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Charles H. Roan (DD-853)

(DD-853: dp. 2,425; l. 390'6"; b. 41'1"; dr. 18'6"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 367;- a. 6 5", 10 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Gearing)

Charles Harold Roan, born 16 August 1923 in Claude, Tex., enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve 12 December 1942. He was killed in action 18 September 1944 on Peleliu. For his selfless heroism in absorbing the impact of a hand grenade to save the lives of his four companions, Private First Class Roan was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The name Charles H. Roan was originally assigned to DD-815, whose construction was cancelled 12 August 1945.

Charles H. Roan (DD-853) was launched 15 March 1946 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Shipbuilding Division, Quincy, Mass.; sponsored by Mrs. L. Roan; and commissioned 12 September 1946, Commander R. B. Derickson in command.

From her home port at Newport, R.I., Charles H. Roan operated through 1960 on training exercises along the east coast and in the Caribbean which prepared her for the many and varied overseas deployments with which she made her contribution to the key role of the United States Navy in the preservation of peace throughout the world. Typifying the manifold missions of the destroyer, she trained with carriers, with submarines, in convoy escort exercises, and in amphibious operations. In addition, she gave service as part of the midshipman training squadron, as engineering school ship for Destroyer Force, Atlantic, and in North Atlantic Treaty Organization exercises. Her operating areas ranged from frigid Arctic to the steaming Persian Gulf, and her assignments took her around the world.

On her first overseas deployment, Charles H. Roan sailed from Newport 9 February 1948 for a cruise which took her to the Mediterranean and service with the 6th Fleet, then into the Persian Gulf to aid in representing American strength in this critical area with the Middle East Force. She returned to Newport 26 June, and took up the training schedule necessary to prepare her for a 1949 Mediterranean tour. In 1950 her armament was extensively altered, and her next lengthy cruise came in summer 1953, when she carried midshipmen to South American ports.

On 2 August 1954, Charles H. Roan stood down Narragansett with her division on the first leg of a round the world voyage. She sailed on to the western Pacific for 5 months of operations with the mighty 7th Fleet, on patrol in the Taiwan Straits, and in carrier and amphibious exercises off Japan, Okinawa, and the Philippines. The division took departure from Subic Bay, P.I., 20 January 1955, and continued westward to call at Persian Gulf ports, transit the Suez Canal, and visit in the Mediterranean before returning to Newport 14 March. She resumed her training operations until 7 Julv, when she was ordered north to take station as a picket off Iceland and Greenland during .the flight of President D. D. Eisenhower to the Geneva Summit Conference.

Charles H. Roan's next Mediterranean cruise began with her sailing from Newport 14 September 1956 to join the 6th Fleet. With the eruption of the Suez crisis that fall, she patrolled in the eastern Mediterranean, aiding in the prevention of further violence. Since the Suez Canal was now blocked, December found Charles H. Roan bound for the Cape of Good Hope, rounding the African continent for 2 months of duty with the Middle East Force. Between 20 and 27 January 1957, she served as flagship for the Force Commander in a passage up the Shatt-al-Arab to visit Barsa, Iraq. Her return passage to Newport found her rounding the Cape of Good Hope once more, and she reached home 3 April, in good time to take part in the International Naval Review in Hampton Roads in June. Late summer saw her crossing the Atlantic once more for visits to Plymouth, England, and Copenhagen, Denmark, while participating in North Atlantic Treaty Organization Operation "Strikeback."

Charles H. Roan's 1958 midshipmen cruise is a striking illustration of naval reaction to an international emergency. Arriving at Annapolis 12 July to take the midshipmen on board, Charles H. Roan got underway on what was to be a brief cruise. But plans swiftly changed upon the outbreak of the trouble in the Middle East which led to the landing of American Marines by the fleet in Lebanon. First, Charles H. Roan proceeded to Norfolk, Va., to take on board additional stores and ammunition necessary for a lengthy deployment, then sailed south to escort an amphibious group to training operations designed as preparation for any extension of the Middle Eastern trouble. She proceeded on across the Atlantic, arriving at Naples 14 August to transfer the midshipmen to other ships. Thus released, she sailed on to the coast of Lebanon, where she and Forrest Royal (DD-872) patrolled in support of the forces ashore. Now trouble flared up in the Far East, as the Chinese Communists menaced peace by resuming the bombardment of the Nationalist-held offshore islands. Charles H. Roan and Forrest Royal joined the Essex (CVA-9) group, augmenting the screen of two destroyers already accompanying the carrier. The group passed through the Suez Canal 29 August, and until 27 September, patrolled off Taiwan. Her return passage to Newport took her around the Cape of Good Hope. She arrived home 18 November to a colorful welcome in Narragansett Bay.

Adding to her list of historic operations, Charles H. Roan in the summer of 1959, participated in Operation "Inland Sea," the first passage of a naval force through the Saint Lawrence Seaway into the Great Lakes. She visited many ports and took part in the ceremonies dedicating the Seaway. The 31st of March 1960 found her again arriving in the Mediterranean for a cruise which included duty with the key Middle East Force, and visits to many Persian Gulf ports. Returning to Newport in October, Charles H. Roan operated off the east coast for the remainder of the year.

Published: Tue Jun 30 10:08:18 EDT 2015