Joseph Roy Odum, born in Jacksonville, Fla., 9 February 1913, enlisted in the Navy 20 June 1934 and served continuously until killed in action, in the Solomons, 15 October 1942. A gunner on Meredith (DD–434), he remained at his battle station, after the order to abandon ship had been given, so he could protect shipmates in the water from being strafed by Japanese planes. He was still firing when the ship went under. For his action, Fireman First Class Odum was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.
(APD–71: dp. 2130 (f.); l. 306’; b. 37’; dr. 13’; s. 24 k.; cpl. 3741 a. 1 5”, 6 40mm., 6 20mm.; cl. Charles Lawrence)
Odum was laid down as DE–670, 15 October 1943, by the Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex.; launched 19 January 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Katherine Odum, mother of Fireman First Class Joseph Odum, converted to a high speed transport and redesignated APD–71 on 27 June 1944; commissioned 12 January 1945, Lt. Comdr. John A. Comly in command.
Following shakedown off Bermuda, Odum transited the Panama Canal and proceeded up the Pacific coast to San Diego, whence she sailed, 16 May, for Hawaii. There she completed amphibious training off Maui; took on underwater demolition gear; and headed west. Discharging her cargo at Guam, she proceeded to Ulithi, whence she escorted transport SS Kote Baroe to Leyte, arriving 29 June. From Leyte, escort missions took her again to Ulithi, thence to Hollandia, and back to Leyte. There, in mid-August, she joined TF 33 and, on the 31st, got underway to escort occupation-troop transports to Japan. Arriving 8 September, she departed again on the 12th to escort transports carrying former POWs to the Philippines.
Odum remained in the Far East supporting the occupation of Japan until late November, when she headed back to the United States. Assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, she operated in TransRon 2 along the east coast and off Cuba and Puerto Rico until entering the Charleston, S.C., Naval Shipyard for inactivation 26 July 1946, and decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Fla. 15 November. Later transferred to the Texas Group, Odum remained in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until sold under the Military Assistance Program to the government of Chile, and struck from the Navy List, 1 December 1966.