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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Izard

 

Ralph Izard, born 26 February 1785 at Charleston, S.C., was appointed Midshipman 2 October 1799 and promoted to Lieutenant 27 January 1807. Lt. Izard volunteered and took part in the expedition under Stephen Decatur, commanding U.S. ketch Intrepid, which entered the harbor of Tripoli 16 February 1804 and destroyed the former U.S. frigate Philadelphia in what Lord Nelson called the most daring act of the age. He was assigned duty under Lt. Decatur, with Midshipman John Rowe and 15 men, to hold the spar deck. He also took part in the attacks on Tripoli during August and September 1804 as part of Commodore Edward Preble's squadron. Lt. Izard died 21 January 1822 at Charleston, S.C.

 

(DD-589: dp. 2,050; l. 376'6"; b. 39'8"; dr. 17'9"; cpl. 273; a. 5 5", 14 40mm., 12 20mm., 10 21" tt, 4 dct, 6 dcp.; cl. Fletcher)

 

Izard (DD-589) was launched 8 August 1942 by the Charleston Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. Robert E. Lee III, great-granddaughter of Lt. Ralph Izard; and commissioned 15 May 1943, Comdr. Earl K. Van Swearingen in command.

 

After shakedown interrupted by a search for a German U-boat off the coast of Carolina, Izard departed Norfolk 14 September 1943 and sailed for Pearl Harbor via the Canal Zone and San Diego. Arriving Pearl Harbor 4 October she spent the next 6 weeks training and standing plane guard duty.

 

As the Pacific Fleet started its mighty sweep across Micronesia Izard sortied 10 November 1943 from Pearl Harbor with Rear Admiral Pownall's Carrier Force (TF-50) for the Gilbert Islands operations, and for the next month provided air, surface and antisubmarine protection for Makin Island.

 

After taking part in the bombardment of Nauru Island 8 December 1943 Izard retired to Havannah Harbor, Efate. Here she trained and rehearsed for the fleet's next target—the Marshall Islands. Izard sortied from Funafuti Harbor, Ellice Island, 23 January 1944 with Rear Admiral Forrest Sherman's Carrier Task Group to provide air cover for the assault and capture of Kwajalein. At 0440 29 January the carriers launched their first strikes toward Kwajalein. By that afternoon the fleet had delivered many devastating blows on the enemy. By 4 February Izard had entered Majuro Atoll, recently captured from the Japanese, and dropped anchor. Here she joined Admiral Spruance's Truk Striking Force and Admiral Mitscher's Fast Carrier Task Force 58 for strikes on Truk (17-18 February 1944). The first strike was launched at 0642 17 February and after 2 days the carrier planes had destroyed auxiliary cruisers Aikoku Maru and Eiyosumi Maru; destroyer Fumizuki; submarine tenders Rio de Janeiro Maru and Heian Maru; aircraft ferry Fujikawa Maru, 6 tankers and 17 more marus; total tonnage about 200,000. Planes from Enterprise also sunk destroyers Oite and Agano. On the first day of the strikes while Admiral Mitscher's planes were at work, Admiral Spruance's group, including Izard, conducted a round-the-atoll search to catch escaping vessels. They sunk light cruiser Katori, destroyer Maikaze, and sub chaser SC-%4-After 18 February Truk lost its usefulness as a fleet anchorage or advanced naval base for the Japanese. In addition, the 250 to 275 planes destroyed or damaged was a severe blow to the Japanese air force.

 

Izard screened the carriers launching strikes in the Tinian-Saipan area 22 February, retiring to Majuro the 26th. From March through August she operated in support of the 5th Fleet operations in New Guinea and the Marianas. Izard was part of the screen for Admiral "Jocko" Clark's Carrier Task Group during the Battle of the Philippine Sea (19-20 June 1944) which broke the enemy's once mighty naval air arm.

 

Izard continued in support of fast carriers launching strike after strike against the enemy. During the first part of October she joined Admiral McCain's task group for strikes on Okinawa and Formosa. During the following months she continued to support the Leyte operation and in February 1945 was assigned duty off Iwo Jima rendering fire support, screening, and radar picket duty until 27 March.

 

Izard steamed for Eniwetok 28 March arriving 2 April. Joining a convoy she steamed via the Hawaiian Islands, reaching Seattle 20 April. Izard sailed for Pearl Harbor 30 June and in August joined the Northern Pacific Force at Adak, Alaska. The last of August Izard sailed for Honshu, Japan, and after the war continued to operate in northern Japan, liberating prisoners-of-war and demobilizing Japanese army and navy units until 15 November.

 

Izard returned to Seattle the last of November and 2 April 1946 steamed to San Diego. Izard decommissioned there 31 May 1946 and joined the Reserve Fleet where she remains.

 

Izard received 10 battle stars for World War II service.