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Rodman

 

Hugh Rodman, born at Frankfort, Ky., on 6 January 1859, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1880. Duty in Yantic, Wachusett, Hartford, and Essex and tours at the Hydrographic Office and at the Naval Observatory were followed in 1891 by 4 years of survey duty along the coasts of Alaska and British Columbia. During the Spanish-American War, he served in Raleigh and was commended for his outstanding conduct in the Battle of Manila Bay. In 1899, he participated in scientific explorations in the Pacific under the direction of Alexander Agassiz. Then, in 1900, he returned to Alaska for work investigating its fisheries. From 1901 to 1904 he commanded Iroquois in Hawaiian waters. Next on the Asiatic Station, he served in New Orleans, Cincinnati (C-7), and Wisconsin (BB-9) and, in 1905, commanded Elcano (PG-38) on the Yangtze River Patrol. From 1907 to 1909, he attended the Naval War College and served as Lighthouse Inspector, 6th Naval District. In 1909 he returned to the Far East to serve in turn as captain of the yard, Cavite, Philippine Islands, and as commanding officer of Cleveland (C-19). Captain of the yard, Mare Island, in 1911, he assumed command of Connecticut (BB-18), flagship, Atlantic Fleet, in 1912, and of Delaware (BB-28) in 1913. Duty as Marine Superintendent of the Panama Canal followed in 1914, and in 1915 he commanded New York (BB-34). During 1916 he served on the General Board.

 

In 1917 Admiral Rodman served as Commander, 9th Division, Atlantic Fleet, in his flagship, New York. Ordered to European waters late in the year, his division joined the British Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow and became the 6th Battle Squadron, British Grand Fleet, under Admiral Sir David Beatty. For the remainder of World War I, Admiral Rodman commanded his division in operations in the North Sea.

 

Returning to the United States after the Armistice, he served with the Atlantic Fleet until July 1919 when he became Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet. Detached in 1921, he served as Commandant, 5th Naval District, from 1921 to 1922 , interrupting that duty once for a mission to Peru as Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary. During 1922-23, he was senior member of a board to formulate administrative policy for all shore stations and on reaching retirement age, 64, was transferred to the retired list. After his retirement, he continued to serve the United States and the Navy on various missions which included, in the summer of 1923, accompanying President Harding on his ill-fated inspection of Alaska. In 1937, he represented the U.S. Navy at coronation ceremonies in London. Admiral Rodman died at Bethesda, Md., 7 June 1940, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

 

(DD - 456: displacement 1,630; length 34710; beam 36; draft 14 (mean); complement 270; armament 4 5, 4 1.1, 5 20mm., 5 21 torpedo tubes, 6 depth charge projectors, 2 depth charge tracks; class Gleaves)

 

Rodman (DD-456) was laid down 16 December 1940 by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N.J.; launched 26 September 1941; sponsored by Mrs. Albert K. Stebbins, Jr., grandniece of Admiral Rodman; and commissioned 27 January 1942, Comdr. W. G. Michelet in command.

 

Following shakedown, Rodman, assigned to TF 22, alternated training and patrol duties at Argentia with screening and plane guard services for Ranger (CV-4) as that carrier trained aviation personnel along the northeast U.S. coast and ferried planes of the Army's 33d Pursuit Squadron to Accra on the Gold Coast from 22 April to 28 May 1942. Detached in June, she departed Newport 1 July, escorted a seven-troopship convoy to the Firth of Clyde, then continued on to the Orkneys where as a unit of TF 99, she commenced operations with the British Home Fleet. Based at Scapa Flow into August, she alternated patrols from Scotland and Iceland to protect the southern legs of the PQ-QP convoy lanes between those two countries and the north Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel. With the long summer days, however, the U-boats and Norwegian based Luftwaffe units continued to exact a heavy toll. In early July, they destroyed Convoy PQ-17. Further convoys were postponed until the relative cover of the Arctic winter darkness could be regained.

 

Operation "Easy Unit" then came into being. Toward the end of July, Rodman was designated to assist in filling the increasing immediate logistics demands of the Russians, and of British and American personnel in northern Russia, and to prepare for bases, men, and equipment to provide air cover for the convoys when they resumed. On 17 August Rodman, with Tuscaloosa (CA-37) and two other American destroyers, departed Scapa Flow carrying medical personnel and supplies, men, and equipment for the RAF's number 144 and 145 Hampden Squadrons, ammunition, pyrotechnics, radar gear, drystores, and provisions. Following the route taken by British destroyers 3 weeks earlier, they entered Kola Inlet after dark on the 23d. The Luftwaffe was grounded. The ships offloaded, refueled, took on merchant sailors - survivors of ill-fated convoys, and departed Vaenga Bay on the 24th.

 

En route back to Scotland, the American ships were joined by Royal Navy destroyers. On the 25th, the British ships tracked the German minelayer Ulm, one of many ships and boats engaged in planting mines at the entrance to the White Sea and in the shallow waters off Novaya Zemlya, and sank her southeast of Bear Island.

 

Rodman arrived back in the Firth of Clyde on the 30th and on 1 September got underway for New York. An abbreviated overhaul at Boston followed and, at the end of the month, she resumed training and patrols off the U.S. northeast coast. On 25 October she sortied with TG 34.2 to support the amphibious force of TF 34 in Operation "Torch," the invasion of North Africa. On 7 November, TU 34.2.3., Santee (CVE-29), Emmons (DD-457), and Rodman left TG 34.2 and screened the Southern Attack Group to its destination. From then through the 11th, Rodman screened Santee, then put into Safi for replenishment. On the 13th she retired, arrived at Norfolk on the 24th, thence proceeded to Boston where her 1.1-inch battery was replaced by 40mm. and 20mm. guns.

 

In December she steamed to the Panama Canal whence she escorted a convoy back to the U.S. east coast, arriving at Norfolk 7 January 1943. The next day she sailed again, joining Ranger for two more ferry runs to Africa, this time to Morocco. During March and April, she remained in the western Atlantic, again ranging as far north as Argentia on patrol and escort duty. In May, she returned to the United Kingdom.

 

Arriving at Scapa Flow on the 18th, Rodman rejoined the Home Fleet. Into the summer she and her sister ships patrolled out of Scotland and Iceland and screened the larger ships of the combined force, including Duke of York, South Dakota (BB-57), and Alabama (BB-60), as they attempted to draw the German fleet, particularly Tirpitz, out of the protected fjords.

 

With August, Rodman returned to the United States and by 1 September had resumed patrols at Argentia. Detached in October, she departed Norfolk 3 November for Bermuda, whence she sailed in the advance scouting line screening Iowa (BB-61) then carrying President Roosevelt on the first leg of his journey to the Teheran Conference. Returning in mid-December, the destroyer guarded carriers on training exercises out of Newport and Portland, Maine, until April 1944. Then, on the 20th, she headed east with other units of her squadron, DesRon 10. On 1 May she arrived at Mers-el-Kebir, whence she operated as a unit of TG 80.6, a hunter-killer group formed to work with the North African coastal air squadrons against the U-boat menace to shipping in the 325-mile stretch between the Straits of Gibraltar and Oran. The Anglo-American air-sea effort, devised to keep U-boats submerged to the point of exhaustion and then overwhelm them as they surfaced, required time and patience, as well as coordination. It was instrumental in slicing the number of operational U-boats in the Mediterranean by over one-third between March and June.

 

On 14 May Rodman, with others of her squadron, departed Mers-el-Kebir to track a submarine which had sunk four merchantmen in less than 2 days. A 72 hour air-surface hunt ensued, but on the morning of the 17th, the damaged U-616 surfaced, was abandoned, and sank. The force picked up survivors and retired to Mers-el-Kebir only to sail for England the following day.

 

On 22 May Rodman arrived at Plymouth and on the 23d assumed duties as CTU 126.2.1 for Operation "Neptune," the naval phase of "Overlord" - the invasion of France. On the 24th, she conducted shore bombardment exercises. Then she waited. On the 4th the convoy "B-1", formed, headed out across the Channel, and then turned back. On the 5th the convoy again formed and headed east, this time continuing on to France and landing reinforcements on Omaha Beach on the afternoon of the 6th. Rodman, detached on arrival in the assault area, joined TG 122.4 and through the 16th provided gunfire support and patrolled in the Baie de la Seine. Brief respite at Plymouth followed, but on the 18th she returned to the Normandy coast. Back in English waters from the 21st through the 24th, she joined TF 129 on the 25th as that force joined the IX Army Air Force in supporting the 9th, 79th, and 4th Army Divisions closing on Cherbourg.

 

Rodman returned to England the same day; preceded to sea again on the 30th; and, after a 3-day stop at Belfast, got underway for the Mediterranean to participate in operation "Dragoon" ("Anvil"), the invasion of southern France. Arriving at Mers-el-Kebir 11 July, she was en route to Sicily on the 16th, and into August operated between that island, the coast of Italy, and Malta.

 

On 11 August, assigned to TU 85.12.4, Rodman sailed from Taranto. Two days later French warships joined the formation; and on the 15th, the force arrived off the Delta assault area in the Baie de Bougnon. From 0430 to 0641, Rodman covered the minecraft sweeping the channels to the beaches. Two hours of shore bombardment followed. She then shifted to call fire support duties, which, with antiaircraft screening duties, she continued until retiring to Palermo on the 17th. Back off southern France on the 22d, she fired on shore batteries at Toulon on the 23d, covered minesweepers in the Golfe de Fos on the 25th, and in the Baie de Marseilles on the 26th. Engaged in screening and patrol duties through the end of the month, she sailed for Oran 2 September and for the next month and a half escorted men and supplies into the assault area.

 

In late October, Destroyer Squadron 10 escorted a convoy back to the United States. From New York Rodman continued on to Boston for conversion to a destroyer minesweeper. Emerging from the yard as DMS-21 on 16 December, she sailed for Norfolk the following week and on 1 January 1945 got underway for the Pacific. During the remainder of that month and into February, she conducted minesweeping and gunnery exercises off California and in Hawaiian waters, then sailed west. On 12 March she anchored at Ulithi and 7 days later sailed for the Ryukyus and her last amphibious Operation, "Iceberg." On the 24th and 25th she participated in minesweeping operations off Kerama Retto, then prepared for the assault on Okinawa.

 

After the 1 April landings on the Hagushi beaches, she remained in the area and was caught in the air-surface action which enveloped the island on the 6th. Assigned to picket duty early that day, she later shifted to screening duties and joined Emmons (DMS-22) in covering small minecraft sweeping the channel between Iheya Retto and Okinawa. In mid-afternoon a large flight of kamikazes flew over. At 1532 their leader dived out of the clouds and crashed Rodman's port bow. His bomb exploded under her. Sixteen men were killed or missing, 20 were wounded, but Rodman's engineering plant remained intact. Emmons commenced circling Rodman to provide antiaircraft fire as other suicide minded pilots closed in. Six were splashed. Marine Corps Corsairs arrived, joined in, and scored on 20, but not before others got through. Rodman was hit twice more during the 3-hour battle. Emmons splashed six more, but was crashed by five and damaged by four near misses. Her hulk was sunk the next day.

 

From 7 April to 5 May Rodman underwent temporary repairs at Kerama Retto, then started her journey back to the United States. Arriving at Charleston 19 June, her repairs were completed in mid-October, and on the 22d she sailed for Casco Bay for refresher training. For the next 3 years, she operated along the U.S. east coast, ranging from Newfoundland to the Caribbean; then, in September 1949, deployed to the Mediterranean.

 

There for only 2 weeks, she resumed her western Atlantic operations and during the next 6 years sailed twice more to the Mediterranean, both times for 5-month tours with the 6th Fleet, 2 June to 1 October 1952 and 19 January to 17 May 1954. Reclassified DD-456 on 15 January 1955, she decommissioned 28 July 1955 and was transferred the same day to the Republic of China where she served as RCS Hsien Yang (DD-16) until 1976 when the old destroyer was sunk for a motion picture.

 

Rodman earned five battle stars during World War II.


19 October 2005