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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Harlan R. Dickson

 

Harlan Rockey Dickson, a member of Yorktown's famed Dive Bomber Squadron 5, twice received the Navy Cross for his outstanding courage and combat flying, first at Tulagi and again at the pivotal Battle of Midway. Lt. Comdr. Dickson crashed and was killed off the California coast 5 February 1944.

 

(DD-708: dp. 2,200; l. 376'6" ; b. 40'; dr. 15'8" ; s. 34 k.; cpl. 336; a. 6 5", 12 40mm., 11 20mm., 10 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; el. Allen M. Sumner)

 

Harlan R. Dickson (DD-708) was launched 17 December 1944 by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N. J.; sponsored by Mrs. Mildred Mae Studler, mother; and commissioned at New York 17 February 1945, Comdr. Paul G. Osier in command.

 

After shakedown in the Caribbean, Harlan R. Dickson departed New York for the Pacific 5 August 1945, but with the Japanese capitulation was ordered back to Solomons, Md., for experimental mine work. She finally joined her squadron at Pearl Harbor 12 December and remained in the Pacific for tactical training until March 1946. Returning to the east coast, Harlan R. Dickson engaged in further training until sailing 2 February 1947 for the first of what were to become regular cruises in the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet in its tremendous mission of keeping the peace against Soviet intrigue. In addition to visiting many Mediterranean ports, the destroyer sailed into the Red Sea before returning to the States 14 August.

 

This year established a pattern which Harlan R. Dick-son was seldom to break: six months of duty in the Mediterranean alternating with training and fleet maneuvers along the East Coast and in the Caribbean. During her second tour with the 6th Fleet, Harlan R. Dickson served under the United Nations blue-and-white flag December 1948-January 1949 as the world peace organization strove to mediate the Palestine crisis—only one in many that developed in the Mediterranean "Sea of History" from 1945 on. In 1953 she participated in at sea training. On her sixth Mediterranean cruise, 2 July to 4 December 1956, Harlan R. Dickson played a key role in another crisis situation, this time evacuating American citizens from Haifa, Israel, as war threatened between Israel and Egypt. Her career entered still another phase September 1959 when she began service as a recovery ship on the Atlantic coast missile range to retrieve test capsules fired from Cape Canaveral, now Cape Kennedy.

 

Harlan R. Dickson's constant participation in both fleet and NATO exercises to keep her fighting ability and readiness at a peak paid rich dividents in October 1962 as she joined a hunter-killer antisubmarine unit in the quarantine of Cuba during the offensive missile crisis. After the crisis subsided, Harlan R. Dickson continued her vital duty in maintaining America's strength and showing friend and foe alike her determination to maintain both peace and freedom. Harlan R. Dickson joined Operation "Springboard" in the Caribbean, visiting San Juan and Santo Domingo before returning to Newport 4 February 1963. On 7 March she commenced her 10th Mediterranean deployment with the 6th Fleet. While in the Persian Gulf, Harlan R. Dickson represented the United States in Khargex VI, an exercise designed for the perfection of working relationships with our allies of the Iranian and British Navies. After a brief stop in the Mediterranean she returned to Newport in September. On 2 January 1964 Harlan R. Dickson entered the Boston Naval Shipyard for overhaul.