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USS Brownson (DD-518)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Brownson (DD-518)

USS Brownson (DD-518) was laid down on 15 February 1942 at Staten Island, N.Y. by the Bethlehem Steel Co.; launched on 24 September 1942; and sponsored by Mrs. Cleland S. Baxter, the granddaughter of Rear Adm. Brownson. Commissioned on 3 February 1943, at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y., Lt. Cmdr. Joseph B. Maher in command, the new destroyer fitted out there.

USS Brownson (DD-518) concluded training off Cuba on 17 March 1943, and steamed for the New York Navy Yard, where she arrived on 20 March for post-shakedown availability, after which she spent a month transiting between New York, Cape Cod Bay and Buzzards Bay, Mass., Casco Bay, Maine, Norfolk, Va., and Melville, R.I. USS Brownson (DD-518) shifted to Bayonne, N.J., on 28 April 1943, to commence deperming and returned to New York that evening. Early the next morning, she joined an anti-submarine screen with convoy UGF-8 as part of Task Force (TF) 67 and departed for Casablanca, French Morocco.

On the morning of 3 May 1943, while steaming to Casablanca, USS Brownson (DD-518) received orders from her screen commander to assist in the search for the two-man crew of a Vought OS2N-1 Kingfisher (BuNo 01507) whose aircraft had capsized while attempting to land astern of the battleship Texas (BB-35). Early on 12 May 1943, USS Brownson (DD-518) weighed anchor and spent the day patrolling the entrance to Casablanca harbor in search of enemy submarines.

USS Brownson (DD-518) began transiting the Panama Canal during the afternoon of 18 June 1943, and moored starboard side to Pier 18 at Balboa, Panama Canal Zone, that evening. On 13 August 1943, USS Brownson (DD-518) reported to TG 16.3 and joined company with the ships of Task Unit (TU) 16.4.3, made up of battleships USS Tennessee (BB-43) and USS Pennsylvania (BB-38), destroyers USS Bache (DD-470) and USS Ammen, and light cruiser USS Santa Fe (CL-60). On 2 November 1943, USS Brownson (DD-518) entered Dry Dock No. 3 at Pearl Harbor to undergo an availability. After exiting dry dock on 8 November, she conducted various exercises in assigned operating areas off Oahu until rendezvousing with USS Mullany on 9 November and getting underway to return to the Aleutian Islands. Serving as an escort, USS Brownson (DD-518)  transited between the Aleutian Islands and the Komandorski Islands [Commander Islands], USSR, in company with the light cruisers Richmond (CL-9), Raleigh (CL-7), and Detroit (CL-8), and destroyers USS Bush, USS Mullany, USS Bache, and USS Ammen, as part of TF 94 (16–29 November 1943).

USS Brownson (DD-518) shifted to Buna Roads, Papua New Guinea, in accordance with CTF 76, Operation Order 3B-43 on 23 December and conducted anti-submarine patrol off Cape Ward Hunt (24–25 December) en route to Cape Cretin, Papua New Guinea. On 26 December 1943, USS Brownson (DD-518) departed Cape Cretin. That afternoon, at approximately 1442, two bombs from a Japanese Aichi D3A Type 99 carrier bomber (Val) hit USS Brownson (DD-518) while she screened the landings on Cape Gloucester. The bombs struck to the starboard of her centerline, near the number two stack.

At 1450, Lt. Cmdr. Maher gave the order to abandon ship. By that time, the amidships section was entirely underwater. Witnesses reported a single ripple like a depth charge explosion and the ship sank at 1459. USS Brownson (DD-518) suffered the loss of 108 of her crew. Daly and Lamson (DD-367) rescued the survivors. The destroyer was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 22 January 1944.

For a complete history of the USS Brownson (DD-518) please see its DANFS page.