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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Wyman

 

Eldon P. Wyman—born in Portland, Oreg., on 11 January 1917—attended the University of Oregon from 1936 to 1940 before he enlisted in the Naval Reserve as an apprentice seaman on 22 August 1940 at Portland. After training in Tuscaloosa (CA-37), he accepted an appointment as midshipman in the Naval Reserve on 17 March 1941.

 

Attending the Naval Reserve Midshipman's School at Northwestern University, Chicago, 111., Wyman was commissioned ensign on 12 June and reported to Oklahoma (BB-37) on 19 July. That battleship subsequently operated out of Pearl Harbor as a unit of Battleship Division 1 on exercises in the Hawaiian operating area and off the west coast as tensions increased in the Pacific and in the Far East. By early in December 1941, Wyman was serving as junior watch officer of the ship's "F" (fire control) division. Moored outboard of Maryland (BB-46) on that "day of infamy," Oklahoma took four aerial torpedoes and rolled over at her berth; among those trapped within the doomed ship's hull was Ensign Eldon P. Wyman.

 

Robert H. Wyman—born at Portsmouth, N.H., on 12 July 1822—was appointed midshipman on 11 March 1837 and served initially in the razee Independence on the Brazil station. After sea duty in the sloops-of-war Fairfield and John Adams—the latter commanded by his father—he was appointed passed midshipman in 1843. Over the next three years, Wyman served in South American waters in the schooner On-ka-hy-e, the brig Perry, and the frigate Brandywine before participating in the Mexican War in Commodore Conner's Home Squadron—first in the steamer Princeton and later in the brig Porpoise and the sloop Albany. During that time, he took part in the expeditions against Tampico during November 1864 and Veracruz in March 1847.

 

Passed Midshipman Wyman spent a tour of duty ashore at the Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C., before reporting to the receiving ship at Boston, Franklin, and subsequently being promoted to lieutenant on 16 July 1850. Over the next decade, he served at sea; and the outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861 found him in command of Richmond on the Mediterranean station.

 

Early in July, soon after he brought that steam sloop-of-war home for wartime duty, he took command of Yankee. In September, Wyman assumed command of Pocahontas. That ship, as part of the Potomac River Flotilla, helped to keep open the Union's vital waterway communications with Washington while cutting off Southern forces from their sympathizers in southern Maryland.

 

Commanding the steamer Pawnee from October 1861, Wyman took part in Flag Officer DuPont's capture of the key seaport of Port Royal, S.C. After that operation, Wyman returned north and took command 01 the Potomac River Flotilla on 6 December 1861. He held this important post until the end of June 1862. During his time in the Potomac, he was active in maintaining Union control of that vital river and of much of the Rappahannock during General McClellan's Peninsular Campaign. His ships destroyed Southern bridges, captured nine Confederate ships, and burned 40 schooners.

 

Promoted to commander on 16 July 1862, Wyman was ordered to command the gunboat Sonoma on the James River. Transferred to the West Indian Squadron the following October, he commanded the steam sloop Wachusett and the paddle steamer Santiago de Cuba, and captured the blockade runners Brittania and Lizzie. During the last two years of the War Between the States, Wyman served on special duty in the Navy Department in Washington.

 

After the Civil War, Wyman commanded Colorado, the flagship for the European Squadron, and was promoted to captain on 25 July 1866 and took command of the steam sloop Ticonderoga the following year. After that tour of sea duty, Wyman headed the Navy's Hydrographic Office for eight years, receiving promotions to commodore on 19 July 1872 and to rear admiral on 26 April 1878. His leadership of the Hydro-graphic Office proved to be of great importance to the Navy and seafaring men in general. Through the Civil War, the United States Navy had relied upon foreign sources—principally British—for their navigational charts, doing little of their own hydrographic work. Under Wyman's direction, the office began a systematic and sustained program of world-wide charting and surveying, the precursor of the Navy's present globe-girdling oceanographic research effort.

 

Following his promotion to flag rank in the spring of 1878, Wyman was given command of the North Atlantic Squadron. Subsequently becoming chairman of the Lighthouse Board, Rear Admiral Wyman died in Washington, D.C., on 2 December 1882.

 

The first Wyman (DE-38) honors Ensign Eldon P. Wyman; the second Wyman (T-AGS-34) honors Rear Admiral Robert H. Wyman.

 

I

 

(DE-38: dp. 1,140; l. 289'5"; b. 35'1"; dr. 8'3"; s. 21 k.; cpl. 156; a. 3 3", 4 1.1", 9 20mm., 8 dcp., 2 dct., 1 dcp. (hh.); cl. Evarts)

 

The first Wyman (DE-38) was originally laid down as BDE-38 on 7 September 1942 at Bremerton, Wash., by the Puget Sound Navy Yard for the Royal Navy; launched on 3 June 1943; and sponsored by Mrs. Joe L. Aprill. However, the ship's transfer to the United Kingdom was canceled. The destroyer escort was designated DE-38 on 16 June; named Wyman on the 23d; and was commissioned at the Puget Sound Navy Yard on 1 September 1943, Lt. Comdr. Robert W. Copeland, USNR, in command.

 

Following shakedown, Wyman departed Puget Sound on 7 November, bound for Hawaii, and arrived at Pearl Harbor on the 14th. Assigned to duty with Submarines, Pacific Fleet, the destroyer escort operated out of Pearl Harbor on submarine exercises from 1 December 1943 through the spring of 1944.

 

Detached from this duty on 22 June 1944, Wyman sailed for the Marshall Islands and began antisubmarine warfare (ASW) operations in the American convoy routes between Eniwetok and Saipan. Joining Task Group (TG) 12.2, based around Hoggatt Bay (CVE-75), Wyman departed Eniwetok on 5 July and headed for the ASW operating area. En route, she left her formation to investigate a submarine contact which had been developed and depth-charged by Lake (DE-301). Wyman fired one barrage of depth bombs from her "hedgehog" but did not come up with evidence that she had either damaged or destroyed her enemy.

 

The destroyer escort arrived in her patrol zone on 9 July and refueled from Guadalupe (AO-32) on the 11th. She remained in the area from 12 to 18 July before proceeding to investigate a surface radar contact at 0024 on the 19th. The destroyer escort closed the range until she lost radar contact at 0045 and switched immediately to her sonar. Wyman picked up a strong metallic echo and, at 0051, fired a full pattern of "hedgehog" projectiles, with negative results. She reloaded, opened the range, and then closed for a second attack, as Reynolds (DE-42) closed in the meantime.

 

At 0125, Wyman launched a second full pattern from her "hedgehog"—dead on the target. A series of violent explosions rocked the destroyer escort, as the depth bombs blew the submarine apart. Wyman circled to starboard and passed through her own firing point in order to regain contact but picked up only a "mush" echo—^indicative that her contact had been destroyed. Remaining on the scene of the action, Wyman lowered a motor whaleboat to recover oil samples from the water and to fish out debris. In the large, spreading, oil slick, men in the boat picked up two five-gallon oil cans, one small gasoline can, and a piece of teak wood. As it was gathering this materiel, Wyman's motor whaler was strafed by two planes from Hoggatt Bay, whose pilots had mistaken the boat for a surfaced submarine. Fortunately, there were no fatalities; and the injured men were soon transferred to Hoggatt Bay for medical treatment.

 

Oil from the sunken submarine—later identified by a postwar examination of Japanese records as RO-48continued to bubble up in copious quantities into the next day. Satisfied that the kill was definite, Wyman rejoined TG 12.2 and arrived at Eniwetok on 22 July.

 

Her respite was short, however, for she again got underway on 26 July. Two days later, at 1733, lookouts in Hoggatt Bay and Wyman simultaneously spotted a Japanese submarine, 7-55, running on the surface. Wyman and Reynolds charged after the enemy submersible as she went deep in an effort to escape. Wyman picked up the fleeing I-boat by sonar at 1805. Eight minutes later, the destroyer escort fired a "hedgehog" pattern which struck its target with deadly accuracy. Wyman's sound operators heard the sounds of heavy explosions from beneath the sea as 1-55 began to blow apart. While opening the range at 1819, a further set of explosions rocked the sea, sounding the death knell for the enemy I-boat. Reynolds then added a "hedgehog" pattern, but her target had already perished. Large quantities of debris and oil, visible evidence of Wyman's second "kill," soon came to the surface.

 

With the dissolution of TG 12.2 on 9 August, Wyman joined TG 57.3 for escort duty in waters between the Marshalls and Marianas. On 31 August, the destroyer escort escorted fuel ships of Task Unit 30.8.10 to a rendezvous with TG 38.4 and back to link up with TG 38.2 and Task Force 34. After completing this mission on 20 October 1944, the day of the first landings in the Philippine Islands, Wyman resumed escort operations between the Marshalls and Marianas and also participated in hunter-killer operations into early 1945, supporting the invasion of the strategic island of Iwo Jima.

 

She departed from Ulithi on 13 March 1945 and proceeded to the fueling area for TG 50.8 for duty as escort with the Logistics Support Group for the invasion of Okinawa. During this tour of duty, which lasted into the spring of 1945, she sank three floating Japanese mines by gunfire.

 

The destroyer escort remained with the 5th Fleet until 10 June, continuing her unglamorous but vital role, screening the important convoys bringing men and munitions to the war zone for the drive against the Japanese homeland. After a stop at Guam, Wyman headed for the United States, proceeding via Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok, and arrived at San Francisco on 15 July.

 

The end of the war changed the Navy's plans for the ship. On 17 August—while in the midst of her scheduled 42-day overhaul during which she was to receive her "ultimate approved armament"—all work on the ship "except that necessary to place the ship in safe and habitable condition" was halted. Declared surplus to the needs of the postwar Navy, Wyman was decommissioned on 17 December 1945 and struck from the Navy list on 8 January 1946.

 

Having been stripped prior to her decommissioning, the ship's hulk was sold to the National Steel and Metal Company, of Terminal Island, Calif., on 16 April 1947 for scrapping—a process which was completed by 14 March 1948.

 

Wyman received six battle stars for her service on convoy-escort and hunter-killer operations.