Douglas Franklin Chamberlin was born in Seattle, Washington, on August 20, 1918, son of D.F. and Josephine (Johnson) Chamberlin. He attended the University of Washington at Seattle, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, and while there was a member of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit. Commissioned Ensign in the US Naval Reserve on May 9, 1940, he subsequently advanced in rank, attaining that of Commander, to date from January 1, 1951, having transferred to the US Navy on November 5, 1946.
Ordered into active Naval service, he reported in June 1940 on board USS Hogan, and was serving in that minesweeper when the United States entered World War II, December 8, 1941. The Hogan participated in the Casablanca Campaign, and also operated on neutrality patrol in the North Atlantic during which time she had several engagements with Axis submarines and aircraft. In December 1942 he joined USS Herndon as Gunnery Officer, and from January 1944 to May 1945 was Executive Officer of that destroyer. While he was on board the Herndon, he participated in North Atlantic convoy and Mediterranean landings, including the campaigns at Palermo, Amzio, and Salerno, the Normandy campaign and the invasion of Southern France.
He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V,” for heroic service as Executive Officer of the USS Herndon, during the amphibious assault on Normandy, on June 6 to 8, 1944…” The citation further states in part: “Navigating his ship in mine-infested and shoal waters under intense enemy fire, (he) supplied accurate information for fire control, thereby contributing materially to the successful mission of the Herndon in supporting the initial landing of Allied assault forces and in the subsequent bombardment of hostile shore positions…”
Detached from the Herndon in May 1945, he assumed command the next month of USS Mayrant. Under his command, the Mayrant participated in radar-picket duty off Okinawa and Iwo Jima; accepted the surrender of Marcus Island and subsequently took part of the atomic bomb tests at Bikini in 1946. He was in command of USS John. A. Bole from September 1946 until July 1947, reporting the next month as Operations Officer of the staff of Commander Destroyer Squadron Four. He was Material Officer on the staff of the Commander Fifth Naval District, with headquarters at Norfolk, Virginia, between September 1948 and March 1951, after which he commanded USS Dortch.
In April 1953 he became Executive Officer of the Naval Station, Bermuda, and in September 1955 transferred, in a similar capacity, to the Navy Station, Seattle, Washington.
In addition to the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V,” Commander Chamberlin has the American Defense Service Medal; American campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with silver star (five engagements); the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two stars; the World War II Victory Medal; the China Service Medal; the Navy Occupation Service Medal, Europe and Asia Clasps; and the National Defense Service Medal.
Commander Chamberlin is a member of the American Society of Chemical Engineers and the American Society of Naval Engineers.