Thomas Alva Edison, born 11 February 1847 in Milan, Ohio, was one of the most prolific and imaginative inventors in world history. The importance of his accomplishments was highlighted when Congress in 1928 awarded him a gold medal for development and application of inventions which revolutionized civilization. Much of his work was of direct benefit to the Navy. He died 18 October 1931 in West Orange, N.J.
(DD-439: dp. 1,630; l. 348'1"; b. 36'1"; dr. 11'10"; s. 33 k.; cpl. 208; a. 5 5", 10 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Benson)
Edison (DD-439) was launched 23 November 1940 by Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N.J.; sponsored by Mrs. Thomas A. Edison, widow of the inventor; and commissioned 31 January 1941, Lieutenant Commander A. C. Murdaugh in command.
In the months following commissioning Edison operated on the east coast, training and exercising with the fleet, with passenger and mail runs to Argentia. In November she escorted a convoy to Iceland, her first of many voyages which kept the lifelines open to northern bases and Britain.
On 24 October 1942 Edison set sail from Norfolk with a task group bound for the invasion at Fedhala, French Morocco, 8 November. She engaged shore batteries at Cape Fedhala and protected shipping lying off the beachheads. Returning to Norfolk 1 December, Edison made a voyage to Gulf ports escorting tankers, then resumed safeguarding convoys from New York and Norfolk to Casablanca and Oran.
From July 1943 to February 1944 Edison served in the Mediterranean. On 10 July she provided fire support for the troops landing on Sicily to which she escorted support convoys from Algiers and Bizerte until September. She screened the assault transports in the invasion at Salerno 9 September, and remained off the beaches to guard minesweepers and provide fire support for the advancing troops. Continuing Mediterranean escort duty, on 16 December Edison screened while Woolsey (DD-437) forced U-73 to the surface with depth charges and sank it with gunfire. Edison picked up 11 survivors. On 21 January 1944 Edison arrived off Anzio to patrol during the invasion landings. She provided fire support to the beleagured troops and escorted transports and cargo ships to the beachhead until February, then sailed home for overhaul.
Edison returned to the Mediterranean 1 May 1944 for escort and patrol off Italy. On 15 August she was in the thick of the invasion of southern France. Until the end of the year, she continued to pound shore batteries, railroads, and troop concentrations as well as patrol. At New York 17 January 1945, Edison underwent overhaul, then escorted a convoy to Havre during April and May.
Edison sailed intercoastal from New York 8 June 1945, and was training at Pearl Harbor when the war ended. She reached Japan in September for the occupation. She left Nagoya 3 November to be a weather station in the Aleutians. The destroyer returned to San Francisco 30 December, then continued to the east coast where she was placed out of commission in reserve at Charleston 18 May 1946, later in Philadelphia, where she lay at end of 1962.
Edison received six battle stars for World War II service.