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George E. Badger (Destroyer No. 196)

(DD-196: dp. 1,190; l. 314'5"; b. 31'9"; dr. 9'4"; s. 35 k; cpl 101; a. 4 4", 3 3", 1.30 cal. mg., 12 21" tt; cl. Clemson)

George Edmund Badger, born in New Bern, N.C., 13 April 1795, graduated from Yale in 1813 and studied law in Raleigh, N.C. Elected to the State legislature in 1816, he was judge of the Superior Court at Raleigh from 1820 to 1825. Appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Harrison in 1841, he resigned after Harrison's death. Elected to the Senate in 1846 and again in 1848, at the expiration of his term in 1854 he retired from public life and devoted himself completely to his law practice. An active opponent of secession, after his state passed its 1861 ordinance of secession he continued to be known as a member of the conservative element and attempted to exert a moderating influence. He died in Raleigh 11 May 1866. A vigorous speaker and debater, Badger was known for the depth of his research.

George E. Badger (Destroyer No. 196) was laid down 24 September 1918 by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Va.; launched 6 March 1920; sponsored by Miss Mary B. Wilson, the namesake's granddaughter; and commissioned 28 July 1920, Lt. Comdr. Albert Gleaves Berry, Jr., in command.

After shakedown, George E. Badger based at Charleston, S.C., while operating in Caribbean waters and along the eastern seaboard from Jacksonville, Fla, to Boston. Returning to Philadelphia 6 June 1922, she decommissioned there 11 August 1922 and was subsequently transferred to the Treasury Department 1 October 1930 for use by the Coast Guard. She was reacquired by the Navy 21 May 1934 and redesignated (AVP-16) on 1 October 1939.

George E. Badger recommissioned at Philadelphia 8 January 1940, Lt. Comdr. Frank Akers in command. During the next year she engaged in training operations in the Caribbean. Redesignated AVD-3 on 2 August 1940, she returned to Norfolk 12 January 1941 and subsequently tended planes while based at Argentia, Newfoundland, and Reykjavik, Iceland, until the spring of 1942.

Ordered to Charleston, N.C., 26 May 1942, George E. Badger escorted convoys along the eastern seaboard, in the Gulf of Mexico, and to Recife and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, until returning to Norfolk 15 January 1943 to be fitted out for Atlantic convoy duty. Through the spring of 1943 she operated out of Argentia shepherding convoys bound for the United Kingdom. In June she underwent overhaul at Norfolk, then sailed 13 July for North Africa. Steaming with escort carrier. Bogue (CVE-9) and destroyer Clemson (DD-186), she made her first kill 23 July 1943 after four depth charge attacks broke up deep-running 77-6.73 southwest of Sao Miguel, Azores. This victory came just a few hours before planes from Bogue attacked and sent TJ-521 to the bottom not far away.

After touching Casablanca, George E. Badger returned to New York 23 August. During the next 2 months she made another escort voyage from New York to Casablanca, then returned to New York 21 October. Departing Hampton Roads 14 November, she sailed for North Africa with Bogue and destroyers Dupont, Osmond Ingram and Clemson on an offensive antisubmarine patrol. This patrol was aggressively and successfully conducted, blasting U-172 on 12 December 1943 after a 24-hour game of cat-and-mouse which the German submarine lost.

After escorting another convoy from Norfolk to North Africa and back George E. Badger underwent conversion to high speed transport at Charleston and was redesignated APD-33 on 19 May 1944. Sailing for duty in the Pacific, she steamed via the West Coast and Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal where she arrived 12 August. From there she carried to the Palau Islands. Reaching Angaur Island 12 September, George E. Badger screened warships bombarding the island and from 14 to 16 September sent her hardy frogmen ashore for reconnaissance and demolition work. Intelligence was gathered and obstacles on the beach removed before the ship got underway 12 October for Leyte, where until 18 October she supported the reconnaissance and bombardment of the east coast of that strategic island and again landed her frogmen.

Departing 21 October, she called at Kossol Passage, Manus, and Noumea before participating in the Lingayen landings of 5-11 January 1945. In these she lent her effective fire support as requested, and on D-day, 5 January, blew an attacking Japanese torpedo plane out of the air. Her frogmen hit the beaches 2 days later; and, despite frequent air attacks, George E. Badger continued screening during landings 7 January until sailing 11 January for Leyte and Ulithi.

Until the spring of 1945 the veteran warship was overhauled at Ulithi; patrolled off Iwo Jima while the fighting raged; and escorted ships from Guam to Guadalcanal, Noumea, and Manus. She sailed from Ulithi 2 April 1945 for Okinawa with carriers delivering replacement aircraft, and subsequently escorted convoys from Saipan to Okinawa. George E. Badger sailed from Eniwetok 24 June for Pearl Harbor. Ordered thence to San Francisco for reconversion, she reverted to DD-196 on 20 July 1945 and later decommissioned at that port 3 October 1945. George E. Badger was scrapped 3 June 1946.

George E. Badger received eight battle stars for World War II service in addition to the Presidential Unit Citation.

Published: Wed Feb 24 08:37:45 EST 2016