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Clarence K. Bronson (DD-668)

(DD-668: 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)

Clarence King Bronson was born in Bushnell, III., 21 July 1888, and was a member of the Naval Academy Class of 1910. After service afloat, he was trained in aviation in 1914 at the Curtis Aeroplane Co., Hammondsport, N.Y., and Pensacola, Fla. Lieutenant (junior grade) Bronson was killed at the Naval Proving Ground, Indianhead, Md., 8 November 1916, while testing experimental aerial bombs.

Clarence K. Bronson (DD-668) was launched 18 April 1943 by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N.J.; sponsored by Mrs. W. P. Richardson; and commissioned 11 June 1943, Commander W. S. Veeder in command.

Clarence K. Bronson reached Pearl Harbor 21 November 1943 for final training, remaining in Hawaiian waters aside from a single escort voyage to Tarawa, until January 1944, when she joined TF 58. Clarence K. Bronson screened this force for strikes supporting the landings on Kwajalein, and raids on Truk, Saipan, and Guam through February, and on 15 March, sailed from Espiritu Santo to screen carriers covering the landings in the Bismarck Archipelago from 19 to 25 March. With Task Group 36.1 she rejoined TF 58 two days later for strikes on Palau, Yap, and Woleai.

In late April 1944, Clarence K. Bronson's force covered the New Guinea landings, and returned to raid Truk on 29 and 30 April. The destroyer was drydocked at Majuro during May, and sailed again with TF 58 on 6 June for the Marianas operation. After screening during preinvasion air strikes on Saipan, Rota, Tinian and Guam, Clarence K. Bronson stood off Saipan as the assault on that island began, then guarded her carriers as they launched their planes in the aerial Battle of the Philippine Sea, 19 and 20 June, an American victory from which Japanese naval aviation never recovered. Clarence K. Bronson was one of the ships which displayed her searchlight aloft as a homing beacon for carrier pilots at the close of the battle as the Fleet audaciously revealed itself to save its aviators. After replenishing at Eniwetok early in July, TF 58 covered the invasion of Guam, and launched air strikes on enemy bases in the Palaus and Bonins.

Clarence K. Bronson's force covered the capture of the Palaus in September 1944 and in October neutralized Formosan bases, hurled raids against the Philippines and Visayas, and played its part in the epic Battle for Leyte Gulf of 23 to 26 October in the Battle of Cape Engano, 25 October.

In November and December 1944, air strikes covered the Mindoro landings, and through January 1945, raids on Japanese bases on Formosa, Luzon, the Nansei Shoto and Chinese ports made possible the Lingayen assault. February's strikes on Tokyo prepared for the assault on Iwo Jima, and Clarence K. Bronson left the main body of her task force 18 February to escort cruisers to Iwo Jima for preinvasion bombardment and fire support to the forces ashore after the assault on 19 February. She offered this aid for 4 days, then rejoined her task force for another round of strikes on Tokyo and the Nansei Shoto. She returned to fire support and antisubmarine patrol duties off Iwo Jima from 3 to 29 March, then sailed for a west coast overhaul.

Clarence K. Bronson returned to Pearl Harbor 9 July 1945 for training, and put to sea 2 August to bombard Wake Island 6 days later. Continuing west, she entered Sagami Wan 27 August, and took part in the occupation by patrolling Japanese waters until 5 December. Homeward bound, she called at San Diego and New York, and on 12 April arrived at Charleston, S.C. Here she was decommissioned and placed in reserve 16 July 1946.

Recommissioned 7 June 1951, Clarence K. Bronson had training along the east coast and in the Caribbean until 18 May 1953, when she sailed from her home port, Newport, to join TF 77 in Korean waters 3 July. She operated with TF 77 and TF 99 on blockade, patrol, and escort duty until 10 November, when she began the final leg of her round-the-world cruise, calling at Hong Kong, Aden, Gibraltar, Bermuda, and many other ports before she stood up Narragansett Bay 15 January 1954. Through the next 4 years, she alternated training and local operations with exercises in the Caribbean, NATO operations in the North Atlantic, assignment as engineering school ship, and two Mediterranean cruises with the 6th Fleet in 1955 and 1957.

In 1958 Clarence K. Bronson was assigned to experimental duty with the Underwater Sound Laboratory, and in 1959, made naval reserve training cruises along the east coast and in the Caribbean from Charleston, and her new home port, Mayport, Fla. On 11 April 1960, she was placed in commission in reserve at Orange, Tex., and on 29 June 1960 was decommissioned.

Clarence K. Bronson received nine battle stars for World War II service, and one battle star for Korean war service.

Published: Tue Jun 30 13:02:03 EDT 2015