A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History
USS HARADEN DD-585
The Tin Can Sailor, July 2001
Launched by the Boston Navy Yard on 19 March 1943, the HARADEN was commissioned on 16 September 1943 and in November steamed out of Boston with the destroyers DORTCH (DD-670) and GATLING (DD-671) to escort the carrier INTREPID (CV-11) to the Pacific. They arrived in Hawaii on 21 January 1944.
Attached to Task Force 53, the HARADEN got underway on 30 January to escort the main attack group for the assault on the Marshall Islands. During the initial assaults, the destroyer provided covering fire and screened the battleships and cruisers on 31 January. As troops landed on Ennubir Island, the HARADEN fired in direct support, destroying an ammunition dump on Ennagannet Island with a tremendous explosion. On 1 February she provided fire support and antisubmarine patrols during the landings on Roi and Namur. She continued her patrols off Kwajalein and Eniwetok until 29 February. Over the next two months she made several voyages escorting fleet oilers and other ships between Pearl Harbor and the Marshalls. She also patrolled the Marshall Islands and took part in the blockade of several of the smaller atolls still occupied by the Japanese.
Arriving off Saipan on 22 June 1944, she screened the escort carriers NATOMA BAY (CVE-62) and MANILA BAY (CVE-61) as they launched air strikes. While refueling alongside the NATOMA BAY, the ships were subject to a surprise attack during which the HARADEN narrowly missed being sunk when straddled by four aerial bombs. She subsequently returned to Pearl Harbor for training exercises and maneuvers in preparation for the invasion of the Philippines. On 2 October she arrived in Seeadler Harbor, Manus Island in the Admiralties and twelve days later was en route as an escort for the transports carrying invasion forces to the Leyte Gulf.
At 1000 on the morning of 20 October, the first assault waves hit the beaches of Leyte Gulf, and for the next few days, the HARADEN’s gun crews began a long and grueling job covering the transports from almost continuous air attacks. Once the beachhead was secure, the HARADEN left the Leyte area for Manus Island. She arrived on 1 November and twelve days later was headed to Palau to cover the convoys traveling to and from the Philippines. She then joined the screen of a carrier force en route to Mindoro.
Entering the Sulu Sea, on the morning of 13 December, the HARADEN and the escort carriers were attacked by four enemy planes. She assisted in downing three of the raiders, but the fourth banked left, gained altitude, and dove on the HARADEN, whose 40-mm and 20-mm guns opened fire. Although hit and trailing smoke, the plane continued on course and crashed into the starboard side of the destroyer. It hit the forward stack and exploded on impact, spraying bomb fragments over the ship. The crash demolished the forward stack and put the forward fire and engine rooms out of commission, leaving the ship dead in the water and without communications. The destroyer TWIGGS (DD-591) came alongside to assist her repair and fire-fighting parties and the HARADEN was soon underway on her own power, bound for San Pedro Bay and emergency repairs. There, also, she transferred her casualties—fourteen dead and twenty-four wounded. On 19 December, she steamed out of San Pedro Harbor for the Puget Sound Navy Yard and permanent repairs.
Entering the Bremerton yard, she was not alone. She and the LAMSON (DD-367), badly damaged by a kamikaze at Ormoc Bay, both limped into Puget Sound on 14 January 1945. Within a few hours they were berthed side by side in the same dry dock and were subsequently dubbed “the twins” by shipyard workers who rushed to get the two ships back to the war.
By April 1945 they were again ready for duty, and in May the HARADEN got underway for San Pedro Bay. Between May and July, she escorted amphibious craft to and from various islands in the southern Philippines and participated in training operations until she received word of the Japanese surrender. On 28 August she joined Task Group 71.1 for patrol duty and a show of force in the Yellow and North China Seas and remained there until December 1945.
Returning to the states in January 1946, the HARADEN was decommissioned at San Diego on 2 July 1946. She remained in the reserve fleet until struck from the navy’s list on 1 November 1972 when she was transferred to the Naval Missile Center at Point Magu. The veteran destroyer was sunk when targeted by a Harpoon missile during tests in November 1973.