Silas Duncan born in Rockaway, N.J., in 1788, was appointed midshipman 15 November 1809. While third lieutenant of Saratoga during the Battle of Lake Champlain, 11 September 1814, he was sent in a gig to order the gunboats to retire. He succeeded in delivering the orders despite concentrated enemy fire which severely wounded him and caused the loss of his right arm. For his gallant conduct he was thanked by Congress. From 1818 to 1824 Commander Duncan saw active service on board Independence, Hornet, Guerriere, Cyane, and Ferret. He died 14 September 1834 at White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
(DD-874: dp. 2,425; l. 390'6"; b. 41'1"; dr. 18'6"; s. 34 k.; cpl. 367; a. 6 5", 5 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Gearing)
The third Duncan (DD-874) was launched 27 October 1944 by Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex.; sponsored by Mrs. D. C. Thayer; and commissioned 25 February 1945, Commander P. D. Williams in command. She was reclassified DDR-874 on 18 March 1949.
Duncan, converted to a radar picket destroyer during her postshakedown overhaul, sailed from Norfolk 2 June 1945 for the Pacific, and after touching at San Diego and Pearl Harbor, joined Cabot (CVL-28) for screening and plane guard duty during the strikes on Wake Island of 1 August. After calling at Eniwetok, she continued to Okinawa to join the 7th Fleet for patrol duty off the Chinese and Korean coasts during the landing of occupation troops at Tsingtao, Taku, and Jinsen. Duncan served in the Far East on occupation duty until 25 March 1946 when she sailed for the west coast, arriving at San Diego 28 April.
For the next year Duncan trained along the west coast, keeping high her operational skills and readiness. In May 1947 she departed San Diego for a 5-month cruise to the Far East, where she visited Okinawa, Japan, and China. On her return to the States, Duncan resumed coastal operations with both aircraft and submarines. On 1 March 1948 she suffered 2 killed and 14 injured in an explosion on board. After repairs at Long Beach, Calif., the destroyer rejoined the fleet for training until January 1949, when she again sailed for the western Pacific, this time for 8 months.
Duncan operated between San Diego and Pearl Harbor until November 1950 when she steamed into Korean waters to join the 7th Fleet in its unremitting projection of sea power against Communist aggression. Duncan served a total of three tours off Korea during the fighting in that ravaged land. She sailed as plane guard for carriers and as antisubmarine escort for battleships; she fired shore bombardments in support of minesweepers and to interdict enemy communications; she patrolled against North Korean minesweepers and fishing craft. Through all she added her significant contribution to the vast and indispensable sea-borne support of the United Nations troops ashore.
Since the end of the Korean fighting in 1953, Duncan has remained busy in the Pacific, alternating Far Eastern duty with training and maintenance on the west coast. She has visited Australia, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and many islands of the Pacific during her farflung travels in guarding peace and order. At the end of 1960, Duncan lay in Long Beach Naval Shipyard, undergoing extensive overhaul and modernization—a sign of many more active years ahead.
Duncan received seven battle stars for Korean war service.