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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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J. Douglas Blackwood

 

James Douglas Blackwood was born in Philadelphia 12 November 1881, and enrolled in the Naval Coast Defense Reserve as an Assistant Surgeon 14 April 1917. The doctor served on transports in the Atlantic during World War I, earning the Navy Cross for attending the sick and wounded when troop transport President Lincoln was torpedoed 31 May 1918. He entered the Regular Navy in 1919, and served in various ships and at Naval Hospitals here and abroad in the years that followed. Blackwood served the people of Haiti 1927 to 1930 when assigned to a Public Health unit on that island. He was appointed Medical Inspector with the rank of Commander in 1938, reported to Vincennes (CA-44) 30 September 1940, and was on board during the critical early months of America's participation in World War II. During the Battle of Savo Island 9 August 1942, one of the many sea fights during the Solomons Campaign, a cruiser-destroyer force was surprised at night by Japanese cruisers and dealt a crushing blow. Blackwood was killed when the gallant Vincennes was sunk along with two other cruisers and a destroyer.

 

(DE-219: dp. 1,400; l. 306'; b. 36'10"; dr. 9'5"; s. 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 4 1.1", 8 20mm., 2 dct, 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (h.h.), 3 21" tt.; cl. Buckley)

 

J. Douglas Blackwood (DE-219) was launched 29 May 1943, by Philadelphia Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. J. Douglas Blackwood, widow of Comdr. Blackwood; and commissioned 15 December 1943, Comdr. R. V. Randolph in command.

 

After shakedown off Bermuda, J. Douglas Blackwood rendezvoused with carrier Hornet (CV-12) off Hampton Roads 14 February 1944, to escort her to the Panama Canal. The escort ship then returned to the East Coast for duty as training ship and coastal escort until departing Norfolk 18 March for the Pacific. Sailing via the Panama Canal and Pearl Harbor, J. Douglas Blackwood, arrived Majuro 18 April 1944, to begin vital convoy screening work between America's far-flung island bases. The ship operated mainly in the Solomons and Admiralties, returning to Pearl Harbor in October 1944 for antisubmarine training.

 

J. Douglas Blackwood, steamed to Eniwetok 2 November, and resumed convoy escort work, this time between the Solomons and the Philippines. As that great archipelago was liberated, island by island, the escort ship helped bring supplies and men from advance bases. She remained on this duty until arriving Pearl Harbor 12 April 1945, and for the remainder of the war operated in Hawaiian waters training with newly commissioned carriers and Pacific Fleet submarines.

 

The war over, J. Douglas Blaokwood steamed into Mare Island Navy Yard 4 September 1945, and after repairs made the long voyage through the Canal to the East Coast. She arrived New London 9 January 1946, decommissioned 20 April 1946, and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

 

With the outbreak of fighting in Korea in 1950, the Navy's need of fighting ships once again increased. J. Douglas Blackwood, recommissioned 5 February 1951, Lt. Comdr. J. R. McKee in command. Based at Norfolk, the ship alternated between duty there and the Fleet Sonar School at Key West, Fla. She also engaged in at sea training for midshipmen, cruising to the Caribbean and Brazil in the summer of 1953. She remained on this important training duty, not only keeping herself at peak readiness but also contributing to the development of new antisubmarine tactics, until arriving at Philadelphia 15 November 1957. There she began her new assignment as Reserve Training Ship.

 

J. Douglas Blackwood decommissioned 1 August 1958, and was placed "in service." For the next 3 years, she acted as training ship for naval reservists in the Philadelphia area. However, when America's will was tested once again in the 1961 Berlin crisis, the ship was again recalled to active service, commissioning 2 October 1961, Comdr. J. J. Grebis in command. After refresher training in the Caribbean, she served on escort and patrol duty in the Atlantic through the summer of 1962. She decommissioned 1 August 1962, reverted to her "in-service" status, and resumed reserve training duty at Philadelphia. /. Douglas Blackwood remained on this important duty into 1967, always ready to serve the Navy in time of need.

 

J. Douglas Blackwood received three battle stars for World War II service