Merritt Austin Edson born 25 April 1897 in Rutland, Vt., enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve at the outbreak of World War I and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the regular Marine Corps 9 October 1917. He served in France from September 1918 to December 1919. In 1941 he directed experimental operations which included training with high-speed transports. These led to the organization of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion one month after the United States entered World War II. This battalion was the prototype for Marine Raider and Army Ranger Battalions formed later in the war. Edson led his battalion during the invasion and capture of Tulagi from 7 to 9 August 1942, then was assigned to defend the ridge on Guadalcanal which dominated Henderson Field. For his superb and heroic leadership on the night of 13 and 14 September when his men stood off a fanatic attack by a much larger Japanese force, Colonel Edson was awarded the Medal of Honor. He took part in the Tarawa invasion and in 1944 was appointed Chief of Staff, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. After duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Marine Corps Headquarters, Major General Edson retired 1 August 1947. He died 14 August 1955 in Washington, D.C.
(DD-946: dp. 3,990 (f.); l. 418'; b. 45'; dr. 14'9"; s. 33 k.; cpl. 324; a. 3 5", 4 3", 4 21" tt., 1 dct.; cl. Hull)
Edson (DD-946) was launched 4 January 1958 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. M. A. Edson; and commissioned 7 November 1958, Commander T. J. Moriarty in command.
Edson called at Cuidad Trujillo and Caribbean ports while conducting shakedown training en route to Callao, Peru, where she lay from 18 to 21 February 1959 delivering supplies for the U.S. Embassy in Lima. She reached Long Beach, her home port, 2 March, and through the remainder of the year perfected her readiness with exercises along the west coast. On 5 January 1960 she sailed from Long Beach for her first deployment in the Far East, during which she patrolled in the Taiwan Straits and took part in amphibious operations off Okinawa, and exercises of various types off Japan. On 29 April, she rescued three aviators from Ranger (CVA-61). Edson returned to Long Beach 31 May for an overhaul which continued through October. Edson spent the remainder of 1960 conducting training off San Diego.