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Hulbert (Destroyer No. 342)

(DD-342; dp. 1,190; l. 314'5" : b. 30'8" ; dr. 9'3" ; s. 36 k.; cpl. 126; a. 4 4", 2 3", 12 21" tt.; cl. Clemson)

Henry Lewis Hulbert, born in Kingston-upon-Hull, England, 12 January 1867, enlisted in the Marine Corps 28 March 1898. During the Philippine Insurrection, he received the Medal of Honor for an action on Samar 1 April 1899 when he refused to desert disabled comrades in the face of heavy fire. Soon after America entered World War I, Hulbert was appointed a Marine gunner with the Fifth Regiment. During the Battle of Chateau Thierry 6 June 1918, despite serious wounds, he directed his platoon in a successful attack and received the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism. Appointed First Lieutenant for his extraordinary service, Hulbert was killed near Mont Blanc 5 October 1918, and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

Hulbert (Destroyer No. 342) was launched by Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va., 28 June 1918; sponsored by Mrs. V. C. Hulbert, widow of Lieutenant Hulbert; and commissioned 27 October 1920, Lt. S. A. Maher in command.

Following shakedown training out of Norfolk, Hulbert took part in destroyer maneuvers in the Atlantic until June 1921, when she assisted in the famous ordnance tests on obsolete American and captured German ships. For the next year, the ship operated out of Newport with other destroyers.

Hulbert sailed 20 June 1922 for duty on the Asiatic Station, steaming via the Mediterranean and Ceylon to Chefoo, China, 26 August. The ship patrolled Chinese and Philippine waters in the year that followed, protecting American interests during the raging Chinese Civil War. She also took part in periodic fleet exercises designed to keep her crew and equipment at maximum war readiness. Hulbert took part in the evacuation of American civilians and missionaries in March 1927 and September 1928. Completing this lengthy tour of duty in the Far East, she sailed 22 July 1929 from Yokohama, arriving San Diego 17 August.

During the remainder of the year, Hulbert acted as plane guard for carriers Langtey and Saratoga off California, thus helping to develop carrier-group tactics. She took part in important fleet exercises on both coasts, during the period from 1930 to 1934 and arrived Philadelphia 14 August 1934. She decommissioned there 17 October 1934 and was placed in reserve.

Hulbert was converted to a seaplane tender 1939-1940, recommissioning at New York Navy Yard as AVP-6 on 2 August 1940. She arrived San Diego 24 August via Guantanamo Bay and the Canal Zone, and began servicing Patrol Wing 1 on operations off the West Coast, helping to perfect America's seaplane reconnaissance capability. Hulbert sailed 8 May 1941 for Pearl Harbor, where she became headquarters ship for the seaplane wing and continued servicing and repairing her planes.

On the fateful morning of 7 December 1941, Hulbert was moored at the Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor. General Quarters sounded just before 0800, and the ship's antiaircraft batteries instantly opened fire at attacking planes. As the Japanese directed their attention to Ford Island and the battleships, she shot down one torpedo plane and damaged several others. After the attack the ship assisted in the massive rescue effort. After loading ammunition, she moved to Hilo 9 December to set up an advance base for the all-important patrol bombers. Hulbert was also called upon to aid aircraft at sea, as on Christmas Day she repaired a seaplane at sea and then towed it for nearly 3 days when heavy seas prevented a safe tokeoff. The ship also made supply runs to Palmyra before moving north to Kodiak 6 June 1942.

The Japanese had occupied Kiska and Attu as part of the abortive Midway Offensive, and Hulbert was assigned to tend the seaplanes of VP-43 during reconnaissance flights and bombing raids on those islands. The versatile ship also steamed to Seguam Island 30 August 1942, landing a party of Marines to search for a Japanese radio station. Next day, she arrived Atka to aid torpedoed tender Casco, alternating between salvage efforts and seaplane tending during September. Hulbert sailed 4 October for supplies and repairs at San Francisco.

She was again underway from Seattle 8 December 1942 for Kodiak where the veteran ship serviced patrol bombers during the first months of 1943. In May Hulbert moved to Amchitka, acting as communications ship during the recapture of Attu that spring. She moved again to Attu in June, to provide fuel and communications services for seaplanes and torpedo boats but was blown ashore in Massacre Bay during a severe storm 30 June 1943. Hulbert's hull was seriously damaged and, after temporary repairs at Dutch Harbor, she arrived Seattle 30 August for a major overhaul.

The ship was reclassified DD-342 on 1 December 1943, and sailed 15 January 1944 to San Diego to take up new duties as an escort ship. For the remainder of the war Hulbert acted as plane guard and screen ship for dozens of new escort carriers as they made ready to join America's powerful striking fleet in the Far East. The ship also served as a maneuvering torpedo target during pilot training and rescued a dozen pilots during this period. After the war's end, Hulbert sailed 30 September, escorting carrier Ranger to the Canal Zone and arrived Philadelphia 17 October 1945. She decommissioned 2 November 1945 and was sold for scrap in October 1946 to Ship Shape, Inc., Philadelphia.

Hulbert received two battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Wed Feb 24 19:21:31 EST 2016