USS Rowan (DD-405), 1939-43
The Benham-class destroyer, USS Rowan (DD-405) was commissioned on September 23, 1939, at Norfolk, Virginia. Initially assigned to the Pacific, she was ordered back east in the spring of 1941 on Neutrality Patrols protecting Atlantic Convoys. Continuing these patrols in July 1942, Rowan was one of the U.S. Navy warships protecting the ill-fated PQ-17 Convoy. Following this duty in November, she participated in Operation Torch. In July 1943, she served with Task Force 80 during the Allied Invasion of Sicily. On September 11, during the Allied Invasion of Mainland Italy, Rowan was attacked and torpedoed by a German E-boat while heading back to Oran with transports and freighters after the landings at Paestum, Italy. Within less than a minute, she sank with the loss of 202 of her 273 officers and crew. USS Bristol (DD-453) rescued the survivors.
Image: NH 103503: USS Rowan (DD-405), underway at sea, August 16, 1940. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.