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Hull Number: DD-251

Launch Date: 01/14/2019

Commissioned Date: 04/28/2019

Decommissioned Date: 08/04/1945

Other Designations: AVD-8 APD-34


Class: CLEMSON

CLEMSON Class


Namesake: GEORGE EUGENE BELKNAP

GEORGE EUGENE BELKNAP

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, October 2021

Born in Newport, N.H., in 1832, George Eugene Belknap was appointed a Midshipman in 1847. He commanded Canonicus during the attacks on Fort Fisher, N.C., and Hartford during the Formosa Expedition of 1867. Appointed Rear Admiral 12 February 1889, he retired 22 January 1894. Rear Admiral Belknap died at Key West, Fla., 7 April 1903.


Disposition:

Irreparably damaged by Kamikazee 1/11/1945. Stricken 8/13/1945. Sold 11/30/1945.


A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History

USS BELKNAP DD-251

The Tin Can Sailor, October 2013

The CLEMSON-class destroyer, USS BELKNAP (DD-251) was named for George Eugene Belknap, a veteran of the Civil War and the Formosa Expedition of 1867. He retired as a rear admiral in 1894 and died in Key West in 1903.

The BELKNAP was launched in January 1919 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, Mass. After a brief stint with the U.S. Naval forces in the Mediterranean, she returned to the United States to join the Atlantic Fleet. She was decommissioned in June 1922 at the Philadelphia Navy yard and remained there until 1940. That year, the BELKNAP was converted to a seaplane tender, reclassified AVD-8 in August and recommissioned in November 1940. She was assigned to Patrol Wing 5 at Hamilton, Bermuda, and remained there until early 1941 when she returned to Newport, R.I. Between May and September 1941, she made three voyages from Newport to Newfoundland and Iceland. She remained at Reykjavik, Iceland, until May 1942, then went to Charleston Navy yard for an extensive overhaul.

From August 1942 to January 1943 she patrolled the Caribbean. Between February 1943 and January 1944, she served with the USS BOGUE (CVE-9), CROATAN (CVE-25), and CORE (CVE-13) hunter-killer groups in the Atlantic. Reclassified DD-251 on 14 November 1943, the BELKNAP received the Presidential Unit Citation for her service with the BOGUE’s TG 21.12 from April to June 1943. Following convoy duty along the East and Gulf coasts between February and June 1944, she underwent conversion to a high speed transport and was reclassified APD-34 on 22 June 1944.

Her conversion completed, the BELKNAP arrived in the Pacific in September 1944. From                   18 to 22 October, she screened ships during the Leyte invasion and in early January 1945 served as a bombardment and beach reconnaissance vessel at the Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, landings. On 11 January, her gunfire hit a Japanese suicide plane that crashed into her number two stack, crippling her engines, killing 38 men, and wounding 49. The BELKNAP remained in the gulf making emergency repairs until 18 January when the HIDATSA (ATF-102) towed her to Manus, Admiralty Islands. Following temporary repairs at Manus, she headed for home and the Philadelphia Navy Yard, arriving on 18 June 1945. The BELKNAP was decommissioned on 4 August and sold on 30 November 1945 for scrapping.

USS BELKNAP DD-251 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, October 2021

The first Belknap (Destroyer No. 251) was launched 14 January 1919 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, Mass.; sponsored by Miss Frances Georgiana Belknap, granddaughter of Admiral Belknap; and commissioned 28 April 1919, Lieutenant Commander S. Gassee in command.

Following her shakedown cruise, Belknap joined U.S. Naval Forces, Eastern Mediterranean. After several months she returned to the United States and served with Division 28, Atlantic Fleet, until placed in reserve at Charleston Navy Yard in 1920. She was decommissioned 28 June 1922 at Philadelphia Navy Yard and remained there until 1940.

During 1940 Belknap was converted into a seaplane tender (reclassified AVD-8, 2 August 1940) and recommissioned 22 November 1940. She was assigned to Patrol Wing 5 at Hamilton, Bermuda, and remained there until early 1941 when she returned to Newport, R.I. Between May and September 1941 she made three voyages from Newport to Newfoundland and Iceland. She remained at Reykjavik, Iceland, during September 1941-May 1942 and then went to Charleston Navy Yard for an extensive overhaul. From August 1942 to January 1943 she patrolled in the Caribbean and between February 1943 and January 1944 she served with Bogue (CVE-9), Croatan (CVE-25), and Core (CVE-13) hunter-killer groups in the Atlantic. Reclassified DD-251, 14 November 1943, Belknap received the Presidential Unit Citation for her service with TG 21.12 (Bogue group), 20 April-20 June 1943. Following convoy duty along the east and Gulf coasts (February-June 1944), Belknap underwent conversion into a high speed transport (reclassified APD-34, 22 June 1944).

Conversion completed, Belknap arrived in the Pacific during September 1944. During 18-22 October she served as a screen ship during the Leyte invasion and during 3-11 January 1945 as a bombardment and beach reconnaissance vessel at the Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, landings. On 11 January she trained all her guns on a Japanese suicide plane which crashed into Belknap‘s number two stack, crippling her engines, killing 38 men and wounding 49. Belknap remained at Lingayen making emergency repairs until 18 January when Hidatsa (ATF-102) towed her to Manus, Admiralty Islands. Following temporary repairs at Manus, Belknap proceeded to Philadelphia Navy Yard via the west coast, arriving 18 June. Decommissioned 4 August 1945, Belknap was sold 30 November 1945 for scrapping.

In addition to her Presidential Unit Citation, Belknap received three battle stars for her World War II service.