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Naval History and Heritage Command

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Shubrick IV (DD-639)

(DD-639: dp. 1,630; l. 348'3"; b. 36'1"; dr. 17'5"; s. 37.4 k.; cpl. 276; a. 4 5", 4 40mm., 7 20mm., 5 21" tt, 2 dct, 6 dcp.; cl. Gleaves)

William Bradford Shubrick born on 31 October 1790 at "Belvedere," Bull's Island, S.C., studied at Harvard before accepting an appointment as a midshipman in 1806. Following service in the Mediterranean in Wasp, he served in Argus along the Atlantic coast of the United States.

After duty in Hornet early in the War of 1812, he was assigned to Constellation; and, while that frigate was at Norfolk, he led a party of Bluejackets in beating off a British boat attack against Craney Island on 22 June 1813. He subsequently won a Congressional medal for service in Constitution during her capture of Cyane and Levant.

During the more than three decades separating the War of 1812 from the Mexican War, Shubrick commanded, in turn, Lexington and Natchez; directed operation of the West Indies Squadron from 1838 to 1840; and headed the Bureau of Provisions and Clothing from 1845 to 1846.

At the outbreak of the war with Mexico, Shubrick requested sea duty and, in Independence, sailed for the California coast to relieve Commodore Sloat in command of American Naval forces there. However. Commodore James Biddle brought his East India Squadron to Monterey, Calif., on 2 January 1847, only a week after Shubrick's arrival and assumed command. In April, Shubrick sailed for the coast of Mexico to head the blockade of Mazatlan and Guaymas. Early in June, Shubrick was recalled to California where Biddle restored him to overall command on 19 July and sailed for the East Coast.

Under Shubrick, the Navy successfully conducted the closing operations of the war on the Pacific coast. Highlights were the capture of Guaymas in October and of Mazatlan in November. San Bias fell in January 1848.

The following spring, Shubrick headed home and took command of the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1849. He subsequently headed the Bureau of Construction and Repair. In August 1852, he became chairman of the Lighthouse Board.

In October 1858, Shubrick sailed in command of the fleet sent to South American waters to support diplomatic efforts to resolve differences with Paraguay resulting from the firing upon the USS Waterwitch.

In December 1861, Shubrick was retired; and he was promoted to Rear Admiral on the retired list on 16 July 1862. He died in Washington, D.C., on 27 May 1874.

IV

The fourth Shubrick (DD-639) was laid down on 17 February 1942 by the Norfolk Navy Yard, Norfolk, Va.; launched on 18 April 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Grosvenor Bemis, great-great-granddaughter of Rear Admiral Shubrick; and commissioned on 7 February 1943, Lt. Comdr Louis A. Bryan in command.

After shakedown, Shubrick sailed for North Africa with a large convoy on 8 June 1943. Reaching her destination, she prepared for Operation "Husky" and, on 10 July, provided fire support for the landings at Gela, Sicily. She engaged enemy shore batteries and broke up an enemy tank concentration; then retired to protect the transports offshore. On 11 and 12 July, she shot down two aircraft. After two trips to Bizerte and another period of shore bombardment, she escorted cruiser, Savannah, to Palermo. There, during a night air raid on 4 August, Shubrick was hit amidships by a 500-pound bomb which caused flooding of two main machinery spaces and left the ship without power. She lost nine killed and 20 wounded in the attack. The damaged destroyer was towed into the inner harbor for emergency repairs and then to Malta for drydocking. Using one screw, the ship returned to the United States, arriving in New York on 9 October for permanent repairs.

After completion of repairs and refresher training in January 1944, Shubrick made two convoy runs to Europe and back before joining the Normandy bombardment group in Belfast. After escorting battleship, Nevada, and five cruisers to the Normandy beaches, Shubrick took her own fire support station and, at 0550 on 6 June, opened fire on her preassigned targets. She continued her fire as the troops landed, then checked her fire at 0630 to avoid hitting friendly forces. She remained off the Normandy beaches for over a month, performing escort duties, fire support missions, and anti-motor-torpedo-boat and antisubmarine patrols, with trips to England for replenishment. On 27 June, she escorted six American PT-boats to Cherbourg. There, the patrol craft reconnoitered enemy defenses by drawing their fire. Shubrick herself came under fire before the mission was completed. She left Normandy for the last time on 11 July and, five days later, joined a task group bound for the Mediterranean.

On 12 August, Shubrick sailed from Malta with four escort carriers and five other destroyers to provide air cover for the landings in southern France on 15 August. Aside from float lights dropped on the evening after the landings, the force encountered no enemy opposition and was disbanded on 30 August. On 6 September, Shubrick sailed from Oran for overhaul in the United States.

After overhaul, Shubrick made a convoy trip to Taranto, Italy, and then conducted training along the east coast of the United States. On 1 February 1945, she transited the Panama Canal to join the Pacific Fleet. After additional training, she departed from Pearl Harbor on 21 April escorting the battleship, Mississippi, to Okinawa. On 12 May, she and one other destroyer supported the landings at Tori-Shima Island and shot down two attacking aircraft. Shubrick completed one radar picket patrol in mid-May, but, on herway to her second, she was attacked at 0010, 29 May 1945, by two aircraft, one of which crashed into the ship. The bomb carried by the plane blew a 30-foot hole in the starboard side, and further damage was done when one of the ship's depth charges exploded. At first the situation looked grim. Van Valkenburg (DD-656) came alongside at 0113 and removed classified material and all wounded and unnecessary personnel. However, the crew finally controlled the flooding, and Shubrick was towed to Kerama Retto by ATR-9. The ship lost 35 men killed and missing, and 25 wounded in the attack.

Shubrick underwent emergency repairs until 15 July, when she began the trip back to the United States on one engine, arriving at Puget Sound Navy Yard on 10 August. On 17 August, due to the end of the war, the Bureau of Ships decided not to repair the damage. The destroyer was decommissioned on 16 November 1945 and struck from the Navy list on 28 November. Later sold to the National Metals and Steel Co., Terminal Island, Calif., for scrapping, her hulk was removed on 28 September 1947.

Shubrick received 4 battle stars for her World War II.

Published: Wed Sep 09 14:02:29 EDT 2015