USS Meredith at Suva, Fiji Islands, 23 June 1942, in dazzle camouflage.
|Builder:||Boston Navy Yard|
|Laid down:||1 June 1939|
|Launched:||24 April 1940|
|Commissioned:||1 March 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk by Japanese aircraft, 15 October 1942|
|Class and type:||Gleaves-class destroyer|
|Length:||348 ft 3 in (106.15 m)|
|Beam:||36 ft 1 in (11.00 m)|
|Draft:||11 ft 10 in (3.61 m)|
|Speed:||37.4 kn (69.3 km/h; 43.0 mph)|
|Range:||6,500 nmi (12,000 km; 7,500 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)|
USS Meredith (DD-434), a Gleaves-class destroyer, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Jonathan Meredith, a United States Marine Corps sergeant who served during the First Barbary War.
Meredith was laid down 1 June 1939 by Boston Naval Shipyard and launched 24 April 1940, sponsored by Miss Ethel Dixon Meredith. The ship was commissioned on 1 March 1941, Lieutenant Commander William F. Mendenhall, Jr., in command.
Following shakedown in Cuban waters, Meredith returned to Boston on 8 June 1941 and was assigned to Destroyer Division 22. Departing Boston on 6 July, she engaged in patrol duty, exercises, and flight operations along the southern coast until 20 September. From 28 September to 31 January 1942, Meredith was based at Hvalfjörður, Iceland, where she patrolled between Iceland and the Denmark Straits. On 17 October 1941, she rescued survivors of torpedoed British steamer Empire Wave.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Meredith engaged in escort and antisubmarine patrol between Iceland and the Denmark Straits, until she departed Halfjordur late in January, escorting a convoy to Boston. She sailed from Boston for Norfolk, Virginia on 18 February 1942, screening the battleship Washington, and there joined the aircraft carrier Hornet in Task Force 18 (TF 18).
The force left Norfolk 4 March on a mission as secret as it was important, passed through the Panama Canal, and reached San Diego on 21 March. Departing San Francisco on 2 April, the force rendezvoused with TF 16, 13 April and sailed for the famous Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. On 18 April, the United States Army bombers were launched for this first carrier-based attack on Japan, and Meredith made course for Hawaii, arriving 25 April.
Between 13 May and 21 June Meredith escorted fleet oilers bound for New Caledonia, patrolled off Bulari Passage and escorted Tangier, returning to Pearl Harbor. Following gunnery and tactical practice, Meredith departed Pearl Harbor on 15 August 1942 for Samoa, arriving Pago Pago 30 August. Meredith next escorted Transport Force 2 to the Solomon Islands with reinforcements landed on Guadalcanal 20 September, then sailed for patrol duty in the New Hebrides.
Departing Espiritu Santo on 12 October 1942, Meredith, now commanded by Commander Harry E. Hubbard, was underway as part of a convoy with Alchiba, Bellatrix, Jamestown, Nicholas, and Vireo, each pulling a barge carrying barrels of aviation gasoline and 500-pound bombs to the United States forces on Guadalcanal. Two days later it was learned that a Japanese carrier task force was in the vicinity and all ships except Meredith and Vireo turned back. Despite the fact that Meredith was equipped only with surface-search and not air-search radar, Commander Hubbard decided to press on to deliver the critically needed aviation gas.
Meredith was sighted by a Japanese patrol plane on the morning of 15 October, and shortly after midday took aboard the 68-man crew of Vireo to depart the area at high speed. However, while preparing to torpedo Vireo to keep her out of Japanese hands, Meredith was attacked by a force of 38 bombers, torpedo planes, and escort fighters from Zuikaku. In the first three minutes of the attack, Meredith was struck by a bomb that exploded beneath her bridge, destroying all communications, steering control, and gun direction. A second bomb struck the forward port side, and a torpedo exploded below the ready ammunition locker, igniting the ship's pyrotechnics and setting fire to fuel oil leaking from her bunkers.
Meredith fought fiercely, and brought down three of her attackers, but she was struck by an estimated 14 bombs and seven torpedoes. Meredith rolled over and sank in 10 minutes at Coordinates: . Of the crew of 273 on board that day, only eight officers and 73 enlisted men survived the attack and the three ensuing days of exposure to the open sea and sharks until they were rescued by Grayson, Seminole and Gwin. Six members of Meredith's crew managed to swim to Vireo, and were rescued by a naval PBY Catalina flying boat on 19 October.
Meredith received one battle star for World War II service.
Zuikaku was a Shōkaku-class aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Her complement of aircraft took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor that formally brought the United States into the Pacific War, and she fought in several of the most important naval battles of the war, before being sunk during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
USS Pensacola (CL/CA-24) was a cruiser of the United States Navy that was in service from 1929 to 1945. She was the lead ship of the Pensacola class, which the navy classified from 1931 as heavy cruisers. The third Navy ship to be named after the city of Pensacola, Florida, she was nicknamed the "Grey Ghost" by Tokyo Rose. She received 13 battle stars for her service.
The Mahan-class destroyers of the United States Navy were a series of 18 destroyers of which the first 16 were laid down in 1934. The last two of the 18, Dunlap and Fanning, are sometimes considered a separate ship class. All 18 were commissioned in 1936 and 1937. Mahan was the lead ship, named for Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, an influential historian and theorist on sea power.
USS Benham (DD-397) was the lead ship of her class of destroyers and the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Andrew Ellicot Kennedy Benham. It missed the Attack on Pearl Harbor, being an escort for the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise on its way to Midway Atoll at the time. It also served off Hawaii during the Doolittle raid, rescued survivors from several ships, and operated during the Battle of Midway and the landings on Guadalcanal, among other missions. It was torpedoed and rendered unusable, for which she was sunk at the end of 1942.
USS Hughes (DD-410) was a World War II-era Sims-class destroyer in the service of the United States Navy, named after Commander Edward Merritt Hughes.
USS Helm (DD-388) was a Bagley-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was named for Rear Admiral James Meredith Helm. Helm received 11 battle stars for her World War II service in the Pacific.
USS Taylor (DD/DDE-468) was a Fletcher-class destroyer of the United States Navy, named for Rear Admiral William Rogers Taylor (1811–1889). She was laid down on 28 August 1941 at Bath, Maine, by the Bath Iron Works Corp.; launched on 7 June 1942, sponsored by Mrs. H. A. Baldridge; and commissioned on 28 August 1942 at the Charlestown Navy Yard near Boston, Mass., Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Katz in command.
USS Southard (DD-207/DMS-10) was a Clemson-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was the second Navy ship named for Secretary of the Navy Samuel L. Southard (1787–1842).
USS Wadsworth (DD-516), a Fletcher-class destroyer, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Commodore Alexander S. Wadsworth (1790–1851). The ship was commissioned in 1943 during World War II. After seeing extensive action during the war, the ship was placed in reserve following it. In 1959 the destroyer was loaned to the West German Navy and renamed Zerstörer 3. She remained a part of the West German Navy until 1980 when the destroyer was transferred to the Hellenic Navy and renamed Nearchos. Nearchos was active until 1991 when she was sold for scrap.
USS Grayson (DD-435), a Gleaves-class destroyer, is the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Rear Admiral Cary Travers Grayson, who served as personal physician and aide to President Woodrow Wilson during World War I. He also served as chairman of the American Red Cross from 1935 until his death 15 February 1938.
The second USS Gridley (DD-380) was the lead ship of her class of destroyers in the United States Navy. She was the second US Navy ship named for Charles Vernon Gridley. She served with distinction in the Pacific Theater during the Second World War and shared in the sinking of a Japanese submarine.
USS Jarvis (DD-393), a Bagley-class destroyer, was the second of three United States Navy ships to be named for James C. Jarvis, a U.S. Navy midshipman who was killed at the age of 13 during the Quasi-War with France. She saw service in the Pacific in the early months of World War II, and participated in the invasion of Guadalcanal. The destroyer was sunk to the south of Guadalcanal on 9 August 1942, with all hands - one of only two American major surface warships to be lost in World War II with no survivors.
The third USS Reid (DD-369) was a Mahan-class destroyer in the United States Navy before and during World War II. She was named for Samuel Chester Reid, a U.S. Navy officer in the War of 1812 who helped design the 1818 version of the flag of the United States.
USS Lardner (DD-487), a Gleaves-class destroyer, was the second United States Navy ship to be named for Rear Admiral James L. Lardner, a Naval officer during the American Civil War. Lardner received 10 battle stars for World War II service.
USS Harrison (DD-573) was a Fletcher-class destroyer of the United States Navy. She was second Navy ship of that name, and the first named in honor of Captain Napoleon Harrison (1823–1870).
USS Stack (DD-406) was a Benham-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She was named for Edward Stack.
USS O'Brien (DD-415) was a World War II-era Sims-class destroyer in the service of the United States Navy, named in honor of Captain Jeremiah O'Brien and his five brothers, Gideon, John, William, Dennis and Joseph, who captured HMS Margaretta on 12 June 1775 during the American revolution.
USS Sterett (DD-407) was a Benham-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She was the second Navy ship named for Andrew Sterett.
USS Osterhaus (DE-164) was a Cannon-class destroyer escort in service with the United States Navy from 1943 to 1946. She was scrapped in 1974.
USS Vireo (AM-52) was a U.S. Navy Lapwing-class minesweeper, No. 52, reclassified on 1 June 1942 as a fleet tug. The bulk of her combat career was served in this capacity.
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships .The entry can be found here.