Robert Field Stockton, born on 20 August 1795 at Princeton, N.J., entered the United States Navy as a midshipman in 1811. During the War of 1812, he served with distinction on board a frigate, President, and later ashore defending Washington and Baltimore. After the war, Stockton served in the Mediterranean Squadron, operating against Barbary pirates in waters off the west coast of Africa, suppressing the slave trade, and in the Caribbean fighting buccaneers. He commanded Erie and Alligator between 1820 and 1822. Stockton left active duty in 1828 to become involved in the Delaware & Raritan Canal Co.
Returning to active duty in 1838 with the rank of captain, Stockton assumed command of ship-of-the-line Ohio. He declined President Tyler's offer to appoint him Secretary of the Navy in 1841 and instead worked with John Ericsson on the construction of the Navy's first screw warship Princeton; and, in 1843, he became her first commander. In 1845, he was chosen by the President to convey the United States government's annexation resolution to the government of Texas.
After relieving Commodore Sloat in command of the Pacific Squadron on 23 July 1847, Commodore Stockton directed operations which captured California and added other territory to the nation. He resigned from the Navy on 28 May 1850; and, in the following year, was sent to the United States Senate by New Jersey. During his term as Senator, Stockton introduced a bill providing for abolition of flogging in the Navy; and he was energetic in urging adequate coastal defenses. From 1853 until his death, Commodore Stockton was president of the Delaware & Raritan Canal Co. He died on 7 October 1866 at Princeton, N.J.
(DD-646: dp. 1,630;l. 348'3"; b. 36'1"; dr. 17'5"; s. 37.4 k.; cpl. 276; a. 4 5", 4 40mm., 7 20mm., 5 21" tt., 2 dct., 6 dcp.; cl. Gleaves)
The third Stockton (DD-646) was laid down on 24 July 1942 at Kearny, N.J., by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Co.; launched on 11 November 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Horace K. Corbin; and commissioned on 11 January 1943, Lt. Comdr. R. E. Braddy in command.
After shakedown, Stockton joined the Atlantic Fleet on 15 March 1943 and began escorting convoys between New York and North African ports. Between 28 May 1943 and 3 January 1944, she escorted four convoys. On 24 January 1944, she got underway for the South Pacific.
On arrival, Stockton joined the 7th Fleet forces assembled for the invasion of Los Negros Island in the Admiralties. She participated in the initial bombardment that cleared the way for the landings on 29 February and remained in the area for three days, patrolling and giving fire support to the forces ashore. From 9 to 13 March, she supported similar but smaller landings in Seeadler Harbor. As American forces leapfrogged along the northern coast of New Guinea, Stockton acted as an antiaircraft and antisubmarine screening vessel during the landings in Humboldt Bay on 22 April and at Wakde on 17 May; and she provided gunfire support for the Biak landings on 27 May. While off Biak, she received minor damage when hit by a shell from a shore battery on 28 May; and, on 12 June, she towed Kalk (DD-611) into Humboldt Bay, after that destroyer had been immobilized by a bomb hit amidships.
On 2 July, she was with the invasion forces off Noemfoor and acted both as screening and fire-support ship during the landings. After a month of escort and training duty along the northern coast of New Guinea, she sailed from New Guinea on 22 August to join units of the 3d Fleet for the invasion of the Palau Islands. The destroyer escorted the transports as they approached Peleliu on 15 September and protected them after the landings until she headed home on 14 October.
After overhaul at Seattle, Wash., Stockton completed refresher training at Pearl Harbor on 24 January 1945. Between 10 February and 9 March, she screened escort carriers as they provided air cover for the landings on Iwo Jima. On 21 February, two days after the landings, Stockton's group was attacked by four suicide planes, which sank the escort carrier Bismarck Sea (CVE-95), and damaged Lunga Point (CVE-94). From 18 March to the end of the war, the destroyer escorted replenishment units of the Logistics Support Group as they provided fuel and supplies to the fleet during the Okinawa campaign and the concurrent air strikes on the Ryukyus and the Japanese home islands. On 31 March-the day before the Okinawa landings-Stockton and Morrison (DD-560) sank the Japanese submarine, 1-8, after a three and one-half hour action. In early April, Stockton directed the salvage of Thornton (AVD-11), which had collided with two tankers of Stockton's group.
Stockton continued her support duties during the first month and one-half of the occupation of Japan. She sailed on 15 October from Japan and proceeded, via Singapore and Capetown, to New York. The destroyer was decommissioned on 16 May 1946 and placed in reserve at Charleston, S.C. She was struck from the Navy list on 1 July 1971.
Stockton received 8 battle stars for her World War II service.