Paul Hamilton, born in Wiltown, St. Paul’s Parish, S.C., on 16 October 1762, to Archibald and Rebecca (Branford) Hamilton. As a young man of 16 he joined the Wiltown Hunters, a militia company, and fought under Generals Horatio L. Gates and Francis Marion and Col. William Harden against the British at Savannah, Ga., Camden and Charleston, S.C., in the American Revolution, from 1778 to 1781. He participated in Harden’s capture of the British post at Fort Balfour, S.C., on 11 April 1781.
Hamilton married Mary Wilkinson on 10 October 1792. Their union proved a fruitful one and they had seven children: Mary, Rebecca, Eliza, Paul, Margaret, Archibald, and Susan. Hamilton served South Carolina in many public offices including: Collector of General Taxes, St. Paul’s Parish, 1785-1787; as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1787-1789; the state convention that adopted the U.S. Constitution, 1787; the state convention that adopted South Carolina’s Constitution, 1790; as a state senator, 1794 and 1798-1799; Comptroller of Finance, 1800-1804; and Governor, 1804-1806.
President James Monroe appointed him Secretary of the Navy, serving from 15 May 1809 to 31 December 1812. Hamilton advocated military preparedness, especially sea fortifications. Although he wanted to strengthen the Navy and the fledgling republic’s seaward fortifications, he found the Congress hostile and the President indifferent to his ideas, though he proved largely responsible for the passage of the Naval Hospitals Act of 1811. His son Archibald, a Navy Lieutenant, was killed when British frigates Endymion, Majestic, Pomone, and Tenedos captured U.S. frigate President, Capt. Stephen Decatur in command, off Long Island, N.Y., on 15 January 1815. Paul Hamilton died at Beaufort, S.C., on 30 June 1816. He was buried at the Whale Branch Plantation (Clarendon Plantation), Beaufort County, S.C.
G. B. Matthews’ portrait of Hamilton aptly captures the third Secretary of the Navy’s determination. (NH 54757-KN, Navy Art Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command)
The third U.S. Navy ship named Paul Hamilton. The first Paul Hamilton, a destroyer (DD-307), served from 1920-1930. The second, also a destroyer (DD-590), served from 1943-1968.
(DDG-60: displacement 8,960; length 505'; beam 66'; draft 31'; speed 30+ knots; complement 356; armament 1 5-inch, 2 Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) for BGM-109 Tomahawks, RIM-156 SM-2MR Standards, and RUM-139 VL-ASROC Antisubmarine Rockets, 8 RGM-84 Harpoons (2 Mk 141 launchers), 2 Mk 15 Close In Weapon Systems (CIWS), 4 .50 caliber machine guns, and 6 Mk 32 torpedo tubes, aircraft operate (but not embark) 1 Sikorsky SH-60B Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) Mk III Seahawk; class Arleigh Burke)
The third Paul Hamilton (DDG-60), the name originally assigned to a fast combat support ship (AOE-7) on 9 May 1989 but reassigned when the name Rainier was assigned instead on 3 July 1990, was laid down on 24 August 1992 at Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works; launched on 24 July 1993; sponsored by Mrs. Barbara S. Pope, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, and Chair, Secretary of the Navy Standing Committee on Women in the Navy; and commissioned on 27 May 1995 at Charleston, S.C., Cmdr. John J. Hammerer Jr., in command.
Lt. Cmdr. Thomas L. Robinson, Paul Hamilton’s 38-year-old executive officer, fatally shot himself in his stateroom while the ship visited Bahrain while deployed with the Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) Carrier Battle Group to the Arabian Gulf, on 23 October 2002. The ship continued her deployment to the region, however, primarily carrying out maritime inspection operations (MIOs). The coalition established MIOs to enforce UN Security Council Resolutions imposed against the Iraqis following their invasion of the Kuwaitis in 1990 and 1991. The UN prohibited cargo originating from Iraq and imports not accompanied by UN authorization letters, though the food-for-oil agreement permitted the Iraqis to sell limited amounts of oil to pay for food and medicine. Saddam Hussein continuously attempted to circumvent the embargoes to gain revenues to finance the re-equipment of his forces. The Iraqis sold oil below market value to entice smugglers and provided naval officers to assist thieves. They sometimes utilized modern vessels but usually sailed older or dilapidated craft that leaked oil and proved environmental hazards to cut losses in the event of interceptions. During one such inspection on 6 December 2002, Paul Hamilton collided with a merchantman. The collision gauged a hole in the destroyer above her waterline, but she did not report casualties, continued her MIOs, and subsequently repaired the damage.
Sonar Technician Shawn Bezel inspects a Chinese ship that Paul Hamilton stopped during maritime interception operations in the Arabian Gulf, 6 December 2002. The coalition investigated ships for potentially smuggling cargoes in defiance of UN resolutions. (Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Jeffrey Lehrberg, U.S. Navy Photograph 021206-N-0331L-012, Navy NewsStand)
Paul Hamilton’s Damage Controlman 3rd Class Jim Bischoff assists a crewmen on board a Thai ship in opening a cargo bay during an inspection in the Arabian Gulf, 6 December 2002. (Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Jeffrey Lehrberg, U.S. Navy Photograph 021206-N-0331L-006, Navy NewsStand)
Paul Hamilton deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom I and on the night of 21 March 2003, she joined 29 other U.S. and British ships and submarines that fired BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) against Iraqi military targets.
The ship carried out a series of training exercises with Russian destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov and medium seagoing tanker Pechanga in Hawaiian waters on 28 and 29 October 2003. The ships simulated a search and rescue operation, formation maneuvers, and a flag hoist drill. Paul Hamilton’s Lt. j.g. Cozy Bailey and Ensign Paul Haberlein embarked on board Marshal Shaposhnikov overnight.
Paul Hamilton flies her 242-foot homeward bound pennant as she patrols the Western Pacific, 18 June 2013. The Navy authorizes ships to fly the pennant whenever they are at sea for more than 270 uninterrupted days. (Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Jarrod A. Fowler, U.S. Navy Photograph 130618-N-ZZ999-001, Navy NewsStand)
Detailed history under construction.
Mark L. Evans
6 November 2014