced the ships to abandon the mission.
|Task Force 94 was re-designated TF 92 between that first abortive mission and
the second one, begun on 26 August. Foul weather again foiled the American
attack, and the task force put into Attu. The storms were so bad and came so
often that TF 92 did not pull off a raid until late November. During the evening
hours of 21 November, the cruisers and destroyers pounded the Japanese
installations at Matsuwa, damaging the airfields and other installations
heavily. Heavy winds and seas slowed TF 92's retirement to nine knots, but at
the same time stopped enemy air pursuit. The warships returned safely to Attu on
From Adak, DesDiv 113, including Stoddard, was routed to the submarine base
at Dutch Harbor. After spending the first two weeks in December at Dutch Harbor,
the destroyers put to sea on the 13th and rejoined TF 92. On 3 January 1945, the
task force embarked upon another sweep of Japan's Kuril defenses. Two days
later, under the cover of snow squalls, but with calm seas, the task force
bombarded the Surabachi Wan area of Paramushiro, severely damaging canning
installations and airfields. TF 92 retired to Attu at high speed and returned to
Dutch Harbor on the 13th for a ten-day recreation period.
On 16 January, Stoddard and Rowe (DD-564) headed south for operational
training in the Hawaiian Islands. They arrived at Pearl Harbor on the 22nd and
departed on 7 February to return to Attu. They reached Massacre Bay on 13
February, just in time to join the group headed for the bombardment of Kuabu
Zaki. The ships put to sea on 16 February and arrived off Paramushiro just after
sunset on the 18th. They bombarded the island until midnight and then retired to
Attu, where they arrived on the 20th. Three days later, they shifted to Adak for
supplies and repairs. They returned to Attu on 8 March. On 15 March, they again
hit Matsuwa. From 1 to 17 April, Stoddard joined the task force in exercises in
the vicinity of Adak. On April 18th, she and the rest of DesDiv 13 bade farewell
to the cold winds and waters of the Aleutians chain.
First Combat Action
Stoddard entered Pearl Harbor for the third time on 24 April. For almost a
month, her crew enjoyed recreation in the islands and conducted operational
training in preparation for assignment to Okinawa and the Fast Carrier Task
Force. Stoddard sailed from Pearl Harbor on 11 May, in the screen of Ticonderoga
(CV 14), bound for Ulithi. Along the way, Ticonderoga's air group got in a
little live ammunition practice on 17 May, when they struck the Japanese forces
isolated on Taroa and the other islets of Maloelap Atoll. The task group reached
the lagoon at Ulithi on 22 May. A week later, Stoddard departed the atoll to
take up station off Okinawa.
On 2 June, she arrived off Okinawa and took up radar picket station. Though
the Okinawa campaign was rapidly nearing its conclusion, the proximity of
airfields in Japan and on Formosa allowed enemy air power to continue to make
life unpleasant for the ships around the island. True, the deluge of kamikazes
had abated, but the skies continued to shower significant numbers of suicide
planes. Stoddard covered the withdrawal of several cargo ships on 4 June during
a typhoon-evasion maneuver and then returned to her station. At sunset on 7
June, two planes attacked, but both were sent hurtling into the sea before they
could reach the ships. During her tour of duty on the picket line, Stoddard
claimed two Japanese planes for herself, two assists, and one probable kill.
She cleared Okinawa on 17 June in the screen of Mississippi (BB-41). Three
days later, she passed through Surigao Strait into Leyte Gulf. For the remainder
of the month, she underwent repairs and took on provisions at San Pedro Bay. She
put to sea again on 1 July, this time in the screen of TF 38, the Fast Carrier
Task Force. For the next 45 days, she guarded the carriers as their planes made
repeated strikes on the Japanese home islands.
Stoddard was detached once during that period of time, on 23 July to join
DesDiv 113 in a bombardment of Chi Chi Jima in the Bonins. After the cessation
of hostilities on 15 August, she continued to cruise the waters near Japan with
TF 38 to cover the occupation forces. She cleared Japanese waters from 21
September until 7 October while she underwent availability at Eniwetok, then
returned for training exercises until November.
On 18 November, she departed Japan for the United States. She transited the
Panama Canal a month later and arrived at Philadelphia two days before
Christmas. Stoddard went through a yard overhaul until late March, then ferried
personnel to Charleston, S.C., in April.
She began inactivation overhaul at Charleston on 8 July and was placed out of
commission in January of 1947. Stoddard remained inactive berthed with the
Charleston Group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.