Milton Lox Knudson, born 20 October 1923 in Geneva, 111., enlisted in the Navy 1 July 1941. While serving in Laffey (DD-459) in the Southwest Pacific he distinguished himself 15 September 1942 during rescue operations for survivors of the torpedoed Wasp (CV-7). With "courageous disregard" for his personal safety, he dived over the side of his ship and swam considerable distances with lines to rescue the stricken carrier's exhausted sailors, thus saving the lives of many who otherwise might have perished. During the heroic night naval action off Guadalcanal 13 November Seaman First Class Knudson was killed when Laffey was sunk by Japanese torpedoes and gunfire. He was posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his valor.
(APD-101: dp. 1,390; l. 306'; b. 37'; 12'7" ; s. 24 k.; cpl. 204 ; a. 1 5", 6 40mm., 6 20mm., 2 dct.; cl. Crosley)
Knudson (DE-591) was laid down 23 December 1943 by Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyards, Inc., Hingham, Mass.; launched 5 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Emmons R. Knudson; reclassified APD-101 on 17 July; and commissioned 25 November, Lt. Dudley C. Sharp in command.
After shakedown, Knudson departed Norfolk 18 January 1945 for the Pacific. Steaming via San Diego, the highspeed transport arrived Pearl Harbor 9 February for training with UDT units. With UDT 19 embarked, she departed Pearl 28 February, steamed via Eoiwetok, and arrived Ulithi 12 March to prepare for operations in the Ryukyus. Clearing Ulithi 21 March for operations off Kerama Retto, she supported UDT 19 during reconnaissance and demolition operations on Kuba, Aka, Keise, and Geruma Shima from 25 March to 30 March. While serving as antisubmarine screen 26 March, she was attacked by an enemy bomber. Her guns splashed the plane after two bombs had missed her close aboard. On 1 April she continued ASW patrols during amphibious landings at Hagushi, Okinawa. During the next 2 weeks she conducted screening patrols off the western shores of Okinawa. Then she sailed 14 April for Guam escorting Nevada (BB^36), arriving 19 April. She proceeded to Ulithi 23 April, debarked UDT 19 on the 25th, and departed 5 May for Okinawa escorting Portland (CA-33). Reaching Okinawa 8 May, she resumed screening duty and helped repel enemy air attacks until 15 June when she departed Hagushi Anchorage for Leyte.
Arriving 18 June, Knudson operated in the northern Philippines until 4 July. She departed Subic Bay as escort for an Okinawa-bound, LST convoy, reaching Guam 16 July. After embarking UDT 19, she sailed 19 July for the West Coast via Eniwetok and Pearl Harbor, arriving San Diego 5 August. Knudson embarked UDT 25 on 13 August, departed 16 August for the Far East, and arrived Tokyo Bay, Japan, 4 September. She operated out of Yokosuka until 20 September when she returned to the United States, arriving San Diego 11 October. She continued her service in the Pacific from 30 October to 12 May 1946, carrying men and supplies to bases in the Marshalls, Marianas, Admiralties, and Philippines. Departing Manila Bay 20 April with homebound veterans embarked, she arrived San Pedro 12 May. Knudson decommissioned 4 November and entered the San Diego Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet, 15 November.
Knudson recommissioned 6 August 1953, Lt. Comdr. J. F. Roohan, Jr., in command. After shakedown and conversion to an APD Flagship, she departed San Diego 3 May 1954 for the Western Pacific. Arriving Yokosuka 23 May, she conducted amphibious exercises off Japan, South Korea, and Okinawa. Clearing Tokyo Bay 13 August, she sailed for the Vietnamese coast, where she arrived Haiphong, North Vietnam, 22 August. As flagship for the Commander, Embarkation Group, she participated in Operation "Passage to Freedom," through which the Navy evacuated almost 300,000 Vietnamese from North to South Vietnam. From 22 August to 19 September, she operated out of Haiphong during the loading of refugees, cargo, and military equipment by Navy ships. Then she steamed to Saigon, South Vietnam, arriving 22 September. Continuing to Subic Bay 2 October, she returned to Yokosuka via Hong Kong 1 November. And on 7 November she sailed for the United States, arriving San Diego 23 November.
Knudson operated out of San Diego and Long Beach supporting amphibious training during 1955 and early 1956. Departing Long Beach 24 March 1956, she steamed via Pearl Harbor to Eniwetok where she arrived 10 April. Until returning to Pearl 23 July, she supported nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands. She returned Long Beach 6 August and resumed amphibious, UDT, and ASW training operations. After sailing to San Francisco 27 Septem ber, Knudson decommissioned 2 January 1958 and joined the Stockton Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet, later to trans fer to the Texas Group, where she remains.
Knudson received one battle star for World War II service.