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Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, July 2015
Harlan Rockey Dickson, a member of Yorktown’s famed Dive Bomber Squadron 5, twice received the Navy Cross for his outstanding courage and combat flying, first at Tulagi and again at the pivotal Battle of Midway. Lt. Comdr. Dickson crashed and was killed off the California coast 5 February 1944.
Non-Fram. Sold 05/18/1973 to Boston Metals Co., Baltimore, MD. Scrapped.
Harlan R. Dickson was a bomber pilot from the carrier YORKTOWN, who exhibited exceptional courage and skill at Tulagi and Midway. He died in a crash off California in 1944. Eight months later, the DD-708 was launched bearing his name and was commissioned 17 February 1945. After her shakedown cruise in the Caribbean, she got underway for the Pacific on 5 August 1945. With Japan’s surrender, however, she was ordered back to the East Coast and experimental mine work at Solomons, Maryland, in the Chesapeake Bay. She finally joined her squadron at Pearl Harbor in December 1945 and remained there for tactical training until March 1946. Returning to the East Coast, her crew was busy with further training until February 1947 when the DICKSON began her first deployment with the Sixth Fleet. She visited many ports in the Mediterranean and sailed into the Red Sea as well.
Over the ensuing years she alternated duty in the Mediterranean with training and fleet maneuvers along the East Coast and in the Caribbean. During her second Mediterranean tour, in December 1948, she served a month with United Nations forces as that organization attempted to mediate the Palestinian crisis. She responded to another crisis during her 1956 Mediterranean deployment, this time evacuating American citizens from Haifa, as war loomed between Israel and Egypt. Starting in 1959, her operations included service as a recovery ship on the Atlantic coast missile range to retrieve test capsules fired from Cape Canaveral, now Cape Kennedy.
A full schedule of fleet and NATO exercises prepared the DICKSON for hunter-killer antisubmarine operations in the quarantine of Cuba during the 1962 missile crisis. Exercises as a participant in Operation Springboard kept her in the Caribbean until February 1963. After a brief stay in Newport, the destroyer began her tenth Mediterranean deployment in March. While there, she steamed into the Persian Gulf to represent the U.S. in Khargex VI, an exercise with Iranian and British navies. She was back in Newport in September and on 2 January entered the Boston Naval Shipyard for overhaul.
Routine operations and exercises with the Atlantic Fleet along the East Coast and in the Caribbean carried her through 1967. The following year, she began the final phase of her career, operating as a Naval Reserve Training ship. In March 1970, during antisubmarine warfare exercises, she joined other ships to search the waters off Key West for the downed air crew of an F4B Phantom. None were recovered. On a happier occasion, she joined the COMPTON (DD-705) in carrying 150 guests of the Naval War College to view the start of the Newport to Bermuda Yacht Race on 20 June 1970. She was decommissioned and struck from the navy’s list on 1 July 1972 and was eventually sold for scrap on 18 May 1973.
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, July 2015
Harlan R. Dickson (DD-708) was launched 17 December 1944 by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N. J.; sponsored by Mrs. Mildred Mae Studler, mother; and commissioned at New York 17 February 1945, Comdr. Paul G. Osier in command.
After shakedown in the Caribbean, Harlan R. Dickson departed New York for the Pacific 5 August 1945, but with the Japanese capitulation was ordered back to Solomons, Md., for experimental mine work. She finally joined her squadron at Pearl Harbor 12 December and remained in the Pacific for tactical training until March 1946. Returning to the east coast, Harlan R. Dickson engaged in further training until sailing 2 February 1947 for the first of what were to become regular cruises in the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet in its tremendous mission of keeping the peace against Soviet intrigue. In addition to visiting many Mediterranean ports, the destroyer sailed into the Red Sea before returning to the States 14 August.
This year established a pattern which Harlan R. Dickson was seldom to break: six months of duty in the Mediterranean alternating with training and fleet maneuvers along the East Coast and in the Caribbean. During her second tour with the 6th Fleet, Harlan R. Dickson served under the United Nations blue-and-white flag December 1948-January 1949 as the world peace organization strove to mediate the Palestine crisis-only one in many that developed in the Mediterranean “Sea of History” from 1945 on. In 1953 she participated in at sea training. On her sixth Mediterranean cruise, 2 July to 4 December 1956, Harlan R. Dickson played a key role in another crisis situation, this time evacuating American citizens from Haifa, Israel, as war threatened between Israel and Egypt. Her career entered still another phase September 1959 when she began service as a recovery ship on the Atlantic coast missile range to retrieve test capsules fired from Cape Canaveral, now Cape Kennedy.
Harlan R. Dickson’s constant participation in both fleet and NATO exercises to keep her fighting ability and readiness at a peak paid rich dividents in October 1962 as she joined a hunter-killer antisubmarine unit in the quarantine of Cuba during the offensive missile crisis. After the crisis subsided, Harlan R. Dickson continued her vital duty in maintaining America’s strength and showing friend and foe alike her determination to maintain both peace and freedom. Harlan R. Dickson joined Operation “Springboard” in the Caribbean, visiting San Juan and Santo Domingo before returning to Newport 4 February 1963. On 7 March she commenced her 10th Mediterranean deployment with the 6th Fleet. While in the Persian Gulf, Harlan R. Dickson represented the United States in Khargex VI, an exercise designed for the perfection of working relationships with our allies of the Iranian and British Navies. After a brief stop in the Mediterranean she returned to Newport in September. On 2 January 1964 Harlan R. Dickson entered the Boston Naval Shipyard for overhaul.