USS STODDARD PLAQUE DEDICATION
October 31, 1997
USS STODDARD DD566 in WORLD WAR II
Captain William J. Hurst, USN (Ret.)
Today we dedicate a plaque to honor the USS Stoddard DD566 and
the hundreds of men who served on her. After honorable service
through three wars, it is very appropriate that only three months
ago she was laid to rest in Davy Jones Locker off the Hawaiian
Islands. I am honored to represent those who served on board
during World War II.
The Stoddard was built by Todd's Pacific Shipyards, Tacoma
Division, Seattle, Washington. and commissioned on 15 April 1944.
After shakedown she escorted a convoy to Pearl Harbor and then
proceeded north to Adak, Alaska where she joined DesRon 57. The
next few months she fought two enemies -- both the Japanese and
the northern Pacific weather.
The destroyer squadron along with three old cruisers, Richmond,
Concord, and Trenton, formed Task Force 92 with the mission of
protecting the Alaskan approaches to the US mainland and to harass
the Japanese Kurile Islands. During this time the task force made
several sorties against the Kurile Islands with names such as
Matsuwa, Kurabu Zaki, and Suribachi Wan. The weather was always a
major factor that on occasion prevented the ships from firing
because of the rough seas and on one occasion caused the task
force to turn around because of ice. Several of the ships
sustained major storm damage during these raids. Luckily the
weather usually grounded the Japanese planes for we had no
friendly air coverage while near the Kuriles, some which were not
too far from the northern Japanese mainland.
In April 1945 DesDiv 113 departed the Aleutian waters and
headed south to Pearl Harbor. The division then escorted the
Ticonderoga to Ulithi. En route, the carrier made strikes against
several Japanese islands. After arrival at Ulithi, the division
proceeded to Okinawa for radar picket duty. While on picket duty,
the ship controlled fighter aircraft to shoot down incoming
planes. Despite this, some got through and attacked the picket
Probably the most memorable attack was on the 6th of June when
the ship was credited with shooting down two Kamikazes and
assisted with shooting down two more. I'll never forget the one
plane that attacked the ship from dead astern that day. The first
I knew of the attack was when I heard the 20 mm guns on the
fantail firing. I ordered full rudder to bring the main battery
director and 5" guns to bear. When the 5" fired, some
members of the 20 mm gun crews on the fantail received flash bums
and puncture wounds caused by the cork from the 5" powder
In July the division sailed as part of Task Force 38 to conduct
attacks against mainland Japan. During this time the task force
was frequently under air attack. The division was temporarily
detached long enough to bombard the Japanese island of Chichi Jima.
After 72 days at sea the ship entered Tokyo Bay -- a few days
after Japan surrendered.
Finally in late November we sailed for home via San Diego and
the Panama Canal, arriving the 23rd of December 1945 in
Philadelphia. The ship was originally scheduled to remain on
active duty, but with the major military cutbacks at that time,
the Stoddard was decommissioned in Charleston, South Carolina on
the ninth day of July 1946.
I am pleased to hear that those who recommissioned Stoddard
said she was in good condition because we were forced to put the
ship out early with fewer men than scheduled. The dehumidifying
equipment and the gun and director covers had not arrived when we
hauled down the colors.
Unfortunately, with the passing of time, the ranks of World War
II crew members are shrinking. I would like all those World War II
members present to please stand for recognition.
Thank you -- God bless you.