Born in Dwight, Ill., 6 November 1919, Harold Jensen Christopher was commissioned ensign in the Naval Reserve 28 May 1941, and after training at the Naval Air Station, San Pedro, Calif., reported for duty in Nevada (BB-36) 5 August 1941. During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, "Ensign Christopher, realizing that his services at his regular battle station were not needed at the time, upon his own initiative assumed duties on the 5-inch broadside battery and effectively controlled his part of that battery until killed by a bomb explosion." He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for "distinguished service, courage, devotion to duty and disregard for his own safety."
(DE-100: displacement: 1,240 tons; length 306'; beam 36'8"; draft 8'9"; speed 21 knots; complement 186; armament 3 3-inch guns, 3 21-inch torpedo tubes, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector(hedgehog), 2 depth charge tracks; class Cannon)
Christopher (DE-100) was launched 19 June 1943 by Dravo Corp., Wilmington, Del.; sponsored by Mrs. Carl Christopher, mother of Ensign Christopher. The warship commissioned at Philadelphia, Penn., on 23 October 1943, Lt. Archer W. Trench in command.
After fitting out, the destroyer escort got underway on 8 November for a five-week shakedown and workup cruise to Bermuda. Following a short yard period at Philadelphia 18-25 December, the warship sailed south to Brazil, arriving at Recife on 4 January 1944 via Trinidad, British West Indies. Tapped for transfer to the Brazilian Navy, Christopher remained in the South Atlantic for the next eleven months, escorting merchant ships along the coast, screening cruisers during anti-commerce raider patrols and conducting local operations. Highlights of her operations include the screening of British cable repair ship Cambria off Rio de Janeiro in February, searching for an abandoned lifeboat off Recife in April and escorting cruisers Omaha (CL-4) and Marblehead (CL-12) during a mid-ocean anti-submarine patrol in September.
In late October the destroyer escort began training exercises with Brazilian sailors at Recife until putting in to the Brazilian Nava Base at Natal on 4 December. Christopher decommissioned at Natal 19 December 1944 and was transferred to Brazil under lend-lease that same day. She served on loan as Benevente until 30 June 1953 when she was stricken from the U.S. Navy List and transferred to Brazil under the Mutual Assistance Program. The destroy escort then remained in Brazilian service until sold for scrap in May 1975.
Corrected and disposition updated, January 2008