Ralph Waldo Elden, born 10 July 1907 in New York, N.Y., graduated from the Naval Academy in 1931. At the time of his death Lieutenant Elden was serving as executive officer of Hammann (DDó412). During the Battle of Midway, 6 June 1942, when his commanding officer was wounded, he took charge and directed abandonment of his disabled and rapidly sinking destroyer until the decks were awash. He was killed in the water by an underwater explosion. For gallant and efficient performance of duty, he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
(DE-264: dp. 1,140; l. 289'5"; b. 35'1"; dr. 8'3"; a. 21 k.; cpl. 156; a. 3 3", 8 dcp., 1 dcp(hh.), 2 dct.; cl. Evarte)
Elden (DE-264) was launched 6 April 1943 by Boston Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. R. W. Elden, widow of Lieutenant Elden; and commissioned 4 August 1943, Lieutenant Commander G. F. Adams, USNR, in command.
Sailing from Norfolk 13 October 1943 for duty with the Pacific Fleet, Elden arrived at Pearl Harbor 17 November. She trained in antisubmarine and amphibious landing exercises and three times screened oilers to rendezvous with the 5th Fleet, the third time during the occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro in the Marshalls. She departed Pearl Harbor 30 March 1944 to join a hunter-killer task group on patrol in the eastern Marshalls.
Elden departed Pearl Harbor again 1 June 1944 with a convoy for Eniwetok, then saw action in the capture and occupation of the Marianas. She patrolled off Tinian to prevent enemy troops from landing behind American lines on Saipan. Her guns sank several barges the night of 25-26 June. After antisubmarine patrol off Eniwetok in early July, she returned to screening transports at Saipan, and deliver harassing fire on Tinian. During the invasion of Guam, she escorted convoys from Eniwetok.
Elden operated out of Manus from 26 August 1944, screening oilers to refueling rendezvous with ships invading the Palaus and Leyte. She returned to Pearl Harbor 16 November for overhaul and remained there for amphibious and antisubmarine training. She escorted two convoys to Eniwetok in January and February 1945, then arrived off Two Jima 7 March to patrol the transport area until 20 March. She returned to the west coast for overhaul, then operated from Ulithi from 21 July as escort for oilers refueling fleet units executing the final massive raids on Japan. Elden served in the Far East on occupation duty, then returned to San Francisco 25 November. She was decommissioned at Mare Island Navy Yard 18 January 1946, and sold 12 July 1947.
Elden received six battle stars for World War II service.