USS Stockton DD-646 (1942-1971)
The USS Stockton DD-646 was the third ship to be named after Robert Field Stockton (1795-1866). She was constructed at the Federal shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Kearny, New Jersey and laid down on July 24th, 1942. She was sponsored by Mrs. Horace K. Corbin, and put into commission on January 11th, 1943. Her captain was chosen as Lieutenant Commander R. E. Braddy.
Action in World War II
The Stockton joined the Atlantic Fleet after commencing her shakedown on March 15th, 1943. Her first duty was to act as an escort between North African ports and New York. She ended up escorting four different convoys between May 28th, 1943 and January 3rd, 1944. After her escort duty was over, she was sent to the South Pacific on January 24th, 1944.
Right after arriving, the Stockton participated in the invasion of Los Negros Islands in the Admiralties alongside the 7th Fleet. The initial bombing of the area on February 29th required her participation, and she stayed for 72 hours, providing gun support for troops on the shore, and also patrolling. Next she went to Seeadler Harbor from the 9th to the 13th of March to assist with landings there. She then travelled along the New Guinea coast; her duties were to as an anti-sub and anti-aircraft vessel on April 22nd at Humboldt Bay and on May 17th at Wakde. Next, she provided screening fire on the 27th of May for the landings in Baik. On duty in Baik, she was hit by a shore battery’s shell. The damage was minimal, and she ended up towing the Kalk DD-611 back to Humboldt.
The Stockton took part in the invasion of Noemfoor on July 2nd, and guarded and provided fire support while there. She then spent the next thirty days acting as an escort and training ship north of New Guinea. She next made her way to the Palau Islands on August 22nd to help with the invasion there. Her job was to make sure the transports got safely to Peleliu on September 15th, and to stay and guard them. When this was over, on October 14th, she made her way home.
After arriving in Seattle, Washington, the Stockton had repairs done. She then took part in training in Pearl Harbor, and finished that up on January 24th, 1945. She participated in the invasion of Iwo Jima between February 10th and March 9th, guarding escort carriers as their planes supported the landings there.
Her group of ships and carriers were attacked by Kamikazes four days after the landings; the Bismark Sea CVE-95 was sunk, and the Lunga Point CVE-94 sustained some damage. The Stockton finished the war as part of the Logistics Support Group. Their job was to get supplies and fuel to the forces in Okinawa and for the airstrikes on Japan and Ryukyus. The USS Stockton and the USS Morrison sank the 1-8, a Japanese submarine, on March 31st. After this was done, the USS Thornton AVD-11 ran into two tankers in the USS Stockton’s group. She helped with salvage efforts.
After the War
For the first 45 days after Japanese surrender, the Stockton assisted with occupation efforts. Via Singapore and Capetown, she made her way back home to New York on October 15th. On May 16th, 1946, she was put out of commission and placed in reserve in Charleston, South Carolina. The Navy struck her from their lists on July 1st, 1971.
She was awarded 8 battle stars for her service during the war.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially during World War II, naval destroyers also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.