Roswell Hawkes Lamson was born in Iowa, and appointed to the Naval Academy 20 September 1858. After graduating in 1862, he saw action in the Civil War. Lamson commanded Mount Vernon in joint Army-Navy operations on the Wansemont River, and he played an important role in the capture of batteries at Hills Point. While in command of Gettysburg, he was in the forefront of the attack on Fort Fisher, and he gallantly piloted the powder boat Louisiana in under the fort. He resigned from the Navy in 1866. In 1895 Lamson was appointed lieutenant and placed on the retired list. Lieutenant Lamson died in Portland, Oreg., 14 August 1903.
(DD-367; dp. 1,500; l. 341'4"; b. 34'8"; dr. 9'1"; s. 36.5 k.; cpl. 158; a. 5 5", 2 dct., 12 21" tt.; cl. Mahan)
The third Lamson (DD-367) was laid down 20 March 1934 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine; launched 17 June 1936; sponsored by Miss Francis W. Andrews; and commissioned 21 October 1936, Comdr. H. E. Paddock in command.
After shakedown in the Atlantic and Caribbean, Lamson departed Norfolk 16 June 1937 for the Pacific. Arriving San Diego 1 July, the destroyer performed exercises and tactical training operations until she sailed for Pearl Harbor 5 October 1939. Lamson continued training operations from her Hawaiian base for the next 2 years.
She was returning to Pearl Harbor from patrol duty during the Japanese attack 7 December 1941. After a search for the enemy task force, the destroyer patrolled Hawaiian waters and steamed to Johnston Island to rescue civilians. Departing Pearl Harbor 6 January 1942, Lamson arrived Pago Pago, Samoa, 2 weeks later for ASW patrols.
During early March she arrived in the Fiji Islands to join the expanded ASW screen which was formed to keep the South Pacific supply lines open. After 6 months of patrol and screening operations, Lamson saw action 22 October when, with Mahan, she attacked Japanese picket boats stationed between Gilbert and Ellice Islands. The two destroyers made a coordinated attack beating off enemy air raids and sank two enemy craft.
On 30 November, Lamson joined Rear Admiral Wright’s Task Force 67 during the fierce Battle of Tassafaronga. One Japanese destroyer was sunk and one damaged while the American force lost one cruiser and three damaged. Lamson returned to operate in the South Pacific for the next 8 months, screening convoys en route to Guadalcanal. Constantly at sea on patrol and ASW screen, the destroyer assisted other units as they paved the way for the Allied advance across the Pacific.
Arriving Milne Bay 19 August 1943, Lamson joined Destroyer Squadron 5, the forerunner of the mighty 7th Fleet, to engage in the New Guinea operations. In the landings at Lae and inschhaven during September, she joined in the preinvasion bombardment, gave fire support after the landings, and escorted to the island reinforcement convoys needed to spearhead the drive toward Japan.
After 2 months of escort duty, Lamson joined three other destroyers 29 November and penetrated 160 miles into enemy territory to bomb Madang, the main Japanese naval base on New Guinea. On 15 December she engaged in preinvasion bombardment of Arawe, New Britain, and, during the landings at Cape Gloucester 11 days later, splashed two “Vals.” Continuing the New Guinea operation, the destroyer bombarded Saidor 2 January 1944.
After a brief overhaul at Mare Island and training at Pearl Harbor, Lamson arrived Eniwetok 8 August to join the 5th Fleet. For the next 2 months she engaged in patrol duty and ASW screen in the Marshalls before reassignment to the 7th Fleet.
Departing Hollandia 25 October, Lamson steamed to the Philippines to serve as picket, patrol and screening ship for the massive Leyte assault. Throughout November the destroyer beat off numerous suicide plan attacks aimed at convoys bringing supplies to the Philippines. While screening a convoy off Ormoc Bay, Lamson splashed two “Dinahs” before a third crashed into her superstructure, killing 25 of the destroyer’s crew and injuring 54 others.
She arrived Puget Sound Navy Yard 16 January 1945 for extensive repairs. Returning Eniwetok 10 May, Lamson operated for the rest of the war on patrol and air-sea rescue work off Iwo Jima. A fitting climax to Lamson’s fine war record came on 3 September, when she arrived Chichi Jima to supervise the surrender of the Bonin Islands. Following occupation duty at Sasebo for 1 month, the destroyer departed Japan 29 October for San Diego, arriving there 29 November.
However, Lamson was still destined to play a valuable role in America’s progress as she arrived Bikini Atoll later in May 1946 to participate in the Atomic Bomb Test Able. The destroyer was sunk in the atomic explosion 2 July 1946.
Lamson received five battle stars for World War II service.