Oscar C. Badger, born on 12 August 1823 in Mansfield, Connecticut, received appointment as a midshipman in the Navy on 9 September 1841 and, after a tour of duty in Independence, served in Saratoga along the Atlantic coast of Africa. While serving in the latter ship, he saw his first action in the punitive expedition that landed on the west coast of Africa in 1843 and destroyed the Berribee villages. In the sidewheel steamer Mississippi, during the Mexican War, he participated in the expedition that captured the Mexican town of Alvarado in the spring of 1847. Badger then attended the Naval School (as the Naval Academy was then called) at Annapolis, Md.; completed his course of study there; and was warranted a passed midshipman on 10 August 1847.
By 1850, he was posted to the Pacific Squadron and served successively in Supply, the frigate Savannah, and the sloop Vincennes. He returned to shore in 1853 for a tour of duty at the Naval Observatory located in Washington, D.C. In 1855, he returned to the Pacific Squadron for duty in the sloop John Adams and, that autumn, participated in an expedition to the Fiji Islands to redress wrongs suffered by members of the crews of American whalers and merchant ships at the hands of natives. The landing party destroyed the village of Vutia. To round out his pre-Civil War service, Badger was assigned in turn to Plymouth, Macedonian, Minnesota, and, lastly, to the Washington Navy Yard.
He was serving in the national capital at the outbreak of the Civil War, and took command of the screw steamer Anacostia early in that conflict. In her, he participated in a series of actions against Confederate batteries along the Virginia bank of the Potomac. During the Peninsula Campaign, he took part in the siege of Yorktown, Virginia. In 1862 , he was transferred to the western theater to superintend the arming of river gunboats. In mid-1863, he was switched to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and participated in the attack on shore batteries on Morris Island on 11 July 1863. A week later, he commanded Patapsco in an attack on Fort Wagner and, a month after that, led the ironclad in a series of operations against Forts Wagner, Gregg, and Sumter. On the night of 22 August 1863, he took command of the ironclad Montauk for another try at Fort Sumter.
Soon thereafter, Badger was appointed fleet captain, ad interim, of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and, in that office, took part in another attack on Fort Sumter while in the flagship Weehawken on the night of 1 September 1863. During that action, he was severely wounded in the leg by a flying metal splinter. He spent the remaining years of the Civil War ashore performing ordnance duty at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and serving as inspector of cannon at Pittsburgh. Sometime during 1866 he took command of the sidewheel steamer Peoria, a unit of the North Atlantic Squadron, and, in her, rendered assistance to the victims of a fire that destroyed Basseterre on St. Kitts in the Leeward Islands. In 1868, he came ashore for equipment duty at the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard. He returned to sea in 1871 in command of Ticonderoga of the South Atlantic Fleet. He commanded the receiving ship Ohio at Boston in 1873 and 1874 and served again at the Washington Navy Yard between 1875 and 1878.
His last sea duty came in 1878 and 1879 when he commanded the frigate Constitution. During 1880, he was stationed in Washington for special duty. While serving at the Naval Asylum in Philadelphia, Badger was promoted to commodore in November 1881. After commanding the Boston Navy Yard between 1881 and 1885, Badger retired in August of 1885. He died on 20 June 1899.
Oscar Charles Badger, son of Rear Admiral Charles J. Badger (q.v.) and the grandson of Commodore Oscar C. Badger, born on 26 June 1890 in Washington D.C.--entered the Naval Academy in 1907 and graduated in 1911 as a member of the last academy class to go to sea after graduation as passed midshipmen rather than as commissioned officers. He served first in Minnesota (Battleship No. 22) and then in Utah (Battleship No. 31). From the latter, he led the first landing party ashore at Veracruz, Mexico, on 21 April 1914 and was awarded the Medal of Honor for the “eminent and conspicuous ... skill and courage” with which he carried out that duty.
Following successive tours in Parker (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 48) and in Maine (Battleship No. 10), he was transferred to Arizona (Battleship No. 39), then under construction at the New York Navy Yard, and, after she went into commission, served in her until he was transferred to the American destroyer force operating out of Queenstown, Ireland, in December 1917. He served in Allen (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 66) and Porter (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 59) and was in the latter on 28 April 1918 when she made one of the few successful American attacks on a German U-boat during World War I, severely damaging U-108.
Badger received his first command in June 1918 when he took over armed yacht Sultana (SP-134) and remained in her until he assumed command of Worden (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 16) in October. For his service in the grueling antisubmarine campaign in World War I, Badger received the Navy Cross.
Following the war, Badger served as inspector of ordnance at Camden, N.J., and at Philadelphia from January 1919 until March 1921. He then assumed command of the destroyer Pruitt (DD-347) and remained in her until early 1922, when he became gunnery officer for an Atlantic Fleet destroyer squadron. Nine months later, he joined the staff of the Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet (CINCAF). In that role, he was the first American to contact Japanese authorities in Tokyo after the devastating earthquake of 1923 and directed American relief efforts at Yokohama and the evacuation of refugees. He returned to Washington in November 1923 for duty in the fire control section of the Bureau of Ordnance. Two years later, he returned to sea as first lieutenant of the battleship Maryland (BB-46), but came back to Washington in August 1928 to head the Bureau of Ordnance’s fire control section.
In May 1931, Badger became the commanding officer of the destroyer Southard (DD-207) and, later, executive officer of the destroyer tender Melville (AD-2). In June 1933, he began a three-year assignment in the executive department of the Naval Academy. From June 1936 to May 1938, Badger served as executive officer of Indianapolis (CA-35) when that heavy cruiser transported President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the 1936 Pan American conference. Following study at the Naval War College in 1938 and 1939, Badger became secretary to the Navy’s General Board. In December 1940, he became chief of staff to Rear Admiral Ernest J. King, Commander, Atlantic Squadron. In October 1941, Badger assumed command of the new battleship North Carolina (BB-35).
He was promoted to rear admiral to date from 24 April 1942, but he continued to serve as the battleship's commanding officer until the following September when he took command of several destroyer flotillas. Called back to Washington in December to be assistant chief of naval operations for logistics plans, he attended the conferences at Quebec and Cairo as logistics advisor to the Combined Chiefs of Staff. He received the Legion of Merit for that assignment, which lasted until February 1944 when he became Commander, Service Squadrons, South Pacific Force. As such, he supervised the logistics units that supported operations in the northern Solomon Islands and in the Bismarck Archipelago, winning a gold star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit. Sometime during the summer or early fall of 1944, he became Commander, Battleship Division 7, and his command served in the screen of the Fast Carrier Task Force in the Pacific. He held that assignment through the end of the war and participated in the three-part Battle for Leyte Gulf in late October 1944, the invasion of Luzon, and in the assault on Iwo Jima. In July 1945, he commanded a striking force that bombarded the Muroran area of the Japanese home islands. On 27 August 1945, he steamed into Tokyo Bay in his flagship, the light cruiser San Diego (CL-53), leading the first contingent of American occupation forces.
Following the Japanese surrender, Rear Admiral Badger began two years as Commander, Service Force, Pacific. In that position, he supervised the return home of about four million veterans of the Pacific war. Early in 1947, he directed the disposal of the radioactive ships used in the atomic tests conducted at Bikini Atoll the previous summer. In mid-1947, he transferred to the west coast of the United States to serve as Commandant, 11th Naval District. On 19 January 1948, he was promoted to vice admiral and, the following month, became Commander, Naval Forces, Far East. In that office, he observed the gradual loss of the mainland to the Chinese communists and supervised the retirement of American forces to the port cities on the China coast.
Upon returning to Washington in September 1939, he became special advisor to the Navy Department on Far Eastern affairs. On 1 May 1950, he began his last tour of active duty as Commander, Eastern Sea Frontier, and Commander, Atlantic Reserve Fleet. He retired from the Navy in June 1952 with the rank of admiral. Following retirement, Badger continued to be active in both public and private life until he died on 30 November 1958.
Badger (Destroyer No. 126) was named for Commodore Oscar C. Badger (a cousin of Secretary of the Navy George Edmund Badger), the father of Rear Admiral Charles Johnston Badger, the son of the commodore and the father of the admiral, was also honored by the naming of the destroyer Charles J. Badger (DD-657) (q.v.), and the grandfather of Admiral Oscar C. Badger. The ocean escort Badger (DE-1071) honors all four men.
(Destroyer No. 126: displacement 1,211 (normal); length 314'4½"; beam 30'11¼" (waterline); draft 9'9½" (full load) (aft); speed 35 knots; complement 133; armament 4 4-inch, 2 3-inch, 12 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Wickes)
The second Badger (Destroyer No. 126) was laid down on 9 January 1918 at Camden, New Jersey, by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, launched on 24 August 1918; sponsored by Mrs. Henry F. Bryan; and commissioned on 29 May 1919, Cmdr. George T. Swasey, Jr., in command.
Badger completed fitting out early that summer and then put to sea on 16 June 1919 in company with Ellis (Destroyer No. 154), McCalla (Destroyer No. 253), and Roper (Destroyer No. 147) bound for European waters. She served several weeks in the Adriatic Sea where she joined the American naval forces under Rear Admiral Philip Andrews charged with supervising the execution of the terms of the armistice with the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Badger then returned to the United States, making port at New York on 15 August 1919. On the 18th and 19th, she made an overnight run from New York to Philadelphia where she joined Hazelwood (Destroyer No. 107) and Schley (Destroyer No. 103) for the voyage to the west coast. Steaming via Guananamo Bay, Cuba, Badger and her sisterships transited the Panama Canal on the 28th and reached San Diego, California, on 8 September to begin duty with Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 4 , Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 16, Pacific Fleet.
That assignment lasted for almost 32 months, the duration of her first period of commissioned service. Early in that span of time, the Navy adopted the alphanumeric system of hull classification and identification, and Badger became DD-126 on 17 July 1920. That was just the first of several purely administrative changes that affected Badger as the Navy went through a period of postwar realignment and reduction. Sometime in August 1920, destroyer flotillas and destroyer squadrons exchanged places in the Navy organizational hierarchy. The organization based on a fleet destroyer force divided into flotillas, each composed of a trio of three-division squadrons, was replaced by one in which the destroyer force was made up of squadrons further subdivided into flotillas, each of which comprised three divisions. According to this scheme, Badger's Flotilla 5 of Squadron 4 became Squadron 5 of Flotilla 4. To add to the confusion, at approximately the same time, Badger made the one change that constituted a real, but brief, reassignment when she was temporarily transferred to Division 32, Squadron 4, Flotilla 2. Even then, her permanent assignment remained with Division 16, Squadron 5, Flotilla 4.
Not long thereafter, on 4 September 1920, Badger was placed in reduced commission. This was apparently an early precursor of the rotating reserve concept with which the Navy experimented later. She remained inactive pierside in the care of a skeleton crew. In January 1921, Badger resumed her permanent duty with Division 16, Squadron 5, Flotilla 4. Except for the additional bureaucratic detail of her division number being changed from Division 16 to Division 14, that assignment continued relatively unaltered well into 1922. During the spring of 1922, however, the postwar retrenchment finally sent her and many of her sisters and near-sisters in the two flushdeck classes to the reserve fleet. Badger was decommissioned on 27 May 1922 and was berthed at San Diego.
In 1929, the Navy discovered that nearly 60% of its active destroyers, those equipped with Yarrow boilers, had become worn out beyond economical repair in just a decade. With a plentiful supply of non-Yarrow-equipped flushdeckers available in the reserve fleet but with no funds to prepare them to return to active service, the Destroyer Force itself embarked on one of the more massive applications of the concept of ship's company repairs. The worn-out ships put into port at the locations of the reserve fleets, either at Philadelphia or at San Diego, where the best preserved inactive flushdeckers were selected, towed out, and tied up alongside piers opposite the destroyers they were to replace. Then, the decommissioning destroyers crewmen, with some help from navy yard workers and destroyer tender crews, carried out the necessary refurbishment and repairs, transferring whatever they needed from the old ships to the new ones. Badger was selected to replace Reno (DD-303), and the sprucing-up process and equipment transfer took place late in 1929. On 18 January 1930, Reno was decommissioned at San Diego. Immediately thereafter, her crew moved across the pier, and Badger was recommissioned, Lt. Comdr. Robert P. Hinrichs in command.
Badger resumed active duty as a unit of Division 14, Squadron 6, and served with the Battle Fleet for about 14 months. Though most of that service took place in the Pacific off the west coast, she did make one extended cruise into Atlantic waters in her first year back with the fleet. After four weeks spent in the San Pedro-San Diego area, Badger departed San Diego in mid-February with the Battle Fleet to participate in the annual fleet concentration, which in 1930 consisted of Fleet Problems X and XI and took place in the West Indies. The exercises lasted until the end of April at which time the Fleet sailed to New York City for a port call before the Battle Fleet headed back to the west coast. Near the end of the third week in May, Badger departed New York when Battle Fleet began the voyage back to California. After a stopover at Norfolk, Va., later in the month, the fleet resumed the journey on 26 May and steamed by way of the Panama Canal, arriving in San Diego during the first part of June. Except for a visit to San Francisco that the Battle Fleet destroyers carried out between 12 and 24 August, Badger operated locally in the San Diego-San Pedro area for the remainder of 1930.
Early in February 1931, Badger left San Diego and sailed to the Central American coast with the Battle Fleet to participate in the annual fleet concentration and battle problem that, in 1931, was carried out off the Pacific coast of Panama. At the conclusion of Fleet Problem XII late in March 1931, the Battle Fleet returned to the California coast. However, Badger and eight other recently recommissioned destroyers; Babbitt (DD-128), Greer (DD-145), Jacob Jones (DD-130), Tarbell (DD-142), Tattnall (DD-125), Twiggs (DD-127), Upshur (DD-144), and Yarnall (DD-143)joined Scouting Fleet, redesignated Scouting Force on 1 April 1931, and transited the Panama Canal to begin service with naval forces based on the Atlantic coast. Badger, Babbitt, Jacob Jones, Tattnall, and Twiggs combined to form Destroyer Division 7, which joined Destroyer Divisions 8 and 9 to fill out Destroyer Squadron 3 of Scouting Force's Destroyer Flotilla 1.
Badger spent the first month of the new assignment, from the beginning of April to the first week in May, engaged in additional exercises conducted in waters adjacent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On 4 May, she steamed north to her new home port of Charleston, S.C. During the last days of May and the first week in June, she made another visit to New York with the Scouting Force destroyers. Then, Badger and the other warships in the Scouting Force spent the rest of the summer of 1931 conducting maneuvers in the vicinity of Narragansett Bay and Newport, R.I. She and the other Scouting Force destroyers returned south to Charleston early in October. From 2 to 16 November, the destroyer participated in a two-week circuit of ports on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico carried out by the ships of all but one of the destroyer divisions in the Scouting Fleet. Otherwise, normal operations in and near Charleston occupied her for the balance of 1931.
Badger remained so employed until the second week of 1932. On 9 January, she departed Charleston on her way to winter exercises in the vicinity of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. That phase of her annual training schedule lasted until 18 February when the Scouting Force left Cuba on its way to the yearly fleet problem and fleet concentration, the 1932 edition of which took place in the Pacific Ocean. The destroyer transited the Panama Canal with the rest of the Scouting Force and arrived in San Diego on 7 March. Three days later the warships returned to sea to carry out Fleet Problem XIII in the Pacific between the California coast and Hawaii. At the conclusion of the fleet problem on 19 March, the Scouting Force combined with the Battle Force for the annual concentration. Later, the joint forces visited San Francisco for almost three weeks in late April and early May.
Normally, the Scouting Force would have returned to its bases on the Atlantic coast at the conclusion of the fleet problem and concentration, but the Hoover administration decided to keep the three elements of the United States Fleet together on the west coast in answer to Japan's provocations in China. There, the Japanese Kwantung Army had used the Mukden Incident in September 1931 as the pretext to occupy Manchuria. When the Chinese responded with an intense economic boycott, Japan replied early in 1932 with military action at Shanghai and by erecting the puppet state of Manchukuo. American apprehension over the Sino-Japanese friction kept Badger away from her Atlantic coast home port for the remainder of 1932.
Early the following year, the 1933 combined exercise, Fleet Problem XIV, also took place in the Pacific, between Hawaii and the west coast; but, unlike in the year before, the Scouting Force returned to the east coast at its conclusion. Badger left San Diego on 9 April 1933 and transited the Panama Canal on the 25th. After spending the first three weeks of May at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the destroyer arrived back on the east coast at Norfolk, Va., on 26 May. There, Badger and her division mates were placed in Rotating Reserve Destroyer Squadron 19 on 1 June 1933. The rotating reserve was devised to maintain as many destroyers as possible in optimal operating condition by having a single crew divide its time between two warships. That period of inactivity lasted through September. At the beginning of October, her unit went back into active service as part of Scouting Force's Destroyer Squadron 10 (also known as Training Squadron, Scouting Force). On 20 October, she got underway from Norfolk on her way to training duty in West Indian waters. She arrived in Guantanamo Bay on the 23d and operated along the coasts of Cuba until very near the end of 1933.
The beginning of 1934 found Badger moored at Key West, Fla., where she had arrived on 28 December 1933. By that time, her organizational assignment had been redefined to Division 28, Destroyer Squadron 10, Training Squadron, Scouting Force; and that remained her administrative and operational unit through the end of the year. Badger took part in Fleet Problem XV early in 1934 but missed the 1935 fleet concentration and Fleet Problem XVI owing to her reentry into Rotating Reserve Destroyer Squadron 19 at Norfolk on 5 January 1935. Still, her period of relative inactivity lasted fewer than six months because the rotating reserve was abolished in May 1935, and Badger resumed active service with the Scouting Force Training Squadron. On 3 May, the destroyer left Norfolk for Brooklyn, N.Y., where she arrived the next day. She visited New Bedford and New Haven, Connecticut, at the end of the first week in June and then made a training voyage to the West Indies during the latter part of the month. The warship returned to Brooklyn on 30 June and remained there until late July when she headed south to spend six weeks at Lynnhaven Roads, Va. Badger returned to Brooklyn early in September and carried out local training missions until very near the end of 1935.
On 28 December 1935, Badger stood out of New York on her way via Hampton Roads, Va., and Guantanamo Bay, to Panama for the annual fleet concentration and fleet problem. She arrived in Cristobal on 4 January 1936, transited the canal that same day, and "began scheduled exercises." The concentration and Fleet Problem XVII, both carried out along Panama's Pacific coast, occupied Badger until 2 March when she headed back to training duty along the east coast. The destroyer made a brief visit at Guantanamo Bay, before continuing on to New York where she arrived on the 9th. After three months in port at New York, Badger made a short round-trip voyage to New Haven, Conn., and back early in June before embarking on a training cruise to the Panama Canal on the 15th. The warship returned to New Haven from Panama at the beginning of July but headed back to Panama later in the month. This training duty occupied her through the month of August and well into September. On 26 September, however, Badger entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard for repairs. She left Philadelphia on 6 October and arrived in Norfolk that same day to continue repairs. That work, including a period in drydock, took up the rest of 1936 and the first three weeks of 1937.
Badger did not join in the 1937 fleet concentration carried out in the Pacific Ocean, nor did she take part in Fleet Problem XVIII conducted in the Hawaiian area in April and May of 1937. Instead, she spent all of 1937 engaged in operations along the eastern seaboard and in the West Indies. Late in the summer of 1937, the Training Detachment, United States Fleet, was established; and Badger and the other units of the Scouting Force Training Squadron joined the new organization on 1 August. Later that month, she made a round-trip training cruise from Washington, D.C., to the Virgin Islands and back. From late September to mid-October, the destroyer carried out training missions at the Naval Academy. Late in October, after a brief stop at Norfolk, the warship returned to New York, whence she conducted local operations for the rest of 1937.
Badger began 1938 moored at the New York Navy Yard awaiting orders to get underway for the West Indies to participate in the annual fleet concentration. She stood out of New York on the 10th, made a short stop at Norfolk near mid-month, and then continued south, arriving at Culebra Island on the 20th. The winter training period began the next day, and the associated exercises, including Fleet Problem XIX, occupied her for almost two months. She returned to Norfolk on 14 March and remained there until late May. On the 25th, she made the short trip from Norfolk to Annapolis, Md., to embark midshipmen for the first of a pair of coastal training cruises that she made that summer. Badger concluded the second at Annapolis on 25 August and returned to New York on the 27th. In September, she made one voyage to Cuba and a pair of short trips to New Haven, Connecticut.
On 1 October 1938, Badger received orders to prepare for duty overseas with Squadron 40-T, a small American naval unit based on French ports which had been established in September 1936 to look out for American citizens in Spain during that countrys civil war and to monitor events in that region. She moved south to Norfolk on the 3d and remained there until getting underway for Europe on the 26th. Steaming by way of the Azores and Gibraltar, Badger visited Naples, Italy, early in November before arriving at her new base of operations in Villefranche, France, on 17 November.
Badger remained in port at Villefranche for the rest of 1938, only returning to sea in mid-January 1939 for a visit to Marseille in company with Jacob Jones. In mid-February, all three ships of Squadron 40-T called at Ajaccio, Corsica. She returned to Villefranche on 23 February and stayed for a month before embarking on a trip to Algiers. Badger's call at Algiers lasted until early April when she headed back to her base of operations. The warship remained at Villefranche from 8 April until 22 May when she joined Jacob Jones in a voyage to Rapallo, Italy. During the summer, she left the Mediterranean and embarked on a series of visits to ports on Europes western coast; she stopped at Le Havre, France, from 5 to 21 July and then moved on to Rotterdam in the Netherlands where she spent the rest of July. On 2 August, Badger made the short voyage from Rotterdam to St. Nazaire and remained there until the 18th. She reentered the Mediterranean late in August, arriving in Marseille on the 20th. The destroyer returned to her base at Villefranche briefly on the 24th before heading off for quick calls at Monte Carlo and Sete. She resumed her watch at Villefranche on 29 August 1939. Three days later, Germany precipitated a European war by invading Poland.
In September 1939, after Great Britain and France declared war on Germany in response to the invasion of Poland, prudence dictated that Squadron 40-T not be based at a belligerent port. On 20 September 1939, Badger left Villefranche in company with the flagship Trenton (CL-11) and Jacob Jones bound for Lisbon, Portugal. Relieved by Dickerson (DD-157) and Herbert (DD-160) on 1 October, Badger and Jacob Jones departed Lisbon on 5 October bound for home. The two destroyers steamed by way of the Azores and reached Norfolk on 14 October. Assigned to the Atlantic Squadron as part of DesRon 10's DesDiv 29, she remained at Norfolk only a fortnight, returning to sea on the 28th bound for Key West, Fla. The warship stayed at Key West until mid-November when she moved to Guanatanamo Bay, Cuba. After six days at Guantanamo, Badger returned to Key West for eight days before heading north for Philadelphia, Pa., late in November. She arrived at Philadelphia for an overnight stay on 1 December and then returned to Norfolk on the 2d.
Badger passed December 1939 and January 1940 in port at Norfolk. On 1 February, she was reassigned to DesRon 27's DesDiv 53 for duty with the Neutrality Patrol, which President Roosevelt had established early in September 1939 to keep the European war out of the Western Hemisphere. During February, the warship operated in the Middle Atlantic patrol area, basing her operations out of Norfolk. Early in March, she switched to the New England patrol area and, still later, to the Mid North Atlantic patrol--in both instances, working out of Brooklyn. In mid-April, the destroyer resumed duty out of Norfolk and remained so occupied until called upon for midshipman training cruises in June and July. Badger concluded that assignment late in July and, after a brief visit to Newport R.I., returned to Norfolk at the beginning of August and remained there until mid-month.
On 14 August 1940, Badger stood out of Norfolk for an extended voyage to the West Indies and Central America. She made stops at Guantanamo Bay, Puerto Barrios, Guatemala; and at the Nicaraguan ports of Bluefields and Puerto Limon before reaching Panama on 27 August. After transiting the Panama Canal on 2 September, she operated along the Pacific coast of Central America until late October. She then retraced her path through the isthmian waterway on 25 October and took up duty along Panama's Caribbean coast for the duration of the assignment. On 9 December, she set out for Charleston, S.C.
Duty on the Neutrality Patrol, in the Atlantic and in the West Indies occupied her time during the first three months of 1941. Badger spent the last week in March and the first week in April at the Charleston Navy Yard exchanging the four 4-inch, 50-caliber, single-purpose guns of her main battery, along with two torpedo tube mounts, for six 3-inch, 50-caliber, dual-purpose guns. Early in April, she put to sea from Charleston to meet Babbitt (DD-128), Leary (DD-158), and Schenck (DD-159) off Hampton Roads. After the rendezvous, the four destroyers set a course for the Massachusetts coast and training duty off Nantucket with the Commander, Cruiser Division (ComCruDiv) 7. She remained so engaged until the end of June when she returned to the West Indies to prosecute the Neutrality Patrol in the vicinity of Puerto Rico. That mission only lasted until mid-July when the destroyer north to the New York Navy Yard for seven weeks of repairs. She returned to sea on 4 September but only briefly because problems with her main propulsion plant forced Badger back into the yard at New York where her turbine rotor had to be removed for repairs to be made.
Finally ready for sea at the end of September 1941, Badger was assigned to the Support Force based at the new installation at Argentia, Newfoundland. The unit had been set up in February and March of 1941 to prepare the Navy to assume some of the burden of escorting convoys across the Atlantic, a further escalation of President Roosevelt's "short of war" measures. Badger left New York on 30 September and reported for duty with the Support Force at Argentia early in October. From there, she embarked on her maiden escort mission soon thereafter. She arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland, on 17 October 1941, the same day that saw Kearny (DD-432) torpedoed by the German submarine U-568 west of Iceland while engaged in protecting convoy SC-48. Not only did Badger witness the arrival of the stricken Kearny in Reykjavik, but she also received orders to replace that first Navy casualty of the war. After relieving Kearny, Badger made two convoy-escort runs between Reykjavik and Argentia in October and November. During the second of those voyages, she carried out her first antisubmarine attack on 21 November, without any success.
Badger had just arrived back in Argentia from the second of those assignments on 7 December 1941 when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor propelled the United States into World War II. The next day, she returned to sea on her way south to a two-week repair period at the Boston Navy Yard. The warship made the trip back to Argentia on 22 December and set out in the screen of an Iceland-bound convoy on the 23rd. As a result, Badger spent both Christmas 1941 and New Years 1942 at sea between Newfoundland and Iceland. She and her convoy arrived in Iceland on 2 January 1942, and the destroyer remained there until 7 January. On that day, she left Iceland with Cole (DD-155), Decatur (DD-341), Plunkett (DD-431), and USCGC Campbell screening the oilers Sapelo (AO-11) and Mattole (AO-17) and four merchantmen south to meet westbound Convoy ON-53 in mid-ocean and to see the entire group safely to North America.
Storms, however, delayed the rendezvous by several days and then battered the convoy as it proceeded west. A gale struck the ships on 11 January 1942, and Badger suffered mightily, losing a whaleboat and having her mainmast snapped in twain. By the 13th, she had taken such a beating that she had to part company with the convoy and proceed independently to seek repairs. Even so, the venerable destroyer did not enter port at St John's, Newfoundland, until 19 January. From there, she moved south to Boston where she completed repairs between 26 January and 5 February.
Badger returned to Iceland during the second week in February 1942 and operated from that base until the end of July. For more than five months, she escorted the Iceland echelons of transatlantic convoys between the mid-ocean rendezvous point and Reykjavik and provided the convoys additional escort during the middle leg of their Atlantic crossings. On 31 July, Badger ran aground while standing out of the harbor at Reykjavik, damaging her underwater sound dome and flooding her sound room. She managed to clear herself and remained with her convoy until USCGC Duane arrived on the scene to relieve her. Badger then returned to Iceland and moored alongside Melville in Hvalfjördur to have the damage assessed.
After about a week of temporary repairs, Badger stood out of Hvalfjördur on her way to Boston. She spent the period from 10 August to 14 September at the Boston Navy Yard combining repairs to her damaged sound dome with a regular overhaul. The destroyer completed the yard work on 14 September and then got underway for post-repair refresher training out of Casco Bay, Maine. The warship returned to Boston on the 25th but remained only overnight, putting to sea again on the 26th to escort Pontiac (AF-20) to Argentia. For the next four weeks, Badger screened coastwise convoys between ports in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Greenland. On 23 October, she left Argentia in the screen of the first of two round-trip transatlantic convoys to Londonderry in Northern Ireland. Those two missions occupied her for the rest of 1942. She reentered Boston again on 11 January 1943 and commenced a brief availability before undertaking a new assignment.
On 20 January 1943, Badger set out from Boston on her way south to the West Indies to begin four months of duty escorting the local Caribbean-Gulf of Mexico trunk convoys associated with the major north-south convoy system devised in August of 1942. She arrived in Guantanamo Bay on 22 January and began escorting merchantmen on the Guantanamo Bay-Aruba-Trinidad route of the interlocking convoy system. In April, the warship switched to the western circuit that included Kingston, Jamaica, and New Orleans, La., as two of its primary stops, and she remained so occupied until the beginning of June. She completed her last mission on the western itinerary with her arrival back in Guantanamo Bay on 2 June. Heading north three days later, she rendezvoused with Pilot (AM-104) and Prevail (AM-107) off the Virginia capes on 9 June, and arrived in New York on the 10th.
Late in June, following availability at New York, Badger began five months of operations along the central Atlantic convoy routes with hunter-killer ASW groups built around escort aircraft carriers. She made the passage from New York to Norfolk on 24 and 25 June and reported there for duty with Barker (DD-213) and Bulmer (DD-222), in Task Group (TG) 21.12 built around Core (ACV-13). On 27 June, she put to sea with the task group to serve as part of the escort for the Gibraltar-bound transatlantic convoy UGS-11. Badger's task group crossed the Atlantic providing distant support for the convoy until reaching a point about 700 miles south of the Azores on 11 July. There, the group received orders to shift to the America-bound return convoy GUS-9 and to see it clear of the area of concentrated U-boat activity. She and her colleagues shepherded the convoy west out of the danger zone for the next week. During that time, planes from Core's embarked Composite Squadron (VC) 13 sank U-487 on 13 July and U-67 on 16 July. Close support for the westbound convoy lasted until 17 July when the hunter-killer group parted company on an ironically futile effort to hunt U-boats more aggressively on its own. Task Group 21.12 was dissolved off Hampton Roads on 31 July, and Badger arrived back in New York on 1 August.
Following a 12-day availability at New York and two days of refresher training near New London, Conn., the destroyer headed south again on the 14th to rejoin the Core hunter-killer group. Badger reached Hampton Roads the next day, and TG 21.16 put to sea on 16 August to provide loose coverage for convoy UGS-15 and then to hunt U-boats again south of the Azores. This second patrol was cut short by severe vibrations in Core's steam turbines, a condition that reduced her to the dangerously low maximum speed of 12 knots. Badger, Barker, and Bulmer saw the hobbled Core safely into Chesapeake Bay on 2 September and then continued on to New York where they arrived on the 3d.
On 17 September, the destroyer concluded two weeks of upkeep and voyage repairs and set out on a round-trip escort mission from the east coast to the Caribbean and back. She refueled at Bermuda on the 19th and then joined Convoy TO-8 at sea on the 22d. Her convoy reached Aruba on 23 September, but Badger stayed only two days, putting to sea again with another convoy on the 25th. On 30 September, Badger and two other ships parted company with the rest of the convoy and set a course for Norfolk, where they arrived on 1 October. There, she tarried just hours, returning to sea that same day bound for Casco Bay, Maine, and a series of destroyer squadron exercises. She completed the training cycle on 11 October and headed back to Norfolk where she arrived on the 13th.
Two days later, Badger stood out of Chesapeake Bay with another hunter-killer ASW group, TG 21.16, built around Block Island (CVE-21). Once again she and the other warships of her task group carried out a dual mission, first providing coverage for a transatlantic convoy, UGS-19, and then conducting offensive sweeps for German submarines. Though Badger made two sound contacts and a radar contact, TG 21.16's only kill came on 28 October when planes from Block Island's VC-1 sank U-220 in mid-ocean to the north of the Azores. The task group arrived in Casablanca, French Morocco, on 5 November and remained there until the 9th. After leaving Casablanca, she and her colleagues lent additional support to another pair of convoys, GUS-20 and UGS-23, and then conducted an unsuccessful U-boat hunt on the way home. Badger and the other two destroyers in Block Island's screen, Parrott (DD-218) and Paul Jones (DD-230), parted company with the escort carrier off the Virginia capes on 25 November and shaped a course for New York.
After a 16-day availability at the New York Navy Yard, Badger headed back to Norfolk on 12 December and arrived there the next day. There, she reported to the Commander, Service Force, Atlantic Fleet, for duty escorting coastwise and West Indian traffic. On the 16th, she embarked upon another triangular voyage, screening Kennebec (AO-36) to Bermuda, Aruba, and thence back to the east coast. Kennebec discharged her cargo at Bermuda between the 17th and the 21st; and, then, the two ships returned to sea to join an Aruba-bound convoy on the 22d. The convoy reached its destination on Christmas Day 1943, and the tankers immediately began loading cargo despite the holiday. The convoy left Aruba at noon the next day and set a course for the east coast. On the last day of 1943, Badger and Niobrara (AO-72) parted company with the convoy off the Virginia capes and entered Chesapeake Bay.
Badger tied up at Norfolk on the morning of New Years Day 1944 and began a week's availability. On 10 January, she put to sea again to escort Mattole to the New England coast. She saw her charge safely into Narragansett Bay early on the 13th and immediately headed back to Hampton Roads. The destroyer reached Norfolk on the 14th but stayed only very briefly, returning to sea that same afternoon to screen the British escort carrier HMS Begum to New York. Badger returned to Norfolk from that mission on 18 January, only to receive orders the next day to shepherd Rapidan (AO-18) on a round-trip voyage from Norfolk to Bermuda and back. The two ships exited Chesapeake Bay on 20 January, made port at Bermuda on the 24th, and arrived back in Norfolk on the 29th.
Following a two-week availability at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Badger embarked on another transatlantic, convoy escort mission. On 12 February 1944, she formed up with an unusually large convoy of 83 merchantmen, UGS-33, screened by a 12-warship escort, TF-66, and set out across the ocean for North Africa. Eighteen days later, she and her colleagues shepherded their charges through the Strait of Gibraltar. Detached there, Badger and the other escorts received orders to Casablanca where they arrived on 3 March. On the 4th, she put to sea again with seven other warships to participate in Operation Spangle, during which they put on an elaborate display firing starshells and dropping depth charges purportedly to intimidate some Spanish fishermen whose village was suspected of aiding German U-boats and to deter those U-boats from pursuing the convoy they were about to join. Returning to Casablanca afterward, Badger set out to re-cross the Atlantic on 7 March. She reached Boston on 24 March and began a week of repairs at the navy yard.
Leaving the drydock on 1 April 1944, Badger tied up at a Boston pier and remained there for nearly three weeks. On 18 April, she got underway again to begin the first of many circuitous voyages escorting coastwise and West Indian traffic. Over the next six months, she shepherded auxiliaries between a variety of ports along the eastern seaboard, to Bermuda, and to locations throughout the Caribbean Sea. Badger set out on the last mission of this phase of her career on 12 October when she departed Norfolk and teamed up with Tinsman (DE-589) to escort Tulagi (CVE-72), Anthedon (AS-24), and Artemis (AKA-21) as far as Panama. The group arrived in the Canal Zone on 17 October and transited the canal same day, after which Badger embarked on almost a month of duty training with submarines in Central American waters.
After four weeks of operations on the Panama's Pacific coast, Badger retransited the canal on 12 November and sailed immediately for the Gulf coast of Florida. On 15 November 1944, she arrived in Port Everglades, Fla., and reported to the Commander, Antisubmarine Development Detachment, Atlantic Fleet, for duty. Except for the period, 16 January to 3 February 1945, during which time she was away undergoing a 15-day availability at Charleston, S.C., Badger spent the last seven months of her long Navy career operating out of Port Everglades in the Gulf of Mexico helping to develop and test antisubmarine warfare tactics and techniques.
On 20 June 1945, Badger left Port Everglades, Fla., on her way to Philadelphia, Pa., for inactivation. She reached her destination on the 22d. Badger was decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pa., on 20 July 1945, and her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 13 August 1945. She was sold to the Boston Metal Salvage Co., Baltimore, Md., on 30 November 1945; but the sale did not proceed as planned. She was later resold to the Northern Metals Co., Philadelphia, Pa., on 31 December 1945, and ultimately scrapped in November 1947.
Badger (DD-126) received one battle star for service in World War II.
Raymond A. Mann
23 September 2005