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Hudson III (DD-475)


William Levereth Hudson was born 11 May 1794 at Brooklyn, N.Y. His first service afloat was in the Mediterranean Squadron under Commodore William Bainbridge in the schooner Alert and sloop Ontario from 1815 to 1817. Hudson was appointed midshipman on 1 January 1816. In 1821-1823 he served in Dolphin on the Pacific coast of South America, and in Warren for a Mediterranean cruise 1826-1829. In 1830-1831 Hudson accompanied Lieutenant Ramsey on a tour to Russia, and then assumed duty at the New York Navy Yard. In June 1838 he was ordered to command Peacock, attached to the Wilkes Exploring Expedition. After strenuous service in the Antarctic, the South Seas, and along the coast of North America, Peacock was wrecked on 18 July 1841 while attempting to cross the bar and enter the Columbia River on Wilkes' orders. Commander Hudson made every effort to free his ship but was forced to leave her, fortunately saving all his men and the scientific papers. In September 1849, after shore and lighthouse duty, he was ordered to command Vincennes, cruising the Pacific until 1852. In March 1857 Hudson, appointed captain 8 October 1855, assumed command of Niagara. That August, in conjunction with British ships, he made the first attempt at laying a transatlantic cable. This try was unsuccessful, but a second attempt met with success 10 August 1858. After commanding the Boston Navy Yard 1858-1862, Captain Hudson was made Inspector of the Third Light House District. He died on 15 October 1862 in Brooklyn.


(DD-475: displacement 2,050; length 376'6" ; beam 39'8" ; draft 17'9"; speed 37 knots; complement 273; armament 5 5-inch, 4 1.1-inch, 6 20 millimeter, 4 .50-caliber, 10 21-inch torpedo tubes, 6 depth charge projectors, 2 depth charge tracks; class Fletcher)

Hudson (DD-475) was laid down on 20 February 1942 at Boston, Mass., by the Boston Navy Yards; launched on 3 June 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Henry H. Hough, wife of Adm. Henry H. Hough (Ret.) ; and commissioned at her building yard on 13 April 1943, Cmdr. William R. Smedburg, III, in command.

After shakedown and escort duty along the Atlantic coast, Hudson sailed for Efate, New Hebrides, where she was just in time to provide fire support for the initial landings on Bougainville on 1 November 1943. As the Japanese staged a heavy air attack 8 November, Hudson helped repel them by splashing two "bogies" and assisting on a third. She then made antishipping sweeps in the Truk area and participated in operations against the Green Islands obn 1 February 1944. En route to the invasion Hudson attacked and sank a Japanese submarine on 31 January.

Following a brief respite in Australia, Hudson steamed to Kwajalein to join the armada readying for the invasion of the Marianas. After delivering shore bombardment to clear the way for landings on Saipan, Guam, and Tinian, the tough little destroyer took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea on 19 June 1944. Here she contributed two kills to the massive destruction of Japanese planes later known as "The Marianas Turkey Shoot". In mid-July, as the invasion of Guam was launched, Hudson steamed off the island to screen transports and chalk up another "bogie" as well as rescuing three Navy pilots and a Japanese flier. From the Marianas, Hudson steamed to Palau to support landings on Peleliu and Angaur 12-25 September. Departing Manus, Admiralty Islands, 4 October, she reached San Francisco 2 weeks later for overhaul.

After refresher training at Pearl Harbor, Hudson returned to battle, arriving off Two Jima 19 February 1945. Here she provided vital radar picket protection during the Initial invasion of that enemy bastion. While retiring from Iwo Jima after the island was secured, Hudson rescued eight survivors of a B-29 Superfortress which had crashed at sea 8 March. Her next action came as she assumed duties as a radar picket ship off Okinawa 1 April, when American troops stormed the last enemy stronghold before the home islands. On 5 April the valiant Hudson gained credit for sinking her second Japanese submarine of the war as a 6-hour attack with six barrages of depth charges resulted in the death of RO-49 off Okinawa. Although under almost constant attack by kamikazes, Hudson was to come through the war with only one injury to a crewman; that was inflicted when a kamakaze crashed close aboard 22 April 1945, clipping a chief on the head with a wingtip but missing the ship.

It was off Okinawa that Hudson earned the title of the "destroyer who saved a carrier." On 4 May a kamikaze crashed in the escort carrier Sangamon. Hudson steered for the fiercely blazing carrier. Despite the exploding ammunition on board the drifting carrier, the superbly managed destroyer was able to go alongside three times, getting a total of 16 hoses over the side. The overhanging flight deck of the carrier caused extensive damage to Hudson's superstructure as burning debris, and a flaming plane jettisoned by Sangamon's crew which crashed into Hudson's depth charges on the fantail, caused scattered damage. When the fires were finally under control, Hudson had suffered damage equal to that of the original victim, although the carrier had been saved with small loss of life through the destroyer's efforts, and was routed to Guam for repairs 10 May.

Promptly repaired, Hudson joined the 3d Fleet off Okinawa 22 June and then proceeded to Eniwetok for convoy duty in the Marshalls. After escorting a convoy to the Aleutians, she returned to Northern Japan to take part in the occupation and control of the enemy home islands 8 September, six days after the signing of unconditional surrender in Tokyo Bay. From Japan, Hudson sailed to Alaska where she began carrying veterans back to the States in Operation Magic Carpet. She then put in at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash., to prepare to decommission. Sailing to San Diego on 15 March 1946, Hudson decommissioned and went into reserve there 31 May. In January 1947 Hudson was moved to Mare Island, Calif,

Ultimately, Hudson was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 December 1972, and disposed-of, by Navy sale, 1 November 1973 and scrapped.

Hudson received a Navy Unit Commendation (Okinawa, 1 April-10 May 1945), and nine battle stars for her World War II service.

Update and corrected, Robert J. Cressman

11 February 2021

Published: Thu Feb 11 13:41:02 EST 2021