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Stansbury

 

John Stansbury, born in Baltimore, Maryland, served in the United States Navy during the War of 1812. He served under Decatur as a midshipman in United States during the capture of the British ship, Macedonian. He was killed during the Battle of Lake Champlain on 11 September 1814.

 

(Destroyer No. 180: dp. 1,284; l. 314'4 "; b. 30'11&"; dr. 9'2" (mean); s. 33.5 k. (tl.); cpl. 122; a. 4 4", 2' 3", 12 21" tt.; cl. Wickes)

 

Stansbury (Destroyer No. 180) was laid down on 9 December 1918 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp. at San Francisco, Calif.; launched on 16 May 1919; sponsored by Miss Mary Eleanor Trevorrow; and commissioned at Mare Island Navy Yard on 8 January 1920, Comdr. John W. Lewis in command.

 

Stansbury served with the Pacific Fleet for over two years during which time she received the designation DD-180 on 17 July 1920. On 27 May 1922, she was decommissioned and berthed at San Diego, Calif. She remained inactive for more than 18 years, but the onset of World War II in Europe in September 1939 necessitated her reactivation, along with that of many of her sister ships. Accordingly, Stansbury was recommissioned at San Diego on 29 August 1940, Lt. Comdr. Robert N. McFarlane in command. From there, she moved to the Mare Island Navy Yard to begin her conversion to a high speed mine sweeper. In October, she proceeded to Norfolk, Va., where the conversion was completed. On 19 November, she was redesignated from DD-180 to DMS-8.

 

Stansbury was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet from October 1940 to December 1943. She spent her first year in the Atlantic in minesweeping exercises, conducting maneuvers in the Caribbean Sea, and, following American entry into World War II in December 1941, in coastwise escort duties. On 30 June 1942, Stansbury was escorting the steamship City of Birmingham from Norfolk to Bermuda when the German submarine U-202 (that had recently landed a team of German agents on the coast of Long Island on 12 June) torpedoed the steamer about 250 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, killing six crewmen and two passengers. Stansbury depth-charged the U-boat and drove her off, and then rescued 107 merchant seamen (one of whom died later of his injuries), 261 passengers, and the five-man Armed Guard detachment; ultimately, she pulled into Bermuda on 1 July to disembark the survivors.

 

Stansbury set out from Norfolk on 24 October 1942 to join Task Force (TF) 34, the North Africa invasion force, assigned to Mine Squadron (MinRon) 7 of the Center Attack Group for the landings. The group's assault area was at Fedala just up the coast from Casablanca; the ships arrived off the objective area on 7 November. Stansbury and the other minesweepers made an exploratory sweep of the approaches and then she joined the screen in patrolling the transport area. On the 15th, the cargo ship Electra (AK-21) was torpedoed; but -- thanks to the efforts of Stansbury, minesweeper Raven (AM-55), and fleet tug Cherokee (AT-66) -- she remained afloat throughout the night and was beached at Casablanca the following morning. The high speed mine sweeper returned to Hampton Roads, Va., on 26 December 1942. For the next year, she plied the eastern coastal waters of the United States and the North Atlantic as far east as Iceland.

 

On 4 December 1943, Stansbury transited the Panama Canal and joined the Pacific Fleet. She conducted minesweeping exercises off the coast of California for about a month; then stood out of San Diego on 13 January 1944 and headed west with TF 53. The task force reached Lahaina Roads, in the Hawaiian Islands, on 22 January and sailed for the Marshalls the following day. Stansbury operated in the antisubmarine screen both during the voyage to Kwajalein and during the assault itself. She remained in the vicinity from 1 to 7 February; then joined an amphibious group in returning to Funafuti in the Ellice Islands. On 13 February, she sailed to Noumea, New Caledonia, arriving on the 20th. For almost four months, Stansbury made the South Pacific circuit, screening numerous amphibious and logistics groups. She visited the Solomons and New Hebrides groups, New Britain, and escorted part of the Admiralty Islands assault force to its objective in mid-April. She returned to the central Pacific, in May, at Eniwetok.

 

On 10 June 1944, Stansbury and nine other high speed mine sweepers departed Eniwetok and, three days later, rendezvoused off Saipan with TP 58, Vice Admiral Mitscher's Past Carrier Task Force. The minesweepers swept off the west coast of the island while TF 58 covered them. After about five hours of clearing mines, they retired and joined an advance bombardment group from TF 53. Stansbury helped screen the big warships from enemy submarines until the arrival of the initial invasion forces on 15 June; then she joined in a bombardment of Guam. Returning to the vicinity of Saipan and Tinian, she provided fire support for the troops ashore until 26 June when she headed back to Eniwetok. On 21 July, after almost four weeks absence, she returned to the Marianas with TF 53 to support the recapture of Guam. For a week, she screened the task force from submarines and performed picket patrol for the amphibious units.

 

On the 28 July 1944, Stansbury returned to Eniwetok as part of the escort for a transport group. On 7 August, the high speed mine sweeper got underway from Eniwetok for San Francisco, via Pearl Harbor. She reached her destination on 26 August and entered the yard of the General Engineering and Dry Dock Co. Her overhaul was completed on 17 January 1945; and Stansbury sailed to San Diego, arriving the following day. There she reported for duty with the San Diego Shakedown Group.

 

For the remainder of the war, Stansbury served as a training ship for the Fleet Operational Training Command, Pacific Fleet. Her designation was changed from DMS-8 to AG-107 on 5 June 1945. In September 1945, Stansbury transited the Panama Canal again and headed for Norfolk, Va. She was decommissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 11 December 1945, and her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 3 January 1946. Her hulk was sold to Luria Bros. & Co. of Philadelphia, Pa., on 26 October, and she was scrapped on 25 January 1947.

 

Stansbury was awarded three battle stars for her World War II service.


30 November 2005