Hilary Abner Herbert, born in Laurensville, S.C., in 1834, was educated at the University of Alabama and the University of Virginia. He' was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1856 and practiced law in Greenville until the Civil War.
The future Secretary of the Navy entered the Confederate Army as a second lieutenant and served his cause with gallantry for 4 years. After the war, Herbert returned to his law practice and was elected to Congress in 1877. During his tenure as Congressman, Herbert was chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs and was largely responsible for the increased appropriations which led to the revival of the American Navy.
In 1893 President Grover Cleveland appointed Herbert as Secretary of the Navy. Secretary Herbert was able to muster support for an enlarged navy, despite the Depression of 1893, and brought the fleet to some level of preparedness for the Spanish-American War. From 1897 to his death 6 March 1919 Herbert practiced law in Washington, D.C.
(DD-160 : dp. 1,090; l. 314'5" ; b. 31'8" ; dr. 9'4" ; s. 35 k.; cpl. 124; a. 4 4", 3 3", 1221" tt.; cl. Wickes)
Herbert (DD-160) was launched 8 May 1919 by the New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J.; sponsored by Mrs. Benjamin Micon, daughter of the late Hilary A. Herbert; and commissioned 21 November 1919, Lt. Comdr. E. A. Logan in command.
After shakedown in South Atlantic waters, Herbert trained in the Caribbean until 1 May 1920, returning there 20 July with the Atlantic Fleet destroyer squadron. Herbert participated in torpedo practices, antiaircraft drills, and short range battle practice along the east coast. She decommissioned at Philadelphia 27 June 1922.
Herbert recommissioned 1 May 1930 and joined the Scouting Fleet at Newport, R.I. For the next 4 years she operated in both East and West Coast waters, playing important roles in annual fleet problems and battle practice. From 16 January 1935 until August 1939, Herbert served as a training ship for naval reserves and midshipmen. As war swept across Europe, she sailed to Portugal via the Azores 2 October 1939 and remained there until July 1940.
Returning to the States, the destroyer underwent overhaul and 10 October reported to New London for sound school training. Herbert's training kept pace with the steadily intensifying war in Europe as she spent most of 1941 in battle practice, torpedo drills, and antisubmarine work.
With America's entry into the war, Herbert operated as a convoy escort along the American coast from Key West north to Halifax and Iceland. Guiding virtually defenseless merchant ships through coastal and Caribbean waters infested with U-boats, Herbert carried out frequent depth-charge attacks on marauding submarines. From April through June 1943 she visited Gibraltar and North Africa, as the build-up for the invasion of Sicily intensified. A hunter-killer patrol followed. After a second HUK patrol, Herbert escorted a convoy from Bermuda to Casablanca, returning to Charleston 22 November 1943 for conversion to a high-speed transport.
Herbert now APD-22 sailed for the Pacific, reaching San Diego for amphibious training and continuing on to Cape Sudest, New Guinea, via Pearl Harbor 23 March 1944. She disembarked troops for the initial invasion at Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, 22 April and then spent a month on convoy escort duty before landing troops for the invasion of Biak Island 27 May. Landings at Warsai in the Cape Sansapor Area 30 July followed further patrol and escort duty, and 15 September found Herbert off Morotai. Troops landed under naval cover to secure the airfield, which was within easy striking distance of the Philippines, next major step in the island-hopping war across the Pacific. On 17 October, 2 days before the initial landings at Leyte Gulf, Herbert landed Rangers on Homonhon Island which controlled the entrance to the Gulf. The destroyer remained in the Philippines, under almost constant Japanese air attack, throughout the rest of 1944; and, in January 1945, landed support troops at Lingayen Gulf.
From the Philippines Herbert moved north for escort duty to Iwo Jima, returning to Leyte 18 March 1945 to prepare for the invasion of Okinawa, the largest amphibious operation of the Pacific war. Arriving Okinawa 31 March, the day before the initial landings, Herbert took up patrol and escort duties. Suicidal kamikaze attacks wounded ships all around her, but Herbert remained untouched. After two runs escorting convoys from back staging areas up to Okinawa, the destroyer headed home, reaching San Diego 19 June. Herbert decommissioned at San Diego 25 September 1945 and was sold for scrap to the Boston Metal Co. of Baltimore 23 May 1946.
She received six battle stars for World War II service.