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Charles J. Badger (DD-657)

(DD-657: dp. 2,050; l. 376'6"; b. 39'8"; dr. 17'9"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 319; a. 5 5", 10 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Fletcher)

Born 6 August 1853 in Rockville, Md., Charles J. Badger served in Cincinnati during the Spanish-American War, and climaxed his career as Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his contribution as chairman of the General Board during World War I. Rear Admiral Badger died 7 September 1932 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Charles J. Badger (DD-657) was launched 3 April 1943 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Staten Island, N.Y.; sponsored by Miss I. E. Badger; and commissioned 23 July1943, Commander W. G. Cooper in command.

Charles J. Badger arrived at San Francisco 30 November for Pacific duty, and on 17 December reported at Adak for almost continuous patrol and escort duty in the fog and storm-ridden Aleutians until August 1944. During this time she helped keep the Japanese off balance and unaware of the United States' strategic intentions involving the western Aleutians by joining in the heavy bombardments in the Kuriles in February and June. On 8 August she got underway for warmer waters and warmer action, calling at San Francisco and Pearl Harbor en route Manus. Here she joined an assault convoy and sailed 14 October for the return to the Philippines.

Entering Philippine waters she protected transports in the assault landings at Dulag, Leyte, on 20 October 1944, firing to drive off Japanese air attacks as the unloading proceeded. On the eve of the epic Battle for Leyte Gulf, Charles J. Badger guarded the retirement of empty transports to New Guinea, but returned to Leyte convoying reinforcements in mid-November. In December, she reported in Huon Gulf, New Guinea, for rehearsals of the Lingayen landings, for which she sailed 27 December. On 8 January 1945, as she entered Lingayen Gulf, her force was attacked by Japanese kamikazes, one of whose desperate number crashed the escort carrier Kitkun Bay (CVE-71). Unloading of transports began 9 January, while Charles H. Badger's accurate AA fire helped protect the unloading during frequent enemy air attacks. Two days later, she escorted Kitkun Bay to San Pedro Bay, where she herself took up patrol duties. On 29 January, she guarded the landing of troops on the Zambales coast north of Bataan.

After a period at Ulithi, Charles J. Badger returned to Leyte to rehearse for the landings on the Kerama Retto, a key preliminary to the assault on Okinawa. Charles J. Badger arrived off the Retto 26 March 1945 to guard the landings, which took the Japanese completely by surprise. This did not prevent them, however, from quickly mounting suicide air attacks, during one of which Charles J. Badger aided in splashing a kamikaze short of its target. Once the landings on Okinawa began, the destroyer took position to guard the southern flank of the landings. On 7 April she joined a force moving north to meet the last Japanese naval force, mighty battleship Yamato and her accompanying cruiser and eight destroyers. However, the accurate attack of carrier aircraft sank Yamato, the cruiser, and all but four of the destroyers before American surface forces could engage. Charles J. Badger continued to offer fire support on call to aid the troops ashore. In the halflight of early morning on 9 April, as she lay to on her fire support station, an 18-foot Japanese suicide boat suddenly sped out of the gloom, dropped a depth charge close aboard, and raced away. The explosion knocked out Charles J. Badger's engines and caused heavy flooding. Quick work controlled the flooding, and a tug brought the stricken destroyer into the Kerama Retto roadstead. After temporary repairs, she proceeded for overhaul to Bremerton, Wash., where she arrived 1 August. On 21 May 1946 she was placed out of commission in reserve at Long Beach, Calif.

Charles J. Badger was recommissioned 10 September 1951, and in February 1952 arrived at her new home port, Newport, R.I. Prom this base, she operated along the east coast and in the Caribbean, maintaining and providing services for the training of other types. Her first Atlantic crossing came from 9 June to 23 July 1953, when she sailed to visit Portsmouth, England, in company with two carriers and another destroyer. On 7 December she cleared Newport on the first leg of a round the world cruise, which found her operating for 2 months on patrol off the Korean coast and in the Taiwan Straits. She escorted transports bringing prisoners of war who had elected to join the Chinese Nationalists from Inchon to Taiwan, and took part in training operations off Japan until 22 May 1954, when she continued on around the world. Visits at Hong Kong, Singapore, Colombo, Aden, Port Said, Naples, Villefranche, and Lisbon marked her progress to the Suez Canal and through the Mediterranean to Newport, where she arrived 17 July.

Charles J. Badger completed two tours of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean in early 1956 and in late 1956-early 1957, during the second of which she patrolled watchfully during the Suez Crisis. Charles J. Badger was decommissioned and placed in reserve at Boston 20 December 1957.

Charles J. Badger received five battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Tue Jun 30 10:09:08 EDT 2015