The Lexington search group proceeded to the vicinity of Earhart and Noonan’s last known location at Howland Island. Operating as a plane guard, Lamson steamed with the search group as it combed the seas between Howland Island, and the Marshall and Gilbert Island chains. With only negative results, on 18 July 1937, the search was called off and neither Earhart nor Noonan were ever found.
On 21 July 1937, the Lexington search group officially disbanded when Capt. Jonathan S. “Dad” Dowell, Jr., the search group commander, transferred his pennant to Lamson. In company with Drayton and Cushing (DD-376), Lamson steamed to Pearl Harbor “for fuel, provisions and voyage repairs,” before returning to San Diego.
Lamson spent the next year performing exercises and tactical training operations off the coast of California. However, with war tensions rising in Europe, particularly following the Munich Crisis of September 1938, Lamson, along with many other U.S. naval assets, deployed to the Atlantic. Lamson patrolled the Caribbean and the Atlantic Seaboard for several months making port calls in Cuba and Virginia; however as of 3 June 1939, the destroyer had returned to San Diego.
On 5 October 1939, a little over a month after the outbreak of war in Europe with the German invasion of Poland, Lamson set out for her new homeport at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, T.H., as part of the Hawaiian Detachment of the U.S. Fleet that had been established on 28 September. The ship remained stationed at Pearl for the next few years, and during that time participated in numerous training exercises in Hawaiian waters.
In the summer of 1941, Lamson briefly returned to California for an overhaul at the Mare Island Navy Yard at Vallejo, arriving there to commence that period of work on 8 August. Shifting to San Francisco, clearing that port on 11 October, she shifted to San Diego, proceeding there via San Pedro, arriving on 12 October. Two days later [14 October], Lamson, Drayton, Mahan (DD-364) and Flusser (DD-368) sailed from San Diego and set course for Oahu, escorting Lexington back to Pearl Harbor, the five ships arriving in Hawaiian waters on 19 October.
Lamson had returned to Pearl at a crucial juncture, as U.S. relations with Japan continued to deteriorate. While Lexington and her four consorts were proceeding back to the Territory of Hawaii, on 17 October 1941, the government of Prince Konoye Fumimaro resigned, and General Tōjō Hideki became the Japanese premier. Adm. Husband E. Kimmel, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, that same day, dispatched two submarines to Midway and two to Wake on “simulated war patrols.” By the end of October, Adm. Kimmel had organized the fleet into task forces to facilitate “type, inter-type, and Fleet training, concurrently with [the] performance of certain required patrol and escort duties…”
Training intensified, involving Lamson and her sisters. As the month of November 1941 passed, relations between the U.S. and Japan reached a point of no return. On 26 November, Secretary of State Cordell Hull submitted a final proposal to Japanese representatives; the next day [27 November], Adm. Harold R. Stark, the Chief of Naval Operations, sent a “War Warning” to the Pacific and Asiatic Fleet commanders in chief; Gen. George C. Marshall, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, sent a similar message to the commanders of the Hawaiian and Philippine Departments.
Reinforcing outlying bases assumed urgency in light of the War Warning. On 28 November 1941, carrier Enterprise (CV-6) in Task Force (TF) 8 under Vice Adm. William F. Halsey, Jr., sailed to transport Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat fighters of Marine Fighting Squadron 211 to Wake Island. Soon thereafter, on 5 December, Lexington, in TF 12 (Rear Adm. John H. Newton), stood out with her escorts to transport Vought SB2U-3 Vindicator scout bombers of Marine Bombing Squadron 231 to Midway.
On 7 December 1941, however, while TF-8 was nearing Oahu on its return voyage and TF-12 was still en route to Midway, planes from a six-carrier Japanese Navy task force (Vice Adm. Nagumo Chūichi), executed a devastating surprise attack, targeting the Pacific Fleet and nearby Navy and Army installations on Oahu. Lamson’s war diarist later wrote laconically: “0810 Received word that open hostilities with Japan had commenced.” The next day, heavy cruiser Indianapolis (CA-35) joined the force, Vice Adm. Wilson Brown assuming command. On 9 December, the Lamson broke off from the task force and spent nearly a full day searching for a downed plane. The next day she rendezvoused with Drayton, and on the 11th, re-joined TF 12, taking up a plane guard station astern of Lexington.
Steaming with the task force on 12 December 1941, Lamson spent the morning briefly searching for another missing plane and then at 1446, went alongside the heavy cruiser Chicago (CA-29) to embark four passengers for transportation to Pearl Harbor. Lamson arrived at her destination the following afternoon, but before entering port received orders to search for a possible Japanese submarine in the harbor. After an unsuccessful search, Lamson moored at Pearl Harbor that afternoon (13 December), and fueled from Ramapo (AO-12) the following day.
Having re-fueled and replenished, Lamson stood out from Pearl Harbor on 15 December 1941, steaming with Task Group (TG) 17.3; consisting of the seaplane tender Tangier (AV-8) (with elements of the Fourth Defense Battalion, USMC, embarked, with supplies and equipment needed for the defense of Wake Island), the oiler Neches (AO-5) (the only oiler available to sortie) and Porter (DD-356), one of the groups marshalled to put to sea to attempt to relieve beleaguered Wake Island, that had beaten back the first Japanese attempt to seize the atoll and withstood almost daily bombings.
Unfortunately, at the same juncture, the Japanese failure to take Wake Island had prompted seeking reinforcement as well, and while Adm. Kimmel (soon to be relieved by Vice Adm. William S. Pye) was sending forces to strengthen the defenders, two of the six aircraft carriers that had ravaged Pearl Harbor were being added to the forces arrayed against Wake. Ultimately, as events played out, the introduction of two carriers in one force worked against the three carriers, deployed in separate task groups, sent to fight their way to the atoll. Lamson was “released from duty assigned” on the morning of 17 December and returned to Pearl on the 18th, moored alongside Flusser less than a half an hour into the afternoon watch .
Lamson moored there overnight, then the next day [19 December 1941] got underway with Mahan and Flusser for a brief, day-long patrol in local waters. On 21 December, Lamson sortied out as a screen for TG 15.6, as its ships maneuvered into port. Wake Island fell on 23 December, and Vice Adm. Pye ordered TF 14 (Rear Adm. Fletcher) recalled 425 miles from its objective on that day.
On Christmas Day 1941, a detachment of 2 USMC officers, one USN (MC) officer and 105 enlisted marines embarked in Lamson for transportation to reinforce Johnston Island, which had been shelled by a Japanese submarine ten days earlier. Early the next morning, on 26 December, Lamson stood out from Pearl Harbor with TG 13.2, Mahan and the fleet tug Navajo (AT-64). Other than a possible submarine contact one day into the passage by Mahan, and Navajo’s tow breaking loose (0910-1115) on the 29th the voyage proved relatively uneventful and the task group anchored off Johnston on 30 December. The marines debarked and 31 Caucasian civilian workmen embarked for transportation to Pearl. Lamson got back underway at 1745 that same day and arrived at Pearl on 3 January 1942.
Moored in a nest of destroyers for several days after her return, Lamson conducted an emergency sortie on 6 January 1942, to form a scouting line with TF 19, searching for a suspected submarine. The destroyer maintained a screening station with the task force for the next few days but with no contacts developing she returned to Pearl on the 10th. Early the next day, Lamson stood out with TF 8 and took a plane guard station off Enterprise as the carrier conducted air operations.
Just after midday on the 17th, a Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless from Bombing Squadron Six ran out of gas during the recovery evolution and “pancaked in.” Lamson rescued Ens. Frederick T. Weber, A-V(N), USNR, the pilot, but the plane sank inside a minute, taking RM3c Joe J. Ivantic, the radio-gunner, with it. She transferred Ens. Weber, strapped safely in a stretcher, back to Enterprise later that day. Subsequently, the carrier transferred Hubert R. “Red” Knickerbocker (Chicago Sun) and Joseph C. Harsch (Christian Science Monitor) war correspondents, to the destroyer.
Lamson parted company with TF 8 on 18 January 1942, and joined TG 8.4. The next day the destroyer moored to a buoy at Pago Pago Harbor, Tutuila Island, American Samoa, and disembarked her two journalist passengers. Underway on 21 January, Lamson screened the War Shipping Administration troopship Lurline and then patrolled around Tutuila. On the 26th, she crossed the Equator—an occasion marked by a visit from King Neptune and his Royal Court—and then, on the 29th, arrived back at Pago Pago. Lamson stood out again the following morning with the heavy cruiser San Francisco (CA-38) and took up a patrolling station off the entrance to the harbor.
On the morning of 1 February 1942, Lamson re-embarked newsmen Knickerbocker and Harsch and got underway for Wellington, New Zealand. Arriving at her destination on 7 February, Lamson moored in the harbor, disembarked the two correspondents and reported for duty with the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Squadron; tasked with ensuring the safety of the South Pacific supply lines. In addition to Lamson, the Allied squadron included: the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia, the light cruisers HMNZS Achilles and HMNZS Leander and the U.S. warships Chicago and Perkins (DD-377).
Lamson stood out with the ANZAC Squadron on 9 February 1942, and steamed to Suva, Fiji, arriving there on 12 February. Two days later, on the 14th, Lamson commenced a routine pattern of sortieing out with the ANZAC squadron to rendezvous with TF 11 several hundred miles out to sea and then screening ships from the task force that would split off and head to Suva, Fiji. She performed this escort duty twice, once from 14 to 17 February and a second time from 18 to 25 February. Just hours after her return to Suva on the 25th, Lamson got back underway to escort a cargo ship to the French Territory of New Caledonia.
Lamson arrived at Nouméa, New Caledonia, on 28 February 1942. Performing a quick turnaround, she stood out with the ANZAC squadron on 1 March, passing through the Northern Bulari Passage, en route to rendezvous with TF 11. Sighting the task force on 3 March, Lamson maneuvered “to conform to the movements of Lexington,” and then maintained a screening station as the task force shaped a course for Suva. Lamson anchored at Suva Harbor on 8 March, and then, early the next day got underway with heavy cruiser Portland (CA-33) and oiler Neosho (AO-23).
On 11 March 1942, Lamson moored in Havannah Harbor, Efate, New Hebrides [Vanuatu], and then just two days later on the 13th, she steamed out to a rendezvous point in the Coral Sea. Late in the morning on 14 March, Lamson spotted TF 11, and proceeded to join the task force formation. Later that afternoon, as part of the transfer process where Lexington (slated to return to Pearl Harbor) “traded” newer planes to Yorktown (being retained in the South Pacific) a Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat (BuNo 4009), lost power on take-off and went into the water; and Lamson proceeded at “flank speed to the scene of the crash.” Ens. Walter A. Haas, A-V(N), USNR, was rescued by Dale (DD-353). Lamson then re-joined the task force and continued on towards Nouméa.
Anchored at her destination on 16 March 1942, Lamson stood out early on the 17th, with Perkins, and shaped a course for Brisbane, Australia. Approximately four hours into her voyage at 1515, “a plane dropped a message on the deck with orders to return to Noumea.” She reversed course and then spent the rest of the day patrolling off the Bulari Passage, New Caledonia.
Lamson left her patrolling station on 25 March 1942, and steamed north of Suva in order to meet with a convoy bound for Fila Harbor, Efate. Upon locating her charges on 28 March, she took a station off the starboard side of the formation and commenced screening. The next day the convoy arrived at Mele Bay, Vila, Efate, but Lamson pressed on.
On 3 April 1942, Lamson steadied course and proceeded towards a rendezvous point with a small convoy at Uvea Atoll. The next day the destroyer steamed through Styx Passage and anchored at Uvea. On the 5th, she stood out with Australia and shaped a course for Nouméa.
Arriving at her destination on 6 April 1942, Lamson remained moored at Nouméa until later that night and then got underway screening Australia en route to the Coral Sea. On the 8th, Lamson and HMAS Australia joined TF 17; and Lamson took up a screening station on one of the aircraft carriers.
Lamson and Australia detached from TF 17, on 11 April 1942, and steamed to Nouméa, mooring there on the 13th. At 1000 on 18 April, Maj. Gen. Alexander M. Patch Jr., USA, embarked in Lamson for transportation to Vila. Lamson got underway within the hour and arrived there the next day. Maj. Gen. Patch debarked and conducted an inspection of U.S. Army troops and installations at Vila while Lamson remained anchored in the harbor. On 20 April, Lamson got underway for Nouméa, and later moored there, in a nest of destroyers, on the 21st.
Standing out with Leander on 22 April 1942, Lamson set out on a brief voyage to Suva, and arrived on the 24th. Forming an anti-submarine screen on Leander, Lamson then got underway again on 27 April, in order to locate and escort a convoy 20 miles south of Tutuila. The following morning, Lamson spotted the convoy and took up a screening station. At 1725, Flusser relieved Lamson from her duties with the ANZAC Squadron and the destroyer proceeded to join TG 12.7.
During the morning of 1 May 1942, Lamson patrolled the entrance to Pago Pago. At 1840 that evening she steamed out of the area to escort the minesweeper Kingfisher (AM-25) to Upolu, British West Samoa. Arriving on 2 May, Lamson anchored at Apia, Upolu, for several hours and then got back underway with the light cruiser Honolulu (CL-48) to rendezvous with a convoy at sea. Lamson made contact with the convoy on 6 May, and took up a patrolling station on the formation’s right flank, bound for Pago Pago. Just 8 miles from her destination, Lamson broke away from the convoy and continued on to Apia, arriving there on 8 May.
Lamson patrolled outside the harbor through 8 May 1942, and then steamed with Honolulu back to Pago Pago. The destroyer made the same trip between Pago Pago and Apia two more times, first on 9 May and then on 10 May. Standing out just before dawn on the 14th, Lamson steamed to a designated point 100 miles south southwest of Suva, and stood by to await the arrival of a convoy. At 0225 on 17 May, she spotted a light from the convoy and proceeded to join it as a screen, en route to Suva Harbor. The destroyer returned to the same rendezvous point on the 24th, and ended the day anchored at Suva.
On 26 May 1942, Lamson stood out with a convoy but, a few hours after getting underway, she broke away and proceeded independently to Pago Pago; arriving there the following day. Lamson got underway again on 28 May, screening the oiler Tippecanoe (AO-21) and then joined TU 6.3.2, at sea, and shaped a course for Pearl Harbor. Following a weeklong voyage, the destroyer moored at Pearl on 6 June. Seven days later, on the 13th, she stood out from Pearl as a convoy escort for TG 15.11, bound for San Francisco.
While steaming to California on 22 June 1942, Lamson’s task group received a report of an unidentified submarine in proximity. The convoy pushed on and Lamson rendezvoused with a rigid airship to commence a search for the suspect boat. The destroyer made three sound contacts and laid down depth charges on each one. However, with no confirmed hits resulting from her attacks, the ship abandoned the search and at 1817 re-joined the convoy. Just a few hours later, Lamson and the others steamed into San Francisco Harbor.
The day after her arrival, Lamson entered the Mare Island Navy Yard and commenced a week-long overhaul. On 11 July 1942, she conducted dock trials and then shifted over to San Francisco Harbor. Anchored there overnight, the destroyer then got underway the following morning to undergo degaussing at Treasure Island, Calif., after which, she returned to San Francisco. A week later, on 19 July, Lamson stood out with TU 1.1.4, to screen Maryland (BB-46) while the battleship engaged in gunnery exercises at sea. She returned from the sortie on 22 July, and moored at San Francisco.
Standing out with Drayton on 22 July 1942, Lamson steamed to San Diego, conducting torpedo training exercises along the way. The destroyer arrived the following day, and then, after mooring there for most of the next week, returned to San Francisco on 31 July. During the early morning hours of 1 August, she got underway with TF 1, steaming off the port bow of Maryland, and shaped a course for Pearl Harbor.
While still at sea on 7 August 1942, Lamson rescued the crew of a Vought OS2U-3 Kingfisher (BuNo 5287) from Maryland that crashed during an exercise. Two days later on 9 August, Lamson joined company with TF 17, and took a screening station off the port bow of Hornet (CV-8). That same day, a Kingfisher (BuNo 5297) from New Mexico (BB-40) crashed and Lamson picked up the survivors.
On 13 August 1942, Lamson reached Hawaiian waters, but did not immediately proceed to port. Instead, she accompanied part of the task force on a gunnery exercise. While en route, Colorado (BB-45) suffered a steering casualty and broke down; Lamson then split off from the formation and screened the battleship. Colorado’s mechanical issues were fixed a few hours later and Lamson returned to the task force.
Beginning on the morning of 14 August 1942, Lamson stood by while the rest of the task force entered Pearl Harbor. Just after nightfall, she entered the port and moored. The destroyer then spent a full week at Pearl, during which time she participated in a series of patrols and drills in the local area. Underway on 21 August, Lamson screened a force of battleships (TU 1.1.3) conducting exercises in local waters that lasted through the 24th. From 1-5 September, she conducted a similar sortie with Maryland, Colorado, Porter, Drayton and Mahan.
Lamson got underway again from 7-9 September 1942, to conduct torpedo and surface firing exercises with Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 5. Following her return to Pearl on the 9th, she spent just under a week in port before commencing a number of battleship sorties (TU 1.1.4); these took place, respectively on 11-14 September, 17-21 September, 26-28 September, 1-4 October and 12-14 October.
Standing out as a screen for TF 16, on 16 October 1942, Lamson headed to the South Pacific. While still en route on the 19th, she received orders to break away from the task force in order to carry out “a special mission” with Mahan, in the vicinity of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. On 21 October, the pair of destroyers steamed towards the 175th meridian east, to “shoot up the Japanese picket boat line.” At 1302 on the 22nd, Lamson and Mahan made a coordinated attack on the Japanese gunboat Hakkaisan Maru (Capt. Nakajima Kiyonobu, commanding) and sent her to the bottom with all hands.
At 1348, Lamson identified another “large enemy vessel,” and closed in, exchanging fire in a running engagement. As the smoke cleared the Japanese ship “appeared to be burning badly,” and sank shortly thereafter. For several hours, from 1655 to 1809, Lamson also battled with a Japanese Kawanishi H6K flying boat [Mavis] and eventually drove the plane off with anti-aircraft fire. Having achieved the primary aim of their mission Lamson and Mahan then steered south to re-join their task force. Lt. Cmdr. Phillip H. FitzGerald, Lamson’s commanding officer, later received a Navy Cross for his conspicuous skill and conduct during the raid.
On 23 October 1942, Lamson spotted friendly planes, and re-joined the task force. After midday on the 24th, the destroyer took station on the port beam of South Dakota (BB-57) to screen the battleship as TF 16 fueled. Lamson prepared to go alongside Enterprise at 1850, but a 10-inch manila hawser parted and fouled her starboard screw. After an unsuccessful attempt to clear the propeller, Lamson fueled from Sabine (AO-25) at midnight, then tried to resume station in the anti-submarine screen for South Dakota. Ultimately, the hobbled destroyer stopped all engines at 0705 on the 24th, and, screened by Maury (DD-401), again unsuccessfully tried to clear the fouled prop. Lamson took departure from TF 16 at 1500 and proceeded independently to Fila Harbor—arriving there shortly after noon on the 25th. Success finally crowned her efforts to free the starboard screw, confirmed by tests off Fila Harbor (1057—1403).
Lamson stood out from Fila at 0556 on 28 October 1942, and steamed to Segond Channel, Espíritu Santo, New Hebrides; anchoring there that same afternoon. On 29 October, she stood out with Chester (CA-27) and, following a five-day voyage anchored at Nouméa on 3 November.
In preparation for some badly-needed repair work, on 7 November 1942, Lamson shifted over to Dumbéa Bay on the southwestern side of New Caledonia. The following morning, she docked at the auxiliary floating dry dock ARD-2. Her repairs were completed on the 10th, and the next day, she stood out for Fila Harbor. She arrived on the 12th, and spent the night screening Tappahannock (AO-43) outside the harbor.
With “boilers lit under fire no. 2,” Lamson got underway on 15 November 1942, screening a convoy en route Dumbéa Bay. Arriving on the 16th, Lamson remained moored for nearly a full week and then stood out with Lardner (DD-487) on the 21st, bound for Guadalcanal Island. She anchored in Tulagi Harbor, Solomons, on 26 November.
The day after her arrival, Lamson began escorting convoys in the area. While underway on the 30 November 1942, Lamson and Lardner received last minute orders to join TF 67 (Rear Adm. Carleton H. Wright commanding) on a mission to intercept a Japanese destroyer squadron (Rear Adm. Tanaka Raizō, commanding) attempting to re-supply Japanese forces on Guadalcanal.
At 2314 that night, TF 67’s five cruisers and six destroyers, steaming in a long column, located and engaged Rear Adm. Tanaka’s eight Japanese destroyers in Iron Bottom Sound near Tassafaronga. Because there had been no time to brief Lamson and Lardner Rear Adm. Wright positioned the two destroyers behind his cruisers.
Having achieved the element of surprise, TF 67 managed to sink one Japanese destroyer, Takanami; yet, despite their inferior numbers and firepower, the Japanese destroyers managed to execute a stunning counter attack using Type 93 “Long Lance” torpedoes, which sank Northampton (CA-26) and badly damaged three other cruisers. As the last ships in the column, Lamson and Lardner were unable to target any of the Japanese ships and retired eastward.
Although Rear Adm. Wright’s force failed to inflict heavy casualties on the Japanese at Tassafaronga, they did thwart them from carrying out their re-supply mission and thus achieved a measure of success in the ongoing fight for Guadalcanal. Following the battle, Lamson anchored at Tulagi on 2 December 1942, and then commenced a series of patrols in the vicinity of the Solomon Islands. Lamson steamed first from Tulagi to Espíritu Santo (6-10 December) and then from Espíritu Santo to Nouméa (11-12 December); however, instead of stopping at Nouméa, she proceeded out to sea screening a convoy.
Lamson remained at sea for another week conducting exercises and then on 22 December 1942, she returned to Espíritu Santo. On 1 January 1943, Lamson once again reported to TF 67. At 1000 on the 2nd, Lamson stood out as a screen for TF 67 and then two days later, within sight of Guadalcanal Island, Lamson split off to join TU 67.2.2, consisting of: Honolulu, Louisville (CA-28), Columbia (CL-56), HMNZS Achilles, Nicholas (DD-449) and Drayton. Following a brief air raid on 5 January, Lamson steamed south, and on 8 January, she anchored in Segond Channel. On the 13th, she set out to relieve Drayton from an anti-submarine patrol off the western approach to the channel. Lamson then maintained the submarine patrol station until the night of 22 January, at which point she joined TF 67 and eventually moored in Espíritu Santo Harbor on the 25th.
Lamson remained at anchor for several days and then put back out to sea on 28 January 1943, to participate in tactical exercises and patrols with TF 67. The destroyer returned to Espíritu Santo on 14 February, and remained anchored there well into the next week. Just before dawn on the 24th, she stood out for a patrol in the local area. On 26 February, Russell (DD-414) relieved Lamson of patrol duty and she proceeded to join TU 62.4.7, bound for Guadalcanal.
Arriving back in the Solomons on 1 March 1943, Lamson screened the ships of her task unit as they unloaded supplies off Koli and Lunga Point, Guadalcanal. On the evening of 2 March, unloading operations were completed and Lamson shaped a course for New Caledonia. Three days later, on 5 March, the destroyer anchored in Berth A-9 at Great Roads Harbor.
From 10 to 12 March 1943, Lamson accompanied TF 64, for a series of battleship exercises. On 16 March, she got underway with TU 32.4.1, to escort a supply run to Guadalcanal. Her task unit unloaded at Lunga Point on the 24th, then steamed for Espíritu Santo, arriving there on the 26th. The tempo of wartime operations, however, left little time for inactivity, and the next day Lamson stood out, assuming escort duties for the attack transports John Penn (APA-23), George Clymer (APA-27), and Fuller (APA-7), in company with Flusser. The next afternoon [28 March], Balch (DD-363) joined the group, becoming the escort commander. On the afternoon of the 29th, Lamson saw to John Penn’s safely proceeding to Nandi, after which the destroyer, her escort task completed, set course for New Caledonia, steaming independently.
That same day [29 March 1943], the condition of F2c Kenneth H. Oliver, who had served on board since 15 September 1942, had worsened to the point that he required an appendectomy. Lt. (j.g.) Elmer E. Hinton, MC-V, USNR, the destroyer’s medical officer, despite the “very rough sea” running, and the fact that neither CPhM (PA) Julian Sweterman, who had served on board since 29 November 1941, nor PhM2c John H. Irwin, who had joined the crew on 7 July 1942, had “previously seen or assisted in a major surgical operation,” performed a successful procedure on F2c Oliver. Hinton later received a letter of commendation from the Commander South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force for his “outstanding performance of duty.” On 31 March, Lamson anchored at Dumbéa Bay and underwent a brief availability that lasted through 4 April.
On 8 April 1943, Lamson got underway as an anti-submarine screen for TF 10 and TF 14. She moored at Great Roads Harbor on 15 April, and then remained in the area for several weeks. She later stood out from New Caledonia on 28 April, steaming with the battleship Massachusetts (BB-59) and a complement of other destroyers bound for Pearl Harbor. Following a weeklong voyage, on 6 May, Lamson moored at Pier 17, in the Navy Yard at Pearl.
Lamson stood out from Pearl on 15 May 1943, steaming in company with HMNZS Leander, Stanly (DD-478), the attack transport Fuller, the seaplane tender Pocomoke (AV-9) and the U.S. freighter (C-2 cargo ship) Robin Wentley. Lamson and the others moored at Nouméa Harbor on the 26th, and re-fueled. On 28 May, the ship stood out to escort Fuller and Robin Wentley to Cleveland Bay, Townsville, Australia, and later arrived there on the 31st. Late in the evening on 3 June, she steamed to Challenger Bay, Palm Isles, Australia, and anchored.
On the morning of 5 June 1943, Lamson set out with HMAS Australia, bound for Sydney, Australia. Following a 7-day voyage, Lamson arrived at Woolloomooloo Bay, Sydney, on 12 June, and anchored in berth 9. The destroyer remained at port until the 18th, at which time she got underway to escort the tank landing ship LST-471, first to Townsville (on 21 June) and then to Great Palm Island (on 22 June). On the 26th, Lamson stood out with TF 74 for patrol and escort duties. She arrived at Stokes Bay, Flanders Island, on 6 July, and then steamed to Espíritu Santo (10-16 July). From 17 to 21 July, she made way her way to New Caledonia.
Typical of the relentless pace demanded of the destroyers in the Pacific, Lamson stood out singly from Great Roads on 21 July 1943 (the same day of her arrival), and proceeded out to sea to rendezvous with Drayton and the troop transport George Washington. Joining company with them later that same day, Lamson steamed to Brisbane, arriving there on 25 July. Underway again a few days later, from 27-31 July, Lamson escorted Henry T. Allen (APA-15) to Port Moresby, New Guinea.
Following her arrival at Port Moresby, Lamson commenced a tireless series of transport escorts to various Australian ports. She steamed to Cairns Harbor, Australia (1-2 August 1943), Cairns Harbor to Mackay Harbor, Australia (4-5 August), Mackay to Townsville (15-17 August), and then finally from Townsville to Milne Bay, New Guinea. Not long after her arrival at the latter place, Lamson re-joined DesRon 5, and thus began her role in the Allied conquest of New Guinea.
From 20 to 23 August 1943, Lamson steamed with TF 76, conducting exercises and then returned to Milne Bay. A week later, on 2 September, Lamson stood out with Perkins, Smith (DD-378), Reid (DD-369) and Drayton, for a bombardment and landing at Lae, New Guinea.
At 0618 on 4 September 1943, Lamson, Perkins and several other destroyers of TG 76.6, shelled the northern shore of Huon Gulf in direct support of an amphibious landing by the 9th Australian Division. During the action, Lamson fired 240 rounds of 5-inch into a Japanese machine gun nest. Within 30 minutes of the attack beginning, a formation of three Mitsubishi G4M Type 1 land attack planes (Bettys) and two Mitsubishi A6M Type 0 carrier fighters (Zekes) flew in low over the beach and began targeting landing craft. Lamson’s position prevented her gunners from being able to take the Japanese planes under fire but in the end “they did not appear to have damaged any of the transports.”
In the early afternoon, Lamson, Drayton and Mugford (DD-389) retired from “Red Beach” in column. Just as Lamson and the others stood out of the area “a large formation of enemy planes appeared.” Nine Bettys, escorted by 25 fighters, swarmed the destroyers. Two Aichi D3A Type 99 carrier bombers (Vals), targeted Lamson and scored several near misses. Lamson returned fire on both of them, downing one and likely damaging the other.
Passing over the destroyers, the swarm of Japanese planes began attacking a formation of LSTs, located just a short distance from Lamson. The destroyer closed on the LST formation at high speed but, by the time she arrived two of the LSTs had been disabled. As the attack faded, Lamson proceeded to escort the tank landing ships to Buna, New Guinea.
With the initial action at Lae over, Lamson spent the next week screening daily reinforcement convoys from Buna and Milne Bay, New Guinea, to the landing beach at Lae. In the course of these operations, she and the other destroyers fended off daily air attacks, and although she fired on some, she made no confirmed hits. As September 1943, came to a close, Lamson prepared to participate in the next Allied advance in that theater.
On 22 September 1943, Lamson departed Lae with TF 76, covering a force of infantry landing craft (LCIs) and proceeded to a designated patrolling area north of Finschhafen, New Guinea. Despite heavy Japanese air opposition, the amphibious operations at Finschhafen proved successful and Allied forces gained yet one more foothold in New Guinea.
For the next several months following the incursions at Lae and Finschhafen, Lamson commenced a tireless daily routine of escorting convoy supply echelons from Buna, to Lae and Finschhafen, while also patrolling the shorelines at both locations. She finally got a break from these duties on 23 November 1943, when she moored at Milne Bay for several days.
With “all preparations made for getting underway,” Lamson stood out from Milne Bay on 27 November 1943, steaming in a column with Shaw (DD-373), Flusser and Mahan, en route to perform a submarine search north of Sio, New Guinea. While steaming north on 29 November, Lamson diverted course to proceed with TU 76.6.6, and bombard the shore line in the vicinity of Sio. On the night of 29-30 November, at 0110, Lamson and her fellow destroyers pressed even farther into Japanese territory (some 160 miles) and shelled Madang, the primary Japanese Naval base on the north east coast of New Guinea.
Following the excursion at Madang, Lamson returned to Milne Bay, and commenced a routine overhaul that lasted until 6 December 1943. On 9 December, Lamson began participating in a series of exercises with her squadron. Then, on the 13th, she steamed with DesRon 5 to Buna, in preparation for the next phase of the New Guinea campaign.
At 1512 on 14 December 1943, Lamson got underway from Buna, as part of the invasion force for Arawe, New Britain. Lamson arrived off Cape Merkus in the early morning hours of 15 December, and took a fire support station. At 0618, Lamson’s guns opened fire on the beaches as part of the pre-landing bombardment. The initial landings at Arawe were successful but heavy fighting on the island continued for several months afterwards.
In the course of the next week, Lamson patrolled the beaches off Arawe. Then, from 23 to 24 December 1943, Lamson, escorted a supply echelon of 6 LSTs to Cape Cretin. At 0237 on Christmas morning, Lamson, Drayton, Mugford and Bagley (DD-386), in support of the Allied operations at Cape Gloucester, escorted 8 LSTs to a landing area at Bogen Bay, New Britain. Arriving within the vicinity of Bogen Bay on 26 December, Lamson then steamed to a fire support position while landing operations got underway.
At 1512, Lamson came under heavy air attack by 5 or 6 Vals. The Japanese planes scored at least three near misses and the destroyer suffered minor shrapnel damage to her starboard shaft alley. During the foray, she may have shot down “at least one of the enemy planes,” but most were splashed or driven off by U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) planes. Despite all efforts to fend off the swarm of Japanese planes they still managed to inflict heavy damage on Shaw and sank Brownson (DD-518). Having been notified of the tragedy, Lamson commenced rescue operations.
Even while being subjected to air attacks, Lamson managed to pull a number of Brownson survivors from the water. Finally, at 1740, the destroyer took up a screening station with Echelon 3 and headed to Buna. Early the following morning, she broke off from the convoy and proceeded to Cape Sudest to transfer survivors and casualties from Brownson to LST-464. On 28 December 1943, Lamson escorted nine high speed transports (APDs) with Echelon 8, to reinforce Bogen Bay and then returned to Buna on the 30th.
With the commencement of the New Year the Allied campaign in New Guinea continued full ahead. On 1 January 1944, Lamson stood out with Conyngham (DD-371), Drayton and 9 APDs (assigned to Echelon 1) and escorted them to the next Allied target at Saidor, New Guinea. At dawn the following morning, she left formation and proceeded to a fire support area off Saidor beach.
At 0646, Lamson and the other fire support ships in the task force shelled the beach at Saidor in advance of the landings. At 0937, the ship stood out and steamed to Cape Cretin, where, later that afternoon, she escorted Echelon M-3 to Saidor. During the course of the next week, she repeated this duty, screening daily reinforcement and resupply echelons between Cape Cretin and Saidor.
On 10 January 1944, Lamson moored at Buna. The destroyer stood out the following morning to join the remaining ships of DesRon 5 and shaped a course for Sydney. Lamson arrived at Port Jackson, Woolloomooloo Bay, on 15 January, and moored at Pier 8. Lamson’s overworked crew then enjoyed a much needed 10-day recreation period on shore.
With her crew rested, Lamson stood out on 25 January 1944, and headed back to New Guinea. The destroyer anchored at Milne Bay on the 30th, and then early the next day, commenced a week of daily patrol and escort duties, screening supply ships to Cape Sudest and Finschhafen. She anchored at Milne on 6 February, and remained there awaiting orders until the 27th.
Getting underway with Conyngham on 28 February 1944, Lamson steamed to the Solomons, arriving in Purvis Bay, Florida Island, on 1 March. Later that same day Lamson and Conyngham made their way to Lunga Point and moored. On 2 March, the pair of destroyers began their voyage back to the West Coast of the United States for Lamson’s first major overhaul in several years. They moored at Pearl Harbor on 12 March, and then after getting back underway again the following day, arrived at the Mare Island Navy Yard on 18 March.
On 25 May 1944, Lamson completed her overhaul and commenced post repair trials. Four days later on the 29th, the destroyer steamed independently to Pearl Harbor. While en route she began experiencing mechanical issues when her “gland seal system started freezing and became inoperative.” Upon her arrival at Pearl on 4 June, Lamson entered the Navy Yard to undergo repairs.
A few days into the overhaul, an investigation began due to the fact that Lamson had just completed a lengthy overhaul at Mare Island. On 16 June 1944, she got underway with Anderson (DD-411) for a torpedo firing exercise but returned to port due to her gland seal system malfunctioning again. Following another two days of Navy Yard repairs, the destroyer started conducting daily exercises and tests in local waters.
On 26 June 1944, Lamson stood out for a series of gunnery drills, which provided training “for 20 officer students from the Gunnery School.” On the 29th, however, the ship’s guns became exceedingly erratic and all subsequent drills were canceled. The destroyer then returned to the Navy Yard for another overhaul.
From 1 to 21 July 1944, Lamson remained at the Navy Yard undergoing repairs. A final report on the matter determined that the destroyer’s ongoing issues were all a result of the main battery wiring not been renewed during the earlier overhaul at Mare Island. Thus, at last returned to working order on 22 July, Lamson briefly got underway for a test run and then anchored at Pearl for the rest of the month.
Lamson stood out on 1 August 1944, accompanied by Flusser, Smith, and Drayton. Massachusetts emerged from Pearl, and the destroyers formed a screen as the battleship conducted gunnery exercises in the training area. The next afternoon, as the formation set course for Eniwetok, in the Marshalls, to re-join the Fifth Fleet, carrier planes based on Oahu carried out simulated torpedo and dive-bombing attacks. Tragically, one of the “attacking” planes crashed 2,000 yards on Lamson’s port beam and sank. The destroyer altered course and sped to the scene but only found “1 piece of wreckage, green dye and [the] odor of gasoline, but no survivors,” after which she rejoined the formation. The ships arrived at Eniwetok on 8 August.
Underway on 14 August 1944, Lamson steamed to Majuro Lagoon, Marshalls, arriving there on the 16th. The next day, she stood out for a hunter-killer mission, but had her orders changed shortly after putting out to sea. Instead, the destroyer proceeded to a designated patrol station in the Jaluit Atoll, Marshalls, where she kept a “lookout for enemy submarines and barge traffic.” On the 18th, the ship moved off from Jaluit Atoll and steamed to Mili Atoll, Marshalls, to perform lifeguard duties. Shortly after arriving at her assigned station, U.S. dive bombers launched a morning air strike on Mili Island.
The following day, Lamson again performed lifeguard duties during a subsequent air attack on Mili. That evening, she steamed back to Jaluit Atoll, and took up a patrol station. On 21 August 1944, Lamson returned to Majuro and re-fueled. The destroyer got underway again the next day and from 22-29 August, patrolled west of Mili Atoll, while U.S. bombers continued to strafe the island. On the 29th, Flusser relieved Lamson of her patrol duties and she steamed to Majuro, mooring there later that evening.
On 30 August 1944, Lamson stood out with Flusser to conduct hunter-killer operations in the vicinity of Mili Atoll. The next day at 1000, following another dive-bombing attack in the area, Lamson made contact with a possible Japanese submarine. However, a search of the area resulted only in the identification of what “appeared to be a blackfish or whale.” On 1 October, she shaped a course for Eniwetok and later moored there on the 3rd.
Having replenished her fuel and stores, Lamson got underway on 4 October 1944, steaming in company with TU 96.8.6, en route to Ulithi Atoll, Caroline Islands. She later arrived on 14 October, and moored. From 15-17 October, Lamson underwent an availability alongside the destroyer tender Cascade (AD-16). On the morning of the 18th, she got underway with DesRon 5 and steamed to Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea, arriving there on 20 October.
Shortly after her arrival at Hollandia, Lamson detached from the Fifth Fleet and joined the Seventh Fleet. Departing on 25 October 1944, she steamed to the Philippines to serve as a picket, patrol and screening ship for the assault on Leyte. Lamson steamed first to Kossol Roads, Palau Islands, (with Flusser, Drayton, Reid, Mahan and Conyngham) on the 26th, and then proceeded to join Echelon 6. She rendezvoused with that group on 28 October, and escorted it to Leyte.
Lamson anchored in San Pedro Bay on 29 October 1944, and then promptly received word to prepare for heavy weather. The incoming storm produced gale force winds, and at approximately 0010 on the 30th, Lamson’s started dragging anchor towards the shore. The destroyer started her main engines and got underway to ride the storm out at sea. Despite winds reaching a velocity of 65 knots, she suffered no damage and after the storm abated the following day, she returned to San Pedro Bay.
Just as the weather cleared, intermittent waves of Japanese planes began targeting San Pedro Bay. Most of them were repelled, either by anti-aircraft fire or USAAF Lockheed P-38 Lightings however, at least one major oil fire broke out at the air station on shore.
On 1 November 1944, Lamson got underway with Flusser, Smith and Mahan to rendezvous with a west bound convoy approximately 100 miles off the entrance to Leyte Gulf. From 0900 to 1100, she “had enemy planes constantly within sight,” although out of range of her guns. South of Lamson’s position TG 77.1, came under heavy air attack and several ships were damaged by kamikaze (suicide plane) attacks. Later that afternoon, Lamson joined TG 77.1, to replace Claxton (DD-571), Ammen (DD-527) and Killen (DD-593), all of whom had been damaged during the attack.
That same day, reports came in from several scout plans indicating that a large Japanese surface force had been spotted steaming 300 miles west of Surigao Strait. Lamson deployed with TG 77.1, and formed a semi-circle around the northern entrance to that waterway. After several days no attack developed and on 5 November 1944, Lamson returned to Leyte to replenish her fuel and ammunition stores. On the 7th, Lamson steamed out to station ‘E’ located 15 miles east-southeast of the entrance to Leyte Gulf, and relieved Mahan of radar picket duty.
Shortly after reporting to her picket station, Lamson received a typhoon warning. The next morning on 8 November 1944, winds increased dramatically (reaching 70 to 80 knots) and Lamson took shelter in the lee of Dinagat Island. By noon on the 9th, the typhoon had abated and she resumed her patrol. On 10 November, Smith relieved Lamson of patrol duty and she re-joined TG 77.1.
Steaming with her task group over the course of the next several days, Lamson and the others were subjected to daily harassment by Japanese planes. Operating 13 miles south of Homonhon Island, near the entrance to Leyte Gulf on 13 November 1944, Lamson relieved another destroyer of patrol duty. Just after nightfall “a two motored enemy plane flew in low overhead from Homonhon.” As Lamson’s crew rushed to general quarters, nearly 20 more Japanese planes were then observed descending on a group of transports, which had been making their way through the entrance to the gulf. Out of range, Lamson’s crew could only watch as the planes dropped their bombs and then disappeared.
At noon on 14 November 1944, the destroyer HMAS Warramunga, relieved Lamson of her patrol station and she proceeded to a radar picket location 15 miles east of the gulf’s entrance. That evening, Lamson’s radar picked up “several bogies headed straight for the ship.” Monitoring their progress, the ship “ducked into a rain squall,” as the planes got to within 10 miles of her; at 5 miles, the “bogies veered sharply south and headed for the bay.”
Lamson remained at her assigned picket station until 16 November 1944. After being relieved early that afternoon she proceeded to anchor at San Pedro Bay. That night there were multiple air attacks and near “continuous firing from the beach.” The following day, rain and low visibility thwarted additional raids and Lamson’s commanding officer made use of the lull in enemy activity “to spend the day asking for stores from other destroyers and LSTs anchored in the Bay.”
At dawn on 18 November 1944, Lamson’s crew went to general quarters upon receiving word of an incoming air raid. Just a few hours later, 15 to 20 Japanese planes appeared and bombed the airfields while executing several kamikaze attacks on transports anchored in the bay. Despite being opposed by heavy anti-aircraft fire from the beach, many of the Japanese planes broke through. A Nakajima Ki-43 Type 1 fighter (or Oscar) came in sharp off Lamson’s port bow and the destroyer’s 5-inch and 20-millimeter gunners opened fire at 5,000 yards. The target angle on the plane remained at zero until, at about 2,000 yards the Japanese pilot flipped the plane over in an attempt to hit Flusser, anchored 300 yards off Lamson’s port beam. The plane missed Flusser’s port side by approximately 15 feet and crashed into the water. The attack subsided and Lamson remained at anchor for the rest of the day.
Another Japanese air raid the following morning targeted a group of Liberty Ships moored 3,000 yards off Lamson’s port beam, but failed to cause any damage. Later that evening at about 1600, Tacloban City reported “19 enemy planes approaching from the north.” Within half an hour, Lamson got underway with Flusser and Smith to rendezvous with LST Group 42, in the Southern Transport Area. While steaming out of San Pedro Bay a Mitsubishi Ki-46 reconnaissance plane (Dinah) passed overhead at about 20,000 feet, but Lamson did not fire “due to the control color in the bay being flash red control green.”
Just after midnight on 20 November 1944, Lamson stood out from Leyte with TG 76.5, and shaped a course for Hollandia. Early the next morning a single low flying Kawasaki Ki-48 twin-engine bomber [Helen] made a gliding attack on the formation but inflicted no damage. At 1200, Flusser and Smith proceeded towards Humboldt Bay, Hollandia, and later moored in a nest there on the 23rd. While at Humboldt Bay during the course of the next week, Lamson was fitted out as a fighter director ship.
Lamson got underway with another convoy on 27 November 1944, and headed back to Leyte Gulf. On the morning of the 30th, a low flying Nakajima B6N Tenzan torpedo bomber, crossed 5,000 yards ahead of Lamson’s bow and made a run on Flusser. Lamson’s gunners opened fire almost instantly but had to check it in order to keep from hitting Flusser. Anti-aircraft fire managed to drive the Tenzan off and Smith’s crew reportedly either “saw the plane crash or jettison his bombs.” At 1500 that same day, Lamson anchored in San Pedro Bay.
Receiving “emergency orders to get underway with Smith, Drayton and Shaw,” on 1 December 1944, Lamson proceeded in company to Leyte Gulf for hunter-killer operations targeting a Japanese submarine that had been harassing TG 77.2. Lamson took a position on the patrol line between Taytay Point, Leyte, and Amagusan Point. After several days of searching, no contacts were developed and on 3 December, Lamson anchored back at San Pedro Bay.
At 0800 on 4 December 1944, Lamson stood out with Flusser, Drayton and Shaw (TU 78.3.10) and steamed to the Southern Transport Area. The destroyer then escorted a convoy of nine medium landing ships (LSM) and 3 LSTs, en route to transport supplies to Baybay on the west coast of Leyte. The task unit left the transport area at 1200 and arrived off Baybay at 2300 that night. Unloading did not commence until 0300 on the 5th, because the U.S. Army forces on shore had not been apprised of the operation and were not ready to receive them. Lamson and the others stood by and just minutes after unloading operations commenced a low flying plane (possibly a friendly night fighter) swooped in and dropped a bomb, 500 yards off Lamson’s port quarter, which fortunately inflicted no damage. As the morning progressed several Japanese bombers began targeting the task unit and inflicted causalities on several of the ships.
With unloading operations complete, Lamson and the rest of the convoy headed back to San Pedro Bay. At 1100 on 5 December 1944, the convoy started to proceed through the Surigao Strait when a force of 12 to 15 Japanese planes executed a devastating kamikaze attack. Combat air patrol managed to splash three of the attacking planes; and the escort ships in the formation downed another four. However, despite the casualties inflicted on them, the Japanese planes managed to sink one LSM, and caused damage to Drayton, Mugford and two LSMs. Reinforcements arrived at 1200, and the convoy pressed on to San Pedro Bay escorted by Shaw; meanwhile, Lamson and the others stayed in the area to perform rescue operations.
At 1500, Lamson and the others were attacked by two Zekes. Combat air patrol managed to shoot down one of them, but the other crashed into the already damaged Mugford, causing her to go dead in the water. While other destroyers conducted rescue operations for Mugford, Lamson headed to San Pedro Bay.
In the wake of continued heavy Japanese resistance on Leyte Island, Rear Adm. Arthur D. Struble, planned an amphibious assault, with the intention of landing the 77th Army Division at Ormoc Bay—in the rear of the Japanese battle line. On 6 December 1944, Lamson stood out with TF 76, accompanying a force of destroyers, APDs and LSTs bound for Ormoc Bay. Acting as a fighter director ship for the advance echelon of the task force, Lamson proceeded with the others up the west coast of Leyte Island late into the night.
On 7 December 1944, Lamson arrived in her designated fire support sector off Albuera, Leyte, in company with Edwards (DD-619). As part of the pre-invasion bombardment, for Ormoc Bay, Lamson and Edwards shelled targets in Albuera for several hours, using 5-inch and 40-millimeter fire. Towards the end of the bombardment at 0900, a Dinah descended on Lamson’s position from 12,000 yards eastward. Lamson’s gunners immediately took the Dinah under fire and it “was last seen smoking badly and losing altitude.”
As the landings at Ormoc Bay commenced, Lamson received word that “a Jap task force of 4 transports and 7 escorts was headed south from a northwestern position.” At 1030 a kamikaze hit Mahan (sinking her) and as a result Lamson took over fighter director duties. In all, Lamson made five interceptions with “all but one by visually sighting the enemy before radar contact.”
At 1400, following a brief lull in Japanese air activity, a Dinah appeared and made a long gliding run on Lamson. The plane dropped a 500-pound bomb just 30 feet off her port quarter but, the ship’s 5-inch battery managed to splash the bomber as it came in for a second attack. Then, almost immediately afterwards, a single engine fighter came in low and fast from Lamson’s starboard quarter and plunged into her after stack before somersaulting into the superstructure, just below the bridge. The flame of the explosion reached to the top of the mast and flashed from stem to stern.
As recounted in Lamson’s action report “all personnel on the bridge that were not killed by the strafing or explosion jumped over the side.” In all, 21 enlisted men and 4 officers were either killed instantly or died from their injuries and 54 men were wounded. As for Lamson, the superstructure, from the forecastle deck up and both stacks, was completely destroyed and the forward fireroom flooded.
The rescue tug ATR-31 promptly moved in to aid Lamson and began combatting the flames, however, with the situation beginning to look hopeless, Lamson’s crew evacuated to the tug. Flusser stood by to assist but also had orders to scuttle Lamson if she could not be saved. At the last-minute ATR-31 reported that she had made headway against the flames and the “Lucky Lamson,” was spared.
On 1 April 1945, Lamson completed her overhaul and commenced trial runs and inspections that lasted through the 11th. The destroyer later stood out for San Diego on 15 April, and arrived there four days later. Due to an urgent need for destroyers in the Pacific, Lamson got back underway on 20 April, steaming with TU 6.11.47, bound for Pearl Harbor. Lamson arrived on 26 April, and moored in berth D-3, Middle Loch.
Following some brief day-long shore bombardment and training exercises in the local area, Lamson prepared to return to the war. Standing out on 3 May 1945, she steamed first to Eniwetok (10 May), then Ulithi (11—14 May) and finally reported for duty with TF 94 at Iwo Jima on 20 May. For the next three months, Lamson conducted patrols and air sea rescue for Allied raids between Iwo Jima and the Japanese mainland.
Lamson steamed out for her first life guard station off Iwo Jima on 21 May 1945, and arrived the following morning. She forward deployed to another air sea rescue station (24-25 May) and then on 27 May covered a Boeing B-29 Superfortress mining mission in the Shimonoseki Straits. The destroyer steamed back to Iwo Jima on 28 May, and anchored there later that same day in berth 63. On 29 May, she stood out to meet the submarine Sea Dog (SS-401) to embark QM2c (T) (SS) Harold L. Wilson, suffering from pneumonia, on board. Delayed several hours by some heavy fog off Iwo Jima, Lamson eventually anchored on 30 May, and transferred the patient to the field hospital on shore (Wilson eventually returned to his boat on 26 July).
On 31 May 1945, Lamson got underway as part of TU 94.7.3, to rendezvous with Tigrone (SS-419)—whose crew had just rescued the survivors of a crashed PBY Catalina flying boat. Following a near scrape with some Japanese planes, Lamson located Tigrone at 0527. Lamson then took a screening station on Tigrone and escorted her to Iwo Jima. Lamson waited for Tigrone to debark the wounded men and complete some minor repairs at port; and then on 2 June, escorted her back out to sea. Lamson parted company with the submarine at 2027 on the 2nd, and steamed singly back to Iwo Jima.
Standing out on 4 June 1945, Lamson reported to another air sea rescue station, arriving there at 0430 on the 5th. At 1543, on the same day as her arrival, Lamson received word of a downed Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer in her sector. A few hours later, aided by observation planes, Lamson’s crew spotted “a life raft dead ahead.” Lamson managed to rescue the entire crew and then sank the floating wreckage of the plane with 90 rounds of 40-millimeter. On the 6th, the destroyer briefly steamed eastward of her assigned position to avoid a typhoon.
Relieved of patrol duty on 7 June 1945, Lamson steamed to Iwo Jima, but then got back underway just a few hours later to report to a lifeguard station covering fighter strikes on Nagoya, Japan. Lamson arrived on station at about 0800 the following morning, but the fighter strikes were delayed and instead she steamed to a radar picket station 90 miles off Iwo Jima. While patrolling her assigned area on 9 June, Lamson identified a Japanese glass fishing float and promptly destroyed it with small arms fire. Early the next morning, she shifted to an alternate picket station covering an air strike on Tokyo, Japan.
Lamson returned to Iwo Jima on 11 June 1945, and anchored. On the 13th, the warship had a damage control problem inspection conducted and then the next day she got back underway to return to her air sea rescue duties. Lamson later returned to Iwo for fuel on 20 June, but an approaching typhoon forced her to escort the tanker Quiros (IX-140) out to sea to ride out the storm. The heavy weather abated on 21 June, and Lamson returned to the anchorage at Iwo Jima. On the morning of the 23rd, the destroyer sortied out to conduct a surface sweep of Japanese barges in the vicinity of Chichi Jima; and having completed the mission at around 2219, Lamson proceeded to a radar picket station.
After patrolling for several days, Lamson anchored at Iwo Jima on 25 June 1945. The following day, she stood out to “intercept an enemy destroyer,” however, scout planes reported that the Japanese warship apparently reversed course and as a result, she returned to Iwo Jima. Standing out at 1601 on 27 June, Lamson steamed with TU 94.7.3, to a position 130 miles distant of Iwo Jima. For the next two weeks, she continued patrolling air sea and radar picket stations in the area.
In accordance with orders received via a “secret airmailgram,” Lamson got underway on 13 July 1945, to escort LST-821 and LST-775 to Saipan, Japan. Following a brief and uneventful voyage, the ship anchored in berth L-25 at Saipan Harbor on 16 July. The next day, she shifted over to Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, and moored alongside the repair ship Hector (AR-7) commencing a ten-day availability.
On 27 July 1945, Lamson’s availability concluded and she got underway for a day of exercises. During the early morning hours of 30 July, however, westerly winds began increasing dramatically and a heavy rain squall moved into the area. Within the hour, all hands were called to general quarters as Lamson’s anchor began dragging towards the beach—and LSM-470. Mooring lines were put over to LSM-470 so that the vessel could attempt to push Lamson astern into the wind. The destroyer finally managed to get underway and steamed westward of Saipan to pump out some of her fuel tanks that were damaged in the harbor. Mooring back at Tanapag Harbor on the 31st, Lamson then entered dry dock ARD-15 to undergo repairs from the anchor-dragging incident.
Lamson moored in the harbor on 5 August 1945. Early the next day she stood out to escort Beagle (IX-112) to Iwo Jima, arriving on the 9th, and then promptly got back underway to take up an air sea station. While engaged in these duties on 14 August, Lamson, rescued a USAAF fighter pilot and returned him to Iwo Jima. The destroyer steamed to the Bonin Islands on 25 August, to conduct a patrol; and then steamed back to Iwo Jima on the 29th. Moored for just one day, Lamson stood out again on the 31st, to participate in a special mission in the Bonin Islands.
At 0525 on 3 September 1945, Lamson joined company with Dunlap (DD-384) and Case (DD-370), and steamed to a designated point two miles east of Tatsumi Wan, Chichi Jima, Bonins. Once there, she maintained a screening station while the Japanese commander of the Bonin Islands signed articles of surrender. The next day, she resumed patrolling in the area, and then on 5 September, returned to Iwo Jima. Not long after her arrival, Lamson reported for duty with the Fifth Fleet and prepared for the occupation of Japan.
On 6 September 1945, the destroyer got underway with Helm (DD-388) for Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands. Arriving at Buckner Bay [Nakagusuku Bay], Okinawa, on 8 September, Lamson moored in berth B-43. While still in port on 16 September, “the barometer began falling rapidly,” and she received orders to clear the anchorage and form up at sea with several cruisers and destroyers. As she rode out the storm “an unusually heavy breaking across the main deck forced the breeches of the number two stack,” and water entered the fire boxes, extinguishing fires in two of the boilers—resulting in a complete loss of power. Despite the damage, Lamson’s crew managed to temporarily repair the issue while riding out the storm and then, the following day she anchored back at Buckner Bay.
Following the surrender of Japan, Lamson stood out, on 19 September 1945, with Santa Fe (CL-60), Baldwin (DD-624), Straus (DE-408), Bagley (DD-386) and Helm, for mainland Japan to assist occupation forces. Lamson then anchored at Sasebo, Kyūshū, Japan, on 23 September. While supporting occupation operations during the coming weeks, the ship steamed to Nagasaki, Kyūshū, on 29 September, and then on 1 October, joined TF 55. She stood out with Wichita (CA-45) on 6 October, and returned to Sasebo.
For the rest of October 1945, Lamson continued to support occupation forces. She remained largely at Sasebo, with a few exceptions. On 13 October, she escorted Fallon (APA-81) to an area 100 miles east of the Van Diemen Strait; and on 24 October, she made one more trip to Nagasaki before mooring back at Sasebo on the 27th. On 29 October, she completed her duties in Japan and got underway for Pearl Harbor, steaming in company with Flusser, Helm and Ralph Talbot (DD-390).
During her voyage to Pearl Harbor, on 2 November 1945, a galley range fire broke out on board Lamson and although the flames were eventually arrested it caused some notable damage. The destroyer finally arrived at Pearl on 9 November, and moored in berth D-1, Middle Loch.
Continuing her journey home, Lamson stood out for San Diego on 12 November 1945, however, while proceeding though the channel at Pearl, the navigator made an error and she “struck soft bottom with her starboard screw.” All engines were stopped and the crew went to general quarters. The destroyer then stood out to sea, just passed the channel entrance to undergo a damage assessment.
Although no serious hull damage occurred, Lamson’s starboard propeller was bent and she had to return to the Navy Yard. On 16 November 1945, the warship entered dry dock while a board of investigation convened. On the 21st, Lamson’s repairs were completed and on 22 November, she departed Pearl Harbor and steamed singly to San Diego, eventually mooring at Pier 18, San Diego Harbor on 29 November.
In December 1945, Lamson returned to Pearl Harbor in preparation for Operation Crossroads. She stood out from Pearl on 21 May 1946, and later anchored at Bikini Island on 30 May. On the morning of 30 June, Lamson’s crew mustered on board her for the last time and were then transferred to Henrico (APA-45).
At 0902 on 1 July 1946, Lamson lay anchored in Bikini Lagoon, when Atomic Bomb Test Able was detonated. As a result of the explosion, Lamson experienced catastrophic damage and sank stern first in 21 fathoms of water.
Lamson was decommissioned on 29 July 1946, and stricken from the Navy Register on 15 August 1946.
Lamson received five battle stars for her service in WWII, recognizing her service at the Battle of Tassafaronga [Fourth Savo], (30 November—1 December 1942); the capture and defense of Guadalcanal (5 January 1943); the Eastern New Guinea Operations that encompassed the occupations of Lae (4—14 September 1943), Finschafen (22 September 1943 and 29—30 September 1943); and Saidor (2—4 January 1944, 5—7 January 1944, and 8—10 January 1944); the Bismarck Archipelago Operations that encompassed Cape Gloucester, New Britain (26—27 December 1943, 28 December 1944—4 January 1944, 2—4 January 1944, 7—8 January 1944) and Arawe, New Britain (15 December 1943); and the Leyte Operation, encompassing the landings at Leyte (29 October—19 November 1944) and Ormoc Bay (7—8 December 1944).
Date Assumed Command
Cmdr. Hubert E. Paddock
21 October 1936
Lt. Cmdr. Neil K. Dietrich
1 June 1937
Lt. Cmdr. Byron H. Hanlon
16 June 1938
Lt. Cmdr. Perley E. Pendleton
1 April 1940
Lt. Cmdr. Preston V. Mercer
1 April 1941
Lt. Walter T. Jenkins
12 June 1942
Lt. Cmdr. Phillip H. FitzGerald
23 June 1942
Cmdr. Joseph R. Rubins
1 November 1943
Lt. Cmdr. Charles H. Pitts, USNR
1 March 1944
Lt. Cmdr. John V. Noel Jr.
1 May 1944
Lt. Cmdr. Robert M. Ayer, USNR
16 August 1945
Lt. Cmdr. George G. Ball
24 November 1945
Cmdr. William H. Watson Jr.,
1 June 1946
Jeremiah D. Foster
15 December 2021