John Dury New, born 12 August 1924 at Mobile, Ala., enlisted in the Marine Corps, 11 December 1941. As a member of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, he served on Guadalcanal and New Britain before sailing, 15 September 1944, for Peleliu, Palau Islands. On 25 September, during the fighting for that island, “a Japanese soldier emerged from a cave directly below an observation post and suddenly hurled a grenade into the position from which two of our men were directing mortar fire against enemy emplacements. Private First Class New instantly perceived the dire peril to other Marines and, with utter disregard for his own safety, unhesitatingly flung himself upon the grenade....” For his selfless conduct and personal valor Private First Class New was awarded posthumously the Medal of Honor.
(DD–818: dp. 2,425; l. 390’6”; b. 41’1”; dr. 18’6”; s. 34 k.; cpl. 367; a. 6 5”, 16 40mm., 4 20mm., 5 21” tt., I dcp. (hh.); cl. Gearing)
New (DD–818) was laid down 14 April 1945 by the Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex.; launched 18 August 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Barbara Julien, sister of Pfc. John D. New; and commissioned 5 April 1946, Comdr. M. S. Schmidling in command.
Following a Caribbean shakedown and type training off the East Coast, New got underway for the Mediterranean 8 August 1946. During the first week of September she cruised off the coast of Greece with aircraft carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt, providing weight to American diplomatic efforts to assure Greek citizens the right of self determination in the 1 September plebiscite which returned King George II to the throne and reinforced their previously recorded (31 March 1946) repudiation of the Communist Party and its supporters then engaged in guerilla activities. Her mission, a precursor to the Truman Doctrine, completed, New joined TG 125.4, then operating with British warships in the Adriatic to prevent any outbreak of hostilities between Italy and Yugoslavia over Trieste.
On 8 February 1947, New got underway for the United States, where, after overhaul, she commenced three years of employment in type training and antisubmarine warfare exercises from Key West to the Davis Straits. In 1949 and 1950 she added midshipman training cruises to that schedule. On 9 September 1950, New, now DDE–818 (effective 4 March 1950), departed her homeport of Norfolk for a month long NATO exercise in the Mediterranean. On her return she resumed local operations with her squadron which on 1 January 1951 became CortDesRon 4. For the next six years New, a unit of the Atlantic Fleet’s Destroyer Force, continued to rotate tours in the Mediterranean with duty in the Western Atlantic. Assigned to the same fleet’s antisubmarine force in April 1956, she conducted her third midshipman training cruise the following summer and, in July, became flagship of DesRon 36.
On 8 May 1958, New departed Hampton Roads for her eighth tour with the 6th Fleet. During this extended Mediterranean deployment she participated in 6th Fleet operations in response to Lebanese President Chamoun’s request for aid in countering a coup against his regime. One of the first ships on the spot, she patrolled Beirut Straits awaiting word to evacuate American nationals if it became necessary.
1962 brought another break in New’s regular schedule of operations. Reclassified DD–818 once again, 30 June, she trained midshipmen during the summer and in the fall was called on to participate in the Cuban Quarantine. Departing Norfolk 26 October she was engaged in ASW screening and surface vessel surveillance as a unit of Task Group Bravo until 20 November. Then, quitting the Caribbean, New returned to Norfolk where she underwent availability and upkeep prior to entering the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a FRAM Mark I conversion, during which she received the ASROC system.
On 7 December 1963, the modernized New returned to active duty with a new squadron, DesRon 22. With that squadron she participated in further ASW activities throughout most of 1964, taking time out during the summer to conduct a midshipman training cruise to Europe. On 5 March 1965 she resumed her regular 6th Fleet deployment, adding, on that tour, a new dimension by taking on patrol duties in the vital and volatile Red Sea and Persian Gulf areas to bolster units of the Royal Navy’s forces East of Suez.
In 1967, New’s overseas deployment was again shifted to a new area and on 20 June she departed Norfolk for WestPac to support operations in Southeast Asia. On 29 July she arrived at Subic Bay and by 8 August she was at Da Nang, RVN, whence she steamed north to take up duties on the Northern Search and Rescue Station in Tonkin Gulf as a unit of TF 77. On 29 September she took up fire support duties off Quang Ngai. There she supported elements of the 2nd ROK Marine Brigade and the 1st US Marine Division during operation “Dragon Fire,” after which she retired from the combat area for a brief R&R period. On 19 November she returned to Viet Nam for further fire support missions south of the DMZ, continuing that role until sailing for home 1 December to arrive in Hampton Roads 16 January 1968.
Into the summer of 1968, New took part in the search for the ill-fated submarine Scorpion, after which she prepared for another MidEast deployment. Departing the East Coast 30 October, the destroyer set a course, necessitated by the closure of the Suez Canal, for Recife, thence around the Cape of Good Hope and into the Indian Ocean. By the end of the year she had called at Lourenco Marques, Diego Suarez, and Mombasa, and with the arrival of 1969, she added Djibouti and Bombay to her good will visits prior to commencing her assigned operations along the coast of the Eurasian heartland.