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Brown (DD-546)

(DD-546: dp. 2050; l. 376'5"; b. 39'7"; dr. 17'9"; s. 35.2 k.; cpl. 329; a. 5 5", 10 21" TT.; cl. Fletcher)

George Brown entered the Navy as a Seaman on board the "Lucky Little Enterprise" at Malta, on 8 July 1803. He first served under Lieutenant Isaac Hull as one of the gallant crew of that famous schooner which guarded ships of American commerce from Barbary pirates along the coast of Spain as well as from Tripolitan warships that cruised the Mediterranean. Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, Jr., exchanged commands with Lieutenant Isaac Hull on 9 November 1803, Brown having been promoted to Quartermaster only five days earlier.

On 23 December, Enterprise captured the infamous ketch Mastico who had slipped from her moorings in Tripoli Harbor with intentions of sailing to Constantinople. Brown volunteered as a member of the crew of this infamous ketch which was fitted out at Syracuse and renamed Intrepid by Commodore Preble.

On 3 February 1804 Intrepid, with the gallant Decatur in command, sailed for the coast of Tripoli. On the night of 16 February 1804 the brave men entered the harbor in the 4-gun schooner of sixty tons and made their way to the captured United States Frigate Philadelphia which lay within half-gunshot of the Bashaw's castle and the principal shore battery. Two enemy cruisers were close on her starboard quarter and the enemy gunboats lay off her starboard bow.

On ruse of having lost anchor, the pilot of Intrepid convinced the Tripolitans on board Philadelphia that the ship was a merchantman out of Malta and secured permission to make fast to the captured frigate's line. Decatur was up Philadelphia's mid-chains in an instant, followed by sixty men and officers including Brown, who carried the entire fight to the Tripolitans with the sword, swept them overboard, and remained until flames appeared skyward from Philadelphia's hatchways and ports. As Intrepid got from alongside the frigate, flames shot up to the top rigging and Philadelphia's loaded guns became so hot they went off broadside to the town. Not more than fifteen minutes from time of boarding, the brave men were making their way out of the harbor under fire of enemy shore batteries.

The astonishing feat had been accomplished at the coast of only one man slightly wounded. Before they were out of the harbor, Brown had the satisfaction of seeing the Philadelphia, a veritable torch, drift under the Bashaw's castle where she was completely consumed. Decatur reported the coolness and intrepidity of his men was such "As I trust will ever characterize the American Tar." This "most daring feat of the age" brought a new respect and luster for America and greatly increased the prestige of the United States and her Navy throughout the world. Two months pay was awarded each of Intrepid's crew and Congress voted Decatur the present of a sword with grateful thanks for achieving a task of national importance.

Brown returned with Decatur to Enterprise on 20 February 1804 and took part in the gunboat attacks and bombardments of Tripoli. He was transferred to the frigate John Adams on 20 September 1804 and returned in her to the United States. He was detached on 22 March 1805 and no further record of naval service has been found.

Brown (DD-546) was built by the Bethlehem Steel Company's San Pedro Plant, Terminal Island, California. Her keel was laid 27 June 1942 and she was launched 21 February 1943, under the sponsorship of Mrs. Claude O. Kell, wife of Captain Kell, United States Navy. The destroyer was placed in commission at San Pedro on 10 July 1943, Lieutenant Commander Thomas H. Copeman, USN, in command.

After shakedown training out of San Diego, Brown departed San Francisco on 30 September 1943, joining destroyer Lawrence in the screen of battleship Pennsylvania for the voyage to Pearl Harbor where the warships arrived on 6 October. Here Brown became a unit of the Northern Covering Group (Task Group 50.2) commanded by Rear Admiral Arthur W. Radford in flagship Enterprise (CV-6). This carrier task group put to sea on 10 November 1943 to participate in the capture and occupation of Makin, Tarawa and Apanama in the Gilbert Islands. That afternoon Brown rescued an Enterprise fighter pilot Ensign S. S. Osborne, USNR, whose aircraft had crashed into the sea. From 19 to 21 November, the aircraft carriers guarded by Brown gave direct support to the landings on Yellow Beach at Makin; conducted bombing and strafing attacks on the harbor; and strafed and bombed enemy troop concentrations and gun emplacements.

On 24 November 1943, Brown rescued Seaman Second Class Robert R. Louis who had fallen overboard from light carrier Belleau Wood. That evening she also rescued a crashed Belleau Wood pilot Lieutenant (jg) I. J. Snowden. Shortly after noon of 27 November, she transferred Admiral Radford and his staff from Enterprise (CV-6) to carrier Saratoga.

Enemy aircraft dropped flares the night of 25 November for a torpedo run but withdrew as Brown and other screening warships opened fire. Just after dark on 26 November, thirty or more enemy bombers, claimed to be the largest night air attack to that time against the Pacific Fleet, dropped flares and commenced attack. A three-plane pioneer "Bat Team" of night fighters from Enterprise intercepted, shot down two planes; and, the enemy became so bewildered that they fired on one another and withdrew.

Brown was on detached duty as a part of the escort for light carrier Monterey the night of 28 November 1943 when ten to twelve enemy aircraft attacked the formation. She became the target of three torpedo planes which dropped as many torpedoes in an approach from port. A fast maneuver took Brown clear of two torpedo wakes, but a third torpedo struck her amidship. This torpedo, fortunately, failed to arm and Brown escaped damage while her gunners shot down two of the aerial raiders. She continued to support the carriers providing air cover and support in the Gilbert Islands, then steamed with carriers Bunker Hill and Monterey to take part in the air-surface bombardment of Nauru Island on 8 December before her arrival on 12 December 1943 at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides Islands.

Brown departed Espiritu Santo on 21 December 1943, joining five other destroyers in escort of carriers Bunker Hill (CV-17) and Monterey to the east of New Ireland Islands where they poised for repeated strikes against enemy shore bases and shipping in the Kavieng-Rabaul area. She returned to Espiritu Santo with Rear Admiral Sherman's Bunker Hill Carrier Task Group 37.2 on 7 January and set sail the 19th with the same carriers whose task group designation changed to Task Group 58.3 on 23 January at Funa Futi Atoll, Ellice Islands. That morning the carrier task group put out to sea to maintain control of the air in the western Marshalls and to provide air support for the assault and capture of Kwajalein Atoll, Majuro Atoll and Eniwetok Atoll.

Brown anchored in newly-won Majuro Lagoon on 4 February 1944 and departed on 11 February with the Bunker Hill Carrier Task Group to join other carriers of Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher's Fast Carrier Task Force 58 in heaping devastation on the "impregnable" Japanese advance fleet base at Truk Atoll 16-17 February 1944. Besides havoc wreaked on shore installations of this enemy bastion, Japanese shipping losses included two light cruisers, 4 destroyers, 3 auxiliary cruisers, 2 submarine tenders, 2 submarine chasers, an armed trawler, a plane ferry, and 24 auxiliaries which included 6 tankers. A total of 211 enemy planes were destroyed and another 104 were damaged by the carrier task force.

On 18 February Brown took seventeen Japanese prisoners from a small boat and transferred them to Vice Admiral Raymond A. Spruance's Fifth Fleet flagship New Jersey. She then proceeded with Rear Admiral Sherman's Bunker Hill task group for air strikes on Guam and Tinian in the Marianas. This strike of 22 February at Tinian exploded a large cargo ship, destroyed many small craft, and resulted in the destruction of more than 60 enemy planes. At Guam, four enemy planes were shot down, seven destroyed on the runway and two bombers were shot down by combined fire of surface ships. She returned to Majuro Lagoon on 26 February and screened Bunker Hill to Pearl Harbor where she arrived on 4 March 1944.

Brown departed Pearl Harbor on 16 March with four carriers, two cruisers and eight other destroyers bound for the Marshall Islands. She left Majuro Lagoon on 22 March in the screen of aircraft carrier Lexington to rendezvous five days later with Rear Admiral J. J. Clark's Hornet carrier task group which struck Palau, Yap Island, and Woleai Island 30 March-1 April, having destroyed shipping and aircraft, silenced antiaircraft guns and left buildings and fuel dumps a ruin of fires and explosions.

Brown replenished at Majuro 6-13 April, then sped with the Hornet carrier task group to destroy enemy naval forces attempting to interfere with the seizure of New Guinea. Carriers guarded by Brown and her sister destroyers neutralized enemy airfields in the Hollandia—Wakde area by repeated air strikes on runways, fuel dumps, enemy barracks and gun emplacements on Sawar, Wakde, Hollandia, Sawatan, and Ponape. Brown assisted in the night bombardment of Sawatan on 30 April. Four barges were hit in the lagoon, several buildings hit, and a violent explosion was witnessed near a pier. One machine gun battery was destroyed along with stores and supplies. The air strip was rendered completely unserviceable.

Brown joined in the bombardment of Ponape by the battleship —destroyer force on 1 May and replenished in the Marshalls where she formed with Rear Admiral A. E. Montgomery's Essex carrier task group which left Majuro on 15 May 1944. After airstrikes on Marcus and Wake Island, she again was attached to Rear Admiral J. J. Clark's Hornet carrier task group that sailed from the Marshalls on 6 June 1944 for the capture, occupation and defense of Saipan, Tinian and Guam, Marianas Islands. In the following days strikes were launched throughout the Marianas and the Bonins. Airfields were given a going over commencing 15 June as American invasion troops stormed ashore on Saipan.

The Japanese First Mobile Fleet closed the Marianas for the historic Battle of the Philippine Sea in which commenced on 19 June with massive air raids against Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher's Fast Carrier Task Force 58. The aircraft from American carriers did a magnificent job in breaking up all raids before they reached the ships of the task force. Those which did manage to penetrate as far as the ships met a devastating curtain of antiaircraft fire and most were shot down. Meantime, two American submarines torpedoed and sank two heavy Japanese aircraft carriers. By the afternoon of 20 June 1944, surviving carrier air power of the Japanese Fleet was only 35 out of some 430 enemy planes with which the enemy had commenced the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Late that afternoon, the American carrier pilots took off for the enemy fleet which was almost out of range. They sank Japanese aircraft carrier Hiji and so damaged two tankers that they were abandoned and scuttled. When the American carrier pilots returned after dark, the ships turned on searchlights to aid their recovery. Brown and other destroyers dropped astern the carriers to rescue those down in the water because of fuel shortage. She rescued Yorktown pilot Lieutenant (jg) W. H. Nelson and his radioman W. F. White. Also rescued were Bunker Hill pilot Lieutenant (jg) M. F. Pilcher and radioman R. B. Boisley.

Brown turned back with the Fast Carrier Task Force 58 on 21 June 1944 to protect the landings at Saipan and Tinian. The Pagan Island airfields were struck on 23 June and Iwo Jima felt the wrath of strikes on the 24th. After replenishing at Eniwetok (27 June-—1 July), Brown put to sea with the Hornet carrier task group for strikes against the Bonins, Pagan Islands, and repeated attacks against Guam, Rota, Yap and Ulithi. She participated in the air-sea bombardment of Iwo Jima 4-5 August, and cleared Eniwetok on 29 August to support the carrier air strikes that facilitated the capture of Peleliu, Ngesesbus, Angaur, Morotai, Yap and Ulithi Islands. Mindanao and Visayas were hard hit during 10-14 September and Brown fought off enemy air raids during 21-24 September 1944 as the carriers launched attacks against Luzon and Visayas Islands. After replenishment in the Admiralty Islands and Ulithi, Caroline Islands, she departed the last named port on 6 October with the Essex carrier task group to soften up enemy air and fleet bases that might serve to hinder the coming liberation of the Philippine Islands.

Strikes were launched against the airfields on Okinawa on 10 October, Luzon was given a going over the following day, and Formosa was the target of repeated air attacks 12-15 October. Brown fought off repeated air attacks off Formosa and rescued Hornet pilot Ensign W. H. Boring from a water crash the afternoon of the 15th. On 18 October the aircraft carriers concentrated on the Philippines, continuing direct support of ground troops which landed at Leyte on 20 October 1944.

On 25 October 1944, Brown sped northward with heavy warships to engage an enemy carrier force in the Battle off Cape Engano. Carrier aircraft sank four aircraft carriers as well as a destroyer and a cruiser for good measure. To this total American submarines added two destroyers and a light cruiser. Among the victims was the Japanese aircraft carrier Zuikaku, the last afloat of the six Japanese carriers that had participated in the infamous raid on Pearl harbor. After chasing remnants of the defeated Japanese Fleet retiring at high speed from the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Brown replenished at Ulithi Atoll in the Caroline Islands, then carried out raids from that base with fast carriers to waters east of northern Luzon to hit enemy airfields throughout the Philippines. On 25 November suicide planes damaged carrier Intrepid and Brown rescued three crewmen of that fighting carrier who were forced overboard by the force of the explosion and flames. She reached a fueling rendezvous on 17 December but high winds and seas forced abandonment of that operation. Brown soon found herself plowing into the teeth of a howling typhoon and bucked monstrous seas that damaged many ships and capsized destroyers Hull, Spence and Monaghan.

On 21 December 1944 Brown rescued thirteen men of destroyer Hull from a life raft, then rescued six survivors of destroyer Monaghan (DD-354). She reached Ulithi on 24 December and passed out to sea on the 26th, bound by way of Pearl Harbor for overhaul in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard where she arrived on 12 January 1945.

Brown was again ready for sea on 1 March 1945 and departed Seattle the following day, bound by way of Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok to Saipan where she joined the escort of a transport task group that made a feinged landing approach to the southeastern beaches of Okinawa on 1 April 1945. She took up radar picket station off Point Bolo on 10 April 1945 and shot off the tail of a suicide plane the next afternoon, observing the enemy explode into the sea about 150 yards short of hitting her amidships. She fought off day and night aircraft attacks through 15 April.

On the night of 18 April, an enemy torpedo plane was driven off by gunfire but suddenly circled, came in low on the water astern, and tossed a single torpedo that paralleled the side of Brown by only ten feet along her entire length as it completed its run. She relieved destroyer Wickes on radar picket station to the northwest of Okinawa on the 19th, driving off a single suicide plane in the early morning darkness of the 21st. That afternoon she opened fire with Putnam on four planes which closed from the north and had the satisfaction of seeing one of the raiders crash and burn in the distant sea. Another suicide plane was shot down in the early morning darkness of 28 April and Brown helped drive off four suicide raids during the night, witnessing two flaming planes narrowly miss another destroyer and a landing craft. She spotted a periscope some fifty yards off the starboard bow the next day and pressed home explosive depth charges on a sound contact with no visible results.

Brown assisted in shooting down another suicide plane on 4 May and was attacked by a "kamikaze" on the morning of 5 May 1945. Her gunners took this enemy under fire as it passed the length of the ship and pieces of the plane scattered over the forecastle deck as the enemy exploded into the sea only fifteen feet off the starboard bow.

Brown's fighter director team transferred to destroyer Hugh W. Hadley (DD-774) on 7 May 1945. She patrolled just off Hagushi Harbor the night of the 11th when the northern picket station was attacked by over a hundred enemy planes. Hugh W. Hadley and Evans shot down about thirty enemy planes before Brown arrived on the scene and knocked down a torpedo plane which exploded barely off the starboard quarter to spray Brown's fantail with fragments of metal. A few minutes later her gunners shot down another torpedo plane as it approached the fighting destroyer.

Brown left Okinawa astern on 18 May 1945 for replenishment and repairs at Apra Harbor, Guam. She returned to Okinawa shores on 14 June serving as a gunfire support ship on radar picket station to the northwest of Okinawa until the 20th. She received a fighter director team on 24 June and remained on picket station until the 28th. Her fighter director team debarked on 30 June and she joined the screens of four escort carriers on 4 July, bound for Buckner Bay, Okinawa. Here she was assigned escort missions for fleet oilers to ocean rendezvous leading towards Japan. She departed Buckner Bay on 14 August 1945 to provide cover for a minesweeping task group in the East China Sea until the 25th. She then patrolled on air—sea rescue station off Okinawa until 28 September when she arrived at Wakayama, Honshu, Japan.

Brown acted as mail courier and passenger ship for occupation forces between various Japanese ports until 31 October 1945 when she set course for the United States. She arrived in San Diego on 17 November 1945 for inactivation and was decommissioned on 1 August 1946.

Brown was assigned to the San Diego Group of the U. S. Pacific Reserve Fleet until 27 October 1950 when she was recommissioned at Long Beach, California. A unit of Destroyer Division 132, she was under command of Commander Emerson H. Dimpfel, USN. After shakedown training along the California coast she commenced support of United Nations Forces in Korea on 7 March 1951.

Brown operated as a screening unit and plane guard ship for the fast attack carriers of Task Force 77, assisted units of the United Nations Blockade and Escort Force in shore bombardment missions during the seige of Wonsan, and gave close-fire support to Republic of Korea Army troops a little further north. The latter part of her tour which terminated 24 September 1951, was spent in the mine infested waters off the east coast of Korea.

Brown returned to Long Beach in October for a six-month yard period and commenced her second Korean tour when she reported to the "Bombline" on 29 July 1951 to give fire support to United States Eighth Army and the Fifth Republic of Korea Division. She also assisted in the defense of Nan-Do Island and controlled small craft traffic north to the Kojo area as a unit of the United Nations blockade and patrol force. She again screened fast carriers of Task Force 77 and took part in gun strikes against enemy installations at Hungnam, Chaho and Songjin. While aiding in the destruction of Marshalling yards at Songjin and Tanchon, she found a tiny boat filled to near-sinking with thirty-seven Korean refugees from Chan Ho-Ri who were taken aboard ship during the bombardment, despite the possibility of the ship receiving fire from the beach. These miserable souls were treated for exposure and transferred to the British ship HMS Charity for passage out of the forward area.

On 27 October 1952 she arrived at Kao-Hsiung, Taiwan, for participation in patrol of the Taiwan Straits. This duty was followed by antisubmarine warfare training and fast-carrier task force operations along the east coast of Korea.

Brown returned to the California coast in January 1953 and became a unit of Destroyer Division 52 which reported for duty in the Far East on 23 July. Patrol along the Korean coast running between Pohang and Pusan, was intervened by plane guard and screening duties with fast carrier forces. She returned to San Diego on 20 November 1953 for type training and overhaul in the San Francisco Naval Shipyard. She entered Pearl Harbor on 22 June 1954 for antisubmarine warfare training in Hawaiian waters before setting course to join the Seventh Fleet for maneuvers in Philippine waters, Taiwan patrol and training along the coast of Japan. She terminated her tour at San Diego on 19 December 1954, and again conducted a cruise to the Far East during 2 August 1955-5 February 1956.

After overhaul and antisubmarine warfare training along the coast of California, Brown again sailed from San Diego on 12 September 1956, bound by way of Australia and the Marianas for operations with carriers off Taiwan. She returned home on 10 March 1957 for operations that included three months of school ship duty for students of engineering, sonar, gunnery and shore-fire control. Her ninth cruise to the Far East was completed during 9 November 1957-14 May 1958. Steaming by way of Sydney, Australia, she participated in simulated invasion maneuvers in the Philippines, patrolled the Taiwan Straits, guarded fast aircraft carriers, and carried out intensive antisubmarine training in waters reaching from Japan to the Marianas and the Philippine Islands.

Brown underwent overhaul in the Mare Island Naval Shipyard (23 July-23 October 1958). She then operated along the California coast until 10 January 1959 when she sailed with Destroyer Division 52 for a rigorous three months of tactics, maneuvers and type training out of Pearl Harbor. She left the Hawaiian Islands astern on 2 April 1959 and reached Yokosuka on the 12th for operations with the Seventh Fleet. Participation in the large-scale amphibious warfare landing exercise "Sea Turtle" on the coast of Korea, was followed by a visit to Pohang, barrier patrol along the eastern coast of Korea, and patrol off the coast of China in the Taiwan Straits until 26 May 1959. She then visited Hong Kong from whence she sailed on 2 June for operations that took her to Subic Bay in the Philippines, Guam, in the Marianas, thence by way of the Hawaiian Islands to San Diego where she arrived on 29 June 1959. Local operations including shore bombardment practice and air defense drills and maneuvers with carrier Oriskany (CVA-34) took up her time until 16 November 1959. On the latter date she embarked three scientists in preparation for experimental sonar tests and antisubmarine warfare exercises with submarine Raton (SSR-270). She next served as a schoolship for men of the Fleet Sonar School, operating with various submarines, and the attack aircraft carrier Oriskany, and conducted fire support and short range battle practice off the coast of California.

On 30 July 1960 Brown sailed from San Diego with her division to join attack aircraft carrier Hancock in Hawaiian waters, thence by way of the Philippines and Sasebo for operations in the South China Seas that included a stay in Buckner Bay, Okinawa. She returned from this cruise to San Diego on 1 February 1961.

Brown cruised with attack carrier Ranger (CVA-61) along the western seaboard, followed by sonar schoolship and training duty under auspices of the Fleet Sonar School with various submarines of Submarine Flotilla One. She also practiced in Pyramid Cove off San Clemente Islands with Underwater Demolition Team 11 embarked for training in beach reconnaissance, then operated in a hunter-killer group with antisubmarine warfare aircraft carrier Bennington (CVS-20). She terminated her duty with Destroyer Division 52 on 22 January 1962 when she departed San Diego for inactivation overhaul in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Brown was decommissioned there on 9 February 1962 to prepare for transfer to the Government of Greece in September 1962 under terms of the Military Assistance Program. Brown was struck from the Navy list on 1 September 1975.

Brown received the Navy unit Commendation for her operations off Okinawa (10 April-16 May 1945 and 16-20 June 1945. She was awarded 15 battle stars for her World War II service.

28 November 2005

Published: Wed Mar 30 09:38:00 EDT 2016